Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First the Hare, Now the Tortise

Listening to someone talk about what they are looking for in a relationship and what they would like to do differently than they did in past relationships is eye opening. It causes me to reflect on my relationships and what I've done and what I'd like to do differently. 

I've been hasty and anxious and overbearing. I've been looking for someone to swoop into my life and fix all my problems and fill all the empty holes in my soul. But is that really what I need? Or how I need to act? I read old journal entries and blog entries and I get sick over how needy I've been in the past. How can I expect someone to want to be with me when I can't take care of myself and be happy alone? 

In the months since Braden and I broke up, I've really taken time to evaluate myself. I've done some really deep soul searching and I've spent a lot of time talking with God, expressing all this sadness and resentment and self loathing that I hadn't previously acknowledged. It's all been part of the process of getting back to myself. I've been able to start 2015 feeling like myself. 

I haven't been worrying about dating, I haven't been worrying about where I'm going to find The One or if I'm good enough. It's been time to just focus on me and what I need to do to be who I need to be. Colton showing up has been such a pleasant surprise, but also one that has scared me. I don't want to be the girl who clings to a man to feel validated. I know I don't need to do that. So I'm taking my time. I'm in no rush to get married, or even acknowledge that it's a possibility. 

Colton is really wonderful. He's not without his faults and he's taken his time with telling me about them, but he's told me and he's been an open book. We've had some pretty in depth talks this week which has been a great for us, but we also know we don't want to rush into things and be blinded by the excitement of a new relationship.

Things are going well with Colton. I hope it continues this way, slow but steady.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Whole Effing Warehouse

I don't know about you, but there are only so many bad relationships that I can take before I stop looking for my happy ending. To say I'm a little jaded is an understatement. These past couple weeks I've had some in depth conversations with friends and family about my relationship with Braden. I look back on the relationship, which was very much a whirlwind and all happened so fast, and I realize that I was blind to so many things.

Braden had a lot of issues. Like, shelves of issues of National Geographic reaching back years and years. A hoarder of issues, you could say. Except instead of being the kind of hoarder who keeps their house filled with things, he is the type who rents a storage unit to fill with issues so no one knows how bad it really is. I never saw the storage unit, I only heard mention of it. It wasn't until I was months out of the relationship that I could clearly see that the storage unit wasn't just a unit, but an entire effing warehouse. A WAREHOUSE OF ISSUES! 

I can't believe I was so blind. It makes me sick to think that I thought I loved someone that manipulative and secretive. So how do I go forward with Colton when I know what people are capable of hiding? How do I build trust in someone? I don't know yet. 

For now I keep telling myself that slow is the key. Yes, I've already kissed Colton. Yes, I get all sappy and doe eyed when someone mentions him, but that doesn't mean I'm in love or ready to be in a relationship. I'm infatuated and that's okay. I'm two weeks into this thing with Colton and already I can see that I'm handling it differently than I did with Braden. 

I want to be able to trust someone and let them in. I want to be able to fall in love and not be terrified of having my heart destroyed. I would like to believe that happily ever after does exist, but it's really hard to see it right now. I've got my fingers crossed that Colton and I are able to continue at the pace we're going. No pressure to be something defined right away, no pressure to be each other's soulmate. 

Aren't things supposed to happen naturally? 

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015

Do you really want to know what happened with Chad? We went on several dates and I've never been so bored in my entire life. But you know what? I kept going out with him because everyone kept saying, "It just takes time! Give it one more date!" He kissed me before I went home for Christmas. He wasn't a terrible kisser, but it didn't make up for the fact that he had nothing to say. I've never met someone who was so uninteresting and uninterested, yet still came around asking for dates. In fact, when I finally told him we couldn't keep seeing each other unless it was as friends, he said "Do you think there's potential to be more?" When I told him no, he continued to ask when he could see me and saying things like, "I don't know how may more days I can go without seeing your face!" Sorry, dude. That's not enough to float a relationship on. There has to be something substantial otherwise it'll crumble. Not for me, thanks.

I went on a date right after New Year's with a guy from Tinder. He asked if I wanted to get dinner and, having low expectations but nothing going on that weekend, I accepted. His name is Colton, he's from the east coast, he went to BYUI, and he works full time. He's almost 30, active in the church, and pretty successful. I was expecting to have an awkward dinner with an awkward guy. His photos on tinder were decent, but he looked a little awkward. 

