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Kraggh's Works ♫♪



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Romantic Things That Happen

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Relationships Sep 10 2016 · 273 views

:kaukau: When I first started college, I made an acquaintance.

Eventually, that acquaintance became a friend.

That friend became a member of my regular group of friends.

She then became a close friend, that I would invite to eat pizza with and stay up late talking about life and stuff like that with.

That close friend went on to become my best friend.

When we were finished with college, my best friend and I both made sure to stay in contact with each other.

I began to notice that this best friend of mine was incidentally very attractive (6'1", looked like a model, shared my passion for art, emotionally honest, intelligent), and that her descriptions of her ideal guy sounded suspiciously like me ("I feel really safe around you," "I want to marry a guy who's into adventure," etc.).

You can see where this is going. Naturally, this story ends with her dating a guy who's a lot like me except more successful at his job and more charismatic.

There are a few morals to this story. Firstly, I'm not a big believer that the fairytale romance is on-size-fits-all. I'm not referring to the old fairytale of love at first sight; I'm referring to the modern fairytale that all good romances start off as friendship. It works for some people, but it isn't for everybody. Some people can't really make the transition to dating because they don't want to sacrifice a friendship to make it happen. Others know right away when they're attracted to someone and can't start off as just friends, because it wouldn't be a real friendship when one party wants more.

Also, there's such a thing as taking a relationship too slowly, especially if you know that you're romantically interested. I know that it can be easy to start off as "friends" so that one can earn points toward leveling up, and that's not a good strategy. In my mind, that's being manipulative. Taking things too slowly could also be a sign that you're just too timid, or that your fear of rejection outweighs your earnestness to be in the relationship. If you take too long, the other person will eventually find someone else, so if you really want something, you darn well had better pursue it.

Finally, there's the moral about making things happen. One thing that some people like to claim is that relationships just happen naturally and that you can't make them happen. While agree that it's true that you shouldn't try to make something happen that wasn't meant to be, I otherwise strongly disagree with this principle. Every friendship that I have exists because I went out of the way to form them, because I took initiative and pursued them. The same ultimately has to happen with romantic relationships. They never just happen automatically, because at some point one of you two has to consciously redefine the relationship by asking the other out. My best friend wasn't just going to become my girlfriend by default just because our relationship kept on getting closer and closer, and the transition from friend to romantic partner isn't as seamless as the journey from casual acquaintance to friend. If I was really interested (and I had mixed feelings about the next step, so I wasn't), I would have to take the the very conspicuous next step of going out on a limb and taking that risk.

Anyway, that's all.


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My Worst Nightmare

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Relationships, Life Aug 15 2013 · 962 views

:kaukau: Last night I suffered my worst nightmare.  This is no figure of speech; I just had my worst nightmare, far exceeding any I have ever had before and eclipsing any I am likely to have since.
 
My grandmother is a lovely lady who has been providing and comforting me for a long time.  I'm very sad that I often do things wrong around her, that I often mess up her place and act immature around her when she wants the best for me.  I hate myself when I don't succeed in my life because I know that she wants me to be happy.
 
She doesn't have the favor of my sisters.  Being an overprotective neat-freak never helped her out a bit, and her quirks are naturally old-fashioned.  They don't get her and can't communicate with her, so they don't even bother.  I always wanted things to be better between her and them.  I also want for my future wife to be able to meet her.
 
If I could tell you all that she means to me, of all the goods and the evils of our relationship, then perhaps I could make you understand.  This might seem like any generic sob story, any generic nightmare, and the emotional pain might on the surface appear simple, but within the prism of my world, the trauma was both as simple as a block hole's singularity and as complex as the human genome.
 
The day was today, or so I thought it was.  I was unaware that I was dreaming.  What I was aware of were the events of yesterday, the call I had with my mother about making sure I sent in the forms for my job, a concern both she and my grandmother shared.  We had also talked about making sure that I got back on my anti-depressants, which I neglected ever since I partook in my independent RAGBRAI attempt.
 
I remember the words of my treacherous friend.  I still love him, but he refuses to accept that we're both in the same boat and eternally wretched people.  I remember how much it hurt for him to tell me that a real Christian would never suffer depression, and never feel a lingering sadness about the past.  What gave him the authority to claim I had no right to feel depressed?  What gave him the right to judge my past without knowing it?  He couldn't understand, so I did not tell him.  I do not know if I will ever tell him about my depression, or reveal to him just how broken I am because of it, for in my life I have rarely known happiness.  That unhappiness has officially become part of my story, part of who I am and what has identified me.
 
