Genevieve Angelique

Love, Books, & More


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Stars In the Night

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If you ripped open my chest, you would not find a liberal blue heart, nor a red conservative one. You see, I was born different than the rest.

My heart beats in majestic purple (see footnote 1).

My first president-elect choice was Kasich. My second, Sanders. My third, Rubio. My fourth, Clinton.

My never choice? Trump.

Am I a complicated woman? Very much so (see footnote 2) and not at all. Because despite all their differences, the first four candidates had one thing in common: none of them were parasitic carriers of sexism, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia.

Yes. Parasitic. Do not be fooled into thinking toxic ideas do not spread like the plague when shared from a platform of money, media, and social status. True, some individuals are blessedly immune from catching such a disease. Either they weren’t fed poison as a child, or they harbor such morally strong compasses, they are naturally resistant.

Unfortunately, many people do not possess this immunity. As children they were fed poison. Lies that different people are dangerous, inferior, and disgusting. Lies that spout dirty, derogatory words. Lies that teach evil actions: against women, against people of color, against queers, against religious “others.” Their hearts are damaged. They carry no immunity against hate.

And so, when a person of influence gets voted into the most powerful position in the world, whatever type of parasitic infection he carries can go viral in both a physical and spiritual sense.

An illustration: Germany, 1933. 

Did all the Germans hate the Jews or inherently agree with everything Hitler stood for? No,  I dare say they did not. What many of them probably saw was a strong leader, an agent of change, a person who would right the crumbling infrastructure of their country. But too many were susceptible to Hitler’s parasitic infection. Even worse, it spread and evolved into a new, darker organism covered in tentacles of death. Based on nationalistic rhetoric, a mountain was moved…

To house the millions of graves containing Jews, the disabled, people of color, the gay, the outspoken

One of the most humbling facts to this historic tragedy was that there existed a drug against this super-hate parasite. It lived in the hearts of those who loved humanity, even those who looked, acted, or believed differently than them. But their altruistic and heroic moment never arrived. For the people who carried the cure remained quiet.

They let what happened . . . happen.

Albert Einstein could not have put it any better:

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What is to be learned from such a bleak illustration? I believe this: the true path to reuniting our divided country is no secret. Each one of us, inside our heart of hearts, knows what must be done.

That is … love (see footnote 3).

I passionately believe God is love. But for this love to be perfected, it must be all-encompassing. In its most fundamental and pure state, we are to love our brothers. Our neighbors. Our enemies (see footnote 4).

We are called to love all. And we are to love just as we would like to be loved.

God’s love is manifested in physical form through life. Creation. And because of this, I am pro-life in its broadest sense—a philosophical idealism that beats wildly inside this purple heart of mine:

All living things are sacred and made of God, and it is our responsibility to protect them. That’s why I’m equally passionate about unborn babies as I am about protecting the environment. It means I love all people regardless of their color, religion, or sexual orientation. Because, again, God is love. And I can only know God if I love.

And so where do we go from here? When citizens no longer want to love each other but to drink each others’ poisonous hate, passing it around like a bottle of booze? The majority of the country has been drunk on this toxicity for the past year. Even if you voted against Trump, if you’re now tipping back the hate-filled bottle, nothing good will come of it other than drunk actions you may regret tomorrow morning.

It’s time to sober up.

This is not to dismiss or minimize the danger marginalized groups are worried about. Even if the poison is finally starting to wear off, in its wake, a hangover of true terror and dread has set in. Since the election, hate crimes have occurred under the guise of Trump-support. Whether or not Trump voters personally identified or condoned the parasite he carried, pretending its not out there–and spreading–does not make it any less real.

People are afraid, and their fear is justified. People are angry, and they have every right to this emotion as well. People are disgusted, ashamed, and depressed. “Negative” feelings such as these help us understand danger. They are red flags that help us know when to fight or run.

And I say it’s time to fight.

To say that hate is NEVER okay. But let’s do it with love. Let’s protect each other. Let’s share what is happening on social media. Let’s take out our cell phones and capture injustice on video and report these people. If we see someone getting harassed, we don’t stand there. We move. We speak up. Let’s contact our representatives by phone and tell them we are counting on them to keep others safe.

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So let us stop this infection in its tracks.

