Kissing IS Personal

One of my first memories of the tale of my Love and I was our first kiss. Oddly, I don’t tell this detail I’m about to share with you often. In fact, when I tell our story I see this scene in my head but I gloss over the detail, or shorten our first night into a sentence or two. “We had an amazing night, I knew he and I were perfect for each other just Not right now. I left without giving him my number and he didn’t ask.” Then I go into the next headlines.
The truth is that our first night getting to know each other was/is truly special. We talked for hours at Sassafras, a saloon in Hollywood. We actually shared our breakups (both of us just barely 6 months out of serious relationships). Shared our life goals and our Strength Finders results. Ok, so we are also kind of nerdy. My point in telling you this is, before there was even the potential of another encounter we got intimate. Vulnerable. We shared honest details about ourselves.

Then he ASKED if he could kiss me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing there face to face. Of course I wanted him to. Of course I was hoping. Then he asked!

Now, I’m trying to think back of all the kisses I have had. As you know from my post “First Kiss” that one didn’t. I know my ex didn’t and I’m pretty sure those I kissed during “Duty Dating” didn’t.  Not that they should have or needed to ask. Body language can also imply that one is ready and open to kissing.

However, in this moment he asked me. When my entire insides screamed YES!   I knew this was different. It wasn’t just my physical being but much deeper than that.  I responded with “I was hoping you would.” Not so much a spoiler alert since we are together. But, yes we stood there and kissed and…well our families read this so….

My favorite movie, if I haven’t told you already, is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. When I say favorite I mean FAVVVVVORITE!!!! I can quote it from the opening to the closing credits. Aside from the great and soon to be blogged about “What’s your Dream? Hey Sista What’s your dream?” or the scene where she walks back on to Rodeo and says “You work on commission right? Big Mistake! Big!  Huge.” Shoves her bags up in the air at the snooty sales women. I am sure I’ll write about that too. Today’s blog is about Getting Personal.  When Richard Gere’s character and her are discussing what she will and will not do for money. She’ll do anything. But she won’t kiss on the lips. Too Personal.

Is Kissing too Personal?

I have written about Your Best Sex and  Sex with Friends. If you haven’t read those. Click the links and do read. It’s important you know that I am not a prude. I am not here to say that you shouldn’t get close, personal, intimate, sexy. Quite the opposite. I want all of that and more for you.

Today, on the phone with my Love I said “I cannot wait until you’re not sick; I miss kissing you.” He has the flu; I teach Pilates so I cannot get sick. He knows that if I get sick, it halts my income. But back to kissing.  He said: “I know two days ago I was thinking if it was possible to have sex without kissing.”

Aside from the weirdness of that remark. Also, how anyone with the flu could possibly perform is a question I do not have the answer to. I proclaimed No Kissing is the best part. Ok, well almost the best part. But it’s one if not THE most important part. It’s like Julia Roberts’ character says: it’s too personal.

Maybe this is TMI, but I love kissing. When I see him at Trader Joe’s waling down the isle toward me, I can be taken up in the moment, and we actually kiss like couples do in a romantic scene in the movies. I guess low cost organic food packages for individuals gets me romantic. Or more likely than not we just enjoy being that personal; that intimate.

Kissing is very important!   Before you do the deed, I think it’s pretty important to enjoy kissing the other person. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they kiss you. If you’re present and aware of what you like and need you will probably be better prepared to make the decision of whether or not you want to take it to the next step. P.S. I am not sure what the next base is anymore. Somewhere in between the generations, first and third, or second base just became a blur of tastes or preferences. But kissing should be first. You should like it and want more of it.

If you’re single, please take the time to get to know someone, enjoy kissing them. Do not rush this step and end up in a relationship that doesn’t have kissing you enjoy.

In a relationship…when’s the last time you truly kissed your partner? I’m not talking about the kisses because it’s part of the routine. I’m talking the kisses where time stands still. The kiss where your surroundings blur, are forgotten, the Trader Joe’s aisles disappear, and it’s just you and your mate. Those don’t have to be special occasion. In fact, I’d argue they shouldn’t be special occasion.

But,  you have to want it. You have to make the point to do it. The next time you kiss, be present. Be intimate. Let yourself enjoy your partner. Even if it’s in the TJs aisle.

So, before you can have Sex with Friends, Your Best Sex or even a third, fourth or future date: get personal. Get kissed!  And if you like it, have seconds!

Xx–LL

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What is YOUR Worth?

Last week I had dinner with a galfriend who was telling me about her new job. She and I had recently both been looking for new part time work, and had applied for similar positions around town. When I asked her if she was going to still pursue one of the jobs we both applied for, she asked how much the pay was and then replied, “I will no longer work for less than $20 an hour.” I was somewhat shocked when I heard this, as a part time service job rarely pays that much, even here in NYC.   She being in her late twenties and I in my mid thirties, we both are highly trained performers and need to take the survival jobs that work with our performing schedules—which means that usually we aren’t allowed to be that picky. Usually, we apply to lots of places, get hired at a few, and juggle schedules to fit with our rehearsal and performance schedules, so we can pay rent.

