Wednesday, October 31, 2007

sharing & healing

i met up with my friend bev last night so she could share some of her 'dating' (hi)story with me. it was really, really great. afterwards i was struck by how people's stories can be so different, yet so much the same. the bottom line is that most of us have been hurt by some combination of crappy things happening, people being selfish, and our own bad decisions. different combinations of those things and different personalities and circumstances create different outcomes, obviously, but wounds are wounds. we're all definitely wounded, and it affects the way we relate to (or attempt to relate to) the opposite sex.

but people healing and moving through hurt is so encouraging! and talking with bev last night was definitely encouraging. she is healing, and in turn is helping others heal. so cool!

i think that is such an important thing for us single people, to share and heal and be healed. it's important for everyone, obviously. but with our fierce independence and fast-paced work-oriented lives, it's so easy to become isolated. and that makes the loneliness and the fear and the sadness so much worse. but if just step outside of myself, little by little, and share what i have learned, and listen to others share what they're learning.... i'm connected. and god uses those connections in awesome ways.

next we're kicking off a women's group, and i am really looking forward to it. i think i've really missed the kind of friendship bonds that can come from a small group. i've definitely seen how lately the lack of good girlfriends has been affecting my life. and now i'm finally doing something about it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

post-party & a pretend boyfriend

so the party was great, as bev stated in her comment on the previous post (thanks bev!) everyone had great costumes, the 'black death punch' turned out great, and there was lots of great food, dancing, and good times.

i really enjoyed the party. i didn't get swept off of my feet by any mysterious (or familiar) men, but i still had a blast.

i also spent most of the weekend with seth. i'm not quite sure how i feel about that.

we walked a 5k charity race together friday night. saturday he showed up for the party around 10pm, and he ended up crashing on my futon. so did i. i know, i know... it sounds bad. it totally wasn't. he hadn't been drinking much, but wasn't feeling great. after all the guests had left, and my roommate and her boyfriend had left (they spent the night at his place, they always do on weekends), it was just me and seth. earlier i had told him he could crash on my couch if he wanted.

honestly, i was really glad seth was there. it's really crappy to be in your apartment by yourself after a huge party. everyone has gone home, your roommate is at her boyfriend's, and it's just you, a giant mess, and the last track or two on the party mix playing quietly. plus, in the past, i've done stupid things like make out with guys i shouldn't make out with after everyone else has left. not my finer moments, i know.

like i said, it was really nice knowing seth was there. i felt safe and connected. we sat on the couch and talked for a while, about some pretty deep things. past relationships, mistakes, being single, fulfillment, etc. finally i got up and unfolded the couch; it was a lot more comfortable. i grabbed some pillows, and we stretched out and continued talking. at one point i grabbed a blanket for him and one for me. the last thing i remember was finishing a sentence and then closing my eyes. i opened them again, and seth's were closed, so i shut mine again, and was asleep in like 3 seconds.

so we slept on the same futon together. it was completely platonic, and really nice. no, we didn't cuddle. we didn't touch each other at all. i'm not saying it was the most genius idea, or that i would do it all the time in the future. i totally could have gotten up and gone to my own bed (which is in the next room).

the next morning, we woke up and talked and laughed and both admitted that it was just really nice to have someone around. we met some friends for brunch and spent the day with them at the park, just laying around and soaking up the sun. then seth came back to my apartment and helped my roommate and i clean up the mess. (nice guy, eh?!) after the cleaning, we ate some pizza and watched a movie.

after this whole experience, the biggest thing i'm left with is the thought that after a while, there are no rules. or maybe there are, but because i am so imperfect, i can't follow them perfectly all the time. things were a lot simpler when i was 19 and single. even when i was 22 or even 25. but somehow, it seems like the older i get the more difficult and murky life gets.

i'm still not quite sure how to articulate my feelings about what happened this weekend. really, nothing happened. but i still feel slightly odd about it. that defraud word is in my head again. i guess i know that i am slipping into that pretend boyfriend pattern again. i don't want the rest of my life to be crashing on futons with platonic pretend boyfriends. i don't want potential dates to not pursue me because it appears that i am dating seth.

