If This One Thing Happens

Writing my way through seminary

A Girl of Many Houses – Finding Home

For years I’ve declared myself to be a nomad, often more happily than not, but over the last year of so many different places that I laid my head at the end of the day, it was beginning to feel like I wouldn’t find a place to really call “home”.

Finally having my own apartment that I could make my own has helped that.  It’s filled with my Doctor Who doo-dads and pictures of friends and family.  At the end of the day when I lay my head it’s on the same pillow that I laid the night before, and I wake up to my dog’s happy tail wagging ready to go for her morning walk.  We meet up with neighbors in the dog park, chatting about classes and laughing as our dogs play.  It feels like home.

I head up to campus for classes, laughing with my classmates about the paper we all struggled writing.  Then on to the cafeteria for lunch, where somehow there’s always a table with an open seat.  I’ve only been on campus for two short months, but already there are so many faces and names that bring smiles to my face.  It feels like home.

But then I go back to Seattle for Easter.  I go back “home” to visit.  I walk into the houses of my family and friends, these places I’ve laid my head, and they’re home too.  They bring those same smiles to my faces. I walk into my church, sitting in the same chairs I’ve sat in for years.  Smiling and laughing with members who have watched me grow up and can’t wait to hear about seminary.  It feels like home.

I miss Seattle when I’m in Minnesota, and I miss Minnesota when I’m in Seattle.  When I walked into my friend’s home, hugged her grandfather, and went to put my belongings in “my room”, I was struck with a sudden fear – maybe I was still homeless.  If this was home, and that was home, and all these other buildings filled with people I love were home, how could I really call anything home?

I may be nomadic, I may have had many places to lay my head, but each one has been home.  I am lucky enough to have many homes to call my own, many buildings, many families, many friends, and I have finally been able to see it, that all these places, all these people are my safe places.

It feels like home.

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Liberation, Leaving, & Love – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 7)

Previously – Working this out for myself in the form of blogs, reliving the story of my last relationship in how it was and how it ended, learning to understand and grow past my attraction to the unreachable, the negative self-talk (NST) monster, working through forgiving my ex (and myself), and then smiling through the list of my ex’s and what they taught me.  Now, finally, the last post – the good bits!

Liberation

It’s hard not to see the serendipity in how things work out.  The Vegan was in my life at the time that he was for I’m sure many reasons, reasons I still have yet to find, but one thing he gave me was the buffer I needed.  Long before him and I had met, I was nervous about moving for school.  I had found all kinds of excuses, and had even contemplated doing my degree at Seattle University, but since SU isn’t Lutheran, I would still have to move for my “Lutheran year”.  I just wasn’t ready to make the jump, I’ve never lived away from the greater Seattle area, never moved away from my family, never had that safety net built in, and luckily The Vegan was in no hurry to move away either.

But the thing was, not only was this relationship a placeholder for me not moving, once it ended, it led to a freedom I didn’t know I had.  All the excuses I had fell apart.  My boss (who is also my mom) said that I could continue to do my work from Minnesota (I mean I am already telecommuting anyway), my stepbrother wanted to move into the house I was renting from my parents, I needed to move somewhere, I had been semi-homeless for weeks, things began to fall into place, and there was no stopping it.

Leaving

Before I knew it I was calling the school, figuring out the logistics of the move, and then suddenly I was on campus for intensives with my online classmates.  Smiles, hugs, and tears from these people who met me where I was at the hardest moment of my breakup, and here they all were.

Then I was on the road, with my two best friends riding along with me, halfway across the country, in January, during the polar vortex.  There were a lot more goodbye’s that I would have liked to say, but the one thing I did learn – the one brilliant thing about this heartbreak, is that it gave me the freedom and the will to say yes!  Yes to this adventure, yes to this path, and yes to whatever my future may hold.  Hopefully I won’t be in the state of singledom forever, but if I am, it’s not the worst place to be.

Love

I mentioned in several different posts that I had a difficult time believing I was deserving of any love, and even then when I contended that I was in fact loved by God, I couldn’t admit that I deserved any kind of romantic love.  There are some moments where I still can’t beat back the NST and these thoughts creep back in, but for the most part, these moments are becoming less and less frequent.  Something about that agape love I get from God, and how that love has shined through the people in my life, allowed my broken heart to finally begin accepting love. God gave me what I needed through the break up, he gave me His love, and the absolutely humbling, tear-jerking love of my family, friends, and classmates.

