Blurring the Lines

Day Count- 79 down 287 to go.

So, I’m back from the road trip with my mom and sister.  And let me just say, there are some major stories to tell.  And I will get to those later.  But for some reason I feel like this takes precedence today.  I’m not sure why… just something that’s been weighing on my mind for a few days.

A couple of years ago, when I had just moved home and had pretty much given up on a ‘good guy’ ever being interested in me, I signed up for a Christian dating site.  I figured it would be a good way to get back out there without much room for major disappointment.  Boy was I wrong.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  So here goes-  I signed up for this dating site just to kind of see what was out there.  I was kind of leery about the whole thing to begin with.  I had been majorly burned by men in the past, most of them taking advantage of my vulnerability after my relationship with Voldemort (he-who-must-not-be-named… i.e. really bad ex).  The problem was, even the ‘Christian’ guys that I knew were playing on my emotions to get what they wanted.  I was in a pretty bad place, but I resolved to see what else was out there.  Living in a small town, it’s hard to meet good people that I didn’t know in high school and I thought that a dating site might be the answer.

This particular dating site had chat rooms for different age groups.  And despite the 20-somethings being filled with people that acted more like highschool cliques than anything else, I managed to make some friends.  And then Texas Boy came along.  He was a major flirt- especially with me- and we really hit it off.

And he lived in Texas.

That might not be so bad…. if I didn’t live in New York.

Despite the distance, we became fast friends.  We chatted most nights, we played games online together, we texted during the day.  To be honest, it was more than a friendship.  But it was also less than a relationship.

You see, Texas Boy made it very clear that he didn’t want a long distance relationship.  But that didn’t stop him from flirting with me, from spending most evenings chatting and having fun and growing into a deeper friendship.  This went on for a good eight or nine months.  We really got each other, in a way that I hadn’t felt a connection in a long time.  He was a ‘Southern Gentleman’ and an all around good guy.  I was convinced that somehow, some way, we could make things work.

He told me about how if we lived closer together he would ask me out on a date in a heartbeat.  I thought that maybe our circumstances would change.  After all, I had other friends that lived in Texas and surrounding areas.  Friends that had told me on numerous occasions that I should move down there.  I didn’t have much holding me in New York.  My family was there- but I had lived away from them before.

I visited my friend Courtney in July of that year.  Texas Boy and I had been texting and chatting online for about 6 months.  I was there, in Texas.  I was a mere 8 hours from where he lived.  My skin tingled as the airplane touched down on the runway in Houston.  “This is it,” I kept thinking to myself.  “He’s going to want to get together.”

And there were a few nights where we talked about it.  But when he told me that he had to work and couldn’t get out of it, I knew that it was never going to happen.  I tried to resolve myself to just be his friend.  To stop thinking of him as a potential boyfriend.  But it wasn’t easy.

You see, by the time I made that resolve, we had already blurred the lines.

I’m reminded now of a song by Jeff LeBlanc.  Ironically enough, the song is called “Can’t Love You“.

The bridge says:

 Ready to run, still holding on, we just blurred the lines.  Gave all we could, took all we need, we just wasted time.

Man, oh man, how I wish Texas Boy could have heard this song.  And before any of you yell at me that he told me he didn’t want a long distance relationship, trust me… I already know.  Because 2 months later when he stopped texting me, and then his relationship status on Facebook changed to ‘in a relationship’, the fact that he didn’t want a long distance relationship became abundantly clear.

And even though I knew that he was never mine, I still felt a pang of loss.  Because it was then that even the potential became null and void.

Throughout my life, there have been several other instances of blurring the lines.  Friendship, relationship, right and wrong, it doesn’t matter what it is.   Blurring the lines always seems like a good idea at the time.  But when you give all you can, and take all you need, Jeff LeBlanc is right that all you do is waste time.  Texas Boy and I both wasted our time.  I wasted my time with what I thought could be.  We both needed to feel special to someone.  We both took that emotional intimacy when we needed it most.  And the end result was a feeling of loss and a pang of regret.  It left me with the persistent and unanswered question of what could have been.

