I saw an image that depicted what society thinks to be love between a woman and a man. The heart is located in the mans crotch and the woman’s heart is in the chest, but next to it, it has the “reality”: The mans heart in his chest and the woman’s in her head.

For me love has always started in my mouth. I talk about my life, my experiences, my stories, and my thoughts of the day to see how it hits the significant others mind. To see how she processes my spew. From there my heart begins to go to my eyes and brain. My brain watches her to see how she handles social situations, herself, if she is independent, co-dependent, emotionally connected, likes, dislikes. If we pickup on the same things around us. The ability to say “Did you just see…” and her to turn to me going, “OMG HIS HAIR WAS ON FIRE!”

Social situations hold a lot of water, because these show how we will interact with the world together. I am very sociable, yet reclusive in my own ways. I give off an exterior of confidence but under my arms are telling a different story. I want someone who can handle themselves but also be aware that we are there together and together we can be a stronger team. It is the old idea of both being in a room, one surfing the web and the other reading a book. Being together but being perfectly content to be “apart”. Independent but situationally aware.

My eyes look to see how she dresses, what she looks like, if I still am attracted to her as the days go on. This is a real thing by the way. Beyond the “puppy dog infatuation” the rules of attraction change on a day to day basis. The best thing you can hope for is everyday she becomes more attractive to you. And this is not based on physicality only but on mind and connection. You start to pick up on her body, her smiles, her emotions, and they just make you smile on the inside. That feeling of the butterflies but because you know you are still together.

After this my heart starts to slowly make its way to my chest. But before the ribs open up and let it in, my brain, eyes, mouth, and heart all have a sit down. They discuss what just happened, what they saw, heard, felt, and ultimately make the choice to finally spit out the words “I love you” not because it is the perfect timing or the logical next step, but because if I sit at that conference table anymore my heart will pop out of my chest if I don’t let it control my mouth to yell, whisper, cry out the three simple words, “I love you”.

This is the process of love for me. To be able to finally say I love you is such a freeing feeling for me being so analytical minded. It gives my head breathing space to just be. To be able to have my heart in my chest and just believe in it, in the way she looks at me and know the best parts are still to come now that this has opened up the ability to truly love even more is beautiful. I guess I also set myself up for a scarier fall if they change their mind after the fact, because if I say I love you, I am not just reciting one of the most overused phrases in our culture. Love is an action. We have to be willing to show it, not just say it. And we have to grow with it.

Majority of my relationships stall out on the mouth part. Sharing so much, yet in my mind so little of the “deeper” shit, up front scares a lot of people away. This is the one thing I refuse to compromise on. I am either me 100% or not at all. I refuse to have thought about love, romance, relationships, life, etc so much to have to penalize myself for having a larger outer shell with less fear of breaking my own heart than them to find love in the first place. I don’t have the mind space to be different people with my potential matches versus my best friends or family.

I am willing and do give such a large portion of my own self, which to me doesn’t feel that large, but it frees up the mind to go about growing/learning in society, life, family, and the other things that get thrown at me and this new person on a daily basis to learn who they truly are. But many people I have run into get stuck on love so much that I no longer get a picture of who they are, but a picture of who they think I want them to be, if they have decided to say “I love you” before I have had time to process their share versus mine. This can cause love to hinder the growth of who we could be together rather than open it up. My analytical brain fizzles pretty quickly the minute I feel as though I am no longer able to enjoy their company because it is so focused on “I love you” and the usage of pet names like “Baby” than the everyday. I talk about this in great details on my podcast “Why Love Is Not Enough“.

When you find that mixture of pet names and living life, wow what a feeling that can be. Living with love, not living for love.

I actually think men need more affection than women. I truly think society has it backwards as guys being the emotionless fuck machines and women being the tissue sucking, chocolate icecream inhaling succubi. We as men are used to being “strong” and when we can be softer it is a pleasure and something we want to share deeply with that special person. Something we couldn’t do with our friends or our family. The person who makes a holiday picture card seem like a fun activity.

Ultimately I will always value interpersonal relationships over a job or money because I feel as though this world we live in is backwards. I believe we put so much emphasis on the physical things that we literally lose years of life so we can have a bigger inch on our TV when in the end as we take our last breaths who will give two shits about the size of a TV and care about those who are next to us. We also do this with our jobs that afford us that TV, will we remember when we crunched 800 hours of our life for that “release” cooperate wanted or will be think, I wish I had spent more time living. To quote something I recently heard, “you don’t work the piano you play the piano”. If I could flip the way we work and retire I think it would make more sense. We are retiring our lives with our “savings” when we no longer have the energy to do what we wanted to experience and we are working away the hours when we have nothing but energy and ambition.

