Say This, Not That

I am a crab-ass today.  I feel like arguing.  I also feel like cussing, but I’ll keep it PG-13 or so, so if you’re under the age of 13, plug your ears while you read.  🙂

I do not, at this moment, give a rat’s ass about being single.  I’m busy, I’m stressed, I’m working on some shit.  And more than that, I’m confident that God’s plan is better than anything I could dream up, and I’m happy to wait on His timing.  Plus, I have plenty of time.  If I get married in 10 years I can still have a houseful of kids, or whatever. 

However, last week I took a class about brain development and brain function.  One of the topics that was touched on was the benefits of touch, connection, and sex.  I can have connections with people, of course.  But…the thought was planted.  Or re-planted.

Then I saw a commercial about gum.  “The average person spends 20,000 minutes kissing.”  What, did I use up my quota in college???

Then I happened upon this article, “19 Things You Should Never Say to a Single Person.”  During periods of time, off and on, this could have been my t-shirt.  My mantra.  My bible.  At this moment, most of those comments don’t really bother me.  But because I’m in this strange, fired-up mood, a few of them made me laugh.  In a sick, sardonic sort of way.

You’re too picky.

Really?  Would you want to be married to any of my exes?  No?  Looky there, you’re too picky, too!

You’ll find the right person for you.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

I wish I were single and in your shoes.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can be single if you want.  I wish you luck.  Let me know how you like my shoes.

Your turn next.

Then tell people to quit cutting in line!

Sure, my guy rescues kids from abusive homes, donated my sister a kidney, and picks up fresh flowers for me daily on his way home from work, but will he QUIT IT with the sports on TV already?

You poor baby.  You poor thing.  Have you considered checking into a battered women’s shelter? 

I’m sorry, that last one was pretty sharp.  🙂

It’s sometimes nice to read articles like this, to remind me that I’m not the only person who has been single years longer than most of my friends.  (And I do realize, thanks to my super-mature college friends, I am experiencing this a few years earlier than most.)  (Also, the fact that within the last year, I suddenly became the older sister of two married siblings.  Again, very circumstantial.)  But no matter the reason, it’s comforting to know there are other girls out there experiencing this, because I do not see any of them around me anywhere.

But I can also see it from my friends’ point of view, and they might say, well, what do you want me to say???  A valid point.  I can’t help it if the typical comments are painful, but neither can they.  And most well-meaning friends aren’t looking to hurt you.  So, a few things that I would want to hear from married friends when I’m in those periods of feeling like I’ve missed the marriage boat:

That sucks.  Tell me more.

Usually, that’s all I’m looking for.  Tell me I’m not wrong to feel unhappy about it.  And let me talk some more.  Let me get it all out.  Don’t try to solve my problems when you can’t.  If I could solve it, I would.  (Because, of course, it’s not really a problem, but in the moment of upset, I don’t know that.)

Would you mind if I set you up with my husband’s friend/my coworker/my friend/etc.?

I love being set up!  Not everyone does, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, if you have a great guy in mind.  Not any old party boy, but a good guy.  Who also wants to be set up, of course.

Do you want to meet me for lunch and shopping this weekend?

When you’re married, I feel like I’m imposing if I call you, or if I invite you somewhere.  It’s stupid, maybe, but I don’t know what it’s like to be married.  From the outside, it seems like you’re suddenly less available, less likely to answer your phone, less likely to be able to talk to me without your husband in the room.  So you need to be the one to call me at first.  It’s not fair, maybe, but it’s the way it feels from this side.  And because I have issues about people not wanting me, I will politely fade into the background.  So if you want to be friends, you’re going to have to be the one to say so.  Not fair.  But I’m trying my best here.

You have to think about your own friend that you’re talking to, what she needs, what would really make her feel better, or if she wants to feel better.  Sometimes I don’t want to “feel better.”  I will feel better after I’ve felt bad for awhile.  Number 1 will always work great.  🙂

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I discovered some things about myself last week.  Stupid brain class.  🙂  By Tuesday morning, I was thinking, “This is not about me.  I want to be a better teacher.  I don’t want to confront my issues, I want to be there for my students’ issues.  This is NOT about me.”  But of course, everything about teaching is about relationships, which means it is 50% about me!  So despite my best efforts, I did confront some of my own issues.

The least of which, I really do need to be in a relationship!  Touch is very important to me, and I could play with kids (most of whom don’t stop touching you, ever) all day and cuddle with a beloved all night, and it wouldn’t be too much.  Some people it would.  Everyone is different.

