14 October 2007

Is it better to date, or not to date? That is the question!

It would seem that there are some girls in life that “walk in the light.” I am not one of these girls. These are the girls that seem to get dates and/or boyfriends simply because they exist. They are not necessarily girls that are prettier than the pretty girls… more intelligent than the intelligent girls… Simply, they are not more extraordinary than the other amazing women that are their peers. Their peers are just as amazing, attractive and alluring as their well-lit counter-parts. For some strange phenomenon, though, these girls [the ones surrounded by the light] are consistently the ones going through dozens of first dates, countless failed relationships, etc. Their counter-parts, though, no matter what they do (aside from throwing themselves at guys) don’t seem to date more than once a year if they are lucky. I don’t know why this phenomenon exists, but it does.

I mentioned at the beginning that I am not one of these girls that walk in this so-called light. I have been one of many that have been on the sidelines watching a small portion of girls get asked out by all the guys. I don’t really know if these girls really understand what it’s like to be the best friend instead of the leading lady. Though several of my co-best-friends and I have discussed this phenomenon and have wondered amongst ourselves which is better? To date, or not date? I’m sure that the other side has strong opinions about it as well…

Firstly, I must admit that I am very lucky to be a part of a culture that provides a way to meet other singles. Being a member of the LDS church has its advantages in singledom. When I lived in Salt Lake, I was a part of a congregation (ward) that was all young single adults (18-30 years old). Most of these members were students, all were single and shared the same faith. In areas where there is a large population of LDS people, these student/young single adult wards can range anywhere from 100-300+ people. Several wards make up a stake (sometimes there are 8-10 wards). If you do the math, you see that the potential to meet people is much better than the average young single adult without such a “resource.”

I was in the same ward (the ward you usually would attend is based upon your geographical location) for the last 4 years that I lived in SLC. It was seriously the best ward I’ve ever been in. Evenso, there were those certain girls that were the ones that were consistently asked out by every type of guy. It didn’t matter how long the girl had been in the ward… Most of the guys at one point or another would ask out these select few girls. Even the new guys when they moved in (who probably hadn’t received the memo that these girls were the ones that all the boys were dating) seemed to instinctively know that they should ask one (or more) of these girls out. After four years in this ward, hundreds of people came and went throughout that time, including the well-lit girls. I was always on the side-lines (with the majority I might add) not being asked out. I can probably count on one hand how many actual “dates” I went on during that time. I won’t lie - it was (and is) a frustrating matter. In our society the lack of male attention must mean that there is something totally wrong with us, right? No matter how well-adjusted, intelligent, or just plain great I may feel… This doesn’t seem to change my lot in life. I am one of the many that consistently feels passed over and at times just plain not good enough because of this lack of male attention. Most women in this life want to find a husband… Someone with whom they may share their life and build a family. I am one of these women, of course. And yet… I feel like there’s something beyond my control… even beyond my understanding that has prohibited this. I feel as though I am in a constant state of limbo… waiting for the rest of my life to begin. I feel like I am not a grown-up if I’m not a wife and mother… I still feel like I’m 20 years old! And yet, I am an adult. Aging gracefully, of course :) I am an overall happy person, don’t get me wrong. I have a great job and am busy with the various responsibilities of my life. At the same time, though, I know that there’s something more… There’s a way to fufill the measure of my creation. A higher law that has never changed since the beginning of time. It’s difficult to have these desires [to be a wife and mother] and to know that it’s not solely up to me. Just because I want it doesn’t mean that I can easily get it. Somebody else has to CHOOSE to want to be with me. And when you’re not being asked out on ANY dates you begin to wonder how this will ever be remotely possible.

I now live in an area where the young single adults are few and far betweem (as far as LDS YSA go). I can’t even really find an unrequited crush (as I’ve suffered through so many times before), let alone a date. Once again, I don’t know what the answer to this is. And when I think about these girls that walk in the light… I can recognize that their journey is likely just as hard as mine, though completely different. They are the ones that feel like they’re being asked out based on physical attributes alone.. They are the ones that feel as though their greatness within is underestimated even though they’re showered with attention. And yet they’re still in the single boat with those of us that aren’t dating. And honestly… as much as it can really suck sometimes… I’m glad that I am not required to waste time with so many wrong ones while I wait to find the right one.

I guess the only thing we can do… Is to continue on doing the best we can in all aspects of life. Make sure that we are the person that we need to be for the person that we want to be with someday. Essentially we need to develop our best selves, and someday at just the right moment, the spotlight will shine down upon each of us.

07 September 2007

I Can Feel So Unsexy for Someone So Beautiful

The inspiration for this blog comes from my anthem, So Unsexy. Anyone who knows me should know that my ultimate favorite recording artist is Alanis Morissette. She’s a lyrical genius. I’ve watched her evolution these last 12 years through her lyrics. At the same time, I’ve related my own evolution and growth with hers as I enjoy and revel in that which she shares of herself through song.

