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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Prince Charming

I've been in a lot of crappy relationships. The guys I've dated have been jerks. I've put up with being treated poorly because, quite frankly, I didn't think I deserved better. I had become so complacent with being treated like my feelings don't matter, like I'm not good enough to be committed to, and not deserving someone who treats me like a Queen, that I actually came to believe it. I was such a mess and I wasn't looking for someone who would be my partner in all things because I didn't think a man like that existed. Friends, I was so wrong. I DO deserve someone wonderful and kind. I think I found him.

The other day I was having a TERRIBLE day. Everything was going wrong at work and everyone was making me mad. I had an all around bad attitude about everything. When I finally got off work, I got some sandwiches together, a blanket, and I got in my car to go out to Salt Lake to see Braden. I was so anxious to see him and to have this horrible day get a little better. We planned on taking his puppy to the park and having a picnic. It sounded so relaxing and fun!

The it started raining. But it wasn't just raining, it was POURING. There was thunder and lightning and I was caught in an incredible amount of traffic. I was so upset that my one bright activity for the day was ruined. When I finally got to Braden's, I was in such a foul mood. I threw my arms around him and almost started crying because I was so upset. He held me and let me vent about my frustrations. I lay down on his bed and whined about work troubles and traffic. Next thing I knew, Braden was taking my hand and pulling me up.

He had spread out a blanket on the floor. He turned on a YouTube video of outside forest noises and laid the sandwiches I brought out. He got a Diet Coke from the fridge (because he knows I'm a Diet Coke addict, so he keeps a pack in his fridge for me). He put together a picnic for me even though it was pouring rain. I cannot put my gratitude into words.

We ate sandwiches on the floor and then cuddled while we watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We snuggled and fell asleep on his bed. It felt right. Being with Braden feels right. He texts me often to tell me he misses me and how wonderful I am. We talk on the phone every day. He makes me feel worth something. He makes me feel like I could do what we're doing for the rest of my life.

Braden is sublime.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Fairytale

Braden. Time for me to clue you into this guy and why he's got me in such a tizzy.

Braden is yet another guy I met on tinder. The thing that caught me about him, however, was that he quickly said he wanted to meet me, despite living all the way in Salt Lake. He said, "I won't mind the drive, because I already can tell you're worth it." Okay, so I'm obviously a sucker for sweet talking.

Braden and I went on our first date about a month ago. He drove down to Provo and we decided to go out and get pizza from my favorite pizza place in town. As we sat down to wait for our order I could tell he wasn't really feeling the date. He was distracted and not really paying attention to what I was saying. I felt this knot in my stomach and I was already thinking, "Great, here goes another first date where I go home and don't ever get a call back. At least I'm getting delicious pizza out of this." 

Before we got our order, I paused in what I was saying to ask if Braden was feeling alright. He confessed to me that he had a killer migraine and didn't know what to do because he couldn't focus on anything but the migraine and this was not how he wanted our first date to be. I told him it was alright and we could go to my apartment and eat instead. We went back to my place, Braden picked up some pain killers on the way, and when we got back to my place I made him put some peppermint oil on his head to ease the pain. After a little while, I could tell he started relaxing. He was eating more, smiling more, and he was truly engaged in conversation with me. It felt really nice to be sitting with someone on the floor with me (because I still don't have a couch) just talking. 

That was several weeks ago. Braden and I have seen each other more times than I can count since then. I've cooked him dinner. He bought me candles (because I love candles.) We talk on the phone for hours and we say, "Oh yeah? Yeah!" like in Fargo all the time because we watch Fargo together last week. 

Braden makes me unbelievably happy. Like, happier than anyone has ever made me before. Not Kirk, not Tyson, not anyone. I've never felt like this before. 

Braden isn't the perfect LDS guy and I have to admit that I'm not the perfect LDS girl. We both have work to do to get where we need to be in order to take this further, should that be the route this relationship goes, but we're both willing to do the work. He encourages me to be better. We encourage each other to be better. He tells me when something bothers him. He tells me how he feels about me. If he's feeling insecure, he asks me what I feel toward him. We tell each other things. It's outstanding. 

I am so in like. I am so on my way to being in love.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Truth Comes Out

Do you want to know the real reason why I sometimes stop blogging?

This is hard for me to admit, but I think it's finally time I own up and say it: blogging makes me depressed. Things were going so great with Elliott and I was really looking forward to getting to know him more. He was exactly the kind of guy I want to be with. But then we had a DTR and he admitted to me that he really wanted there to be a spark between us, but he didn't feel it. I know I only went on three dates with the guy, but that was a blow. I was really, really upset. I haven't been that upset in a long time. I called my dad and broke down. All my dad could say was, "Oh, Leslie. I'm so so sorry. That hurts so much. I'm so sorry."

Hearing my father's sympathy pushed me over the edge. I realized that I was focusing so much on the idea of finding Mr. Right and getting my happily ever after. I'm surrounded by other Mormon girls who are fulfilling expectations of getting married young and starting a family, but I'm still searching for that one and everything seems to be a dead end. I know I have other things in life going for me, but it still hurts. It hurts to be rejected, especially when it's someone who seems so good.

I didn't want to feel that way anymore. I stopped blogging for a couple months because every date I went on ended up being just another first date after which he never would ask me out again. I can't even begin to explain the affect this had on my self worth. In my mind, so many first dates and no second dates translates as there being something wrong with me. My not being good enough. My being destined to live my life alone. Blogging about all my failures in dating was dragging me down, so I stopped.

Since I stopped, I've been focusing more on myself and my work and my happiness. I've been reading more, doing more yoga, and cooking more for enjoyment. I realized my job wasn't getting my anywhere and it was taking advantage of me, so I went out and found a new job. I'm starting a new job that is going to present daily challenges, but the kind of challenges that I need in order to grow and gain more confidence.

I'm getting my ducks in a row. I got a cat and I love him, but that doesn't mean I've resigned myself to being a crazy cat lady (despite whatever I might have tweeted.)

The story is for another post, but I've met someone. His name is Braden and he makes me so happy. You'll hear about him soon.