Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

The damp, dreary black of night, heavy with humidity, mirrors the state her heart. She buries herself under the bundle of bed sheets and blankets as if they shield her from the outside world. The sounds of raindrops dancing on the rooftop aren’t enough to help Madeline sleep tonight. But they never are anymore. She remembers when they were enough to make her forget where she was, even who she was, as she lost herself in the tantalizing tango from above. When they were soft and soothing…her eyelids their puppets as they willed her to sleep. But the rain no longer has that effect on her.

Since he left…every sound, every sensation was a reminder that he was gone. She could no longer disappear dreamily into the rain dance over her head. No longer sway gently in her dreams to the romantic raindrop rendezvous. Now it was different. Now she was a prisoner trapped inside the tango, unable to dance along…being tossed around in the chaos that is her heart. The raindrops and the metal rooftop colliding with heated intention and frustration, building her up only to let her down over and over again in cyclical misery.

There was pain in the rain. Pain in everything, now.

He was her best friend, her soul mate. Though she had never believed in soul mates, her connection with Trey challenged everything she thought she knew to be true. It was one of those things that a girl doesn’t believe in until it stares her square in the eye, stands its ground, and double dares her to doubt. Double dare or not, she did doubt. It wasn’t in her nature not to question. She could no sooner ignore her skepticism than she could stop breathing. So doubt, she did. Her heart and her gut, all the while, whispering to her that he was her soul mate, that the magnitude of this connection could be nothing less. But her brain, more trustworthy, continued to cast doubt with a louder, more authoritative inner voice. Surely she was just clouded by love and infatuation. Surely. How could she have fallen so hard, so quickly? She tried to convince herself that he had fallen just as hard. That he had to be feeling the same thing she felt. And she did for a while. But somehow she knew that her heart would pay the price for the charges her brain kept tallying. And just as she knew it would, the bill had finally come. And it was heftier than she thought. She wasn’t sure she would ever pay it off.

They had met 4 years ago. It was an accidental meeting. Right place, right time. Neither of them was looking. Yet it seemed they were drawn together, as if they were the last two creatures alive. The spark was instant. The flame, inevitable. From the moment they met, she craved more. Each hour spent with him only fed her addiction. She was starving and he was her nutrition. And she was sure she was his. Each time Trey touched her, she felt electricity that she had never known before. Each time he spoke her name, she felt she had never heard it spoken with such command and desire. With every meeting of their eyes, there was his soul…greedily drinking hers in as if his life depended on it. The sound of his voice was intoxicating to her…making her drunk with anticipation. They spent the next 4 years learning everything they could about each other. They needed to know every detail, big or small. Every flaw, or strength. Every humiliating story, or triumph. Every ambition, or disappointment. Every fear. Every laugh. Every turn on. Every turn off. He was the only person on Earth who knew her deepest, most private thoughts…with whom she trusted her innermost self completely. They shared the darkest of secrets they both knew could never be uttered to another living soul. And then there was the sex… When they made love, it felt as if she was more naked than she had ever been. Both physically and emotionally. They connected on a level so transcending, it seemed to defy possibility and mock all of their previous human interactions.

Trey and Maddy had quickly become a dance. When one moved, the other moved. When one reached, the other grabbed hold. They trusted one another with anything. With everything. They seemed to have no choice. Feeling bigger than the two of them, the universe had connected their cores. It had connected their hearts. There was some gravitational pull that kept their souls dancing along to a song only they could hear.

For Maddy, everything made sense with him around. Her purpose. Her existence. Life not only made more sense with Trey. It made her happier than she ever knew she could be. She never imagined something so perfect would ever end. Not really end.

But on a regular Monday, with no forewarning, it did just that.

Suddenly, Trey just disappeared from her life. She didn’t realize this immediately, of course. She called him, sent him flirty texts. But nothing. After days turned into weeks with no response, she became increasingly worried. Increasingly empty.

She did finally get one text from him, but only one. Three words, to be exact.

“I just can’t.”