Was dinner awkward? Not at all. Was Colton awkward? Not at all. We talked effortlessly about our families, school, life in Provo. He told me about his illustrating and we talked a bit about ComicCon. We talked about movies and one that's playing came up. He asked if I would like to see it sometime and I agreed enthusiastically. I didn't know he meant that night! He looked up show times and we finished dinner quickly so we could make it. I usually don't like going to movies on a first date, but it was spontaneous and we slipped in a comment to each other here and there. 

Two days later we went out again. He asked me if I wanted to cuddle and at the end of the night he said, "Would it be too forward if I kissed you?" We kissed and it was wonderful. I've been engulfed in this surprising fairy tale that is Colton. We've been out twice more since then.  

I don't want to lose my head over this just yet. I don't know Colton very well yet but I do know that I've been very happily surprised by his appearance. So here's to the future and here's to a better year. Whatever happens with Colton is just another chapter in my book. We'll see how long it's meant to be.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Yet Another Date

Before my date with Chad last weekend I nearly had a huge freak out. I tried on probably twelve different outfits before settling on a chic blouse, cute cardigan, and skinny jeans. I like to dress it up a little for first dates. BUT SERIOUSLY. I was ready for the date a couple hours in advance. I sat on my couch thinking of all the reasons why Chad could decide he didn't like me, like maybe my hair color is too loud? Maybe I'm too chubby? Maybe we wouldn't have anything to talk about? The possibilities are endless! I was freaking out. My stomach was churning and my heart was racing. Ugh. Dating is the worst.

Chad showed up ten minutes early looking freaking adorable in jeans and a blue and white stripped button up with his hair slightly reminiscent of missionary hair. He's taller than I thought. His voice is deeper. His eyes are bluer. He's definitely awkward, but not in a terrible way.

We started the night with bowling. Now, I'm a fairly good bowler but I haven't been in a long time. My competitive side wanted to do really well, but at the beginning of our first game I accidentally pulled a muscle in the top of my thigh. Sounds strange, right? No, I looked it up and it's a legit bowling injury. It was a bit rough, but I managed to almost beat him in the second game. If it hadn't been for the miraculous turkey he bowled in the last three frames, I would have won. Next time!

We went to get Indian food after bowling and Chad had a really hard time deciding which Indian restaurant to go to. He seems to be a bit indecisive. It'll take a little bit for me to learn how to not deflect options and make some decisions. When we finally did get to a restaurant, it ended up being really nice. We talked about our families and life and ambitions. He even told me that his middle name is my father's name, after my dad. Apparently his parents admire my dad so much that they named Chad after him, which I find pretty endearing. No wonder when I told my dad I was going on a date with Chad he said, "I hope you marry him. But no pressure." Haha, thanks Dad.

We finished dinner by splitting a dish of mango ice cream together. I thought that would be the end of the date, but Chad said, "Well, what do you want to do next?" We went back to my apartment to watch a movie. When he perused my selection of movies, I was surprised when he chose my favorite movie (which isn't exactly a completely appropriate movie...Inglorious Basterds). We sat next to each other during the movie, but we didn't really cuddle. I mean, my leg rested against him the whole time and that was about as close as we got to cuddling. Also, my cat bit the shiz out of his hand.

At the end of the night Chad gave me a big, lingering hug. Part of me really wanted to stand on my tip toes and kiss him, but I'm trying to be a really good girl and I don't want to ruin anything by premature. Instead I just hugged him back, tightly. When he walked out my front door, I stood in the doorway and he told me he had a really good time and he looked forward to seeing me at Thanksgiving, when I'm going to his parent's house for pie.

It wasn't a total disaster and I managed to get through the date without losing my cool. I can do this dating thing.  I hope there's a second date with Chad in the future.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Back to the Grindstone

I have my first date since Braden and I broke up. This Saturday, a month to the day. Is it weird that I feel like I'm starting back at square one? I'm nervous and unsettled and I feel like I won't have anything to share about myself. 

Shiz, I don't know how to be vulnerable anymore! Braden made me second guess everything about the way I approach dating. Inside I know how to do this, I've done it plenty of times and, quite honestly, I'm a effing charming woman. 