but the very immature part of me shakes my fist at god and whines, well, there aren't any potential dates around, and dammit, i'm lonely! if seth is all i have, then i will enjoy my friendship with him. if i can't be flirty with a boyfriend, then i'll be flirty with him instead! i know god is softly sighing and shaking his head at me. i'm trying, god! i really am. i see the pattern, i feel the conviction, and i'm trying to make some changes.

all of this makes me think of some lyrics by one of the only christian bands i've ever really really liked. the band is joy electric, and i didn't originally fall in love with them for the lyrics. but this song, candy cane carriage, has a couple of lines that really hit home. i don't know if ronnie martin was single for a long time, but this song captures some of the longing i feel. my favorite line:

To be young and in love
Is a gift laced in gold
All the years have made me scared
Just to give me something to share

the years have made me scared, even though i don't want to be and know i shouldn't be. i keep praying and hoping, though, for something to share.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

party time

i've been living in the same apartment for about 3 years. i've had 3 different roommates since i've moved in. luckily, all 3 of them have shared my love of a good party. from last-minute get-togethers with maybe 6 to 10 people to full blown, stereo crankin', 100 people bashes; we've seen it all.

tonight night my roommate A and i are throwing a halloween party. in the past, we've had upwards of 100 people come to these kinds of parties. crazy, i know! luckily our apartment is big and spread out, and we've got a deck out back.

it's funny how my attitude toward these parties has changed over the last 3 years. the first ever big party i threw was for valentines day. my first roommate and i threw it, and it was huge. we had no idea so many people would come. the day after the party, we were at church, and two ridiculously good looking guys came up to us and said, lisa, sc! great party last night! that was awesome! we looked at each other and grinned; success!

now, like 5 or 6 giant parties later, i'm a pro at this. and while it's fun, it's not quite as thrilling as it use to be. first of all, from a single person's standpoint, as terrible as this sounds, i've stopped hoping to meet someone. i know all the dudes who show up. and if i don't know them, well, generally there's a reason for that. like, they're someone else's girlfriend, or they're really short (don't get all up on my case. there's nothing wrong with being short. it's just that i am 6'1", and feel ridiculously awkward dating shorter men), or they have many issues.

so my attitude has changed. and as with anything, parties are old hat now. i've thrown and attended a lot as a single person. they're not shiny and new anymore, they're a staple of the single life.

i am still excited though. i'm hoping to introduce friends to other friends, and maybe see some sparks fly. i'm hoping to just laugh and have fun and enjoy myself. i'm hoping to serve my friends out of love with the gifts god has given me. and if 2 other random good looking guys congratulate me at church tomorrow, i'll take it. a compliment is a compliment.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

some random, rambling thoughts

lately my thoughts have been occupied more with random life stuff and less with questions of singleness, etc. i mean, thoughts about my status are always present, it's just that sometimes they're eclipsed by all the other things i do and think about and take part in.

so here are just some random thoughts that have popped into my head lately. take them as you will. each paragraph is full of ramblings on a different thought. they're all singleness related, just not as well thought out as usual.

i wish i could discover something i'm sold out about, 100%. i feel like i'm so wishy-washy; i go through phases. this summer and fall it's been volleyball and being outside. sometimes work takes over. but it seems to be that i ride waves for a while, then sort of float off of them and onto something else. i can't help but wonder, if i was really really into something, would that make it easier to meet someone? some great guy who's just as into what i'm into? i mean sure, there's god and faith, and that's huge, but i mean something more... i dunno what the right word is. more thing-like, i guess. and anyway, i generally feel like i've met all the dateable guys at my church at this point. it's like college; i got to a certain point and realized that unless some random transfer student showed up, i wasn't going to meet 'the one' while getting my degree. why do i feel that way now, when there's no end point? i'm not going to meet 'the one' until.... until what?