She tried to talk to him…ask questions, beg for answers. But nothing. She had no idea what had changed. Nothing had happened, nothing she knew of… One day they were dancing along perfectly in sync. And the next, he had left the dance floor.

Time passed.

Trey didn’t call. He didn’t text. No apologies, no reasons, no regrets, no maybe laters, no anything. He just walked away. Why? Had she done something? Had he done something? Why didn’t he say goodbye? To Maddy, this was what hurt the most…the nothingness. Just. Nothing. Everything they had shared, the intense connection that rocked her existence, the love that followed…seemed to mean nothing. She had put her heart, raw and dependent, in his hands, with complete trust and confidence that he would keep it beating. He hadn’t. Everything they had, everything, had vanished.

It took, with it, all of her.

She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. She could only feel. But feeling was too painful…too debilitating.

Her brain had convinced her heart of only one possibility. One possible explanation that flipped her insides upside down, stole her breath, and suffocated her heart with callous malice.

He had never loved her…

The raindrops are getting more intense. Maddy is trapped inside the, now, one person tango that is her heart. Unable to sleep, she tries to make sense of her heartbreak. It never comes. Frustration and loneliness. These are her dance partners now, as she steps on her own toes and falls time and time again. She lies in bed, predicting and dreading each and every treacherous raindrop.

Maddy pulls the cover over her head to escape the rain…to escape the dance…to escape Trey.

The drops are slamming into the rooftop as if begging to be let in. As if the world outside is too intense. And they, like her, need to escape.

The rain continues. The pounding on the rooftop. The pounding on her heart. No peace. No rhythm. No purpose.

She surrenders to the tears that are now refusing to be restrained. To her heart that is refusing to be silenced. Her tears become the rain. Her rain drags on, exhausting her.

And just like that, the rain stops.

The dance is done.

She lies there in the heavy darkness…listening to the silence.

Longing for sleep.

Longing for the dance that once was.
For the music she may never hear again.

Sleep found her…

Maddy woke to the chirps of her resident blue jay. He was at his usual post…a branch nestled inside the towering red maple tree outside her window. His chirps were an insult to the sadness she had committed herself to indefinitely. Damn bird. Damn happiness.

She rolled over to check her phone. Her phone illuminated one single text. From Trey.

“Hi.”

~Chick Hughes

After reading a recent article in the New York Times, “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry,” I was overcome by a myriad of emotions.  Anger and empathy dominating them.  Once again struck by the struggles of women who, bound by culture and fear, are forced to share their lives with men who lack the education and self confidence to embrace and appreciate the wild, fiery, passionate, dedicated (and, yes, at times dramatic and difficult) entity that is the female spirit.  In attempts to thwart off his own handed-down insecurities and assure himself that she will never have the freedom nor independence to see a life outside the one he deems “honorable,” he robs not only himself of the limitless possibilities promised by her ravenous spirit…but he robs her of a spirit that defines her, empowers her, and inspires her.  Leaving her trapped in a relationship void of love, in a body void of familiarity…where she can only be, say, or do what is dictated to her.

In spite of this centuries-old practice, some women still manage to find a way to thrive.  To write.

This ambitious group of Afghan women featured in the NYT article has found an emotional outlet in poetry.  Writing as a form of escape, a form of complaint, a form of freedom.  But they do so in secret because the act of expressing her feelings, her ambitions, her worries in written form is cause for extreme physical punishment at the hands of her husband, brother, or father.  The men they dutifully answer to are threatened by such things, seeing her expression as a possible flight risk from her strictly defined domestic role.  So, she isn’t allowed education or exposure to outside influences that may mar that role.

Feeding an unspoken fear as old as time…education leads to independent thinking.  And independent thinking leads to rebellion.

Damn straight it does.  Thank goodness!

Expressing oneself through writing is not only a source of therapy, expression, and self exploration for the writer, but also a source of strength, understanding, and inspiration for the reader.  Though separated by oceans, cultures, and cavemen hell-bent against evolution, we all have the desire and the right to grow and learn by literary means.

To inspire.  And to be inspired.

May these women continue to find both the strength and courage to inspire all women, as they have me.