I’m in no hurry to get married, as I said, but perhaps I should make more of an effort to be in a relationship more of the time.  Being in a relationship is good for you.  As another single friend and I said to each other recently, “Should we be, maybe, doing something about this?”  But here’s the thing:  I trust slowly.  When I finally believe that he really does want to date me (thanks to my “people don’t want me” issues), I can finally begin to find out if I want to date him.  And when a relationship ends, it takes some time before I’m ready to go again.  I don’t do rebounds.  And I don’t do casual dating of multiple people at once.  I don’t want to.  Maybe I “should” want to, but I don’t.  So that ends up with me being single for significant periods of time between relationships.

But it might be better if I step out of my comfort zone and take a different approach.  Something to think about.

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Passions

Well, crapola, I wanted to be asleep by now, but I feel like blogging! 

(Over the weekend I bought a book called Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, by Matthew Elliot.  Does that not sound like just the book for me?  🙂  I’ll let you know how it is…)

(And…”crapola”…isn’t that a blast from the past?  I think I started using that word when I was about 12?  It hasn’t made an appearance in awhile!)

Not long ago, I briefly talked about seeing the big picture.  I mentioned that at that moment, I felt I could see the big picture more clearly than usual.  Well let me tell you…I can not!  The entire time I was feeling unbearably discontent with everything, I had this nagging feeling that nothing would come of all my ranting.  I had a little voice telling me that the “big picture” was deceptive, that I was still seeing a small window, and from a very specific perspective.

Well, a few weeks later, of course my perspective has changed a little.  Life changes, things change, perspectives change.  And I am here to tell you, what I saw back then doesn’t quite match up with what I see today.

I think I need to get into specifics, to explain myself clearly.

At that moment, when I wrote about the “big picture,” I was thinking about how wonderful it would be to not be a teacher, to have a career in music.  Because music is my one big passion, my one big dream.

As though there were just one.

The truth is, my passion for music is real, and just as big as I said, and it’s a part of my life and my personality every day.  But I am passionate about many things, and when some get ignored or rejected, others seem to get bigger.  And since the end of a certain relationship-that-shall-not-be-named, (*giggle*, there is no bitterness, I’m just being dramatic!), I’ve realized how “fine” I am on my own, how completely I would accept a life of singleness, if that’s what God has for me.  Which led to almost an embracing of that thought, an assuming that I will be single. 

Which led to a single, startling, scary thought:  “If I knew for certain that God is calling me to be single…that I’m definitely not ‘waiting’ for that season of my life to begin…I don’t want to be a teacher.” 

Which led to another, more scary thought:  “I don’t know what I want to be.”  Which led to an extreme assumption: that there is one thing that I am supposed to “be,” and if I figure out what it is, all my problems will be solved and my life will be perfect.  Which led to my thinking that I am supposed to “be” in the world of music. 

And yes, if there is only one passion that I get to keep, it would be music.  It has to be.  I can’t live without it.

But I don’t think there is only one passion that I am supposed to keep!

 

Today is a “homebirth day,” it seems.  I watched a video from Sara at Walk Slowly, Live Wildly that is a beautiful slide show of her daughter’s birth.  And as I commented to Sara, I think homebirth is in my soul!  🙂  And then on 18 Kids & Counting tonight, I watched the first Duggar grandchild come into the world via–surprise!–a homebirth.  I can’t watch a birth, see pictures of a birth, read or hear about a birth, without hearing a voice deep inside me saying, I want to do that!  I am not married, I am not pregnant, I don’t have any children…there is no reason for me to be as “hooked” on birth stories as I am.  I was reminded that birth…homebirth…mothering…well, music is definitely not the one thing for me!

Tonight I was reading through some of my favorite blog posts that I’ve written, and there are definitely some diverse passions there!  I read a post that I wrote where I said that thinking about homeschooling gives me butterflies in my stomach.  I read a post about birth that is more than most girls in my position know about birth.  I read a few posts about how I feel about my siblings.  I read posts about cleaning.  I read posts about books I’ve read.  And movies I’ve watched.  And t.v. shows that I’m into.

And, yes, I read many, many posts about song lyrics, bands I’m into, singing, playing instruments, going to concerts.

