seashore

We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve

Last month on March 31st, I came across The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Netflix. As the last day for streaming, I felt compelled to watch it before it disappeared. I read the book back in the day, so I naturally also watched the movie when it came out in the theaters. Don’t worry – there are no spoilers today, but I recommend reading the book or watching the movie if you’re interested. One quote by the author, Stephen Chbosky, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” has always resonated with me. Reflecting on my previous relationships over the past few months has only confirmed that the partners I chose to stay with long-term have always acted as a mirror into my soul & how I felt about myself at that time in my life.

Love in My Teens & Twenties

In my teenage years & my early twenties, I always chose romantic partners who were attractive, but emotionally immature & self-centered. At the time, I had no idea what love entailed. All I needed in a relationship was someone who was just as attractive & popular as I was, obsessed with me, & willing to jump over every hurdle I placed in their way to earn my love & affection. My relationships were one-sided. In my eyes, I deserved someone who was attractive enough to help me climb higher within my social circles or career. I wanted someone to devote themselves to make me happy because I needed validation. I didn’t love myself, so I desperately wanted someone who was willing to always show me my worth by how much money they would spend on me & being willing to drop everything in their own life to cater to my every need.

Love in My Thirties

After nearly a decade of bad romantic decisions, in my early thirties, I finally date guys who are emotionally mature, hilarious, honest, trustworthy, & worthy of my time & attention. After my quarter-life crisis at 26, I finally got my $#!+ together & stayed single for a while, because I knew that I deserved better. I don’t date guys who are obsessed with me, because I no longer need the constant reassurance of their love. I only spend time with men who are well put together, have a great sense of humor, can carry an intelligent conversation, & have their own personal life goals. Now, I proactively choose to only date men that respect the boundaries I set for myself & appreciate my ambition, confidence, intelligence, & entrepreneurial mindset.

I’m happy to say that I know who I am & what I deserve. When a man no longer respects me, I walk away knowing that it’s not about me & my worth anymore. I no longer blame myself for a man’s betrayal & dishonesty, because that’s not a reflection on me. By choosing to hurt me, they’re actually betraying & lying to themself. You can love someone unconditionally, but always walk away when staying with them means sacrificing your self-respect.

Key Takeaways

Take the time to reflect on your past relationships & understand that whenever your romantic partners chose to betray your trust, cheat, flake on plans, lie, or sneak around behind your back, they were really doing it to themself. When your partner doesn’t feel worthy of you, they will show you who they are through their actions. If you’ve been nothing but kind & faithful to them, take their actions as a sign that they think they don’t deserve you. If you choose to stay despite mistreatment, you’re ultimately telling yourself that you “deserve” to be with a terrible person. I’m hoping to be the one who tries to teach you & anyone else who comes across my blog that you do deserve to be loved better.

No matter how long you’ve been with someone; you don’t deserve abuse, betrayal, or manipulation. Do not tolerate abuse & stay with someone because you “love” them. It’s not selfish to love yourself enough to walk away. Only you know who you are & what you truly deserve. Be willing to forgive their mistakes, but be strong enough to protect your heart & give it to someone who will cherish it.

You deserve someone who will be honest with you even when it’s hard. The right partner will love you & defend your honor even when you’re apart. You deserve someone who will reassure you that despite who wants them, they will always only want you. Don’t let anyone other than you dictate what you deserve. This is your life, & you deserve an amazing one surrounded by people with good intentions. So if “we accept the love we think we deserve?”, what do you deserve?

XO Denise

sunflower bouquet

Who Are You?

“Who are you?” is one of the quintessential questions that an interviewer will ask you during an interview. This question also makes me think of the hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland & the song My Shot from Hamilton. Unless you take the time to really think about who you are, it’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer. I personally don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that every single thing that has occurred in my life & every person who has come & gone, happened for a specific reason. All of the past occurrences & people who have been in & out of my life helped me to become the woman I am today. And for that, I will always be grateful.

My Family

My parents met at my cousin’s 1st Birthday Party. At that time, my Dad was still married to his 1st wife, & my Mom was engaged to someone else. My Dad ended up getting a divorce because his in-laws didn’t want them to have children. My Mom ultimately called off her engagement because she somehow knew in her heart that there was something better waiting. About two years later, they reconnected & started dating. My Mom broke up with my Dad because she thought that he was entertaining other women behind her back. They separated for a little over three months before they got back together & eventually got engaged.

In grade school, I had to interview a family member about their best friend as a class project. I chose to interview my Dad. While I didn’t appreciate the love-filled answers that he gave me at the time, that interview shows me how beautiful true love is. In short, my Dad’s best friend is my Mom. She’s his best friend because they talk about anything & everything without getting bored of each other. His best memories with her aren’t even huge, impactful moments, but simply being around her every day. They don’t even have to say anything. But with a quick look or making silly faces at each other, he knows that he has everything that he needs in her alone.

