Love: is it really necessary to state it?

Reading manga and watching anime has recently turned into a pastime of mine.  I enjoy this aspect of Japanese culture and am a very visually-inclined person, thus it works out.  As I have been going along with my soon-to-be-obsessive manga/anime thing, I have come to recognize an important difference between Japanese and American cultures.  That is, in America we use the actual words “I love you” as though we are automatic ticket dispensing machines… you know, the ones at the deli, or in a waiting room, at the post office… the ones that you push the button and out comes that little slip of paper that let you know that you will receive service?

When I first began read manga, I thought that the statement suki desu (“I like you”) were a direct translation of the English “I love you” as this is how it is often translated.  I was shocked to discover that the word aishiteru was actually “I love you.”  Furthermore, that this word was rarely used.  Initially I was dismayed at the thought of what life would be like without hearing the words “I love you,” then it dawned on me… “I love you” as it is used in English seems to hold very little meaning.  We use this statement seemingly freely, we love everything and everyone–disclaimer:  I know that I am generalizing here. 😉  Just bear with me.

The above thought left me transitioning from feelings of anger to sadness, sadness to fear, and back again to anger, only to end with resolve.  My anger stemmed from the many times I have heard, whether in my own personal life or hearing the tragic love stories of others,  the statement used “I love you” that should have been really daisuki desu “I like you a lot” or better yet “I like you a lot until I find someone I like even more.” 

No, this isn’t bitterness.  Yes, I own the fact that I have grown more skeptical throughout years, especially in more recent ones.  This is truly an attempt to understand emotionally honest and how clearly we can state our feelings given the limitations of our language.  Somehow we have lost the ability to describe our more intimate feelings using words such as “adore,” “dear,” “smittened,” etc.  Somehow it seems that we can only go from zero to one hundred in our feelings, and subsequently zoom down the love highway.  We seemingly go from “I like you” to “I love you” without hesitation, but why?

Is it that we can no longer take the time to accurately identify and aptly describe our emotional state in relation to each other?  Are we so very worried that if we do not say “I love you” that the feeling will not be conveyed accurately?  I want to return to a world where I can say that I adore, am smittened, find dear, am enamored, find beloved, yearn for, desire, long for, want,etc…

So, what does this all mean, D.?  Well, simply that I tip my hat to Japanese culture and am choosing to embrace in my life taking the slow lane to stating the profound feelings embodied within the words “I love you.”  Afterall, life and people are too precious not slow down, understand, and clearly state my feelings.  In the long run, it is simply with the aim of causing no or little harm.


Le poesie nuove

Lasciare il passato

L’ ho abbandonato
lo specchio

insieme con le storie
Dopo tutto,
chi vuole essere una storia?

Al contrario,
(e la vita è sempre contraria)
chi non vorrebbe piacere di avere una storia?

Non importa.
In questo momento l’ho trovato.
Qualcosa più importante,

cioé ho travota la mia belleza

Come la verità
che credi io non dica mai,


Comunque guardami
se vorresti scegliere
di sentirti come me.

Scoprimi mentre
comincio a sconvolgere,
a frantumare

il mio comportamento
il mio specchio
me stesso esterno

insieme con tutte delle storie
in cui noi crediamo che possiamo
 trovare la nostra belleza,

in cui noi non possiamo
trovare ci stessi
o la nostra verità.


La nera

Ogni giorno
io indosso
qualcosa di nero.

Ogni giorno
mi guardate,
qualcosa di nero,

qualcosa di strano,
qualcosa di cui dovete
avere paura

come l’oscurità
della notte quando,
anche, voi diventate

qualcosa di nero.


“Her Name is Melancholy” by FlyPi  (

L’ombra di me stessa

Che cos’è questa?
La tua casa dell’anima,
lo specchio perso, anche il tuo,
la finestra dimenticata a cui non possono
la vedere attraverso i tuoi occhi… come me.

Per te tutto è buio, un’oscurità
in cui siamo sospesi tra il cielo e la terra,
dove non si può ritrovare se stessi
senza la sofferenza dell’attesa
inutile, di niente.

