What brings you joy?

Sedruola Maruska | Leisure Life Coach

In this busy life we lead have you ever just stopped to think about what brings you joy?

It seems like such a basic question and yet I can’t say I’ve consciously thought about it until now.

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It always seems so elusive. Like something you catch, like a cold, or some rash, but not something you actually think about, right?

But, let’s think about if for a minute. What brings you joy? Is it food? Music? Family? Friends? Work? The list could be endless.

What are the things that you can focus on and say they bring you joy so you can pursue more of that?

Maybe what you’ll find is what you thought brought you joy, didn’t. And what you’ve ignored is really more of what you want.

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Courage is a choice

Sedruola Maruska | Leisure Life Coach

I recently watched “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and found it quite entertaining. Not incredibly intellectual, but I found myself laughing out loud at times and cringing at others. I was entertained, sometimes that’s all you need. . . but I digress.

In the movie there’s a character, Frankie, played by the very talented Justice Smith, who lives in fear. His problem, his position, what he’s passionate about is taking him to very scary places and he’s constantly engulfed by his fear.

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The best part is when he has to make a choice between his fear and courage to save someone he cares about. As per Hollywood, he chooses courage.

Notice how I said he “chooses” courage.

So many times we think we’re victims of circumstance. Something scary comes along and we don’t believe we have what it takes to tackle that thing. So we choose fear. We choose to play small. Or, we choose not to venture.

Courage, choosing to be scared but to do the thing anyway, is a choice.

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I got cancer. I had no choice there. Choice came when it was time to decide whether I was going to choose courage or fear. The choice comes whenever I decide how to talk about, think about, or tackle the changes that have come with cancer.
I choose courage every day.

What we choose each moment of our lives, alters everything that comes after that moment. Sometimes, an act of courage may be to get out of bed in the morning, or to go back to school for what you really want to do. Sometimes, it’s simply smiling at a stranger who looks sad.

Courage, when chosen, is always grand no matter how small the act.

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What’s your “Thing”? What are you putting off, shying away from or just ignoring because you don’t believe you have what it takes to do it? You do have what it takes, it takes courage, just choose to use it.

Courage is not exclusive, it’s what those who achieve their dreams choose everyday because going for what you want is scary. . . but you have the choice to work through your fear.

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Where is True Love’s Kiss?

Where Is True Love's Kiss? | Sedruola Maruska

I, like you, am of the Disney generations.

Starting with “Snow White”, Disney started defining “true love” and “true love’s kiss” for us.

Disney wove certain ideas into our fabric that have shaped our perceptions of love and what it means.

Today is Valentine’s Day (a made up holiday, but nonetheless) so lots of people are focused on Love. So it’s the perfect time to talk about love and where to find true love’s kiss.

Where Is True Love's Kiss? | Sedruola Maruska

A Story

When I was nine and ten we lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. Why, you may ask? Because my dad received a scholarship from the University Of Utah. So we packed up our stuff in New York City, and moved to a foreign land.

My brother and I never had a hard time making friends, but I think certain experiences we had in Salt Lake City shaped certain ideas for us. Living in Salt Lake City was the first time I knew I was different.

One day I was out with a group of friends playing, when someone suggested we play “run, catch & kiss”. If you’ve never played, let me explain. Run, catch and kiss is like tag except you have to kiss the person you catch then they have to kiss the next person to make them it. . . .

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At nine it seemed like a good idea since we were somewhere between “yeah, I want to be kissed” and “YUCK”! Anyway, we started this game and something interesting happened.

I say interesting now, with the luxury of distance, but it was hurtful.

As we’re running around playing this game I noticed something that soon descended like a fog on each of my friends . . . no one was running, catching or kissing Sedie, me. So, one of my friends went over and had a “chat” with the boys letting them know someone had to kiss me.

[wp_ad_camp_4]In 1977 & 1978 Salt Lake City I was the only person of color in the group. As a matter of fact, my brother and I were the only black kids in our entire elementary school for a whole year. There were about 300-400 students in the school.

But, I digress. The game resumed with the “new rules” and a very brave soul stepped up, chased me, reluctantly kissed me on my cheek (others were getting kissed on the lips), and that was the end of the game.

Disney. . . Will true love’s kiss ever come for me?

Friends

The year we moved to Salt Lake City was the first, and probably only, time we received neighbor gifts.

A lovely lady that lived downstairs brought us a cake of welcome. At the time she had four children and the eldest two were mine and my brother’s age. They became our best friends.

We were such good friends that someone asked if the boy was my boyfriend. . . not knowing much about what that meant, I asked him, he said yes and that was the extent of our romantic relationship. We were friends, we loved each other, and that was that.

After those two years we moved back to New York and left our friends behind. We lost touch because time and distance but I never forgot them.

Years later, when the internet was a baby, I realized I could probably find my long lost “boyfriend”. So I began a search and sure enough, I found him. We chatted for a long time and through that conversation I found out he was living happily with his partner, a lovely man he’d met at a party.

Disney. . . where’s true love’s kiss for that?

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The Messages

By now I was 29 and I knew there was true love’s kiss for me out there, but that was in spite of messaging.

[wp_ad_camp_5]What are the messages we get?

  • Girls need protection and saving
  • Boys need to save and protect girls
  • Girls can only be loved and saved by a boy
  • Boys can only save and protect girls
  • Boys don’t need protection
  • Only boys can give a “True Love’s Kiss”
  • Only white girls are worthy of being kissed

Definitions

What is love? Merriam-Webster defines love as: 1) Strong affection for another arising from kinship or personal ties; 2) Attraction based on sexual desire; 3) Affection based on admiration or common interest.

What is true? Again, Merriam-Webster defines true: 1) Being in accordance with actual state of affairs; 2) Confirmable to an essential reality; 3) Fully realized or fulfilled

With those definitions it’s probably safe to say that “True Love” is a fully realized strong affection for another. That means anyone can truly love anyone. . . whoa!

New Messaging

It’s exciting to see that new messaging is emerging. It’s been extremely slow, but as we continue to speak our truths and express ourselves, the messaging must change.

[wp_ad_camp_4]As for Disney:

In 2009, my little girl got the message that she’s capable of being a princess, strong, independent and kissable with “The Princess and The Frog“.

In 2013, little girls got the message that they could be strong, independent and powerful. They also got the message that true love doesn’t require a kiss in “Frozen”.

In 2014, little girls learned that true love will always save you and it comes from those who know and accept you at your best and worst in “Maleficent“.

And in 2016 “Moana” taught our daughters that the quest isn’t to find “one true love” but to fiercely fight for all those you love. . . truly.

As we focus on love today let’s remember this: romance isn’t love, it’s a product of a romantic relationship.

Love is love.

Where’s True Love’s Kiss?

So, as we spread our kisses, let’s make sure they’re true loves kiss of knowing & understanding.

Let’s remember we’re all kissable and worthy of true love.

Let’s remember, and teach our children, that true love’s kiss heals because it comes from a deeper place than has traditionally been portrayed in the media.

Here’s hoping that the characters in movies become such that ALL children can see themselves reflected (representation is so important) and know they are lovable and kissable because true love’s kiss is not reserved from anyone.

Where’s true love’s kiss? It’s in those around you who are always there loving you. It’s not only romantic love but familiar love and familial love . . Happy Valentine’s Day!