I love living down in the south because everyone calls you Baby. Honey. Sweetheart. The list is long and sugar-coated. The person doesn't even have to be older than you. First time a teenager called me Baby I blushed up enough peach for both of us to take a bite and ask for seconds.
"Thank you, Dahlin'. Is there anything else I can do for you, Bay-bee?" Oh, I suck it up like a thirsty stray stumbling on a bowl of milk.
This loving up from strangers never strikes me as strange. Maybe I should be offended. Perhaps it's just a way for the cat-caller to retain a good tip. Maybe so but I don't care because it feels good. Their greeting is organic and wondrous because I never see it coming. We look each other in the eye and notice smiles, not impatience. We see beyond crooked teeth and badly bunned-up hair. An olive branch is extended, accepted, and reciprocated with one "Sweetiepie."
Where's the harm in that?
I still have a bad habit of looking for love in all the wrong places. Do you do that, too? I tend to look in the same places I give it. And you know what? It is rarely there. I think it's because the universe functions on the exchange of energy. You give love, that person takes it and pays it forward to someone else. Forces flow with such give and take and when both gives happen at once, there's a commotion; a quick stalling of sorts. It's probably a sparkly vortex of happy for sure, magical even, but not always the most productive.
That's why love is often given from surprising places. Usually people you don't give yours to.
Ever notice your favorite people are rarely the ones who give back to you? You don't mind because they're your favorite and you keep on loving them out of sheer drunken dedication. You barely notice it's a one-way street because doing for them brings you pleasure based on your feelings about them alone.
And where's the harm in that?
There isn't much, as energy is exchanged - given and taken - but someone eventually needs to stall and experience a sparkly vortex of rest. Here, at rest, you begin to notice the olive branches. There are some newbies on the scene! And wouldn't you know, they are not-your-favorites, giving their love away to you. You take it because well, it's rude to deny a gift, and in return you are happier because of their gift. You are higher because they love you. Their energy has impacted your life in a positive way and now you find yourself thinking of them often and softly. Their surprise empathy mobs have attacked your inner core to the point of growth. You see things differently now. Those whom you once believed were your crew were just illusions all along. They are lovely people but not your crew.
Your cupids, the ones shooting love in your direction are your people. You can see them now because you've grown. You cease giving your good vibes away to the ones who keep it and stop there. You understand this doesn't always have to be a one-way street.
With age comes a wisdom that tickles me. And humbles me so. My favorites have long been unreachable by design. They have had me intoxicated, tipsy, and ultimately..strung along.
Like we all do, I've had magicians working their magic behind me for years. Maybe even decades. They've been here calling me Baby since the beginning. I've felt good when I walked away. Our encounters might have been brief but their kindness sustained me through my own self-doubts.
I hope I recognized them then; made them first in my heart. I want to say I added them to the top of my list to spoil with affections but I'm not sure that's true. I fooled myself in believing others came first - as we do in our youth.
So, before we enter a new year, let us recognize our magicians working their magic inside us. Let us appreciate them and love the hell out of them right back. Let us not always throw our love forward without any kickbacks.
I'm at an interesting place now in life where my magicians are making themselves known. And I am fascinated by their beautiful faces.
My magicians...I see who you are. Thank you for making this world worth every bit of sorrow it can sling, happy it can hold, and love it can conjure up on the fly.
Without you, I'd be an empty vessel.
With you, we are a sparkling vortex of happy.