It’s so hard to think that for the better part of a year, he was one of my closest friends.  And then he got a girlfriend and dropped me from his life, further solidifying the fact that we blurred the lines to more than friends.

The sermon series in church over the last few weeks has been about guard rails.  What they are tangibly and how we can insert them into our own lives to protect us from dangerous situations.  I think I’m starting to realize more and more that doing what I’ve always done- especially in blurring the lines with friendships- does way more harm than good.

I think that’s another reason why this year means so much to me.  It’s a guard rail of sorts- keeping me away from potentially dangerous situations.  And while this ‘guard rail’ of no dating isn’t something that is especially Biblical, it IS something that I need in my own life to keep me on track.  I could live my life blurring the emotional lines between friendship and relationship.  But what good would it do?  Why would I want to continually put my heart through that?  It’s no better than jumping from one relationship to the next.  And if I’m blurring the lines that way, what’s to stop me from doing it in other areas?  Once you start saying yes to something, saying no to the next thing becomes that much harder.  It’s like a snowball on a downhill slope.  As the situation gets bigger, so does the consequence.

Ok.  So, that’s my story of Texas Boy.

I’ve still got lots of writing to do about my roadtrip. 

Stay tuned
and
Be Brave,

 

 

Holding Out For A Hero

I’m not really sure why people put so much stock in the whole Valentine’s Day thing.  It’s just another day of the year.  A day to show appreciation to the person that we love most.  Is that really so terrible?

And yes, I can find mushy couples just as vomit-inducing as the next single girl, but I have to admit that when it comes to being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, it’s not so bad.  Granted, it’s been years since I’ve actually been in a relationship on what some people call “Single Awareness Day”  but that doesn’t change the fact that being in love has a lot to do with people’s attitudes on this particular day.

That being said, you have to wonder how our society has built so much of an empire on days designed for individual people.  Shouldn’t the people that we care about always feel special and loved?  And I’m not just talking about our significant others.  Mothers Day, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day.  Why is it that every other day of the year is a day that we can take these people completely for granted, and think we can make up for it with a bouquet of flowers or dinner?

Anyway- little rant over… this post is more about what I’m looking forward to in the future.  The kind of man that I want and the kind of woman I want to be.

Last Saturday we had a “Valentine’s” dinner at my church.  Every year we do a ladies appreciation dinner where the men cook and serve and the women can relax and enjoy each other’s company.  This year, instead of doing a ‘newly wed’ game or something similar, we watched a movie.  It was a movie that I saw with the last b/f in the theaters and cried my eyes out at.  It’s also an amazingly powerful movie and says so much about what Godly, God fearing men should be.

The movie is called Courageous.  Basically it’s a story about 5 men (4 of them cops) and their determination to become better husbands and fathers.  They each take a good long look at their lives, and they sign a resolution to make each day count.  It’s a touching story about hard choices and love.  About life and loss and how we handle each decision we make.  The final scene is a powerful portrayal of one of the men standing before his entire church.  Here is his speech:

   “There are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same—and whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.

God’s Word shows us that God desires for every father to courageous step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. More than just being there for them or providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their Father in heaven. Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family? Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? 

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family because, by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ because I will.”

So where are you, men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?   It’s time to rise up and answer the call God has given you and say, I will! I will! I will!

I think that quote packs enough punch to knock anyone down a peg or two.  It was enough to cause me to take a look at my own life, and think about what choices I’m making now that could help me become the wife and mother that I want to be some day.

I also think that this movie is a great indication of why I’m waiting.  Of why I’m taking this year off of men.  I always thought that I knew exactly what I wanted in a guy.  How many times over the years have I daydreamed about Gilbert Blythe or Mr. Darcy or Danny Zuko?  Too many to count.