A few days later I awoke from a dream where a talent agent I auditioned for in the dream handed me four $20 bills. It was a very clear dream and I did look into the symbolism, but the point is that in the dream I was shocked to be handed $80 for minimal amount of work—an audition—which I always do for free. Upon waking from the dream my friend’s statement that she would no longer work for less money an hour rang through my head. I sat up and knew she was exactly right.

This post is about worth and self-value, so ignore all of those exact dollar amounts for now. Google defines worth as: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. Back in the day, before there was cash, people determined the worth of their goods in marketplaces. What they had to trade versus what they needed, and the time that was invested in the tradeable product. For example, I weave two blankets and it takes two days to weave one, my time and product are worth the four days that the farmer takes to harvest 24 gallons of milk and a bushel of corn… so we have a fair trade. (This is super rudimentary and I’m by no means a reliable resource on this concept, its just so you who are reading and I are on a similar page to get to my point.) Basically, whatever I put into something—my time, my money, my resources—I deserve and equal (or better) trade for what I’m selling. This become an even bigger concept when you get into supply and demand—whatever I have versus the general availability of the product—makes the worth grow. But with all of this, the point I’m getting to is that it isn’t the product itself that holds the worth, it’s the value of our time and our abilities.

When my galfriend stated that she was worth at least $20 an hour, I was shocked. But why was this? I realized because I valued the actual money more than I valued my time. I feel like time is something I have a lot of, however this is not true. I have plenty of responsibilities to myself and plenty of education and experience to demand a certain value of my time. I have a master’s degree in Psychology. Truth be told, I got it because I was lacking a direction in life, and decided to go back to school I got the degree in Psych with the idea that I’d write grant proposals or teach classes, but when I finished my program, I realized I didn’t feel qualified to do either. Why is this? Because I don’t think that my online degree is worthy of more than that. For some reason, I felt that my lack of experience, with only a degree on paper and class work to validate me, I was afraid to I would be turned down because I don’t have enough experience, or a big enough name. Now, the brain in my head is exactly the same as it was before I got the degree, just now with added information. I’m a really smart gal, many people think this, and its not just my parents and relations. I’m smart. I’m analytical. I’m helpful. I’m good. Why don’t I see this? My galfriend has so much bartending experience, as well as music training. She paid for that training and worked her way up, so yes, she does deserve to value her time highly. She is good at what she does. I’m good at what I do, too. I get amazing reviews for acting. People love working with me onstage and in my survival jobs. My employers, co-workers, and friends know they can rely on me to get things done. So why don’t I see how much I am worth. And even worse, why can’t I demand my worth? If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.

OUCH !! No one wants to be taken advantage of in any kind of relationship. Jobs are the easiest to understand because there is a transaction that happens—you do X amount of work per hour in exchange for a certain rate. You have to demand to be paid what you’re worth, and your worth will manifest. But we have to look at worth in all relationships. We have to understand that we are valuable and should be treated as such in any relationship we invest in.

This is a lesson I’ve been working on within myself for a while. Its very scary for me to stand up and say that I’m worth certain dollar or time allotments. Its rough. I’m terrified sometimes when I turn in invoices for my time—because I’m not sure that the work I’ve done (which was elaborate, and researched, and substantial) is worth whatever dollar amount. And WHY do I think this? I am worth a lot. I am good. I am educated. I am thorough. But because I don’t have people walking up to me just handing me money or telling me of my worth, I doubt myself.

Its very interesting because I have a few friends who are going through similar things at the moment—or at least I’m noticing it more because I’m on a similar path. I have a friend with an office job who is frustrated because the people at work seem to only value her for what she can do for them. She is an incredibly kind, incredibly helpful, incredibly resourceful person. I don’t understand why people don’t latch on and keep her friendship around—I’m certainly glad I have her. Anyway, after chatting with her about her helpfulness, I realized that she doesn’t ask for anything in return. Which is okay, but when she needs something of value to herself—even if its just a buddy for a conversation—she doesn’t get any return from anyone that she helps. Which sucks and feels even worse. I told her she needs to start telling those sucker fish when they ask for things, what they will do for her in return. Yeah, I know, for all of you “nice” people out there, you shouldn’t demand a return on your helpfulness—however, if sucker fish aren’t told that the help you’re giving them is worth something to you then they won’t see your worth. Let me rephrase: your time has value. If you give me your time, I should help you out in return. Basic. Simple. Sadly, not always followed. Just remind people that your time is valuable, and then when you call on them to help you, gently remind them that you helped them, and that your help might not be there next time if they fail to assist you. Especially if the helping is a one way street.

