Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

Red Friday

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Is it just me, or is it kind of funny that Friday the 13th, the day horror movies are based on, falls right before Valentine’s day this year?  I didn’t realize until this morning that this was the case and it made me chuckle.  Kristi has affectionately decided to title it “Red Friday.”

I figure Love owes me this year.  In the past few week I’ve been asked by 4  couples to help orchestrate romantic events…which I did happily. It’s quite funny actually.  Oddly, matchmaking is one of the things I really enjoy doing. Just ask my friends;  I’m always scheming to hook people up.

(Side note: despite my enthusiasm to help love along whenever I can, I personally hate over-the-top romantic gestures if I am the target. I have actually broken up with guys because of this. )

A single gal on Valentine’s Day, it seems, has only two choices. The first is to embrace the day and her current state of single-hood. This includes wearing pink and red all day, watching romantic movies with other single girls while giving each other spa treatments, and showing the world that “I love ME and am secure in my oneness”. This generally involves cocktails and chocolate fondues.

The second is to boycott it completely. In doing this it becomes not Valentine’s Day, the Day of Love, but rather Black Saturday–the Day of Death to All Things Romantic. This includes wearing black all day, staying in and watching depressing movies where one or more of the main characters (preferably the man) dies in the end, and not communicating with the outside world—particularly happy couples–whatsoever, while consuming copious amounts of vodka. In essence, giving Love the finger and pretending not to give a **** about such a ridiculous “holiday.”

Now I am not a dark person, nor am I very romantic, but something about Valentine’s Day mocks my aloneness, and brings out the deeply disillusioned romantic in me. After all who is this holiday really for anyway? Well clearly not for those of us who are without a better (or worse) half. But it’s also not really for those who have been together, or married for a long time and barely mark the day on their calendar. So actually this not-so-nice February holiday (really February? There’s nothing romantic about the month) caters only to a select group of people. People who still have butterflies in their stomach when he phones. For that the rest of us suffer.

But there is a 3rd option–throw the term “holiday” around loosely and use it as an excuse to live it up (any excuse!!). Tomorrow night, one of my absolute favorite bands, The Family Band (www.sonicbids.com/familyband) is playing and I shall spend the evening with my friends–male, female, single, married, and in between–listening to FANTASTIC music.   And sure, it might end up being a guise for romance for some people, but I can accept that because, hey, Love owes me, right?

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A Decade in Review…

I reached a milestone this week–a day that I never actually imagined would come, and yet it is here and gone already. I had my ten year high school reunion (gasp! gag!). I know what you are thinking…aren’t you too young to have been out of high school so long? YES! That’s what I thought too!! But it turns out that ten years is, in fact, a decade, no matter how much you try and rework the numbers. I figure this is as good a topic as I will ever get to blog about so I might as well take advantage of it.

Rightly so, I have been spending a great deal of time lately in reflection. What have i learned? Where am I going? What the heck have I been doing for ten years? I think it’s actually really great to have these moments in life…these milestones that keep us in check and encourage us to go forward. My reunion was actually (to my surprise) quite poorly attended. I figured Facebook would have come through for us, but I suppose even Facebook isn’t strong enough to overcome the utter dread that some people would have felt in attending such an event. Fortunately (or stupidly) I am not one of those people. Sure, I approached it with some anxiety, that is to be expected, but I found I was really looking forward to seeing old friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Those who know me have probably figured out by now that I love social events. I figure I don’t have many marketable skills, but one is that I love to socialize so I might as do it to the best of my ability. In fact, in my graduating year i was even voted “Friendliest Girl.” …and no not in the way YOU’RE thinking. I think many people are insecure in their life status, which, I would like to say right now is completely silly. One thing I realized this weekend is that we are all at totally different places in life and no one is better or worse than another. Some people are married with three kids, while others have just started post-secondary school. Some have been in school since they left, while others settled into a career straight away. Some have travelled, others still live in Summerside. Some are married to their careers, while others still have no idea what they want to do. I cannot stress enough that there is NO MEASURING STICK! Who makes up these ideals anyway? My philosophy is “screw them!” (…and no, not in the way YOU’RE thinking…).