That night during (and then in the months since) the breakup, there was an outpouring of love.  From Dana over the phone, angry that she was going out of town and couldn’t be there for me right then.  From my friend Keith, who stayed up with me until 3am while I cried and cursed.  And when the tears wouldn’t stop, when my pillow was soaked and my dog wouldn’t stop licking my face (which is either sweet or creepy, I still haven’t decided), my classmates, met my reach with theirs, continuing to support me through messages, and then during January the immense amount of love in them couldn’t be stopped.

My friend Mehgan and I binge-ate junk food and watched bad TV together, and she let me talk forever.  I received calls and texts from my sister in Montana, my sister here gave me the biggest hug I think she’s ever given me.  When my mom hugged me, and didn’t ask me about the deposits for the church, just hugged me and let me cry in her arms. When my dad talked with me for hours about the relationship, and only pushed a little on what he thought of, and what he wanted to do to, The Vegan, but helped me with everything I needed for my new place, and gave me a place to stay in the months I was in between.

It wasn’t about The Vegan, it wasn’t about getting married, it wasn’t about anyone else, but what I needed, and I can never be thankful enough for the people in my life.  Over the last few months, I realized I was more than just loved, I was cherished, I don’t know if I had ever felt that way before.  I can’t help but think it was through Him, through His grace that I was led in this life, through relationships and heartbreak, to a calling, to a path, and to the most amazing love.

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Addendum

It’s funny, I wrote this entire series all together and then broke it into these seven parts (Was nice not to think about writing during my first full-time semester at seminary).  In doing that though, this post is actually seven weeks old, and it’s amazing what can change in seven weeks, or even in seven days, and how grateful I have been to share this story with others, it was in the writing of this series that I was able to really be healed, in the conversations that spurred from sharing this story that I was able to fully be open about my hurt and healing in a very public sphere, and in the irony of timing for this final post, I can read through my thoughts from seven weeks ago, smile, and know that there is often something more going on that we only can see in hindsight.

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The Ever-Growing List of Learning – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 6)

Previously – Why oh why am I single?  Some days I so wish that I wasn’t, and other days I thank the Lord that I am.  Looking back at my last relationship, the love story and the broken ending, reviewing the questions on why I seem to only choose to date the absolute wrong guys, how I’ve learned to deal with all the icky feelings that come out of the all-too-regular heartbreak of relationships, and then practicing forgiveness, it leads me to here, the bit where I can look back on all of this, all of these relationships, all of this life so far lived, and see the wonderful happenings that lead me to the places I’m meant to be.

I’ve mentioned before how we refer to the term “learning experience” as a euphemism for “oh shit” moments.  Well maybe I didn’t quite describe it that way, but it was implied.  Every relationship, friendship or romantic, is a learning experience, but there’s something about romantic relationships, and usually peering back through time at those relationships, where you can’t help but say “Well now I know a little better”.

And my best friend can attest, I have gotten better.  Each relationship taught me certain things.  Sometimes we look back on these relationships and regret them, thinking we should have known better.  I’m not in the habit of regretting things, gets too messy and the guilt just kills me (I’ve never heard of “Lutheran guilt”, maybe there’s something to that).  But when looking back on past relationships, I know I’m not alone in the fear that we passed up opportunities for a guy, or that we gave up something we cared about for someone else, and although this can happen, I realized something – I never did that.  I used my relationships as an excuse to not do things I was too afraid to do, or maybe there was a higher hand in it, it’s hard not to think that “someone” (hint hint) put these people in my life at certain times to lead me to where I am now.  I don’t know, maybe?  Let’s take a look at these men that have so shaped who I am, who I’m becoming, and have led me to where I am now, who they were, what they taught me, what excuses they enabled me to have, and a little bit on their “stats”.

