Tag Archives: romance

The Look

My best friend just got engaged. We played phone tag last night for a bit. Then she texted me – “Call meeeee.” I was actually on another call, so I said I would but “Is something wrong?” She said “No but I only get engaged once…” Um, oh my god, I gotta go call Erin immediately, she ONLY GETS ENGAGED ONCE!

erins hand claimed by loveShe told me the story, and we gushed a lot and reminisced and pondered. I am thrilled, and that’s in the true sense of the word, not just exaggerated top-shelf American language. We used to imagine her winter wedding. Forget the spring, I love snow, she said. She would have a long-sleeved gown with full-length white formal coat, and the bridesmaids would have muffs instead of bouquets.

All girls think about their future wedding day and most dream of the frills. This usually begins around age six when you maybe also have six baby dolls that all have first, middle and last names. Girls picture this marvelous day, with all its grandeur and beauty, with the ultimate prospect of life-long happiness.

In the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby, the main character Nick Carraway says, “The way he looked at her is the way all girls want to be looked at.”


I take pause at this quote to consider what it is that us girls really crave. Sure some wastefully wish for the “big day” to simply be celebrated and do the trendy thing. But I’m a romantic. I know that in the precious hearts of ladies lies an innate desire to be loved unconditionally, to have someone gaze at you from across a crowded room adoringly, piercingly, lost.

The perfect irony would be that you don’t see this. It happens while you are distracted, caught up in a conversation smiling and gesturing as only you can do. You’re admirer has those magical feelings, and you are none the wiser.

This is one of my favorite things to fantasize about, that it’s possible for someone to love me, like me, desire me, respect me, protect me and build a life with me. I’m so hopeful that every girl has this moment, and better yet, if a narrator can tell you, “I saw it.”

Erin will be happy. I am proud to say that I knew from the beginning that they had something special, a kindred sense and natural sway that a discreet observer of the observer can discover.

Always. Forever. These are the words. And it starts with a look.

The Year of Change

I originally wrote this article on December 23, 2012. Fairly old and far from where life has taken me now but fitting considering I have some catching up to do. I left it as it was for purity sake. You’ll see several throwback posts like this as we go…

2012 has been the year of change for Aarika Woods. I’ve said this for a long time, maybe since January. But even these final months and days continue to mark this year full of turmoil, opportunity and transition.

My career has been madness, in the sense of Albert Einstein genius madness, but still. It started when I was blindsided by losing a gem of a job when my major local ad agency with historical clout closed. (I still can’t believe the amazing collection of people and work we were able to claim under one roof.) Then I was… Scooped up by a distinguished former agency client for temporary full-time employment with the State of South Carolina. Freelancing as a marketing project manager for a coastal tourism organization. Starting a new marketing contracting LLC with a partner. That’s three jobs. Now, thankfully, I’m down to one focus. I’m building a business, cultivating client relationships, filling the pipeline, facing my first taxation period and freaking out only a bit.

My family dynamic has changed. My brother moved to Richmond, Virginia, kicking ass and taking names and following his big sister’s footsteps in sales and marketing. My baby sister just turned 15. She is in high school and has her driver’s permit. My mother is on her own two feet but literally now uses a cane and figuratively still needs me as a crutch. My dad is stable and has at least not married for the fifth time yet. The rest seem so far from me. I struggle with being a “grown up” and the bigger person, letting them all know that I care but getting little in return. I’m moving into the role as a rock for this family, and it happened so fast.

My romance. Or lack there of since very recently. The tides have been turning for a while, the contentment slipping away like white caps at dusk. I sat on the beach taking it all in, until I blinked, and the gurgling waters were gone. I have to be poetic about this since the harsh reality is haunting. He’s the most traditional Nice Guy I’ve ever known. There was love, respect and consideration. I thought I had the recipe. But you can’t change your heart. You have to do what’s for the best, even if it hurts like hell. I know that perspective and time are the keys, and so far they tell me I made the right decision. I’m looking forward to a personal, individual journey.

I look back and can only think “wow.” I hope this summation sounds positive, because that’s what I am. A year of change equals a year of growth and enlightenment.