If we unite as citizens, we can. We are a great country. Let’s be the type of people we aspire to be by protecting others’ rights and safety and by loving everyone (see footnote 5), even those with poisoned hearts.

Let us be the change we wish to see.

Let us be stars, burning brightly in the night.

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Footnotes:

1. Taken from the Genevieve Angelique Dictionary:

Purple Heart Syndrome (n.): a congenital malformation in which one’s heart cannot beat in rhythm to either dominate political party, for its capacity to feel both subsets of ethically based beliefs is twice that of the normal [red or blue] heart.

A person born with PHS may seem normal until around the age of 18 (when ego disconnects with the parent/child self) and from adulthood on, will increasingly become aware of the [abnormal] all-encompassing love which neither red nor blue heart individuals understand. In its earliest stage, PHS sufferers struggle with understanding what is wrong with themselves, others, or the world as a whole. In later stages, PHS sufferers may give up on fully integrating into society—as they cannot be true to their authentic selves while surrounded by normal-colored hearts.

This heart defect is usually not debilitating during the first couple decades of life, but left untreated, psycho-emotional stress becomes so pronounced to induce feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt, hopelessness, and disillusionment. In its final stage, people with PHS must undergo surgery so that half of their heart is removed and the remaining half beats in one color. The patient makes the final (color) decision under the counsel of well-meaning people and organizations. Post-surgery side effects include: numbness, emotional inflexibility, and disgust at one’s “old heart.”

New treatment, in the form of publicly revealing one’s congenital abnormality is currently under way. The experiment aims to maintain the health of a purple heart without compromising its [remarkably beautiful] size or color. 

2. A “Purple Heart” Truism by Genevieve Angelique:

The one whose morals completely line up with one party—is lucky

The one whose morals does not line up with any party—is educated

And the one whose morals share love—is wise

3. 1 John 4:7

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

4. 1 John 4:20-21

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

5. Video: Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara


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Kindergarten Rule #101

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I’m in line at the movie store, waiting to check-out. A boy I really like is teasing me. It’s ok. We’re picking out a date night movie.

Kindergarten rule #101: Boys who like you, pick on you.

Well, this one must really like me, because he squeezes the soft baby fat underneath my chin. And then, to make sure I understand how much he digs me, pokes my waist and asks me how much I weigh.

In that moment, I become too pudgy for comfort.

I’m sixteen and a size 6.

I realize I want to be smaller.

. . .

I’m sitting in the library with a girlfriend, studying for an upcoming test. My friend has a wispy, ballerina look to her.

“You’re so healthy,” I say, commenting on the fruit she always eats.

She looks me dead in the eyes. “I used to just throw up, but the last time I did, my whole face became covered in blood vessels.”

I try to imagine what that must have felt like. To pull your face from the toilet and look in the mirror–only to see your secret screaming at you.

My friend is 21 years old and a size 4.

She still wants to be smaller.

 . . .

I’m at church after service, talking to friends.

I’ve been sick for six months. I’ve lost 15 pounds and have no energy. Every day is a struggle.

Someone comes up and comments on my new size.

I know exactly where this is going. I explain the food intolerances I’ve been struggling with and how it’s affected my weight.

“Well, you look amazing!” this person says, encouragingly.

I smile, but I want to cry. People think I look my best when I’m at my worst.

I’m 32 years old and a size 2.

I don’t want to be this small.

 . . .

What is this obsession with being skinny? And why do girls (and guys) think this is healthy? I look at my daughter, now in kindergarten, and hope she always embraces her sparkling beauty.

Because her heart is gold. Her mind is silver. And her spirit is diamond.

Today she sees herself as a beautiful princess, with powers to match Elsa and a voice to bring down American Idol, but how will she see herself in ten years, when she’s sixteen?

My own perception of weight and beauty became warped in an instant–that one fateful night in the movie store. In hindsight, it’s easy to see I should have stood up for myself or dropped that boy right then and there. But I didn’t realize his behavior wasn’t ok. That my weight wasn’t his business.

And sadly, I didn’t figure out how easily my self-concept could be manipulated.

Within weeks of movie night, I was eating like a bird and pushing myself to exercise as hard as I could. Some people thought I had become extra health-conscious, and I tried to embrace that lie. I was only being heathy, I told myself. But when you spend two hours in soccer practice only to go home and eat an apple for dinner–well, you are being anything but healthy.