i think i'm going to start asking some of my guy friends what they're waiting for. i have several guy friends who are in their 30s and 40s and i don't really see them moving toward relationships with any of the girls we know. and believe me; there are some quality girls in my group of friends. we all (guys and girls) talk about marriage a lot, but there are a few guys i look at and think, ok, what are you doing about it? and maybe they are doing things. maybe i just don't see them. so i'll have to ask these questions with a lot of tact and a lot of love.

so i agree with some of the points of the marriage mandate. pushing marriage off for no good reason is not the best idea. but i get frustrated with that movement because it just seems to be a lot of blaming and condemning and sarcastic blog entries. what are they doing to help the situation? i get frustrated too because i feel like my hands are tied. i didn't ask for this (to be 28 and single), and i can't do much to change it. i continue to pray, to pour my heart out to god. i still cry (more than i'd really like to admit), and i'm sick of it. but what can i do? i've tried eharmony and match, several times. i went through a phase where i'd go out with pretty much any guy who asked me. none of it has done much good. now i'm just trying to love god and others and be open to whatever he has for me. there's nothing wrong with how i'm living, it's just not what i wanted. but isn't life full of things like this? god lets things that we don't want into our lives. he doesn't stop them from happening. i desperately want to glorify him with this situation. i desperately don't want to turn into a bitter mopey single 30-something. but i'm also very afraid i will. this is hard, living like this. harder than a lot of people know, i think.

i know god loves me and has the best for me. but best means something more like 'best relationship with god' or 'best character development' and something less like 'best tangible gifts for you right now.' or at least that's how i feel. he has hopes and plans that are supposed to prosper me. and i want to prosper, no matter what the situation! so i am trying to choose a good attitude every day. but sometimes it feels so damn fake! i am tired of this version of my life! yeah, it's not bad, but it has gotten old! my married friends read my blog or hear me talking about going out with friends, and they say things like ohh, that sounds so exotic/romantic/like such fun. and i want to shout at them, it's the same crap you were doing two years ago when you were single and we hung out! nothing has changed except the faces and names! you've moved on, and i'm still here! you're not missing out on anything, i promise!

and this has mostly just turned into a rant. i didn't really intend it to.

god, i just lift all of this up to you, along with anyone else who's feeling the frustrations i am right now. you love me. more than anyone else has loved me or could love me or will love me. you have chosen to allow my life to go this way. you have good things here for me. i want to enjoy them. i want to be happy and hopeful.... give me the strength to choose happiness and contentment and hope every day, and especially every night. give me the strength to keep putting myself out there and loving other people, no matter where they are in life.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

singleness as second place

i generally don't watch romantic comedies. i have a few that i really like, for random reasons, but mostly i avoid them because of the bittersweet feelings i'm left with when they're over.

tonight i caved, and watched 'the wedding planner.' i know, i know. it's a pretty terrible movie. the plotl ine is silly and the the fact that matthew mcconaughey's character doesn't have the guts to dump the girl he doesn't really love really annoys the crap out of me.

as lame as it was, i watched it. and i even found myself on the verge of tears during the part where j. lo has just had a run in with her ex-fiance and his pregnant wife. it really throws her off, and after drowning her sorrows, she finds herself in tears at her apartment with matthew mcconaughey. she notes that she's the poor man's version of the woman her ex-fiance married.

and that really hit me. it's weird that it did, because i haven't really had any one situation like that, where i've been blatantly dumped for another person, nor has anyone ever cheated on me (to my knowledge). but for some reason, i can strongly identify with that i'll only ever be second fiddle feeling.

i guess it's a lack of confidence thing. while i know i have my sh*t together, i can't help feeling that there's a line that divides me from all the women who are marriage material. i've always struggled with this, and while i know it's not true, i don't feel that it's not true. if that makes any sense. plus, my reality doesn't really back it up. i've had one serious relationship as an adult. it lasted about 3 months. reality tells me that i'm better at being single than coupled.