Questa, dicesti, è la verità della vita,
in cui possiamo sempre credere.
Comunque ci sentiamo sicuri?
C’è pace qua nella realtà costruita
dalla paura vivente?

Non dovrò abbracciarla,
la casa senza futuro,
l’anima senza passato.
Lasciami ai miei sogni d’oro.
Non pensare mai più di costruire.


Seasons’ loss and reason

You, like falling leaves upon a lotus
pond.  I, a heart entombed in winter’s frost,
fading circles of love circuitous
as my fingertips create ripples lost.

Then crystal-iced, sunlit, dew-touched, loved.
Unknowingly caught enraptured by id
wrought.  Encompassed as a seed beloved
but stifled by unnourished earth unwanted.

But knowledge and keys to hearts once given
prove only useless tools to fools who know
naught of winter’s cold. They harden, unrisen,
unwisely plant seeds in autumn with hope

of a lotus blossom amidst snowfall,
frost, and grasp at love formed, fading crystals.


(The above poems are revisions.  I would be appreciative of any feedback, including corrections on the ones in Italian.  Thanks!)

Until next time,


Pride goeth before… Gotye

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today marks the start of “spring break,” which I imagine conjures to the minds of some images of sun, sand, and sea.  Well, I am looking outside my window and it is grey, cold, and about to rain… 😉  Given my recent mood, the image outside is quite apt.

Beyond the school work to be done prior to any sort of vacation, I have spent the past week contemplating how people relate to one another, especially on a romantic level.It is possible that my thoughts today are a product of listening to that musically addictive Gotye song “Somebody that I used to know” and contemplating my state of singledom as spring approaches with an undeniable ferocity.  Who knows…

What I do know is that I have been and am fortunate that I have been able to maintain acquaintanceships and friendships (even best friendships) with people whom I have dated.  I am not quite understanding of the need for some to invoke all out war against those whom they once claimed to love.

When we begin to think of ourselves as “better than”/”superior” or of another person as “less than”/”inferior,” we begin an interpersonal and intrapersonal process that more than likely will result in the disintegration of our relationships with others, or possibly the lack of ability to truly connect.


I am an advocate for high/positive self-esteem and for taking pride in oneself, both of which I think are directly related.  There is a point, however, when our pride can become so overly inflated as well as our confidence (notice I didn’t write self-esteem here… very different from confidence).  We can begin looking at the world around us through lenses that colour everything a shade of “entitled mine” that can lead us to treating others with complete and utter disregard.

This issue of inflated pride plays itself out in all types of situations and all types of relationships.  The result, I think, is rarely a good one.  Perhaps this is the issue of the Gotye song.

After all, here is a situation where one person’s inflated sense of self/pride pushes him to make hurtful comments to the woman with whom he once had a relationship and about the relationship itself.

Such as,

“Well you said that we would still be friends But I’ll admit that I was glad that it was over.” 

To which she inferred the following:

“You said that you could let it go And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know.”

Then he actually spends his time complaining that this woman has chosen to sever connection with him… and he actually seems to be perplexed by this…

“But you didn’t have to cut me off

Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing

And I don’t even need your love

But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough

And you didn’t have to stoop so low

Have your friends collect your records and then change your number

I guess that I don’t need that though

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

But even in the midst of his complaint of this woman giving him what he wanted, he still manages to show his “pride,”

And I don’t even need your love

and he still manages to blame her,

And you didn’t have to stoop so low  

which apparently, based upon what she says, was something he tended to do,

Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over

But had me believing it was always something that I’d done

But I don’t wanna live that way

Reading into every word you say

So… What’s the point of my ranting today?  The point is that it is important to consider the feelings of others, especially if you have been involved romantically.  It’s important to see the other person as human and yourself… We are not gods.  We are not perfect.  No one owes us anything.  If someone treats us with kindness, then be grateful for it and above all courteous.  If, however, you decide to treat someone poorly, do not be silly (yes, I wrote “silly”) enough to think that he or she will continue to stay in such a situation–that, I believe, could be considered on some level self-abusive and also abusive.

