I recently attended a dinner party comprised of three married couples, a single male friend, and myself. Somehow, the subject of the various forms of online communication was brought up - email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
We had organized this dinner via Facebook and email, and at least half of us have blogs, so we all understand the appeal of them. It was the use of Twitter we debated. One of the other women tried it, didn't really get it, and stopped tweeting pretty quickly. I was the one who taught the other singleton about it a few months ago, because I do use it (as my real self), regularly. No one else had really even tried it, so of course they don't understand it.
One of the husbands said something to the affect that whatever he has to share that he might tweet about, if he tweeted, he just shares with his wife. He may have added another comment, but I can't remember at this point. Whether he meant to or not, his subtext was that maybe I wouldn't need to tweet if I had a spouse to talk to, that I was substituting my lack of romantic life with an online one.
I took the bait and told him that maybe he was right. I do live alone and have my own office at work, seeing only one or two people in person a day on average, so maybe I do need an online outlet to get my daily connection fix. We all shrugged and the conversation changed.
Then I got to thinking about it. Maybe he is right. On the other hand, maybe he isn't. Yes, the internet, in all its outlets, is my primary form of communication these days, but I'm generally talking to people I know in real life. My boss and colleagues and I communicate via email, as we all work in different buildings in our local metropolitan area. Trixie, Roxie, and I chat online almost everyday. My extended family writes emails to each other at least weekly (my immediate family I do talk to on the phone). My Tweeps (followers on Twitter) and Facebook friends are mostly actual friends and we rely on the internet to communicate around the globe. I'm not just posting to the void, I'm talking to actual people I know and love, and a few friendly strangers who are listening in.
I don't think this will stop when I have a boyfriend or husband. It hasn't stopped for Roxie. Many of the other people I read via blogs or Twitter are married or otherwise involved. So, for this husband, it's not his way of communicating with the outside world, but it is mine and there's nothing wrong with that.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I recently attended a dinner party comprised of three married couples, a single male friend, and myself. Somehow, the subject of the various forms of online communication was brought up - email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Remember that topic Jinxie suggested? The one that got replaced by this post? Turns out I remembered what I was originally going to write about that day, and here it is!
Last year (2008) I had the opportunity to go on four dates. I don't date very much at all, you see, and I never really have, so last year was interesting. Three of the four dates were blind dates set up by well-meaning friends, and not one of them was really worth a second date for me. Nice enough men, but too many things that didn't gel, and that's ok. I don't think I'll write about them, because I do not want to be unkind in any way, real or imagined. Let's just say that I'm glad there was only one date from each of them (even though I actually dropped the ball with the nicest of them, which is a shame). :)
The fourth date was with a friend of a friend. (Do you know how hard it is to come up with code names for people that aren't so specific I'll give myself away, but that aren't so vague that I forget who they are...?) Q is a dear friend of mine and is very talented in many ways. He invited me to join him and some friends for a movie night in September 2008. I showed up to the basement apartment (a hazard of living in an area with two universities within 12 miles of each other) and realized I was the only girl there. This was not a new situation to me--I went for several years being the token female in a couple of apartments, which is always fun and a little unnerving. What was new was the company. Besides Q, I didn't really know anyone there except Reed, who I had met the previous month at another party. I ended up on the couch between Reed and Q and started gently flirting with Reed, joking and making him laugh. Eventually we walked over to Reed's house for pizza and another movie, and he found out that I'd never seen "Firefly". At the end of the night, he suggested getting together sometime to watch it together and I heartily agreed.
A couple of weeks later, he got in touch with me about his proposed date, and we made plans to meet at his house and get some Indian take-out. While our meal was being prepared, we walked around, enjoying the mild weather and some fun little shops down the street from the restaurant. He seemed to like watching my interest in the silly things I'm interested in, and listened with patience and, I think, some enjoyment, to me talk about something important to me. Our food smelled WONDERFUL in the car on the way to his apartment and tasted even better when we got settled in front of the TV. I really enjoyed talking to him and listening to the things he was passionate about, and "Firefly" totally delighted me. At one point, I put my head on his shoulder and he played a little with my hair. It was such a great date, even though I'd had a tiny eye infection from my contacts and couldn't wear any makeup OR my contacts, so I felt a little homely.
He hugged me goodbye and we made tentative plans to get together to watch the rest of the series soon. I drove home smiling--I'd finally gone out with someone attractive to me who had enough similar interests to keep the conversation from lagging or getting awkward. He didn't think my opinions were too strange or too strong. I loved listening to him talk about what he wanted to do with his life. I really looked forward to our next date.
Well, the next date never happened. I ran into him at an event a couple of weeks later and found out he was dating someone else. I was a little disappointed, but I focused on how great our only date had been and realized that, even though things didn't happen the way I wanted them to, it was still great. When I found out he and his girlfriend had broken up, I was sad for both of them.
I don't think I'll ever go out with him again, but I know that whenever I see him, I can be friendly and kind with no bitterness about what might have been. That's a great feeling to have! Here's to more dates like that, and here's hoping at least one of them turns into something a little more significant! After all, it's been a long time since I was kissed... ;)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I don't think I've ever heard it called "Turkey Drop Season" before until NPR this morning ran a story called, "Want to Break Up? Tis the Season, So Better Hurry." It seems that if you are in a relationship that isn't really going anywhere, you need to break up now because otherwise you are stuck. Nobody wants to be the cad that breaks up at Christmas. And then there's the whole New Year thing. And right after that you have Valentine's Day. And I can see the point.
The only time I ever dumped a guy was right after the Thanksgiving break my freshman year at college. We'd met at college, so it wasn't a long distance thing. But having that weekend with my extended family in the area gave me time to stop and think what in the world was I doing with him. So I came back and I believe I told him we should stop seeing each other less than a week after Thanksgiving.
The one time I got dumped was right after New Year. And that sucked. Especially because he did it by telling me we should be friends, and then when I treated him like a friend, he sent me an email and told me to have a nice life. So not only did I get dumped right in the middle of the holiday season, he didn't have the guts to make it final in person and did it by email instead. I replied and told him to send me a postcard from Hades.
