What Reminds Me that I’m Beloved?

Indy Maven's top contributors reveal what reminds them they are beloved.
beloved feature

We leaned into writing prompts last year. In case you haven’t read them, here are the Eras Tour and the Anti-Resume.

We’ve moved on from “the” holiday season. For some, it was a time of celebration. For others, it was really hard. For others, it was both. I guess that’s what life really is, when you live it fully: full of celebration and hardship. And the hardship feels unbearable but then, phew, when a celebration comes along again, I just feel it and appreciate it on this whole new level.

When Tasha Jun invited me to respond to her prompt, “What reminds you that you are beloved?,” I felt like responses to these might be what everyone needs—at all times of the year. 

Because we all deserve to be beloved and to feel it, too—not just because Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Enjoy. And if you care to write one yourself, will you share it with us? Send it to hello@indymaven.com.

coffee from my husband in the morning | ocean waves | unexpected kisses and bear hugs from my 3-year-old | a knowing look | when my dad calls me “zz” | golden hour light | the super blue blood moon | finding notes from my mom | Gospel Elvis | when the astrology hits just right | unexpected mail | visits from loved ones who have passed in my dreams | the stillness after a winter snowfall | a new adventure | candlelight | when my dog sniffs my face | a child’s belly laugh | serendipity | seeing the world | knowing it’s going to be alright.

Leslie Bailey, CEO

Laying back under the 200-year-old northern red oak, sheltered and held / the small offerings of my children, a glittery rock left on my desk, a loopy drawing of otters spelled otrs / a metaphor made into a birthday card, being seen and known fully by him / any and every phone call with Ellie, 362 miles away but still in her presence, intensely kindred spirits / the first sip of warm, freshly brewed black coffee / a nudge to come check the Library shelf for what I’ve been waiting for / invitations to write, finding the flow and marveling at what I can make / My neighborhood, the familiarity, the proximity of people, places and porches I love and love me back / my villagers, anytime they say tell me more / visiting the garden, the first baby cucumbers and tomatoes we spot, colorful buds of flowers / a Homecoming welcome from two boisterous, joyful kids, even if I was only gone a half hour / soft blankets, arranged just right in the coziness to finally finally finally finish the day

-Marlin Bruns, Contributor

an arm around me when my voice quivers / locked eyes and a gentle smile from across a room / the first step into a body of water / “i’m glad your here” accompanied by a shoulder squeeze / calls with no purpose other than to know how my day is / going out of ways to love me in my love language / leaning in and towards the conversation /skies that make me lose my breath with their beauty / asking “how are you?” and really wanting to know / giving grace without condition or guilt / having a conversation when something needs to be addressed / nourishment when i haven’t the energy / reminding me that i am worthy and loved /when the sun sets and music creates a shared experience amongst strangers

Arianna Cruz, Contributor & 2023 Woman to Watch

a wet dog nose, relentlessly prodding my hand for pets / random check-in texts, even if it’s been years / the way he never remembers our anniversary, but always knows when to show up with a chocolate bar / restaurants with black napkins / the one plant in my house that I haven’t overwatered / random notes on scraps of paper from my daughter, even if I cringe at the spelling and then hate myself for it / doubled-over laughter / all-you-can-eat anything / the friend that sends a reminder to just show up / how I’m learning to stop asking “do I deserve to be beloved?”

Stephanie Groves, Contributor & Advisory Board Member

“come as you are”  / evening tea as the day comes to a close / open windows and cricket songs at night / lotus blooms / walks and talks with my friend Sandy / hand-written letters / old photographs / Andrew Petersen singing, “be kind to yourself” / ramen broth / being stuffed with ssambap / fresh and fermented kimchi / hot baths / cobblestone paths / train rides and bike rides / my kids’ smiles / traveling with my family / representation on bookshelves and television screens, in yearbooks and churches and neighborhood gatherings / folding dumplings / that text to check-in / peonies and hibiscus leaves / “I’m listening.” / breath prayers and journaling / art museums and libraries / when someone is willing to go there with me / deep conversations / noticing my biracial Koreanness / being asked kind and curious questions / unraveling / stories shared in honesty / Emmanuel here and there again and again, never leaving me / the taste of ice cream

Tasha Jun, Contributor & 2023 Woman to Watch

the sun shining on a day in February after too many grey skies to count / how Katie sent postcards with poems written on the back, that summer it all felt so uncertain and scary / when my dad vacuums my car during one of my visits / how my pup Violet wags her tale just at the sight of me / post-it notes from my daughter and how viscerally I feel her love / when my mom stacks up newspaper clippings on the guest bedroom nightstand with me in mind / watermelons in June / the sound of a cello / how Toddler Tommy chose me to hug first at bedtime / New Mexico skies / when the Libby app tells me that it’s my turn to read a much anticipated book / how Baby Cass hugged me so unexpectedly, communicating he understood / when Rory cooks me delicious dinners (each one better than the one before) / how simply and certainly he chose me, & continues to choose me / when a new leaf unfurls on one of my plant babies / when the universe opens a portal to a time and place where a nap is an option… and I – having finally learned to love and tend to my Self – step through and close my eyes to rest.

Maura Malloy, Contributor

Waking up before my alarm goes off, blessed with another day – the laughter from my loved ones – my niece saying hello – the best hugs ever from my oldest – the daily cuddles from my youngest – the playful love taps from my love – our high pitch tones when my sister and I are talking – the safe spaces with my besties – my love for history documentaries similar to the ones, I would watch with my Dad when I was younger – my Mom talking a pause to talk & laugh with me – looking across the room at my Pawpaw’s chair and thinking of him & Nannie – when my brother calls me out the blue – resting and being ok with doing nothing!

Starla Kay Mathis, 2023 Woman to Watch

Maura Malloy is a writer, minimalist, TedX Talker, and Indy Maven contributor.

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