My mother heard the story of this friend.  Her support for me and her criticism of his bizarre claim comforted me.  What I did not tell her was what the woman in my life told me.  She was the only person outside of family I had ever told about my anti-depressants, for I had accidentally told her the moment I first met her.  I told her the truth again, that I went off of them.  What was her exact response?  Have I erased it from my memory?  Have I taken it from my past and cast it out among the stars?
 
"God will provide."
 
And I believed her.
 
It was so sweet, so encouraging.  She has a power over people, being social in just the right way that she can contagiously infect anyone with a sense that they must live up to her encouragement.  I regret that I was one of her victims.  I would never have biked fifty miles every day if it wasn't because she told me to "Go for it."  I would have never done RAGBRAI if she didn't tell me "Go for it."  I would have never biked three hundred miles from my mother's house to my father's house if she hadn't told me "Go for it."
 
This last venture I did without informing my mother, and I broke her heart and hurt her dearly when I called late at night to let her know I was not coming back from my bike trip.  A permanent wall went up between us, because she knew she could never trust me anymore.
 
So I never told my mother that I forwent my medication because that woman in my life believed in me.  Her belief worked for a time, while I was on an emotional high, but now that it has worn off, I find myself completely unproductive and incapable of focus, and now in my loneliness and despair I only know to make regular calls with my mother, who I choose not to tell of the woman's involvement, and my grandmother, who must see me hurt myself.
 
After my dream cycled through my memories, matters of mere fact, it began to invent the events of the next day, or today as it appears to me right now.
 
I was on the phone with my mother, taking out the trash in the garage.  As the garage door opened, my grandmother spotted me from the spot she sat attending her garden.  She came over to me, walking in the frail, careful way she walks.  I was still on the doorstep that bridged the garage with her kitchen, the step that she had often fallen off of and caused me great alarm.

 
"You went off of your anti-depressants?" she said.  What was that tone in her voice?  Was it confusion?  Concern?  Disapproval?  Disappointment?  Anger?  Fear?  My ear picked up what could have been each of these, which tells me that they were probably all there.  In any case, I knew one thing for sure, that I had hurt her, and that she was distressed.
 
It was plain by the look in her eye.  She saw for herself that her grandson, who she wanted to see live happily and whose love for him he would never even begin to fathom until he was sixty, who she protected and guided, to whom she had offered everything, had scorned a life of happiness, and with it, her love.  Suddenly I knew that this was something far greater than myself, and I felt black shame.
 
"No grandma, you don't understand," I pleaded.  I removed the phone from my ear.  My mother could wait a minute.  She would understand.  "Grandma, just let me explain.  Come here, Grandma, I'm fine.  I've been talking with Mom about it!"
 
As I approached her, I tried to give her a hug, but in an attempt to demonstrate my earnest intentions, I reached out to pad her shoulders with my hands.  "Grandma!  Grandma!  Grandma!"  Everything was not all right.  Everything was not all right.  Then, as I reached out to touch her, though she did not resist me, she was not prepared for my energy.  I did not violently push her.  It was not, strictly speaking, the physical act that drew her back.  I am sure that it was my blood that did it, the blood filled the veins in my hands, and it traced back to my imperfectly beating heart, which was as hard and heavy as stone.  With the density it gave me, something unstoppable - inevitable - happened, and I drove another nail between me and my precious Garden of Eden.
 
It was an accident, I swear.  Or was it?  Could it be that this was fully and entirely my fault?  Did I not just say myself that this was inevitable?  No, it wasn't like that!  We were walking toward each other, and all I wanted to do was to tell her that it was all right, that I was truly sorry and I would stop hurting myself like this.  I had wanted to tell her so bad, and if only I hadn't wanted it too much.  We were shaking, out of balance.  It was like taking a wrong step in a complicated dance.  Some sort of energy passed between my grandma and me, something that came from my heart.  My blood, my hands.  Nails, Eden.  My actions were gentle, but my state of mind was not.  In my soul, I was frantic, desperate.  What had I done?  What had I done?  What had I done?
 
She fell backward.  In my slowness, I failed to react.  I was too busy selfishly pitying myself to make the connection in time.  By instinct, I knew, long before it actually happened.  With my emotions, with my intellect, and with my soul, I knew.  If only I knew it with my body.  Had my soul been healthy, would it have made any difference?  Would I have reacted sooner?
 