And even though I always thought I knew what I wanted in a guy… this movie made me doubletake with one major line.  During a conversation, Adam (one of the cops) explains that he wants to be a better father.  His partner looks at him and says “You’re being too hard on yourself.  You’re a good enough father.”  Adam’s reply is what really struck a cord with me.  He said “I don’t want to be good enough.”  There’s something very alluring about being ‘good enough’.  Not in the sense that we all want to be ‘good enough’ for something, but in the sense that sometimes we do as little as possible.  We do just enough to get by.  We settle for being ‘good enough’ when we should be specatcular.

I think so often in life, we let our schedules dictate our lives.  We focus on the most demanding, the most pressing matters above anything else.  And sometimes, that’s good.  We all have things that we need to do.  But those things aren’t the only things that matter.  Because work and school and hobbies don’t have souls.  But friends, family, kids- those do.  We need to remember to invest our time in people- because in the end, people are really the only thing that matter.

I just recently started re-reading through the book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul.  It’s a book about women, why we have the needs and desires that we do, and understanding that having these desires is not wrong.  In fact, God made us to have three big desires in our souls.

1. To be romanced
2. To play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure
3. To unveil beauty

There are a lot of things about this book that leave me wary.  It paraphrases Scripture more than it actually uses it.  But at the same time, I think it points to some major issues that women deal with, and things that tug at our heart strings over and over again.  It tries to explain the constant longing we feel for the three ‘big desires’ of our hearts and how God specifically made us that way.  It’s not another 12 step “How to be a better woman” book.  It’s more of an encouragement that we are fearfully and wonderfully made just the way we are.  It’s a book that acknowledges how hard women try to be perfect, to be everything.  It explores the feelings that we have of constantly being ‘not enough’ but at the same time feeling like we’re ‘too much’.  We’re not strong enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough.  But we’re too emotional, too careful, too caring.

I think every woman has felt this way before.  And I like that Captivating is a book designed to help us feel secure in the person that we are.  It’s not meant to be a fix-all.  It’s an attempt to identify the places in our hearts that God has made especially for Himself to be like Himself. 

Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be hard (despite the fact that I work across the street from a florist).  Sure, it may not be my favorite day of the year to be single on… but whose to say I can’t still get flowers and chocolate?  Spend an evening cooking myself a delicious meal and watching a sappy movie.  Maybe today is the perfect day to daydream about Gilbert Blythe and Mr Darcy and Danny Zuko.  So long as I don’t lose sight of what is really important.  Because all three of those guys have something in common.  They’re great stories, but as far as a Courageous, Godly man go… I’m not quite sure how they stack up.

On a better note, I’ve been adding more to my story.  What’s that you say?  You want a sneak peak?  Okay… I suppose I can do that.  But I’m only sharing two paragraphs.

Lia dragged the bag of clothes down the hall to the door at the very end.  She turned the handle and pulled; both the door and frame swollen from the heat refused to budge.  Dropping the bag and gripping the knob with both hands, Lia pulled again, harder until the door yielded to her demands and swung open.  She hadn’t expected it to actually open and the force of her pulling on the knob left her off balance when it finally gave in.

Flipping the light switch on just inside the door, Lia sighed when nothing happened.  She wasn’t all-together surprised.  Who knew when the last time was that anyone was up there?  Backtracking to the linen closet down the hallway, Lia found a flashlight in the emergency kit and clicked it on.  Shining it up the stairs into the attic, Lia began up the stairs, pulling the garbage bag full of her grandfather’s old clothes with her.

So what happens next?  Well… it’s a secret.  But you’re more than welcome to guess if you want.  I finally have momentum with this story again.  I’m really excited to see what happens.  I think it’s going to be good!

To all my single ladies out there…
Be brave,

 

Month One Recap

(Please forgive the spacing in this post…. it’s really not liking me today!)

I feel like not a lot really happened in January.  Other than I got older.  Well- let’s do a tally of things on the ‘bucket list’.

I managed to get through my 2 books.  I finished the second one a little late.  (the last 30 or so pages were read on Feb 1, but that’s alright).

So my book choices were:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  I’ve always wanted to read this book.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every single adaptation multiple times but I’ve never actually read the book.  It took me a little bit to get into the style of the writing, but overall, everything I always loved about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy was just heightened by reading through the book.

Clockwork Price by Cassandra Clare.  Cassandra Clare is one of my absolute favorite authors.  I love the worlds she creates and the tortured characters that she always seems to make refreshing.  She does things that you don’t expect, and often times it means feeling like yelling and screaming at her for torturing the poor characters so much, but it’s so compelling you can’t stop reading.  Clockwork Prince is the second installment to her Steampunk series called The Infernal Devices.  She’s definitely one of the authors I look up to.  I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of years ago, and she’s amazing in person.

Other than reading my two books, I’m not sure I accomplished much else on the list.  However, I did make some plans for some upcoming things.  My mom, sister and I are planning a road trip during a week in March.  I’m also excited to be getting my very first tattoo this month!  I already know exactly what and where- now it’s just a matter of finding the time (and the courage!).

February will bring with it plenty of surprises, I’m sure.  My books this month are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and something by one of the Bronte sisters (I just haven’t decided what yet).  My plan is to read a ‘new’ book and a ‘classic’ a month.  Whew- it should be interesting!

Short entry tonight, but that’s my first month update.  Stay tuned!

Be brave,

Regrets

Do you have something you regret?  Big or little- minor or severe- most, if not all of us regret something in our lives.  For me, the one thing I always wish I could go back and ‘do over’ was walking away from my family, the church and most of my friends… for a guy.

Now, to be honest, he wasn’t a normal guy.  He was an extremely manipulative, controlling, abusive guy.  And there are times when I thought that no matter what, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.  But I can’t blame everything on him.  I made the decision to be with him.  I made the decision to let him have control over me.  And yes, he was a master manipulator, but the initial decision to be with him was mine and mine alone.

For as much as I desperately want to regret my decisions and all of the time I spent with him and everything I did, I can’t regret it.  Because as terrible and horrible as it was, it taught me so much.  First and foremost, I think I truly for the first time began to understand forgiveness, and unconditional love.

There was so much to forgive after everything that happened.  My parents forgave me more times than I can count.  I had to beg forgiveness from God, my family, my friends.  I had to learn to forgive myself.  And the big one that I’m still struggling with- I had to forgive the guy.

Going through traumatic experiences in life teach you a lot about the person that you are.  It amazes me to hear the stories of people that forgive the killers of their loved ones.  And while my experience may not have been that extreme, I still had a lot of healing and forgiving to do.  And I don’t think that the point of forgiveness is to fix everything and go back to what you had before.  It’s not about letting a situation define you.  It’s about letting it teach you.  Forgiveness is finding healing and strength in the face of things that tear you down and knock you out.  Forgiveness is learning that no matter what a person does to you; their offense is never as bad as the offenses that you’ve committed against God.

That last line, I can’t claim as my own.  Several months ago I went and heard Joyce Meyer speak.  She talked about the characteristics of a perfect heart and for some reason, that line is something that has stuck with me ever since.

Regrets are something we all deal with.  They’re something that we all have the option of.  But why worry about something that is in the past and can’t be changed?  Wouldn’t a better use of time be to figure out what you can learn from the experience and use it?

During this journey, I’ve decided to read through the Bible in a year.  It’s something that I’ve never actually done before and I’m really excited by it.  During just the last few days a culmination of things happened.  And I am convinced that God wants to use this to teach me something, and so I am going to share it with all of you.

The first thing that happened was I read through the story in Genesis of Joseph.  For anyone that doesn’t know- the story is about a boy who found favor in his father’s eye which caused all of his brothers to be jealous.  So jealous in fact- that they thought about killing him.  They didn’t actually go through with the plan however and instead sold Joseph in to slavery.  Crazy you say?  Yes, you read correctly.  They sold their own flesh and blood into slavery.  Talk about jealousy.

Anyway- what happens next, you ask?  Well, you see- Joseph pities himself and gives up.