O.k…that is my rant to those who did not come to the reunion because they felt inadequate. For those who did not come because they are bitter, I say, “get over it. Life is too short.” To those who could not come but wanted to, I am sorry we missed one another. The truth is that I had a great time! I did not know what to expect but what I found were adults (when did THAT happen?) who were genuinely happy to see an old friend. Nothing beats that. We watched our grad video (YIKES) which was probably the most painful portion of the weekend. We read the prophesy that predicted where we would all be in ten years, which was humorous. I fell short of mine which predicted a nobel peace prize for international development in Africa. Give me another ten years…

So, that being said, upon reflection, here are the things I have learned in ten years of adulthood…

1. Everyone is better looking at 28 than at 18. WITHOUT EXCEPTION. It’s actually quite bizarre. I doubt I will say the same in another ten years, but hey, it makes me happy to be 28 right now which is a reason to celebrate and not give in to feeling old.

2. Bitterness is a poison you drink and expect the other person to die. A good friend who has had more than her share of suffering told me this and it has stuck with me. Hanging onto grudges is something that only hurts yourself. It might be the cruelest jokes of God…or life’s hardest lesson–that we have to love other people when they hurt us, but I firmly believe this is the secret to joy. My new motto is “I will do whatever it takes to let go of bitterness.” It’s hard, trust me, but the truth is I don’t want to look back on my life and realize I spent a huge percentage of it being miserable.

3. I am the luckiest girl alive. Every so often, I am completely dumbfounded by this simple fact. It’s true. I have amazing friends, and a family that loves and supports me. Am I rich? HELL NO. Not even close. But i love my job. I love my poverty-stricken town. I love my two bedroom apartment in a run down building. Last month I got to see John Mayer live in Boston. He has been my #1 favorite artist for about 6 years (judge me, it’s o.k.) and I finally decided that it was time to make one of my small dreams come true. How many people in the world get to see their icons? The fact that I am able to make that possible is astounding to me. I have been to 3rd world countries and I do not take the fulfillment of my dreams lightly because i know that so many people do not get to experience a fraction of the things I do. Going to the dentist is another thing that causes me to realize I am the luckiest girl alive. What percentage of the world’s population can afford to pay someone to clean their mouths? I suspect less than 1%.

4. Get Over It. Things don’t always work out the way you want…hope…expect, but there is no use dwelling on that which you have no control over. This goes back to the bitterness thing. I am learning that it’s important to find the support you need (however you need to do it) and to role with it. No one said that we would get everything we ever wanted. No one said that life OWED us anything. It does not. But hope for the best and deal with the worst when it comes. My colleague has cancer and she’s had to lose her breasts and her hair, but she teaches me all the time to tackle life’s blows with flexibility and joy.

5. The purpose of life is…to live. I think it’s that simple. My personal goal is to be good at living. When I die I want people to say “she lived and loved well.” I know i have A LOT to learn and I fall very short but I am working on it. I think joy and hope are also big factors in this one. My 2nd motto is “Do whatever you have to do to hang on to hope and joy.”

6. Friends are the family you get to choose. The point here is that we get to choose them. Your family, you are stuck with so make the best of it, but friends…you get to decide so choose wisely! My friends are like a big cusion that catches me every time life throws me off a building (life is mean). I am so grateful because i know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be the person I am now without them. They have brought SO MUCH healing into my life…so much wisdom…so much support. I have seen other people whose friends are backstabbing and gossipy and suck the life out of them. This is not friendship but some twisted co-dependent relationship that they should run like hell away from. Once again…life is WAY TOO SHORT for this. I think this is the one lesson we should have learned in high school. I have somehow lucked out and found people that I can be real with which has been more important than even I will ever realize. In return I want to be a good friend.

7. It feels good to break the rules. I grew up Catholic and then was pretty Evangelical for awhile so I know a lot about guilt. Now I believe that God is a God of freedom and it’s a privilege to exercise that. There is freedom to try and fail; freedom to choose what we WANT. Shockingly, it turns out that I cannot fit myself so easily into a box. It is only by stepping outside the lines that I began to discover myself and God and you know what? I love it. It turns out that God hangs out past the lines we created to keep him in. He’s way more flexible than us. I spent far too much time afraid of doing the wrong thing. Now I figure I spend way more time doing the wrong thing but also way more time experiencing the goodness that God gave us in this life. Some people need to learn how to break those preconceived ideas of what their lives were going to look like in order to be happy.

8. Marriage is worth waiting for. I already know several people who have been married and divorced in a decade. Sure, I want to get married, but i haven’t met someone worth marrying yet…and to be honest, I was not worth marrying for a long time (it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted). There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with those who found the right person at age 20. I thought i would be self-conscious about this at the reunion. So many people starting families, and there is me who is on my own. But i wasn’t. I have no reason to be ashamed of that and neither does anyone else. Sure, some family members are starting to ask if I’ve ever thought of becoming a nun (I’m really not good with rules), and I wonder how it’s possible that i have 500 Facebook friends of which none are more than just friends (i need to meet MORE people?), but i’ll figure it out eventually. I am not worried. That’s a generational thing, i know. We are unconventional these days, but we can’t help it. We don’t know how else to be.

So those are my top “8”…i realize 10 would be a better number but I can’t think of 2 more things so this will have to suffice. I know it’s a bit sentimental and mid-life crisis-ish…but that’s just who I am. I don’t want to wait another 20 years to figure this stuff out. For now I will concentrate on the fact that my big sister just got engaged!! I am beyond excited for her and her fiance, Brian and they deserve a beautiful wedding (next September). I think it is time our family of four expanded and I couldn’t think of a better guy to invite in.

…and I will try not to wait until my next high school reunion to blog again!

My New Relationship

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So I think I’m falling in love. Not sure, but it’s the only thing I can equate my feelings to at this point so I’m just going to go with it.

It all started about two and a half months ago. It was innocent at first and very unfamiliar–often overwhelming–and mostly I wanted to bolt. But I didn’t. And now here I am and I can’t believe that this is my life because I never expected to feel this way. I want to give my all my spare time to this new strange relationship. Suddenly it’s like everything has purpose again…

You see, I just started a Masters degree.

It was like jumping into cold water with my eyes closed. I tried my hardest to see what was down there and look around to make sure it was the right decision but there was no way to tell except to take the plunge. But once I dove in I found that the water was warm and full of life and that was more of a shock than the cold sting of the ocean in December.

I am studying Maritime Celtic history and literature. I know there’s no one out there who can really understand this, but I love it. I am particularly focusing on the poverty of the Irish and Highlanders as they arrived here and how that has since influenced our culture. My topic keeps getting more and more interesting and the more I learn the more interested I become.

I never ever expected to fall in love with my homeland. In fact, I spent most of my time growing up expecting to leave it. But it’s like there is something I just can’t get away from and it’s scary because now I know I might not ever be able to leave. I find myself driving around and wondering what things were like here 100 years ago…or hear a maritime accent and instead of being embarrassed I beam with pride. I look at the run down houses and the struggles people here face everyday and feel compassion and empathy…but never pity. How could I? This is where I come from. And the more I understand and uncover the buried treasure of my land, the more my heart softens. It’s like blinders have been taken off my eyes and I can see what was always right in front of my face.

How crazy do I sound? I drive around and just silently take it all in–the land, the architecture, the people-because there are no words to describe the way I feel. I am the luckiest girl I know. I have a place where I come from, a heritage, and I am part of what I see as a great story. It’s like we’re in the middle of it all, only part way through, so no one else knows how amazing the story is going to turn out but somehow I got a glimpse. The past, the present, the future all connected…and I get to live it. The only feeling I have ever felt that can compare that of falling in love…only without the fear that it won’t work out because it’s all already finished.

I don’t expect you to understand. I know that I may stand alone in this, but that’s o.k. I just wanted to share this new relationship and tell someone that I have never felt so whole.

And yes I love studying local history, literature, and language and I thought I should share that with the world. If that makes me crazy, well I guess I can deal with that.

Dating Disasters 101

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I have a beef. Actually it’s a something that’s been brewing for a long time and to be honest I am just plain pissed off. With whom? Well, it’s not specifically ONE person but rather a whole gender–the male one to be exact.

 Disclaimer to this blogI know not EVERY guy is like the following but humor me for awhile (if you’re one of the good ones, i’m sorry).

 Let me tell you about my recent experiences be it dating or other (names and specifics are changed so don’t try and figure out if you know the person). This may also give you some insight into why I hate dating.

The following events have taken place within the past few months and are based on true events:

Harry: Seems like a nice guy. He asks me out, I accept…simple right? We have a relatively good time (o.k. maybe I was a little bored by his stories of all the stupid things he did when he was younger, but you gotta put up with some of that because they all have them). I agree to go out again. After about the 3rd or 4th time (plus phone calls, MSN conversations, etc.) I find out accidentally that this guy has a girlfriend! I stress the word “accidentally” because he most definitely never mentioned her and it’s a fluke that i even found out. Turns out I’m the girl he’d like to cheat on his girlfriend with. Don’t I feel special…

Randy: Nice guy, have known him a little longer than the last one. We are friends and that is all (well, MOSTLY just friends, if you discount a few moments here and there). Randy eventually started dating someone (no problem yet) and we continue the friendship track. One night after spending some time together a couple months ago Randy edges across that invisible friendship line again but thankfully we are both wise enough not to go there. I am actually sort of proud of him for keeping his hands to himself to be honest.  However, later the same night I walk into a room to find him hitting on a very good friend (no mistaking it, trust me)! The story gets a little messy from here on out, but let’s just say the friendship never recovered.

Marvin (yep, these names are my revenge): Nice guy (notice a pattern?) that I have known for a very long time, though perhaps not very well. One night at a local pub we run into one another and get to chatting. One thing leads to another and before long we are talking until the wee hours of the morning. He kisses me and we have a fabulous night leaving it without any sort of conclusion because he lives in a different province. Had the story ended there, there would be no problem however the next day (surprise surprise) I find out HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND (oh how useful Facebook has proven to be!)!! Yet another guy who is looking to cheat on his girlfriend (and no, he never called).

Francis: Nice guy, barely know him. Actually he’s one of those people whose face you know but with whom you have never actually had a conversation. One day I run into him at the grocery store and we have a very long conversation. After that it seems I keep running into him everywhere I go and I am getting that “I think you’re special” sort of vibe. At this point, let me just say that I could care less about the vibe as my track record has been less than descent so far (there are others just as bad but there’s not enough blog space in the world to really start on those ones). I am at the point where I dread initiating conversation with them because I know it’s only a matter of time before I find out what an idiot they are. That being said, I am a nice Christian girl who doesn’t want to judge others and an eternal optimist at that. I run into Francis again and again until finally one day he asks me to go to the beach. We have mutual friends who are going and I agree. I say I’ll be there so I force myself to go later even though I am dreading it and desperately want to stay at home to watch the Office.  I arrive to the beach and immediately he greets me. So far so good. We talk for a few minutes when suddenly he puts his shoes on and says “I’ll be right back in about 10 minutes.” then proceeds to jump in his car and drive away.

“That’s odd.” I think to myself but continue to have a good time at the beach anyway.

Francis never returned.

Seriously, WHO DOES THAT????!!!

At this point it’s just plain funny to me. It’s not just guys I have dated but friends, acquaintances, strangers…that are all shaping up to be complete morons. Did I not notice them before or is there more of them now? Are they taking over the world? Have they ganged up to make my life hell?  But most of all…

Are there any good ones left?

