bff

Letter from the Editor: What a Broken Heart Can Teach You

LFTE - V02

Something I have heard from many in the last month is how heartbroken they have been feeling since last fall. As a feeling I too have experienced while watching the world change every second, it’s no secret that a broken heart can take a toll on the best of us.

And there is nothing more painful than that. Heartbreak takes each of us on a seemingly endless rollercoaster ride, while pulling at the frayed fringe of our very being that leave us weakened and hurt. Yet, as the late Leonard Cohen sings in his popular song, “Anthem,” there is a crack in everything and “that’s how the light gets in.”

It might sound preposterous, but a broken heart has the power to not only motivate and improve our lives for a healthier well-being, but also unleash a great creativity you have never imagined.

If you watched the Golden Globes this month, you might have seen Meryl Streep sharing wise words from the late Carrie Fisher that urged all those with broken hearts to rise up and “take your broken heart, make it into art.”

The Hudsucker was one such venture. While the idea manifested through faith thanks to our Senior Managing Editor, Katherine, the very foundations and motivations of this online magazine were built upon a broken heart.

Continue reading…

Advertisements

Reflections in the ‘Bend’

During a very serene and introspective moment last week in snowy old South Bend, I had the opportunity to reflect on my life in a quiet, barren city. As previously mentioned on his birthday, the winter season tends to be a hard one for me. Where do all the memories go when a relationship breaks? Why is it easier for some and not others? More importantly, how did he manage to forget in an instant? I wish he could tell me. Incessant thoughts worth six years are cast into words as nothing, yet become immense distractions that keep you wide awake wondering where it all went wrong.

This month has been interesting and in some ways, emotional. I don’t really know what to say except there are aching moments when I miss him still and it gets hard knowing in this great big place, he sleeps soundly without a single toss and turn. While I had been up north that week to meet up with family, I got a chance to walk the lone chilly sidewalks and really catch a glimpse of my place in this great big world—or in this case, state.

While watching It’s A Wonderful Life tonight (also known as, one of my all-time favorite films), I thought back to that moment in South Bend as I walked beautifully dusted sidewalks. If I never loved who I did and the way I did, I don’t think I could be who I am today, where I am today. In every understanding of my own life, I can proudly say now that I am content with myself and who I am because in every ounce of pain felt from these past six years and more so in these last two, I know who I am and my purpose in this world now. We don’t always get the dream house, but we get pretty close. And if I happen to tread a Kathleen Kelly kind of life sans Joe Fox (“I am a lone reed”), that’s alright because it’s better to be alone than in a relationship that makes you feel alone. Relationships have shown me that you don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life. As long as you are content with yourself and are true to that person you see in a window’s reflection, you are never completely alone.

Call it a holiday miracle or what you will, but those wintry streets opened my eyes and made me realize I have never felt more at home than I am when I am in Indiana. I have always loved this state and continue to, even though sometimes and especially in the past two years, memories sneak up and cast a shadow of doubt on my worth. These thoughts force you into a train of thinking falsified by fear and doubt, and make you think you don’t belong anywhere, especially where your heart feels more at peace. But those thoughts are nothing compared to what you truly feel deep down in your gut and the world you build for yourself. As I’ve lived my hardest in these past two years by working off my gut, living my truth and driving forth from passion, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged more in one place than I do today. Whether in Indy or South Bend, Goshen or Muncie, my soul in some odd way just feels a consistent concord no matter where I am in Indiana.

While work has given me immense strength and has been a helpful toll in fulfilling voids felt by loss, I have learned so much more about my heart and its honesty than I ever imagined. Every moment lived through this beating chest has taught me how important every step I take is to my life and the lives of others. I have been through rough patches along this path, but have learned every good thing you do with your whole heart, every ounce of love you put forth, it all makes a difference no matter how hard it is to see at first. While he might be moving on and is happier than can be, I have come to accept that nothing is ever conceived in vain even if things go awry. I have loved with my whole heart and still do, and I will not regret that even as I walk lonely sidewalks in a hushed city.

Tonight I count my blessings for that which I had, that which I have, that which I will receive and that which God has prepared me for. These past few years have proven to me that living an honest life built off love, passion and self-trust is a great way to understand your worth and reiterate that no heart is ever broken in vain. It might have been hard to understand during those months of crying to sleep and trying so hard to fathom why something so internal, so deep within you, a piece of your identity, could be shattered almost instantly as if there was no barrier to begin with. But over the course of time, if that broken heart was sincere and truthful, it grows stronger and allows you to see right through who you are to help you figure out your purpose and meaning.

I miss him. I love him. Some nights will be hard. Some days in northern Indiana will be harder, but I have come to accept that now because God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.