But then, breaking up before Christmas means you don't have to try and figure out a present for them. Guys are hard to shop for. (Related: You mean I have to do it again?) At least this year I know exactly what I'm getting for him. In fact, it's already wrapped and under the tree.
Friday, November 27, 2009
It happens all the time in movies and in literacy. The woman walks in. The man looks up and sees her. And time stops. She glows. He's speechless.
The first time I remember this phenomenon was watching the animated movie Anastasia. They go to the ballet and she's all dressed up fancy. He turns from having handed over their coats and sees her at the top of the stairs. And he just stops. She has that look that can stop a man. I wanted to be able to do that.
In the book Memoirs of a Geisha she's told that she won't be ready until she can stop a man just by looking at him. She reaches a point in her training when she's walking down the street and she looks at a man riding past on a bicycle. He sees her, and promptly crashes his bicycle into the nearest cart. She had a look that could stop a man. I wondered if I'd ever be able to do that.
Then earlier this year I was watching the movie IQ with a group of friends. Early in the movie, Catherine Boyd comes into the mechanic shop with her current boyfriend and Ed Walters sees her for the first time. And time stops. And she glows with a heavenly light.
At that scene I made a general comment to the room that I'd like to glow like that for a guy some day. And HP looked at me with a hurt look on his face and said something to the effect of, "some day?"
Did he already see me glowing? Had there already been a moment when he'd looked at me and time had stopped? Why was I not aware that he saw me that way? Why don't guys tell us when we do that? Why can't they make it more obvious and crash their bicycle or something so we know?!
The answers to those questions are probably similar to the answers we'd give to questions guys would ask about why we don't tell them we're interested or whatever other such things guys think about.
But still, it's nice to know that, maybe once, I have made time stop for a guy.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
This might be a cop-out-because-I-want-to-spend-time-with-my-family post, which I'm sure everyone out there in interweb land will forgive. :)
Thanksgiving is quiet for us this year--two of my siblings and their respective significant others and families live far away--but it's good. I like Thanksgiving because it is a set-aside time to reflect on how truly good I have it. I may not always like my job, but even though I'm keeping my eyes open for something better, I'm glad I have it. Especially after being able to buy groceries for my family for the month and contributing to the utilities. My job doesn't pay nearly as much as I'd like, but it gives me enough to help others who need it. I live in a nice home with people I love. My 15-year-old car runs really well. We have enough food. We're healthy.
We've been blessed in so many ways and it's just nice to remember that every once in a while.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I try to be positive, and I try to keep my posts on-topic (what it's like to be single in your 30s in my neck of the woods), but today I am very frustrated, again, with my job.
I don't get paid very much--it's enough to help family and stay out of debt and put a little aside--and lately I certainly feel like it's not enough to justify putting up with some of the passive-aggressiveness around my office. (just watch--this will get traced back to my work computer and I'll get fired...)
I keep track of hundreds of files and appointments, not to mention the confidential information that crosses my desk every day. I diffuse tense situations that sometimes have the potential to turn violent. I calm employees down (INCLUDING our director, who has acted unprofessionally far more often than I have). I field phone calls. I manage our database, and don't get me started on the mess THAT was when I began this job! It has taken me several months to get that thing in a mostly-organized condition. I am the only person who bothers to clean up the staff room. I am also the only person who routinely works 9 or 10 hour days; granted, I have an hour lunch break every day from September to May, but May through August I don't. I, quite honestly, get all the crap the second it walks through the door or calls on the phone. I get the brunt of almost everything that happens in this office, every day.
I don't dare take time off, not even to be sick, because I'm afraid that would make me "unreliable" like the part-timers are. In fact, the last day off I remember taking was my sister's graduation back in August. I am the only one in the office taking less than 4 or 5 days off during the holidays, which is why I'm working today. The office manager takes an afternoon off at least every couple of weeks to "go shopping for supplies" and doesn't even get here until 9. She routinely leaves early because she's "not feeling well" (We all get cramps...some of us deal with it). She expects me to dress professionally but shows up in stretched-out t-shirts and cargo pants. She hates my job but I often feel like she's trying to get me fired or force me to quit, which seems silly because it would be counter-productive for her because she'd end up doing my job. She also tattles on me if I'm late by even two minutes from a lunch break (or if she hears I walked in a 8:02), but does she talk to me about it? No. She goes to the director, who goes to the assistant director, who comes to me about it. No wonder I have a hard time liking or trusting her, and that can't be good for office morale.
All this when one of our part-timers is lying about their hours, always calling in sick, and messing things up when they're here.
I'm pretty sure this place would fall apart if I took more than two days off in a row.
I'm pretty sure I'm the only one with access to the database who 1. doesn't tweak the numbers so we get more money (thank you, Office Manager) and 2. hasn't totally messed up the records.
I'm pretty sure, today, I have to fight to remain positive and professional and to actually do my job.
I'm pretty sure it's a dead-end job.
I'm pretty sure to remind myself I'm lucky to have it.
I'm pretty sure I haven't been late as many times, or as drastically, as has been implied by someone who isn't even here when we open.
I'm pretty sure that any job full of this kind of back-biting and passive-aggressive attempts at vengeance and ensuring job security isn't worth it.
I'm pretty sure I don't get paid NEARLY enough to keep putting up with it.
I'm pretty sure I'll be gone in 6 months.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
With our marriage, HP and I are now in a new ward together at Church. We went for the first time on Sunday, and without consciously thinking about it, I did a few things related to my identity. I did introduce myself with my new last name. But I did not state that I had just gotten married. I did not want people to make the assumptions that would go along with that. I am a newlywed, but I am not a 20-year-old newlywed and all that would imply in their minds. And I am so much more than a newlywed. I know they are going to make assumptions about who I am, and mostly they will assume I am just like them, even if I am not. But if I can get them to know a few more things about me before they jump to conclusions, they might get closer to the truth of my identity.
I have been dealing with assumptions about who I am for years. People have assumed I was married and asked about my husband. People assumed I was single for all kinds of reasons. People assume I am in graduate school to pursue a completely different career path than what I could actually do with my degree. People made all kinds of assumptions about the wedding, what kind of reception we were having, where we were getting married, and many other things. People have assumed that I like certain things, that I do certain things, that I want certain things, that I need certain things.