and yes, i know god is bigger than circumstances and situations. i know that he alone can make me happy, blah blah blah. and i take my confidence and singleness struggles to him daily. but it is still hard. and when i am very honest with myself, i have to admit that i still wonder what it is i haven't figured out yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

i have my sh*t together, and you probably do too

there comes a time where you have to say, ok, i am more than 'ok' enough to be in a relationship. we're all imperfect, and we're all going to be some level of imperfect until we die.

i've been to therapy (every once in a while i go back, just to chat and check in, and because i like my therapist a lot), traveled, learned a lot, held a steady job at a great company for 4 years, had great friendships with guys and girls, i get along great with my dad and brother, i play well with others, and my relationship with god is really solid.

i will always have issues. there will always be, at any given moment in my life, things that aren't the way i want them to be, or issues i am struggling with, or things i wish god would change. i'll never get there. and that's ok!

i'm proclaiming this because every day, imperfect people get married and have imperfect marriages that work and are good and glorify god. these people are not better or worse than me. i feel like i have spent so much of my life thinking a relationship won't happen now because i still have to _________. i will always have blanks to fill! so will you! so will all the married people!

the other day i caught myself thinking, hmm, a relationship probably won't happen now because i need to get some strong girl friendships formed first. yeah, i do need some girl friendships, but that doesn't mean i can't meet a great guy and start getting to know him while i'm building relationships with girls.

i just don't want to paralyze myself by constantly thinking oh, it can't happen now. it might, it might not. only god knows.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

when you coast you pay the consquences

do you ever catch yourself coasting? like, coasting through a certain area of your life, knowing that you should be working harder, or changing something (e.g. your behavior), or maybe applying yourself a little more?

i've been coasting along for awhile in the area of girl friendships. i know i've been coasting, and for a while i was almost thinking that it was ok, and that maybe this was just what my life was going to look like for a while and there would be no real consequences.

but, i have to admit that while i've been coasting, i've also been feeling the holy spirit speaking very softly to me. it's been a faint impression of the question 'is this really ok?' it sort of floats in and out of my head. when i start to look at some of my actions over the past few months and at the same time consider both my feelings and my hopes for the future, i start to realize that it all doesn't add up to what i want it to be.

i have lots of guy friends. and i love them! they're great. but i don't want to marry any of them (i think i have pretty legitimate reasons, maybe i'll delve into them in another post). i grew up with an older brother and was a total tomboy for a long time, so i think it's just relatively easy for me to relate to men. it's a little more difficult for me to get into close friendships with girls. i can do it, it just takes more work. i've got some baggage with rejection/abandonment (my mom died when i was 19), plus, over the last few years several of my dearest girlfriends have gotten married and either moved away or had a baby or both.

all that to say i am tired. i am tired of establishing meaningful friendships with women and pouring into them only to have them disappear. it's taken a lot out of me. so i think in order to protect myself, i've coasted along with my guy friends because, well, they're easy. they just don't require the work that girl friendships do. plus you get that whole 'i'm appreciated' feeling. but as you probably know, less work equals less reward. i feel very sisterly toward these guys, and that's great, but there's sadness there, too. at least for me. none of my guy friends are 'mine.' i'll have to let them all go someday. i want them to meet and marry wonderful women. when that happens, i'll fade in importance. i know that and am ok with it, but it's still a little tough at times.

there's a level of comfort i can't get to with my guy friends. i miss that; the comfort that comes when you're really close to your roommate and you can stay up late talking in the hallway or just bum around running errands and doing random stuff and not worry that you're spending too much time together and therefore deterring some guy from pursuing you.

i want to have some good girlfriends again, and i will. especially now that the importance of it is sinking in. i'm realizing that it's important for me not to coast. i need to pursue friendships with women, actively seek them out and spend time with them. it's freaking hard, but i know that when i do, more healing will come (both for me and whoever i become friends with) and i feel less lonely.