“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

Living is easy with eyes closed

GMAIL_SCREENCAPMAY

So it’s been fairly cloudy today with temps hitting the high 80s F, but I can finally rest a little easier. With the summer semester over, I can enjoy the remainder of summer and hit up all the fun spots in this gorgeous city! I’m super excited to inject some excitement into the rest of these dog days, but will really miss both of my classes. While they were incredibly challenging, I feel these 10 weeks went by really quickly. One class in particular taught me so much about the shifting landscape of our emerging social technologies through theory, philosophy, human behavior, and the meaningful interactions we construct through these mediums. It was pretty fantastic and made me reflect so much more about what networks we use, our motivations and how we use them.

Through this particular field of study, I have found great value and a newfound appreciation for some of these networks because of the meaningful connections fortunately forged. The internet has fast became a tool in connecting with people of like minds in a participatory kind of culture that embeds a broad set of connections through the scientific progress of a Web 2.0 experience.

One such aspect of social media I love using more than others is instant messenger, also known as IM. Not only does it offer so many advantages over e-mail, SMS or traditional networks like quick and effective communication without delay, but it’s cost effective, discreet and opens up conversation to a more clear and concise dialogue when you really need answers as it reduces the chances of a misunderstanding. I often find you can have a better conversation with the people you need to connect with thanks to instant messenger’s ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love texting with my friends and conversing in short bits on Twitter and Facebook, but IM has always been my favorite form of online communication. After all, I’ve had some of the best conversations with my best friends on this medium—especially in these last few months, when I needed it most (and of course, them too).

There are some people who don’t use social media—like, at all. And I mean, they are on not a single network. (I’m not talking email either.) Some of these folks go so far to say, “social media sucks,” or “it’s fake,” but that’s just because they don’t understand it or realize its incredible benefit to our social and digital ecosystem. A recent study deemed those without social media as “suspicious,” while an in-class lecture brought up how such a behavior of a “self-imposed exclusion” is indicative of a greater problem and presents an untrustworthy aspect of character. The latter might seem a little extreme, but I do see how cutting yourself off from every network when you were once an active user, whether deleting or deactivating from any form of communication with the outside world as a validation to your own limitations in growing, expanding and gaining a better perspective of life outside your norm. It’s not a defiance of the times at all. I think, if you’re headstrong, confident and self-aware with a strong spine of your motivations of being online, social media can be an incredible accent to strengthening relationships, an effective method in understanding others, gaining perspective on this beautiful world, and the connections we make through conversation.

But alas, as The Beatles sang, “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.”

Do you deem it “suspicious” when someone doesn’t have ANY form of social media to connect with friends? What social networks do you use to connect?

{Title inspired by The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”}

Look at the stars fall down

Teddy Kelley - Unsplash 01

"So while turning in my sheets,
And once again I cannot sleep."

Monday morning started off on an awkward foot. I woke up at around 4:27 a.m. because someone crank called me. This hasn’t been the first time either. I have a funny feeling it’s the same crank caller who called me last year on my birthday, at the end of this past April and a few times this past May. But while I have an inkling of who it might be, I really don’t know who it is. Yet the thing is, I never get phone calls at this particular number, especially after midnight from an unknown caller and oddly enough these calls have been around the same time.

"There is no place I cannot go, 
 My mind is muddy but, 
 My heart is heavy does it show,
 I lose the track that loses me,
So here I go."

Could it be a coincidence? Probably not. I remember telling my best friend once there are no such things as coincidence. And hilariously enough, the same week I said that to him, two people he interviewed for one of his “passion projects” said the same thing. Is there no such thing as coincidence? That’s besides the point. Life and fate love screwing with us for shits and giggles, there’s no denying that.

That said, the part of me that trusts my intuition believes it might be him. But I can’t be too sure anymore. Doesn’t it suck when a (mutual) relationship you invest so much time and love in creates self-doubt? That’s not healthy, but at least I’m better off for knowing that.

"And here I go..."

I sat in my bed early this morning, pondering the possibility of him crank calling me. First a letter in March. Then phone calls? While I know in my heart he read my emails for months and months, and even kept a few of them as part of his hidden trove, it  might sound supernatural but there is a part of me that feels weak in such a lifeline now. I can’t explain it. I use to tell him that all my emails were a bookmark to our friendship and I know he acknowledged it. I put my heart into each message and because he and I were alike, I know he always read them. Sometimes even more than once, weeks later, a month later, sometimes even a year later. But suddenly, one day in early May, probably the first week or so—I felt it. I had another dream of him but this time, much more aberrant as he had carved a piece of my chest out and buried it with a box of letters as I watched on.