Oddly, while I am sure that there have been times when people have made correct assumptions about me, it is only the innumerable incorrect ones I really remember. And the more incorrect they have been, the more annoying the person making the assumption is to me.
So now that my identity is changing, again (it is constantly changing), I am trying to protect the direction that it is changing. I want to be the one to shape who I am becoming not have others mold me into what they assume I am. And I think that no matter where we are in life, that is a challenge we face. How much control do we want to give others over our identity? Do we assume the identity others have created for us? Or do we continue to struggle against those assumptions and be who we are despite what everyone thinks about us? What do you do to prevent assumptions? What do you do to correct the incorrect ones?
Monday, November 23, 2009
I think I'm attractive. Physically. I'm not drop dead super model gorgeous, but I am pretty. I have some natural good looks and I know how to enhance them with makeup, clothes, and well-coifed hair. This doesn't mean I look perfect every time I leave the house, but I usually try to at least make an effort. I do tend make more of an effort if I know I'm going to around single men I would want to attract.
Not so much. I can't remember the last time a young, single man complimented me on my looks. I know it's happened, but it's been far too long. Of course, it concerns me. Have I gained too much weight? Am I not wearing enough makeup? Am I just not pretty? It's unnecessary to worry, but I still do.
So I have to rely on other sources of compliments to remind me that I do look good. My parents say it, but there's always that grain of salt I take that with, since they're my parents - they have to say that. Sometimes my girlfriends tell me, even unsolicited at times, and that is helpful, as they are not required to say anything.
Additionally, there are the married guy friends I know, the guys in my life who aren't morons because they are in successful relationships and know how to treat a woman right. Just the other day, one such friend was squeezing past me and said "Pardon me, gorgeous." I didn't even register what he said until he was out of earshot for thanks and had to confirm with the woman next to me that I had indeed heard that. I'm just not used to hearing it and wasn't at all expecting it.
I also have memories of the single guys who have complimented me and wanted me and kissed me. If I were totally unattractive, those experiences never would have happened.
Of course, the opinion that matters most is my own, as I'm the one who has to look at me the most. If I'm not happy with the way I look, I'm the one responsible. I'm not about to opt for plastic surgery, but I can exercise more, change my clothes, and make sure my makeup is as enhancing as it should be. I truly do feel better about myself when I'm taking care of myself.
All of these opinions are truly important, and I'm grateful for them. But, I'm not going to lie, I really want someone I find attractive to tell me how nice I look, especially when I've taken to the time to put myself together. I'd like to say that it's me I'm applying this makeup for and wearing the shirt that flatters my jiggly midsection, and sometimes it is. M0re often than not though, it's for the guys, since I'm just as happy in my brother's basketball shorts and my flannel shirt* as I am in that dress.
So, men, even if you're not interested in a particular girl, but you do recognize she's attractive, compliment her. On her dress, on her hair, on her overall look, or whatever it is that caught your eye. It will brighten her day, I guarantee you.
*I'm not crazy. Even for me, I will not wear that particular ensemble out of the house, except for maybe to the trash can. But it is really comfortable.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
There are days when I wake up and I really wish I wasn't a woman. Those days occur roughly once a month. ;)
But there are two things I want to talk about that might be a little TMI, but they make being a woman SO much easier for me.
The first off has to do with that once a month thing. I was cleaning out my apartment to move in with my husband and found a whole box of tampons in the back of a closet and I honestly have no idea what to do with them. And the reason? For more than three years now I've been using a reusable menstrual cup, specifically, the Diva Cup. It's amazing! No more tampons or pads to carry, let alone buy. When I was still dating, it meant I could be at a guy's house, take care of what I needed to, and not have to worry about leaving behind garbage that would make him uncomfortable. It makes a monthly hassle much less of one. You can almost forget you are even menstruating. Which is absolutely amazing.
The second thing that makes me more likely to wake up glad I'm a woman is my epilator. I HATE stubble. And while there is hair on my legs, it doesn't itch at all because I use an epilator. Have you ever been on fresh cut grass? It itches like crazy! It's because the blades have been chopped off and are square. If you let the grass grow normally it will be rounded on the top and won't itch. Same with hair. So because I don't cut it off but rather yank it out, the hair I do have doesn't itch. It does take a bit of time each time I do it. And it takes some time to get used to the feeling. But if you were to add up how much time you spend if you shave daily, it's probably roughly the same. I just do it all at once. Waxing could do the same thing, but I've had a bad reaction to a waxing before. And why pay someone for that monthly when I can buy a personal epilator once and be done with the cost? And for further confidence, I ripped out all the unwanted hair on Wednesday morning before our wedding. And then on the morning of my wedding I did a quick touch-up. And then I didn't bother with it again until we got back from our long extended wedding weekend (so the following Wednesday). And my legs were smooth the whole time. How's that for good?!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Years ago I decided that when I got engaged I did NOT want to put any roommates through the annoying gushiness that my engaged roommates put me through when they got engaged. People in love are wonderful, but when they do so at the exclusion of everyone around them, it can get to be too much. I kind of think I managed to reach that goal. I did have moments of overly gushiness, but I tried to keep it on-line so that if people wanted to ignore it, they easily could.
Now HP and I have decided on a new goal. We don't want to be annoying newlyweds. We don't want to be the type that go around and tell all our single friends how great married life is and how they should really get married or that if they did what we did that they would for sure get married or that we know the perfect person for them and can we set them up. We also still don't want to make those around us uncomfortable. Sure our method and path worked for us, but that doesn't mean if someone else does exactly what we did that they'll get married. Each of us are individuals and we each have our own path to walk down.
This has been the path we've walked down, and I've loved where I've ended up (although along the way there were certain spots that I thought really shouldn't have been on the scenic tour). I can't wait to see where the individual paths of Jinxie, Trixie, and so many others of my single friends take them. I hope they can count me as a cheerleader rather than a blind guide on their individual path.
Let me know if I get annoying, okay?
Friday, November 20, 2009
I have gone out with several non-members in my dating career, especially since I live in an area where members are the minority. Sometimes it was because I was bored and making use of various online dating sites and sometimes it's because I'm heavily involved in the community and just naturally meet these men.
