My Andie

In the last month, a couple people have proffered that I be theirs.

“I want you to be mine,” they said, despite not having the slightest clue as to how they’d steward me. We don’t even claim ownership over a pet without knowing how to properly steward them, yet some men seem to think women would require less commitment than a pet?

I think I would have found it more romantic if they were to have first asked me what it’d take for me to remotely consider being theirs. But I guess that would have ended up nowhere either, for I would’ve shared with them this quote from Jane Eyre:

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will

Jane Eyre

Right. At this point, you probably think I am impossible. But I am not! I was once upon a time someone’s ‘My Andie’; though, it was a long time ago now.

I remembered how he used to call me “My Andie”—more notably, how I allowed him to call me his. I retraced our story back to the beginning, to figure out what was different about him, about that relationship.

He wasn’t the first (or the only) person who tried to call me theirs, but why he was the only one to whom I surrendered my independence?

I remembered the very first time when I landed in LAX, he was already waiting for me, flowers in his hands. He teared up when he saw me—long distance had that effect on lovers. He gave me an American SIM that was already paid for, in case I didn’t have a roaming plan. When I arrived at his, there were snacks and drinks that I had briefly mentioned previously in our conversations, crisp linens and fresh towels, as well as a few other small gifts that he had collected whenever he had thought of me—nothing extravagant but all ever so thoughtful: travel size lotion, a book, resistance bands for working out (because I used to use them every day).

When I come across pictures he’s taken of me, I’d see how profoundly loved I was through his eyes. Although we no longer have the same love for each other, it was the best souvenir he could’ve given me.

At that time he was still consulting for a firm, so every now and then he would have to go into the office for meetings. While he worked, I used to wander the city alone. He gave me his credit card, insistent that he took care of all my Uber and other expenses. I never used the card; it was never about the money. How much could Uber rides have cost? It was his generosity in offering me the best of his resources—time, attention, energy, affection, money—instead of what was leftover of them.

He understood both the hopeless romantic, as well as the pragmatic logistician in me, and meticulously planned our adventures accordingly—remembering all my travel preferences and dietary sensitivities. He took care of me down to every quantum detail.

I think it was in those quantum details that he’d won me over. It was the first, and only time, I felt someone else was invested in taking better care of me than I did myself. So when he called me his Andie, I relaxed into it, without much, or any, protest.

For the best of my life, I refuse to belong to anyone, or even to anywhere. I am ardent about being free. Don’t get me wrong, I have been in a few committed relationships, just not one in which I felt that I belonged to them. Even in my readings, I often resonate with characters that are transient in nature:

Other people were destined to keep leaving, over and over again.—Alix Ohlin

Or,

I should have known even then that the sea was written in him, that there would be some sort of leaving.— Let the Great World Spin

In my heart and mind, I feel unmoored, unanchored. Though, I still am unsure of why.

I wonder if it is because I am never fully willing to relinquish my fierce independence and unfettered freedom? Or, perhaps it is because I struggle to entrust myself to someone else?

And this, is how we have arrived at: Andie Untamed.


How to Reassess Your Stagnant Beliefs and Make Your Life Extraordinary?

“This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we truly believe in, and those we never think to question.”

― Orson Scott Card

I recently came across this quote that has left my spirit rather restless.
When it comes to beliefs that I feel unapologetically convicted about, my confirmation bias tends to take over, rendering my judgements unreliable. How does one rectify one’s obstinate—and perhaps what ought to be obsolete—beliefs, to improve oneself?

Exhibit A of a Stagnant Belief of mine: My Romantic Ideologies.

I am a romantic, who pretends not to be. My personalities swing like pendulums between idealism and pragmatism. There are my hopes and dreams for people, for my relationships, for the future, and then there are my crude understanding of the reality. Whenever I hear stories about how relationships fail to work, I am reminded of the obsolescence of romanticism. Since I’ve read the quote above a few weeks ago, I have been seriously considering abandoning my romantic ideologies, I just haven’t quite figured out how yet.

And if I may be a hundred percent transparent, a huge part of me preemptively mourns and weeps for the loss of that romantic part of me. After all, if I am no longer a romantic, would I still be me?

Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.

– Alex Hormozi

This was another quote I came across recently that has really resonated with me. It has succinctly captured a powerful concept that I couldn’t quite articulate well myself; it is the notion that: both the quality AND quantity we invest into our goals define how successful we will be at it. Alex Hormozi said that doing 100 repetition of anything well, will result in noticeable improvements, however incremental it may be. It is not any one workout that we do is impressive, rather, the culmination of workouts that we day in and day out, devote ourselves to, that make a difference.

