Love More with Your Head than with Your Heart

I was struck when my mom told me that a friend of mine loves more with her heart than her head.

All of a sudden a spillover of cartoon illustrations of couples in thought bubbles started to pop up in my mind. A huge heart that overpowers the brain when she sees her crush. Her almost drunk-like state in his presence. Her willingness to sacrifice everything for his sake! The images are a bit much but the truth is that this is something very real for us girls.

I was quite the opposite when I was in my teens so much so that I brought my “objective” mindset to my one and only relationship. To illustrate my point, I once (proudly) told my fiancé: “In our relationship, I’m the cerebral and objective one while you are the emotional and subjective one.”

I believed 100% in this. I badly wanted to contradict the popular belief that the One will ‘just come’ and I will fall madly in love with him and I’ll just have to “follow my heart.”

Lies, I tell you.

What is true about catching the One? All you ladies – Independent. Throw your hands up at me.  I’m not referring to the making money and buying my own diamond rings bit of  Destiny’s Child’s independence. I’m talking about the quality of independence in knowing what a girl wants and deserves and working on and for it. 

Why was I like that in my teens already? You can say I was way too busy working on my self-esteem to even think of guys –  let alone welcome a relationship. Now that I look back on those years, I was unconsciously working on myself for him and while I was meeting boys I already started to come up with a formula of  who the One was for me.

I didn’t have 50 boyfriends and I certainly didn’t need to test drive any man to know if we were compatible in a relationship. Neither did I have to party every night to meet men. I never dressed to reveal and shock any man just to catch their attention – if I did, then I probably didn’t know any better.

Here’s my formula. There were only five things that would run through my mind and work on overdrive to analyze a man I would meet for the first time and even more to the guys who were already my friends – granted I was also working on perfecting these qualities myself.

  1. He has a vision of who he wants to be and is trying his best to follow it. He can humble himself to know God and to trust in God’s plans.
  2. He knows how to treat a woman. He knows and shows me what I’m worth. With acquaintances, this means I don’t need to call or text him first and I don’t need to catch his attention any other way other than trying to get to know me as a person.
  3. He teaches me new things and is open to learn new things from me. (this usually comes after being #1 to begin with)
  4. He makes me laugh (not roll my eyes.)
  5. He’s genuine. (just to echo #2)

These qualities are difficult to detect when emotions of wanting that cute guy to like you are in the way. It’s even more difficult to deal with this when he’s desperately trying to be the guy with all those qualities – but is not. This next thing I’m about to say is also rather difficult to do when you’re a teenager and you question your self-esteem day in and day out while in a relationship with a teenage boy.

Here I go.

I made sure, I was not afraid to get disappointed. In short, I never settled. I didn’t mind getting disappointed one guy after the other if I knew there were red alerts pointing to problems, I might encounter in the future if we did end up in a relationship. I was always the forward thinker and in the end was completely disappointed in myself for being way too picky. Eventually I stopped being afraid to get disappointed in myself because I knew I didn’t want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship — which was sometimes so hard admit.

For a while, I believed that I was a solid rock and had no romantic feelings at all  even when I was slightly considering a possible relationship with a guy. I made sure I didn’t feel any butterflies and rainbows when a guy was so obviously showing his affection towards me. Obviously, I took every relationship – even the hypothetical ones – very seriously.

All for the good.

When the One arrived, I was on my knees in front of God everyday asking Him WHY? Is it him? Is it really him? In the equilibrium of my mind and emotion, God reigned and said: “Well, yeah, aren’t you happy? I want this and I know that this relationship you will have with him for the rest of your life will not just be good for you but the best for you – the both of you to get to Me.” Awesome.

Thank God, God gave us both mind and heart – He lives in both. But see, the great thing about God is He wants us to know before we love and know while we love. That’s why ladies, please, when you love, love more with your head than your heart.