My parents’ love story teaches that life is unexpected. If you have tunnel vision trying to pursue one clear path, fate & the universe may conspire against your current circumstances to give you something better than you could have ever imagined. Even after what you think is the love of your life, love can & will find you again. If you choose to keep your heart open & take a leap of faith. Their love makes me believe in soulmates & emphasizes the importance of marrying your best friend.

My siblings are my closest friends. They’re also my complete opposites. lol My sister is three years older than me, & my brother is three years younger than me. Being a middle child & their sister has taught me so much about how to communicate & mediate my actions when dealing with individuals who act & think differently than I do. While I’m a newly awakened empath, I know in my heart that my Dad & both of my siblings are empaths too.

My brother is bipolar. While I’ve lived the majority of my life not affected by my own emotions or the emotions of others, my brother gave me an inside look into the mind of someone who bottles everything he feels inside. My brother takes on the emotions & problems of others like a sponge.

As a Cancer sun, he’s innately empathic, emotional, & sensitive. While he can be the most enthusiastic & positive person you’ll ever meet, he also holds a lot of darkness inside & secretly hates himself.

I distinctly remember one day while I was away from home in college, & we were catching up through text. He was asking me how I was & how school was going, which was pretty typical for us. After saying goodbye to each other for the night, no less than 5 minutes later, my sister called me crying. She tells me that my brother is in the hospital under a 5150 (California law code for the temporary, involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to signs of mental illness). I am the last person my brother communicated with as if everything was fine before he had to hand over his phone & be admitted. After his hold for evaluation, he was officially diagnosed as bipolar.

My sister was bullied in grade school from the first grade through 8th grade. We went to a predominantly white, private, Catholic school. As one of the only brown girls in her class, boys in her class started to make fun of her on a daily basis. It got to the point that she was constantly depressed & at one point, even suicidal.

She’s also a Cancer sun, so she’s just as empathic, emotional, & sensitive as my brother. She prefers to bottle up all of her emotions up until she snaps, & it usually comes out as anger & frustration. Looking back, my sister was mean to me & bossed me around throughout her grade school years. But I completely understand why. It wasn’t until I moving away for college that we became closer. In the four years that I was living away from home, she would call me on the phone. She begged, cried, & offered to buy my train ticket to come home to visit.

I truly believe that my siblings made my empathic, spiritual awakening exponentially easier. In the times that I feel overwhelmed by my own emotions, their experiences struggling with mental health help me become even more determined to always transmute & channel my emotions into something positive. They help me embrace my new gifts with an open heart & mind, knowing that I already spend my entire life trying to be strong & stoic. Embracing my new empathic & intuitive abilities is possible because I always have them both to help me whenever I’d struggle.

My aunts, uncles, & cousins also play a huge role in who I am. Both of my parents are one of six children. They immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area from the Philippines. I grew up going to family parties every week. I created so many happy memories with my family playing games & going on vacations. As an adult, I still travel with my cousins on occasion. My family is fun, hilarious, & supportive of all of my entrepreneurial ventures. They were my first YouTube channel followers, my first blog readers, & my first Tarot card reading customers. I know in my heart that they’ll always be there to love & support me throughout my lifetime.

My Friends

While I keep my social circles very small, I have the best friends that I could ever ask for. Two of my best friends, I’ve known since Kindergarten; that’s 29 years of friendship. We are three points of a balanced & strong triangle. We’ve stood by each other & remained very close despite going to different high schools & colleges.

Brittany is an Aries sun. She is brilliant, driven, & outgoing. She consistently inspires me with her adventurous spirit, work ethic, & passion for the people & things she loves. She’s a true Fire Sign. Jessica is a Virgo sun. She is fiercely loyal, hard-working, & reliable. She encourages me to let loose & have fun. She’s constantly introducing me to new avenues of thinking & the greatest humans you’ll ever meet. She’s an Earth sign, with a Scorpio Moon, allowing her to embrace her emotional side too.

My best friend from college, Liz is also a Virgo sun. She’s incredibly grounded, level-headed, & practical. She’s always giving me advice whether it be for my career or my love life. She shares my love for delicious food & dessert. She reminds me of my worth & is always there to hype me up or surprise me when I’m feeling down. Even after twelve years of not living in the same town, she’s always there for me. We make the effort to fly across the country to see each other as often as financially possible.

My remaining handful of friends that I won’t get into specifics about are just as amazing, kind, & understanding. Even after days, weeks, or months without speaking to one another, we’re always able to come back together just as strong, as if no time has passed. I love all of my friends with all of my heart. It takes so much for me to open up to new people & make new friends, so the people that I choose to keep in my inner circle mean everything to me.

My Past Romantic Partners

My past romantic partners always act as a mirror into my soul & how I perceive who I am at a time in my life. The more tumultuous the relationship, the more I hated myself & needed outside validation. The more I change who I am to conform to who I think they want me to be, the more I see that I didn’t have my own identity without them. I changed my eating habits, my hobbies, & the way I dressed, did my makeup & hair to ensure I would always be “accepted” & “loved” by their standards instead of my own.

While I’ve retained some things that they brought into my life, I now choose to put myself first, only keeping what I truly love & want to continuously do going forward. I love to travel. Writing is my primary creative outlet. I love boxing, dancing, & hiking as my preferred workouts. My Nintendo Switch saved me from boredom during COVD-19 stay-at-home orders. I love homecooked meals, baking banana bread, & using Kraft Real Mayo on my sandwiches.

My past partners taught me to always see my own worth because no one else will ever be me. I choose who to be intimate with, because my body is sacred & not just anyone deserves to worship at my temple.

My Enemies & Haters

I know that I am not for everyone. There have been plenty of times in my life that others have gone out of their way to make their disdain towards me known. Instead of cowering in a corner, hiding who I am, or blocking out the world in an attempt to protect myself, I transmute their hate & unkindness & allow it to add fuel to my inner fire. Despite the opinions of others, I still deserve to have an abundant life. Hate will never deter me from accomplishing my goals or living a happy & successful life.

As the main character in the story of our own lives, we need to remember to always embrace every new chapter, every side character, & even our enemies to reach our full potential. So… who am I? I am a combination of every person in my life, every experience & life lesson shared with me.

I’m like my Dad because I’m creative, resourceful, & entrepreneurial, with hopes of being my own boss one day. I look like a younger version of my Mom. I also hope to be just as nurturing of a wife & mother as she is. I’m learning to be as caring & helpful as my siblings. I am just as amazing, fun, intelligent, kind, & supportive as my family & friends. I am everything & everyone in my life that I love. That’s who I am.

XO Denise

frozen wave against sunlight

Intimacy 101

What is your definition of intimacy?

In my mind, intimacy is a terrifying level of closeness. It may sound oxymoronic, but I’m not afraid to admit that intimacy in a romantic relationship is scary. While it’s natural to not have passionate chemistry with everyone, you will know when you meet the right person. Everyone wants love, but not everyone has the strength to let down their walls. That said, knowing & embracing intimacy is the only way to surrender. Learn to be vulnerable in order to fall in love, so let’s get into my personal version of Intimacy 101!

Intimacy cannot be forced into a relationship, & it shouldn’t have to be. No matter how hard you may want to try to build an intimate connection, intimacy must come naturally. It takes two individuals who are ready to fall in love. They want to be vulnerable & experience all types of intimacy.

Let’s explore the different types of Intimacy: Emotional, Experiential, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual.

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is being authentic & honest with your feelings. You must able to freely share your innermost hopes, dreams, fears, & secrets without judgment. Openly express your emotions & feelings for your partner, & understand that your partner is a human. Learn to accept who they are when they’re emotional. Make an effort to listen, & understand how they feel, even when it’s hard.

Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy is sharing experiences with your partner. Go on exciting dates or trips that you plan & discover together. Bake or cook new recipes together in the kitchen. Go bungee jumping, or take a hot air balloon ride. Choose stops on a road trip that you both enjoy, & share your “must-do” things when exploring new places. Create meaningful memories & inside jokes. When you’re cuddling on the couch, you can laugh & reminisce about all the good times.

Intellectual Intimacy

Intellectual intimacy is feeling on the same page as your partner mentally. It’s having deep & thought-provoking conversations. It’s important to feel mentally challenged. Be open to expanding your perspective safely without fear of being attacked for your thoughts & opinions. Fall in love with your partner’s mind & their way of seeing the world.

Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is self-explanatory. You should feel welcome partner’s personal space. It’s holding hands, hugging, kissing, massaging, & any forms of sexual activity. It involves consent, being comfortable, & feeling safe as well. No one should ever feel pressured or shamed into being physically intimate. Even in a committed relationship or marriage, no means no. Feel safe in your partner’s arms & trust them to love & respect your body.

Spiritual Intimacy

Spiritual intimacy is sharing special & meaningful moments. It can include religious practices, prayer, & meditation. It’s discussing ethics, morals, & personal definitions of spirituality without fear of being judged. To me, it’s spending time in nature, observing a sunset, going on hikes, & walking along the beach. It’s also appreciating rivers, lakes, & waterfalls together, so you can connect even in serene silence.

Key Takeaways

Intimacy still terrifies me, but I learned a lot. Exploring intimacy helps me realize the ways I experience intimacy without realizing it. Being with someone who makes you forget about being scared of intimacy is important. Use your fear as a guide. If your person makes you scared to be intimate & vulnerable, take it as a red flag. It may be time to reconsider your relationship. Your desire to feel closer to your partner needs to be greater than your fear.

Couples often try to build a foundation through physical intimacy alone, but don’t overlook the other types of intimacy! A healthy relationship involves being intimate, vulnerable, & taking a leap of faith. When you find the one, they inspire you to engage in all types of intimacy, & your person wants to be intimate in a way that’s always comfortable & safe.

XO Denise

SOURCES

mbg

BetterHealth

@doodledwellness

black punching bag

Fight Productively

I think we can all agree that fighting with others is never fun. My older sister, Danielle, is a Libra rising. Libra’s hate conflict & disharmony when it comes to their life, among friends, family, & even pets. As a little girl, she once screamed between two little boys on the playground who were about to fight. Ironically, her scream stopped the two boys in their tracks. They stood there wondering why she was screaming & forgot all about why they were fighting to begin with. My sister is also usually quick to yell & break up any fights between our dogs. Growing up with someone who highly values fairness & justice taught me a lot. We’ve only been living together again since June. But in these past 10 months, I’ve learned about my communication & what I need to do to keep the peace. This is something that I’ve decided to term as learning how to “fight productively”.

The Importance of Communication

My sister & I’s communication has always struggled since we were kids. After my younger brother was born, I felt like she abandoned me. She suddenly didn’t want to spend time with me or play with me anymore. She became a 2nd mom to our brother. It hurt a lot the way she would completely ignore me at times. As a Capricon sun (me) & a Cancer sun (her), we also have completely opposite personalities. We fought pretty regularly until I moved away for college when I was 18.

I am very blunt, direct, & solutions-focused in the way I communicate. She, on the other hand, is overly emotional, sensitive, & talks through her thoughts. She tends to ramble on until she finally gets to her point. I need to constantly watch my tone with her because she often assumes that I’m mad at her. In reality, if I’m focusing, the tone of voice changes because my mind & thoughts are elsewhere. Sometimes, I respond out of courtesy, but this usually leads to a fight, due to her assumption that I’m being snarky.

Finding a Solution

To combat this issue, we ask each other non-work-related questions whenever we’re on a break from work, during lunch, or after work hours altogether. I always want her to feel heard & comfortable with talking to me because it’s never my intention to be mean. By limiting important discussions & questions to certain times of the day, I’m able to focus on the topic at hand & devote all of my brainpower to fixing whatever issue or upcoming plans that we need to sort out when it’s easier for me to be focused. There’s a huge difference in the way we communicate. We prevent a lot of unnecessary, meaningless fights.

Another way to think of it is if you have a favorite sports team… it’s natural to always want your team to win. You will automatically brand any opposing team as the enemy, so when your team plays well & gets that win, you’re more likely to celebrate. Having winners & losers are definitely more fun when it comes to sports, but not so much when it comes to your relationships.

Key Takeaways

If you continuously fight with your family members or your romantic partners with the intention of “winning” the argument, there isn’t actually a good reason to celebrate. Because in shouting & shoving your opinion down the throat of the other party to “win”, all you’re really doing is ensuring that they “lose”. When you proactively chose to make the other party a “loser”, you both lose in the end. By making someone else feel like a “loser”, you lose empathy, intimacy, togetherness, & so much more in your connection with them.

When you choose to fight productively, you focus on finding the best solution for both parties, not winning. Resolving conflict in your everyday life should be about respecting each other’s point of view on the issue & working together to ensure that everyone feels heard, loved, & respected. The best possible outcome will always be one where you feel happy & positive that you’ve both won with the final solution. At the end of the day, ensuring to always nurture & create a healthy relationship dynamic is the real “WIN”.

XO Denise

photo of rainbow colored painting on canvas

What’s Your Favorite Color?

Yesterday, March 28th, marked the beginning of Holi, a festival of colors & spring that signifies the victory of good over evil. I’ve always been a huge fan of color, coloring, & coloring books. When I was in kindergarten, I would often bring a stack of coloring books from home & crayons to school with me. During recess, I would lay out the coloring books on a table with crayons in the center for everyone to share. Without proactively inviting anyone to join me, kids from my class would come to take a seat & color with me all recess instead of playing. For my 22nd birthday, my friend gifted me a Hello Kitty coloring book with twist-up crayons that I loved! And when adult coloring books & colored pencils became popular as a young adult, I was ecstatic! My brother even gifted me an adult Harry Potter coloring book for Christmas last year. Even though I don’t color nearly as often as I did as a child, coloring has always been very therapeutic to me, so with that in mind, I recently decided to look into Color Therapy.