Have I devoted enough time and energy into the goals that I vehemently care about? Have you? If not, what we some of the accountability measures we can implement to ensure that we are doing our due diligence to be better, rather than waiting passively, praying and hoping that our desired goals would miraculously manifest themselves?

Showing up for myself💪

Choose Someone Who Chooses You

This is another ‘fluff’ post on LOVE, because I unabashedly enjoy capturing the abstract, intangible feelings, and etching them into words.

In a world cloaked in a myriad of temptations, staying in a committed relationship requires relentless and adamant effort on both parties to choose each other. Every text soliciting your attention, every invitation beseeching your presence, every exciting possibility enticing your imagination, every palatable spark wetting your ravenous appetite for adventures—is an occasion in which you will have to decide whether you are going to choose your partner, or not. Since—so often— love is a slippery steep slope (hence the phrase “fall in love” instead of “walk in love”), who knows what a quick rendezvous could lead to?

Fall in love with someone who is both your safe place and biggest adventure.

Bianca Sparacino

Over the years, I have developed special “tunnel vision goggles” that I put on whenever I am in a committed relationship. What I struggled with, was when I wasn’t chosen the same way. Whenever that happened, I’d find myself entertaining an occasional ‘friendly’ dinner, accepting a ‘friendly’ afternoon stroll, or things alike. I have never cheated. But I guess at that juncture of the relationship, cheating was already besides the point. The point would have been: When two people stop choosing each other, the relationship is on its way out.

So, perhaps that’s the first telltale sign of falling out of love, of the demise of a relationship—when two people stop choosing each other all the time. Because, if one’s only faithful 99% of the time, are they still faithful?

What do YOU think the first telltale sign of falling out of love is?

Briefly Gorgeous

Caution: You are about to enter a raw, unrefined, fragmented, still-being-processed post. It may induce great confusion and even frustration. Proceed at your own risk.
I am posting it this way because life is not neat and tidy, neither is how I feel right now.

Cheers, to vulnerability.

August 24, 2022

I retraced my footsteps back to exactly a year ago today, ordering the exact same drink, sitting on the exact same bench, and finished reading this book that I had started more than a year ago. Much has changed since then, though I am still fascinated by the idea of how one single act has the butterfly effect of changing the entire trajectory of one’s day, one’s year, and even one’s life.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, a year is short. But because life is what happens in the little moments, I am often caught in this paradoxical situation of focusing on the big picture while savouring the minute details.

A year ago today, I had recently broke up with my ex, to whom I was briefly engaged. I started dating casually and one of the people I was seeing suggested that we read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous together. So I did. I brought the book with me to other dates. Is it ironic that one of the dates that the book went on with me outlasted the person I was reading the book with?

While I am not a subscriber to “Everything Happens for a Reason”, I do think that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Some action-reaction, cause-and-effect, and the general proclivity of the atoms and molecules render us here. Though, this would also mean that free-will, may or may not be, just an illusion? Like I said, this post is written raw and unrefined. I will continue to ruminate on it.

Thank you for reading my irresponsible, scattered thoughts. I’ll be back with more eloquence next time!

We all fall prey to nonsense at times,
and sometimes, we are fool enough to even love it.

To Love or Be Loved

Sometimes, in utter frustration and heartbreak, my ego shouts: WHY WOULDN’T HE JUST CHOOSE ME, CHOOSE US? WHICH FOOL DOESN’T WANT TO BE EMPHATICALLY LOVED AND UNCONDITIONALLY CHERISHED???

But that’s just my ego talking. I understand that the heart wants what it wants. It’s not always corroborated by logic. Besides, who says they’d want to be emphatically loved anyways? That is only my naive, simplistic assumption.

Most hypocritical of all: I, too, am guilty of letting the people who had emphatically loved me and cherished me go.

I am one of those said fools.

That is all. Just trying to hold the grief of my grandma, and ‘I Am Enough,’ in the same thought.

What would YOU choose? To love or be loved?

The sky became a screen, shot through with pinpricked stars. Beneath it, I felt small and lost.

—A House in the Sky

4 Steps to Get Them to Commit to You

Are you in a serious relationship and wanting to move forward with your partner but they are not quite ready to fully commit to you? Then this post might offer you some insight!

Step 1. Find Yourself a Self-regulating Routine

Find at least one self-regulating routine that settles your thoughts, harbours your heart, shelters you while you process and heal. Diligently practice this routine until it is securely locked in, such that you can access this safe space for solace at will.

