Something About the Ocean

The sound of crashing waves echoed through the night. The ocean churned, rushing for the shore and touching the sand before being pulled back out to sea. It kept up it’s constant rhythmic breathing all through the night and into the early morning.

HeavenlyAs the sun rose the ocean waves continued to crash. In the light of day the rolling, tossing sea could be seen. The water curled, crashed, whitewash spraying as it advanced toward the shore. And the ocean never stopped breathing. No matter the time of day the soothing sound of the ocean could be heard.

The hotel sat on the boardwalk, facing the ocean. Every night I fell asleep to the crashing waves and every morning I woke to them. The salty sea air blew in through the open screen door and some mornings I was torn between staying in bed and getting up. But the ocean always called me, pulled me, and I wanted nothing more then to be down on that beach before it became crowed with the day’s beach-goers. So, really, there was never a choice to be made.

Every morning I walked the beach with my camera. I took pictures and collected shells. The water was so rough that it was difficult to find one that wasn’t broken, but even the broken and chipped ones were beautiful. I walked under the pier, continued along the shoreline and dragged by toes in my water that would rush up and over my feet. There were only a few times where I walked in deep. (Once I walked in up to my knees and a wave came and pushed water up my shorts. I laughed, not really caring, and knowing Sand, Shells and Stonesthat my pockets were already full of sand from the shells I had picked up.)

There was a place on that beach where it seemed all the shells would wash up. Some were broken, some were shattered, some were in one piece. I had never seen anything like it, but where there should be sand there was a stretch of shells. They laid on the beach like a blanket. There was no way around them so I had to walk on them. I didn’t mind. I was looking for shells. Plus, the way the sun was bouncing off the surface made the shells look like they were glistening.

One day, I went down with my camera, but instead of walking along the water’s edge like all the other mornings, I climbed into a lifeguard stand and simply watch and listened. There’s something about the ocean. Time stops. The crashing waves wash away all worries, if only for a moment. Waves barrel and rush toward the shore, keeping the sound of rhythmic breathing. The smell of saltwater and the gentle sea breeze while the sun warms your skin is wonderful. It pulls me, like two opposite ends of a magnet coming together. Much like the ocean always find the shore, I can’t resist the ocean. There’s something about the ocean and I wonder, even though I’ve written about it many times, if there’s any words to truly do it justice.

And I can’t forget about the boardwalk with it’s many shops and eateries. I love the soft pretzels and how their always warm, the funnel cake and all its confectionery sugar and I think I found one of the best pizza places the boardwalk has to offer. One place I always go is the taffy shop. I’ve tried a lot of different taffy in my lifetime, but Ocean City, NJ has Evening Wavesthe best. (They also have really good chocolate.) There’s also two arcades and two or three amusement parks, one which has been around since 1929. For shopping, there’s even more stores in town which are worth exploring.

The ocean is one of my favorite places in the world. To me, the ocean is many things – feisty, calming, dangerous, strong, beautiful, alive. It’s one of the places I want to go to find peace. The reasons are almost indescribable, but it’s natural, like the rushing of waves to the shore. I also believe the ocean is one of the purest places on earth.

To see more pictures from Ocean City, NJ please check out my photo page by clicking here.

Crossroads

Life is not only made up of moments, but a series of choices. And maybe it’s our choices that help define these moments. It’s like the Domino Effect – each choice affects the possibilities of the next choice and so on.

Recently, I had to make a tough decision. I had to decide if I was going to stay at my day job or leave to pursue my passion. There were so many reasons to stay, but an equal number of reasons to leave. In the end, my gut told me leaving was the right choice, but in the back of my mind I still felt like I was, somehow, letting people down and leaving people behind. In the time I had been there, I made friends and built bonds. And it was the little things I always did that I thought of when I put myself in the shoes of those I felt like I was leaving behind, disappointing, because it’s those little things that are noticed once they’re not done any longer. I’m not only talking about the work related things, but also the jokes I would tell, my silly ways when people were having a bad day, being there for people to talk to or vent to, being a cheerleader for some, the laughs – simply being there. But it wasn’t just the things I did for other – it’s the things others did for me. (Maybe, sometimes, without even realizing it.)

No one said life was going to be easy. (Although, I have a theory on this – maybe life is easy and we, as human beings, complicate things.) There’s no manual, no easy button, no hints or clues on how to live life. It’s something we all figure out as we go.

I always thought, and still do, that the people who are my friends and who truly care about me will follow. That is, I’ve always thought that those are the ones who will stay in touch. Sure, it might take a little extra effort, but, really, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll admit that things may be a little different, but I’m still me and I’m not going anywhere. All I’m doing is following my passion.