It’s no secret that I miss him, every damn aching day. (And I love you to the moon and back.) But let it be known that I never loved him because of who he was or who he wanted to become. I only ever loved him because of who he was determined to be. I got to see a beautiful, magical side to him through every conversation, every moment, every laugh and because he was my best friend first, I always made sure to remind him of his magic when he would forget it. And he forgets it often because he’s insecure despite me praying each night he gains strength to be a better, more emotionally adept individual. A friend once told me, the reason why he was so confused about our relationship (as he said so a few times) was because of my strength. Or as he would say, a love that “towers” over anyone he’s ever known. (more…)

Letters for B: For The Father-To-Be

Dad and Son

“You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

To my dearest B and father-to-be,

I don’t really know how to begin this, but there’s definitely something to be said about life’s timing. Echoing the very sentiments you shared with me while in Illinois, it’s as if we were cursed from the start. The timing was just unfair and it seemed pointless to us in moments of despair because of the practical foundations we were already rooted in. But I am not angry, nor am I upset with you for failing to be the person you hoped to be. I’m starting to understand that time is not linear. It’s a malleable agent of space and as a dimension that opens up our perception, there is a way to detect things.

While life is odd and often inequitable, I’m starting to see and feel that things are working out the way they’re suppose to whether we approve of it or not. Of course, those months before you broke the truth were some of the most cherished moments in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I remember the first day I officially met you. I remember thinking, that’s a guy with a big head of curly, black hair. That wasn’t my only thought though. I thought about how smart you were, how everything you said was interesting and enlightening. It was also, after months of talking and getting to know each other, that I began loving you for seeing your enthusiasm and passion, not to mention, the beginnings of you emerging from a being that felt trapped. You were slowly becoming more of who you always wanted to be and I loved you.

Do you remember that time I told you there were no such things as coincidence? And then every person you spoke to that same week said the same thing? Know it then and know it now, but that still holds true. Sure, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the way things end up being from the choices and circumstances we’ve found ourselves in—but, I want you to have faith in yourself and faith in the moments, B. Trust the timing of your life and trust God’s plan for you. If you do, I promise you will live a life without regret and see the bigger picture without the hurt and pain these last months have brought all of us. Nothing is ever too small to be a mistake. I need you to remember that even if you protest that I’m not real or that I don’t matter.

(more…)

How to Support Good Friends with Bad Choices

A good friend who sticks by you through thick and thin is a rarity these days. But if our friendships have taught us anything—and acclaimed HBO favorites like Entourage or Girls verify—certain friendships, where one friend continually makes bad decisions can be frustrating.

We all have someone who is true blue, kind, and always caring but tends to make unhealthy choices by never thinking straight or of repercussions. When those kinds of friends make such decisions, it often feels like our options are limited. So how do we help them?

We often believe to be compassionate, we have to listen and not say anything. But that’s not how good, solid friendships work. We never act cowardly towards a friend—especially if you know they will understand you. If anything, we always want the best for them and want to ensure their decision is one that doesn’t emotionally or mentally stunt them, or cause heartache.

Of course, it can take a toll on us. The back and forth of their choices, making us wonder why they just can’t get it. But by ensuring healthy and impartial boundaries in our relationships, we are able to uphold our own emotional reliability. There are ways to be a friend and still be supportive without becoming a habitual enabler. By setting limits on what isn’t good for you, you’re able to take care of your friend and the friendship.

Continue reading…

Roman à Clef: May/June 2015

NB-08

With the sun setting and clouds drifting delicately across the blended sky of soft purple and orange hues, she sat comfortably on the sandy shores of New Buffalo, tight in his embrace. The two of them sat together quietly, watching the sunset with his arms wrapped around her. Her back pressed against his chest, they lay their legs out in the sand as the winds picked up, tousling her long, loose hair in his face.

She felt his lips tenderly kiss the back of her neck. She smiled most coyly as he tightened his hold on her. She hugged him as she turned her head to look at his face. Brown eyes, dark hair, and a chin she found irresistible. He propped himself closer to her as the warmth of his mouth against hers sent a current running through her body. She could feel a heat rising in her core as she gently held the back of his head in her palm. Parting his lips, he moved his mouth to her jaw and down her neck, nuzzling ever gently and softly.

His hand moved down to her chest as she started laughing. Removing it immediately off of her, she turned her body to get a better look at him. His eyes glued to hers, she held his right hand in hers and began looking at it. Twisted and flipped backwards, she straightened his wristband, a thoughtful memento paying homage to his field of practice—black with a thin blue line. Gazing up at him, she smiled as she smoothed her fingers over his tan, soft skin. He smiled back, kissing her on the nose. (more…)

Going The Distance: The Importance of Marrying Your Best Friend

Being in love is one of the best feelings in the world, transcending eras, love songs, and a slew of Pinterest boards. But being in love with your best friend is everything love is truly about! As Friedrich Nietzsche said it best all those years ago, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Sure, the quote gets recycled on Instagram over and over, but it’s true.

Everyone’s searching high and low for their soul mate, but the truth of the matter is, marrying your best friend should be the new marital ideal. Why? Well, because it works and creates long-term satisfaction for your emotional and mental well-being—score one for the clichés!

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research investigated the causative link between marriage and happiness. While not everyone is lucky to marry their best friend, research concludes that life satisfaction gained from marriage was about double when a person considers their partner to be their best friend. And satisfaction reportedly lasted for decades, not fading away after that “honeymoon” period.

Continue reading…