Yup, ditto to the quote below:

ditto

ditto

The Recent History of Shopping

We just wrapped up a wonderful symposium at the museum that I work in. The delegates who were coming from all over the world, brought up their individual papers (some being years in the making). I’ll start to sound a bit nerdy now… all their papers revolved around the umbrella topic: Transpacific Engagements: Visual Culture of Global Exchange (1781-1869) or in one word: TRADE. I came out of the symposium mesmerized by the thought that a lot of research has been done about the Philippines and how we might have played a central role in trade and commerce in those few hundred year time frame.

Thinking about the topic in a more recent context,  trade is what we (I’m referring to us, girls), rave about 70% of the time with our girlfriends and that’s shopping. Well, alongside that word is its synonym (at least, practically) — SALE.

Shopping

If trade was essential in forming ties between cross-cultural communities, shopping is infinitely essential in creating ties among girlfriends.Apart from that, shopping provides a practice ground to find and even create one’s personal trend/s and styles. Shopping can easily be thought of as a purely materialistic endeavor – only to shop for the best and most expensive, extravagant and embellished piece of clothing there is. Underlying the temptation to have all and the best, shopping is a great means for self-discovery! Shopping for fashionable items in the pool of trends, to me, go hand-in-hand because of the great universes we have in each and every person alive. No one person can pull off the same outfit no matter how severely impersonal a situation can ask one to conform to.

I recall hearing a story during the severely strict communist ruling in China wherein the women were made to dress in the same ill-fitting and drab colored jumpsuit as their uniform in their workplaces. No matter how carbon copied they looked, when you peer closely at a group of five women, it would reveal that they wore their hair differently or cut their hair differently.

Trends

If shopping is for self-discovery, trends are for grouping similar personal styles that have become popular – it becomes almost like a thesis to the preferences and tastes of a certain group of people – whether of a big or small population. Take for example the parisian style. To zero in on it more, take the iconic parisian style of: high neckline 3/4 sleeved striped top + navy capri + flats + a snug hug of each piece of clothing on her silhouette + bonus: full bangs with a short haircut.

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You know her when you see her. You like her because you feel connected to her in some way and its mainly because you want to imitate some parts of her style that you feel will bring out a certain part of your personality.

Just like the above mentioned trend, history has clustered the iconic styles with their popular representatives by era. As communication started to become far more simple, the trends and the styles followed suit. From having just one look dictate the trend for all the fashion houses, the many fashion houses have their respective trademark pieces that more or less dictate the trends.

Contrary to popular belief, that women go out to shop for the latest trends, I believe that women go out to shop to get to know themselves and express their undying creativity (albeit unintentionally.) What better way to celebrate the feminine uniqueness than opportunities that allow them to express this without breaking the budget. Unfortunately that “way” is better spelled in an infamous four-letter-world which signs hang across the rows of clothing shops just right after the Christmas season. You said it, it’s SALE

Sale

Although sales are a woman’s form of a Superbowl or NBA Season, let’s be honest… this whole love for it is pretty much embodied in the satirical image below:

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It’s all the more funny because I found this image while I was browsing through my feed and contemplating whether I should head out to my favorite brand’s sale. On the first look at the image, it hurt me inside. I felt the stab at the shopaholic in me. She yelled while coughing out blood: “Noooo… Don’t listen to it. You deserve that pair of super cute pants, besides, you neeeddd it!!!”  On the other spectrum, a light rose from the back of my mind saying: behold, truth. Admittedly, it’s difficult to stare straight at the face of truth.

A good friend of mine and I were talking about her Singapore trip with her family. It just so happened that they vacationed at the same time as the Big Singapore Sale – and when the mid-level luxurious items go on sale… they go on SALE. She then started to describe the gentle hue and perfect structure of a beautiful jacket she saw in Clothing Store X which she happened to have entered and they had just her size. I was surprised at how detailed she could get about describing a single piece of clothing but what really got me was her dialogue to herself. She said: “Well, I made it a point to make the trip about my family and not me… so no side-trips, nothing. That jacket, that beautiful jacket it would’ve totally fit my current wardrobe and could just make it more updated… but then I realized if I didn’t get it, my wardrobe would be exactly how I left it. If I bought it, my wardrobe wouldn’t magically change to be the best wardrobe ever… it would remain the same and I’m OK with that.”