The guy I'm going out with is the son of one of my dad's law school friends from way back in the day. Over the summer, shortly before I met Braden, Chad looked me up on Facebook. I was confused as to why this handsome young mormon guy was adding me as a friend when I had no idea who he was. He cleared it up, though, and explained to me that his dad had told him about me and he decided track me down so we could get to know each other. Kind of weird, but also kind of sweet.

Chad tried on numerous occasions to strike up a conversation and ask me out, but I was so wrapped up in getting to know Braden that I hardly even took notice of him. He finally asked me to lunch with him, but Braden and I were already official and I had to turn him down (which was weird since we're friends on Facebook so he should have seen my relationship status when I updated it) and I felt bad because he's a really nice guy. 

A couple weeks after Braden and I broke up, I got a message from Chad asking how I was doing. When he found out that Braden and I broke up, he decided to keep the conversation going. We eventually exchanged numbers and decided that the next time he was in town (he goes to BYUI) we would go on a date. That time has arrived, seeing as we have a date arranged this weekend.

I'm really nervous, but I think it could be fun. Chad is a pretty sweet, albeit a little awkward, guy. It won't hurt to give him a chance.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Truth About Loneliness

The Truth About Loneliness

I've had a lot of thoughts these past few weeks, especially in relation to Braden and his impact on my life and my spiritual situation. I've been trying to put my finger on something that I know is significant, but I haven't been able to figure out what it is. Today I was sitting in sacrament meeting during the passing of the sacrament and I was praying. I was praying to God and thanking him for everything I could think of, for the kindness of my bishop, for the atonement of Christ, and for His love that I've been feeling more abundantly now than I have since moving to Provo. During this prayer it hit me; I finally knew what it was that I had been trying to figure out. 

I now know why I was so infatuated with Braden and why I was so blind to the severity of my situation and to all the red flags. I've been lonely ever since I moved to Utah. Because of this loneliness, I've been depressed. I've been longing for friendship and the intimacy that comes with having people know you, but I spent my whole first year here looking in the wrong place for someone to fill that void.

When I first moved to Provo, as you know, I ended up kissing a LOT of guys. I formed these superficial, lustful relationships that ended up being fleeting. They momentarily filled the need I have to be close to people and left me feeling worse than before after they ended. This made me desperate. I searched harder to find someone to eliminate my loneliness, which drove me to act in ways that I know I shouldn't have. 

Braden came into my life right after I had moved to my very own apartment, sans roommates. I was working two jobs, which included working on Sundays. I wasn't as involved in my ward as I wanted to be and I justified not going with being too busy. Then this handsome, fun, kind young man came into my life and he made me feel needed. He called me every day and wanted to talk to me about his life and rely on my advice in times of trial. He slipped so quickly and easily into that void I had that I didn't even notice how poisonous his presence was for my spirit. His sweet words and comforting kiss masked the darkness he brought with him.

As our relationship progressed, I felt consumed with it. It became my life and I threw myself into it completely, without abandon. Braden needed fixing and caring for and I needed someone to care for and fix. I felt as though he gave me purpose and he was ridding me of the heavy feeling of being alone. But the cure for loneliness isn't to attach yourself to the first person who comes into your life. 

I know I saw red flags. I wanted to make other friends in order to feel more fulfilled, but Braden didn't like that. He didn't like when I chose to spend time with my one good girlfriend in Utah. He guilt tripped me when I voiced concern about our physical relationship. He made me feel as though my opinion didn't matter and that I was in the wrong for thinking it did. 

I refused to accept that things weren't the way I wanted them to be! I was stubborn and convinced myself that it was better to pretend to be happy with Braden than it was to be alone. I had spent so much time being depressed and miserable while being alone that I was settling for a relationship that was ruining me. 

Ever since Braden and I broke up and I started working with my bishop to get back where I need to be, I've had my eyes opened. Loneliness is a powerful tool of Satan. He uses it as a door to sneak in undetected. He will break you down with it. But it doesn't have to be that way! Loneliness isn't something you HAVE to be afflicted with, especially within the church. If you're lonely, get out there and make friends! Don't expect friends to come find you, because nothing in life happens if you're passive. 