I tried diving in time, but something was wrong with my coordination.  In the last split second, some heightened awareness informed me of vibrations heading through the air as her head cracked against the pasty white concrete, and I could acutely determine that her fragile skull received a shock wave along its length, causing it to flex and sway subtly in the way that mankind's greatest architectural achievements were designed to, but an old, weary human head was never meant to.  With even more precision still, I detected further, even subtler vibrations coming from deeper within, even as they passed through the trembling mass of her crown.  I knew in intimate detail, subconsciously, that a large vein in the back of her head snapped, and that the sickening crack that I heard was the sound of irreparable damage done to the most important organ of her body.
 
Nestled against her final pillow, I fell over her.  Too late.  She was still alive - I could feel it in the palm of my hand as I picked up her head -  but just barely.  She wouldn't hand on long enough for an ambulance to arrive.  Nobody could save her.
 
My lips kept on uttering the word "No!" even though it ceased to have meaning in my mind.  At first I said it at a frantic pace, as if I had done something wrong that I could take back, as if saying it enough times would cause my past self from two seconds ago to hear me and change this most damning present before it even happened, or had I said it soon enough and fervently enough I could bring my grandmother's forgiveness, which would magically undo the damage she received.  Then, when the truth settled in, I screamed it.  It would have disturbed my cousin from where she sat sewing in the house, and the neighbors and the morning joggers.  Let them hear.  The rest of the world didn't matter.  The stars could be blotted out, the voices of the angels silenced, the greens of the field burnt, and the solitude of the churches torn down.  They didn't matter anymore.
 
"It was some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead."
 
How, then, shall I comfort myself, the murder of all murderers?  What was more loving and more deserving of love than all I have ever known has bled to death in my hand.  Who will wipe this blood off me?  What water is there for me to clean myself?  What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall I have to invent?  Is not the greatness of this deed too great for me?  Must I myself not become God simply to appear worthy of it?  There has never been a greater deed, you know, and whoever came after me when they heard my cries, having witnessed the deed, will have seen a man more precisely aware of exactly who he was than any philosopher could ever dream.
 
I did not wake right away.  This nightmare continued to burden me throughout the night, seeping into my other dreams as if it was an actual memory, continuing to define the narratives of my other phantasms.  When I woke up, it was nearly noon, and I had slept twelve hours, just as I did when I first needed to go on anti-depressants.  Later that day -  as I wasted my time away, lacking all focus and sense of time, discovering only that my depression restored my ability to write, just as John Forbes Nash discovered that his mathematical genius was at its brightest when he dealt with his schizophrenia head-on - the haunting words of Friedrich Nietzsche came to me as I looked back upon my worst nightmare.
 
"I have come too early; my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves."
 
 




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The Closet

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships Jul 24 2013 · 1,780 views
CONTROVERSEY!!!
:kaukau: There is a conversation I really need to have with my father.  Mainly, I will be travelling down to Sioux City a week from now, and I want to take a car so I can bring my sisters with.  There's someone I want them to meet, and vice versa.
 
I don't have a car; my father does.  Ever the compliant one, he absolutely will not let us use his stuff, and gave a flat "no."  I wonder if I should explain to him exactly what's going on, but I'm afraid.
 
See, a couple of days ago I mentioned the term "closet heterosexual", and people took that completely the wrong way.  To me, that's not a joking term.  I was dead serious, because I would use that term to describe myself sometimes.  Sexuality goes over my head, and at times I'm afraid to own up to it, afraid to admit that it influences my agendas.  My father has demonized me before for being interested in otherwise very constructive activities because he perceived me as having a certain hidden social agenda.
 
Yet, there's something I'm very serious about.  There are things that I want to do with my life, and I have a mission.  It goes a bit over my head, and so many ways it's a two person job.  I think I met someone who shares my life mission.
 
I feel I ought to be able to tell him, and yet for the stupidest reasons I'm afraid, and these reasons are very unfair.  They shouldn't even exist.  Why should I be afraid to tell him?  There's nothing to be ashamed of here.  Yet, I know that he will belittle me for no reason.
 
This isn't high school anymore.  I'm not heads over heals, dominated by irrational emotions.  This isn't some infatuation or emotional dependency.  These objectives fit into a larger picture that, for once, I can see, and I have learned now that there's no such thing as failure and that if one objective fails, it's just a window to more opportunities.  So I can live with this not working out, in spite of how good this looks to be at the present.  I can say that I'm in a healthy state of mind.
 
It just hurts that he never took me seriously when it mattered the most.  He likely will not take me seriously now.  That hurts, and I'm afraid.  Which is incredibly, incredibly stupid.
 