It’s in these unwritten heroic moments that I marvel at – that, for me, truly livens up the person and her inner beauty instead of the constant updates to a wardrobe that’s fine the way it is. That story is a juxtaposition to a tragic story about a man who committed suicide after his girlfriend insisted on buying more shoes. The extent of how affected people may be about shopping – may it be yours or others shopping habits may be just that severe and yet the simple sacrifice of not shopping or not causing a ruckus over what you want to shop for really prevents any possible harm on yourself or others. It’s. that. bad.

How to Shop

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After all the rambling about the history of shopping, trends and sales, where is the healthy mean? Other than shopping being a woman’s playground for self-discovery, it’s ultimately her venue for self-restraint (that especially goes for the spend-thrifty type.)

Here are some tips that even I have to consider when I even think of shopping:

1. Do not be deceived by SALES – often times, that is their only purpose: to deceive. It’s ultimately a marketing tactic.

2. Be a Smart Shopper. Be smarter than the illusive word. Don’t let SALE win! Get as many referrals as you can about long-lasting items. Have ol’ reliables. Only buy something when you’ve actually seen it (I am discouraging online shopping. It doesn’t work unless you’ve seen, touched and smelled the product otherwise, you’re doomed by your high expectations vs reality.)

3. Buy when you need something. Shop with purpose. On a personal account, I only really find things that I need when I go on a normal non-sale season to shops and find exactly what I need in my size and I’m a happy shopper because I know that that piece of clothing will last me for the amount of time I believe it to be worth.

4. When you’re faced with temptation and you don’t really need it, step out of yourself. Think about where else that money can go – to your local charity, to a meal for the blind man you see on the way to work…

Let’s make a dent at the history of shopping. It’ll be funny if the scholars of year 4000 find this blog post and see a difference in shopping habits.

Our Mysterious Sexuality

Experience bears out the definition of purity as reverence for mystery.

No one is scandalized at seeing people eat in public, or read in buses, or listen to music on the street, but they are shocked at dirty shows, foul books, or undue manifestations of affection in public. It is not because we are prudes, nor because we were educated in Catholic schools nor because we have not yet come under the liberating influence of a Freud, but because these aspects of a mystery so deep, so personal, so incommunicable, that we do not want to see it vulgarized or made common.

You heard it from our dear Bishop Fulton Sheen, it’s clear as day. This wondrous virtue of purity (that no one seems to care about anymore) is that one thing that reveres mystery. Our sexuality which is so personal and intimate when revealed to the world as if it were for show is a cause for scandal because we know from the depths of our souls that we don’t want this beautiful mystery to be bastardized!

Because our sexuality is  so inexplicably mysterious every person can be awe-stunned by the mystery revealed. It’s no wonder that our sexuality is the easiest marketing tool.

What can we do about it?

Allow me to quote my fiance’s Facebook post realization which he composed after we watched Jason and Crystalina Evert speak to us in the Philippines last 7 September 2013 (which incidentally is exactly a year and a day away from our upcoming wedding on 8 September 2014):

What is a great deception for our sexuality?

Our sexual desire and passion is a call to action, a call to real love, a call to service and self-giving, but instead because of our weakness and Satan’s cunning deceptions, it leads us back to ourselves, only to find it empty, dry, and lifeless. Then it becomes a downward spiral as men and women continue to search for real love only to get imitations and fakes.

What we should do is not to repress this sexual desire…this “call to action”, but to channel it to the right direction, to spur us on to real love, service, self-giving, and life. It is only then that we can truly find real and lasting joy, pleasure, and happiness through our sexuality.

Jason Evert: Being passive is wrong, for a man is an initiator and the one to take action, while a woman does not become passive as well but receive actively as man gives.

This simple quote from Jason Evert is echoed by Bishop Fulton Sheen when he commented ironically about the youth, about man and woman:

In youth, this awesomeness before the mystery (of sex) manifests itself in a woman’s timidity, which makes her shrink from precocious or too ready to surrender of her secret. In a man, the mystery is revealed in chivalry to women, not because he believes that woman is physically weaker but because of the awe he feels in the presence of mystery.

