August 28, 2013

{LOVE LONG DISTANCE} Making Our Way Down South


Finding comfort on Alysia's shoulder in North Carolina. We stayed at her's and her partner's home in North Carolina, in a beautifully and meticulously decorated bungalow - with a screened in patio and a yard with chickens and ducks and two incredible dogs who loved us and taunted us, respectively. 
Arrow, a gorgeous rescue pup, cuddled with me in Alysia & Dante's NC Home
When we finally got to New Orleans, we were greeted by an intense, dramatic sky. 
Our first night out in New Orleans, at Cane & Table with our friend Lauren Lagarde
The heartbreakingly beautiful French Quarter
Somewhere around the Marigny.
More beauty in the Quarter
The love of my life. 

For the last 10 days I've been on an emotional roller coaster.

I'm a true Taurus; I feel a lot and I feel intensely. Even in the moments of glee and excitement and utter joy as I joined Ali in moving her life down south for the next year-or-more, there was an underlying sadness to the whole experience. At the end of the 10 days, after driving thousands of miles, and seeing old friends and making new friends, and falling in love with the charm and pleasantries of the south, after settling into a new home off of Nashville Street (how cute and appropriately southern), and after finding the perfect upholstered floral wingback chairs, after all of that - I knew I'd be coming back to our home - alone.  It was really hard not to feel intensely sad as we held hands walking through the quarter, or as we were waking up together on a Tuesday and knowing I'd be waking up alone on a Wednesday. She talked about skype and I burst into tears; I don't want to only see my girlfriend on Skype. 

I got in late last night, and our apartment was dark and empty and the thermostat said it was 89-degrees. Our cat, Lily, is still on Long Island, and our puppy, Francoise, is at training school in New Jersey, (yes, really. It's like finishing school for dogs, and after her two week program, we'll be getting her ready for cotillion and then her debutante ball). Our home felt empty and static and dead. I usually find so much peace when I walk through the front door, but last night I could barely find the energy to turn on the lights or lock the door or flip on the air conditioner to create a more livable climate.

I know we will be fine, because we love each other more than we've ever loved anything, because we have more trust than I've ever felt in my life, because we know the distance is temporary, because we're so lucky and privileged to have the means to keep seeing each other over the next year, because I'm sure she's my soul mate. And I know how lucky we are to have love in our lives and know that we're there for each other no matter what, (even if we're not here, or there). But it still feels so monumentally hard. So, please forgive me if I'm a little more emotional than usual.

My goal is to channel my energy into new, healthy habits and make the most of our time apart. I think that both of us are trying to make way for "self-improvement" while we're together, rather than devolving into unhealthy habits as a way of coping. It would be really easy for me to turn into a night-owl party monster, but I think the thing that makes me happiest is being up early and having a productive day and soaking up as much of the sun as possible.

Also: I want to take a moment to discuss why I've decided to open up about my personal life and relationships on my otherwise fashion-focused blog. For one, I miss having a space where I can write in a reflective way about my how I feel; for a long time, LiveJournal was that outlet - and there are days where I really miss it! And secondly, and more importantly: for practically my entire life until fairly recently (like, end of college recently), I was living under the false pretense that I would not find love, or could not be loved because of the way I looked. I was taught, in a very literal way (though I know my parents love me unconditionally), that the world would not view me the same way that they did, and that I likely would not find a partner until I changed - and that was the key, to find love, I had to be different than I was. This was probably, honestly, a harder thing for me to deal with internally than how to "come out." I think the feeling of being undeserving of love is a common experience among women (and people, in general) who don't fit the very narrow beauty ideal. So, here I am: talking about the love I have and experience and feel in a really abundant way.

48 comments:

  1. so much love to you. there is so much heart in here and i, for one, am so glad you give us these little glimpses into your life.