Thank goodness for brave friends who told me I was getting too skinny. That I was looking–gross. The intervention worked and soon I wasn’t so thin. Then, after fat-grabber-boy and I stopped watching movies together, guess what happened? I gained even more weight back. Hmm.

I was lucky when I started dating Adam. He looked at me like I was the most beautiful girl in the world. And I felt like it when I was near him.

Then I made an incredibly smart decision. I married the boy who made me feel beautiful.

My hubby of ten years is awesome. He’s kind and smart, makes great weekend breakfasts, and lets me drag him to Nutcracker ballets. Not sure if him marrying me was the smartest decision. But seriously, one of the best gifts he has ever given me is this: he has never, ever, commented about my weight or made me feel self-conscious about my figure or size or anything “beauty related.” Well, except for that brown shawl of mine. He hated that thing . . .

I know. He’s amazing.

Kindergarten rule #101: Boys who like you, pick on you.

Kindergarten rule #101: Boys who love you for you, don’t pick on you.

And how’s this for romantic? A week after my daughter was born, I stumbled out of the nursery disheveled and sleep deprived. I was up 30 “baby love” pounds and still looked about 6 months pregnant (and yes, people kept congratulating me on being pregnant 3 months after my baby was born). I didn’t feel comfortable in my stretched-out, red-stitched, jiggle-hanging skin. But after pushing 3.5 hours and having an emergency c-section, I wasn’t starting an exercise program anytime soon.

“You know,” Adam began as I slumped on the couch, “you don’t have to lose any weight. I think you’re gorgeous right now.”

Do I have to say it again? Yes. I really do. My husband’s amazing.

He was my knight-in-shining-armor when I was 14, and he still is today.

Popular media and culture has completely twisted our perception on what a beautiful healthy woman looks like. Hint: if you can’t eat to feel satisfied, have to exercise like a crazy person, spend over ten minutes putting on make up and doing your hair, and have to wear the “right” clothes–then you’re not letting your healthy beauty shine through.

Before you yell at me for being a complete hypocrite (“We’ve seen your fancy blog picture. Don’t tell us you’re too holy to wear makeup or do your hair or . . .”)

{Sigh}

You’re right. Full disclosure: I too need to fight this delusion.

Fact: I tend to put on my best clothes and take extra care with my makeup when I’m not feeling beautiful or confident. I take extra care with my looks when I’m feeling the most vulnerable about who I am and whether or not I’m good enough to do this, or be that, or fit in with them.

And this is not what I want for my daughter. I want her to throw on clothes and not worry about her hair or face. I especially don’t want her to worry about her weight. Of course, I want her to be healthy. I want her to eat her veggies and fruits, exercise, and have fun while doing it. But I never want her to think she has to lose another 10+ pounds because she thinks she will be more loved by a boy or by friends or by society.

I want her to know beauty and worth is not determined by her weight. Her size. Her shape.

And I hope she doesn’t chase all the extra beauty add-ons: the makeup, nails, clothes, and hair. I want her to spend ten minutes getting ready and take those extra 30 minutes (she could be using to beautify herself) to read a book, or clean her room, or take a run. Even better, I want her to take those thirty minutes, multiply it by 365 days a year, and multiply that again by 30 years and do something amazing with her extra 5,475 hours (or 228 days)–like paint a masterpiece.

I want her to understand her beauty will never be good enough until she feels good about herself.

So, to my beautiful daughter now in kindergarten, I say–

Eat your cookie. Cut your hair. Wear sweats. And feel beautiful. Because there’s a new playground rule hitting the blacktop:

Kindergarten rule #101: Boys who like you, pick on you.

Kindergarten rule #101: Boys who love you for you, don’t pick on you.

Kindergarten rule #101: Girls who love themselves, are always beautiful. No matter what.


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How Being Shy Led Me to My One & Only: Part 3

I sat in front of the computer, staring at the screen in disbelief.

“No, that can’t be right. He didn’t just–“

For the past five minutes I had been having a conversation with someone who made my insides twist into a slightly nauseating, exciting ball of dough. The very person who broke my heart in eighth grade. And four years later, the same one I realized I could never “just be friends” with.

