Unarmoring My Heart

It wasn’t until the death of my ex-boyfriend that I realized how strongly I had been guarding my heart.

It should have been evident from my inability to find another partner, but I couldn’t see it. I had grieved the death of our relationship, the future we planned for ourselves, and his presence in my life…  But when I grew weary of mourning, I shut it down – and the remaining pieces that needed examining, laid quiet within me.

unarmored-heart

The past few months have been a blur for me.  From the moment I was notified of his disappearance, I felt it inside me – he was gone.  But with lack of a body and no evidence to support it concretely, I had hoped for the best and went through the motions of searching for him and discussing all the possible scenarios with his family.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned myself spending so much time with his mother and the conversations we have had.  She and I have been a support to one another in ways that words cannot begin to describe (but of course, I will try).  The stories we have shared with one another have shed light on parts of him that neither of us saw.  It has helped to connect the dots.  To answer unanswered questions. To see the man we both loved so dearly in a much broader sense.

When I received the news that his body had been found, it was as if the whole world stopped and came crashing in. There was a reckoning. Every thought and feeling and emotion that was left unaddressed came bubbling up and pouring out. I was unleashed.  Consumed by feelings of loss and regret, I knew I had to sit with it.  I had to allow it to surface and to acknowledge every tear and fear as it arose.  And I did. And I grieved the loss of him – heavily.

And it didn’t take long before the truth came to me and looked me square in the face: ever since our breakup, I have been dating with a guarded heart.

In some ways I had known it all along, but I hadn’t realized how strongly I had it guarded until that moment.  Yes, I have learned to embrace life and friendships and my passions in life with a kind of fierceness and unbridled sense of adventure that is easy for myself and others to see. How confusing then, for men who try to date me, when they can see how open my heart is for the rest of the world, and how armored it is for them.

How completely unfair of me to expect that I should find a patient and open-hearted Knight in Shining Armor to unlock the chains I placed, when I wasn’t even willing to hand them the key.

So now I must remove my armor.

In order to receive the love I so greatly desire to feel again, and to build the family I long to have, I must remove the barriers I have built, and allow space for love to enter again.  I must be willing to place my heart into hands that promise to hold it gently, and trust that it will be cared for and tended to, the same way I will tend to theirs.

And so begins the next chapter for me, of unarmoring my heart. Of learning to love again, unbridled, without fear of being broken.

I can only hope, and try one day at a time, to allow my tender-heartedness to be my greatest strength and not my weakness.  To remember that love is worth the risk and that it is always good to have it stretched open, even if it has to close back up for mending.  Like a beautiful flower, it can always bloom again.

Here’s to unraveling the chain, one link at a time!

Yours truly,

Miss Erin Terese

A Request for Your Honest Story

One of my favorite things in the world is stories.  I have an affinity for words, novels, short stories and tall-tales.  But more than that, I love to hear people’s real stories.  I am that friend that you mean to have a quick coffee with and somehow end up amazed when five hours have past – filled with moments of laughter, tears and a deeper friendship-connection.

I believe that we grow stronger and more compassionate with each story that we hear and with each that we share.  My plan is to gather a collection of life-stories.  Real stories.  True-blue experiences that have happened to you.

Yes, there are many sides to a story, but the side I want is yours.  What it was like for you. Include the “facts” of what happened, but more than that, how did you grow from this and how did/do you feel?

Now, I know you may be thinking that you aren’t a writer, but that doesn’t matter.  That isn’t the point.  The point of this is not to collect flowery, poetic, eloquent tales – the point is to hear what you have to say.  Plain and simple.  The world wants to hear your words and so do I.

Here is what I am looking for!

The Prompt:     Select one person that has greatly impacted your life.

  • What impact did/does this person have on your life?
  • How has knowing them changed you?
  • When did you realize the impact this person had/has on your life?
  • How specifically did you meet? What are the details?  (Follow the bread crumbs backward)
  • How did you feel about the person then versus how you feel about them now?
  • What was going on in your life when you met them?

This person can be a best-friend, significant-other, boss, stranger, neighbor, mentor, family member, lover, ex-friend/ex-lover/ex-significant-other, teacher, rescue worker, etc. 

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I want to know how this person came crashing into your life like a ton of bricks, or slowly making their way in, like the last drop of honey from a jar. Tell me the good stuff. How did it happen? When did you realize this connection was special? And more-over, how has knowing this person changed you?

