finding your own identity and embracing who you are as a partner

writing by kiana mathew


turn those speakers up!

“i’m no expert on relationships, but i believe that one of the foundations to success in a relationship in your life is to first take the time to find out who the heck YOU are. gain confidence in yourself! it can be difficult to acknowledge your self worth at times. it was especially difficult for me to feel confident when i first moved out to seattle – a new and unfamiliar place. i was working several random part-time jobs (completely unrelated to my college major), nannying (best birth control ever), living across the country from my family and friends, and receiving calls from my parents every day to ask if i had changed my mind and wanted to become a doctor (the stereotype is REAL).”

“relationships are a lot of work, especially healthy ones.”

“fast forward three and a half years and we kind of have things ‘figured out’; we both work 9-5’s, have a roof over our heads, and can afford an Amazon Prime membership. I don’t believe that anyone really has it all ‘figured out’ – me and Ry have had points in our relationship where one of us has had to lean on the other and vice versa. A healthy relationship allows for give both ways, but balance is key! Like a pendulum, yeah?”

“relationships are a lot of work, especially healthy ones. you’ve gotta give everything you’ve got: love, honesty, dedication, time, patience, compromise, work, sacrifice (offering to do the dishes when the last thing you want to do on this earth is dishes), acceptance, and support. if you give all that you’ve got, you’re likely to get all of those amazing things back from a person that truly loves you.”

“humility. i’ve got a TON of faults and i get easily caught up in my big head. ryan has been key in learning more about myself by allowing me to laugh at the silly things that i do. he does a great job at putting things into perspective and bringing me back down to planet earth. ryan is a down-to-earth, intelligent, country boy that grew up with four sisters, so he knows drama better than TNT. ”

“one of my favorite things about ryan is that he does a great job at creating an event around simple daily routine things such as making dinner, doing the laundry, or watching a movie at home. when we’re not up late working on projects, meeting up with friends for dinner, or packing/unpacking for a ski trip, we take the time to carve out nights in our google calendars to be a “just us night”. we will listen to old records, new albums or podcasts and hang out all night in the kitchen. when we first moved in together, this was all we did. i feel like creating a ritual out of preparing and eating food helped us build up such a strong relationship and also a healthier diet (no more all-nighters of costco nutella).”

“we never go to bed mad at each other. no matter how petty it is, we never let whatever we’re upset about carry over into the next day. also, no matter how difficult it may be to verbalize feelings or exactly what you are upset about, facilitate conversation so that the issue is verbalized. take the time to figure out how to fix the issue before it becomes a problem that compounds on itself and isn’t addressed.”

“something that was a game changer in our relationship was finding a work schedule that is the same for both of us. we love spending time together, be it hanging out at home watching movies, coming up with silly business plans, skiing together, dancing on cap hill or going on road trips around washington; we are inseparable. we love spending time with our friends and we make it a priority to see them as often as possible and nurture those relationships. we hang out a lot! our friends call us RK since we do everything together and all of our texts are group texts.”

“we both love spending time outdoors and i hope that we will have done something in our lives that will help protect and preserve the earth that we live in. i hope that we have some fabulous rocking chairs / thrones that we can rock away and sit on to observe this beautiful earth that we live on.”

“if we never had to work again another day in our lives, we’d probably buy a p. diddy style yacht. obviously, ryan and i would be the captains of the boat. we would port our boat in different cities around the world and then go on trips from there. all of my best friends would have to come explore and party around the world full-time with us. i’d also be on a first name basis with pitbull aka “mr worldwide” and he will perform ‘tiny desk concerts’ on our yacht.”

“when ryan came out to visit me in seattle the first time, i was living in the central district and wanted to show him all of my favorite spots. one of our first dates we went on was riding the bus to ezell’s and ordering the hot and spicy fried chicken with the buttery buns.  actually, our first intentional couple picture was us holding a bag of fried chicken right in front of ezell’s (haha). we love ezell’s. we treat ourselves to their damn good fried chicken once a month. ryan usually will pop open the tailgate of his element to sit on and we’ll hang out in the parking lot nomming on fried chicken since we can’t wait any longer to eat it. ezell’s holds a special place in our hearts and bellies.”

“our apartment building is the most charming historic building, and it’s perfect for us. it took us forever to find when we were searching for our first official apartment together aka we were both going to be on the lease. it was built in 1926 (ryan says it was built in 1927) originally as a hotel, and was soon converted into apartments. everything has been restored with intention and care. we love all the little quirks within the building. the original refrigerator, which is just a cabinet with a thick door is still built into the kitchen. there is also a little compartment at the entry of our apartment where packages used to be delivered. oh, and there’s an ironing board that comes out of the wall right in the middle of the kitchen.”