Make things happen. Get out of your lonely hole and find happiness. Don't become complacent with being lonely and let it drive you to self destructive behavior. 

The truth about loneliness is this: you are in control. You can change your situation. Don't settle for loneliness, DEMAND happiness!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fantasy vs Reality

I wish I could tell you that this post is all about how great my relationship with Braden is going and how in love we are. Unfortunately, that's not a thing anymore. My relationship with Braden ended about three weeks ago (actually, exactly three weeks ago) and I have to say that since it ended everything has changed.

Things started out great with Braden! I felt infatuated and, like I said, our communication level was off the charts and I adored that I had a man who wanted to talk to me about things. But what happens when the honeymoon phase ends? What happens when you start to see how things really are? Braden is bipolar and that presented a large trial. However, I'm a fixer and I tend to do everything in my power to fix broken men. Yeah, yeah, I know this is a bummer trait. Hopefully I get over my need to fix things...

Anyway, after our relationship ended I started to realize that everything about our relationship was about Braden and my trying hard to please him. I bent over backwards to make him at ease about all his doubts. I spent a ton of money to make his birthday memorable and fun. He would say things that hurt my feelings, but I buried it all down and acted like I was okay because I wanted him to be happy. Hell, I even started to like his dog even after he chewed my favorite sweater to shreds (and I don't like dogs..) Sometimes you don't realize how much you're neglecting yourself until everything you've been putting your effort into dissolves around you.

I have a confession and it's not one that I'm proud of. Like I said before, Braden isn't all that active, though with my encouragement he's been more active this past month than he has been in the past decade. This year hasn't been great for me and my testimony. I've always had one, but I allowed myself to lose track of things for a while and Braden was a big influence on that. He and I allowed ourselves to go a lot farther than I ever thought I would go before marriage. Details aside, there came a time when we knew we had to stop and backtrack and talk to our bishops. After we did that, things changed a ton. Braden didn't feel like he connected with me and he kept bringing up the fact that his ex girlfriend would have continued doing things with him and that always made me feel like crap. But I've justify things because he would end up saying, "But I know what we're doing is the right thing, it's just hard." Well, dude, it's even harder with your guilt trip constantly haunting me!

Ultimately that's what ended our relationship. Braden missed his ex and he decided that, despite quitting his job and moving to Provo from Salt Lake for me, he wanted to just be friends. He sat in my car rambling for half an hour about all this "You're my best friend, but I don't feel attracted to you" "I want to spend my life with you, but I'm just not sure" "I'm not over my ex, I guess." "Maybe we can just take some time apart? But I still want to see you"crap and I just sat there silently. I expected to feel sad, but instead I felt angry. I was furious with Braden for coming into my life, making me feel like he cared, bringing me down to his not-so-spiritual level, and then spouting off all that crap after a really great date. HELL NO!

Long story short, the night ended with us breaking up and I went inside and had a good cry. But then I felt relief! I felt a sense of freedom. That's when it dawned on me that I was neglecting myself and was drowning myself with Braden's issues. That's when I realized that I needed to make some huge changes in my life, starting with moving on from that disaster of a relationship.

Braden spent the next week begging me to see him, to give him another chance, to let him take me out and start over. I put my foot down. It's about damn time I stand up for myself and put an end to bad relationships. After much crying, yelling, throwing things across my lawn, and slamming doors, Braden and I finally came to the amicable conclusion that we have nothing else to offer each other in a relationship. And things are okay. I'm okay.

Relationships are a fantasy world. When you're infatuated with someone, you don't see how things really are. I'm pretty good at burying the red flags I see because my optimism wants to believe things will work out. My optimism is my blessing and my curse. But it's time for me to man up and get my shit together.

Although this is a hard position to be in, working with my bishop has been the blessing I need to rediscover myself. I feel like all the advice he's given me is God's way of showing me He knows me and knows what I need as well as what I want. He is guiding me in the direction I've been wanting to go for months, but have lacked the motivation.

This is when I leave my fantasy world and accept my reality. I'm a single 25 year old girl living in Provo, Utah. I'm not where I thought I would be at this point of my life and I'm not upset. I'm getting things in order and I'm on my way back to who I know God wants me to be and who I really am.

I'm okay.