Since when did Love Actually become a Christmas movie classic? All I know is it’s not quite Christmas until I watch that movie.
(Although if you haven’t seen Love Actually by now…really what are you doing with your life. Stop what you’re doing right now. Go watch it.)
You know the part where the guy is in love with his best friend’s wife? And he rips your heart out when he comes to the house and tells her how he’ll love her forever? He just has to tell her because it’s Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth. I mean, big fat baby tears stream down my face every time.
I was thinking about it last week during my yearly watching, and I had no idea that telling the truth at Christmas was a thing. Did you? Like I thought you were supposed to be good during the year so Santa would bring you presents.
But Love Actually says you should tell the truth even more especially because it’s Christmas.
Whether or not it’s a thing—I’m into it. So here’s my Love Actually attempt to tell the truth…
Just because it’s Christmas—
(and at Christmas you tell the truth)
To me, you are perfect.
I have family that I love so dearly that even if we weren’t related, I’d want to be bff’s.
And I have friends that I love so dearly they feel like family.
To my family…Mom, Dad, Danny, Sallyanne, Gaw-Gaw, Paul, Caroline, Laura Lee, Lilly, Grace, and Amanda, Mark, Paisley + Don…that’s just my immediate family. Not to mention my aunts and uncles and cousins and family friends that are like aunts and uncles and cousins:
I love you.
I am nothing without you.
I am who am I because of you.
I really need to work on staying in better touch—I’m sorry.
I actively think and miss you so much that sometimes it physically hurts.
Mom you taught me how to to be a fighter.
Dad you taught me to never give up on the people you love.
Petey you taught me how to show up for my family—and you’ll always have a superior music taste than me.
Caroline you taught me how to feel my feels and stay connected to my heart.
Laura Lee you taught me how to let go of trying to take care of everyone and instead have fun and be friends…I don’t know how to write it…but you know what I mean right?
Lilly you taught me that I could love more than I thought I could.
Grace you taught me that age doesn’t make a difference—a soul sister is a soul sister.
Sissy, Francesca, Boronia, Amanda, Marina, Elizabeth, Rachel, Jen, Erica, Lindsey, Angela, Johan, Carmina + Quddus, Ashley, Gavin…there’s more.
I adore you.
I can’t really imagine what life would be like if you weren’t apart of it.
Sissy you teach me grace and God’s unconditional love.
Francesca you teach me how to be feminine and the value of family.
Boronia you are me, and I am you. You teach me how to be playful, and are a mirror.
Amanda you teach me how to be internally healthy and how to hold myself high.
Marina you teach me to have a childlike faith—and to always laugh.
Elizabeth and Angela you teach me the value of being intentional with those you love.
Rachel you teach me how to be generous.
Jen—you teach me that geographic distance doesn’t have to feel far.
Erica you teach me that restoration is possible…you’re my ride or die.
Lindsey you teach me that friends can be like sisters.
Johan you teach me how to keep chasing dreams day by day.
Carmina and Quddus you teach me that love is possible and transformation is worth fighting for.
Ashley you teach me how to calm down about the little stuff.
Gav you teach me to pay attention to the little things and to really listen to people—you’re so observant.
When family becomes like friends, and friends become like family…well it feels like you’ve hit the jackpot.
And let me tell you…I struggle.
…with keeping in touch, getting my head out of my own ass sometimes, getting caught up in the tasks and logistics.
But you—family and community—show me that life is about so much more than me, that love and relationship is worth fighting for, and life is about being not just doing.
Thank you Love Actually for prompting me to be a truth teller this Christmas.
I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the movie…
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
P.S. this was not a sponsored Love Actually post; it’s just that I’m obsessed and woke up feeling all sappy because I’m so grateful for my people.
Before we dive in to this episode, I want to talk about the name of the podcast. reason the podcast is The Refined Collective and not The Refined Woman is because I wanted to make this a space for both men and women to share their stories. With that being said, we’ve got another man on the podcast today!
Reagan Pugh believes any time people gather together is an opportunity for collaboration and refuses to waste those opportunities. He founded Assemble in an effort to support teenagers in collaborations. This week we are talking about success, balance, rest, self-care, and everything in between. We went to high school together and lost touch because life happened. I recently saw his TEDtalk pop up on Facebook and had to reach out.
Though he enjoyed working with Calypso for five or six years, he discovered that the candle was burning at both ends. “I decided I needed to slow down.”
He left that position and did contract work until he created Assemble two years later.
“No one ever built a country or grew a company or had an influence on a community without some kind of conflict. They had to live some kind of hero’s journey narrative.”
He didn’t want to cut himself off from that success, so he worked hard to establish his identity and why he was doing the work.
He notes that there are some masculinity issues rooted in the idea of working without regard for rest.
“I look at the moments when I felt most alive in my life and all of those moments have to do with me being an artist, me writing creatively, me telling stories, me bringing a group of people together to talk about what’s really going on.”
He recognizes the fear he had of what his coworkers would think of his interest in the human connection over the results.
He thought he was wrong for not being driven by results. “I don’t find any identity in that, so what’s wrong with me?”
We talk about how Simon Sinek, among others, is a leader in the thought that human connection is what should drive us.
“Instead of being ashamed…I am starting to realize that it is the higher calling.”
He recognizes all he learned about improv mentality from Patrician Ryan Madsen, author of “Improv Wisdom.” The tagline of this book is, “Don’t prepare; just show up.”
“There’s this idea of believing that the best decision was the one you just made.”
When you make a decision, it is not worth your time to question it.
We talk about something we both struggle with: the need to be right. He remembers one moment he had with his brother where he asked him, “Would you rather be right or would you rather have a relationship?”
Who Am I?
We discuss the control he felt in his first role at Catalyst, but he realized he could not control was that his identity was not in that work.
When he had broken a bone and gone through a breakup, he reflected on how he got to where he is.
“Who the hell am I? Where am I finding my identity? Do I believe the story I have been telling myself?”
From that moment forward, he has let go of the control.
“We’re afraid of the things we’re going to have to deal with if we slow down and ask ourselves who we really are.”
We talk about fearing success and why we experience this. Fears of being held accountable fearing that we aren’t worthy.
“What if I put out my unique perspective into the world and there’s crickets on the other side?”
Head over to ReaganPugh.com to find his TED talk, connect with him on social media platforms, and sign up for his email newsletters.
I’ve launched a Bible study for YOU! The Space Between Bible Study and Meditation Guide will give you tools to create a regular rhythm of time with God. Head over to therefinedwoman.com/prayer to grab your guide.
“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson