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love well

i'm tempted to say that my relatively short trip to colorado was life-changing. but of course, only time will tell.

i'm not entirely sure what i expected for the time before, during, and after tiffany's wedding. all i know is that i got far more than i bargained for. and, really, nothing earth-shattering occurred... just lots of observation and conversation. but then, i suppose that's where lasting change usually happens.

many events and conversations of the week are entirely unbloggable; but i will share my overall personal theme of this journey: affection [both physical and verbal]. this is where i would ordinarily insert the obligatory dictionary definition of the word, but i can't seem to find one that's suitable. i suppose this means i'm using the wrong word, but it's the only one that makes sense in my mind. anyway, here are the american heritage college dictionary definitions:

1. a tender feeling toward another; fondness
2. feeling or emotion. often used in the plural
3. a disposition to feel, do, or say; a propensity

i am finding that the older i get, the more affectionate i am [or, perhaps more accurately, want to be]. i'm a bit of a chameleon in this area: when i am around people who are more demonstrative, i feel free to do likewise; and when i am around people who are more reserved, i reflect that as well. whether this is simply respect or a character flaw, i haven't yet figured out.

while in colorado, i was surrounded by tiff's family and friends [as well as friends known from ohio], who are so out there with the affection it's nearly impossible not to reciprocate. i was taken by the natural warmth and openness around me, and felt comfortable to be myself... even though if you took all of the time i had ever spent with them and smushed it all together, it would equal about two or three weeks for each person [and that's probably being generous].

as paul was reading through a stack of therapy game cards, we came upon this one: "how much does your face give away your emotions?" i was rated by the three people in the room at a 3 [on a scale of 1 to 10]. which is nice for poker. but later, i commented on how i felt more comfortable being affectionate over the course of the week and was basically informed that the evidence of that was slim to none... so, apparently i don't physically or verbally give away my emotions, either. which is unfortunate.

at some point i began reflecting on these friends in colorado, as compared to my friends here at home. and overall i would say that my friends here are very reserved... almost ridiculously so. and to be honest, when tiff moved to colorado, one of my first thoughts was, "who will i be able to run to for a big bear hug? with no reservation? and no explanation?" and maybe that's a strange thing to think. but luckily, i do indeed have good friends that are more than happy to return my affection, so my worries were unwarranted.

so, as much as you can consider this a conscious choice, i have decided to run with this. i don't want to make people uncomfortable, but i do want to feel like i can express my affection. i don't want to worry if people will freak out about being touchy-feely; i don't want to shy away from being demonstrative; and i certainly don't want people thinking i'm not comfortable with affection, when actually it's one of the very things i crave.

i want to love well. and for me, i think all this affection business is a large part of that.

love and hugs,

Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2006 at 10:24PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments9 Comments

Reader Comments (9)

i struggle with that too, wondering if i should hug and watch for cues or let the other person take the lead.. but on the flip side of that, i am relieved when the other person offers affection.. so BECOMING that person is actually a great thing for introverts such as myself!

good life lessons :D
Aug 11, 2006 at 01:14AM | Unregistered Commenterlana
awesome posting mdog! you really captured the mood of that weekend. i'm glad to know that i was a (small) part of a potentially life-changing time for you. i wonder if it's sometimes easier to have those deep, intense conversations with people you don't see as often. it gives you time and space to process stuff without having people all up in your grill about it. what do you think?
Aug 11, 2006 at 11:37AM | Unregistered Commentersandilove
after our recent meeting, I realized that one of the first steps of loving well is being real and being authentic...two things I admire in you...
Aug 11, 2006 at 01:36PM | Unregistered Commentercd
lana - yes. DO IT!

sandilove - yes, you were definitely a big part of this revelation. and i think you may have something there on the time and space.

cd - well, thanks. i try...
Aug 11, 2006 at 02:10PM | Registered Commentermdog
Sandilove! you awesome woman you... thanks for taking such good care of us. I had a great time... and no underwear was found under any of your furniture! (And for context sake... this is more than I can say for the hotel I stayed at for the first few days).


I think you are way cool. And I, my wife, and my daughter will volunteer to hug you any time. (Also my dog likes to be petted.)

Soon I will write my Denver reflection as well. Sandilove.... hope you coast on over to read it as well.
Aug 11, 2006 at 03:00PM | Unregistered Commenterpaul
ah. yes. did you write a letter to our friends at best western yet?

and yes, thanks, sandilove, for taking care of us. can't wait to read paul's denver reflections...
Aug 11, 2006 at 03:20PM | Registered Commentermdog
haaa!!! paul, I hope you at least took a picture. when I was in slovakia, we ended up following this guy at the train station back to his house to rent a room for the night (that's what you do there), and it was so dirty and disgusting, you wouldn't even believe it. no shower curtain, no lock on the bathroom door, nasty sheets, etc. the last straw was when we found a tiger-print lingerie piece in the corner... and its tag was in korean. we were genuinely laughing and genuinely crying at the same time. my friend holly spent the night lying on the room's table, with no blankets.
Aug 13, 2006 at 10:45PM | Unregistered Commenterrachel
Aug 14, 2006 at 09:31PM | Registered Commentermdog
Good for you. Human touch is so important. It can lower our blood pressure , raise our self-esteem and just make us feel better in general if we're down. There's nothing like a well placed pat on the arm or hand or a great hug to make me feel like everything is going to be okay.
Aug 18, 2006 at 09:31AM | Unregistered CommenterTB

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