plus, i want to be married some day. something tells me that when all of my friends are cracking jokes about how much time i spend with seth or evan or james, it doesn't put out this picture of what a great available single woman i am. and heck, it probably doesn't make them look available to other women, either. and i don't want that. for some reason i keep thinking of the word defraud, and i don't want to defraud anyone, nor do i want to be defrauded.

so ok, less time with my boyfriends (who i still love!) and more time developing good girlfriends. i'll stop coasting, god, because i know you have more for me than palling around with random guys for the rest of my life. and because i know that the rewards are so much greater when i step to your challenges, the things that i know are good and right and true.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

another one who 'got away'

as smart as i'm getting, i still have to laugh at myself. recently i noticed that even though i know better, i'd put another guy into the 'one who got away' slot in my head. it was a guy i had been matched with on eharmony about a year ago. i was thrilled when he initiated communication, and we made it through all of eharmony's lovely steps (questions) to 'open communication' (where you can email each other through the site). we tossed a few emails back and forth, and then... nothing. i waited a month (actaully just over a month) and finally dropped him a short email asking if he was still interested. he replied that he was, he was simply busy finishing his Phd and traveling. he said he'd write again after the holidays.

the holidays came and went, and then i received a short email from him saying that he'd just accepted a new job in a city about 2 hours from where he had been living (and 2 hours closer to me). i wrote him back a nice, normal email, about 2 paragraphs (short paragraphs!). and then, again, ...nothing. finally after 2 months of nothing, i got back on eharmony and closed him out. that same day (within about 3 hours of closing him out!!!) he sent me a response with one of eharmony's canned responses messages: good luck with your search!

so i never found out why he wouldn't write me back. and i had really been interested in him! i don't get all that interested all that often! he sort of stuck in the back of my head. tall, smart (a Phd!), into cool stuff like F1 racing, bilingual (romanian! cool!), and appearing to love god from his profile, i thought this dude had serious potential. plus he reminded me a bit of someone else i used to care a lot about (someone i may or may not have mentioned in the most recent post....). i have kind of a big need for closure, and since i didn't really get any from this guy (no real reason as to why he lost interest, not even an admittance to losing interest), i sort of let him stay in my head.

this all happened about a year ago. recently i'd been thinking about him some more. i was thinking about him enough that i logged back into eharmony and took another look at his profile. after reading through it again, i laughed at myself, closed the browser window, and i really haven't thought of him much at all since then.

so what happened? well, i was honest with myself. when i was first matched with him, i think i let myself get carried away by a few of his qualities. there were some things that i just didn't see, or didn't want to see, or didn't want to think made a big difference. but now, for whatever reason, i'm like.....woah, wait, you only drink 2-3 times a year? umm.... i drink more than that, (not in an unhealthy way) and i'm looking for someone who wants to share a bottle of wine or sip some cognac or something occasionally. and he was 'unsure' about whether or not he wanted kids. hmm. i'm very sure i want kids. and i want to end up with someone who's very sure he wants kids. there were other things, too, that clued me in that this guy was not really what i was looking for.

all that to say, i guess, that it really pays to know what you want. obviously a down-to-the-
last-minute-detail list is a bit much, but at least know yourself and what parts of you life and personality and habits and values are negotiable and what parts aren't.

need help thinking about these things? i know i did. check out boundaries in dating by dr. henry cloud. read that? how to get a date worth keeping, also by dr. cloud, talks a lot about how casually dating can help you figure out what you are and aren't looking for. i read and loved both.

Monday, October 08, 2007

the ones that 'get away'

sometimes when i get lonely, i get wistful about the past and start thinking about guys i used to know. most of the time i know i should be going to god in prayer or picking up the phone and calling a friend instead. but sometimes i stupidly choose to drown my sorrows in old photos, the 'sad' playlist on my ipod, and memories of certain times with certain people.

i think just about everyone has one person they can't seem to forget about. that one person who was the cliched 'one that got away.' i definitely have one of those. ask any of my friends and they'd probably tell you who he is. ohhhh, no, not him, they'd say. we've heard waay too many stories about him.