 

There’s just something about a man with the power to level up my character

There’s just something about a man with the power to level up my character

The Dungeon Master (Fiance #2)
Stats: Constitution -1, Charisma +5
Special skills: Bluff +4, History +3, Dungeoneering +2

Don’t get me wrong, the DM definitely has his qualities, a photographer, a grip, an entrepreneur, he always had some kind of “project” that he was working on, but there were a LOT of lessons learned here.  That even if someone is an amazing DM and they can create a wonderful world of dungeons and dragons, doesn’t automatically make them a good mate, that alcoholism is a disease that really can destroy people and is not easily fixed, and that if someone doesn’t have an income and needs to move in with you and “rent” a room but never pay rent, you probably shouldn’t start dating them.  I used “settling down” with the DM as an excuse to turn down an acceptance to NYU’s Social Work program.  There were plenty of other excuses as well, but it didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t say yes, thankfully this was a person put into my life to keep me occupied while I figured everything out, and it did work.  It was in one of the worst moments in this relationship that I started praying, it was out of the brokenness and desperation of someone repeatedly choosing alcohol over me that I finally opened up to God.

Nothing beats your first love

Nothing beats your first love

The First
Stats: Dexterity +2, Intelligence +3, Wisdom +2
Special skills: Insight +9, Streetwise +9

If I could ever convince him to marry me now I think we could totally live happily ever after.  Except that we were off-an-on more times than Ross & Rachel, granted that’s high school, but it was my first break up – get back together sort of thing, still hadn’t quite learned from it yet though.  I did however learn how important communication was through our break up, but it was his voice that gave voice to my doubts, it was him that started me on the path towards agnosticism and atheism, and although he’d probably hate to hear it, it was that path that lead me back to faith, a faith that was all my own, a faith that doubts and learns and evolves.  Not to mention one of my closest and best friends now, a rock for me to lean on, even when he himself feels a bit shaky.

Having more pictures of him with large groups of women than you on his Facebook is a good clue

Having more pictures of him with large groups of women than you on his Facebook is a good clue

 

The Player
Stats: Charisma +4, Constitution +3
Skills: Bluff +4

The one who probably first instilled in me trust issues and self-doubt, I learned that even if a guy is scrawny and awkward doesn’t mean he doesn’t have game, and if he used that game on me when he had a girlfriend, he probably will continue to do that once we’re together.  The Player had his own place, and a lot of “female friends” that were never friends for very long.  He partied a lot on the nights that I had to be home with family, and it was only after the relationship ended that I realized I should have listened to my instincts.  I don’t know if The Player was really that good at deception or if I was just in denial.

Poor Bad Luck Brian

Poor Bad Luck Brian

The Nice Guy (The Ex-Husband/Fiance #1)
Stats: Constitution +2, Strength +2
Feat: Human Perseverance

When I was seventeen years old, fresh out of the relationship with The Player, I so needed a nice guy.  And there he was, five years my senior, Army Reserves and student with me at college.  Family life at home had gotten pretty rough, and so when the possibility of a deployment came up, we decided to get married.  The thing was, he was never deployed, and I realized after six months of marriage, that it had been a terrible mistake.  I used this relationship as an excuse not to apply for the Peace Corps, granted now I know that they wouldn’t have taken me anyway because I wouldn’t have really been very helpful with my Associates of Arts degree and lack of skills.  This is still teaching me things today, the importance of what marriage is really meant to be, and how not it was when we were together, how my own agendas tend to get in the way of real relationship, and how not to treat someone who is genuinely very nice.

I really disagree with the Frozen trolls on fixer-upper men

I really disagree with the Frozen trolls on fixer-upper men

The College Boyfriend
Stats: Dexterity +3, Intelligence +4
Special skills: Alertness +3, Diplomacy +2

We still talk here and there, The CBF was my first boyfriend while I was in college.  He was sweet, and cared about me a lot, but was incredibly obsessive compulsive (it was a requirement in our apartment to clean the microwave after each use, even just for popcorn!)  But for the first time that I could remember, the relationship REALLY wasn’t about me at all.  The CBF needed me a lot more than I needed him, and what I learned is that the relationship wasn’t about me learning anything, it was about him.  It was for him that I was there to learn how to relate, and in some ways (he’s told me this years later) how to feel.  Fortunately I did finally learn the off-and-on relationship lesson through him.  I hated the phrase “Oh you’re back together?” and learned that needing to break up is a lot like needing a lawyer – if you think you do, you probably should make a phone call.

 

The Vegan
Stats: Charisma +4
Special skills: Knowledge (random) +3

He was so into his utter veganism, will spend hours watching videos on youTube about what the best proteins are and laughs hysterically at the huge muscle-builders and all their “protein” supplements.  Honestly this relationship, as heartbreaking as it was, did SO much for me.  It taught me that there are guys out there that would date me even though I’m in seminary (I know that’s a weird thing to have to learn, but trust me I needed it).  This relationship taught me that just because a guy is everything I want, definitely means he is probably not what I actually need, that I don’t want to be a savior anymore, I don’t want to “fix” anyone, or to help them to “be better”, that I need more than that in a partner.  I can’t have someone standing on my shoulders, I need someone to hold my hand.  But this relationship came the moment I needed it to, for multiple reasons.

 

It’s amazing to think about these people who have so shaped my life for better or for worse (I like to think that it’s for the better), and if it weren’t for these strange and wonderful people who loved me and unloved me, who taught me more about myself than some days I care to know, and who through these experiences helped me to be stronger, smarter, and more myself than I was willing to be.

Coming Soon the Final Part – Liberation, Leaving, & Love

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There’s No WAY I Can Forgive Him – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 5)

Previously – Why oh why am I single?  I’ve been working my way through my most recent relationship, and the heartbreak that resulted in that relationship.  Trying to answer the many, many “why” questions that come up after a difficult breakup, as well as fighting off all the self-blame and nasty things I often say to myself. I went through some of the ways I’ve found to fight off the negativity, but there’s one more that I’ve left out, one that I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do.

After I told family and friends about the breakup, the reactions were almost strictly one of these two:

  1. “Oh no!  Are you okay?  How are you doing?  That’s so terrible!”  People shared in my grief, they worried for my own well-being, all in all, as much as I hated the pity party, this was the reaction I could most relate to.  My eyes were red for days and I’m pretty sure my face is allergic to my own tears as I go all red and blotchy forever after a good bout of crying.  These friends and family cried with me (or at least pretended to).
  2. “Where is he?  Does he really know jiu jitsu?  I’m going to kill him.”  This immediate outrage startled me.  My friend in New Zealand was typing in all caps, debating whether or not to empty his savings to come and avenge my honor from the other end of the earth.  My dad let loose a slew of curse words and started a comment war on all the photos of us on Facebook.  This was problematic since The Vegan actually didn’t use Facebook, or access to it now that the cable internet I had been paying for was now in my car.  He likely never saw any of my dad’s comments (the likes of which I am not sharing here), but our wedding photographer did, as many of the photos that my father was seeking vengeance on were part of her professional page.
There is no facepalm strong enough

There is no facepalm strong enough

A part of me was relieved, since at least it was three weeks before the wedding and not the day of, or God forbid after the wedding.  The other part of me was just broken.  I didn’t really have the time to be angry, I was too busy just dealing with everything.  Phone calls and packing and trying to get everything I owned into my friend’s minivan.  All I knew was that I hurt, and that I didn’t want that stupid pink fuzzy lamp The Vegan bought me.  I knew that all this anger was a way for my friends and my dad to express their hurt for me, through their call for vengeance, they were trying to share in my grief in the only way they knew how, and it was sweet, and it did make me smile, and then a little worried, and then a lot embarrassed, but mostly it made me feel loved, the same way the hugs and tears with others made me feel loved, and I appreciated their less-than-tactful means of showing that love.  I just wanted my own anger to end, my own hurt, and no matter how many threats at the ex’s live were made, it only seemed to make things worse.

But then I remembered something!  I believe in this Dude that is like super cool and forgives everyone. And there’s always this talk about loving your enemy, and never cursing against someone else, and all this stuff that I totally did not want to think about.  The Vegan totally wrecked my world.  I was so sure that we were meant to be, that it was destined, and all this stuff that just didn’t seem to make sense anymore and it just sucked, and I wanted to pretend like I was fine around people and then go hide and wallow with a hundred pounds of ice cream.  I wanted to forget about him, to move on, to get away from it, but I kept dreaming about him, I kept crying myself to sleep and waking up and crying some more because he filled my dreams.  It didn’t seem like it would ever end.

So I caved.  I decided that there can’t be anything worse than this pain, so eff it I’m going to forgive the jerk, even though he really doesn’t deserve it, even though I’m told from very good sources that misery loves company, and even though I literally did not know how.  I started with just saying it out loud:

I forgive him.

I forgive him.

I…

forgive….

him….

 

Image credit: natulrich / 123RF Stock Photo

Did it work?

Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy.  I still felt terrible, I mean, I guess I knew there wouldn’t be a quick fix right? Doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t super-duper wish that there was.  So I tried a different tactic, this same Dude also says that we can’t do stuff without Him.  Or at least it’s an awful lot harder to. Like, most things that are important, but it’s especially relevant when we’re trying to do the impossible – like forgiving the worst ex-boyfriend ever – we need Him to help.

psst....that dude?  Yea...It's Jesus!

psst….that dude? Yea…It’s Jesus!

So I grabbed some tissues, tucked myself in, and started to pray:
“Hey…so…this sucks, like a lot, I just….Okay, so I need your help.  I know I’ve been asking a lot the last day or two, but it’s all been for me, and that’s not really working, so I’m changing my approach.  I…I want you to help me forgive him.  I don’t want to hate him.  I don’t want to be so angry.  I do…I do want him to be happy.  He’s got a lot of problems, I guess I always knew that, but…I can’t be the one to help him anymore.  He needs you.  So if you could help him…if you could help him to be happy, to figure out all the good things I saw in him are still true, that he does deserve love…please?  Help him to find you, or Buddha, or whatever works, just…he needs you, a lot more than he needs me, and honestly a lot more than I need you right now.  Like, I know you, and everything, I know that I’m loved, and I’ve got this really great support system.  He doesn’t have that…I don’t know who he’s talking to, who he can go to, with all this stuff, so I’m hoping he goes to you.  So…yea…God….Jesus….help?  Amen.”

Eventually I stopped praying, I said all that I possibly could, and I did feel a little bit better.  I did still cry myself to sleep that night.  Granted, I had been crying already, it just didn’t stop after the prayer ended.  But there was a difference, The Vegan wasn’t in my dream that night.  I dreamt about fighting aliens with laser guns (SO much better).  So I added The Vegan to my prayer list.  Every night before bed, along with my family and my friends and the people of Uganda and everything, I prayed for The Vegan’s happiness, for him to find love, for him to love himself, and for maybe, just maybe, for him to find God, with hope that it be the love and grace of God through Jesus (hey a girl can dream right?).  It’s been four months now since that first prayer, and I still pray for him.  I don’t know if I’ve fully forgiven him, but I’m closer now.  Now I’m not so afraid of him appearing in my dreams, and if he does, I don’t know if it would be so bad.

Sometimes the impossible becomes possible, it’s amazing and wonderful, and luckily I’ve had LOTS of experience in figuring out how to forgive people that I don’t really want to forgive.  These super fun “learning experiences” that just seem to keep popping up.

Coming soon – The Ever-Growing List of Learning

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Fighting the Negative Self-Talk – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 4)

Previously – The love story, the breakup, and the beginning of questions.  Why do I continue to date the wrong guy?  Why is the emotionally unavailable guy so attractive?  Why do I believe I don’t deserve to be loved?  How do I keep myself from repeating the same mistakes?  These are the questions I’m trying to answer, the questions I face more regularly than I’d like, and the battles against the self-deprecation that I find lurking in my shadows.

Why do I continue to date the wrong guy?
Easy/cliché answers:  Because the “right one” hasn’t come along yet.  Because a lot of frogs have to be kissed to find a prince.  Because I’m not ready for the “right” guy.  Because that wrong guy just keeps showing up.

Then there are  the harder to hear answers:  Because I’m not attracted to the “right” kind of guys.  Because the “right” guys aren’t attracted to me.  Because I’m not good enough.  Because I don’t deserve the “right” guy.  Because I don’t deserve love. Period.

Well that doesn’t really work does it?  Anyone reading this knows that the negative self-talk (NST) monster has started to creep in, that those “hard to hear” answers are likely untrue.  I know they’re untrue.  And for anyone who has dealt with this breed of monster knows in that part of their brain that knows things that it’s full of crap.

Image credit: yayayoy / 123RF Stock Photo

Stupid monster

So how have I been dealing with this ugly son-of-a-gun?  A few different ways:

Friends (Who do you turn to first?)
There is nothing better than a wonderful friend who knows you, knows your history, and loves you all the same.  Even if it’s not that romantic-partner love that I keep trying to find.  I’ve been blessed with amazing people to give me giant hugs, pour the drinks, and nod empathetically to the stories they’ve already heard multiple times before.

My friends are my comrades-in-arms, helping me to fight away the negativity.  They take to him with giant sticks and club away until he’s down and out.  They give me the affirmations I need, in the moments I need them, and provide the reality-checks I need when I let the NST monster carry me away.  They (most of the time) hold back their “I-told-you-so’s” and “You should have known’s”, even if I know they are thinking them, and give me their unfailing support.  They even laugh at my terrible jokes in hopes that it might lift my spirit.  That’s God’s work right there, even if they don’t know it.

Positive Self-Talk (aka, at times,  lies)

So it’s not really that positive self-talk is lying, although often it feels that way.  I hate that “fake it ‘til you make it” sort of mindset, but sometimes it can actually work.  As hard as it might be to just look in a mirror and tell yourself the things only you know that you need to hear:
You are beautiful, intelligent, and good.
You deserve love.
You deserve happiness.
It will happen.  Someday. Somehow. Someone.
Life doesn’t always have to happen right now.

All of these can be so hard to hear, and even when our wonderful friends tell us these exact words, even when they repeat it over and over, even when you nod and say “You’re right, I know you are”, sometimes we still just can’t believe them.  We need to hear ourselves say it.

Prayer (When all else fails)
Or meditation, or whatever it is you want to call it.  Quiet time, with myself, with God, with loud music, with tears, and sometimes with a lot of yelling.  So not always quiet time.  Sometimes it’s very loud screaming time.  There is something very powerful about letting it all out.  That scream into your pillow trick? That’s great.  I’d rather scream into the air, to hear the echo of my frustration, to let the sound bounce off the walls and reverberate the room.

The praying also tends to take on a solemn tone.  Crying into my hands and asking for answers that don’t always come right away.  Giving it up to Someone else, and letting the negativity leave me as the tears fall to the tissue paper.

And then when nothing else can be said, when I’ve run out of words, but still that monster sits in the corner watching me, poking at me, I close my eyes, I let my breathing settle, and I let all the vibrations from my outbursts, from my screams, from my cries, and from my whispers back in.  I let the love back in.  It may not be the love I want, or am looking for, but in that moment, when I’m emptied of all the anger and sadness, there is only that love left.  Sometimes it comes in an epiphany, other times it’s so quiet, sitting in the other corner, this warm and fuzzy thing, waiting for me to see it, this love that beats all the others, this love that sends the monster away, at least in this moment, at least for right now.

Image credit: albertzig / 123RF Stock Photo

Warm, fuzzy, and a little weird looking

The NST will probably always continue to try to creep its icky little head out of my shadow, it will likely always be awkwardly poking and prodding at me, but that doesn’t mean I have to listen to it, that doesn’t mean that the self-fulfilling prophecies have to come true.  It is possible to step out of the endless circle of NST, to draw a new path.

But then there was one last “trick”, one last fail-safe that I didn’t know I had the courage to do: forgive.

Coming Soon – There’s No WAY I Can Forgive Him

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Reaching for the Unreachable – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 3)

Previously – The backstory to this tableau of singledom, the story of a relationship beginning, growing, and then ending far more abruptly than I would have liked, and a life not yet lived.  Now I start to figure things out, the “why” of it all, and although some questions may never be answered, this is where the healing starts.

At twenty-five years old, I’ve been in more “serious” relationships than many of my counterparts.  Somehow I’ve managed to squeeze six relationships lasting 1-2+ years out of my ten years of dating, I think this is called “serial monogamy”.  I’ve been married (and divorced) once, engaged three times, and I keep asking myself: What the heck am I doing wrong?

Over the years I’ve had plenty of theories, but one just keeps coming up that is more obvious than I’d care to accept – as Patti Stanger from Millionaire Matchmaker says: My picker is broken.

Has it really come down to dating advice from a reality TV show?

Has it really come down to dating advice from a reality TV show?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Walking Away: Don’t Look Back – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 2)

Previously – The (mostly) happy part of this story, because there’s always the love story in a story of healing, and unfortunately there is always a heartbreak story before the pieces can be put back together.