Let’s zero-in on man and woman respectively:

Men are meant to be chivalrous to women to respect to the mystery of sexuality. On behalf of the women all over the world, I hear you, bro! We’re begging you to have a lot of respect for us women. Feminism is asking for respect in the form of this “equality.” When there is chivalry, there is respect for the differences of men and women.

Women are asked to be “timid from the precocious” or to be timid in surrendering her secret. To clarify, using the word “timid” is not to emphasize the woman’s lack of power.

On the contrary, women HOLD that secret which asks men for chivalry from. Women need to safeguard this secret with all of their being! This incredible secret is the intermingling of love and life. There are no synonyms to this secret. A thick book series couldn’t possibly be enough to describe and study this secret. It’s so completely beyond us, mere human beings, that  the explanation of the mystery is in the bearing of new life in the mother’s womb. It’s the actuality of bringing to this world a new and unique human being.

Women are meant to value the grand power that they have in their entire makeup. Women are meant to thrive in what makes their secret a part of them. Women are meant to hold onto their secret and never reveal it to anyone, to any man, until she reveals it to just one man in the name of God.

It's better when we work together

It’s better when we work together

with the inspiring Everts

with the inspiring Everts

News about the Feminine Genius: A Seminar and A Film

NEWS: EXPERTS MEET TO CONSIDER WOMEN IN THE CHURCH, THE WORLD

St. Edith Stein is probably rocking out to the tune of this headline.

I was first enchanted by St. Edith Stein’s phenomenal essay on the Woman’s soul where she compares three important and yet very different female characters in pieces of literature written in different periods of time.

It was St. Edith Stein and Bl. Pope John Paul II who influenced my interest in the “Feminine Genius.”

I’m thrilled to know that these 100 experts met from October 10 and ended the seminar on my birthday, October 12 (which is also the date of St. Edith Stein’s canonization!)

With the theme “God entrusts the human being to the woman,” they discussed woman’s perceived role and desired role in their respective workplace, society and the world.

They found that (not that it was ever any doubt) that women are more often than not called to the nurturing profession – teachers, nurses, caretakers etc. a lot of women are called to be wives and mothers.

On that note, I just want to insert a really wonderful read from Matt Walsh about the Stay at Home Mom and their hidden but beautiful and dignified work.

This quote just hits home:

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Going back…

The discussion left the participants resounding this quote: “Women seem naturally suited to communicate Pope Francis’ stunning calls to re-energize the Church’s mission to serve the dispossessed of this world” with their shared experiences and experiences of other women.

Looks like it’s time to brush up on that apostolic letter: Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity and Vocation of Woman)  of Bl. Pope John Paul II as a little commemoration to these initiatives as well as his upcoming canonization on April 27, 2014! Wuhoo!

To read the original news article, click here

For regular updates from the “God entrusts the human being to the woman” seminar, click here.

ALISSA JUNG OVERWHELMS IN MARY OF NAZARETH

To further celebrate woman, who better to acknowledge than Our Blessed Virgin Mary?

I’m insanely excited for this film, Mary of Nazareth. I have no idea how I’m going to get my hands on it. The reason why I’m flipping out to watch this film is because a friend recommended for me to see and imagine the very real depiction of Our Lady by Alissa Jung.

She was given a rave review for her wonderful portrayal as written in this article. 

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exactly

Exactly.

Excuse me as I jump for joy.

Ode to Silly Fashion Trends and Woah Legs

Fish tail

skirts

unusual

cut-outs

mega

micro mini

transparent

skirts

blouses

dresses

oh my!

These fashion trends make me want to just… *face palm.*

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE FASHION SO MUCH. I love seeing new designs, new textures, new ways to mix and match my clothes, I love it. I eat it all up.

But there are just some pieces of clothing that apparently become hits and eventually become TRENDS. It’s alarming!

My desperate ode to fashion boils down to two points:

(1) Clothes that look WAY TOO SMALL FOR YOU and

(2) Clothes that don’t even allow people to focus on YOU.