Another worth issue is when you’re actually given help, time, even love when you didn’t ask for it. It’s a weird thing to handle when you are given a lot that you didn’t do anything for. A singer friend is going through this, as am I. We have both found people in our lives who, for once, seem more invested in us than we seem to be in them—which is a lot if you know either of us in life. We both give everything to anyone who needs it—and sadly don’t demand something in return. We both keep up the hope it will be returned, but always seem to come up lacking. Anyway, dealing with an outpouring of help, time, love when its not expected, just for being ourselves is an interesting phenomenon. Singer friend and I had a conversation on the phone about how neither of us knew how to deal with it, because its usually us that start the outpouring, and usually us that get the short end of the stick. But because its incoming first, and nothing is really expected more in return, its confusing. When value comes your way you have to accept it, and enjoy it. And hope it doesn’t evaporate too quickly, or at all.

Worth is a very difficult concept for some—I’m one. However, figure out the time and energy you put into something. You should expect to get an almost equal, if not more, value in return. Tell yourself you are worthy of receiving that value. Be strong in asking or demanding it—you don’t need to be rude about it, but you should be strong. Strong people are rewarded. Also think about what you need—its really okay to ask, or strongly request, what you need in return for what you’re giving. Everything has a value, even time. Especially time. You are worth a good deal. But only you can demand your value. No one else will. Good luck, and know you’re not alone in this battle.

–Clare

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Texting is Not a Relationship

Daily or almost Daily texts is not a dating relationship.

It’s not.

I promise you it’s notYou, my dear friend, are so worth a phone call.  You’re worthy of an invitation. A verbal (phone or in person) conversation cannot be copy and pasted. 

That’s all I wanted this blog post to say. But, I also know that many of you are going to be sitting there trying to justify why your text conversations are a relationship. That the smiley face at the end of “Hey” is endearing and personal. The text “what are you doing tonight?” That they sent you at 6pm really was only sent to you and not after their other plans fell through.   I know that the world is all about instant messages. Texting, iMessage, Tinder, Grindr, What’s App…insert whatever other instant notification app here. But guess what?  There are still phones. We still speak out loud. Phone companies still sell plans with minutes. Unlimited minutes are cheaper than ever. People do not have to use them wisely. They can just use them!

If someone really likes you they’ll call you.  I promise you they will.

Sure there may be a text here an there “I’m on my way” is absolutely appropriate. It shows that they care enough to give you a heads up and that you have made plans to get together. If they always text you “what are you doing this weekend?” There is a huge chance they copy and pasted that to a few others. I’ll say it again because it’s true.  A phone conversation is pretty tough to copy and paste.

In a world where people can text It’s pretty special when someone picks up the phone and calls you.

I remember last Spring I was out having dinner with a girlfriend talking about the guys I was dating. I had just arrived back from another trip to Boulder, Co. While telling her about “the musician” he called. My phone lit up. I literally laughed out loud. How warm were his ears? Anyways, it went to voicemail since I’m a firm believer in being with those I’m spending time with. After dinner I got in my car and listened to his voicemail. Yes, a smile on my face. He called me! His message: he was sitting in his hotel in Las Vegas (his band was performing there) and he saw i had arrived back from Boulder. Wanted to hear about my trip.

I know! My smile grew even bigger and it felt so nice that someone called me just to see how I was. He was in Vegas on a Saturday night and called me. He could have texted or waited until he arrived back.

Back to my point if they call you it’s for you. It’s personalized just for you.

Conversations on the phone and in person are so personal. There’s tone, inflection, complete sentences and depth. No amount of emoji’s, elipses and punctuation can replace an actual vocal conversation. The best part about a phone conversation is you never have to watch those three dots start, stop and start again only to stop and leave you hanging!

Since I’m not a complete cold hearted message take-away-er here are some tips to help you ween off the addiction:

1) don’t go cold turkey: delete one app a week

2) only use messages for confirmations, out of state/country friends

3) start calling a friend or family member a week. Get used to talking on the phone again. You’ll start to crave that kind of communication

I know I’m getting brutally honest with you here. But, it’s for your own good. The person who treats you like the Royalty you are calls you on the phone.  Gets to know you. They take interest in what you are doing. I know it’s going to be tough to let those text conversations go. It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.

xx~LL

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Xx ~LL

Love Your Skin Now! 

LL recently wrote about Loving The Skin You’re In. I suggest you go read it, or re-read–spoiler, the article was about getting up and getting out and moving–but seriously, go read it!!! It’s VERY motivational! 