It was Adam.

I looked at my blinking cursor. And gulped. My trembling fingers began typing. I never would have been this brave face-to-face. But that is how it has always been for me. The words that fall silent at my mouth find voice when they reach my hands.

“YES, THAT SOUNDS FUN.”

I press enter and squeal. This is actually happening. Adam and I are going to see the new Star Wars movie. Together. Alone.

But wait. Maybe this isn’t really a . . . date. It can’t be. A whole bunch of people must be going. We graduated from high school three days ago, and summer is officially in full-gear. Everyone’s anxious to get together outside the many parties we’ve been attending. I’m sure he’s just organizing a big group of—

He writes back. “GREAT. I’LL PICK YOU UP IN A HALF HOUR.”

That ball–the one in the pit of my stomach–unravels in a split second. I’m about to be sick.

“What?!” I choke.

I run to the phone and call my best friend. She picks up. Thank God.

“Sara,” I begin, panicked. “You have to be my back up plan. So I don’t look like a complete idiot.”

“Wait? What?” she asks, confused.

“If he has some friends in the car, you need to be ready to meet us there. Just in case. It starts in a hour.” I wipe my sweaty hands on my pants. “I’m freaking out so bad.”

“Who?”

“Adam,” I say.

I’m sure there is a fairy god-mother involved, because I somehow manage to shower and pull myself together in the next twenty minutes. When Adam comes to my door, I’m still in shock at what this means. Then it’s just us in his car and no mention of anyone else. If there’s any residual doubt lingering in my veins when we get there, it vanishes when he insists on paying for my ticket.

This is a date. A real date.

The Phantom Menace is good enough that I actually follow the story instead of obsessing over who I am sitting next to. The credits roll. We leave and end up at his house. I’m finally feeling more like my normal self. We talk about college (the same one we both just happen to be attending next fall) and laugh and hang out.

Later, when Adam drops me off, he asks me if I want to get together in a couple days.

I say yes.

As his car backs out of my driveway, complete joy overtakes me.

I think . . .  Adam likes me. Me. Just an older version of the same shy, nerdy, clumsy, awkward girl he dated in middle school.

After all these years, he still sees me.

It’s wonderful and scary, and I’m all nerves. But in a good way. Such a good way.

I call Sara.

“So!?! How did it go?” she asks me.

“Perfect,” I say.

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How Being Shy Led Me to My One & Only: Part 2

I was an awkward teen. And shy. I suffered from acne. I displayed a full mouth of braces and jaw-moving rubber bands. I couldn’t make it through the school day without at least one outrageous blush. Talking to the opposite sex was a foreign language.

Thankfully as the middle school years came to a close, so did a tiny bit of my stunted social abilities. By eighth grade, I had become friends with a boy named Adam. Even better, our friendship turned into something sweeter. That is–until he broke my heart. Which you can read all about in How Being Shy Led Me to My One & Only: Part 1.

My later teen years proved to be less dramatic on the exterior front. I can look back at HS pictures and not cringe (usually). But still, things were not perfect. That blushing thing? It. Never. Went. Away.

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In all fairness though, my firework shows became less moody, less frequent. I must have developed a bit of grit because by senior year, I could talk to guys. And laugh with them. I even had some guy friends. I had successfully dismissed my shy ego (thanks for the ultra-sensitive and introspective years, but I’m good now) and had allowed my more confident self to shine through. [insert singing choir of angels]

Things were good. Until they weren’t anymore.

My extreme awkwardness returned. And in only 6 short steps. 

Step 1: Restablish friendship with Adam while hanging out with friends. Talk about my cold hands. Refuse to let Adam try on my mittens for fear of his large hands stretching out my favorite pair. Keep talking. Hmm. That’s right . . . I always DID like talking to him. I really CAN be my nerdy self around him and feel strangely good about that.

Step 2: Begin to cheer for Adam when he plays basketball. Realize I really hope he wins. Not because I care about basketball, but because I care about him. Wait. As friends, I mean. He’s a good friend.

Step 3: Tell a friend I sort-of, well maybe, okay . . . probably, fine–definitely like Adam. Despite my most intelligent reservations. After all, this IS the same boy who once broke my heart.

