Love Fiercely

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I have a few swirling thoughts to blog about. You’ll have to bear with me while I meander about and sort of figure out what I want to say as I say it. And let me preamble by saying that I’m going to say something shocking below but I have no intention of breaking up with Payam nor have I ever. It’s just an example.

Ahem.

I’ve always identified with being moody. I was one of those kids who would get their feelings hurt easily and go hide in a closet or under a table to cry. The adults in my family would dismiss my behavior.  I had an artist’s temperament they would say and go on with their lively conversations, ignoring me until I got bored enough of my hiding place and came out in a better mood. Of course I would wish they would come to comfort me and I think occasionally an Aunt or my dad would do that but for the most part, I just felt like my moods were too much trouble for the rest of the world to deal with and nobody really understood me.

This moodiness has followed me for the rest of my life. I’ve come to realize that I cycle through up days and down days regularly, almost like clockwork. My moods often have very little to do with my actual situation or surroundings.  So I’ve come to not trust my moods. It’s a tricky place to be.

I have really great up days so I’ve come to accept that my down days are the price I pay. Usually the down days have something to do with hormones. I can pretty much look back at any conflict I have ever had and blame it on hormones. Of course some hardships I’ve gone through are not my “artists temperament’s” fault but I definitely know that I could deal with them better if I wasn’t the “moody artist” that I am. Or at least that is what I’ve always told myself.

The other day I was in a mood. It was one of those moods where you see everything negatively, even down to the dust on the floorboards.  I was reflecting on my relationship with Payam (poor Payam) and things were coming up short.  I am pretty critical by nature. It can be a terribly negative trait but it also helps me with my creativity and my work. I can be discerning in design, knowing with strong feelings what colors or fonts to discard in favor of others. Where to put something on a page and not. I know my own mind and I can easily visualize what I want things to look like and what exactly is wrong if they do not. I can curate a photoshoot, cropping out this offending detail in order to focus in on something else to tell a story… It’s a blessing and a curse and definitely part of being an artist!

This is all great for work but not so great when you are on a team or in a relationship and you find yourself curating the people around you. Just picture me finding Payam taking a nap on the couch while watching soccer. Maybe he’s snoring with some leftover snack sitting on the coffee table. It’s an innocent enough thing to do. But of course I am all excited about getting my steps in for the day (I’m type A) and listening to podcasts about health and wellness so I launch right into a full-blown lecture on how we should walk everyday and his napping is not aligning with my big picture.

It’s an innocent request but what if Payam doesn’t feel like walking every day? What if he has back trouble and foot trouble and me nagging him really puts a damper on his mood? He doesn’t like being judged by me. Who would? He doesn’t want me to think he’s lazy but walking everyday can actually be painful for him.  This is just a silly example and Payam does actually walk with me quite a bit but you get the picture.   You can imagine how my criticizing can not really work out so great for me and our relationship. I know this so I might keep my criticism to myself and fester inside every time I catch him napping on the couch. If I let things go too far, I start to day dream about what life might be like if I had an athletic boyfriend. Can you imagine what I’d look like if I was with someone who liked to get up early in the morning and run?!!  Maybe I start blaming my flabby body on Payam…I mean, that’s extreme but I could start to think that way if I let this sort of “moodiness” go on for too long.

You know the last thing I want to do is break up with Payam. I love him!  I love us. He loves me, flabby body and all! How am I going to force him to fit into my idea of what life should be like? I can’t! I’ve tried that with previous relationships and they’ve failed miserably and caused me great pain.

So I caught myself.   I decided I was going to stop myself every time I started judging and replace those critical thoughts with LOVING FIERCLY instead. At first it was just an experiment but it worked like magic. You should see the smile on Payam’s face when I come in from a dog walk and I am so happy to see him instead of low-level pissed. I try to make emoji hearts come out of my eyes and I think they really do and then he responds with even bigger emoji hearts coming out of his eyes!  I linger in hugs and tell him how much I love him. He hugs me back with even bigger hugs.