i haven't talked to, heard from, seen, or emailed my 'one' since new year's day, 2004. the short story is that we tried to make a relationship work, and it became painfully obvious that it wouldn't. and i mean literally painfully; we both thought we had the flu, but it was each of us trying to squash the overwhelming feeling that the two of us just weren't supposed to get together. we really cared about each other, but that just wasn't enough.

all of that to say that even though i know in my head and my heart that he and i are not meant to be together (and have known that for quite some time), he is where my heart goes when i am lonely. i know it's silly, i know that i don't really want him and that he isn't an option. but, because of the way it ended, or maybe because i liked him for sooooo long, or because he's a lot like my dad, or perhaps because we never did anything more than kiss a handful of times, or one of several other reasons (or maybe all of them combined), he's who i think of when i think i wish i had someone.

i am definitely getting better, though. i'm working hard at combating those lies and false hopes with truth, both scriptural and even just present reality. generally, if i think about him a bit, i can remember some of the not so great stuff, and i can remind myself that the version of him that lives in my head is way better than the real version. and fantasy guys don't exactly make great husbands.

who's your 'one that got away'? are you believing things about him or her that you know aren't true?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

the blessing in single, from

i found this post on, and was very encouraged and strengthened by it. thought i'd share. suzanne hadley has some good things to say.

Monday, October 01, 2007

the gift of boyfriends (yes, plural)

single girls, if you don't have boyfriends, you are missing out. i don't mean a boyfriend. i mean boyfriends.

we all know that girlfriends are golden. we can share and laugh and cry and drink cosmopolitans together. and i am so thankful for that. i think i am especially thankful because a good girlfriend is hard to come by, for me. they keep getting married! plus it takes a lot of effort to cultivate a really solid friendship with a girl. it's very worth it, but tough.

but, boyfriends... yeah, you gotta have them too. i am lucky enough to have evan and seth and james, among others. and each one is awesome for his own specific reasons. until i have a boyfriend, i will enjoy having guys like them in my life.

evan is my number one boyfriend. he's arty like me, and wears his heart on his sleave like me, too. he also has the ability to totally crack me up by saying the most random stuff. we hang out and ponder singleness and make fun of each other and joke about how everyone thinks we're dating even though we're not. i love evan because he always tells the truth, has the best hair of almost any guy i know, is hilariously funny, and generally doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. lately we've been bonding over his experiences with a girl he likes. i've learned a lot about how guys actually are kind of fragile. and how sometimes it's just good to sit and listen, and not really give any advice at all.

after evan, there's seth and james. seth is an engineer, races motorcycles, and has an old 2-seater british convertible. he is the most stoic guy i have ever met, and also probably the most well-rounded. i love riding in his car with him, trading emails about how he experiences god versus how i do, and cracking jokes about what's logical and what's not. i like hanging with seth because he slows me down. also, i love his ability to focus. wherever seth is, he is there 100%. he's engaged in whatever he's doing until it's done. i could definitely use some more of that quality.

james has a motorcycle, loves a good glass of wine, and has dated a woman 20 years older than him. he is this wonderful combination of boy and man. he loves his toys; he has a motorcycle and an amazingly fast boat, both of which he loves to share with other people. i love how james is appreciative of things that most other guys would miss; a cool pair of shoes, a girl who has her own style, stuff like that. i also love how sensitive he is. he tries to cover it up with his toughness and his fast toys, but he has a soft heart, loves to cuddle, and he is very afraid of being hurt. i can definitely identify with that.

those are just a few of the men in my life. i seriously doubt i'll marry any of them, but they are a lot of fun to hang out with. we challenge each other to grow, provide insight that same-sex friends generally can't, and just enjoy each other's company. plus, they make me feel good. i have solid friendships with 3 solid guys... there's something about that that makes me feel, well, appreciated. it gives me an ego boost.

if you are a single girl, make sure you have some boyfriends. and single guys, make sure you have some girlfriends. make sure you're always on the same page, and you'll have a lot of fun and learn more than you might have wanted to know. ;-)