Chromotherapy

Color Therapy, also known as Chromotherapy, is the concept that mental & physical health can be improved & treated using color. Color & colored light can create subtle changes in a person’s mood & behavior. I’ve always considered the influence of color when designing my past websites as well as branding. I made my 1st website when I was 11. I can still see the simple HTML coding in my mind. It had “Neecie’s Mystic Universe” in bold multi-colored letters, a black background, & lime green arial font. lol

A few years ago, I attended an Exploratorium After Dark in San Francisco. There was an exhibit where you place your head in an orb that would cycle through the color spectrum. I remember awkwardly sitting with my head in the bubble imagining I must look like a crazy, nerdy astronaut to everyone passing by. But then the colored lights started & I forgot about everyone else judging me, & instead immersed myself in the experience & how I felt with each new color. It was an incredibly memorable experience. Too often, people choose to turn to alcohol, drugs, or even prescribed mood-enhancing medicine to lift their spirits. But since adding a pop of color to your life is much easier & quite-frankly healthier, I’m going to give you some DIY Color Therapy tips today!

The Seven Chakras

Color Therapy can be linked to your chakras. If you’re not familiar with the seven chakras, feel free to read my previous blog about them here. Depending on the energy you need to balance or unblock in terms of your energy, that’s the color you should be using or tuning into:

  • PURPLE for when you’re feeling misunderstood & disconnected from the Universe.
  • INDIGO for when you’re struggling to trust your intuition or feel unable to see the bigger picture.
  • BLUE for when you’re having trouble communicating & expressing yourself.
  • GREEN for when you’re having trouble giving or receiving love.
  • YELLOW for when you need a boost of confidence.
  • ORANGE for when you struggle with being social or following your passions.
  • RED for when you’re unsure of who you are, feeling unstable or stagnant.

Here are some ways to implement color & consider how color affects your every day life:

Disconnect from screens a few hours before bed or invest in blue light filtering glasses.

Over-exposure to blue light, which is emitted from smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc., can affect your circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to sleep at night.

Spend more time outdoors in the sunlight.

Natural sunlight & greenery is magical in my opinion. Even though I have sensitive skin & tend to sunburn easily, with a little more SPF added to my daily routine, I’ve been able to spend more & more time in the sun. Sunlight naturally recharges me, making me feel more confident, & green landscapes, trees, & colorful flowers fill me with love & joy.

Decorate your home & personal spaces using color.

Colors that you’re drawn to when decorating are a big clue into what you may feel that you’re lacking in your life. In the past, I was only drawn to black & purple. I know now that I wasn’t in touch with my spirituality, nor did I understand or embrace my place in the universe back then. I didn’t realize how out of alignment I had become. Despite being raised as Catholic, for a long time, I was rejecting my higher self & higher purpose in life. When I was decorating my new bedroom in Oakland, I used almost every color in a rainbow, so I’m very glad to say that I’m much more in alignment & fully embrace my spirituality now.

Key Takeaways

Growing up, I always felt very “unique”, but I also took being misunderstood in stride. With the lessons that I learned last year, I suddenly needed & wanted to incorporate more color into my life. I now surround myself with every color under the sun & proactively choose anything other than black, grey, or white on purpose.

What’s your favorite color? Mine has always been purple. But over the past year, through decorating my actual apartment, my house on Sims 4, & my house on Animal Crossing, I’ve also fallen in love with yellow & green. lol These colors signify my need for more self-confidence, self-love, & keeping my heart more open in general. As you continue to learn & grow as a person, keep in mind the colors that your eyes gravitate towards. It could be a huge clue & indicator of what you need more of in your life. Consider how you can slowly incorporate certain colors into your life to help you improve that area of your life, instead of relying on bad habits, drugs, or alcohol.

XO Denise

SOURCE
Healthline

mysterious shadow behind dark backdrop

Release & Let Go

Unconditional love involves being able to release & let go. The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy was on TV this past weekend. I shamelessly admit that I made myself cozy on my couch with a mug of peppermint tea, a comfy blanket, & my cutie pug, Pogi & enjoyed every minute. I succumbed to the hype & read all three books back in the day. My sister & I even did the Fifty Shades of Grey tag on my YouTube channel with my sister. I even watched the movies with my friends for Galentine’s Day three years in a row.