I’m kidding.  The truth is MUCH more impressive.  Because years go by, and one thing leads to another until Joseph becomes the right hand man of Pharaoh.  As in- ruler of the land.  So here’s Joseph- the man who was sold into slavery and then thrown into jail for a woman accusing him of rape, he interprets the dreams of the ruler of the kingdom that no one else has been able to interpret, and Pharaoh makes him second in command.

Talk about impressive.

Okay- so I read through this story the other day, and it really got me thinking about regrets and circumstances and how God can use all of these things.

Onto the second thing that happened to me.  This morning, I went out to breakfast with a friend.  We were talking about reading the Bible and how sometimes the stories are hard to read, and I mentioned my thoughts on Joseph and how God uses the strangest things for his Glory.  Just like Joseph.  We talked a little bit about how it always seems to amaze us- the way God uses people.

The third thing that happened to me also happened this morning.  And here’s the kicker- and why I’m convinced I need to be writing about this right now.  Sitting in church this morning, my dad is talking about how God gives us all opportunities to shape us.  He mentioned David and Goliath.  How David had been faithful to God before Goliath.  In fact, the Bible says that David killed both a lion and a bear to protect the sheep that he was entrusted with.  He learned to stare danger and adversity in the face and attack it head on.  He had been faithful in those areas.  God knew that David would be faithful again.

And then, my dad mentioned Joseph.  Oh Joseph.  This guy is starting to seem like a real pal to me these last few days.  (And hey, as a sidenote- this is my year without a man…. I’m not supposed to be giving men this much thought… even ones that lived thousands of years ago).  Anyway- Pastor (it sounds more official than ‘dad’) talked about Joseph and all of the things that he faced in his life.  His own flesh and blood sold him, a woman accused him of rape, he was thrown in jail where the jailer gave him responsibility over everyone in there, and then once he had used the opportunity that God had given him, God gave him another one.

Life is all about opportunities.  Sometimes it’s hard to see them when we’re so focused on all of the things that we think are going wrong in our lives.  And yeah, I’m sure Joseph had some hard times.  I’m sure he had some days where he didn’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean he didn’t make the most of the opportunities he was given.

For me, this year is an opportunity to focus on things outside of me.  It’s a time to take opportunities, no matter what shape they make take.  I’m not sure I’ll take it quite as far as Jim Carrey’s character in Yes Man, where he HAS to say YES to EVERY opportunity that comes before him, but we’ll see.  If the opportunities are from God, than who am I to say no?

Besides, if I’m faithful with the little ones, who knows what’s just around the bend.

Be brave,

P.S.  It’s my birthday today.  Leave me a little note? You’re all the best! ❤

Somebody To Love

I spent another week mostly treading water.  I got up, went to work and came home.  I made dinner, I ate alone, I went to bed.  I spent another week mostly treading water.  And hiding.

I’m not sure exactly what it is I am hiding from, but the truth is the same.  You know, it’s easy to put on a brave face- to say to the whole world “I don’t need a man to be happy, I’m fine on my own.”  And sometimes, it’s just as easy to fool yourself.

I know in my head that I don’t need a man to be happy, but that doesn’t change the ache in my heart for love.

This week, I was cleaning out my emails and I came across a letter that I wrote to my parents several years ago.  And looking back over it, reading the words that I expressed to them, I could see how lost and broken I was back then.  I could remember the hurt and the pain that I felt, that I caused them to feel.  I can remember how it felt to hide from them.  I remember lying to the two people who never stopped loving me out of fear that they might.

It’s so much different now.  I’m amazed at how much my life has changed.  But in the very deepest part of my soul, I know that I’m still hiding.

I’m hiding from the person that I want to be, and the person that God created me to be.  I get up in the morning, I go to work, I come home.  And all the while, I feel like I’m hiding from the world, from the person that I am supposed to be.

See, the truth is- I know that there are people in this world that love and care for me.  I know that God has a life planned and mapped out for me.  And I know that somewhere down the road, I could do incredible things.  But what about right now?