Generally, I prefer the latter, as I've been avoiding the former now for quite a while. Regardless, dating non-members is something I'm open to. Trixie recently explained that for some, dating non-members is giving up. Erin commented, saying that love and compatibility are the important thing.
In my experience, it can be either.
The times I have trolled online dating sites, it really was because I was bored and giving up. No on else was paying attention to me, so maybe I'd find someone in the ether of the interwebs. I even used Craigslist personals. These were not my finer moments. I did get some dates, met some interesting people, but they all ended after a date or two. While online dating may work for some people, it doesn't work for me, and I've gotten it out of my system.
When I met these non-member men the way you should, by working with them on something and/or becoming friends and then maybe something more, I went out with them because they were genuinely good men. Regardless of their religious affiliation, we shared interests and moral values and we wanted to get to know each other better. If I date a non-member now, this is how it started.
It can be argued that dating non-members is better than dating members. They don't always have the same societal pressures to date and marry we do, so they aren't as weird about it. They aren't inundated with the same amount of gorgeous, spiritually minded, good girls that members are, especially those in singles wards, so they are more impressed with us, and act like it.
That's not why I'm willing to do it. I don't do it because I'm giving up. I do it because I'm leaving my options open. It is possible that I'm doing some "conflirting" or "flirt to convert" and hoping that whoever I'm dating will join the Church, but I'm not obstinate about it. I'm clear about how important it is to me, but as long as they respect my beliefs, and their beliefs do not contradict mine, I'll respect theirs. Perhaps their involvement with me will be their introduction to the Church, and I want to be the best example of a loving, inclusive daughter of God that I can be. I won't reject a good, responsible man immediately just because he isn't a member of my Church.
I'm not saying Trixie is wrong (and she knows this) for choosing to not date non-LDS men. I just know that if I had this same attitude, I would have missed out on getting to know some of my best friends. JT isn't LDS. The people I consider my local "family" aren't LDS. Most of my local colleagues aren't either. It's only natural that some of the men I go out with won't be.
I do want and plan to be married in the temple. I intend to continue my activity in the Church and temple attendance. I want my husband to be there with me. I already involve Heavenly Father in my dating life and try to follow the promptings of the Spirit as I make various decisions about who to date. I don't know Heavenly Father's specific plan for me, but I trust Him. If I find myself falling in love with a non-member and I feel His approval, I'll go with it. I've seen those success stories where it works. They have a happy family and sometimes the non-member half of the couple does eventually join the Church. If that's what the Lord has in store for me, who am I to ignore that?
Being sealed in the temple does not guarantee a perfect marriage. There is no such thing. It would be a challenge to date and marry someone who doesn't have my exact same beliefs, but I'd rather be in a good, loving marriage with someone who isn't LDS than a failing, loveless marriage with someone who is.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I've been trying for a while to figure out what I wanted to say today. I knew I'd be writing today after having come back from my wedding and I should probably summarize the week. But I really don't know how. I could sit down and give the chronological story of what happened. But that wouldn't give you a good view of what it was.
The weekend was a wonderful time of family and friends and smiles and good food and music and beauty and peace. Sure there were one or two things that didn't go as planned at first and had to be fixed, but very few people even knew about those things. There was a moment of panic when we couldn't find my bag with my temple clothes and one of the three papers we needed to get married. Turns out it had been in my parents' car and my mom had grabbed it to be helpful, not thinking I'd panic in the parking lot. But everything else went real smoothly. Even the insane snow storm didn't really cause too much of a problem.
The whole time we'd said that as long as we were married at the end of the day, everything was okay. We said it long enough that it really was true. And at the end of the day we were married. And the peace of it was palpable. And I don't know how to put that in to words.
For now, I'll just say that my favorite thing is that we now say, "good night," instead of, "good-bye."
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
While Trixie and Roxie have moved on to family wards, I'm still in a singles ward, one of two in my stake. Despite the fact that we make up 20% of the membership of the stake, I don't think they really know what to do with us.
I actually like singles wards, most of the time. I tend to approach them on my terms - not overwhelming myself with trying to attend everything and please everyone, not stressing out about being popular, and remembering to focus on why I'm really attending church.
That said, I recently participated in a stake activity in which each ward was asked to contribute a certain portion of the evening, and I was in charge of my ward's contribution. At the activity, those of us involved from my ward quickly realized we hadn't been given all the guidelines, and would, therefore, stick out from everyone else. When we approached the organizer, she said "Every ward was given the information. At least you have something. You didn't have anything last year."
Of course, it could have happened to any ward, and there were four that didn't participate at all. Unfortunately, considering her response and that our contribution was not exactly well received, being so "out there" from everyone else, it really felt like she and everyone else were saying "Well, that's the singles ward, they do things differently." In talking to the friends I'd worked with on this, who were also embarrassed, I'm not the only one who felt that way.
I also discovered recently that we don't really have representation on the stake level. I understand not having anyone in certain priesthood offices, as those men are generally older, but we don't really even have anyone involved in any of the auxiliaries like the Activities Committee or Relief Society. I think someone from the other singles ward was recently called to the Primary, so I guess that's someone, but it doesn't really have any affect on any other single than her.
While we don't want to be treated differently than any other adult and what should work for the married adults should work for us, I still think it would be good to have representation on stake committees from every ward, even to just as a liason for things like non-Priesthood activities. The bishop does have authority and responsibility for our ward, but he's a busy man and can't be expected to remember to filter every piece of information from every committee to every person who needs to know about it. That's why there is delegation and counselors and auxiliary presidents and committee chairs/members.
In a previous stake, during a reorganization, my ward, the singles ward, was moved to a new building and the latest start time in the stake, because we were the singles. Ranting about it in another online forum, a married woman (who doesn't belong to that stake and whom I don't know) actually confirmed it by saying we have the crappy time because we don't have kids. It sounded like a punishment, the way she put it. Yes, kids wouldn't fare so well with late church. They have nap times and schedules. But, so do adults. The most faithful, I would hope, would attend at any time, because it's being there that's imporant. Unfortunately, our attendance actually dropped until the stake gave in and changed our start time to earlier.
