Finding Love Isn’t All about Your Looks, Age, Etc.

This is a rare kind of post for me, but I had a feeling someone might need to hear it.

And even with the title of this post, can I admit “finding love” is an iffy expression for me? Sure, I use it to be understood, and I get what it means, but many people give and receive love. Facilitate and nurture love. Cherish and protect love. They acknowledge and recognize love…but they don’t necessarily just “find” it, as if love is something they can hunt for in the woods or locate in the city with the assistance of signs and arrows. “Hey, look—there’s some love for me over here! I just found it.”

But anyhow.

I get the impression sometimes that people think one’s looks, age, and certain other basic or obvious factors are either automatic guarantees or automatic hindrances to romantic companionship.

I figure there’s a lot in society, from many romantic movies and romance novels to the various cultures of different social and religious circles, that makes folks believe or assume that everybody who desires romance is supposed to find the right companion by their early-to-mid twenties or so…

…and that if it doesn’t happen for you by then, something must be wrong. Or something must be wrong with you. Likewise, the further you get away from your early-to-mid twenties, the greater the wrongness must be if you still haven’t met that wonderful someone.

(Granted, I’m sure biology and the window of prime childbearing years has plenty to do with people’s thoughts about love’s appropriate/optimal timeline.)

Nevertheless, as far as physical attractiveness goes, I do want to point out that getting hit on and such isn’t the same thing as having serious companionship, of course, and receiving attention and propositions and offers because of one’s looks doesn’t necessarily make finding the right companion any easier. It can even make it harder, as more incoming attention can mean there’s more incoming pretense and all other kinds of stuff a person has to sort through, question, sidestep, or even run away from on the romance road.

Just saying.

Really, there are people some folks consider to be strange or plain who end up with the love of their lives straight out of high school or college, and there are people who have plenty of positives going for them but are in their forties or fifties, still single and looking. Some folks know who they’re going to marry from the time they’re children, and other folks go through series of prospects that don’t work out before they meet the right person. Some people are grumpy, sloppy, and happily coupled, and other folks are sweet, neat, and still alone.

Now, I’m not dismissing the fact that sometimes there are issues hindering romance besides “it just hasn’t happened yet.” A person may have some learning, growing, healing, or other preparation that needs to take place before they’ll be ready for what it takes to have a healthy romantic relationship.

Still, meeting someone for suitable companionship simply doesn’t happen for everyone at the same time of life or after a “magic number” of tries or dates—no matter who they are, what they look like, what their personalities are like, whether they first meet people online or in person, or whatever the case may be. Just because you haven’t met someone who’s right for you doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Life unfolds differently for everybody, on different timelines.

And that’s okay.

For me as an author, while romance isn’t my primary genre, I write romances to reflect that real love isn’t all about one’s looks or age, and that being or finding the “ideal” package isn’t necessarily an easy ticket to a Happily Ever After.

Even so, I believe romantic love is beautiful, and I do aim to write stories of hope, even when a couple’s journey won’t be easy.

 

20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories by Dan Salerno

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

20 Short Ones20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories by Dan Salerno

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“Between you and me, I understand your logic, Miss Meade. But thinking thoroughly about what everyone else accepts without thinking often upsets the applecart.”

I’m a fan of fiction that makes me think, and 20 Short Ones by author Dan Salerno is a thinking kind of read with a conversational quality to the storytelling.

The short stories take an engaging look at human relationships of different kinds, and even the religious themes among the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant characters are relationship-focused. I especially liked the depictions of characters who are introverted or socially awkward; it can be easy to portray a character’s shyness or introversion as a “flaw” that he or she needs to grow out of instead of a human attribute that can be appreciated as much as another person’s outgoingness.

Though this is far from being a “read one story and you’ve read them all” kind of book, I thought there to be a little redundancy between some of the stories’ themes and characters. There are minor punctuation issues throughout the book, and perhaps there are a few too many instances where children in the book speak and come off more like adults.

Nonetheless, this contemplative but still down-to-earth collection conveys plenty of hope while still leaving room for the reader’s imagination, and I’d recommend it to other fans of short stories and warm, “thinking” fiction.

 

Waters Fall by Becky Doughty

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book on Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

Waters FallWaters Fall by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the the title to find the book description/blurb.)

What a mess!

Oh, no, the novel itself isn’t a mess, but the story is, if that makes any sense. Yet, that’s how life is sometimes–downright messy–and we, no matter who we are or what belief systems we adhere to, have to find a way to deal with it. In Waters Fall, Becky Doughty handles messy subjects entangled within a crumbling marriage, and she does so with honesty, without sinking into vulgarity.

What I liked most about this novel were the uses of imagery, which began right off the bat. You’d almost expect to feel drops of water sliding down your skin, as though you’ve been submerged into the story, which is not at all a light read. There were moments of humor, mostly from Jake and Nora’s children, but then even that reprieve dwindled away as the story got heavier.

I did empathize some with both Jake and Nora in the beginning, but it wasn’t long before I didn’t like either of them, as they were soon showing the worst of themselves, again and again. The constant roller coaster, the couple going spitefully back and forth about who was to blame for what. It’s like I just wanted to scream out, “Yes! You’re both right, and you’re both wrong! Don’t you see by now that all of the accusations and insults get you, your marriage, and your family absolutely nowhere? Unless ‘worse off’ is a destination.” I might have been just as worn out reading as they were living, but I can’t say the roller coaster was unrealistic. That, unfortunately, is often how human beings deal with one another.

It’s a mess.

But, thank God, there’s hope. If a pendulum swings in one direction, it’ll surely swing in the other, on its way to finding the center again, even if you have to hold out a minute for it. I held out for hope with this story, and I first sensed it the best when Nora finally came to the realization of Whom she missed the most.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love hopes.

 

The Beauty of My Shadow by S.D. Michael

Solid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frame

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book on Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

The Beauty of My ShadowThe Beauty of my Shadow: A Story of Strength by S.D. Michael

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The Beauty of My Shadow shows us what a process making lemonade out of life’s lemons can be: sometimes a lengthy process, yes, but a worthy one. S.D. Michael is determined not to be a victim of a serious, life-changing accident but a survivor of it—yet, her story makes no attempt to sound like it’s being written by some perfect angel who instantly learns every noble lesson possible from her traumatic experiences as they come. No, Michael fesses up to her humanness, and the primary tense of her memoir allows us to see her grow through the progression of her story. To me, the most poignant line comes when Michael, speaking of Doris, says, “I miss her and always have,” and I literally applauded while reading the author’s discoveries in the last chapter. Plus, I’m a big proponent of books including pictures.

I can only imagine things like having pieces of glass locked into my skin for years, or needing to tell myself, “Yes, you really are crying” because I’ve lost the ability to produce tears of emotion to accompany my weeping, only a sampling of what Michael goes through as a result of her head injury. It’s interesting reading about all of the “parallels” she notices over the course of her journey and how she does not chalk them up to coincidence but to destiny. I know what name, or several names, I would give to the “director” who seems to be leading the author forward as she’s making decisions regarding her purpose.

There are moments in the memoir when the telling of some details seems repetitive, but this could be a result of the course of Michael’s journey, how the steps had to build upon each other, and it’s likely that if one particular detail hadn’t been repeated as much, I probably wouldn’t have been applauding by the end. Michael’s goal of pursuing prevention over punishment and making the best she can for others out of the hand she’s been dealt can serve as an inspiration for many.

__________________

Note for my blog readers: this memoir contains a minimal amount of profanity.