The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy gets a lot of criticism that I won’t go into right now, but you’re more than welcome to judge for yourself. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you want to stop before proceeding, now is a good time to do so. With that said & with Christian Grey in mind, let’s discuss that needing to control your partner is not love.

My Controlling Ex

In my most unfulfilling relationship, my partner was controlling & obsessed with me. It may seem like a dream come true to have a partner who wants to protect you at all costs & wait on you hand & foot, but I absolutely hated it. Before we were official, he stalked my social media channels for any indication of ways to win my heart. He also asks my friends about how to win me over. I posted a picture of purple boxing gloves on my Facebook one day, saying if someone could find where to buy them for me, I’d love them forever. About two weeks later, I received pink boxing gloves, a letter professing his feelings & hopes that even though they were the wrong color, I’d still like them.

If you think this was a romantic gesture, please consider it from my point of view. I was looking for a link or a specific sporting goods store (Big 5, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) that carries boxing gloves, so that I could buy exactly what I wanted for myself. Instead, someone, whom I do not know well, haven’t seen in person in months, & was not officially dating, went out of his way to ask my best friend for my home address behind my back. He bought & sent me a present that I did not ask for. It wasn’t even what I wanted, both overstepping my boundaries & intruding on my privacy. While this is a red flag in my mind, my friends claimed he was a good guy & had good intentions.

Manipulation & Obsession

Once we were in a relationship, his need to control my every move & his obsession with me only got worse. When riding in a car with him, he would stare at me constantly, asking me if I was ok. He ran stoplights & stop signs. My passenger side door was hit in a car accident. He was more concerned about the look on my face & why I wasn’t talking, instead of driving us safely to our destination. If you’re curious, I’m introverted, & I will not deny that I have a resting bitch face. But when I’m quiet, it’s not a huge cause for concern. It’s quite the opposite actually because to me silence can be golden.

At a movie theatre, he would ask if I was ok in the middle of the movie. I would have to whisper in the dark theatre to reassure him that I was fine. If we were at home & the movie was interesting, I’d express more emotion & discuss what I enjoyed about it in-depth. But no one should have to creepily smile in the darkness of a movie theatre & reassure their boyfriend that they’re having “such a good time”.

When it came to food, he bragged about how much weight he lost going Paleo full-time. At that time, I was at a very healthy BMI. I went to the gym for an hour each day for 5 days a week, & I danced with a Hip-Hop Dance Company. I also ate salads from Trader Joe’s for lunch, & I ate home-cooked meals for dinner almost every single day.

But to him, I wasn’t doing enough. He needed & wanted me to go Paleo full-time too, so I tried it for about a month. While I did lose weight, it took a huge toll on my mind & a physical toll on my body. There were times I’d get light-headed & almost faint when taking a shower after a workout. I still remember how scared I was as my vision went fuzzy. Sitting in the shower out of fear of slipping & hurting myself. I felt so weak & overwhelmingly sad all the time.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again… I LOVE FOOD! Being deprived of carbs, dairy, & dessert for that entire month was torture. To me, being skinny will never bring me the same happiness that a bacon cheeseburger with garlic truffle fries, a molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, or a plate of loaded carne asada nachos can.

Whenever I tried to express my unhappiness to him, he shot me down. He tried to make me feel guilty about wanting to go back to my usual 80% healthy & 20% unhealthy diet. My boyfriend made me feel ashamed of my love of food. He told me that I’d never achieve my fitness goals with the way that I wanted to eat. He guilt-tripped me into doing what he wanted. Even though he claimed to “love” me, it didn’t matter that eating Paleo was making me depressed & physically sick.

Key Takeaways

Needless to say, I’m so happy to be out of that relationship. These are only a few of many other uncomfortable situations that he forced me into during our 10 months together. Again, controlling your partner is not love. Love is wanting to keep your significant other happy & healthy. Forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Do not put up with someone who oversteps your boundaries, disrespects you, or treats you like their property.

While other women fawn over Christian Grey, after rewatching the movies, I simply cannot. *SPOILER ALERT* Never fall in love with a partner who wants to control what you eat & drink, stalks you, looks up your bank account information, or gives you unnecessarily extravagant presents to “buy” your love. While I am open to a dominant man in the bedroom, a healthy relationship allows both individuals to live their lives independently. Believe in their partner’s ability to make the right choices for themselves. When they make love, it’s always consensual, & they’re able to fully trust their partner with their body. When apart, your partner can enjoy themselves, be happy, & be safe, without needing to hover over their every move.