 

So, off the top of my head:

MUSIC: singing, playing, listening to, discovering new bands to listen to, going to concerts…

FAMILY: honoring my parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles, being best friends with my siblings, the value of accepting and encouraging one another, the value of marriage, the value of children…speaking of which…

CHILDREN: homeschooling, homebirthing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, reading to, singing with, listening to, lovingly ignoring, hugging & kissing…(yeah, when I have my own kids, I’m going to have to acquire some more passions that would fit with the teen years)…

STORIES: books, books, and more books, movies, t.v. shows…

HOMEMAKING: cleaning, cooking, creating a space that is warm and comfortable and encourages relationships…

FOOD: green smoothies, new recipes, clean eating, all things fruit & vegetable…and the occasional box of Lucky Charms…

 

I look at that list, and I think, “Well crapola, I really don’t want to be a teacher!”  (Let’s just keep using the pre-teen expletive, shall we?)  But I think how much I love to be on stage playing music, and I think about how much I would love to be a homebirthing, breastfeeding, homeschooling mama…and those two things are at war with each other, if I let my imagination get the best of me.  The truth is, in reality, those two things are going to find a way to coexist in one person, because neither one is going anywhere.

I know that living without a musical outlet sends me a little bit ’round the bend.  I’m aware of that, and it’s something I have to deal with and keep tabs on.  (Oh, that sounds so boring!  I love needing a musical outlet!  It’s a pleasure to deal with that part of my personality!  Doesn’t that sound better?)  And music is, most definitely, my one thing.  But it is not my only thing.

 

So, then, I don’t want to be a teacher, at least not a public school first grade teacher.  What could I do, for money, related to any of those things up there?  Maybe I can publish my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel?  (If I have time to actually write it.)  Maybe I can help choose the music used in movies and t.v. shows?  (What are those people called, exactly?)  Maybe I can be a midwife?  (No, I didn’t think so either.  If I were the medical sort.)  Maybe I should be a Natural Family Planning counselor?  (No…)  Maybe I can be a professional triangle player…

Maybe I can find a job, related to children, using the education I already have, that fits with the way I think kids learn and grow best.  One that doesn’t make me panic and think: WE’RE RUINING THEM!!!  One where I can encourage, motivate, and inspire kids to take charge of their own learning…

I think I had a job like that last year…  🙂

 

Okay, now tell me honestly.  Just how crazy do you think I am right now?  🙂

Dealing with the crap. Alone.

Screw it.  I don’t need a whole week to confirm the purpose of this blog.  Here it is:  I live alone.  I don’t do well alone.  The opportunity to blog buffers the “alone” in my life.  I need somewhere to vent and tell my stories and get out my frustrations at the end of the day, and there’s no one here to do that.

So, I’m not going to succumb to pressure to blog every day, or to be completely positive all the time.  I’m going to trust that if I get all the depressing and tortured crap out of me in this blog, you will remember what I nice person I really am.  🙂  I am also going to trust that you understand that I write this blog for me, for my own sanity, and that I do lots of nice, unselfish things in my life, but this isn’t one of them.  You can also find good things, and pictures, and funny stories, and quotes, and whatnot.  But this blog is about getting out all the strong emotions so that in real life, I can treat people kindly.

So, here is the discussion that’s been brewing inside me for five days…

There is a game that we play on this planet called My Life Is Worse Than Your Life.  You’ve played this game, I know you have.  But you probably don’t realize you’ve done it until the conversation is over.  It starts with someone trusting you with their problems.  You start the game when, instead of being supportive, you respond by telling them similar problems in your own life.  And it goes back and forth with a little subtle, almost unnoticeable, competition.  “But my life is worse because…”  “No, no, my life is definitely worse because…”

I get sucked into it on the following topics:  marriage, motherhood, money.  The three m’s.  Do not tell me that since you got married when you were 31, you know all about what I should be doing right now, you think I’m so young and I should be having fun, etc.  I have been waiting a long time for this, despite the fact that I am “only” 27.  Do not tell me that your life sucks because you don’t sleep through the night anymore.  I would give my right arm to have a baby waking me up in the night.  Do not tell me you are broke because you only have a couple hundred dollars in your checking account and you had to transfer some from savings.  I am not blessed with natural skill in this area, and I am still trying to learn how to manage my money, and not live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Basically, do NOT respond to my problems by telling me why I’m so lucky to have these problems.  NONE of us is any more or less “lucky” than anyone else.  My problems are problems for me, and they are stressful, and you can’t fix it by telling me why I’m so “lucky.”  You just piss me off more.  And don’t tell me, oh, you just don’t understand yet, you’ll know what it feels like when you’re married or you have kids or whatever.  Do you have any idea how condescending that feels?  Like I’m not entitled to stress because I’m not married yet???  Like even though I’m 27, I am not to be considered an adult, but a child who doesn’t know the first thing about life???

I have been through a lot in my life, a hell of a lot more than some people who have been married since they were 20.  I was more responsible at the age of 17 than many 30-year-olds.  I had been through more relationship crap by my 21st birthday than I hope most people have to see in their entire lives.  Do you want me to tell specific stories?  Because I could, but you wouldn’t want your children to read my blog.  My childhood crap and my college boyfriend crap has made me strong and mature, and grow up faster than anyone should.  So if I needed a few years of peace, if it takes me just a little longer to get from 21 to married with kids, don’t look at me like I’m so innocent and naive!!!