I always laughed at the concept of the closet.  I thought it was ridiculous, because I didn't care about being socially ostracized.  That had been my reality all my life, so I learned to roll with it.  I didn't hold back, didn't bother hiding who I was, and threw shyness to the wind.  Yet, it's pretty different with parents.  They hold a certain power over you.  You can't just walk up to them and be the alpha male.  You can't turn your unique personality into a vessel for leadership, because so long as you're within their household, the parents are the heads.
 
And I have to admit, when I'm serious about something like this, a relationship that could potentially influence the rest of my life if it works out, getting belittled by one of the most significant people in my life hurts.  I hate being sensitive to that.  I've never been sensitive before.  The way I grew up, I only new insults and derision.  My father had a way of actively attacking my self-esteem in order to toughen me up, so I toughened up.  Grew rhinoceros skin.  When I had bullies beat me up every day at school and emotionally abuse me, he told me to deal with it, and eventually I found ways of controlling this world more than it controlled me.  And I'm still not the son he wanted.
 
So I developed this "don't deal it if you're not willing to take it."  My negative sense of humor, my tendency to get people going and tick people off, my habit of messing with people, all became rather normal.  Though I never insulted anyone for their relationships, because that's the one thing I haven't learned to take.  There have been so many times that I looked down on people who couldn't handle bullying, or who seemed hypersensitive, and I provoked them for laughs, because that's how I was raised.  I still think that there are a lot of hypersensitive people out there who could toughen up, but on certain levels I'm understanding.
 
There was one a college student.  He was gay.  He and his lover were kissing in an apartment, and someone took pictures from the window and leaked them all over the internet.  That man committed suicide.  We could look at this from the perspective of problems homosexuals have to face, but I read this from an article written by Leonard Pitts, Jr., who had the good sense to back up and see this from a much more meaningful perspective.  He asked you to imagine if this had been a man kissing a woman.  Having an intimate moment like that interrupted and degraded would hurt just as much.  The end result could very well have been the same.  This was a problem of society not knowing to respect a person's boundaries, and not valuing basic human decency.
 
What I took away from this is that when it comes to their relationships, to those things that are very intimate to people, it's completely understandable that they'd be far more sensitive than usual.  So I begin to understand the closet.  I expect people have powerful, commanding personalities worthy of alpha status, and yet I am learning to forgive them for the hardship of hiding the more intimate areas of their lives.  Even the great leaders of our society, from political officials to military generals, clamp up when it comes to their family life.  Everyone lives in the closet to some extent.  For that, I forgive them, and I sympathize with them.  I wish it wasn't that way, and for those who live a closeted life from those who they should trust the most, I pray for you.
 

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The Business of Love

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships Nov 01 2012 · 903 views

:kaukau: The misconception that a marriage is supposed to be happily ever after has fortunately been snuffed out. The common couple now knows that there will be arguments and disagreements in a marriage, even moments where passions leave them.

If this is all good, why do I feel that there is still something missing? Alas, I think it is because there's still some misconception about the type of people we marry. All too often, important matters of opinion are overlooked in favor of the passion of the moment. Religion, politics, money, and parenting aren't always the first discussions people have, and the last one in particular is a subject that's difficult to talk about without breaching the illusion of a platonic friendship. Yet, they should certainly be known before the committed relationship of marriage. Why, people might ask, should this matter if there are going to be arguments anyway? In my view, a marriage isn't necessarily about the fulfillment of feelings so much as it is about having a stable, positive relationship that produces something worth while. As much as I'd like to say that love is irrational, another part of me - the old man part - tells me that it's pragmatic.

So the strange analogy that my mind came up with, which was quite jarring at first, is that a marriage is sort of like a business deal. The wife comforts the husband's soul and the husband guards the wife's heart, but what are heart and soul for? When I think of my heart and soul, I don't think of emotions and feelings. I think of my will. So maybe loving someone isn't about falling heads over heals over them, or feeling them tug at your heartstrings, neither of which are behaviors that can truly be explained, but rather about things that can be explained. Like real world results. Like a bottom line in business.

Then I begin to think of my selfish desires. Think of the previous entry, A Bundle of Likes and Quirks, where it was established that people are far more than their personality traits, and that it's wrong to fall in love with those ideas, because the pragmatic objective of love is to care for a person. So what does it say about me if I find myself strangely attracted to someone and liking them on a sincere level. What does that say about me? Is liking someone the primary requirement for a relationship? Yet I wonder, based on my philosophy, if that's wrong, if I should be concerned at all with my feelings about the person, or if I should judge whether or not a relationship is worth pursuing based upon where it will go. I also called these initial urges selfish. Why? Once I think about it, basing love off of attraction is basically saying "I will be selfless so long as it benefits me", a contradiction. In the case of attraction, "love" is easy. What happens when love no longer feels desirable? What does that say about us with regards to our place among other human beings?