So here’s what it comes down to – don’t ever be afraid to follow your passion. It might seem scary, the road may seem unsure, but don’t ever be afraid to pursue what you love. Don’t be afraid of leaving people behind or disappointing them because those who care about you will always support you.

You Are Beautiful

“You should feel beautiful and sexy all on your own.”

That’s what I was told.

And I’ve never forgotten it.

The truth is, or maybe it’s the sad truth, that I’ve never really thought of myself as beautiful or sexy or special in any way, as far as looks go. At least, not when I was younger. Of course I’ve always had confidence in myself and other aspects of life (and I’ve always loved my eyes), but physical appearance is, sometimes, completely different.
In a world that seems to place standards on beauty and how women and men should look, it can, at times, be difficult to feel comfortable in our own skin. We nitpick the things we dislike about ourselves. We think about the things that we believe need fixing. We hunger for the approval of others. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, or who has felt this way. And I’m fairly certain that we’ve all, at least once in our lives, have seen someone who is a complete stranger to us and thought – “They are so much better looking then I am.” or “I wish I looked like them.”

Now that I’m older and have gained a little more perspective, I believe we’re all beautiful in our own way. That’s part of what makes us unique. And there’s many ways to be beautiful. It’s not just physical beauty, but our inner beauty and the humble confidence we carry in ourselves.

Over time I’ve realized that I am beautiful. It’s not ego or vanity. Those who know me best will tell you that I’m down-to-earth and low maintenance. No, I’ve learned to feel and see myself as beautiful in my own way. Not only that, but I have a new confidence that I didn’t have when I was younger. In the end, I’ve learned to loved myself.

It’s true – “you should feel beautiful and sexy all on your own” – and you shouldn’t need a man or a woman or the validation of a stranger or even your friends or family. Please don’t misunderstand. Of course compliments are nice (and always welcomed) and it’s wonderful to be (and feel) desired, but you should always be proud to be who you are and embrace it.

Those words still resonate with me today and I know it’s something I’ll always remember.

I only wish the person who told me this so long ago would take their own advice.

After all, we’re all beautiful in our own way.

Love

I used to think that love must be the best feeling in the world. There’s so many strong examples of it in my life – my grandparents, my parents, my cousins and even my brother and his girlfriend. Then, about a year ago, I experienced it for myself.

It was the first time I had ever fallen in love. It was the fist time I had ever found a man worth giving my heart. And it wasn’t some silly schoolgirl crush type of love. It was real. During that time, I realized that love truly is a wonderful feeling.

This past weekend I attended my cousin’s wedding. For a long time I knew they loved each other so, eventually, the news of a wedding was no surprise. After all, a wedding is a celebrating of love and the union of two people. So I watched as they exchanged their vows. I watched the way they looked at each other, the way they held each other, the way they danced with each other and the way they laughed with each other. I simply watched the way they interacted with each other.

And that’s when I understood.

While love is a wonderful feeling, it’s only one of the best emotions a person can feel. To love someone and have that person return that love must be one of the best feelings as well. To love someone, have that love returned and for two people to love each other so deeply to the point that they want to spend the rest of their lives with each other – now that also must be one of the best feelings.

I was close once, but the love I gave wasn’t reciprocated in the same way. At least, not in the end. That doesn’t mean I’m quitting on love. None of us should give up. I firmly believe that there’s someone out there for all of us. I believe that we’re all deserving of that feeling called love – to love and be loved.

No Regrets

I’m fairly confident in saying that we’ve all been there. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all felt our hearts bursting into a million pieces. We’ve all felt our hearts swell with love. We’ve all made connections with others and, in some cases, created bonds. We’ve all had experiences that have helped shape us as well as grow. It all blends into this lovely, chaotic thing called life.

This man. This wonderful man. Despite everything, I wouldn’t give up my time with him for anything in the world. I believe he’s one of the good ones. Whether he sees this letter or not, he already knows everything that’s in it (and more) I’m sure. After all, he lived it.

Dear Handsome,

I love you.

I finally told you and hear I come to find out that after all this time you already knew. I often wondered if you did and there were so many times I wanted to tell you, where I almost did, but I never said the words because I was always afraid it would scare you away. I’m a big believer in if you feel it then say it, but I had never felt it before…until you.

Everything I’ve ever told you, I’ve meant every word. You know and remember the things I’ve said. You know and remember the things I’ve done, the things we’ve done. You know I’m a sincere person. You know me.

