The Best Date I Have Ever Been On

girl, date, tom hanks, important, night, out,best, life, girl, my, movies, the post, writer, journalism, journalist, dreams, abuse, anxiety, grow, moment,laughing, laughter, love, self, love, I went to the movies on Friday. Yes, I went alone. I got all dressed up and decided to have a night all to myself. I went to my favorite fancy movie theater to watch The Post with Tom Hanks.

As I parked my car, I couldn’t help but be super excited about this date night with myself. I looked around me and realized I am at a pretty awesome place in my life. I have all I have I ever wanted and so much more.

In this moment, I thought about more than just how lucky I was. I really began thinking back to all the things I have overcome just to get to this place in my life.

Although I do not wish to disclose every one of my skeletons, I can share the fact that I once used to hate myself. I once abused my body and my heart at all the same time. I once didn’t know or care to know that I had value and that I was deserving of love.

I am not sure if we all go through this stage in life, but I know I did. Anxiety used to plague my thoughts and bitterness would take over most of my days. I was too naive to see that all I have ever wanted resides within me.

Sounds cliché, right? All the answers are within you sounds like a sound bite from a Disney movie. It’s true though. All you have ever longed for can be found in your heart.

I have a quote that often rattles in my head that says, “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” Sylvia Plath said this and I believe her. She also committed suicide but that’s besides the point.

We often want to fill our lives with trashy things and people to hide the fact that we refuse to look at ourselves and what we have become. I know I did this. I didn’t like the sound of silence because it reminded me that I wasn’t where I wanted to be at the time.

I know think I had wrong all along. I love meditating. I love the sound and feeling of stillness. It makes me feel more alive than ever. My body and mind are much more powerful than I ever thought possible and I am grateful for this moment in time. I steal moments with myself and these are the most precious to me.

Once I got into the theater, I bought a glass of my favorite red wine and decided some popcorn was in order. I sat down next to some old couples and just took the moment in.

I watched a movie about all the things I ever dreamed of becoming. A groundbreaking journalist. I am not a traditional journalist as I once thought I would be but I am a content creator that is more diverse in her writing than a strict hard news writer could ever be.

I have not published the contents of the pentagon papers, but I continue to publish my truth every day that I write to all of you. I have even been invited to share my story at a university next week. I never really thought I was important until this point in my life.

Maybe I was too blind to see the fact that I do add value to this world and to lives of those closest to me. I know I do and I will make it my mission to continue to do so. I will make sure to give more, do more and be more. Date nights like these always help the cause. Taking myself out on a date the other night was the best date I have ever had.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

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Why Romantic Love Is Not All You Need

love, need, why, couple, forever, happily ever after, prince charming, romantic, relationship, self love, true love, highschool, sweetheart, volatile, heartbreak, broken, heart, choose, life, redefined, unconditional,I have said it once and I’ll say it again, I love “love.” I have always believed in fairy tales and happily-ever-afters. I have always believed I would end up with my prince charming and that he would come save me from the world one day.

I still believe in strong, passionate, romantic love but a few thoughts have taken on different forms within my mind.

I had the stereotypical high school sweetheart. I thought it was true love. I thought it would never end. But then it did. My heart was broken into tiny little pieces and I refused to put them back together.

Months later, my sweetheart wanted me back and I simply turned the other cheek. If someone could hurt me so deeply, they simply did not deserve my love, I thought. I thought we had it made at the sweet age of 16, but I did some things I can never freely speak about and he said some things I could never truly forgive.

I thought love was a big fat lie at the time. I threw up for weeks straight and decided to turn my heart into coal.

With a cold heart in hand, I refused to believe in love ever again. Until cupid’s arrow showed up unexpectedly. I fell for my college sweetheart, if you can even call him that.

He knew me more than I ever knew myself. He spoke to me in a language I thought no one else could speak. Things were passionate but quickly turned volatile. I couldn’t live without him and he knew it. He played with my heart more than anyone had before and I couldn’t even recognize who I had become after it was all said and done.