We all have crap from our lives, but the only crap I know is my own.  So please, just let me yell about it here, and then I will be able to promise you that, to the best of my ability, in real life I will be supportive when you come to me with problems.

See?  I don’t do well alone.  I get selfish and angry.  If I have someone to take care of, I’m on top of the world.  If I have someone to play with and argue with and do things with, life is good.  But I don’t.  I wake up alone.  I go home alone.  I eat dinner alone.  Whatever happened to the days when a girl went straight from her father’s house to her husband’s house???  Mark my words.  In 70 years, you’re going to see that from the time I started living alone to whenever I get married, this will be the darkest, most unhappy, most personally challenging part of my life.  Not because childhood was easy, or because marriage will be easy.  Just because this is who I am, and none of it is easy, but this is the only part that is alone.

Make like a starfish!

I happened upon an article this morning entitled Single-Girl Things to Do Before You Marry.  One of the things: Take advantage of the whole bed.  You have the rest of your life to stick to “your” side when you sleep next to your man.  Right now, place your pillow smack-dab in the center and make like a starfish.  I love it!  I make like a starfish every night!  🙂

I have decided to get a bedspread, and I’ve settled on the Nautica one that you see at the top of this post.  I was making one, but…I’m too frustrated with it.  Some days I like to quilt for quilting’s sake, just because it’s enjoyable.  But most days, I don’t want to work on it, I just want the finished product.  I can’t commit to work on it for a certain amount of time each day, because I’m busy, and there are a lot of days when that’s just not possible.  Plus, then I feel under pressure for this project, and that’s not what it’s supposed to be.  It’s been about two years since I started.  That’s two winters that I’ve said “I’ll get this quilt done before it gets cold.”  Well, I’m giving up.  Sort of.  I’m buying a quilt that I like, and I’m going to work on the other quilt for fun, when I want to.  When it’s done, it’s done.  Until then, no problem.  I’ll make like a starfish under my lovely brown and blue quilt!

Random late-night stream of consciousness…

Here we go again.  It is about 11:30, and I will be getting up in 6 hours.  A couple of hours ago, I felt tired, but now I’ve found that second wind.  And I feel like venting, so watch out.  This entry will be all over the place, badly written, personal, vague…I’d go read something else if I were you…  🙂

Doesn’t it suck when the person you want to talk to is in a bad mood?  There’s a particular person in my life who I would love to talk to about something very positive, but she’s going through something very negative in the same category, so I feel like I shouldn’t talk to her about this.  It sucks.  I selfishly want everyone to be happy when I’m happy.  🙂 

Now, about that positive thing…Emotional people like me go through a roller coaster of thoughts and feelings without ever speaking a word to another person!  That is so confusing, because I know what I’ve been through in the last however long, without talking to the other person, but I have no idea what he’s been thinking or feeling.  And I really, really don’t want to rush anything, because he is just a GREAT guy, and I want this to work out well, HOWEVER it works out.  I want him in my life, in WHATEVER role he’s meant for.  I want with all my heart to ask for God’s guidance in what to do or where this is supposed to go.  But then I get impatient and I just want to know, NOW!  And then I get very doubtful and confused, because based on one tiny interaction, I feel like I screwed things up, or he must not be thinking what I thought he was, or whatever.  However, every single interaction convinces me more of what a great person he is.  This is definitely an exercise in trusting God!  Such a girly paragraph…we’ll be finished with that now. 

I drive myself crazy!  Who else would want to put up with me???  You know it bothers me that I left my pajamas on the bathroom floor this morning?  It bothers me that I can’t go to bed at night, and therefore can’t get up in the morning.  It bothers me that I don’t remember to water my plants until they’re drooping.  It bothers me that there’s an expired mostly empty gallon of milk in the fridge that I keep forget to take out with the garbage. 

For a long time, I’ve felt like I need to improve myself, become closer to perfect, before having a significant other in my life.  I’m starting to think the opposite is true.  I need a significant other in my life NOW, so I will stop paying so much attention to myself and what’s wrong with me!  🙂 

YES!  I’m feeling tired again.  I’m going to take advantage of it RIGHT THIS MINUTE before it’s gone!  GOODNIGHT!!!  🙂

The answer…

I think the answer has come.  I don’t trust it yet, because I’ve been going back and forth, as I said.  But it feels…calm.  Peaceful.  Like this is the right direction for me to be thinking.