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  2. "I was living under the false pretense that I would not find love, or could not be loved because
    of the way I looked. I was taught, in a very literal way (though I know
    my parents love me unconditionally), that the world would not view me
    the same way that they did, and that I likely would not find a partner
    until I changed. This was probably, honestly, a harder thing for me to
    deal with internally than how to "come out." I think a feeling of being
    undeserving of love is a common experience among women (and people, in
    general) who don't fit the very narrow beauty ideal." I love that you said this, Nicolette! I believe you are right: many of us are led to believe this and it is utter nonsense. And I love that you're not only a fashion role model for so many of us, but also a "love" role model (as it were), too. I think more of us who are lucky in love need to "come out" about it! Great photos, and Arrow looks very mischievous!

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  3. I'm so glad you opened up and shared this, Nicolette! First, know you're not alone in doing a long distance relationship. Garren and I did one for nearly a year before he moved back to New Orleans. It's hard, but I believe with love and friendship (and regular visits), it's much easier to manage. You figure out ways to stay connected. (We liked 'date night', where we'd watch our favorite shows over the phone and chat about what was happening.)

    Also, LAWD. I so feel you on missing the personal, emotional outlet of Livejournal.

    "I was living under the false pretense that I would not find love, or could not be loved because of the way I looked. I was taught, in a very literal way (though I know my parents love me unconditionally), that the world would not view me the same way that they did, and that I likely would not find a partner until I changed."


    As a plus size gal, I understand that feeling, message, and internalization all too well. It's incredibly difficult to manage, and a lot of times, I still feel so undeserving of the love I've had (because I don't DESERVE it because I HAVEN'T changed).



    Thank you for being so open and sharing, Ms. M! (And know I'm around in NOLA to keep you both company & provide support if you need it. xo)

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  4. What a beautiful post, thank you SO much for sharing! I honestly love a peek into the person behind the blog, how the blogger thinks, what she loves and hates and feels. Style is a form of art, and art is emotional. You speak of art, of fashion, of body image, of style and it's such a wonderful thing to add your heart and thoughts into it!

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  5. Lovely. I have a lot of the same feelings as you do, excuse me, did. It's a slow process. Your relationship is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. This post is really lovely, I'm so glad you shared it! And I would love to read more personal posts in the future. I'm twenty and single, and don't know a single thing about relationships (long-distance or not), but I hope the time you and your girlfriend have to spend apart will be positive. I also really feel you on the last point, it's unreal how totally ingrained those thoughts of "I am undeserving of love" can be. I always appreciate seeing people I can relate to (fat, queer, and other identities) in love!

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  7. Brought tears to my eyes. I know how it feels to be un-rooted (if that word even exists) and move to a different place. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  8. Such a beautiful post Nicolette. I was also taught by parents who love me unconditionally that there may not be someone out there who would feel the same, or that people I meet may not value what I have to say because of the way I look. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words, in a way that I don't yet feel ready to.
    I wish you both a lovely year full of love letters and romantic getaways x

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  9. Nicolette, Thank you for sharing something so very personal. I feel your pain, I do. My husband is from another country and when we had to be apart it was gut wrenchingly painful. I could have filled a milk jug with my tears. Thank goodness for skype and email. At the same time, you are so right that this can and will be a great time for taking action on your goals and wonderful self re-discovery.

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  10. Oh Nicolette, my darling. Sending you so so so so so much love and I cannot wait to hug you in September. We have SO much to talk about and share and sigh over. Thank you for this post. I way relate.

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  11. thank you so much for such a beautiful heartfelt post.

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  12. Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing that part of you. I hope the next year flies by and you can be together again. xx

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  13. You know how happy I am for you, and that I think you're just about the greatest human being on earth, but I just wanted to say how sweet and touching and honest this post is. Thank you for being so open on here; it only makes you and this wonderful blog all the more special.


    Briony xx

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  14. This was so sweet and amazing. I wish I were there with you so we could go for a beer and just talk.

