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.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Small Town Provo

Provo is too small of a town, and that's coming from someone who went to school in Rexburg. How is it that I spent all that time in Idaho and had very few awkward run-ins, but now that I'm in Provo, I seem to be seeing the same guys everywhere?? I think I may have gotten around more than I intended...

For example, just the other day I went to Sodalicious (Dirty Diet Coke: my summer addiction) and I saw Milo sitting at a table with a girl. I don't think he saw me. Even if he did, he was being too hipster to acknowledge me. Judging by his unkempt beard and cut off Boy Scout shorts, I dodged a bullet. But seriously, out of all the people in Provo, HE is the one at Sodalicious? Well played, fate, well played.

Another example: Elliot and I got together last night before FHE (yay!). We went on a run around south of campus and stopped by his work to do a few things before going out to run again. Now, normally I wouldn't let a guy see me sweat and get all red in the face and reveal that yes, it's true: I'm a giant wimp, but I felt like it would be fun and I really wanted to see Elliot! I don't feel bad or awkward about revealing my extreme red workout face to him because we had a good time. After we finished running (three miles! Go us!) we ended up at his apartment. We decided to bake something and watch a couple episodes of a TV show together. Mostly we ended up talking, though. He told me how his roommates are all engaged and too busy to spend time with him. After he said that I took a look at the numerous engagement photos on his fridge, which he said were all his roommates. I noticed one picture in particular and I almost laughed out loud. Elliot is roommates with Landon!  He thought it was funny that Landon and I had gone on some dates and he admitted that Landon never told Elliot he had tried using tinder. It was a mixture of super awkward and really funny.

This town is way too small.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pouring Pt 3

It's really easy to fall into a routine of not blogging. Consequently I've fallen behind in my stories and I have some things to catch you up on, but it's so exhausting to write it all out and cover territory that is now old news to me. So let's cover some ground quickly...

I met a guy at Comicon who got my phone number and we texted for a bit and he came to my birthday dinner, but nothing ever came of it and I think he just likes to flirt. I was excited about him for a little bit, but the spark faded quickly. Bummer, right? Oh well, life moves on.

I've moved out of my old apartment and into my own place. While I enjoyed my time in my old apartment, I'm really happy to be living alone. Some people do better with roommates, I'm just not one of them. I thrive in my own space. Now I have a whole apartment that is my space (see what I did there?). It's glorious. Yay for being an adult!

A little over a week ago I went to dinner with a guy I met on the LDS dating site. His name is Elliot and he is super smart, but not in an intimidating way. He's relaxed and open and friendly. I had a really good time on the date and he seemed to have a good time, too. During our conversation we ended up touching on some pretty sensitive subjects for me and him as well, all just personal matters, and it was nice to talk to someone who listened and had a kind, intelligent, spiritual response. Elliot is the kind of guy who makes me want to be a better person. He doesn't watch R rated movies, but he's not a total Peter Priesthood. 

Will I see Elliot again? I hope so. We talked about different things we want to do to work out and he mentioned that it would be fun to do something together. I suggested we do insanity and he was all "I'm game" but I wasn't serious. I've got some work to do before I hit up insanity. But hey, it's a good sign that he wants to do something with me! 

It feels like summertime and it feels like I'm getting my ducks in a row. Good things are going to happen this summer, just you wait.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Adult Things

I'll tell you this: once you become an adult and you have to start being responsible for things you didn't think about before (like insurance, gas bills, and getting enough sleep to function), life becomes pretty hectic. I feel like I've been going around in this circle of go to work, get obligations taken care of, get in bed early, repeat. I'm EXHAUSTED.

I've been in the process of moving, which is always a pain. There's the packing, the cleaning, the throwing things away, the selling of contracts, the apartment hunting...all this is on top of still keeping up the adult schedule of working and being responsible. BUT I'm aaaaalmost done. After next week I'll be all moved into my very own apartment. No roommates, no college apartment complex...all that craziness is going to be a thing of the past. I can't tell you just how excited I am.

I'm also excited to be able to make my own rules when it comes to having guys over at the apartment. Sure, I haven't had any big issues and I'm not really opposed to BYU's honor code rules, but it's still nice to not feel like a child. I'm a twenty five year old woman. I think I can make the decision of whether or not I have a guy in my room or  over past midnight.

So I might end up having a sleepover with a guy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to end up having sex or being wildly inappropriate. No, I think I can handle myself. For a while there I don't think living alone would have been the best thing for me, on account of the increasing amount of gentlemen callers and rather high's all good now, though! I've had my wild "makeout with every guy in Provo" stint. I can keep it in my pants and maintain my boundaries.

So the big move happens soon. I'll officially be an adult who does adult things. My dad hopes the next adult thing I do is get married, but seeing as my track record on the search for marital bliss has been less than stellar, I'll probably just end up adopting first. A cat, that is. ;)

The next time I post, it'll be from my new sanctuary. Wish me luck!