It seems to be that love should be an uphill battle. It shouldn't be easy; it shouldn't be convenient. it is, after all, the act of selfless giving, and selflessness is against our nature since by definition we can't be anything but ourselves. You truly have to make some sacrifices and go out of your comfort zone, all the while expecting nothing in return.

By these standards, a romantic relationship requires both parties to be strong. Imagine the man, a saint, and the woman, an altruist. After establishing their hearts and souls, they should be quite secure and in fact in no need whatsoever of each other. Yet, they go against their nature and choose, even if it might be odd, to give each other their love. Since they don't need each other, there's no needy desire for the other, although there is a desire to make the relationship work. After all, the relationship is an important tool for utilizing love. It's a business deal, and the couple are in the business of loving.

It's a heavy thought, and a bit jarring. For quite some time, all I have known has been the surreal pleasure of admiring someone's qualities, I've had my heart broken and I think I need to look for something else, something that will work, and one of the primary things I think I need to do is to love wisely and not look for something that feels right but something that's going to work. Or even better, I should stop looking. That old man in me keeps on saying "Son, just be a man," and since he's my senior, I respect him and have to admit he's right. So for now, it's best that I just do what I can for humanity without an agenda for myself, graduate from college, potentially join the army or air force, and when I'm ready and established accept a relationship the world will be better off for.

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The Roommate Connection

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life, Relationships, School Aug 20 2012 · 433 views
school, life
:kaukau: This doesn't come as a surprise to me, since I've seen it happen to others and people who have experienced it have told me that you feel as if you've known someone your entire after a few hours of being their roommate, but nevertheless, this is still the first time I have actually experienced it for myself as a reality instead of just an idea.

It's not the same as high school friendships. Heck, what is? The relationships I had in high school were built over the course of eight years, spanning over several stages in my life from my preteen years to my early adult life. It can't be replaced. Yet that doesn't mean that all successive friendships are inferior. In all my high school history, I was never invited to hang out after school. My social wasn't day-in/day-out, just day-in, and with the exception of my cousin these relationships didn't extend beyond the walls of education.

The friends I've made in college are people I will come back to after my classes and get to know more in my spare time. I will actually live with some of them, and we will share the same home. It's a more adult relationship. It's about a bunch of guys being in the same boat and creating roommate agreements that they carry through with. And really, I am sure that I will do things that I wished I could have done with my high school friends, such as hang out and have our nights out, doing whatever we think will be entertaining. I also look forward to the many friends I will be making in the clubs that I will be joining as I begin to discover people with similar interests and energies.

It's not a replacement for high school friendship. As a matter of fact, I still think that for a long time I will still consider my best friend from high school to be my best friend, even from a long distance. I will arrange to meet him on the holidays and I hope that we're still there for each other over our lifetimes. He was the one person in high school who was close to a college friend, because at times our personal lives would intersect and we would lend each other helping hands. I'm not an old man yet, so I can't say what means the most to me yet. Nostalgia might win me over in time, as it usually does. My all-time best friend, in my mind, is still my first one, the teenage young woman who was nice to me when I was a broken eight-year-old child of divorced parents.

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A Jumble of Likes and Quirks

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships Aug 03 2012 · 756 views
wisdom, relashionships
:kaukau: I said in an earlier entry to view individuals as a people, not personalities. I was browsing through blogs and the below quote stood out to me as a significant way of illustrating what I was talking about. The subject matter was something called a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and this particular example was the lead female character in the romantic comedy/drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Clementine works because she’s real. She is a Manic Pixie Girl*, but she’s also a Woman. She’s bouncing off those all-important Expectations to create herself. There’s more to her than quirks and likes. She’s self-aware, and has a history, and a life outside of Carrey’s Joel. She’s contradictory, something underlined by the sharp cuts between distant timeframes. She is a person.



But no-one knows that better than Clementine:


“Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a [messed]-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours.”


*The other Manic Pixie Dream Girls mentioned by the author were Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Summer Finn ((500) Days of Summer), Juno MacGuff (Juno), and Sam (Garden State).