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  15. Thank you for sharing!! My parents told me the same and I often wonder if they ever got what this kind of phrases did to me. But realizing is everything: I've overcome even that some time ago and found the realt thing, too :) Love from Gemany, Becci xxx

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  16. This was a truly touching post. I recently found you on Instagram (love your pics btw) which led me here. I am so happy that you have found your soul mate. People go through their entire lives and never come close. You both are truly lucky to have found one another. Hang in there-I am sure moments might be tough, but you have to remember this is a speck of time in the scope of your entire life. I am so glad I found your lovely blog. :-)

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  17. Jordan - Queen of LAAugust 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    oh nicolette. i am so sorry you guys are going to be separated for the time being. she sounds pretty fucking fantastic and i totally feel for you :( the good news is, i am pretty sure no one else in the world has such supportive and amazing friends like you do, and she's just a short plane ride away. small consolation, i know, but true love conquers anything :)

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  18. Oh Nicolette! :( <3
    I'm looking forward to reading these types of entries. I am planning on doing the same thing eventually.
    Good vibes your way. x

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  19. This post is so lovely, honest and frank. Thanks for sharing it. Seriously.

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  20. beautiful pictures, beautiful post, and I long for the days of Livejournal. We are all here for you!

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  21. I too am a Taurus, and I know ALLL about feeling feelings... This post really was so loving. I could feel your love coming off the page.

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  22. In a very selfish way, you give me inspiration and hope. A writer (you!) who can touch strangers so personally does something right. Isn't the liberty to be yourself and let it be know wonderful?! Let's throw confetti and spray pixie dust everywhere!! (love is contagious - thank god)

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  23. Beautiful! Well said. The last paragraph really resonates with me.

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  24. This has brought tears to my eyes. You have written this so beautifully, eloquently and, most importantly, so honestly. Thank you!

    I'm in the process of trying to lose weight and 99% of the reason why is because I want to be healthier, I want to stop sweating so much, I want to be able to move quicker, walk my dog for longer. But it's also because I've been single forever. And I believe if I lose weight, I may find it easier to meet someone. And part of me hates myself for thinking that. A big part of me wishes I could meet someone now, who loves me for me, the same way my parents and friends do, and who can experience my journey towards a healthier life with me.

    Anyway, thanks for your post. I have just started blogging and I'm never really sure how personal to go. You're a true inspiration. (http://thelindentreediaries.wordpress.com/)

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  25. This is one of my favourite posts of yours, Nicolette. It is easy to write about things that you love to look at, beautiful bags, clothes and shoes so why not touch on something that is harder to articulate but more important than all of it? Here's to you and the love of your life.

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  26. This made me sad because I know what you are going through! I read your blog, but am usually too lazy to comment. Now I must! Last year, I moved to London after a two-year long distance relationship with my true love. We met in New York and spent a wonderful year together. Everyday felt like Paris with him, a trip to Ladurée, etc. So when he left, it felt like somebody ripped my heart out. We skyped for two years and visited each other every month or two. We wrote each other every week. Sometimes we fought over g-chat. It was heartbreaking. I felt like I was always crying.


    But now we are together and we are a family. Looking back, sometimes I realize that it was a good sad. It was the kind of sad that I needed to get my life together. Like you, I thought that I wouldn't find love because of the way I looked and my background. I'm biracial, spent most of my childhood traveling, and had an unconventional childhood. I had family members who either referred to me as a mutt, suggested nose jobs, who tried to pressure me to straighten my hair. Racism comes from both sides, believe me.


    Aside from that, there's our culture. Sometimes I felt like a monster for not being thin, for being a size ten, for eating cupcakes, for eating bread. It didn't help that I had always surrounded myself with "friends" who always reminded me I was bigger then them and different because of my background.


    I always thought that if I was skinny l I would find true love, but that's not true. It's a blessing that everyone deserves. It's important to be healthy, to eat right and be active so you can enjoy life and love, not so that you can be skinny. It doesn't matter.


