2.24.2015

What I wish I could tell you... | letter to a young girl


Dear girl,

You may not have reached that age yet, where people begin calling you a 'teenager'.  But you will.  And you'll experience changes that you may not have been expecting.  And what's that thing people keep talking about?  'Emotions'?  Yeah, those took a while for me to grasp too.  They're like feelings...but not.  They're hard to understand and decipher, those emotions.  They're what you're thinking and feeling all wrapped into one.  Confusing?  Yes.  Difficult?  Yes.  Able to explain?  No.  I wish I could tell you that you'll figure them out in no time, and get the hang of how to deal with them, but truth is, I'm almost 20 years old and I'm still piecing my own together.

I wish I could tell you to always be open and vulnerable.  I wish I could tell you to trust and respect people.  But the truth is, darling, we live in a messed up world, and most of the people who you'll trust are going to end up showing you that you couldn't or shouldn't have.  And don't even get me started on respect.  Just so you know, there are very few people I respect.  I wish I could tell you that you could control what people thought of you, and that they will always see and love the best you.  I wish I could tell you that people will always encourage your womanhood and your strength, and not separate the two.

I wish I could tell you that you'll never suffer from being self-conscious, or having insecurity, or comparing yourself to other girls.  Or that your life will always go as smoothly as the next person's [seems] to be.  I wish I could tell you that you will succeed at every goal you set and every dream you have will come true.  I wish I could tell you that stepping out of your comfort zone will always be one of the best choices you make and that you'll never embarrass yourself and that no one will ever laugh at you.  I wish I could tell you that being a people-pleaser is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it isn't.  Because the way people want to be pleased isn't always right.  Even if it is popular.

And by the way, good communication is one of the most important keys to life.

I really want to tell you that being alone is far different than being lonely.  You may not believe that, but it's the truth.  Being alone is very significant in everyone's life.  It's a time to learn more about yourself in a way that no one could teach you.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes, of doing things by yourself, of figuring things out on your own.  But also, never be afraid to ask for help.  Asking doesn't mean you're ignorant; it means you want to gain more wisdom.

I wish I could tell you that the first guy who says he likes you is 'the one'.  And that he will respect you and always be there for you.  I wish I could tell you that his intentions are honorable and that he will truly love you.  I wish I could promise that he will never hurt you - physically or emotionally - and that he will give you space when you need it, a hug when you need one, or a kiss on the forehead.  Don't ever, ever settle for a guy who is 'good enough'.  Know your value, dear girl.  If someone isn't willing to treat you as a daughter of the Most High, they're not worth your time of day.

I wish I could tell you that all guys are men, that there are beautiful sunsets every night, that you'll always have a stable job and whenever you're having one of those lonely days, there will always be someone to hold you.  I wish I could tell you that you will always see the beauty of the world, but honestly, sometimes, you'll need to really look for it.  I wish I could tell you that you'll always have a reason to laugh, always have a reason to smile.  But sometimes, you just need to find those reasons on your own.

I wish I could tell you that everyone will understand what honesty is and always be honest with you.  I wish I could tell you that you will have a lifelong friend(s) from childhood.  And they will never leave your side, never ignore you, never give you stupid immature silent treatments where you two don't talk for days.  I wish I could tell you that you'll have always more friends that build you up, rather than tear you down.  I wish I could tell you that drama won't ever happen and you'll never have horrible arguments with your friends that leave you not talking for days on end.  Seek out good friends.  Seek out friends who will build you up, encourage you, make you stronger on your OWN.  And yes, there will be times when you have to be the mature one in the friendship.  Either way, everyone is in your life for a reason, to teach you something.  Learn from them - the things you should and shouldn't do.

I wish I could tell you that you'll never face temptations and never see any bad pictures and never hear evil thoughts expressed out loud.

I wish I could tell you that you and your parents are always going to get along, that they'll never overwhelm you with rules, that you'll always be close to them, and that you'll always want to obey their advice and requirements.  I wish I could tell you that all your siblings will be your best friends, that you'll never have fights with any of them, and that you'll always want to be around them.

But you might not.

Sweet one, I may be wrong about some of these.  I really hope I am.  If some of these prove to be the opposite in your life, I am so happy for you.  And you should count yourself as blessed.

But there will be times when you just need to wipe the tears off your face and be your own little hero. And moments where you need to choose whether to be happy or let the sadness seep into you.

And in the end, those will be the moments you will look back on and see just how strong of a human you really are.  That you are absolutely and without question, a beautiful and unique human soul.  Showing your own strength can and will encourage others to be strong on their own.  Don't let your past keep hold of you.  It shouldn't dictate your future, but it should be part of who you will become.  You have the choice whether you learn from your lessons and move on, or let the lesson keep twisting its knife in your heart, telling you that you're a failure.
Remember to fight for what matters.  Always tell the truth.  One of the hardest things you will ever have to do is forgive - even if the person never asks for it, or never acknowledges that they were in the wrong.

Your life has a purpose.  You have much to accomplish.  Don't let others stop you.  And don't ever say you 'can't'.  That word shouldn't even be in your vocabulary.  Because a person who doesn't first believe in themselves, won't believe in others, and their plans won't succeed.

God allows everything to happen to allow something else to happen.


2.14.2015

I Love Being Single. And Here's Why.


I get asked, on a fairly regular basis, if I have a boyfriend or not.  I usually reply with ‘Nope.  I’m as single as you can get!’ accompanied by a smile on my face.  A few people have admitted that they were surprised by my seemingly joyous reaction and answer to their question.  ‘Does it bother you at all?  To see girls your age or younger who already have boyfriends - or are even married - ESPECIALLY around Valentine’s Day?’ some have asked me.

First of all, why would it bother me to see someone else happy?  That’d just be immature and dumb to feel that way.  If someone has a boyfriend or is married, I am genuinely happy for them!  Sure, it’s not always a breeze for me to see so many of my peers having a significant other.  Just about everyone has the need for companionship and the tendency to get lonely built into their system.  But am I going to harbor jealous feelings against people who have found the love of their life?  Uh, no.  Instead of doing that, I can delight in my singleness and stay busy with some pretty fabulous stuff.  And below are a few examples of why I love being single...

1)  I’m not ‘tied down’ to a relationship where I would have to cater to someone else’s needs and desires.
I can see how that may sound super conceited and selfish, but I’m just being honest here.  I love my freedom.  I love being able to get another piercing or get dreads without someone saying ‘I’d rather you not’, and me knowing that I should be self-less and love them and do what they ask.  I’ve been in an almost-relationship (I know that sounds confusing but sorry) where he was very demanding of my time and my attention and it got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t do ANYTHING without having to tell him first, and basically ask him for his permission.  THAT is what I have in mind by saying having to ‘cater’ to someone else.  I’m sure nobody would like to be in that sort of relationship.

2)  If I want to go on an adventure or go somewhere for the weekend (or at least overnight) I don’t need a chaperone to come along with me and my significant other.
Everyone’s dating rules are different and I totally respect that.  For me, though, I plan to really try to never put my boyfriend and I in any tempting situations, including being alone together for long periods of time.  And in the case of a roadtrip or weekend camping trip or whatever, that proves to be a hindrance, right?  For example, I wouldn’t want to drive across the U.S. with my boyfriend and have to worry about separate rooms at a hotel, separate tents while camping out, etc., etc.  (Roadtripping across the U.S. with my husband though?  Totally different story.)

3)  I’m a very social person and singles tend to be more outgoing and sociable than people in relationships (dating or married).
I’m not trying to point fingers or find fault in married people, but c’mon.  You’re in a relationship.  Your priority is your significant other.  I totally get that.  Whereas, singles can mingle, enjoy being with more than one person, not have to focus on the needs of a certain individual, and are just plain fun to be around.
This is NOT to say that married people aren’t fun!!  I know some couples who are a blast to hang out with.  But only some.

4)  I can invest my full attention and time in certain areas of my life and pursue dreams and goals that being in a relationship would prevent me from achieving.
I pretty much explained everything about this point in one sentence.

5)  I can get alone time when I need it.
I’m an extrovert, so I get my energy from being around people.  This does NOT mean that I don’t sometimes enjoy retreating to a quiet corner of the world for some alone time.  I really crave those moments, actually.  Where it’s just me, in my sweats and a hoodie, reading a book, listening to music, praying or whatever.  Alone.  And singles just plain get more times like these than people in committed relationships.

6)  I don’t have to deal with someone always being jealous of me and my friendship with guys.
When I am in a serious and committed relationship, I will have absolutely NO problem putting distance between me and my guy friends.  And obviously I’d want to because no man will be more important to me than my boyfriend.  But until then, it’s nice not having someone breathing down my neck, wondering who I’m texting, or who I’m going to hang out with because they want me all to themselves.  Trust me.  When I have a boyfriend, I’ll WANT to be with him.  He’ll probably think I’m too clingy.

7)  I never know what’s around the corner.
I love mystery and suspense.  I’m as curious as a cat.  I love trying to figure things out.  And when I view my singleness as an intriguing mystery story, it really does put things into perspective for me.  I never know who I’ll meet next.  Or when.  Or where.  Is my future husband someone I’ve already met?  A life-long friend?  Or that guy I accidentally bumped into at the store?  Or the stranger who wanted to take a random selfie with me?  Or the guy at the new shop that opened in town who I need to go interview?  I’m not trying to set myself up for disappointment, but rather look at my options.  And remember that life is an adventure.  I’m not sitting around, waiting for my man to come find me.  I’m staying active.  I’m meeting new people, seeing new places, enjoying life!  And whenever God decides to set him in my path, I’ll meet him then.  I'm in love with possibilities.

8)  I have the whole bed to myself.
This is NOT to say that I wouldn’t much rather be cuddled at night, but I really do enjoy having a big bed, not having to share blankets, or listen to snoring.  

I would like to end this with saying that I really do look forward to getting married.  Whenever God allows that to happen, I know it will be at the exact perfect moment and I will be more than ready and happy to commit my life to a man.  But until then, as a friend of mine told me recently, ‘I like the idea of marriage but I also don’t mind waiting for someone I know I would enjoy marriage with’.  

Amen.

---

What are some reasons you can find and be thankful for in being single?


2.11.2015

It's The National Week of Love & Romance & I'm Single.

Even though I've never had a boyfriend, I have been on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day.  I've received a handmade Valentine's card from a 'special friend', I've said yes to being someone's Valentine, and I've gotten chocolates.  But I've also spent Valentine's alone (besides family, of course), watching a cute movie (I think last year it was 27 Dresses), and eating chocolates that I either bought for myself or a bestie gave to me.  

When this especially romantic holiday rears its ugly head comes around the corner, people get ready for it, either by preparing something special for their significant other, or gearing up to spend it alone...in solitude...and silence.  Pretty sad.  

But then there are those people in the middle balance.  The ones who are going to enjoy the holiday, whether they have a boyfriend/girlfriend or not.  They're going to embrace the day for what it is.  Just that.  A day.  Another day.  To celebrate life and love.  And they have both of those simply because they are human.  (And also, it's a day that you can get a lot of discounts on chocolates and stuff.)  

THAT is how I want you - if you're single! - to spend your Valentine's.  (If you're not single, then you should probably not be reading this and should be doing something much more relevant to your significant other...like figuring out where to take her for a romantic date, or planning how to surprise him with that really yummy cologne you bought him.)

So...You can either sulk around and feel sorry for yourself this week.  OR you can embrace your singlehood and have the time of your life.  That's right.  As a single.  Alone?  Doesn't have to be.  You have friends, right?  

Something I absolutely love seeing is when my single friends take advantage of their singleness and go out and DO things.  It's so much fun - and encouraging - to see friends taking roadtrips, going to the movies, forming big groups to go on beach trips, going wine tasting (never thought of that, eh?), going on a shopping spree.  I really commend those singles.  The problem with a lot of single people nowadays is that they think they have some sort of deadline to reach.  It's stupid, really.  Cuz there is no deadline.  And God will let happen whatever it is He has written for you when He has it planned.  But people need to stop looking towards the future so much.  Yes, it's healthy to dream and have goals.  But you need to live in the here and now.  

Being single isn't bad.  It's not wrong.  It's not a label.  It's a title.  For?  Someone who is waiting for something that's worth it.  Something that's worthy.  Someone who is worth their time and energy and is amazing enough to change their status and check that 'taken' box instead of 'single'.  You're amazing on your own.  You were created as an individual, not as an ‘other half’.  Until your other half joins you in a covenant of marriage, you're on your own.  Embrace that!  Because being alone has advantages.  Many of them.

If being around couples doesn't sit too well with you, then what are you doing?  Go out and look for other singles.  Throw a singles-only party.  Get to know more guys.  Get to know more girls.  Pamper yourself.  HAVE FUN.  

Think about the day after Valentine's.  What would you rather remember? The miserable day you spent feeling sorry for yourself?  Or the incredible day you had with other singles, enjoying being single, blasting music in the car and livin' it up?

It's the national week of love and romance.  And you're single.  

And that's okay.

So...

What are you doing for Valentine's Day?