It sometimes feels like stake leadership doesn't know what to do with singles wards, but I hope I'm wrong. I don't know. I'm mostly just ranting at this point. As has been discussed ad nauseum, here and elsewhere, being a single adult in a Church so focused on marriage and family is a strange experience.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The title of this blog does not refer to me personally--I am tall and sometimes not so sweet :) --but it does refer to the following list, which I may have done because I'm tired and don't have the energy to blog Jinxie's suggested subject. It's a great subject and one I'll definitely enjoy writing about later!
Things I am grateful for today:
- Men who are good, talented, kind, smart, and hard-working.
- Mothers who help even when it's not needed and who say "I love you".
- Christmas (have you SEEN the stores? I love it!)!!
- Comfy shoes.
- Knowing what weight of oil I need for my car, and being the lone female in the auto section at the grocery store.
- Free lunches at work.
Monday, November 16, 2009
As Jinxie posted earlier, we got to be with Roxie on her wedding day, and it was wonderful. I have to admit that Jinxie and I both cried when Roxie and HP danced to their song. The room was FULL of love and it was wonderful. Wonderful wonderful.
Anyone there could tell that Roxie and HP love each other with a deep and secure love--the kind that isn't frantic or desperate or full of stress--and it spilled over onto everyone at the reception. There was a definite sense of calm and peace about them. And I did cry. Jinxie and I put our arms around each other and cried together and said "someday..." Someday, that will be us. Someday, all this waiting and faith and work and hope will be rewarded.
Someday, it will all be worth it.
Last night was hard for me, though; it didn't seem worth it at 1 AM when disappointment darkened my soul. I don't think it's a coincidence that I had a setback the day after a wonderful spiritual wedding, and it took some time for me to sort it out and start to make sense of it. This morning a friend posted this passage from Isaiah on her blog and it touched me so much. It reconfirmed that God makes up the difference:
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Despite it all, life is pretty good. Especially when there are promises like that to anticipate and hope and pray for.
Someday, I will know that I am loved with a deep and secure love, and that day will be wonderful!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Since I'm in The Homeland this weekend for the wedding, I was able to attend my home ward with my parents. For the first time in years, I attended the "grown up" Sunday School class.
Sidenote: There is a Young Single Adult class I have attended when my siblings are home too, but since most of the class was in Primary when I was last in the ward and it's usually taught by one of the "real" adults (or by a youth under their supervision), I feel like I'm back in Young Women's or something.
This gave me the opportunity to observe the couples in the ward who weren't split up by callings during the second hour. I noticed that almost every couple was behaving as couples are expected to - arms around each other, holding hands, etc. Even though I've known most of these people for years, I've never really had the opportunity to see them like that. They were acting just like the couples in singles wards that so many people complain about. "Ugh. Do they have to be so close in public?"
I say, why not? They're with someone they love, discussing the gospel that they love, why shouldn't a husband put his arm around his wife?
It's refreshing and hopeful to see couples, no matter how long they have been together, look at each other and act with so much love. So much love that you can see and know without a doubt that they're still happy and grateful to be in each other's lives.
At the temple earlier this week, I saw a man, who was probably in his late 70s, with his wife, and the look on his face when he looked at her was one of true and pure love. I saw that look on Handsome Prince's face on Saturday. I've seen it on my father's.
One day I'll see it on my husband's.
- Posted wirelessly by Jinxie
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Hooray weddings and friends and love!
-Posted wirelessly by Jinxie
Friday, November 13, 2009
(My last post prompted some friendly and understandable controversy that I am very sympathetic to, so I'll keep today's pretty light. :) )
Remember a few months ago when I blogged about being happy for other people? I still feel the same way. I recently found out another friend is getting married and my first reaction wasn't the "oh man! What about me?" kind of thing I've had before. It was a reaction of honest happiness for her. No thinking about it, no convincing myself--just wanting to give her a big hug and smile and cry because she's so happy. I do envy her a little, but I don't envy her (and her family) putting together a wedding in less than 6 weeks! However, if it's right, and you can pull it off, why not get married in 6 weeks?
It's been a relief to not have to deal with the envy and jealousy I previously felt. I'm honestly happy for all my friends who are getting married or having children or registering their kids for high school. Honest, untainted happiness is, I think, one of the rarest emotions humans experience, and it's wonderful when we can finally experience it! Maybe it's growing up, maybe it's perspective, maybe it's being raised right, but I treasure and try to remember the times I am honestly happy for someone else. It helps me be the person I want to be, and that's pretty cool.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
For the first time in over two years, all three of us were together in the same place. It was marvelous! The occasion? Roxie's wedding shower, which was one of the, if not the, best I've ever attended.
I love these women. I'm so blessed to have them in my life. To celebrate our bond, and the bonds Roxie has with the other women in her life, made for a wonderful evening.
We mostly talk about our relationships with the menfolk here, but it's important to remember the other relationships we have as well. The one I share with Roxie and Trixie? I think it's for keeps!
- Posted wirelessly by Jinxie
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
(I'm a little unfocused because of fatigue and sitting at a desk for the last 9 hours, so bear with me. I also plan to write more extensively about my feelings on this in another blog.)
I recently had a conversation with my dear friend David about his friend (and my former friend), Diane. He said it appears as if Diane has a boyfriend, but he's worried because this boyfriend also appears to be non-LDS. I know in some other faiths, it isn't a big deal to date or marry someone outside your belief system, but for us, it is. We believe that in order to be married eternally, in order to keep all our covenants, we need to marry someone strong in our faith and be sealed in the temple. The covenants you make in the temple are important and sacred, and not to be treated lightly, not even when it comes to romance.
What struck me about David's story is that Diane might be giving up. She might have convinced herself that no good LDS man is going to want her, so she might as well go with the guy who does. Now, if this all works out, that's great...I think. I may no longer be friends with her, but I don't want her to give up her goals and ideals just to be kissed by some guy! I don't want her to give up eternal marriage for a relationship that might not take her there! I want to shake her (and the other women like her) and say "don't you understand that it's not worth it?!"
I know there are times when this all works, when a couple from different backgrounds and faiths can live happily ever after without any pressure to join or leave a religion or confusion about what belief system their children will follow, but it doesn't always happen that way. I don't want her to get married, thinking she can convert someone, spending all her time and energy trying to change the mind of someone who isn't interested, or who is just using her, or who just married her to have sex. I've seen that happen with family and friends--over and over again, it ends in a bitter divorce that causes serious damage to self-esteem and confidence. I don't want that for her. I don't want her to give up.
Look. The only kiss I've had for the last 3 years was a stage kiss with a man 12 years younger than me. So what? It's just kissing. It's not the end of the world.
Quite frankly, kissing (sex, marriage, whatever) is not worth giving up my covenants and giving up on Heavenly Father's promises.
I will not compromise.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Strong, independent people always attract people who want to be like them. This was exemplified for me during college. Somehow, two of the four boys I seriously dated, and one who seriously tried, did not have cars. At all. One of the four didn't have his own car the whole time, but he was able to use a family car when he really needed one.
The two car-less boyfriends, and the one who wanted to be, are still, even now, a puzzlement to me. Public transportation in The Homeland is kind of a joke. Buses only travel the most main of main roads, and the light rail system is a long way from becoming truly useful. After visiting or living in places with a real, functional public transportation system, I won't be satisfied by that of The Homeland for years to come.
What is there is fine, if you want to go to any one of the local college campuses or somewhere along the most prominent of the local streets. Anywhere else? It will take some time.
So, as much as I hate to admit it, to not have regular access to a car in The Homeland is kind of a social death sentence. Especially if you're a boy who wants to date. Unlike other major metropolitan areas, the percentage of people in The Homeland who rely on public transportation is so small that no one is used to the extra time and effort it takes.
Of course, the remedy is to be cute and charming enough to make the girl want to do all the driving. And it worked for these guys. Not so much for that other one, though that wasn't the actual reason I wasn't interested in.
It doesn't mean it never got old. Doorstep scenes are nicer when they're on your own doorstep. You don't get to wonder if the guy is going to take your hand while he's driving, because you're the one driving and the one who has to decide if you can do without one of your hands for a time. And, of course, there is all that driving between their place and yours. Of course, it wasn't really a big deal that we spent all our "hanging out" time at their places, because I lived with my parents at the time.
Even though I now live somewhere with excellent public transportation, I would still prefer to date someone with a car. I wouldn't mind splitting the driving responsibilities, and I certainly wouldn't mind having the option. It also shows a certain amount of financial responsibility by being able to own and maintain a car, which is attractive, even if the car is a beater - I don't require the extra flash of something new and sporty.
The one of the four who did have his own car? I took it from him and drove it for the remainder of college, and the entirety of my "ownership" of it was after we broke up. Of course, it was because he was deployed to the Middle East and we remained good enough friends that he trusted me with it.
A guy not having a car isn't a dealbreaker (though his reasons for not having one might be - e.g. financial irresponsibility), but at this point in my life and dating career, it would be a cause for pause.
Monday, November 9, 2009
While that's what Shakespeare said, I don't think it's completely true. A name is not just a sound associated with an object, it is a part of that object.
I've had my name for more than 30 years. It's not just what I am called, it's who I am. And so when people ask me if I'm changing my name after I get married, the honest answer in my mind is that I'm not. I'm taking HP's name. I'm adding that. But I'm not changing my name to something else. I'm still me, I should still have my name.
Yesterday I was filling out a donation slip at church and realized that it will be the last time when I fill in the spot for "full name" that I'll write my name as it is now. That was a weird moment for me. I'm not sad about it, it's just a little strange.
When I told HP about that moment he said he's still not used to seeing my name with his like that. I found that very comforting, that it's an adjustment to him as well.
And why shouldn't it be? He's known me for several years, and while he has a few pet names for me which I love, he's only known my name as the one I've had from birth.
It's nice to know that this addition to my name is an adjustment not only for me but probably for everyone around me as well. I'm suddenly wondering what kind of adjustment it will be for my family, the only people who have known me my whole life. That has to be big for them too.
The next time you hear from me, I'll still be Roxie on this side of the computer, but on the other side of the computer I'll have a different name. Should be a fun weekend. :)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Sorry this is late! It's been a busy day. :)
Tonight I went to a birthday party for a friend--a small gathering of mostly women, all of us single and over 25. It was really nice, actually. I had a lot of fun talking with people in similar situations: we're all trying to figure out life on unexpected terms without becoming bitter and angry about things we can't control.
It's not easy, but it's not as hard as it could be if I didn't have any perspective.
What it comes down to is a shift in attitude. There are so many things out of our control, so many things we can't change, and so many things that just don't matter. Does it really matter that we're "too old" for some men? Is it that big a deal if we're not attractive to some men? After all, there are some men out there to whom I am just not attracted, as good as they may be. There some men who are, indeed, too old for me. I can't very well change my basic bone structure, and I don't want to dye my hair or start wearing more makeup (or, for heaven's sake, a push-up bra constantly) just to be attractive to someone who isn't attracted to me to begin with. I refuse to lie about my age just so someone won't freak out about dating me.
Conversely, I don't (and shouldn't) expect perfection out of anyone I date. It's not fair. I have a good set of baggage and to insist that the men I date be baggage-free with perfect hair and ripped abs is completely unrealistic and will only make me miserable. I know too many women who are deluded into thinking that someone like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp is going to fall head over heels for them and their imperfections, and they're sad and bitter because they've never found a Brad or a Johnny...and it shows. Didn't someone once say that we shouldn't expect to marry Mister Universe if we're not Miss America?
Well, I'm not Miss America, and I'm not going to marry a Mister Universe. And you know? I'm ok with that! There are some things I want to improve and things I need to work on, and I'm grown-up enough to be realistic in my expectations for others. Does that make me upset or angry? Nope. Not a bit. It is what it is, and I'm pretty sure that the man I marry will feel the same way; otherwise, I wouldn't be attracted to him. I'm so glad that we have a loving Heavenly Father who created us with imperfections and weirdnesses that will be attractive to someone else!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
We all have things about ourselves that we keep hidden. And when you are single that is relatively easy. You are the only person with full access to your world and life and nobody can see what you have hiding in your closet unless you let them. Opening those closets to people takes a LOT of trust. Some of those skeletons in there can seem pretty scary, even to the person who put them there.
Hiding in my closet is the fact that I am a slowly recovering pack rat. So it literally is my closet I keep hidden. Opening up that (those) closet(s) and moving in with my husband is slightly scary. Yes he helped me move in to my current place a while back. But moving random boxes from moving truck to apartment is one thing. Moving those same boxes (some of which, ashamedly, I haven't even opened since they were pulled off the moving truck) to his house where he can easily see how many boxes I have when I know that he doesn't really have anything just sitting around in storage, is something completely different. Thankfully he hasn't said anything.
I've known I have this pack rat problem for years. My mom could tell embarrassing stories from when I was a very small child if I ever let her. And it's bothered me for years too. I just can't let go of things, even when there is absolutely no logical reason for me to hold on to them. And I wish I could. I wish I lived more simply. I think of my ancestors who could put everything they owned in one small trunk and I wonder if they'd be ashamed of how much crap I have.
I am getting better though. It's been almost with a bit of a "take that" attitude that I've thrown out some things from past relationships that I've had around. And when I get a chance I'm going to pull out those boxes I haven't opened since I last moved and probably get rid of most of it. And I've even already taken a full trunk load and donated it to Deseret Industries.
Maybe some day I'll have room in my closet to hid metaphorical stuff. But right now I still need the room to hide actual stuff. For this day, I'm just grateful that HP isn't scared of this particular skeleton I've been hiding. I'm kind of curious if there are any other skeletons hiding behind all my crap.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Most people have a default person - the one person they can just about always count on to be there when they want to hang out, talk, go to an event, or just watch tv. This doesn't mean that they do everything together, just that there is always someone around they can be with if they so choose. Usually, the feeling is mutual. Each person is the other person's default. It can be their best friend, a roommate, or a family member. The luckiest among us are those whose default is their significant other.
For example, for Roxie, it's HP. For my brother, it's his best friend. Trixie may not have just one default, but she lives in close proximity to her family and other friends she has known and loved for years. Roxie, Trixie, and I all have each other, but mostly just for talking. Meredith Grey and Christina Yang.
In the past, I've had a default. For a period of time after I graduated from high school, I was either in a relationship or had Trixie. Or both. Or Trixie and a male best friend. I almost always had someone with whom I could spend time, and they wanted to spend time with me and we'd make lots of time for each other. No matter what, I always knew someone was there, and even if my usual default weren't, I lived rather close to my family and other good friends (like Roxie!).
Except now. I moved far, far away from anyone I've ever known, and even though I've been in this new city for nigh on four years, I still don't have anyone like that. No one here has been there consistently enough to be considered my default yet.
It's ridiculously hard. I do have friends and it's not like I never spend time with anyone else, but there is no one person I can always, always count on.
I try. I do. I make time for people. I go out and get to know them. I invite friends out and they invite me, and a week in which I never see or speak to my local friends is fairly rare. It's just not the same friend or even group of friends, not for long.
And besides just being patient and knowing that something will give sooner or later and that I'm not really alone, I don't know what else I can do. I am grateful for the time I do have with others, and I try to make the most of it.
I very definitely need my me time and I'm usually comfortable with how much time I spend alone, but the times I really want to spend time with someone else, I wish I knew who I could always call.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I have been a member of a family ward since fall 2005 when my singles ward was discontinued due to dwindling membership--apparently, most of the ward members had moved to college wards and the 57 of us left were pretty well permanently settled. Some people found the adjustment very difficult because it is hard to go from a ward where so many of your peers are actually your peers and are going through similar things, to a ward where you may be one of the only (if not the youngest) single members. It's easy to feel out of place after so long in one situation.
I was one of the lucky (optmistic?) few who was looking forward to the change. It's fun to be with young single adults, but it's also fun to be with families and retired couples and teenagers and babies. I had had enough of singles wards; while the change itself came quickly, I was ready for it and transfered my records back to the ward I grew up in and in whose boundaries I still lived.
It's been great for the last four years. It really has. I've had the opportunity to serve in wonderful and varied ways. I had a wonderful bishop who gave excellent advice when I was engaged. I had a safety net when the engagement fell apart. I've been able to interact with my former Primary and Young Women teachers as an adult on (nearly) equal footing. I've held babies, played pianos, sung in the choir, congratulated teenagers on graduation, and played the organ for funerals. I've loved nearly every moment of it.
However, I realized last weekend at a Halloween party that even though I enjoy my ward and the people in it, I still don't quite fit in. Not quite. I'm not just off my mission, I've never had children, I'm not a widow, I'm not divorced, I'm not married, I'm not engaged. I am single, working, making plans for the future, and, according to some, have all the time in the world to play. I can participate in quilt groups and Primary programs and Sunday school classes all I want, but I still won't quite fit in. While I'm 90% just fine with that, there is a little part of me that longs for a movie buddy who doesn't have to find a sitter. I would love to be in Sunday school and not hear the teacher talk about her relief that her daughter is getting married before she turns 30, as if we're in "Logan's Run" or something. I would like to never have to answer the question "so, are you dating anyone?" again. It's hard to let things slide with a joke or a clever remark, but I do it over and over again. I'll keep doing it because it's the only way I have to get through the harder times, and because it's much more polite than saying, "will you leave me alone about it?! Worry about your own life!" or "no, I don't party all night or run around all day. I'm a responsible member of society and an adult despite my single status."
Honestly, there are Sundays I'd rather stay home than go, but then I remember that it's the doctrine that I love, the Savior, my Heavenly Father, how I feel when I take the Sacrament, the peace the Holy Ghost brings...all those things are more important than some of the strange attitudes I've encountered.
Still, it will be nice when I have a family of my own--although I'll still feel a little out of place because I won't be a young mother having children at 22. :)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I had an interesting conversation in the temple cafeteria last week--yes, many LDS temples have cafeterias, and I will tell you right now the food is quite good--as I was paying for my fresh fruit and yummy ciabatta roll. The sister at the cash register asked me about my dress and the conversation turned to her and her husband and how nice it is that there are so many couples who work in the temple together. Then, and I saw this coming, she asked if I was married. I said "oh, no, I'm very single!" She said "really?!" Shortly after that, she asked how old I was. I said "I'm 34!" and smiled. She said "REALLY?!" (I get that a lot--I must look much younger than I am) Then, kind-hearted soul she was, she said "I can't believe you're not married! You look like you're a good person who someone should snatch right up!" I laughed and told her I hoped I was a good person and that I was trying to be better. She reassured me that I was and then asked if I wanted to get married. Of course I do, I told her. Of course! Very much! But, I said, I'm not willing to compromise and I'd rather be single the rest of my life than marry someone just to get married. She replied, "Oh, that's wonderful to hear. Good for you! But, if you want to have kids, you should get married soon..."