My past relationships teach me a lot about who I am & where my mind is at certain times in my life. At 23 years old, I was too young & naive to know any better. I suffered because I was scared of being alone. Please learn from my mistakes, & don’t let the allure of a man like “Christian Grey” cloud your judgment. Anastasia Steele was also young, naive, & taken advantage of in my opinion. While she stood up for herself & did a lot of good for Christian in the end, fiction, whether in books or movies, is not real life. Please choose to love yourself & love your partner without the need to control or obsess over them.

True unconditional love allows you to love someone for who they are & the choices they make for themselves without smothering or suffocating them. Holding on to someone too tightly just makes them want to run away as fast as they can. All you can do is ensure that they know that no matter what each of you does separately. You’ll always be in their corner to support them. Because even if you don’t need them every second of every day, being apart doesn’t mean that they’ll forget to love you. When someone truly has your heart, you know that they’re not going anywhere.

XO Denise

close up of tree against sky

Love is Laughter

Successful relationships & a shared sense of humor go hand in hand. I absolutely love to laugh & my day doesn’t feel complete without it. Because of this, I can’t imagine being stuck in a relationship that I have to fake smiles & laughter. I won’t pretend that my partner is hilarious when they’re really not. From past personal experience, I’ll never settle for a dull, stoic life, even if my partner was very wealthy & promised to provide me with a fancy, stable lifestyle for the rest if my life. While I covered the Five Love Languages in a past blog, I believe that laughter is the sixth & most important love language.

The Importance of Laughter

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, happiness & laughter are important to maintain throughout your lifetime for your mental health. I have many past, memorable laughing moments where I was crying, about to pee my pants, falling off chairs, & barely able to breathe. My family & closest friends will tell you that I have four distinct laughs. Being introverted, only the special, select few are able to make me laugh enough times to hear all of them. As my esteemed blog readers, you may never hear them, but I’ll share them with you now.

My Four Laughs

  1. The Pity Laugh
    • This is the laugh that I use to be polite because it’s embarrassing to have a joke fall flat. It’s quick & subtle, & simply recognizes when someone tries their best to be funny. While its intention is to be kind & humor someone, I really do hate to use this laugh. It doesn’t feel genuine when I laugh this way. I can’t help but wonder if the recipient can tell that I don’t actually think they’re funny.
  2. The Quick Giggle
    • This laugh is when the situation or location I’m in prevents me from laughing to my full extent. If I’m at a library, museum, or fancy restaurant, I only laugh as much as is socially acceptable. This one also usually causes me to contract & hold in my abs, like a quick ab workout. lol
  3. The Long & Loud Laugh
    • This laugh is when I’m in the privacy of my home or at a friend, family, or significant other’s home. When something is really funny to me, I can’t hold in my laughter, so it usually comes out with gusto. I love being able to laugh freely with others that I love & trust. My laugh can be intense, so I never want to feel embarrassed by my laughter.
  4. The Can’t Stop, Can’t Breathe, Crying, & about to Pee My Pants Laugh
    • This laugh is when something is so funny that I can no longer control my bodily functions. I lose myself in all of my senses. My laughter is practically orgasmic. I can clearly recall every single time I’ve laughed like this. The last time was while playing Bananagrams with my family in South Lake Tahoe. The time before that was camping in Mendocino, joking about wood, while bundled in a blanket around a campfire eating s’mores.

As a love language, laughter can come in many forms. You don’t even need to be directly near your partner to give it to them. When a couple shares the same sense of humor, they continuously create humor & joy together. Laughter can be expressed through jokes, reminiscing on funny past experiences, playful banter or teasing, funny memes, funny videos, etc.

Key Takeaways

In a healthy & strong relationship, couples can constantly banter back & forth. They tease each other without getting upset because they share the same sense of humor. Their inside jokes are endless. They share plenty of funny past experiences because every moment together is a new opportunity to have fun. They’ll want to sporadically send each other funny memes & videos that remind them of each other. Even in separation, they Snapchat each other, send silly, animated Memojis through iMessage, or joke about their day-to-day with each other on FaceTime.

When you’re with the right person, every moment should be filled with laughter. And even in separation, the mere thought of them should still put a smile on your face. What good is having a beautiful house, a fancy car, or being rich if you feel lonely & unhappy? Money can’t buy you love. Find a romantic partner, who makes you truly happy, to create fun-filled memories & laugh with for the rest of your lifetime. Unless you’ve chosen to learn nothing from fairytales, how else do you expect to live “Happily Ever After”?