A strong reminder to everyone seeking romance: I know that everyone's seeking someone with an ideal personality, who's interested in all the same things that engage you. I sure as heck want to end up with a nerd who likes Superman the same way I do and wears ties so as to challenge conventional female fashion, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to get it, and ultimately I'm in love with the personality, not the real person. If all I'm after is a bunch of quirks and personality traits, I might as well get myself a convincing imaginary girlfriend, because there's no point in loving someone if all I'm doing is enjoying her personality. To me, that's the same thing as wanting to make out with someone just because she's pretty.

Merida


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Levels Of Intimacy

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships May 24 2012 · 410 views
wisdom, relationships
:kaukau: Now that I have formulated theories on the four levels of personal reality and the nature of love in marriage, it is natural to see how these similar ideas connect.

If we suppose that humans exist spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically in that order, then it is logical that love, being a universal ideal that brings purpose to human existence, should have a place in all four.

I have stated before that it is most important that this comes from the spirit, for this is where the soul and true content of character lies. When love comes from the spiritual level, it is a decision that we make, conscious and eternal. When love is applied to the deepest part of the self, the individual finds his or her center beyond himself or herself, thus becoming selfless by definition. It is this form of love that we as human beings should have toward all of our counterparts.

Within the context of a marriage, however, this love should influence the three lower, sensual forms of existence.

Intellectual Intimacy

The first is the intellect, where we sense reason, knowledge, and the branch of knowledge called understanding. Through intellect, it is the function of love to appreciate everything about the spouse. While anyone can gather enough knowledge to realize how fundamentally precious every human is whether we love them or not, loving knowledge entails that we prize and admire what we find in other people, physically, emotionally, intellectually, and especially spiritually. Through the intellect we come to understand better what it is we love about about our spouse and why we love him or her, which makes love all the more beautiful.

It's like reading a book. Dr. Faber in Fahrenheit 451 that what makes books significant is "quality of information, leisure to digest it," and most importantly, "the ability to act on what you just read". Yes, we can read someone like a book, and we must also appreciate what we learned and understand its relevance, but it doesn't mean anything unless this wisdom is used appropriately. Our knowledge of each other should be utilized to better each other's physical, emotional, and intellectual needs for the sake of the spirit.

Emotional Intimacy

The second is the emotional. Intellectual intimacy will surely lead to an emotional attachment after enough "leisure to digest". Most people are familiar with the sensations of a pleasurable or otherwise desirable emotional bond. Speaking from experience, I've known the sensation of happiness when my inamorata was happy, which was pleasurable, and sadness when she was sad, which wasn't pleasurable but nevertheless desirable. There is also the emotional longing connected to the other person, caused because of a significant liking of that person (which is an emotional experience) and completed when he or she likes us in return.

As it happens, this isn't necessarily healthy, even though it's labeled as pleasurable and/or desirable. I know the experience of obsession, which is an intellectual and emotional phenomena. It results from emotional dependency and repetitive, unproductive thoughts. I think the reason why obsession is often confused with love is because it focuses in on one individual, separating them from the rest of the crowd and forming him or her into someone special. The obsessor starts off by admiring some trait or combination of traits in the obsessee, and becomes fascinated with it. The obsessor recognizes that these qualities make the other person special, but gets too caught up in admiring them (intellectual obsession) and wanting them (emotional dependency). Obsession leads to the conclusion that the obsessee must appreciate the obsessor in return to complete him or her, or accept the obsessor's feelings.

Should this be reached and the two people become a couple engaged in mutual emotional intimacy, the sensation of liking the other person and feeling emotionally comfortable around each other can be misleading. The pleasure of emotional intimacy is mistaken for love because they're both good things in and of themselves that leave us feeling complete because we're thinking of someone else instead of ourselves.

Love changes emotions. It is possible for love to be an emotion, or rather, for emotions to be loving. It is important in more intimate relationships, such as that of marriage, that emotions are shared and that there is a desire for each other, but it should be fueled by the intellectual appreciation and spiritual love that come before it. The emotions between lovers will not always align, but love alters the intellect to form trust, which is what guides couples through arguments and moments of discord.

The emotional sense of love will not always be around in any prolonged relationship. There are times where two people can become bored or angry with each other. There are times when one cannot relate with the feelings of the other. Yet because of love, there will always be a deep comfort between two individuals that keeps them connected, even when it's not apparent, since the other person invariably does complete us and form our other half.

Physical Intimacy

The third and final form of intimacy is the physical, which is a characteristic reserved exclusively for the area of romance. In spite of conventional wisdom that beauty is irrelevant, in a romantic relationship it is important that there should be a physical attraction between two people. The attraction won't always be there, but a physical comfort should.