This past birthday I had a very distinct thought that went a little like this: “I think that I’m a grown-up now.” And for the first time in my life I actually feel like one…However, it turns out that they are just not growing up with me and my patience for their immature ways is growing increasingly low.

That’s my rant for tonight because I am tired and annoyed. Hopefully I will have some more encouraging things to write in the future.

Kelly Clarkson’s Grudge

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I woke up this morning to Kelly Clarkson’s song “Never Again” on my alarm clock. Man that girl is bitter. It’s not just that song, it’s EVERY song she’s ever had out (minus the original ballad from American Idol). At first I was like “you go girl and tell off all those (insert choice word) men that screwed you over.”  Now it’s just gotten old and I am wondering: is it just that she is holding a very long grudge toward some guy that hurt her once, or does she just keep getting dumped over and over?

I either feel a lot of pity for her or I am very annoyed by her, i’m not sure which. Maybe a little of both.  I hope for all our sakes that the next guy she meets will be someone who is too scared to dump her.

Independently Faulty?

shellonbeach.jpg  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about independence. Mine in particular. I am 27, currently living alone, and I make all my own decisions rarely consulting others before I do so.

I’m not going to lie, I like it… A LOT

Lately i’ve been wondering if there is any such thing as being “too independent,” and if so do I fall in that category?

I guess at this point it doesn’t matter much. I mean, the truth is I like living my life the way I want and there is no part of me that is desperate to have it any other way. I know people who always need to be in a relationship, as if they are scared to hang out with themselves. This fear drives them from one relationship to the next and in the end all they want is to be with someone at any cost. I think that if I truly, deeply didn’t want to be alone, I wouldn’t be. I would have found someone at some point and just settled into “normal” life by now (don’t even get me started on how angry it makes me that having a family is the “norm” and the only end to every means).

That is how I used to think and now I don’t know anymore. I know that my thinking on a lot of subjects has drastically changed recently. 2 years ago I was planning exactly how many children I wanted, when I wanted them, and what I wanted to name them. Now? I cringe at the thought of having to give up my late mornings for screaming babies.

I think it is causing me a bit of an identity crisis. I’m happy which is all that should matter right? But that nagging social Christian “norm” is pestering me to wonder if I SHOULD be happy. “You’re TOO independent.” It says. “That’s not normal.”  A friend of mine said, “Independent girls are sexy.“…but that was after he said it was a sure sign of being a lesbian (I assure you i’m not!) and was trying to with draw the foot out of his mouth. 

I like people and I am very much an extrovert. But at the same time I don’t pursue relationships because I like being alone just as much. I forget that people expect me to call and visit and do things together. Recently I heard a speaker at a conference say (directed towards single people), “whatever you do, do it with someone else–whether it is going to the grocery store, for a walk, or watching a movie.” In principle I agree because I am very pro-community; however, the thought of giving up THAT much of my time, privacy and energy causes me to panic. I LIKE going to the grocery store alone. I LIKE sleeping in my bed ALONE.  I LIKE walking by myself at night (gasp).

Have I been raised wrong or is it just who I am? Do I need to break the box I have created, or accept that this how God made me? I DON’T KNOW!!! It is very confusing.

Recently my mom  jokingly said she regretted raising my sister and I so independently. It means we are always off on our own adventures and far from home. I understand what she means and as much as I would never ever give up my experiences I have to wonder if she has a point. I am used to doing life on my own and I’m not sure I even know how to begin to let someone else into it.

This picture of me (above) was taken by a great photographer, Chris  Seto(http://www.myspace.com/topherproductions) .  Lately the picture has been speaking volumes to me about my life. That’s how I feel…like I’m walking toward a very great, very wide horizon–and I’m walking alone. But i’m not sad because look at how many different ways I can go! It’s an adventure–sometimes lonely, sometimes freeing, but always an adventure.

So…here is my confession. Everyone is constantly trying to hook me up with someone because they “don’t want someone so great to be alone”…but the truth is…

I’m perfectly happy just as I am.