Breaking the Circle: Failure, Photography by Dolores Juhas (


I hadn’t expected to write so very much about this Gotye song.  I am glad that I did.  It seems to be quite popular, or becoming so… I imagine that that is because the words touch some core truth within many people.  That is, this behaviour of making others into “nothing” or “no one” or “someone that we used to know” instead of acknowledging their worth in our lives is something that many people have done.

I know for myself that I have experienced the feeling of being made into a sort of nothingness or become a “no one” to someone else.  The feeling isn’t pleasant and it takes time to recover one’s sense of self from such an act.  I do not, however, advocate returning the favour, i.e. treating either the person who did this to you or someone else in the same way… Why begin a cycle that can only lead to failure?

After all, remember pride goeth before the fall

 or better still

check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Just to keep balance, here’s a more positive look at love… 😉 (Yes, I can be positive!)

Until next time!



Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at or email her:  She has her own blog at

Cleaning house…

"The Revenge of Pride," photography by Dolores Juhas (2010). Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

Today the universe reminded me of this:  you know that you are right with your world, when you are smiling more than you are frowning… when you are feeling happy more than sad… when you are lighter in your step more than feeling weighed down by your body… and when you choose to surround yourself with only those people who bring greater meaning to your life more than those who bring devastating chaos…

I am cleaning house today, emotionally and physically.

I hope you are too…

Until next time!



Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at or email her:  She has her own blog at

Vision Boards, Love Games & Mechanics….

Knitting gloves, photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011)

Typically, I spend my time reading, knitting, doing crossword puzzles, watching old British comedies and cartoons.  You know, all that typically sexy stuff.  😉

Well, I have just completed reading Jackee Holder’s “Be your own best life coach” and decided to try one of her suggestions, i.e. making a vision board.

I will tell you that I’ve been making a valiant attempt at creating my vision board.  I say valiant, because my verbal Italian is not so great and trying to find the right types of magazines at the newsstands here in Rome feels like a mini-trip through hell for me.

This is partly due to the fact that all the magazines are apparently kept… sealed.  Yes, that’s right.  Here in Rome, you need to know what you want. And there really isn’t such a thing as customer service here…. So, don’t expect help.  If you get it, then give thanks to the universe. Of course, this is just my personal experience… You may have a different one if you visit.  So, keep an open mind.

(Photo Newsstand in Campo de' Fiori... They usually aren't smiling. Trust me.) Image taken from

There is no flipping through and perusing the interesting pictures and glancing at the articles here.  And honestly, my Italianish is so not helpful for saying “I need a magazine with diverse representations of people.  You know, women, men, children.  Perhaps even different ethnicities and races might be nice.”

I’ve been offered, however, everything else from cooking to needlework.  As much as I am a fan of all of that, it certainly wasn’t what I asked for.

At this point, some of you might be wondering what is a vision board. The easy answer is that it is a visual representation of the goals/dreams you have for your life.

More recently, vision boards have been associated with the principle of the Law of Attraction (Remember The Secret?), which basically emphasizes the point that what we choose to focus upon in our lives is what we in turn receive.  That is, if you focus on what is negative, then the more negative experiences come into your life, because you are attracting it to you.  The same is applied to the positive.  This definition is highly simplistic and I would recommend that you do your own research on the topic if you are interested in learning more.

Sample Vision Board, found at

Regardless of your belief in the Law of Attraction, cutting images out of newspapers/magazines and pasting them on posterboard or whatever sturdy paper available has been practiced by many artists, art educators, art therapists, life coaches and many an adolescent girl for some time now (of course children and adolescent boys too!)

As an art therapist, I see the process of creating art and the final product as inherently self-exploratory and therapeutic.  Thus, it is possible to gain a true understanding of what one desires in life by engaging in such a process as collaging.  Enough said.

So, back to my vision board.  Simply, it’s not happening.  Although I am surrounded by many cut images, and have carefully selected music playing in the background to promote my most creative self… it’s simply not on.  By now, you may be wondering why I am rambling on about this vision board thing… and why it is so important to me.