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
There's a saying that you should never talk about politics or religion in polite society. And I've definitely known my fair share of people who should really take that into consideration.
A good example is the young man recently who was riding in my car with me to a ward activity in the next town. It's a two hour drive, and before we'd even left town (which granted takes about 45 minutes because of traffic and construction), he'd already started three arguments with me on a political issue which I have a certain level of expertize as well as strong opinions on. That was one of the longest two hour drives of my life.
And it's for situations like that that it is suggested to avoid talking politics. But it doesn't have to be that way.
HP has some strong political ideas in a certain direction. But he has those opinions because he's researched the ideas and really thought about the options and not just because some talking head on TV or the radio said it was a good idea. One of our good friends has some strong political ideas in the other direction, and for the same reasons, she just came to a different conclusion.
Watching the two of them talk politics is interesting. But for me, it's more fun to watch everyone else watch them. Everyone seems to just expect the two of them to get into an ugly uncivil name calling argument. But it doesn't reach that point. Both of them respect the opinion of the other because they know how they came to have that opinion. It is possible to have a civil conversation about politics, and those two are great examples of it.
Knowing what I know about HP's political ideas, I can guess how he votes in elections, but I don't know for sure. I don't ask him and I don't expect him to tell me. Our ideas line up pretty well on most issues, and he can probably guess how I vote, but I'm not going to tell him unless he asks. I think that's part of being polite about politics, it's respecting the thought process of the other. Matching political opinions isn't necessary in a relationship, but respect of those opinions is.
We were actually at dinner once last year when he realized he didn't know all of my opinions on political issues. I'm not associated with any political party. So while we ate he started listing off as many issues as he could think of and I told him in a sentence or two how I felt about each. He didn't judge my opinions. It was purely curiosity.
So maybe it isn't that in polite society one shouldn't talk about politics. Because polite, respectful, and civil people can calmly talk about politics. It's only in impolite, disrespectful, and uncivil society that people probably shouldn't talk about politics. There's just too many impolite, disrespectful, and uncivil people talking about it for my liking.
Happy election day!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Music is powerful memory tool. I can still remember the address of my family's home from my kindergarten year, since I learned it to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". When a song I haven't heard in years comes on the radio, I can still remember all the lyrics.
Music can also have powerful memories associated with them. Roxie talked about this before. Those memories can, of course, have positive connotations, but they can also have negative, which makes them impossible to listen to ever again.
Right now, there are a handful of songs I will probably never be able to listen to again.
"The Reason" by Hoobastank - While we'd known each other for several weeks, it was only our second or third date. In the driveway of his friend's house where we'd had dinner and watched a movie, he hugged me and said "I think I'm falling in love with you." As he was driving me home, he played this song and said "This reminds me of you." Say what? It was really awkward because I didn't know why a song about turning his life around because of someone, especially when I didn't think he was all that off track, would make him think of me. It's a lot of responsibility so early on - was I really that much an influence on him so quickly? It was all going so fast. We had a little talk about it after we got back to my place, but were done for good about six weeks later. Every time I hear even a snippet of that song, the awkwardness of that moment is fresh in my mind.
The entire "Everything You Want" album by Vertical Horizon - One thing I loved about the ex-fiance was how much we talked. We could and often did talk for hours. One night we decided to talk about us, but we both lived with other people and needed somewhere private to talk. So, we drove to a parking lot and just sat in my car. We talked so long that we probably listened to that album, simply because it was in my CD player, at least four times. Because of how things ended with us, this album was a reminder of all the failed talks we had. The good news about not ever listening to it again is that I never really loved it in the first place, so no big loss.
There are several other songs that remind me of specific people, places, and things. Sometimes it's hard to listen to them, sometimes it's not. Sometimes, it would be easier to erase one's memory, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but since memories and experiences make us who we are today, it's a actually a good thing to keep them around. And there's a lot more music I can listen to without the ones I can't handle anymore.
Anything you can't listen to anymore?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
There are certain things I have always wanted in life. I have always wanted to go to school. I always wanted to do what I did for a career. I have always had dreams. Some of them have come true in ways I hadn't completely planned. Some of them I realized I didn't want enough to make them happen. And others I had to learn to be patient for.
One of those dreams, one of those things that I always wanted, was to be married, to be a wife, to be a mother, to have kids. It was the only dream I ever truly prayed and asked for.
My prayers over the years have changed with regards to that dream. I used to pray that I'd be ready for it. I'd pray that I'd remain worthy of the blessing of marriage and family. And I'd pray that somewhere out there, the boy I was going to marry was doing what he needed to do too.
As I grew up and started dating, my prayers changed just a little. I started praying to know if what I was doing, who I was with, was right. I don't believe in a "one and only." I think there are several guys I could be eternally happy with. But on the other hand that means that there are countless guys that would be quite wrong for me. And it is possible to fall in love with one of those. So I wanted to make sure that didn't happen.
And I started praying for patience and acceptance of the Lord's timing for me on this dream.
Some time last year I realized that things with HP really could be the right things for me. I started praying that our relationship would be blessed. And my prayers for patience increased. And I think most people who know me would say that those prayers were answered tenfold. It doesn't seem to me like I exercised any great patience, it's just how it happened. But those prayers definitely helped. If anything they were an almost daily reminder to me that my life does not always go according to my timing and that there is Someone who knows when things should happen for me better than I do.
Then in June, when I came home that night after he asked and I said yes, my prayer was completely different. I didn't ask for anything that night. But through my tears I expressed a gratitude I didn't have words for. Still don't actually.
But my prayers haven't stopped. I'm still praying for my marriage and family, just as I have been my whole life. But now I know the names to say. Well, one of them. The rest of the names I'll pray for in my family will come later. And my gratitude continues as well.
None of my prayers ever changed the mind of a boy I liked. But they changed my mind, and heart, and made me ready, and especially grateful, for the blessings that came in the end.