_______________

I wish I may, I wish I might

Be a solitary bird lost in flight

Free to be, to love, to write

No glow of red, only green light

No tether, wrong, or right

Soaring high over mountains, cloaked in night

Shedding, ridding all semblance of plight

And fervently anticipating, with dawn in sight

A bold new rush of wind as I graze the sunlight

~ Chick Hughes

 

 

 

 

Modern day Cupid has gone geek.  And geek is chic.  As a texting techie, you have the hottest trend in flirting right in the palm of your hand.  Your cell phone, your lifeline, your communication mecca.  From “Hi” to “Ttyl”… you text to share the latest gossip with your BFF, to explain why you’re running late for work, when you can’t remember whether you’re supposed to buy wheat bread or Shedd’s Spread, and, well…just because you can.  But your communication mecca is good for more than just chore chatting and gossip gathering.  It can be your secret weapon in an otherwise daunting world of dating – used to drive him mad with flirty suggestive messages.  Turning that lifeline into a lustline.  An always on-call hard juiced up love tool fitting snugly in your hand ready to rise to your every whim.  With a little imagination and a quick “send,” you can relay your most intimate forbidden thoughts instantaneously, heighten your dating experience, and keep him begging for more.   Read more…

 

~ Contribution to a dating/relationship website

And may your nearest redeemer for frequent flirter miles not be a 3 ft tall, grammatically challenged know-it-all.  Although, this little green ladies’ man seems to know his way around a flirt…and a skirt.  Once again, men are left scratching their heads as the whole concept of “size matters” is shot to hell by this image of a seemingly studly Yoda regaling women with tales starring the forceful magic of his “light saber.”   Tales so heroic, so sexually charged, they send women’s clothing plunging to a crumpled heap on the ground in a desperate plea of surrender.  Or so says Photoshop.

Captivating I am.  Seduce you I will.

Every Jedi knows the art of flirting is a mix of conversation, body language, and physical touch…and may just be our most vital form of communication.  It’s the foreplay to our foreplay, so to say.

We flirt because it’s a necessary road to reproduction junction.  It could be that the flirtee is just too hot to be denied our charms.  And it could be that it’s just fun.  Scientists say that flirting doesn’t necessarily mean attraction.  That, hot or not, we’re evolutionarily programmed to be sexually alert, on our toes, and prepared for passionate throes.  Married, single, or “it’s complicated” …our primitive libidos are in constant battle with modern monogamy.  So, even if we’re off the market, we flirt with potential buyers to humor our libidos…and our egos.  Met with success, or shaming mess, we flirt to advertise our assets…and remind ourselves we’ve still got it.  When we flirt, we display our creativity, our humor, and our intelligence…flaunting our stellar skills for withstanding whatever poo pies life may throw our way (selling ourselves as the optimal life partner).  But aside from our dung dodging skills, we spread our peacock feathers…display our bountiful (surgically custom) cleavage, our Baby Got Back bums, our Fabio-lously spray tanned flexing pecs, our firm afterglow-inducing light sabers.  Saying, without saying, “I got that good hit!  Don’t you want to bag me?”

We flirt.  We bag.  We ensure the survival of our genetic genius.  And we settle into family life.  We now have children to raise, mortgages to pay, bosses to mock, and spontaneity to block.  Burdened by an endlessly overwhelming list of chores and responsibilities that would make even the most devoted Family Guy pimp out his wife for a break, we don’t take time to maintain flirting fluency with our main squeeze.  The romance dies.  We’re merely roommates…without benefits…tending to chores.  Making it from one day to the next.  We get comfortable in the notion that our spouse isn’t going anywhere.  And realize…neither are we.  We’re in a rut.