Here’s what it should look like:

  1. 500 to 1,500 words
  2. Honest story telling.  Less perfect grammar and more genuine expression!
  3. Choose a title.  “Meeting Mr. Right,” “Me and My Mentor,” “The Day That Almost Didn’t Happen.”  Whatever you like! (I advise selecting the title at the end)  Or you can always select “Untitled.”
  4. Author Info: Name, Age, City, State, Country.

I am casting a net far and wide, to my loved-ones and theirs.  My plan is to gather your tales, weave them together with my words and insight into life and publish a collection of TRUE LIFE STORIES.  Not from formal writers and poets, but from the romantic souls that often leave their stories untold.

My hope is that through publishing these stories, people around the world can open the pages to words that sound much like their own and feel connected.  That through the telling of your stories on paper, eyes may find them and hearts may open to the beauty and magic that lies just around the corner.

I know that this will require a fair amount of effort, self-reflection and vulnerability.  But what a lovely thing to share!  Please take your time in crafting your tale.  You can write it to me in the body of an email or attached in a document.

There is no financial compensation for this, however, should my hope come to fruition and a collection is published – your name will be printed by your story and a grateful dedication printed in the first few pages.

Thank you.  From my heart to yours!

Yours Truly,

Miss Erin Terese

P.S.  Please email submissions to misserinterese@gmail.com . Thank you and I look forward to reading your story! xo

My Relationship With Silence

Silence can mean many things.  It’s not just the absence of sound, but can mean so much more.  A purposeful retreat.  A kept story.  Hidden truth.  Stifled memory. A chapter sealed shut or a precious moment locked away for only your viewing pleasure.

Silence and I have experienced all of the above.  For better or worse, Silence and I have shared them all.

I would love to say that Silence is good or that Silence is bad.

Don’t we always want the black and white?  The right and wrong?  The clearly defined choice?  But the truth of the matter is, Silence lives in the gray.  There is a time and a place.  It serves a purpose.  It can be our friend or foe, but just like real relationships, it exists in our life to teach us a lesson.  When we look back, we can see how Silence was there to help us.

I don’t even need to dig far back into the memory files to give you an example.  I can rewind just the past few days and examine the relationship I have with Silence.

Typically, I am a sharer.  I open myself to others.  I listen to their stories and readily share my own.  Many people struggle with sharing their deep and intimate thoughts, but I share them frequently with my loved ones and often with strangers or new friends that I consider to be kindred spirits.

And since you, dear reader, are a kindred spirit, I will share with you a few details about my relationship with Silence.

silence

Silence Example #1

I am currently in the beginning stages of a budding romantic tale.  A new love interest has entered my world and I want to share all of the beautiful details with everyone I know (and there are many), but they are mine. And his. Ours. And so it goes that I give the bullet-points and highlight reel to a select few confidants, and the rest stay sealed away for myself.  They are far too precious and too valuable for sharing.  Outside of he and I, those moments are silenced.  Kept fresh and locked away with the valuables – unwilling to let words or time wear away the gleam.

Silence Example #2

Someone I hold dear to my heart contacted me the other day. We have a strange relationship, he and I.  Once lovers, now friends – but walking that fine line of how much is too much communication and what does friendship look like, post-romantic-relationship?  I was almost silent. For hours I rolled around whether or not I should respond.  Whether I should remain silent and seal our relationship shut (since this awkward phase frustrates me), or whether I should answer my friend and try to navigate this new terrain of friendship.

After hours of deliberating, I wrote him back.  For me, purposeful silence feels like punishment.  Not everyone perceives it that way, but I do.  And since I do, I simply will not do that to someone.  I either tell the person I don’t think we should remain in contact or I open a dialogue and work on mending the relationship.  But he is far too special not to at least try navigating this new friendship terrain.  Ultimately, we had a pleasant chat and made another small step down our new path as just friends.

Silence Example #3

My poor, sweet, patient mother has been dealing with my silence.  About six months ago I moved cities, changed jobs and all but altered every single facet of my life.  While this change has been welcomed, and wanted, and I am more than grateful for every ounce of change – it has also been extremely exhausting.  Unable to do any single daily task on auto-pilot, I was left drained and in need of more “me time” than I have needed in years.  Prior to my move, she and I would chat regularly and text often.  After my move, I all but fell off the face of the phone and went silent.

In reality, we exchanged a few texts a week and a brief phone call once a week, or every other week, but for her it was as good as silence.  We had a nice long chat tonight and I explained my silence and my gratitude for her patience.  I am well aware that silence can seem like abandonment, but I needed to retreat. My own personal silence was necessary to process all the change in my life.  So my personal silence, my walks in the park and books by dim lighting, resulted in a restful mind for me and worry for my mother. But she kept silent, out of respect for me and waited for my return and our lovely, silence-mending conversation we had this evening.