There I was, once again, broken. How could love hurt so much? How could love leave me so fragile if it had once made me so strong? I had no answers but I decided to look within myself.

I began loving myself for the first time. Unconditionally and full-heartedly. I took care of my body and my mind for the first time and decided self-love was much more important than any romantic love from another.

So what happened to my childhood image of love? It was redefined forever. Did prince charming exist? Ehhh, not so much. Who was to save me from myself? Me and only me. Who could unconditionally love me and not hurt me intentionally? Me.

Of course, I don’t want to end up alone in the world but romantic love is not always the answer. We must first love ourselves before anyone can ever love us back.

Passionate, romantic love is not solely sustainable. It requires serious maintenance and a pact to choose to love one another day after day. You can’t just say, “Hey, I love you! Let’s live happily ever after together.” As older and much wiser people say, love can’t pay the damn bills.

It’s true, although romantic love can be intoxicating, it can sometimes become a vicious cycle that leads to absolutely nowhere.

I don’t think everyone ends up with the most passionate love of their life. Romantic love is sometimes just not enough to maintain a long-lasting relationship. I feel pretty lucky to have reconnected with one of the greatest loves of my life. Will we end up together forever? Only time will tell. Until then, I will keep choosing love even though I know love is not necessarily all we need.

 

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

How Las Vegas Changed My Life

vegas, cellophane, fun, love, present, las vegas, trip, excited, changes, tranform, tranformation, haze, gamble, drink, alcohol, dark, dismal, changed, forever, change, my life, changed my life, Here I come, Vegas! I’m off to Vegas for the weekend and I have never loved the idea so much. I have traveled the world and discovered a lot of places and people but Vegas is the place that has impacted me the most.

Funny how a place that markets vice and unrealistic odds and expectations could have the greatest impact on me. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a gambler or an alcoholic. I can’t say I am perfect, but I have definitely learned my limits the hard way.

When I was 21, Vegas was the spot. It was the site of all things party. I would go to Vegas for nine days straight just because I could. I was poor and lost in the world, but Vegas always made me feel better. There is something to be said about the crowds in Vegas. No one is normal and no one is strange. Everyone is just in Vegas.

I can’t say I remember too much about those early trips to Vegas. The point was to get lost in the moment even if the moment was particularly embarrassing. I wasn’t concerned about my image. I mean, Vegas accepts all, right?

I often ended up in less than ideal situations but nothing ever stopped me from going to Vegas. The haze of it all was something me and my friends admired and always looked forward to. Somewhere along my 20s, Vegas completely changed my life.

I had a moment of clarity through all of the haze and took a break from the Vegas scene. I wasn’t about losing myself anymore. I wanted to be as present as possible as often as possible. Vegas stayed the same, but I forever changed. Vegas represented an old me that I refused to revisit for a while.

One day I realized I had to thank Vegas. Thank you, Vegas, for pushing me to my limits. Thank you Vegas, for making me reach clarity. Thank you, Vegas, for being so dark and dismal. Thank you, Vegas, for showing me the way.  Thank you, Vegas, for giving me hope.

Could the word Vegas be replaced with another word? Quite possibly, but I feel I owe some of my transformation to Vegas.

I was at my lowest during some of my Vegas trips. I endured some deep pain while in Vegas. But then I realized it was obviously never about Vegas. I was at my lowest within myself. Vegas would allow me to forget my truth for a while or would add an exclamation mark to it. It just depended on the day.

So, why am I so excited to go to Vegas today? The Vegas experience has completely changed for me. I no longer go to forget who I am, I go to remember how much I love myself.

I go to relax and be pampered. I go to sleep in and have breakfast served in bed. I go to take long baths and never look at the clock. I go to live in a sort of cellophane dream for a moment. A moment that I deserve and ingest with a huge side of love and appreciation.

I am thankful that Vegas helped me find myself. It tested me and took me to extremes I wish to never revisit. The nostalgia of it all keeps me coming back. And while Vegas has stayed the same, I have completely changed.

There is something about its sparkling continuity that just brings peace to my heart and soul. Thank you, Vegas, for changing my life forever.