Unfortunately, it’s not a very positive answer.  And it does still rely on a bit of patience.

Here’s what I realized.  This is not the same opportunity as it was when I was first considering it.  When I began to consider it, it was moving to a city far away, with my sister, both of us single, both of us knowing no one in the new place.  Now, the opportunity is to move to a city far away, with my sister, but she has a boyfriend there and a bunch of friends.

Don’t misunderstand…I am SO happy for Sarah!  She deserves for this relationship to work out, if it’s right for her.  But for practically my entire adulthood, I have lived with my good girlfriends and guy friends as they prepare to start their life with the one who is right for them.  Again, I am so incredibly happy for them!  They deserve it.  I wouldn’t trade those years, or those friendships formed, for anything in the world. 

But it is hard to be that girl.  It’s hard to watch, day in and day out, as my best friends get the one thing I want most.  It’s hard to be the girl who sees their little inside jokes, who knows how they fight and how they make up, who sees them sharing everything, and not have my own person to share all that with. 

It’s so hard to stay away from jealousy when I’m in that situation.  Jealousy is a tough monster to battle.  It starts with “I’m so happy for you, but I wish I had some version of that.”  Harmless.  And it slowly develops into “I want you to be as miserable as I am” if you’re not careful.  And in between, you go through these really horrible phases of “What the hell is wrong with me, that I can’t have that?” and the occasional angry “It isn’t fair that I’m the one who has to deal with this over and over, roommates after roommates!”  And it’s all just a silent battle, because it wouldn’t be fair to the roommates to actually include them in this little battle.

I just don’t think I can do it again.  I can’t knowingly put myself in a position to feel like that.  It’s such a negative reason, it paints me in a bad light.  It makes me sound like a pathetic, sad, lonely person.  I do wish I had a “better” reason.  But that is my reality right now.  The opportunity to move in with Sarah as she gets closer to her boyfriend, possibly gets engaged, spends all her time with him…that doesn’t sound like a great opportunity.  It doesn’t sound like something that will make me happy.  If for some reason, things don’t work out with this boyfriend, if the opportunity changes, then I’ll reconsider.  But for this opportunity, no.  Not right for me.

ROOMMATES–You know who you are!  You girls and guys are the best friends I’ve ever had.  I dealt with those feelings despite how great you are.  It’s not AT ALL you.  Got it?  As I said, my problems are because of me.  You all have nothing to do with them.  Don’t for one second think that you do.  You are the best!!!

The sunny spin…

Told ya.  🙂

I’m fine.  I’m so fine I can’t even explain it.  If I were married now, that would mean that I’ve dragged the love of my life through some really crappy things.  For example, I made a mess of my money when I first got a “real” paycheck.  And that’s one of the more superficial challenges I’ve faced.  I know I won’t ever be perfect, but the more growth that I can get out of the way before I drag someone else into it, the better. 

Everybody (by which I mean my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…the grown-ups) seemed to think so highly of me when I was in high school, and when I first went to college.  They thought I was such a responsible, mature teenager, and I guess I was.  But it’s taking me a long time to get from responsible, mature teenager to responsible, mature adult.  There are people in my life that seemed to just wake up one day and be the responsible adult, with no effort whatsoever.  I had a lot of irresponsible, immature moments between then and now.  Truthfully, I have no reason to believe that the irresponsibility and immaturity is behind me! 

Guess what?  Most of the time I DON’T CARE!  I embrace the journey of irresponsibility and immaturity!  Well, that’s not exactly what I mean.  Let’s try this thought again…

I screw up a lot.  But much of the time those mistakes lead to experiences that I never would have had otherwise, experiences that have made me grow.  So I embrace the idea of risking making a wrong choice once in awhile, because it’s the riskiest moves that bring the greatest reward. 

Not to mention…If I were married now, I probably wouldn’t be considering moving far, far away with Sarah next year!  If I decide to go for it, I know it will be one of the most significant events of my life.  I’ve already talked about this a little.  It will be the first time I make such a big choice purely because I just want to, I just think it’s the right thing for me right now.  Staying here is clearly the easier choice–I already have a job, an apartment, people, a church, things to do practically every evening if I want.  I wouldn’t be going for a better career opportunity, or anything like that.  It would be a choice just for me, because I want to try it and see what happens.  I don’t know what I will decide, but I love the freedom to consider it without taking into consideration someone else’s career or desires. 

So there’s your sunny spin.  🙂  I want to get married someday, of course.  So until that day comes–by which, I mean whenever I find out whether or not that will happen–I’m just gonna keep taking risks and growing and hopefully be a better me, for the person who I will drag through it all, and for me too.

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