Chivalrous Acts

Congrats!

I’m a modern girl. I’m independent and I’m single. I have built a career from the ground up, read everyone from C.S. Lewis to Suzanne Collins, can navigate social media with relative ease, and watch New Girl every week like it’s my job.

And? I know I can take care of myself. But hey, call me old-fashioned, too. It’s fine. I can appreciate aspects of feminism, but I prefer gender roles. I like when a guy volunteers to kill a massive spider without complaint, or lift a heavy box in my stead.

I find chivalry to be a gorgeous thing. 

Most women I know are a little like that. We love our modern independence in life and in love, but deep down, we want guys to treat us like ladies. As most women will attest, it’s become increasingly rare. Gentlemanly behavior sets our hearts aflutter. We want to see it, and many of us are waiting on it.

Some men make us question why chivalrous acts have died out. However, other men prove that sweetness still exists. I want a guy to court me a bit. In fact, I’m sort of holding out for that. Someone to sweep me off my feet? No, gosh no. Grand gestures are wholly unnecessary. I just want someone I can count on. I just want him to do little things to make me sure he’s the real deal.

Dating today is tough, and we women always seem to have doubts about the guys that roll into our lives. Does he like me? Are his motives genuine? Can I trust him completely? Guessing means you usually can’t, and confusion isn’t a good thing.

Most women would like to erase that. So if he puts in the time and does the little things, it’s like a screening process for us. He’s more likely to be into us as human beings, not hookups. He’s more likely to be Mr. Right when we’re over dealing with all those Mr. Wrongs. That’s why chivalry is as important now as it ever was.

Here’s to all the women who are looking for that chivalrous, good-hearted guy. He’s out there. These are the things he does to make us swoon. (And to all those chivalrous, good-hearted guys, keep doing what you’re doing. We love you for it.)

Here are a few of the cutest ones that would make any girl swoon:

1. Call. It would be nice to receive a phone call instead of text messages. While a text shows you were on his mind, a phone call is more personal. Call, don’t text a date invitation. Just the fact that you would take the time to actually call a woman to ask her out on a date will put you light years ahead of your competition (of which there is a lot).

2. Offer you his jacket. When the weather turns colder, and you have on light clothing, it’s cute when he offers you his jacket. It’s a sweet gesture.

3. Put your hand on the small of her back when introducing her to someone. This is something I read a long time ago and it stuck with me for some reason. This is a passive sign of affection and isn’t inappropriate in a public setting, but it bonds the two of you together and helps her feel more comfortable.

4. Open the door for her. The door to the restaurant, the car door, the door to the car picking you up. Whatever door is relevant to you both walking through, please do not lose sight of this simple but often overlooked act of kindness.

5. Suffering through a girly movie. When a man volunteers to endure a girly show or movie because he knows you’ll enjoy it, he earns major bonus points. (Even more if he does so without complaining or expecting something in return.)

Women in turn should respect the act of chivalry. I know many women out there who do not want the door opened for them because it makes them feel like their power or independence is somehow being taken away from them. They are aggressive and headstrong in society. It may not be because they want to be, but because to make it in the world, they have to be. This is true. However, can you imagine a world where chivalry didn’t exist at all? Would you want your daughter marrying a man that didn’t show her this appreciation for being the amazing, strong, supporting, dynamic woman that she is?

In short, that’s what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.

XOXO
April McManus

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WISE TALK

I’ve been told, ‘Don’t burn your bridges you many have to cross later.’ I say ‘I don’t mind swimming if the bridges were messed up to begin with!’Light The Way

That is a statement of fear and insecurity of your actions, fear of both future events and the need to rely on others in the future, particularly others in powerful positions.  Those in powerful positions are more often that not weak.  I say, the weak always crumble in the presence of the strong of head and heart.  I say, walk with fire at your heels and only the wooden bridges will burn.  The stone will stand.  If I am not afraid to blaze my path with fire, the fire of strength, the oaks and mountains will be left standing, the weeds and shrubs ashed.  Strength is painful, and the weak run from it or try to put it to death, such that the strong woman soon knows her friends, for only they are left standing when she has passed.  And her friends will also be fiery of heart, for like attracts like, and therefore the path they burn together will only be stronger.

In the past and into the present, I have often felt like a flame in a weed patch, and all have tried to put me out.  At more tender ages, my core was nearly cooled so that I might have joined the weed patch, but it was not to be.  Now I feel the flame rising up within me, still tender and fearful of water but growing stronger daily, weekly, monthly.  I hope one day to become the forest fire that levels dying forests and resets the clock to allow for fertile regrowth, that jumps mighty streams and rivers, that knows few boundaries, that rushes madly forward, unchecked, and dies in the process.

I know that if I am to survive and thrive that I will have to look deep inside myself and know who I am, what I stand for, and where I am going.  And so I write, channeling the truth that was pouring out of me.  This gem, as I see it in hindsight, is one of my first clear expressions of that.  Give me the strength.

XOXO,
April

THE REWARDS OF VULNERABILITY ARE IMMEASURABLE

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S Lewis 

I have always struggled with vulnerability. I like being strong; I’ve always had to be strong, and I have associated vulnerability with weakness for as long as I can remember. Of course in everyday life, it would be difficult for people to know this. I am seen as someone who is quite open and outgoing, at least to the extent that my demeanor is not mistaken for being a cold, unapproachable bitch. After all, I’m also seen as someone who is known for being blunt; the quintessential, “what you see is what you get” person.