Social media feeds into this misconception of “self”. We post moments from our lives in the forms of 140 character blurbs or pictures on instagram. What is weird though is not only do we have to deal with societal norms and “the way things are” but we each have our own perception of what a picture or 140 character insert means. What weight it holds, what it shows about the person posting it. Although with a job and tangible life it is easier to label an interaction versus a moment posted to the cloud. There are not definitive ways to portray yourself yet “online”. We are making it up as we go along. So for each person you are now faced with a second layer of judgement. What is OK to post about and how are we being portrayed without even knowing? Is it better to show the smaller moments in life? Is it better to keep the bad out of the news feeds? Should be post the $$ signs from our latest raise or job? Or should we not have social media, at all.

For instance, I post a photo of my sock drawer with all new socks after throwing out the old ones.  I think bragging about socks is more acceptable in the world of Facebook then how much money you pull in on a gig. When twitter first came out my first post was “on the toilet” not knowing what anyone would actually want to know about me in a 140 character post as my day went on. I treat social media differently than person B and C may perceive it, and that is a problem, not because it is wrong or different but because you never know if you are talking to an A B C or Z person.  This makes a picture of my sock drawer turn into much more than was intended. Kinda like my writing. Stream of consciousness. Nothing holding more water than the thought ten seconds after this one. So I post a picture of socks and in my own head maybe this is going on: my family has always been surprised when they see me clean because as a kid I was that rebellious asshole and then when I hit college I grew up. So it’s nice to continue to show them I am continuing to grow. I get pleasure out of their “likes”. I guess I also feel like I can show them and myself I am an adult when I can have a drawer full of new socks instead of ratty old ones I kept due to financial situations or prioritization. It is a silent societal judgment on the size of a metaphorical TV. The constant struggle if we get super meta on a picture of socks, boiling down to us wanting to feel like we are living as adults and can portray that through material things such as apartments, amenities, new clothes, and the like. I am as guilty as anyone else for doing this and for one of those reasons I just spoke of that is why I post that innocuous photo of my socks. I post smaller achievements to mask my “unsure” bits about the bigger picture. It’s this 24 hour accessibility that you have no input on, no way to give context to, and becomes a perfect recipe for snap judgement on who YOU are versus the image itself, thus turning socks into a stream of words and emotions you may never have had, said, or thought. But for the person looking on, they can’t help it, it is human nature to analyze the “meaning”.

It amazes me that pictures of your animals or selfies are often more acceptable than a more intimate off the shelf look into ones life. Social media is causing a new level of social disconnection and intricacy to dating. It is causing us to look into the past of someone else’s experiences forgetting the most important idea; the idea of making our own memories. Expecting to get what we see as if we are shopping for a doll or buying tickets to a movie we just saw the preview for. Going home after a date and looking at the past life of the person you just spent real time with instead of thinking of the night you just had, instead replaying the preview for the movie again. We are choosing to live off a post or status update of the one we are with rather than picking up the phone and hearing the persons voice, letting that warm our hearts and meeting up to make our own social media pasts. The worst part is we don’t know when it is happening. It is this sub-division of a relationship that we have no knowledge of until it is brought up. Our profiles exist even while we sleep, so 24/7 the other person can be spending time with “you” without you even knowing, unable to respond, react, or give the subsequent emotional context via expressions or inflections. The definition of Lost in Txtlation. We are accessible to those we love at every moment of every day, and I don’t think that is such a good thing. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. We are suffocating our significant others without even knowing it.

“…non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/ (Highly recommend this read)

There is so much more to our own progression through life than we can ever express via social media. There is a limit on how much is socially acceptable to talk about depression, struggle, and failure. So much so that if there isn’t a constant stream of updates and progression of your “working life” on a place like Facebook, you may just be perceived as someone with a lack of ambition and ability to “keep up”. But if you are anything like me, there is no update or photo that can truly explain the everyday struggles and successes between the creative and monetary side of the brain. It is something that real life allows us to make a more accurate assessment of. I am not one for delayed gratification, but honestly I think we really need a more organic approach to all of this. Instead of scrolling through the past photos of someone on social media after a good date, living through a curated version of that person that may no longer be applicable to the person you met, rewinding our own imagination of the evening, and letting songs like Maria from West Side Story write themselves in our head til we next meet.

Then again maybe I just like having new socks and underwear.