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We all have a personal relationship with Silence.  We share different experiences and view Silence under different light. It’s amazing really – how something that seems like such a simple concept, can take on so many forms.  Isn’t it?

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S. This diary-like post was inspired by the Weekly Writing Challenge posed by the Daily Post on “The Sound of Silence.”

It’s Hard Sometimes

It’s hard sometimes.

To say what we mean.

And mean what we say.

To follow our heart.

And show it the way.

To live for today.

And plan for tomorrow.

Letting go of the past.

And all of our sorrow.

With each ounce of pain.

And every tear shed.

Is an ounce more of wisdom.

And pleasure ahead.

For each stone over-turned.

And pathway walked down.

Will lead you on home.

With the joy that you’ve found.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yours Truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Hope you enjoyed this mini poem and that you enjoy this big, beautiful, broken, bountiful, breathtaking, beautiful, bold world.

Coming Home

Home is where the heart is.  We all understand that, right?  We have heard it a million times.  We know the concept.  But where is the heart? Where do you place it?  Where have you anchored it?

I believe the reason that our house and our city and the people in our lives may at times begin to feel distant is because we move our heart.  We pack it up, move it out and start heading out of town…often without consulting the people in our lives and without much thought as to why and where we are heading. We grow and change and our heart wants for something more.  Something different.  Something other-than.

It can be a saving grace, a scapegoat or a ticket out of dodge, but the heart has a way of leading us.  At times we know where and when and why, and other times we are like children “playing pin the tail on the donkey” – spinning around in the dark just hoping we land in the right spot.

My life this year has been a bit pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-esque. 

All of a sudden, my home was gone.  While my loved ones and beautiful house and all I had know for the last 11 plus years was still around me, my sense of home was fading.  I felt like a visitor in my own town.  And just like that, I knew it was time to go.  My heart was leading me somewhere else.  It was time.

Many times before, I had dreamed of moving to a new city – but for reasons neither here nor there, it never came to fruition.  Maybe it was because I was running away.  Maybe it was because I had more to learn, more to love and more to see there.  Maybe it just wasn’t time.

Explaining my desire to move wasn’t the easiest thing.  I framed it by saying it was a strategic career move, that I needed a larger city with more culture, and somewhat jokingly that I had dated my way through the city and that there were no men left for me to meet.  But the truth of the matter is, and was, that it was no longer my home.

For eight months I searched.  I drove hundreds of miles for “meet and greets”, networked my little heart out and all but tattooed it on my forehead that I was trying to move – and yet it didn’t come.

Was my heart steering me wrong?  Was my gut lying to me?  Was I wrong?

Then I got quiet.  I went back to the drawing board.  I laid it all out on the table and took a good hard look at my motivation, my inspiration and what would be a logical next step.  I had felt so compelled. So drawn.  So lured, that I had gone sprinting into the night without my flashlight or road map or cell phone.  I was blindly chasing my winged-heart.

Once I centered myself and tried again, I came up with a new plan.  A new thought.  And just like that, the pieces just fell into place.  In a turn of events that can only be described as magical or fated or destined, my city found me.  In just under one month, my thought had become my reality, and I was home.

I remember when I visited San Francisco for the first time.  I was eleven years old and my family and flown in from Wisconsin to visit my aunt and uncle in the city.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen.  To me, it was like a dream. I remember white lilies, steep hills, bustling crowds and breathtaking beauty everywhere we went.  I vowed right then and there that I would one day live here.

But like so many childhood dreams, it was put in a box on the shelf and long-ago forgotten about.

coming home

I have lived here for 24 days now and already this is my home. 

During my first week here I met with a dear old friend who upon seeing me, said “Welcome home.” Tears welled in my eyes as I realized it was true.  My heart had not taken me to a far-off destination filled with adventure and culture and new loves to be had (though I do hope it will), it had taken me home.

And while I do understand that home is where the heart is (and you carry it with you), it will also guide and lead you, and sometimes you have to answer the call.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Writing for Personal Growth

This misserinterese blog serves me in many ways.  It began as a way for me to write more – whatever that meant. I was being called to write.  As if out of nowhere, I was bitten by the writing bug and I needed to have more of it.  It consumed me.  And like any great love, when you find it you want to share it and shout your love from the rooftop!  This particular love is a little more personal and left me open to criticism, but sharing it was worth it. I had to.  Whether people would say I had poor writing skills or that my ideas were ridiculous, I had to share them.  It could no longer be contained.  It was time.