    I know how you feel and it's a sad sad world that makes women feel like they do. It's sad how we accept it, but it's hard not to.


    I think you are so lovely! I spotted you at restaurant once and I was too shy to say hi, because I just think you are gorgeous and so talented! My boyfriend was with me and said, that's girl looks cool! He said something about your outfit being fun. And I just told him you were a famous writer/photographer, that I meant once and he very impressed!


    Anyhow, sorry for the ramble, but my heart goes out to you! Stay strong! It will be alright! You will have a lot of good adventures that will make the time go fast and it will be worth it when you are together again!

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  27. My husband recently retired after 20 years in the Navy, many of which were spent not just gone for months on end but also completely incommunicado. His next to last assignment was 24 months in Japan while I stayed in San Diego with my job, my volunteer work, and the kids. All of that to say that I know about long distance relationships and how to make them work. Give yourself space to be sad for a while. Not a short while but a long while. And not just now but every time you get to talk to her (it rips the Band-aid off just a little bit). I love that you know you can't go self-destructive and not take care of yourself - I used to buy a precariously expensive purse every time he left us! - hang on to that commitment for both of your sakes. Finally, how cool that you got to spend time together traveling and getting her all set up in her temporary residence - hope you have gorgeous pictures and memories that will decorate your apartment, office, wherever, until she's back with you permanently!

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  28. Thank you for your heartfelt post, Nicolette. Am 1 year and 9 months into a 6,000 mile LDR with soulmate of 12 years because I have to take care of my Mama. May be in it for the long-haul. Soulmate reminds me to be strong. In every moment am working on being strong for both our sakes. My love is always with me. Time and space are relative. Love is infinite.

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  29. Thank you so much for sharing, Nicolette! I really, really love this post.

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  30. Loved following along with your Southern love affair, especially on IG!

    I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through, though I am happy you shared. I also miss LJ! These days it seems like I fill the LJ void with the occasional Tumblr text post, but it's just not the same. I miss the community.

    PS RANDOM question, but please tell me Francoise is at St. Huberts? Hehe.

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  31. I'm with u!
    There have been so many times that I felt that way.. but this year I decided to put all the "get-a-boyfriend-get-marry" pressures off!! I living for ME.. dressing for ME and traveling! and I can honestly say that I'm Happy!
    Even friends and other people have been saying that I look different.. better!
    Incredible what a decision can make..
    I know your relationship will be stronger.. and big thanks for sharing your life and feelings with us.. like you said, every woman out there thinks and feels the same at one moment.. and we're glad to know we're not alone haha
    Saludos desde Mexico!
    (that would explain my grammar failures in my writing hehe)

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  32. Reading your account of emotions dealing with a long-distance relationship, especially the part about self-improvement, hit so close to home for me. While we don't have a constant long-distance arrangement, my fiance works a job that calls him out of town for weeks at a time, and this summer - the time of year you should be having fun with people you love and being out in the sun - he was called to work for nearly 3 months straight. It was hard, because neither of us knew when he would be coming back exactly, and it started to feel like never. After having been in a relationship for 2 years during which we had immediately moved in together after starting to date, we used this time to find ourselves again. It gave us both back our sense of selves and independence. It gave us time to work out our own personal issues that we had failed to address while trying to make it together. Like you, I had believed I would never find love, or that love would find me. I had tricked myself into not believing in soulmates, into believing that marriage was something I didn't even want. I taught myself that it's better to be alone - hey! I can do whatever I want whenever I want. Upon finally learning to love a lot about myself, I found out that someone else could love me more than I imagined, not in spite of my so-called flaws, but even perhaps a little because of them.

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  33. As a taurus, I feel intensely as well. I am also looking to better my health habits and becoming more in tune with my true self. I write this comment because I also have that feeling of not being worthy of love or success at times. That narrow ideal of beauty is a myth that chips at the core of our true worth which only requires us to love ourselves and seek a identify that stays true to our souls.