Maybe I’ll meet a guy who likes my independence as much as I do and then maybe i’ll renegotiate, but until then (just so everyone knows), I’m o.k. this way.

This One’s for the Boys

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So I’ve decided to start by reposting some things from my Myspace blog. This one has had the most response. I keep waiting for a male rebuttle, but so far nothing.  

This One’s For the Boys

After some serious bitch-fests with girls lately, i have decided to let the males in the world in on some key secrets of the female gender when it comes to relationships. PAY ATTENTION. I am not cynical, I am just trying to help.

1. Talking is VERY important to most girls. If we say “i don’t want to talk about it,” we’re lying. we definitely want to talk about it, but only with someone who is actually interested and isn’t going to be mean. By not pressing the issue we get the impression that you don’t care.

2. Don’t try and fix our problems. Most of us HATE IT when you do this. Just listen and SYMPATHIZE. We will get over this problem eventually and we know that, we just need someone to analyze it with in the mean time.

3. Sometimes we like a good fight. We know we can be completely unreasonable sometimes and we want to know you have the balls to stand up for yourself when we are.

4. If you didn’t ask for forgiveness then we are likely still holding a grudge. This may be a case where we are being unreasonable, but because we ACT like things are o.k., don’t think they are. We will pull it out sometime when you least expect it. The best solution to this is to talk about the conflict to death to be sure it is resolved. Just ignoring it will make it worse for everyone.

5. Keep your word. I find this to be a huge problem with a lot of guys these days. They think it is o.k. to break plans whenever they want because something else has come up. THAT’S NOT O.K.! It’s not considerate and we actually put weight on your word so stop taking our niceness for granted.

6. Be considerate. A lot of guys THINK they are considerate but they are actually quite stupid. We know that so we tend to give more grace than we should. It’s the little things that count so start figuring out what we take in our coffee, our favorite wine, how to do dishes, make the bed, etc, etc. I GUARANTEE this will go a long way with any girl. Look at the kinds of things girls do for each other and use that as a guideline. Picking us up from work when you know we have to walk, or walking us home even if it’s an extra couple of blocks, is huge to us. Girls see this stuff as common sense and expect it from you.

7. We don’t find any of the following things impressive:
The fact that you can
–bench press 8000 lbs.
–open a beer on your chest
–burp the alphabet
–drive faster than the guy in front of you
–achieve level “awesome” on your new computer game
–eat 17 grill cheese sandwiches
–accurately quote every line from a Monty Python movie (WITH voices)

(this list is not exclusive)

8. We DO find the following things impressive:
The fact that you:
–cooked us dinner
–fixed the sink when it was plugged and we didn’t ask
–stood up for someone when they weren’t around
–told us something no one else knows
–made us laugh when we were upset
–didn’t blame the fact that we were pissed off on PMS (even if it’s true)
–accomplished something you’ve always wanted to do

9. Affirmation is important. If you don’t give us positive feedback we assume you only have negative things to say (if you thought it, you would say it). For example if you don’t say “I love you” then we assume you don’t. If you don’t say “you did a great job” then we assume we didn’t. If you don’t say “you look pretty” then we assume you think we look ugly. Get it? This is very important for everyone no matter how long they have been together. 10. Just face it, sometimes we are better at stuff than you. Girls generally aren’t trying to prove anything to you so we don’t bother letting you know that we can do just as good of a job as you. For example,a special skill I have is that I can open a bottle on anything when there is no bottle opener to be found. I have recently discovered that guys are threatened by this skill and some outright refuse to let me, a girl, open their beer. I don’t bother arguing anymore because it’s not worth my time or energy to justify this to a guy. However, i do find it incredibly annoying. Just let us be good at the stuff we’re good at, EVEN IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU CONSIDERED TO BE A GUY-THING. By getting upset at us you just end up looking like an idiot.
 

well, that’s all I got. if i helped one male, then my work here is done.


Good Advice

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things"

Currently reading…

"'Tis" by Frank McCourt

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