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  • Writer's pictureBella Ve

On Loving / On Living

I bought a toe ring because it makes me feel sexy even when I’m wearing socks. I listen to Chappell Roan’s record on repeat (the fun ones) because I can’t not dance. Playgirl Spring is winding down, but into the summer, and maybe for the rest of my life, I’m going to be unapologetic in my pursuit of pleasure. I’m ready to indulge in what makes me feel good. I’m ready to be uncensored in my sensualism. I am giving into myself. I’m giving into love, to life, to loving to live, and living to love.

Confidence. What the fuck does that even mean? How does one even access that? It’s like some nirvana, some piece of mind zen (the watered down, Westernized) bullshit that we’re required to reach towards, and not given any tangible steps to reach.

My entire life, I feel like I’ve been begging people to like me. Chalk it up to the Libra Rising, or some insecurity that was instilled by an elementary school bully, or the fact that women are taught that they need to be agreeable, and nice, and cheerful, and likeable. So maybe confidence is not caring if people like you at all.

We’ve all come across people that we absolutely do not like, whether our dispositions don’t match on a spiritual scale, or if they trigger a pet peeve, or if they just have a bad personality. I saw a meme the other day that said you would never want to be liked by everybody, because not everybody is a good person.

To be clear, I’m not advocating to be an asshole. It’s rude to be rude. But you can pick and choose when you need to be. The guy creeping on you at the gym doesn’t deserve the conscientiousness of congenial smiling. What I’m talking about is reckoning with who you are, and the decision to be comfortable with that. And if you’re uncomfortable with who you are, ask why. And if it’s something within your power to change, then change it.

I hope I don’t sound like a boomer. I think we’re too soft with ourselves nowadays. I think we are born with or we develop certain qualities, and we roll over and accept them as eternal truth. They’re not. If you’re shy and you want to be outgoing, then practice talking to new people. If you’re impulsive and want to be cautious, then practice taking a beat before making a decision. Or if you’re shy and impulsive, and you’re okay with that, then accept it and relish it. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

Of course it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s hard. I get into spaces where I feel painfully socially awkward. I don’t know what to say or do. Genuinely, someone will say something to me and I’ll nervously laugh because I can’t figure out an appropriate response.

For example:

My day job involves a lot of community outreach and activism. At a recent neighborhood event a community member told me, “Welcome to the family.” I gave a silent nod and a tight lipped smiled because I didn’t know if I should thank him, and I wasn’t sure if I was really grateful for the comment in the first place (not to sow divides or anything, but he is what old timers call a yuppie, and I am not).

It’s a lack of confidence that caused me to feel badly, and consider this a botched social interaction.

So I’m learning how to take pride in my silence, and I’m learning how to enjoy it. I’m deciding that if I can’t figure out how to respond to someone, it’s probably because whatever they said isn’t worthy of a response. There’s a saying that says the older we get, the less we worry about other people liking us and the more we worry about liking other people. And, for all my cynicism, I really do like people. So why wouldn’t someone like me? Matter of fact, why wouldn’t anyone love me?

Because likeability is one thing, but love is holy.

I’ve long believed that the meaning of life is to love, and the reason life is so challenging is because love is. I don’t necessarily mean challenging in the way that you loved your first real girlfriend, or the situationship that never liked you back quite the same, or the boy from seventh grade that you longed for in only the way a seventh grader can. I mean love in all its forms of kinship, friendship, selfhood, and radical acts of compassion.

Have you ever protested at a demonstration for someone who is suffering a world and a half away? Have you ever held open the door for a stranger?

A playgirl has fun. What is more pure, more genuine, than having fun? What’s more fun than loving?

I want to make love to life. I want to live to make love.

I’m often told that I am “diplomatic” or that I give “diplomatic” answers to questions. Part of it is not wanting to hurt feelings, or to make a stir. Part of it is silencing myself. I want to be LOUD and I want people to listen.

This, the tail end of playgirl spring, I want to ask you to be uncomfortable by making other people uncomfortable with how comfortable you are in yourself. Tune into you. Tune into what you want. What will make you fulfilled? What will make you love a life you live and live a life you love?

Spring is a time of awakening and rebirth. The snow melts; the bees awaken. It’s green and the Earth is fresh and we shed our layers and we have fun. Life should be fun, even if a fundamental piece of the human experience is that it's hard.

So live.


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