I want to reiterate that idea: Love the Skin You’re In! But I also want to remind you that you should love yourself now. Just as you are. Your body is like anything else in life: a result of choices; unique; amazing if you believe it is!
My body type is tall, curvy, overweight (according to BMI, I’m obese). I’m 6’1″ and people are in awe and at times jealous. I’ve made choices. I like to eat, and I love some exercise, but I don’t like to make time for it. This is ironic because LL is a pilates instructor, my roommate is a gym enthusiast (and just came home stating she dead lifted 200lbs–go, girl!), one of my best friends is a dancer and gym bunny, and another bestie is a trainer and a spin instructor. They ALL encourage me to get out and work out–and I admittedly make jokes and faces at them. What can I say–other things take priority.  Here’s me April 2015:
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Apple shaped–whenever I gain weight, I gain it all over–I have fought weight since hormones kicked in when I was a teenager. I have an crazily distorted body image (I forget I’m tall and just view myself as “big”). I’ve also learned how to dress myself so my squishy parts are camouflaged. When I was a teenager, I thought I was fat. I was a size 14 when most of the other girls were size 3s or 5s. Shopping in women’s sizes at 15 years old sucked. Pants and long sleeved things are always too short. I remember a specific incident when I shopped in the hip juniors fashion shop, bought a pair of Z Cavaricci shorts, that frankly barely hid my lower lady bits. I brought them home, and was immediately told to return them. I did–but for a pair exactly the same, but in a different color.  Those got returned as well, this time with parental figure towing me, and then a trip to JC Penney’s women’s section where I was bought bright coulattes–quite the opposite of what all kids my age were wearing. Needless to say, I was unhappy for so many reasons. As an adult, I mostly derive feeling I was fat. Probably because I insisted I was a 12, and the shorts that were too large were also too tight in the waist and I never wore them. I know that the phrase, “you’re too big for those shorts” was used for all unfortunate purchases during this incident. I’m pretty sure I gave up on myself sometime in high school. I know I tried again in my 20s to reimagine my body. But my body image has always been so distorted. My mind is a fun house mirror–the one that makes you look like Violet Beauregard AFTER she blows up like a blueberry. Every time I walk in front of the mirror, I hope I’ll see the other type of funhouse mirror–the one that stretches you and makes you look super tall and skinny.
Looking back at pictures from high school, I wasn’t ever that big. Tall yes. Round, no. I did get rounder as I got older. In fact at one point I was 270lbs–which on my frame was very plump. I struggled into size 20 pants. I was in a few plays around then so I know my measurements.  I was shocked when my waist took almost the entire measuring tape around my waist–56 inches.
I now walk as much as I can, I try to swim 2-3 times a week, and walk a little extra when I can. Even though I’m now down to a size 14, 223lbs, I’m just a little bigger than I was in high school, but I still have that distorted image of myself as Violet.
I’ve created a reality of my body that isn’t true. It is a daily wrestling match with my brain to actually know what I look like and to Love The Skin I’m In. It’s difficult. How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.
Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.
This is really hard–especially the first time. Because you are not allowed to pick yourself apart. The new TV show “Younger” Sutton Foster is about to go on a date and asks Debi Mazar about a “cleavage wrinkle”. To which Debi replies: women have such a distorted body image, stop creating issues that aren’t there.
Look at yourself. You beautiful snowflake!  Yes, there are things that could be changed, but the life you led and your genetics brought you to this. Don’t pick yourself apart for the first minute. Look at all body parts, all sides. Those oversized parts encompass joy. Those undersized parts are freedom. Those wrinkles are proof of wisdom.  Stretch marks show experience. Changing your body isn’t instant–even with surgery. Remember there is a healing process in THAT as well. Nothing is instant. The physical things you don’t like about yourself now took time to put there. I have my mother’s thighs and my father’s stomach. But I have MY memories–my friend’s birthday where we ate until our stomach’s hurt, my Christmas holiday in the Dominican Republic where French fries and margaritas were delivered to us on the beach, my dad’s pot roast whenever I’m home–my most favorite food. I have stretch marks on stomach and thighs to remind me of how unhappy I was at 270lbs and a reminder not to return to that–and I’m reminded to be happy at the 50 pounds I’ve lost.
Before you put your clothes back on, pick three things you really like about your body. It could be that you love your pinkie toenail on your right foot, it could be you love the shape of your belly button. Small details are ok. Hold on to the positives. When you start beating yourself up, use the three things you like as a mantra to remind yourself that you do possess beauty. You are a snowflake. Different. Beautiful!
Now, if you want to change things about yourself–DO!  But, unless you’re willing to actively and HEALTHILY work on yourself YOURE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN!  This negativity will only harm you more. Physically and mentally. Read this Danielle LaPorte article on positivity.
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To review:
1) Stop the negativity–towards your own body, and the bodies of others.
2) Get naked. Literally face the truth, your truth.
3) No matter what, find positivity about your body.
4) LOVE YOURSELF
5) Change it or don’t, just know you are the only one in control of how you look and feel.
…and someone hears Trumpets
Clare
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Art credit: Cheryl Richardson.