Although department stores and generally most large scale clothing stores separate the women, teens and children sections, there are some pieces of clothing that seem to have been misplaced in the categorizing of things.

Take the short shorts. They look like a pair of shorts that’s supposed to be for  five year old’s blessed with extremely large waists. There’s the short shorts that are even high waisted that make the wearer look like she’s keeping a diaper in place from falling down.

A Father and his Short-Shorts

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Thankfully there are still people out there who care. There’s a father who went above and beyond our creativity to make a point. On a regular day, when he just had it of his daughter repeatedly breaking the household modesty rules, that he cut a pair of his old jeans to mimic the short shorts. He topped the look off with a Best.Dad.Ever T-shirt. *Thumbs up!*

This super awesome dad got a ‘kudos!’ from fellow parents on this risque move. According to Shine Yahoo!, he was even coined as an Internet hero.

Here’s the real story behind the short-shorts and a wonderful excerpt:

I know the world has varying degrees of what is modest and what is not when it comes to clothing.  In our family we have pretty definite modesty guidelines; No midriffs or low-cut shirts, no short-shorts, short skirts and we even go as far as saying no sleeveless shirts unless playing sports or on the beach. Having raised four daughters and three sons, I’m a bit protective.

Some may call me old fashion, but I call it “A Dad who loves his daughters” (and sons too) I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and that’s okay, my daughter does it all the time.

I’m a firm believer that the way we dress sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. (okay okay – I’m the first to admit I look like a redneck and I may say “crick” instead of “creek”) But that’s beside the point. My teenage daughter day after day continues to wear clothing that I, as her father, feel is inappropriate and immodest.

There is a lot to think about with regard to his lesson. The demonstration shows (1) this father’s love for his daughter, (2) the exposition of the worth of his daughter to the world, and (3) the mockery of the short-shorts.

It’s so obvious how much this father loves his daughter that he’s willing to look like a fool in front of the whole internet world for her. It’s also clear by the blog entry that he wrote that this move was to provide a lesson to his kids that there is some sense in keeping with the family values he wants his offspring to uphold.

The mockery of the short-shorts… does this message resound loud and clear or or not?

The Mockery of Short-Shorts: Woah Legs

I don’t know about you, but the first reaction I got from seeing this man in a “Best.Dad.Ever” Black T-shirt and… his shorts was a funny grin.

I didn’t think about it much. All I thought was –  he looked silly. Really silly. As if he was showing off his legs. Then, I just kept staring at his legs and I was all “Woah! Legs!”

If I were any other person, I would stop there and not think further.

But when I did think deeper into this picture.

I saw the kinds of (cold) stares this man got while he was walking to the department store or the local convenience store. I imagined the lines that could have been thrown at him like: “Did you leave your shorts at home, dude?” I imagined the reactions from every kind of person – young or old who saw him.

I thought… wow, that’s probably every other person’s reactions and thoughts about any other girl who steps out of her house wearing short shorts!

Girls wouldn’t even think we were being mocked at by what we wear. We would think that any form of attention is good. We just think that everyone loves us because we’re girls! I know that because I’m a girl. The insecurity we tend to have makes us a lot less sensitive to the kind of attention we get.

Living in a tropical country, girls have given the excuse that because it’s just so humid in this country, we can dress as if we were in the beach (yup, even when attending mass). You can already imagine the number of  Woah Legs! moments a day.

There are many more reasons to abhor short shorts and here are a few more from a Filipina blogger.

Apparently because this world is so desensitized by the kinds of fashions that are worn by women passersby, women and men alike shouldn’t care about fashion. Besides, it’s self-expression and everyone should be given the chance to wear whatever they like no matter how revealing and immodest their fashion sense is.

I beg not.

As I end this ode to silly fashion trends

I call women

to be open to

their intuition-centered sensitivity

to be honest

to themselves

to know what is offensive

to realize what is demeaning

and ask

am I really worth

bearing

myself?

Just for kicks, here’s another dad donning the short-shorts look:

dad1

short shorts: the new trend among dads!