So now…where are we now? Some of it still doesn’t make sense. I’m not putting the blame on anyone, but part of me thinks that sometimes you weren’t fair to me or to yourself. But the past is the past and we can’t change that, not that I would want to. If I had the choice to do it all over again, I would relive every single moment in a heartbeat. I have no regrets. You gave me more then you’ll ever know (or maybe you do know). Thanks to you I’ve experienced some beautiful things in life. It’s easy to say that if it wasn’t you it would’ve been someone else, but it was suppose to be you. All those other women were mere girls, obviously never realizing what they had when they were with you, since they were stupid and foolish to have treated you poorly and to have let you go, but through their mistakes, I won. When they let you go they set me up to one day be with you. When they let you go they set us up to be together, to make each other happy and to share so much with one another. It was always meant to be you. And for that I’m grateful. As I’ve said before, I’m so glad it was you.

Neither of us knows for sure what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, neither of us can see into the future and our crystal ball seems to be broken. This could be the end of the road for us or it could be the beginning of a new path. We could stay friends. We could enter into a relationship again. Or we could go in completely different directions. You said it yourself, you don’t know what’s going to happen because you just never know. And that’s one of the beautiful and scary things about life, life’s mysteries – the unknown. That’s when, I think, we simply have to have faith.

You say that you want to be friends. Well, I would love to be friends with you. I think you’re a good person with a good heart. After everything we’ve shared it might take a minute for us to switch gears, but I think we’re both on the same page – wanting to be in each other’s lives rather than not at all.

When we first met, when we first started dating, I told you I wasn’t going anywhere. Well, that still holds true. You can always talk to me about anything and everything. I wish you nothing but the best, always.

Always,
Nicole

A Way Back

words unsaid
actions undone
leaves a bad taste
on the tip of the tongue

missteps taken
opportunities lost
moments become the past
and turn to dust

frustrations mount
confusion swarms
as the heart still swoons
and hopes for more

a casual talk
a warm embrace
leads to heated thoughts
while the heart and mind race

secrets abound
hesitation exists
time is fleeting
yet there’s restrained feelings

soulful look
captures a gaze
but words still hide
behind soft lips for day

dangerous risk
loving touch
a kiss on the cheek
says so much

broken dam
words flood the air
captures back an honest stare
as the truth is told once more

Embarrassing Moments (To Look Back On and Laugh At Later)

My feet have always been there. We’re not strangers. Yet, there I was, stumbling over the threshold and through the door of the kitchen. And yes, he saw it all.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all been there at least once in our lives – embarrassed ourselves in front of that special someone.

Why do these things happen? Maybe it’s some sort of right of passage. Maybe it’s part of that awkward phase. Maybe it’s us and we can’t help it. Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain – it happens.

I’ve had my fair share of embarrassment, especially in front of this guys. (I’ll call him Mr. Handsome, since that’s how I refer to him in all my letters.) When we first met, most times, I turned into a total klutz. I always tried to be graceful and keep my composure, but, sometimes, it never went well. In the end, I suppose it worked out considering he found each embarrassing thing that happened to me cute.

One day Mr. Handsome and I were talking at work. I was making him laugh. (I can’t remember the topic, but I was just happy to make him laugh. He has a warm laugh. And when he laughs, he smiles. He has such an adorable smile.) I may have been being silly or sarcastic or sassy, but when I went to make my exit, I misjudged the length of the wall and almost smacked my face. I attempted to gracefully recover, hoping he didn’t notice, but later that day he brought up my less then graceful exit.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve walked into walls, tripped over my own two feet, almost tripped up the stairs as well as down them and have completely lost my words – all in front of this man. (Usually, I’m a very together person, but maybe part of being human is to sometimes fall apart before coming back together.)

One of the most embarrassing moments (yes, more embarrassing then walking into a wall) was within the first few weeks of us meeting. It started with cold soup and ended with me licking it off my arm. See, the soup was meant to be my lunch. Mr. Handsome had offered to heat it up so I brought it over to the kitchen. He put it in a nice bowl and added some garnish. (He’s a great chef and great with presentation.) The only problem was he had made it too hot. So I picked up the hot bowl, the soup sloshed out and started running down the sleeve of my sweater. (At that point I was already a little embarrassed.) On impulse, I pulled up my sleeve and began licking the dripping soup off my wrist. And that’s when I realized I was in a kitchen full of guys and Mr. Handsome, the man I was attracted to, was staring at me. I made a quick, nervous laugh (although, I tried to sound confident and jovial), asked for a napkin and left with my soup.

These are the moments that make us want to run or hide under a rock, at least at the time, but I think all we can really do is laugh. I don’t think we can take ourselves too seriously. These moments that embarrass us are things that we probably couldn’t have anticipated and, eventually, we’ll be able to look back and laugh.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we all have embarrassing moments. We all make a fool out of ourselves in front of that special someone. And that’s alright. I think, in the end, it’s all part of life.

Let’s get a conversation going. Feel free to tell me about one of your embarrassing moments by using the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!