Love Vs. Lust

Love Vs. Lust

Because there is a difference.

Last week I was on my way to NYC for an Odyssey convention and platform release when I befriend an older man on the bus named Joe. Believe it or not, it was my very first time in New York even though I was born and raised right in Atlantic City, only a couple of hours away. I was minimally nervous about going somewhere I had never been before, all by myself, while having to navigate through basically the busiest city in America, but was excited to take on the adventure as well. Joe, my newfound bus friend, helped me figure out where to go, how to get there, and the safest and cheapest routes possible…he was my hero of the day, but oh so much more than I even realized at the time.

New York was amazing and I had an extraordinary time seeing new places, meeting new people, and eating some of the best food I've ever had to this day. I made it through the city on my own with little complications and when the day was over I was ready to get back to my bed and pass out immediately. While sitting on the bus for the trip back to Atlantic City, coincidentally, Joe sat down right next to me and was beyond anxious to hear about my day. I told him everything and heard his day as well and, before I even knew it, we were basically exchanging life stories with each other. I discovered that Joe was 67 years old and had four kids and a wife he loved dearly and was married to for 36 years. He was retired and used to move around America working for an environmental firm that he was extremely passionate about. Joe was full of all sorts of life advice that he was willing and eager to share with me like to live it up in college and to never bet too much money gambling. The one piece of advice that stuck with me though, was about his life long love and marriage.

I am a 21-year-old girl in college and, trust me, I have my fair share of fun, but I can't help but to think about my future, especially future relationships that will come about, alter, or go away with time. Joe told me that the most important attributes any successful relationship can have is communication, honesty, and, to my surprise, friendship. Obviously we have all heard that prosperous relationships require honesty and communication, but when he mentioned friendship I asked him to explain what he meant:

“Imagine being with someone for the rest of your life who compliments everything you have to offer…. who you can be your complete and total self around every day, all day, day after day without the fear of them not loving you anymore. Being with someone who makes you smile and fills your day with laughter. Clearly there will be bad days and there will be days where you slightly want to murder them, but that’s what makes a relationship grow. When you marry your best friend you aren’t ‘making a commitment to them,’ you are simply choosing to be with someone every day for the rest of your life that ultimately becomes a part of you. And the best part is that when they become a part of you, odds are it will be the best, and your most favorite, part of yourself.”

When he finished his explanation I was slapped in the face with an epiphany it took me 21 years to become conscious of. You can love a person, in fact, you can love a lot of people, but there is a distinct difference between loving someone and lusting someone; a difference that is so discrete that I think sometimes we forget that love and lust are not nearly the same thing. Of course the confusing part of it all is that, although different, they both have a lot in common too. In order to feel love or lust there needs to be a level of attraction and magnetism toward the other person. They both require levels of commitment and they both (usually) end in attachment. When I say the word “lust” I am not strictly referring to sexual desire or attraction- to lust is to crave and you can crave any and all different parts of a human. You can crave their presence in any way shape or form that it comes in. You can crave their thoughts and their mind and their words. You can crave their scent, their warmth, the sound of their voice, and the overwhelming exuberance they bring to you. Yes, to lust someone is gratifying, thrilling, and wonderful in whatever way it may happen, but to love someone is dangerously magnificent and beautifully everlasting.

Loving someone entails all the characteristics that lusting someone has, but offers so much more that I was unable to realize until a stranger on a bus made me open my eyes. First and foremost, love is a process that does not come quickly and grows with time…as people say: some of the best relationships come from years and years of friendship. Love requires a compassion and understanding that defeats all odds and overcomes all obstacles. A patience is necessary, but easily achieved when you do, in fact, love someone. A patience that remains calm and humble when all else is chaotic and is fierce and passionate when all else seems to go awry. Love enables the best parts of ourselves to be passed on to the other person, and in return we obtain their cherished qualities back into our being. Love diminishes wrongs and flaws to allow for unknown and different perspectives to be seen, felt, and understood…something lusting someone usually fails to do.

All in all, do not rush love. Be in the moment, take advantage of your lust, and in the end maybe it will turn into your lifelong journey with another person. If not, there is no wrong in that and there is no shame in that either. One day, maybe even tomorrow, you will stumble upon a person who makes you feel like no other and when that happens, fall in love with being in love.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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