Step 2. Silence the Noises Around You

All our lives, we are surrounded by explicit and implicit social pressure to comport ourselves a certain way. It is important to silence the noises around you so you can discern whether your desire for settling down, for marriage, is truly what you want, instead of what you should want. Allow yourself to marinate in the discomfort of visualizing what it may be like in a myriad of scenarios.

With crude honesty, picture yourself in your old age, what do you see yourself doing? Are you salsa dancing with other old folks, laughing to your heart’s content? Are you meandering in and out of the streets of foreign cities, savouring the sweetness of exotic air? Are you held by your significant other, recounting the adventures you’ve had whilst planning for new ones? Are you surrounded by your children, who are probably adults now, organizing your next family vacation?

What do you see yourself doing? If the thought of having a family and a lifelong partner by your side brought a smile to your face, more so than the other scenarios, then proceed to Step 3. If not, then enjoy your relationship for what is it and what it isn’t. Life is too short to adhere to abstract societal expectations that don’t align with your own dreams.

Step 3. Have a Safe Conversation with Your Partner

First of all, a SAFE conversation means: no ultimatums, no judgement, no condemnation, no contempt, no guilt-tripping, no gaslighting, no threats.

Have a safe and honest conversation with your partner about what you are looking for in your relationship. Keep an open mind to actually hear what your partner has to say. Allow your partner the time and space to process because they most likely haven’t had as much time to think about this topic as you have. Agree upon a time to reconvene and finish the conversation if your partner needs more time.

When you reconvene, RESPECT your partner’s decision, even if it isn’t what you want.

If they come back, wanting to commit to you on their own accord, because the thought of not having you in their life hurt more than any other alternative, then congratulations to your happily ever after!

If they come back, not wanting to commit to a lifetime with you, know that it has nothing to do with your worth or theirs, and then proceed to Step 4.

Step 4. Let Go

Acceptance is a small, quiet room. You cannot change anyone else but yourself. Let your partner go. Repeat Step 1 until you no longer feel the void that your partner has left behind. Muster up some courage. Begin again.

Hope this helps!

His face had softened: as if just being a moment with her had relaxed him, allowed him to be someone different. I guess this is what marriage is, or was, or could be. You drop the mask. You allow the fatigue in. You lean across and kiss the years because they’re the things that matter.

How Do You Know If You Are Cherished?

Every human being needs to know what they’re fighting for. And he fought for her.

A Man Called Ove

One of the things I’ve decided to never settle for, is being cherished in a relationship. But being cherished is so subjective, so fluid, so abstract, how can I put it into concrete terms such that my partner can understand? While this may seem like a trite thought exercise, it has actually forced me to be brazenly honest about what is important to me.

1. Allocation of Resources

In this world where everything is a finite resource, be it: time, money, energy or affection, when the other person is willingly (NOT at your behest) offering you the best of their resources, that would be indicative of how important you are, how cherished you are.

For instance,

  • Do you get the best of their time, or what is left of it?
  • Do they spend time reading what you read, learning about what captivates your mind in order to better understand you, to grow with you?
  • When they can only afford one materialistic item, do they buy something for themselves or do they buy something for you?
  • Does your relationship feel like a quid pro quo wherein you have to protect and defend your own rights?

2. Loving You for You

  • Do you feel safe enough to be unapologetically you, knowing that you won’t be judged?
  • Are you loved because of your imperfections not despite of them?

3. Surrendering Their Ego

  • Are they willing to lay down their ego and have a vulnerable conversation with you?
  • Do they apologize even when they are not wrong, because no amount of ego is worth hurting you?
  • When push comes to shove, do they choose to take care of themselves or do they choose you?

By now you may think I am an unrealistic, hopeless romantic. To be fair, if it wasn’t because I have witnessed the aforementioned unfettered love from my own parents, as well as from a few other close friends, I may not have believed such love exists, either. Alas, what has been seen cannot be unseen—to cherish and be deeply cherished is a non-negotiable.

Friends that know you need some TLC🤍

Disenchanted

Ships in the night⛵️

Have You Ever Wondered Why

people write so much about falling in love and/or being heartbroken but not so much about falling out of love?

“There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love. Sibyl Vane seemed to him to be absurdly melodramatic. Her tears and sobs annoyed him.” — Oscar Wilde

Tender is the Night—Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night

 

I couldn’t resist and started reading Tender is the Night. (It has been every bit as beautiful as you had described it to be—thanks, Tony!) As I catch myself sinking into the world of Fitzgerald and my heartbeat slowing to the cadence of his words, I wonder how I have become such a sucker for words? I hate to admit this because it sounds so stupid but if I have a natural ‘type’ (aka my kryptonite), it’d be those whose thoughts are nimble, whose craft is in wordsmithing.