The last relationship that I was in ended 7 weeks ago today.  And for a while I missed him.  But you know what I realized I miss now, even more than I miss him?  I miss the person that I was when I was with him.  With him I felt brave and beautiful.  I felt adventurous and precious and loved.  With him I felt special- like I could do anything.  He gave me strength and courage and determination and I felt like with him all of my dreams could come true.

And seven weeks ago today, he ended it.

Sometimes I wonder how you can mean so much to a person, and then one day, just stop.  I mean, it’s not like I went anywhere.  He still knows where to find me, and he said he wanted to be friends.  And yes, I understand that ‘being friends’ never really truly happens.  But how do you wake up one morning and just stop caring?

With him, my favorite part of the day was 8:00 a.m.  Because even though we had distance between us, every morning we would text each other just to say I love you.  Just to say ‘have a great day today’.  Every morning those messages set the tone for my entire day, if for no other reason than knowing that someone out there was thinking about me at the exact same time I was thinking about them.

I’ve never been good at letting go.  My life has been characterized by my failure to let go.  My best friend in high school, my life with a controlling boyfriend, friends that I’ve lost touch with.  So, it comes as no surprise to myself that I still hold this close to my heart.  I’m not saying that it will always be this way.  In fact, the days are fewer and further between that my heart aches this way.  But it’s hard knowing that your love for someone wasn’t enough.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing photographer.  And I think there is a real possibility that working with him could make a lot of my photography dreams come true.  I showed him some of my work, and he seemed thoroughly impressed and has agreed to take me on as a sort of apprentice.  The good news is, I have my first gig with him tomorrow.

The bad news is I have never felt worth it.  I am beginning to realize more and more that my own self worth is almost nil.  In fact, the reason that I even started this journey was to begin to teach myself to find worth in who I am, instead of always identifying myself by the guy that I date.  Because until I can learn to love and respect myself, how can I expect to do the same to anyone else?  And how can I expect anyone to love and respect me?

The first three weeks of my journey haven’t been exactly easy.  They’ve mostly been spent in hiding.  Hiding from the world and hiding from the person that I am.  The truth is there are things about myself that I need to change.  But there are also things about myself that are good, that I like (maybe even things that I love).

Tomorrow, out on this photography gig, I am forcing myself out of hiding.  The witness protection program phase is over.  I am searching out ways to make a difference.  To get out of the house and stop hiding.  If God can love me for who I am, the incredible mess, all of the mistakes (for he sees everything after all) then maybe I should give myself a shot.

Be brave,

All The Single Ladies

I know that New Years is often about making changes or resolutions.  Unfortunately, most of the time, it seems like the changes don’t stick.  We crash diet and buy gym memberships.  We give up coffee or sugar or swearing.  We always have good intentions.  And somewhere along the line, we lose sight of what we wanted when we made the resolution.  We slip up.  We give in.  We decide, consciously or subconsciously, that the changes we wanted to make aren’t worth it.

I’ve never been much of one for resolutions.  But something about this year is different. For the first time in my life,  I took a good, long look at myself- and I can honestly say, I didn’t like what I saw.

I’m not talking physically, although there is definite room for improvement there.  My problem is more than skin deep.  Because in my entire adult life, I can’t remember a time when I’ve been happy being single.  And so, this year is different.  I’m not making a resolution; I’m not feeding into the good intentions that will inevitably lead back to my past self within two weeks.  This time around, I’m making a lifestyle change.  I’m choosing a different path.  I’m creating a new me.

Let’s start with the basics and go from there.  Call it a man detox, call it a hiatus or a cleanse.  Regardless of what you call it here it is:  366 days (2012 is a leap year after all) of simply no men.