Love should define the way physical attraction is perceived. While it is nice to look into someone's eyes and kiss, it only has meaning if it helps the individual to further appreciate his or her spouse. I see it as a tool, a device for stimulating growth in emotional and intellectual intimacy. He or she is also beautiful because you love him or her, so therefore it stands to reason that a person's physical presence becomes an avatar and an analogue for everything else you see in him or her. It's a dim reflection of the inner beauty underneath, but physical attraction still serves its purpose by being an occasional reminder of what we see in each other as we come to associate our physical appearances with what it means for him to be him or her to be her.

Conclusion

I mention physical attraction last because it's the least dramatic, and hopefully we've seen how each of these levels of attraction scales down in a hierarchy of significance. Within the context of marriage, they're all important, but to varying degrees, and I believe that each exists to support the next step on the scale. Love, meanwhile, makes its way down the scale from the soul. While love itself is a choice and not the same thing as appreciation, comfort, and attraction, it applies itself through them.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh


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Character In A Marriage

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships May 19 2012 · 579 views
life, wisdom
:kaukau: Character is Key. Character is King.

To follow up on my last entry, it is necessary to spend more than a brief paragraph describing the most important quality in any spouse. I believe that adults who choose to engage in the act of marriage should be ready for the supreme test of maturity that it entails. It is at this point where people have to remember that the most important thing they can look for is content of character.

Let's face it. Marriage starts off exciting, but then gets boring and descends into the hectic life of taking care of family matters. Pretty soon, there's no "me" time, especially for the unfortunate wife (which, being on the opposite end of the spectrum, makes me feel guilty). There are verbal abuse, arguments, disagreements, times when compromise is hard. It's not easy.

The thing about love is that it shouldn't be easy. The moment it gets easy, you know that something's wrong. It's in the nature of humanity to be self-centered. Going beyond our center defies nature, so finding a center beyond ourselves will always be an uphill battle. The love that comes from marriage should be above mere bodily passion, emotional need, or intellectual conclusion. The passions of the body are fleeting and shallow. Emotions are never as deep as they seem. The intellect is merely a conscious awareness and understanding of our place. The love of which I speak must come directly from the human spirit. Only such a love can truly be considered timeless and immortal, and it transcends the limited dimensions of the sensations previously mentioned. It is the one love that truly is committed, patient, and unfailing.

Love is a choice we make, not a feeling. The feeling of love can be easily directed toward one individual. However, in order to truly be a loving person, it cannot be contained within a closed relationship and should find its place within the larger picture of the universe itself. It is not something directed only to one person, but shared with everyone. The truly loving person must find their center in every person they come across. If someone cannot love in this manner, how can his or her spouse expect this much in return? A person lacking in this love toward everyone will not be able to bring it into marriage, only the illusions of bodily, emotional, and intellectual love. It is not who you are underneath, not your feeling or your thoughts, but your actions that define you. This shows the true content of character, the character that one person will eventually love and marry.

Therefore, love everyone. Love, because it is good. Have a love for goodness for its own sake. Do this, and you will be the best you can be, and people will find family in you.

Your Honor,
Emperor Kraggh


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My Top 10 Priorities In Marriage

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Wisdom, Relationships, School May 15 2012 · 1,025 views
school, wisdom, life
This entry was a school assignment, but its content has been edited from its original form so as not to break BZPower's guidelines on religion, which it had at first broken profusely.

#1. Love of a higher ideal. We must be able to love all of the world beyond ourselves with all our hearts and all our minds and all our souls. Our belief in good will inspire the best out of us, and we will learn to love all of the world and follow our moral convictions.

#2. Love of self. By loving creation, we will also come to love ourselves and fully appreciate the beautiful people we have been made to be. We all want to be loved for who we are, but first we must understand who that is and why we're lovable. We will have little doubt in our identity and know what it is our partner should see in us. It's an important sign of maturity, for even though it is impossible to rid ourselves completely of insecurities, we must still both be free of the general category of "insecure person" and be at peace with ourselves.

#3. Love for each other. I must love her and she must love me. It cannot be a mere physical love, nor can it be just an emotional love or even an intellectual love. All these things wax and wane with time. The love must come from the spirit, for it must be a choice that comes from our hearts. It is an unchanging commitment that's part of what defines us. We will have a deep appreciation of each other as human beings and see each other clearly. Because we love each other, we will remain committed to being selfless for each other, even though at times we won't be very good at it. Our commitment to each other should provide a focus for our faith.