I find myself wondering why I ever was having negative thoughts in the first place. He is the best team member ever!

It’s a crazy fact and I think the real secret why arranged marriages work. If you make up your mind to make something work instead of break it down every day, it WILL work. The more you love, the more you find your partner loving you back. It’s amazing how much we can love. It really is our super power. We can infinitely love. Just think about that for a second. Infinitely. It is the basis for all religions. It must be a truth that centers us.

It really was an epiphany for me. I think I should go make some t-shirts or something. Just kidding! But try it!

LOVE FIERCELY!

It’s so hard to write this stuff. I keep judging myself in every different light I can think of. But I still want to say it.

Jury Duty

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I had jury duty last week. I had jury duty two weeks ago (It’s taking me forever to get this post out. Ack.) It was weird and kind of fun. I learned a lot about our justice system. It’s very laborious and monotonous and painstakingly thorough with just enough criminal craziness to make it interesting. However, I’m glad it’s over and I can get back to my regularly scheduled life. Phew!

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It was weird going to court every day like it was my job. I got dressed up (sort of, I put tights and shoes on instead of my usual leggings and slides). I had a regular 8 am commute in traffic (a ride from Payam because my car was in the shop).

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I packed a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for my hour lunch break. I sat by a fountain and listened to birds sing in the dilapidated civic plaza that was probably amazing back in the 70’s. It was very strange for this freelancer who hasn’t gone to “work” since 2003.  I think the hardest part was being stuck in a squeaky chair for hours with nothing to fidget with. I never realized how many “breaks” I take during my work day, and by breaks I mean, going to the bathroom a million times, stopping to wash the dishes and the whole kitchen between tasks, playing with my dogs, stepping out for a bit of gardening etc etc… I have a pretty flexible schedule usually and I guess I get up and down a lot more than jurors!

Thankfully the case was interesting. I learned a lot about credit card fraud. Did you know criminals steal cards and then re-write the strips on the back with different information? It’s a whole racket. Our guy was career burglar with bolt cutters and a change of clothes in his backpack and everything.

It was really sad. I felt terrible for the defendant’s pregnant girlfriend in the audience. It wasn’t an easy case. I was going to share the whole story here but it was a lot of typing and in the end I still don’t know that we ruled 100% correctly and I’m not sure I could handle anyone weighing in on what went down.

It was one of those decisions that could go either way, depending on how you define a certain word. We were not allowed a dictionary or any expert advice on the law outside of what the lawyers and judge provided us. This meant we were left to discern using only our common sense as a group. Common sense among twelve people can mean a lot of different things!  We haggled over it for hours. I thought it might even end up in a hung jury but in the end we were able to persuade the last straggler to one side and we all went home and got on with our lives.

I wonder how the defendant will go on with his life. We were not part of the punishment decisions. Will he rot in jail? Will he change his course? Will his girlfriend be okay? I have no idea. But I do know that we really tried to do the best we could for him.

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On one of the days we had a three-hour lunch break. The judge had a prior engagement that was really important so they scheduled court around him. This was great for me because I love exploring. I was left in downtown Santa Ana with no car so I walked all over. I visited the old courthouse. I had coffee at a quaint little coffee shop.

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I walked up and down the streets, ogling the piñata and fancy quinceanera dress stores while women in carts tried to sell me cut up pieces of melon and mango. It was pleasant.

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On the last day Payam and the girls came and picked me up and we decided to have dinner at a diner that I had seen on the commute. I mean, how could I not want to go to a restaurant that has a cute kawaii heart in it’s name? It actually turned out to be really good. The menu was extensive and since we were the only customers anywhere in sight at 5pm, we had great service. It was the cherry on top of my fun little excursion into a town I never go to. I should go back and finish exploring all the places I saw but I probably won’t. I tend to keep to my own neighborhood, sadly. So until next time Santa Ana!