The Rules

  1. No Dating
  2. No Relationships
  3. No Dating Sites
  4. No flirting with the intention of dating
  5. Nothing physical (kissing, cuddling, etc.)
  6. No ‘future’ relationship talk
  7. No boy behavior dissecting (except what is needed for this blog)

The Background

When I was in high school, I would have categorized myself as boy crazy.  I’m not sure if I was normal boy crazy, or a different category of boy crazy- but I can recall specific instances of obsessive behavior that makes the current me shudder.  Before cell phones and Twitter and Facebook and texting, my friends and I would sit in class and write each other notes,

fold them into wacky- origami like shapes, and pass them to each other in the halls between classes.

Most of those notes were about different boys that we liked.  Somehow, we consistently found pages and pages worth of information to discuss and dissect every single day about these boys.  Some of it was legitimately worth the hype over which we gave it, but for the most part, we spent our time overanalyzing the tiniest things that the respective boys in our lives probably weren’t even aware they were doing, or were simply doing out of friendship.

Over the subsequent years, I thought that this behavior had dissipated.  In fact, for a while, I thought that the longing that I felt to be in a lasting relationship- the urge to get married and have kids and a life and a family was something normal and natural.  But in truth, what I felt for all this time was that I was waiting for my life to begin.  I lived in a constant state of single and looking- or of dating and fantasizing about the years to come.  And through all the heartache and first dates and crush hazes I never realized how miserable I was just being single.  I never realized that I was sitting so eagerly on the sidelines watching everyone else live their lives instead of embracing the person I was as a single and getting out there and doing all of the things that I’ve always wanted to do in my life.

In April of 2011, during a particularly ‘lonely and looking’ time in my life, I had an idea for a story.  The basic line follows three friends in varying states of relationship drama who decide to make a pact and take 90 days to do everything they always said they wanted to do before they settled down.  During these 90 days they would be boy free.  No drama, no dating, no flirting, nothing.  It was a challenge for them to prove to themselves that they didn’t need a man to be happy.  (I know, I know, can you say foreshadowing?)

Anyway- the story writing was interrupted by my quitting one job and searching for another and then put on indefinite hiatus when something incredible happened.  I met a guy.  And let me tell you- this guy was amazing.  Because despite all of the crazy man drama that I have had in the past (and trust me, I’m sure you’ll learn about some of it here) I finally found a good, decent guy who was interested in me.  The following six months of pure bliss that I felt with this guy made me forget all about the fact that I was trying to find a way to be happy without a man.  He was everything I wanted in a guy.  I thanked God for this man every day.  I finally felt like my fairy tale ending was coming true.  And then one day it was over.  Just as quickly and as beautifully as it began, it was all gone.

And I wanted to be devastated.  I wanted to sit in my room for days and cry and yell at God and just be miserable.  But I wasn’t.  The decision that he made completely changed the course of my life as I had imagined it.  But it didn’t end my life.  It wasn’t the end of my world.  And in fact, things stayed pretty much the same for me.  God gave me peace and strength that I’ve never felt before.  I got up in the morning, I went to work.  I did all the things I had done in a regular day and I knew for the first time almost immediately following a break up, that I was going to be okay.

In talking with a friend who knew about the story idea, I mentioned in passing that I was thinking about taking a year off from men.  Her reaction was this:  “your mind came up with that story idea for a reason”.  The more I thought about it, the more a man fast appealed to me.

The Now

I know I’m not the only person out there that has these feelings.  The above clip proves that I’m not the only one.  I’m starting this blog, not for attention, but in attempts to reach out to others like me.  Women who are desperate for their lives to start.  Women who have been waiting for a guy to come along and make them happy.  Women who have been sitting on the bench waiting.  Our waiting needs to stop.  This blog is my attempt to discover how great life can be as a single.  Part self help, part humor, part nostalgia- this is my attempt to find the real me.  The me that God sees lurking behind all the pain and heartbreak and fear.  One year is my goal.  366 days of not focusing on finding a life partner, but instead doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do and always put off.  A year of healing and self discovery has just begun.

Stay tuned for more.  Next up is my ‘bucket list’.  25 Things that I want to do during my year of singleness!

To all the women out there like me,
Be Brave,

*Thanks to Kayla for editing the video clip.