It’s then that we realize that somewhere along the way, we’ve become biologically washed up.  With no sex life and no sex appeal, we’re no longer relevant to the circle of life.  We begin to feel unwanted and depressed.  We start to miss the flirt, the chase…the thrill of sexual possibilities.  Ironically, both spouses will come face to face with his/her own feeling of sexual loss.  However, neither will attempt to fill this void for the other.  Usually because we’re both too busy trying to maintain every other relationship in the daily grind…forgetting that a happy sweetie promises a different grind altogether.  We go out of our way to please other people.  Bosses, friends, co-workers.  Why?  Because we know that our bosses, our friends, or our co-workers can, and will, walk out on us at any time.  We don’t take these relationships for granted.  So we see the value in the work needed to maintain them.  But our spouses…we take them for granted.  We don’t work on the marital relationship because it’s the one place we think we can afford to get lazy and fall asleep on the job.

Divorce…and remarriage…statistics beg to differ.

The cold hard truth is…what we take for granted, someone just around the corner is all too eager to appreciate.

Whatever the cost to our social or family life, we’re drawn to flirty appreciation like an oompa loompa to shoe lifts.   It boosts our egos, stimulates our sex drives, and spices up our lives.  We need to flirt to feel special…to feel connected.  We need it emotionally and sexually.  So, if no one is flirting with us at home, we begin to feel stagnant.  We grow bored with our marriage AND ourselves.  And we’re all the more receptive to outside flirts.

Marriage is monotonous…on a good day.  If we want to keep it fresh and romantic, we can’t put away our dazzling peacock plumage just because we’re too lazy to strut it.  We need to continue displaying our assets.  Otherwise, life clouds our memory.  And we both forget why we fell in love in the first place.  The flirt, the tease, the challenge, the FUN…this is what keeps our spouse true and still believing in “I do.”

Why flirting with the one that matters…matters?

*  It’s adult play.  We never outgrow our need for play.  Make your spouse your toy.

*  It boosts both egos.  Flirting gives us a sense of power.  Whether we’re the hunter or the prey, we all enjoy a good chase. It validates our sexual worth.

*  It’s the language of love…promising the continual emotional connection we seek so ruthlessly.

*  It reminds our spouse that we’re still very much attracted to them…translation:  “I don’t take you for granted!”

*  It’s healthy for children to witness our playful love.  It provides them a sense of security and models a healthy, loving relationship.

*  It will eventually lead to sex.  Filthy, dirty sex…somewhere. 😉

Teasing Tactics:

*  Be witty and challenging.

*  Tackle a chore your sweetie usually takes care of.

*  Wear flirty clothes…or no clothes.

*  Snuggle…give back rubs or massages.

*  Engage in sexy, suggestive banter.  Remember, the brain is our most sexual organ.

*  Compliment.  Flattery will get you everywhere.

*  Send romantic/sexy texts or emails…either as yourself…or the sultry stranger who’s been lusting from afar.

*  Create a special hand signal (sign language) for a romantic/sexy message just between the two of you.

 

It’s our nature to follow the flirt.  When it comes to your sweetie, turn up your tease…

Lead the way.

Chick Hughes

“It’s not my fault that I fell for you, you tripped me” ~ unknown

 

 

 

 

Communication is many things.  Heard, misheard, code word,  wrong word… and between couples, a 4-letter word.   Attempting to translate the alien language of the opposite sex proves to be difficult, frustrating, and, at times, futile.  In the words of Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wa wah wa wah wah wah wa wa.”  Or something like that.  Maybe this was some code language understood by the Peanuts gang alone.  But so often, I wish Lucy, in all her smart-ass future feminist extremist attitude, would yell from her desk…

“Enunciate bitch!  We can’t understand you”

Obviously, conversation doesn’t always equal communication.  One can talk endlessly without saying a thing.  And one can speak volumes without being heard at all.  Successful communication requires both speaking and listening.  I once read that we have one mouth and 2 ears…so we should listen twice as much as we speak.  Yet, we don’t.  The longer we’re together, the less we listen.