Perhaps it’s through writing, perhaps it’s through getting older, but ultimately I’ve realized that I’m a really hard person to get to know. And very few people know even the half of it. I’m guarded and I don’t break easily; no matter how close I am to people, I know that most of them are still kept at a distance that is comfortable, a distance that won’t leave me exposed. I do not like to be vulnerable.

If we reveal our authentic selves, there is the great possibility that we will be misunderstood, labeled, or worst of all, rejected. The fear of rejection can be so powerful that some wear it like armor. I like to feel in control of situations, I like to feel that I am always secure and vulnerability gets in the way of that. When you’re vulnerable, your heart is wide open, you put your trust in somebody in the form of giving them the most precious thing you have – your heart.  When you’re vulnerable you leave yourself available to be hurt and people hurt people. So I guess somewhere along the way, whether I realized it or not, I made the decision that vulnerability was not for me. I told myself that to be vulnerable would mean to give up my strength and I did not want to give it up. My construction of strength almost defined me. But the truth is I don’t like to be alone. I don’t want to choose it if I don’t have to.

Recently, I’ve been seeing the error in my thinking. I thought that vulnerability was the weaker position when it comes to love. But I’m realizing that the irony of vulnerability in love and in the pursuit of love is that you actually take the stronger position. When you put your heart on the line, when you give it to somebody and you tell them that it’s theirs to keep or break, when you expose who you are and all you are to somebody – that is one of the truest and best strength that there is. Vulnerability won’t be easy, it might be one of the hardest that I’m ever going to attempt. And it might go horribly wrong – I might get broken or damaged like so many others. But I’m not sure this unspoiled heart of mine is any better off. Loving anything and anyone ultimately comes with hurt and my attempt to not let people get close enough to hurt me has left me with a different kind of pain, a different kind of weakness – the weakness of regret and wonder. I think if I am to be truly strong, I think if any of us are, we have to be willing to expose ourselves and put ourselves through the greatest risk of all – which is love.

And in the words of C.S. Lewis, to love is to be vulnerable

P.S.    A couple of nights ago I opened up & he did not judge me. I will work on showing the rest of the world too a little more of the complexity that is me.

April Lynn McManus

Play along to the rhythm of life…

The beauty of the day lies in the hopes that we build in it, the love that surrounds us and the wonderful people who help us get better in life.  Morning is the right time to start with love and kindness. What you start in the morning usually stays with you the entire day. Try to be kind to yourself and think of the variety of blessings that you have received. As you feel better, think of the various ways in which you will be able to help others and be a good person to strangers. A simple hello or a kind smile may change some ones life forever. For many people the smile that you give maybe the only smile that they will receive the entire day.  This morning invest your time in encouraging somebody. Show love to the ones that need it and give to the ones that are needy.

When I get up in the mornings I just realize that each moment of the day has it’s own value/worth. No matter how many mornings pass, I will always be awake with a fresh enthusiasm for life because my children are my motivators. They keep me happy and create more happiness within me.

So, I leave you with this…
Look out of a window and take in the brightness from the sun. Forget the clouds and shadows of doubt and fear.Life awaits you in all its fullness, its another beautiful day.

XOXO

April McManus

An Amazing Beautiful Journey

 It always seems so much easier to hold everything in and try to ignore it. But in reality you never realize how hard it actually was until you let it flow out of you. I’m overflowing. And I’m exhausted. So tonight I grieve my childhood by saying goodbye to her. Like having a funeral without a body. I’ve said my goodbyes to her in my mind I think the next step for me in this process is to do something. A real something to say good bye. Because I owe her so much. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her fighting so hard to endure.
Grieving for me is more then just walking around crying and wearing black. Its a chance to honor the deceased, remember them, and honor who them were. I exist today because of a child whose spirit had to die inside of a house filled with rage and anger. I wouldn’t be who I am had all those things not happened so I wish to honor who she was. She was smart, funny, loving, trusting, caring, and gentle. She had the ability to love more then she was ever loved herself. She was inquisitive and wanted to know about the world around her. Why was the grass green? Why was the sky blue? She loved asking questions even if they only one she could ask was god. She was independent and wise beyond her years. She was resilient and found ways to smile even when there was nothing to smile about, even when they tried to beat the smile  off of her lips. She lives on inside of me. I love her and want her to be a peace now.  Goodbye little one and thank you for fighting.

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As kids we would day dream…
that our parents were not my real parents. Somehow these people, imposters, had gotten a hold of us and our real family was out there somewhere searching for us. Our real parents were a King and a Queen from a magical land far far away and we were their princesses. We lost each other but we knew that they were still looking for us.  All the little girls they saw must have reminded them of us. So we drew pictures of crowns and the magical land and we taped them to my window because we just knew that they would find us. They would drive down the street and see those pictures and they would know that that’s the house that we were in. They would pull up to our house in a long white limo, and I would run to them and they would take us away. They would take us away from all the anger, hurt, fear and pain that this fake family had shown us.
 Though we knew it wasn’t real, the hope was enough in the moment.  Every night we would pray that our real family would finally knock on the door and bring me out of this house of terror. That they would save us from the pain and let us be a child, and we would run into their arms and forever we would stay. Sometimes I still pray for them to come, sometimes I still need arms to run into. 

It would be quite unfair to live in the shadows of “what could have been.”  This is life moving on. This is us moving down the path we’re on, doing our best to be more grateful for the blessings here and less obsessed with the roads we didn’t take. 

This is acceptance in progress.

April Lynn McManus