I want to love.

I want to love with my whole heart. Not the pieces that are easily accessible or guarded or dispensable. I want to love with a completeness that comes from all of me.

I want to love, not change. I want to grow in love, not bend it to my will. I want it to shape me as much as I shape it.

I do not want to bring my prejudices into love. I want to love with acceptance. I want to love in a way that brings peace and security, not questions and self doubt.

I want to love brightly and with energy. I want to love actively, forever curious, forever reaching out my hand for more. To help more, to comfort more, to be kind, to hold another hand in mine. I want to love in the time I am awake, so I can take my love to dream.

I want to love softly and gently. I want to love with a calm voice. I want to love sweetly, but never with saccharin or sarcasm. Because my love is genuine and I want its true light to shine through.

I want to love with deep passion. I want to share beliefs about the world and hold them to be true with each step I take. I want to love all creatures equally and never know what it is like to harm another.

I want to love my family, my friends, my peers. I want to love myself. I want to love all of the things we are together and all of the things we can be on our own.

I want to love you as you want to be loved. No more, or no less, with just the right brushstrokes, using just the rights colors, to paint a picture of the love we've shared through many years. So we can look back someday and remember that every day, in love, we were blessed.

That is how I want to love.

What Do I Love?

That was my question for today. Yesterday, I touched upon a couple of the things in this world that I like, but love goes much deeper than that. Do I love clouds? Do I love cooking? Probably! But when I think of things I love, my mind immediately goes to people. But is that answering the question? Wouldn't talking about all of the people I love be more of an answer to the question, "Who do I love?" I guess if I were to think in terms of "what" and not "who," I'd be able to come up with just a couple.

I love my body. I love making healthy decisions for my body. I love that I made the decision to start taking care of myself a few years back, and have dedicated myself to that as much as I can. I know I'm not perfect, and I know I sometimes eat dessert, and some days I don't feel like working out...and I just about NEVER work out on the weekends, but what's important is that I'm making good choices most of the time. I love my body for all it does. I know it has lots of quirks. My toe hurts in half the shoes I wear, I always seem to have a pimple on my chin, I can't seem to get my arms toned, but my body has come a long way from where it was. I love that I can run 3 miles now. I love that I can lift weights without quitting after 10 reps. I love that I use music to motivate myself when I run or circuit train. I love the feeling of getting my heart rate up, working hard, and really breaking a sweat. I love making good decisions when it comes to what I eat. I love choosing vegetables and proteins. I love that I can still eat carbs. I love that I DO still let myself eat dessert some times. I love that I can still eat French fries. I love that I've been on this journey for three years, and I am fitter now than I've been since I was 21. I love that I know so much more now about how to treat my body. I love that taking care of myself means making myself a priority. I love that I work somewhere that supports this. I love that the people in my life support me in this.

I love stars. The other night, I took a friend's daughter (1 1/2 years old) outside in the evening, and we looked up at the stars. There were a couple blinking lights from planes in the sky as well, and the whole vastness of it all really sank in. I love that looking at the stars can make me feel so small. At the same time, I love that stars show you that no matter how far away you are from something, you can still shine through and make an impact on it. I mostly love to gaze at stars. I love laying on the ground in the summer at night, and trying to find the constellations.

I love food. I love trying different kinds of food. This is so close to cooking, and kind of close to loving my body, and taking care of it. But I don't care. It must be said. I love food, and I love to eat. I love that in the past 10 years, I have added so many new cuisines to my repertoire. I love Indian food, Thai food, Japanese food, Ethiopian food, Middle Eastern food...and of course, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Southern, and good old American standards. I love trying fresh foods. I love my organic produce delivery that keeps me eating fruit almost every day, and trying new veggies. I love everything about food, and damn is this making me hungry.

One more. I love Philadelphia. I have had such an incredible time building a life here, and find my decision to move here one of the best things I've ever done. I've never felt lacking in art or music. I've met amazing people. I've been able to branch out in terms of restaurants and plays and bars and stores. I love working in Philadelphia. I love being able to go the gym on my lunch break. I love being able to walk to dozens of restaurants from work. I love my local pub, and my daily free pint I won. I love the skyline. I love the commute into the city. I love it all.

What Do I Like?

I like a whole heck of a lot of things. And people. And places. I like to do a lot of things. I like to be busy. I like to fill my time with activity if I can. The question that comes up next is, "What do I love?" so I'll try hard here to stick to things that I like and not things I truly love. Distinguishing between like and love can be difficult. And sometimes, those things overlap. Dylan and I have told one another before, "I love you, but I also really like you." It seems to me that both of those things are important in a relationship.

I really like clouds. Clouds have always been something that has inspired me, and I want someday, to be able to paint a beautiful skyscape, maybe at sunset, maybe at mid-day, but capturing the billowy, pillowy, un-real, wispy aspects of clouds that sometimes photography can't even capture. Clouds to me are one of the most beautiful things we get to see in nature, and they happen almost every day, unlike things like flowers, snow or green trees and grass.

I like cooking. I like going shopping for the fresh ingredients. I like finding new things to cook with at the store- a new sauce or a particularly interesting vegetable. I like experimenting with creating things I've never made before. It's so amazing to me how just a few simple ingredients can produce amazing tastes that are all their own and unique. I like putting together meals from a few different things. I like coming up with sweet and tasty things to eat for dessert. I like making dishes healthy. I like getting all the food groups into one meal, and feeling like someday, I could do that everyday for my family. I cooked this past weekend, just an appetizer, for Dylan's family's Easter dinner. I made homemade bruschetta, which is relatively easy, but so very tasty, and got a ton of compliments on it. I wouldn't say I cook only for compliments, but cooking for others and having them appreciate what I've put time into, is something that I really like. I've liked cooking a lot more since I've been with Dylan, and I think it's because I have someone to eat the things I make!

I like art. I know that's a super broad statement, and art can be so many things, but it's really a very true statement for me. I like most aspects of creating art - painting, drawing, sketching, sculpture, pottery, photography, collage, mosaic, composition. I wish I had more time to put toward art in my life, because I think it really brings out a great side of me: a very thoughtful, graceful side that I don't always inhabit in other parts of my life. I also like to look at other people's art and think about it. I like going to museums. I like walking the halls, looking at paintings and sculptures and thinking about what the artist was feeling when he or she made the piece of art. I like that art makes me feel something and makes me think.