Well, as I mentioned above, I’ve been searching for magazines filled with lots of pictures with people.  In essence, I am looking for the images that would go in my Love/Relationships sectionThat’s right.  I seemed to have some block against this.  This brings me to my next topic.

Love games & mechanics…

Rome is a city of romance as evidenced by the people who make it a point to makeout next to me in the metro during the day.   I mean, really… I am the last person to have a problem with PDA.   Nor do I have a problem with people who wish to share their personal version of Lady Gaga‘s Love Games at night (again in the metro).  Hey, I really don’t mind seeing if someone is or isn’t wearing underwear as I make my way home to knit…. No problem! 😉

What all of this (including my vision board quest) is revealing to me is that perhaps I find romantic relationships somewhat threatening… (Yes, it can happen to a therapist too ;))  I have somehow managed to put up a wall/block in response to the emotion love and had not realized it until I tried to make my vision board.

Being single again has forced me to examine my past relationships. That is, what I did well and what I need to improve.  This process allowed me to recognize that I had one specific issue that was truly interpersonally and intrapersonally crippling for me.  Even though apparently, some friends were already quite aware… as one said to me a month or so ago,

“D., you’ve really got to work on your professional handicap.  It’s really a liability.”

And I wonder why no one ever to told me before that I was a blatant “love mechanic.”

That’s right.  I spent my time in my relationships trying to help resolve the issues of my significant other perhaps to my own detriment and definitely to the detriment of the relationship.

Even after my friend had made the above statement to me, I still had no idea what he was talking about.  It took reading Lisa Helmanis’ book “Master Dating” and coming across the term “love mechanic” for me to really get what he was trying to say…  That is, if I ever intend to have a romantic relationship of any kind again, I need to give up the behaviour of holding daily therapy sessions with my significant other AND gently suggest outside therapy.  😉

Well, it’s a new year and I’ve got my vision board project with an allotted love/relationship section.  So, who knows what will happen…

Until next time!



Just not that into… What?

"This is Rome..." photography by Diedré M. Blake (2011)

I am the least romantic person I know.

I write this with a slight smile on my face, because I know that there will be friends, former partners, and family members who will be vigorously nodding their heads in agreement.

To say that I am practical about relationship matters is an understatement… I am downright analytical.  I weigh the pros and cons of all situations.  I attempt to look at all sides objectively, and am usually successful.
Why am I writing about this today?  Well, after writing the last three posts, you know, about relationships… I began thinking about my take on different aspects of what it takes to build relationships…;)

I mentioned in the first post on men that I truly disliked the expression of being or not being “into” someone.  I am taking a look at this today and tomorrow…

I will admit two things: 1) I am writing my way into this piece… 2) I am listening to the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” in the background.


Just not that into…

As much as I love the film “He’s Just Not That Into You,” I dislike the expression as I have mentioned repeatedly.  Yes, I am all for being straight-forward.  This expression, however, seems to take away from rather than give to the person who is on the receiving end.  In fact it is truly vague.

I could say I am into yoga. What does that really mean? It could mean that I like the meditation aspect of yoga.  It could mean that I am into hatha and not ashtanga yoga.  It could mean that I like to watch people do yoga, but am not inclined to do it myself.  It could mean that I am interested in learning yoga. It could mean that I once studied yoga.  It could mean I am Buddhist.  It could mean that I am attempting to live  a yogic lifestyle.

I could say I am not into clubbing. Again what does that really mean?  It could mean that I dislike going out late at night.  It could mean that I dislike loud music.  I could mean that I like to dance, but I dislike dancing in a room full of people.  It could mean I don’t know how to dance.  It could mean that I think going to places where there are clubs is dangerous.  It could mean that I feel I am too mature or too immature or too intellectual or too artistic to be associated with clubbing…

Get my point? Saying someone is or isn’t into something doesn’t actually say a whole lot.  Perhaps that’s the point–I don’t know.  Imagine, however, if someone said to you, “I’m sorry, but I’m just not that into you…”

Well, how would you feel?  What would you understand from this statement? Are you left with questions or answers?

