Gratitude: I love the feeling of feeling irritated when my mom or grandmother tell me to be careful in that very human way, and the realization that someday I will miss that more than anything. I love when coffee is that perfect temperature. I love sipping espresso with a piece of ricotta pie, appreciating in that moment my Italian culture. I love my grandmothers accent that has not faded in the 60 years she has been in this country. I love the feeling of supporting someone I love by giving advice. I love realizing that my best friend is so different yet I can come to understand the unique way that she shows love. I love that I can fall in love at first sight because at this point in my life I have learned to trust my gut and I know that my experience will catch up to it. Equally I love the experience of growing into love as time can uncover truth. I love appreciating someone for all of what they are and enjoying the time I have with them knowing that they will not be there forever. I love realizing that I can go against my nature and exhibit discipline by tapping into my inner strength. I love thunderstorms in the summer, watching the lightning and listening to the crack of thunder from my porch. I love my private concerts in my car with the wind blowing through my hair and feeling the warmth in between my fingers as I hang my left hand out the window. I love when I go to my grandmothers house and feel so loved and taken care of. I love that I did not grow up with everything handed to me because it has shown me resilience, resourcefulness, and how to truly work for what I have.
I love when something I have said to someone pushes them in a positive direction. I love even more when they tell me so. I love going to musicals. I love when someone smiles and shakes their head at me because what I have just done or said is so ridiculous and can only be explained using the phrase "that is such a Danielle thing to do or say".
I love telling stories. I am a storyteller. I love even more when someone tells me a story and says, "hey listen to this, definitely a Danielle story".
I love listening to the sound of rain on my roof as I fall asleep. I love how the background appears to waver as the heat from a car or pavement rises into the air. I love the feeling of someone being so pumped to see you they pick you up and spin you around. The feeling of eye contact that you can feel from their heart to heart, fully understood. I love the feeling of being held as I cry in full support and love.
I actually love being called out, and no I don't mean it feels good in the moment, but it forces me to look at myself and question where it came from and gives me the opportunity for growth.
What I don't love?
I think it is easy to talk about the things we love, the things that make our hearts sing, but just as life is beautiful, it is also really hard, and dark, to me, the best things come from struggle. The good things seem sweeter because they are juxtaposed next to darkness. I don’t love when I am in a situation where I am forced to ask for help. I don’t love the feeling that I am not good enough, the feeling in your heart when someone you love disappoints or betrays you. The feeling of being ignored, of not feeling valued. When people lack the integrity to do what they say they are going to do. That Donald Trump is president. That our climate is changing at a rapid pace and some folks could not be bothered to think twice about it. That most of humanity suffers while a select few live the life of plenty. When I am trying to articulate myself and end up being more deeply misunderstood than if I had not said anything. When I try to improve a situation, and end up making it worse... When I think too much and build up the very thing I am afraid of into reality. When I lose myself in someone else as my altruistic caring nature is still learning to find the balance between giving and receiving.
I am going to think of this post as one that is fluid and constantly changing, because the things that I love and realize I love grow with each day as I begin to uncover the complexity of my own spirit. I challenge everyone to think about what they are grateful for, and to appreciate the darkness that helped them to see the contrast.