I had tried keeping a journal before, but I was not very consistent with it and I tended to ramble on without much direction.  Essentially, it was word vomit on a page and usually when I read it again later, I would be embarrassed by my crude writing and dramatic stories.  This blog allows me to explore my emotions and aspects of life in a more structured format.  I take a bit more care in crafting my thoughts, my sentences and my stories knowing they will be read by others.  Rather than word vomit on the page of a journal, it becomes an article, a poem, a short essay explaining in detail each thought, idea and situation.  Each post comes from the heart and with great reflection and care poured into each word.  Since the blog is shared publicly and available for me to reread many times over, it is important for me that it represents me accurately – and it does.

writingWhy am I telling you this now?  It is at the request of one of my readers.  She asked me to write about why I journal/blog and what the benefits are for growth.

The benefits have been huge for me.  I have more self confidence and feel much more self aware.  When you are going to share your ideas with an audience, it really makes you dig deep to find your voice.  It is not a time to be timid or shy; it is a time to be authentic and vulnerable. My greatest posts and those that are most well-received are those that explore not only my strengths, but my weaknesses as well.  People want to know how to learn. How to better themselves.  How to take the mess of their thoughts, pick them up, dust them off and organize them into something beautiful.  We all struggle at times in our life.  Hell, most of us struggle with something on a daily basis.  The pressure to be perfect can make anyone feel as if they are losing their grip.  Reading other people’s stories and sharing my own, helps remind me that we are all in this together.  That we are here to learn from one another.  That my stories of overcoming hurt and heartbreak and learning to be mindful might be beneficial, not only to me, but to you as well.

Lastly, writing breathes life and meaning into the thoughts that dance their way through my head.  When I put pen to paper, or fingers on keyboard, I am able to take those thoughts and string them together into something that makes sense.  Something that reveals a little more about who I am and what I am learning.  Somewhere between the key strokes and punctuation marks, my voice finds its home.  My thoughts lay to rest and I am able to breathe easy knowing that I have explained myself fully.  And whether anyone else learns more about me, more about themselves or more about life in general, I have learned more about myself, and that is worth everything to me. The act of knowing thyself is ongoing; it’s a process we will continue until our last breath.  And every time I uncover another layer of myself and the depth to which I am capable of, it’s like unwrapping a gift. It’s just beautiful.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Do you journal/blog and how has it helped you?

Paperback or eReader? That is the Question.

The fact that you are reading this is proof of how you would answer “To read, or not to read? That is the question”.  In an age where most people turn to video for stories and news, we still turn to written word.  And I can also wager you read quite a bit online since you are reading this blog.  But how do you prefer to read the books you buy?  Paperback or eReader?

The environmentalist in me wants so badly to love the ever-so-popular eReader.  Why can’t I just be happy sitting on the subway with my Kindle or reading in the cafe on my Tablet?  I suppose it is because I am a romantic.  There is something about turning the pages that excites me.  Feeling the paper in my hand, unable to see the words that come next.  The seconds feel like minutes as the page moves from right to left, letting out the scent of dust and time in the turn. It just is not the same with the scroll on a screen.

My favorite books have coffee spills and corners turned down.  Highlighted words and notes in the margin. Pen marks and business cards for bookmarks.  The scent and markings of each book becomes as much of a joy as the words within the binding.  The memories of reading the book are not only stored in the corners of my mind, but are evident in the scars and battle-wounds etched into the paper. Raindrop damage from when it shielded me as I dashed to my car during the downpour. Bite marks on the corner left by my scruffy nephew Molson when I was his caretaker and dog walker.  Proof of our time together. Love bites.  Does he too love David Brown adventure novels, or was he trying to play fetch?

paperback

Yes, I know there are apps and add-ons to make notes and mark pages.  But it is not the same as when it is done by hand.  With ink that smears and lines that curve.  Misspellings and markings made in error.  Evidence. Proof of where I was when I read it – mentally and physically.  For me there is love in those pages.  Love of life.  Love of words.  Breaths of anticipation and spills (literally) of excitement.

To me, there is no contest.  There is no doubt that I would choose the weight and heaviness of the Paperback every time.  Yes, I can see the allure of carrying hundreds of books on one small device that slips easily into my purse.  But it doesn’t make my heart dance and sing when it catches a glimpse of it.  The color doesn’t grab my eye and steal my attention.  It doesn’t make me want to curl up on the couch and spend a rainy afternoon flipping pages and turning down corners. Only Mr. Paperback does that to me.  And to him I will remain loyal.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Thank you Weekly Writing Challenge for the prompt.