Sure, there is one thing that is clear:  this person is not wanting a romantic involvement with you… Maybe

I wrote “maybe,” because of the use of the word “that,” which seems to hint at some already established interest.

More importantly, there is also an undercurrent to this statement, that is that… there is something missing or lacking in your qualities (physical or otherwise) that makes this person not into you…

But what if you could change? (I can see the wheels beginning to turn in some minds already…)

Okay, granted if someone said to you, “I’m sorry, but I’m not into you,” then this is more definitive.  Still, it leads to possible the questions:

“Well, what are you into?” or “Why?”

Until next time!



Men… As promised… (part 2 of 2)

"Zed," photography by Dolores Juhas. Copyright (c) Dolores Juhas. All Rights Reserved.

  • Finally, men over 35 are perhaps more ready (read here: financially, emotionally, psychologically, physically… hopefully) to not only seriously consider marriage, but to also follow through with putting a ring on your finger the actual wedding day…

I cannot credit “Ask a Guy” Eric Charles’ responses with providing me with all these lessons.  I also learned a great deal in talking with friends and clients.  I listened to what was going well in their relationships and what was not working as they would like.

I also took the time to read a free kindle book (well, it is no longer free, but reasonably priced) on titled Master Dating:  52 Brilliant Ideas by Lisa Helmanis.  This book gives a wonderfully practical and accessible approach to examining and changing your behavioural patterns in your relationships with men.

As I generally am a just-rip-the-bandaid-off sort of person, I appreciate the author’s directness and clean style of writing.  The book covers issues from self-esteem to dating older/younger men.   My favourite chapters (almost all…) are:

  • Where are you at?
  • Too much information
  • Love mechanic
  • Facing the facts
  • If you meet this man, run
  • Keeping the boyfriend box clear
  • Putting the past where it belongs
  • Why men love bitches
  • The big freeze
  • The phone stops ringing
  • Breaking up is hard to do
  • Getting over rejection
  • Ex alert
  • How to make anyone want you
  • Green-eyed monsters
  • Real confidence
  • Are we there yet

Yes, there are actually other chapters 😉

Keeping promises…

So, what have I learned?  First, writing about men is difficult for me and second, I enjoyed keeping this promise.

No really, what I have actually learned is that like women, men (generally speaking here) want to be in relationships with someone who is whole.  What I mean by that is that they want to be with women, who have health self-esteems, have full and happy lives, and who understand the balance and value of give and take AND space and togetherness in their relationships.

Eric Charles says that men enjoy the chase (I think this was one of the hunter-gatherer references…) So, allow men to DO things for you, rather than you doing things for them.  Allow them to WORK for the relationship… You know, in the past I think we called this courting.

He says, “…it’s very important to get fulfillment, entertainment and love from many different areas of your life, not just from one lone man.

Also, having a full and fulfilling life makes it much easier for you to extend only as much effort towards the relationship as he’s extending.

… whenever you put effort into a relationship with someone, you are investing in them.  Whenever they put effort in, they are investing in you. If you are waiting by the phone for him to call and to make time for you, then you’re probably the only one doing the investing.”

Lisa Helmanis says that women should give to men what is appropriate to the status of the relationship.  So, don’t start by giving to men every possible gift that you can, otherwise what can you do to top yourself?  Holding back giving the best parts of yourself at the beginning means that you have more of yourself to offer later…

She says, “Now think of yourself as an expensive wine, give your next man too much, too soon and you’ll make him drunk with excitement, a bit unsteady on his feet, and then eventually sick at the very sniff of you.  Dole out your loving nectar in well measured portions.  You need to give him the chance to savour every mouthful, and be excited about anticipating the next.”

Perhaps thinking about yourself as something to be consumed might not be your ideal metaphor… So, she also says this,

“Be aware that anything that comes too easy doesn’t seem valuable.”

Until next time!



Self-potrait, photography by Dolores Juhas

Photographs are by Croatian photographer, Dolores Juhas, whose work has been featured in such magazines as Italian Vogue.  You can visit her website at or email her:  She has her own blog at