I sometimes watch older couples in restaurants…wondering what they’re talking about, how connected they are, or whether they’re existing side-by-side oblivious to the other.  Body language reveals so much about a couple’s mojo.  Many times, I’ve watched as a wife eats and jabbers on about whatever is on her mind.  She talks, but he’s not listening.  This person she’s conversing with hasn’t diverted his attention from the edible orgasm on his plate in 20 minutes.  He has no idea that she’s talking, let alone what she’s saying.  Yet, she yammers on…and on…never seeming to notice that her “communication” is being upstaged by the perfectly seasoned and sauteed carcass that’s giving him more oral action than he’s seen in a long time.  By this point of my stealthy stalking, I’m not sure who I pity more…they both seem immersed in their own worlds, bored to death, and hardly connected.  Their exchange, or lack of it, fascinates me.  I watch.  I analyze.  I wonder…

Would he “stand up” and take notice if she sandwiched that meat between her boobs while she spoke?  😉  I’m kidding.  Ok, so I’m not.  Of course he would!

Are they happy?  Or have they mutually surrendered to a lonely parallel existence?

Any long time couple can relate.  After years of “togetherness,” we inevitably lose touch without realizing it.  We assume that because we share close proximity, we’re also close emotionally.  And on some levels, we are.  Living together IS close.  Intimately personal gestures like putting ass to toilet seat while the other scrubs unmentionable areas in the shower requires a certain level of closeness — wouldn’t you say?  😉

But again, that’s physical proximity.  Parallel existence is not communicating.  It’s not connection.  It’s not enough.  Or so says the half of marriages that end due to loss of that connection.

Experts say there’s a reason we reach the “My husband/wife doesn’t understand me anymore” point in a marriage.  And that reason is lazy communication.  Research shows that we sometimes communicate better with strangers than with our own spouses.  That long-time couples get to know each other so well that we assume too much shared information..and consequently, share less.  The less we share, the less we understand, the less connected we feel.  When communicating with a stranger, we realize they know nothing about us.  So, we share more.  More detail, more emotion – more in general – in an attempt to be understood.  But when speaking to our spouse for the umpteen billionth time in a year, we mentally calculate (x number of years together = can read my mind).  We falsely assume they know what we’re feeling and thinking.  So we don’t bother to delve too much into it.

Like our bodies, our brains get comfortable…and lazy.  After winning over our partner in marriage, we may let ourselves go, not make time for exercise, and avoid giving our mid-section a little in-spection.  Our brains are no different.  We get comfortable and let our communication slide.  Maybe we eventually feel we’re repeating ourselves and stop.  Maybe we feel the other doesn’t care, so why bother.  Maybe we just assume he/she already knows…or should know what we’re feeling.  And when “he” doesn’t, watch out!  Because he should…right?  Our brains are devious and self-protective enough to convince us that it’s the “other” spouse who doesn’t understand “us.”  Or can’t read our mind.  The lazy brain prefers to shift blame elsewhere.  But to be heard and understood,  Express Yourself!

If we’re failing to communicate and stay connected due to comfort, maybe we’re, in fact, too close for comfort.  Sometimes we just get in a rut, take one another for granted, and grow bored.  But remember the beginning of your relationship?  When communication  wasn’t a chore?  When it came without effort?  Communication just was, wasn’t it?  We didn’t think twice about it.  What else just was?  Sex, cuddling, emotion.  It all goes hand-in-hand.  We communicate because we want to be closer.  We want to be closer to have sex and a connection.  So, a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex will result in a lack of communication will result in a lack of connection will result in a lack of sex.  Round and round we go.  Where we get off – and don’t “get off” – we all know.  Splitsville.

We can walk around with our iPods, iPhones, iAlones tucked securely in our pockets every single day.  Reliably close.  But if we don’t plug in the headphones and listen, we won’t appreciate them and will eventually decide we don’t need them around.  Or someone else may steal them from our reliably close pocket when we’re not “listening.”

A happy couple needs three things to thrive:  connection, love, and sex.  Each relies on the other for success.  If one falls to the wayside, the others follow in a domino effect.

Maybe the man in the restaurant would be less into his meal and more into his wife if he knew she’d be into him later in bed.  After all, men communicate for sex.  Women have sex to communicate.

So connect, communicate, and fornicate.

Plug in, tune in, “come” in.  😉

Chick Hughes

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~  George Bernard Shaw