Step 4: Avoid Adam at all costs. Oh, and I mean AT ALL COSTS. When he walks toward me at school, turn the other way. Keep walking. Even if that means making a complete circle around the school and arriving breathless to my next class.

Step 5: Listen doubtfully as my friend explains Adam is interested in me but is extremely confused about my intentions–because he has this nagging feeling I am avoiding him (which of course I am).

Step 6:  Feel an overwhelming urge to run away when Adam is in the same vicinity as me. Try to work the room so I won’t get stuck face to face with him. Turn bright red when Adam approaches. Lose my words when he asks me a question. Just–become a total disaster in his presence.

Now, let’s be honest here. Who wants to date THAT girl?

Hands up!

What? No takers?

Actually wait . . . someone must be confused.

“Excuse me, you’re only supposed to raise your hand if you–“

Oh, I see. I guess there IS one brave soul.

But that’s another story.


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How Being Shy Led Me to My One & Only: Part 1

I grew up shy. Like, the kind of shy that made me stay home “sick” on presentation days. The kind of shy that made my long hair come in handy when I wanted to shield my acne from close onlookers. And of course, the kind of shy that gave me the dreadful color-changing abilities of a chameleon. No joke–when I was in high school, there was a particular teacher who thought it was hilarious to see how brilliantly red I turned as more and more students looked my way. As you can imagine, that class was a real treat.

But there was another reason I dreaded my freshman science class more than, say, the unpleasant gym class. That reason sat at the same table with me. And his name was Adam.

The story goes a bit like this: I had liked Adam for a couple years, but I was too shy to talk to him until he and my best friend started “going out.” Soon enough he became a familiar presence. I learned it was possible to interact with the opposite sex. Even ones as cute . . . and smart . . . and cool as Adam.  Eventually I learned how to be myself around him. A big deal, considering I couldn’t be myself around most people.

But as teen whirlwinds often happen, Adam and my friend broke up. The one boy I now considered a friend no longer was around. I missed our easy talks. The way he shook his head at me when I was embarrassingly nerdy. I missed him. And I wondered . . . would I ever get to hang out with him again?

It turned out–yes. I would. Because somehow, someway, the one boy I considered a friend became more . . .

He became my sweetheart.

Oh, it was stellar, as middle school romances go. We talked on the phone every night. We would walk to classes together. I even bought him one of those jumbo sized cards and wrote “I love you,” in French. In return, Adam handed me a shoebox full of tulips (hand-picked, naturally) and a note proclaiming, “Although these flowers may wither and die, my love for you never will.” And when another boy was making fun of my acne, Adam put his arm around me and boldly told him to leave me alone.

Adam was, without a doubt, my knight-in-shining-armor. [insert sigh here]

8th Grade Graduation

8th Grade Graduation

But most knights leave town sooner or later. Especially when you’re 14 going on 15 and the summer between middle school and high school begins. So after 5-ish months of dating, Adam had one of his best friends dump me over the phone. Even better: a day or two before he began dating one of my friends. I was devestated. And then very angry. Perhaps Adam wasn’t the boy of my dreams. Inevitably I did what many a teenage girl has done. I wrote my lovely ex a letter. I believe it was a respectable lady-like letter, but it was a letter, just the same.

So, yeah. It was a bit awkward a few months later. Sitting there. Near him. While my teacher built a fun rapport with his (other) students. I began to retreat inside myself during that hour and a half–hoping the clock’s hands would magically speed up. But that didn’t seem to help things either. All too soon, I was teased by my fellow peers for being “out of it.” Well, I was. I can be. That’s what shy and creative introverts do when they’re overwhelmed or uncomfortable or bored. . . they retreat. They can become flighty.

Ok? So how does this get better? It doesn’t really. Not until that awful class ended.

Then life moved on. Classes changed. I didn’t have to see or speak to Adam unless I wanted to (which I didn’t). I became a “bit” less shy. This became useful. I began to learn how to talk to other boys besides Adam. Yes, I’d definitely say that was useful. Another boyfriend happened. Perhaps two or three? It’s hard to pin some of those relationships down. I had definitely grown into a little more confidence. The past (and Adam) was so long ago that by senior year, I had forgiven him. In fact, we were even friends again.

Hmm . . . but can girls and guys ever “just be friends?”

I found out–no. At least, not with Adam and me.