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a healthy heart

February 10, 2011

If you are not familiar with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, just read this entry and you will instantly fall in love.  Even if you eat gluten, lots and lots of gluten.  It doesn’t matter.  If you have hunger and you have a heart, you will find something valuable there.

I read Gluten-Free Girl’s pre-Valentine’s Day post at work, and while sitting there at the reception desk in plain view of clients and coworkers I started leaking tears.  Just a few joyful tears.  Inappropriate, perhaps, but worth it for the added element of humanity in the middle of my work day.  I was so moved that I wanted to write my own story, solicited or not.  Luckily, Gluten-Free Girl asked for others to share their love stories, so here we are.

As you may have gathered by now, I believe that healthy living does not begin and end with the physical self.  To me healthy living is about nurturing and integrating all aspects of self.  Health is a tapestry, not one shiny color of expensive thread.  It’s a dance branching in all directions, not an impressively fast sprint.  It’s an art, and in this way it is just like anything else of value in life.  At the risk of being cheesy (too late, Diana!), the common thread between all artful aspects of life is love.

I wouldn’t be on this quest for health if it weren’t for love.  I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for love.  And I’m not just talking about that elusive love of self I so often seek… I’m talking about Love, Love with a capital “L.”  Yep, ooey-gooey romantic love.  In particular, I’m talking about Sam.

Sam and I were friends for several years before it dawned on us how much we cared about each other.  Our love was a slow-moving force that finally found its stride in the summer of 2006, the night before he left for Nashville with his band.  We found ourselves saying the lingering, tearful goodbye of lovers rather than friends, but the Nashville dream had a kind of stale inertia, so off he went.  He had to give it a shot; that’s his nature.  But we were both in the grips of something larger than our separate lives, a looming presence laced with possibility, and just as I was on the computer picking out a plane ticket to go see him, he called me and told me that his band had broken up and he was coming back home.   And then our love story truly began.

I suppose the Nashville tale is an amusing saga, but what actually matters to me more than how we fell in love is why we work and how we continue to love one another.  We were 19 and 21 when our relationship took off that summer, the end of the age when you think you know who you are but only because you don’t know enough to know how much you don’t know.   And so Sam and I have gotten to discover ourselves and each other together.  His dedication and enthusiasm locked tight with my honesty and groundedness.  In the light of laughter and music and art we have enjoyed this learning process immensely, and the deeper we go, the more compatible we realize we are.

Sam and I have very similar bodies: big, strong frames with a tendency to store weight.  We have both experienced the heavy stigma that comes with being heavy, we have both given in to despair, and we have both revived our hope and found the power to care once more.  Looking back it is often hard to tell who was the leader and who the follower at any given point in our relationship because we take turns in such an intricate way, but I do know that it was Sam who broke our despair-induced-exercise-strike at the beginning of 2009 and inspired me to do the same.  We are all private heroes when we love ourselves and each other enough to grow and inspire growth.  Sam is my hero.   He helped me save my own heart.

Sure, Valentine’s Day has been seized by opportunistic capitalist forces, but that doesn’t have to trump its deeper meaning.  I don’t think we talk enough about love.  We consider it partially taboo, a little too cheesy, saccharine, cliched, somewhat weak even, to talk freely and deeply about love.  On Valentine’s Day we get to publicly, collectively shift our attention towards this central facet of existence and that is a beautiful thing!  We all have love stories, we all have loss stories.  That’s what it is to be alive.  And that’s why it’s so great that Gluten-Free Girl is compiling a collection of real-life love stories this Valentine’s Day.

Even if love is hard (which, inevitably, it is), even if love is heartbreaking (which, inevitably, it is), love challenges us, love drives us towards positive change and empowerment and creativity and kindness and joy.  Love leads us to health, and health allows us to keep on loving.

❤ Diana Banana

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 6:21 am


    I enjoyed reading your post and secondly, your writing. Incidentally, I’m on a quest to keep my loved ones healthy too. They say, health is wealth 😉


    • February 16, 2011 1:17 pm

      Hey! Thanks for the comment — I am so glad you enjoyed this post. Health is wealth… I couldn’t agree more 😀 Best of luck with your quest!

  2. February 23, 2011 2:01 pm

    Glad to hear your take on a healthy relationship 🙂 and that you have found someone who will join with you in the beautiful dance of love.


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