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  34. My blog is called "Danimezza" because it's where I share everything I love, I consider "Nicolette Mason" to be the same. Share what moves you babe x

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  35. A really lovely post, I know you are sad now, but I am sure the distance will be not barrier for the love you both feel, x

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  36. We're here for you. Keep up your writing about whatever you like!

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  37. As someone who has never been in a relationship or had someone love me in that kind of way, it is truly inspiring and reassuring to know that there are so many fat women out there having wonderful, cherished relationships. I know that there's possibility out there, and that's enough for me right now. <3 Thank you for this post.

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  38. What a beautiful post but yet very sad, thank you for sharing :)

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  39. I'm so glad you found someone like Ali, because from what I knew, you really needed a boost in confidence and for someone to treat you the way you should be treated. So, even though this post is tinged with sadness - I'm overall really happy for you!


    And, hey, I still use livejournal sometimes - it's good to vent! xx

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  40. Beautifully said, Nicolette.

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  41. Wow on that last paragraph. You explained love and the fear/absence of it so clearly. I've been in NYC since 2004. Never once did I go out on a date. There were men that pursued me to no end and I just looked at them and said, "I'm sorry, I don't feel the same way as you." I couldn't connect, yet I felt like I must somehow be 'undeserving of love' because I wasn't like all these thin models we see running around the streets of Manhattan. I picked up a copy of Paulo Coelho's book "Manuscripts Found in Accra" this week and it has really discussed every single thing that I've ever said to myself that was demeaning or hurtful. I believe this is the stuff we all say to ourselves. Here is an excerpt on loving others without expecting anything in return, and to remain open to whatever love does return to you: "We are used to thinking that what we give is the same as what we receive, but people who love expecting to be loved in return are wasting their time. Love is an act of faith, not an exchange. Contradictions are what make love grow. Conflicts are what allow love to remain by our side. Life is too short for us to keep important words like "I love you" locked in our hearts. But do not always expect to hear the same words back. We love because we need to love. Otherwise, love loses all meaning and the sun ceases to shine. A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks: "Aren't you tired of waiting?" "Yes," answers the rose, "but if I close my petals, I will wither and die." And yet, even when Love does not appear, we remain open to its presence. Sometimes, when loneliness seems about to crush everything, the only way to resist is to keep on loving."

    Big hug to you. It's never easy being miles away from the person you love. Whoever said 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' should be shot...but at least both of you are going to be productive during your time apart. Nurture what you have together and what will make you both stronger in the long run...and remember the only way to crush the loneliness is to keep on loving. :)

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  42. Thank you so much for writing that last paragraph. I'm a sophomore in college and I've struggled with thinking I'll never find a partner till I change for as long as I can remember. I wish I had read this in high school or even middle school, or at least had someone, anyone say something along those lines to me.

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  43. I identify very clearly with your feeling of never finding love because you've never felt worthy of it, because of your appearance (not fitting the society sanctioned attractiveness thing).


    I was a fat child, teenager and now young adult. I thought I'd never find love unless I did some really bad things to my body and hurt myself and made myself thin or thinner.


    I was wrong, today I'm in love with someone who is my true match, soul mate, love of my life type thing.


    I'm so happy you found love with you girlfriend/partner/significant other and wish you all the best through this difficult time.

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  44. My wife and I spent long periods of time apart in the first few years of our relationship, it's hard and lonely sometimes and this was like five years ago before Skype and face time! But we made it work we talked daily sometimes for hours on end literally overnight sometimes! But we became so much closer because of it and you learn to appreciate each other o much more because you know your time is limited. So cherish every phone call and always let her know how you feel! Best of luck to you two!

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  45. Oh, Bellocq is my favorite! Maybe I'll run into you during one of your visits to the big easy. I'll be the fashion disaster sitting in the corner ;)

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  46. Hi Nicolette,writing to you v from Italy.I showed my students your blog because we were discussing homosexuality-they thought That you and allie were adorable and wanted to say hello <3

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