#4. Mutual dedication to ideals. We must not be afraid to hold each other accountable for living out our beliefs, and we ought to be able to carry them out together, for love consists not of gazing into each other's eyes but rather of looking in the same direction. We must always look in the same direction, and our relationship should be defined by our mutual selfless desires. Through this mutual struggle (for it will be a struggle, no doubt), we will fulfill the meaning of marriage, "to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become who [they were meant] to be: their deepest and truest selves."

#5. Real intellectual connection. The reality is within the mind. If two people unite to become one, their individual realities must become as real to each other as their own. Even though my wife's reality will never be my own, it will nonetheless be equally as real. Part of what will bring this about is an equal intellectual playing field. I am constantly in deep thought with no off switch. It's not a small reality, but rather a giant universe within my head. It's painful that I can't share all of my thoughts with people without them being a little intimidated. I want to marry someone who won't be intimidated by that, but rather have a universe in her own head as well that she's willing to share with me. For the life of me, I cannot imagine marrying someone who doesn't understand me when I think I've stumbled upon something more profound. Otherwise, how can we truly appreciate each other if one of us cannot fathom the other. There has to be that connection, that recognition where we're able to quote C.S. Lewis and proclaim "You, too? I thought I was the only one!"

#6. Enthusiasm for each other's professions. I'm a writer. It's part of what defines me. I have a long-term relationship going on with this passion, and it's a commitment I'm willing to make. If it's part of who I am, then it's of fundamental importance that the person who loves me also loves my profession. I want someone who's going to give me support and inspiration in my writings, and thinks that what I do is cool. I can talk with her about my writings. I need someone with whom I can talk about these things for the rest of my life so that I don't go crazy. Preferably, she will be a writer as well, which is likely considering that I get attracted to women who express interest in authoring books. Her exact interests shouldn't mirror mine, however, since that's a major problem. Rather, our passions should be complementary, so that we can fill the areas in which the other lacks.

#7. A broad set of shared values. Faith is of utmost importance, but then there's politics, financial strategies, family planning, parenting strategies, and so forth. For many of these, we should also know where to compromise when we don't align, especially in the arena of parenting, where we will naturally present ourselves differently to our children.

#8. Willingness to communicate. I'd love to have a person with whom I could talk to about anything, and of whom I could ask anything. In return, she can talk to me about anything, and I can answer any of her questions. There will certainly be times of tension, times where we don't want to say all of our feelings because we know that the other will disagree, but in general this will be a person I can talk with, and engage in real conversation.

#9. Best friends. I want a wife, but more than that, I want a best friend. Far too many times in life I've entertained the prospect of gaining good friends, only our relationships were never important enough that it became a priority. The friends I made in eight years of going to the same school will be long gone when we go to separate colleges. Sometime I'm going to have to put my foot down. I want a friend who's path in life is fundamentally intertwined in mine. I want a friend who is going to be there for the rest of my life no matter where I go. I want a friend I can dedicate myself to without feeling ashamed. I want a friend who sometimes feels like the other half of me, the person who completes me. I want someone who, no matter what, I can think of as my best friend, if nothing else.

#10. She does not remind my too much of my mother. I love her, but I'm not about to marry someone like her. As for who I do or don't remind my wife of, I can't speak for her needs.


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I'm Crying

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life, Relationships, School May 14 2012 · 335 views
life, school
Dear Blog,
I just got done opening a couple dozen letters left behind for me after my graduation party. Before working on them, I got out a sheet of paper to write down who to sent thank-you letters to. I would also write down what to thank them for.

Before going through these letters, I was depressed for various reasons, most of them having to do with relationships. I've always been a little awkward and have found it hard to feel that my friends supported me. I wanted to spend more time with them, but I'm graduating.

The letters made me cry as I realized how much I am loved. My favorite letter was from a good friend. It contained no money, no gifts, just a simple message.

Congratulations, Mono!

Thanks for all the memories! We have had many good times. Stay in touch and don't forget about me!

Love,....................................

Best prom date EVER!

"AKA: Emma Hayes"


What happened next is hard to explain. I cried. I simply, plainly, openly, unabashedly cried. Tears had been making their way down my cheeks for several minutes, but this time I needed to stop to take the time to let them flow.

I've never cried tears of joy before. Nothing's ever touched me like this. Nobody's ever gone out of their way to write me a letter telling me that I'm appreciated. Guys, I can't express myself enough here. This is one of the best feelings I've ever had.

Sincerely,
Monosmith






Me

Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: People literally don't have names in my family
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, Quarter Hungarian, Eighth Swedish, Sixteenth German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, drawing
Political Caucus: Iowa Republicans
Religion: Christian
Language: Iowegian

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