“I feel like you’ve been really distant from me lately, I don’t know what to do.” I tried pleading with The Vegan to just pay attention more attention to me.  I had been practicing my “I” statements, straight out of Psychology 101.

“Uh huh.” Not even looking at me, continuing to play his chess game.  What was I supposed to do here?  I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

“Please can you just pay attention to me?  Even right now, I’m trying to talk to you.”

“I can’t handle this right now.” He stood up, took his pillow, and started walking towards the door.  What was happening?  What was this?  I tried to stop him, to keep him from walking out the door.  He huffed something about not being able to sleep anyway, that he was going to go sleep in his car, or something, I don’t even know any more now looking back, it just didn’t make sense.  None of it made any sense.

After he walked out the door, I felt my gut wrench.  This would be it.  I knew it then, but I couldn’t believe it.  I texted him:

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A Story of Love & Heartbreak: The Big Doozy – Why Oh Why Am I Single (pt 1)

I’ve been in and out of blogging over the last year, some of my more regular readers (I’m going to hope and pretend that you exist) may have noticed the huge gap between posts, the tl;dr version of this is that I was in a very serious relationship (the ex was mentioned as the boyfriend here, here and here), that very abruptly ended late this fall.  This is me healing, sharing, and figuring it out.  This short series is the story of love and heartbreak, the tales of boyfriends past, the self-blame and healing, and finally the story of love that holds it all together.

Prologue
Finally, after years of being a “true serial monogamist” (Time between boyfriends had been one day to two months prior to this) I had found myself actually single for a decent period of time.  A year had gone by since my last break up, and I was doing okay by all standards.  I had a great job, was living in the city, going out with friends frequently, and starting to figure out the seminary process (at some point I’ll have to delve more into the whole “call” and seminary thing, but for now, I’ve talked a lot about my call in “Everyone Hates Their Jobs” and briefly in “Hitting the Road“).  Things were great!  Except that inkling that maybe something was missing?  Maybe a significant other?  Something like that.

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Why Jesus? – My Embarrassing Moment for the Day

I had one of those moments today that I’m hoping I won’t relive over and over again in my head. You know how you still remember asking your first grade teacher when her baby was due?  Only to be shamed into never ever asking anyone that question ever again?  Every once in a while something will remind you of that moment, and all that embarrassment comes back up as if you were still six years old?  You know how there are like fifty things like that in your life, and one of them was last week?  Yea I had one of those today: I forgot my answer to “Why do you believe in Jesus?”

Now maybe the question wasn’t that simple, but it sure felt that way.  The dialogue had gone back and forth on other topics, and eventually my professor asked “Why Jesus? Why not another religion?”

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_9134137_several-colorful-arrow-street-signs-with-the-names-of-five-major-world-religions--christianity-islam.html'>iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Totally valid question

I was surprised that she kept looking at me, as if not to open the question to the group, but that I was the one who needed to answer. So I started to describe some of the other religions, and then to talk about my personal draw towards Christ as I became a person of faith and how intrinsically I found myself with a need for Jesus.  She then says “Well what caused that? Why Jesus?” And somehow I just couldn’t articulate past that point, my brain just stopped functioning, and I literally said “I don’t know.”  How the heck did that happen?

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Being New, Reaching Out – Finding the Connection

I have one of these faces and personalities that is apparently common enough that everyone has already known some one just like me.  This is not a good thing or a bad thing, just funny how often I hear “You remind me so much of my friend in college”, or “Are you sure we don’t know each other?  You look so familiar!”  I don’t know why this is, and again, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, so far everyone seems to like my doppelgänger from earlier times in their life, I have yet to have anyone say “You remind me of this person I hated”, so that’s a plus.

I don’t know if it’s that I’m new, that I’m weird, or some combination of the two and many other things, that makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb at seminary.  Again, not negatively viewing this, but realizing that more times in the day than not when talking to someone I get a squinty-eyed look and then a handshake to the tune of “I don’t know you, hi!” Or I’m the one squintily looking at someone who apparently I’ve met in the last week and a half and who knows my name but whose name has fallen into the deepest abysses of my memory. Read the rest of this entry »

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