“we love being able to walk just a few blocks to volunteer park in the summer for picnics when the days get long and popping into the conservatory when it’s open to. 15th st. is bustling with adorable small businesses and i love feeling like we are apart of a small community up here.  also, we’re walking distance from the pike/pine corridor for when we want to turn it up on the weekends 😉 it’s our little niche area within capitol hill that we’ve grown to love and see ourselves staying in the near future.”

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“when i first started blogging it was to hone in on my creative side. when i entered the “real world”, as we call it, i was working on the business side of a dot com. i liked my job & the company i worked for, but i wasn’t challenging myself creatively at all. it started to get to me after a while so i knew i either had to pick up a hobby that allowed me to express my creative side, or i needed to go into a new field of work. starting over work wise sounded daunting, so after considering a fashion blog for a year or two i finally did it. best decision i ever made & eventually i moved from the business side to the creative side & now i get to be creative for work and fun, which is really exciting.”
“when i was growing up most of my drive came from watching my older sister. she’s three years older, i adored her growing up – & still do of course. but she really was the driving force behind my success in school, traveling the world, & making something of myself. she’s the person who pushed me to start my blog and hone in on my creative side as well, so she’s always been my biggest motivator in the sense that i looked up to her, and she can sense when i’m holding back or not pushing myself where i should be and she’ll give me a bit of a nudge to help get me there. she also can sense when i’m pushing myself too hard and need to reel it back a bit. sisters have a six sense or something.” “i’m still working on it, but i can be my own worst enemy at times. instead of focusing on the positives of where i am and who i am as a person, i’ll dwell on the negative or i’m too hard on myself. It’s challenging to love yourself, but i always try. i mean, at the end of all this, i want to love myself, my people, & the moves i made in life. i also have a tendency to go back & forth with decision making. decidaphobia, is what i call it. a few years ago my sister reminded me in casual conversation that there is no right move, there’s just a choice. i have the power to make my choices & when i make them, i need to own them & keep moving. probably the best advice i’ve had in a while & i remind myself of it whenever i’m at a crossroads in life & can’t seem to just make an effing decision.”
“on my way to work i never leave the house without eye drops, chapstick, khiels spf 30 face lotion (gotta protect that skin) & rose water. i probably shouldn’t say this because it’s frowned upon for good reason, but i apply this all on my drive to work because damn, traffic in seattle is cray cray so i have lots of time to spare. during the winter i add bronzer to the equation to keep myself from looking sickly pale. i wish i had that snow white pale skin that is oh so glorious, but i get a kind of green color in the winter that’s just not that tight. the order of application remains the same every day – eye drops, bronzer, lotion, rose water, chapstick. BOOM! so fresh & so clean clean.”” to me, home has various different meanings. my house is filled with furniture & pieces that define my sense of creativity. it’s a place that i can use to define my personality, experiences & interests through material things, as well as meaningful things. pieces that i may have found at a thrift store & had been searching for them for years, or the sofa from our playroom that reminds me of being a kid & watching countless hours of 90210, or the piece of art that i found on etsy & clicked “buy now” because god dammit it was seriously calling my name. but i also find home in people, places, & smells. my sister is my home, my parents are my home, my boyfriend is my home, my friends are my home, the smell of puget sound is my home. people that i feel really see & know me, & make me feel at peace, are essentially my home. they’re the home to my soul, i guess you could say.”
“if my house was burning down & i could only save one item it would be my boyfriend. if he was safe & sound i would grab my green suede leather jacket because shit, i just love her so much & thanks to icloud i know all my pictures are safe. my friend cass told me it’s my signature jacket, so i think i’ll keep it forever.” “people & friends usually comment on how loud my laugh is. when we’re in groups settings & someone joins the fun i often get “i knew where to find you guys because i could hear hayley from a mile away!” i actually used to be so insecure about it, especially in high school, but as i got older i got over it. i realized that i’m loud just like my dad is, who i could always hear laughing, even just talking, when i was on the soccer field, & i loved that about him, so i try & love that about myself. loud, free spirited & loyal would be how my closest friends describe me. i’m someone they go to for the good times & the bad, & i feel pretty good about that.” “i don’t necessarily always feel fulfilled in life, but with where i am at in life, i think i should & i make a strong effort to. realistically some days i do, & some days i don’t. we’re all human & there are ups & downs, but at the end of the day, i have friends & family i love, i feel loved, i’m healthy, i have a job i enjoy, hobbies i dig, & i live in seattle which is one of the prettiest places in the world, so when i think of all these things i’m able to remember how lucky & fulfilled my life already is, & will hopefully continue to be. the goal is to keep challenging yourself, experiencing new things, & embracing the world around you, & then i think you’re able to maintain a feeling of fulfillment most of the time, & that’s a win in my book.” “i want to be remembered as the fun loving & loyal best friend, soulmate, daugher, & sister that lived freely, creatively, & never stopped laughing. belly laughs are what life is all about.”

-hayley francis / neon doves

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