XO Denise

you got this lighted signage

The Importance of Communication

Being empathic & intuitive runs in my family. My innate gifts definitely help me with my Oracle & Tarot readings. But being a “psychic” healer doesn’t mean that I automatically know everything that is happening, did happen, or will happen in the future. If I tried to channel the energy of every person on the planet, I’d be exhausted & overwhelmed all the time. I keep my energy protected. I don’t attempt to channel the energy of another person until I’m about to pull cards for a reading. Once in a person’s energy, I trust my intuition to create a narrative. I chronologically sort the messages I receive to help me give the best advice, depending on the person’s unique situation. But at the end of the day, only the person that I’m reading knows their truth & story. That’s why I always promote the importance of clear communication.

Communicate Your Needs Clearly

During a reading, I may pick up that someone is keeping secrets or doesn’t feel confident enough to express their feelings when it comes to their connection. I’m not a licensed therapist. But it’s general knowledge that keeping secrets & not expressing how you feel is detrimental to all relationships. A lot of women want their partners to read their minds without having to communicate their expectations. But that’s not realistic. Even my own father who is very intuitive needs my mom to tell him when she needs or wants something to feel appreciated & loved. After 37 years of marriage, it’s my parents’ ability to communicate their needs that make their relationship so long-lasting & successful.

Clearly communicating your expectations to your partner will ensure a happy & healthy relationship dynamic. If you need your partner to attend every social event that you’re invited to with you, say so. If you want them to make a huge deal about planning something special for your anniversary & birthday, tell them. The average person is not a mind reader. Expecting someone to cater to your every desire & wish, without telling them what you need, will only cause disappointment.

Release Your Expectations

My parents have always set a great example. My mom attends social events without my dad. While both of my parents are introverted, my mom is more of a social butterfly. My dad needs more alone time to rest & recharge on the weekends. Mom often goes to family gatherings with me & my sister or one of my aunts. My mom never drags my dad to a party because it’s “expected” as her husband.

Don’t get me wrong – my dad will still gladly attend weddings & milestone events with my mom with advance notice. My mom just knows her husband, so she sets her expectations accordingly. For example, my mom doesn’t expect my dad to surprise her flowers, take her out to fancy dinners, or plan weekend getaways. My mom has only received flowers from my dad three times, & each time was when one of my siblings or I was born. My mom prefers to have a fancy dinner as a family, & she prefers to plan vacations all together as a family as well.

Expectations without clear communication will always cause disappointment. But at the same time, expecting your partner to drop everything in their life to cater to your every need, is extremely unfair & one-sided. It is not your boyfriend or your husband’s “job” to read your mind. If you don’t clearly tell your partner what you need, it’s not a requirement for them to attend every social event, buy you flowers, or surprise you with gifts. If you’re upset that your partner can’t read your mind, that’s not their problem. It’s up to you to communicate your needs & wants. Then, it’s up to them to step up to fulfill it. And if it’s not something they’re able or willing to do for you, tell you.

What do you want?

The average woman doesn’t give out “gold stars” to their boyfriend or husband for doing what they’re “supposed” to do. Most women expect their partner to attend every party & buy them presents for every occasion. When pointing out that a partner feels under appreciated, most women are shocked. They often think that their partner could be doing much more to make them happy. But I always do my best to truthfully point out that no one likes to feel under-appreciated. I advise that what they may consider as “expected” behaviors, their partner may consider to be above & beyond anything that they’ve done for any of their exes.

In a relationship, I personally love good morning & goodnight texts, sporadic kisses, & bouquets of flowers, just because. I also consider a man cooking me breakfast, lunch, or dinner as the sweetest gesture. It’s also a dream of mine to be surprised with a trip to a new destination that I’ve never been to but have always dreamed of going to or simply being told to “pack a bag” & be whisked away for an unexpected weekend adventure. Since I haven’t had a man step up to give me these things yet, I choose to regularly give them to myself. My morning wake-up alarm says “Good Morning”. My pug, Pogi, gives me sporadic kisses throughout the day. I have a monthly fresh flower subscription from Bouqs. And I plan trips for myself within the US & internationally as often as I can.

Key Takeaways

It’s important for you to identify what you need & want in a relationship. Then clearly communicate those expectations with your partner. And when they do good, always show them your appreciation. Do your best to not let your expectations cloud your judgement. Especially if you haven’t communicated what you need to your partner at all, speak up. Until you do, you are the only one responsible for ensuring those needs are met.

Not even a “psychic” will automatically know how to cater to the needs of another individual. We’re all unique in our own ways, so what one person may want & expect in a relationship may be different from another. Take responsibility for yourself, express your needs, & communicate as much as possible to prevent any unnecessary conflict in your relationship. And when your partner can’t give you what you need, evaluate what’s a deal breaker & what you’re capable of giving to yourself, before starting a fight or threatening to break up with or divorce them. Take my parents as good example. If you know your partner & you know yourself, you shouldn’t have to worry about being happy & staying happy in your relationship.

XO Denise