When Grooms See Their Brides For The First Time & The Real Meaning of Marriage

Sometimes, I find myself (and I know that other women do this as frequently if not, more than I do) spending a couple of minutes or… hours flipping through the touching albums of newlyweds – some of whom I have crossed paths with in life. It just makes me so happy. In that single event, families and friends gather to celebrate love!

One great aspect about the lucrative business of wedding planing is the fabulous wedding photographer who captures one-of-a-kind and timeless shots! Really, the look of these grooms when they see their wives-to-be is… precious, a treasure. I remember, 27 Dresses when recalling that the protagonist’s favorite part of every wedding is seeing the expression of the grooms. I never really paid attention until these photographs were compiled! 

So here are some of my own.

 

 

 

Everything from the bride’s shoes, to the groom’s corsage, table ornaments, the wedding cake etc. are planned out to create a surreal and surprisingly personalized occasion. The tradition of having a formal event has been broken for each unique character of a couple to be highlighted in its details in keeping with the saying: “Each couple is different.”

Of course, I cannot doubt that because of the break there have been some precious traditions and solemnities that have been removed completely. Such as, maybe having the wedding in the Church. As a Christian, it doesn’t seem to make sense to me because I highly believe in this:

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.” – Ven. Arch. Fulton J. Sheen

What I thoroughly pray for now is for people not to simply fixate themselves on such elaborate details of that wonderful event of their lives (which is just a say, 6 or so hour event) but to struggle to have God in the very center of their relationship. After all, marriage was created by Him in the first place. Although there will always be struggles and probable conflicts after marriage, having Him at the center of their relationship will no doubt prevent divorce and guarantee a relationship that will last beyond time and most probably deepen the 6-month long process of planning for the wedding to a rich and meaningful life of self-giving love.

Besides, it’s completely proven that with God in the center of a couple’s relationship and their respective family there will hardly be any divorce nor “torn hearts of either party and children.”

There’s a little town in Bosnia with 13,000 inhabitants that have a beautiful tradition of having a newlywed couple and eventually their family kiss a wooden cross each day!!! Check out the article here.

Only a small percentage of couples in the entire world will ever struggle for their relationship to have and keep God in the very center. Imposing such a culture would be rebellious to the current frivolous society. But that is exactly the challenge, what will you lose? I think that you’ll gain a lot more than you’ll ever lose all on your own.

For all the lovebirds out there, I was struck when I read this line in a book but it stuck to me and I guess it’s going to be the ideal perception of what being boyfriend-girlfriend will be in my eyes: Courtship is the stage in the process wherein two people decide to get married. I read this as that there is a mutual understanding that the man and the woman see themselves both as people who are ready to sacrifice for a life not for themselves but for the other. It’s NOT that they both decide MEANING to act as if married but to decide (make a resolution in your mind) and get to know what it really means to be married – to know what it entails and to get to know if the other is compatible with him or her. 

To leave this topic, I’ll share this beautiful poster: To Pray for Your Husband. A wonderful list of moments in “his” life (which might happen daily) that must be thoroughly prayed for. 

A Father’s Advice

I have been researching a TON about Femininity. This topic says a lot about who I really am and women alike. I have to say all of these readings are empowering the forgotten spiritual strength of our gender/sex.

One day I will post stuff about what I’ve been reading and my comments but for now to commemorate my dad’s 9th death anniversary, today, I want to share an anecdote that one of his daughters shared to the world (that was shared through Facebook):

A father’s love for his daughter is none like any other. I know my dad loves me until this very day… his love spills over in everything that I experience and everything that I pray for. I know he’s there.

He’s there ESPECIALLY when I start freaking out if there are ghosts anywhere. I sort of just hear a whisper in my ear telling me “It’s okay, baby, I’m here to protect you.” 

As John Gregory Brown once said:

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.

I believe the same goes with Muhammad Ali and his two daughters:

An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters: “When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.

Fathers always sees their daughters as their most precious angels

Their affection…

This is for you dad — my struggle to live a good life to maybe see and be with you one day again.