But back to my anthem: So Unsexy. The chorus begins, “I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful, so unloved for someone so fine…” I think that women especially have this problem. We live in a world that tells us we are never good enough. We live in a world that tells us our imperfections make us unworthy [of love, of success, of happiness]. We have come to believe that our happiness depends on a man, a possession, and/or a size. This is simply not true. Our happiness and success in this life are based largely on our decision to be happy as well as an understanding of who we are. Granted, there are variables that will inevitably affect our degree of happiness – whether for good or not so good.

Alanis continues, "One small sideways look and I feel so ungood," “One forgotten birthday and I'm all but cooked,” “How these little abandonments seem to sting so easily," “One forgotten phone call and I'm deflated,” “Your hand pulling away and I'm devastated..." It's the little things that really matter - the physical proof (because actions speak louder than words), that that person loves, cares about, whatevers you. I know that I often find myself feeling completely rejected, unloved and overall disgusting when a guy I’m somewhat interested in simply doesn’t talk to, call, text me, etc. The idea that no news is good news is certainly not pertinent in girl world. We have grown too accustomed to the idea that we aren’t good enough.

How is this problem solved? Honestly, it’s an everyday uphill battle. The world is screaming at us in one way or another that we have to look a certain way, behave a certain way, have a certain label on our clothing, and by all means a woman without a man is a death sentence to the chill of solitary. We don’t realize that somewhere deep within there’s a small whisper trying to encourage us to reach our divine potential. We all have gifts and talents that we underestimate. Using another Alanis lyric [from Thank U], “how ‘bout remembering your divinity?” I think that a lot of the unhappiness in this world is based on the fact that there are so many out there just trying to figure out who they are. I’m here to tell you that you are a beloved child of Almighty God. Who are you NOT to be great? Our society is allowing the minority (non-believers) to scream at the top of their lungs that there is no God. When really, His goodness not only surrounds us but is within us. As we realize that we have this amazing divine nature and destiny, we begin to believe that we ARE good enough. We DO deserve to be happy. And it’s our duty to help the people around us to feel of God’s love and the happiness that it can bring.

Lastly, to quote the end of “So Unsexy,” “Oh these little rejections how they disappear quickly the moment I decide not to abandon me.” Essentially, these feelings of inadequacy begin to disappear as we remember who we are! As we focus on being our best self and on being less selfish, happiness will cease to be that transparent dangling carrot perpetually before us. Happiness will be ours. Once we are at peace within ourselves, we will be ripe to participate in a healthy, successful relationship and unwilling to settle for less.

20 August 2007

Always the buddy... Never the boo...

This phrase comes from the hit movie, “Brown Sugar.” It’s one of my faves. It’s like “When Harry Met Sally” meets hip hop. Kinda. At any rate, this phrase perfectly describes me. I’m always the best friend… but never the girlfriend. I’ve thought about this a lot over the years… It’s been a vicious cycle for more than 10 years. I’ve tried to figure out within myself why this is, how it may be changed, and do I even want it TO change?

I realized the other day for the first time, that my expectations to find love are the very reason(s) I find myself in the buddy position. My favorite love quote of all time is: “Love is friendship caught on fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good times and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weakness.” I’ve always been looking for that spark to catch friendship on fire. I think I may have been close a few times, but again, it’s always been my lot in life to maintain the buddy status. The thing is, as I search for this spark, I inevitably end up falling. And although I’ve not been in an actual romantic relationship with these buddies, the hardness of the fall has still given me grief and pain. I think that it’s as much pain in these “non-relationships” as it is in a “normal, functioning” relationship.

So what is the cycle of which I speak? Simply, I usually somehow end up becoming friends with boys in my social circle. Whether it’s someone from school, church, or someone with whom I work… These men yield power that they do not realize! Usually, for me, these men are entertaining in some way, and I find them somewhat appealing to look at. The bond of friendship grows and as it does my attachment grows as well.

I was talking to one of my best friends on this topic recently - she has endured this same cycle. She explained that it comes down to expectations and misinterpretations. This is so true. When a woman is friends with a man, it seems that there inevitably comes a time when she ponders whether or not this man is someone with whom she’d like to spend her life. There’s usually some kind of natural attraction; it can be physical, intellectual, spiritual, whatever. Women generally grow more attracted to men physically as their love grows for that man in other areas. While this questioning goes on within the woman regarding this man in her life, her expectations begin. All too often, the expectations of a relationship are not spelled out by either party. All of a sudden, the woman has these high expectations because the man’s behavior toward her has led her to believe that his interest is on the same track as hers… Or she hopes that if she hangs onto the relationship longer that his intentions will match hers. In essence, the woman is investing a LOT of emotional energy into this “non-relationship.”

This whole scenario calls to mind Harry’s mantra in “When Harry Met Sally.” Harry tells Sally that men and women can never really be just friends. I find that the vast majority of the time, this is true. One of my personal beliefs is that there are exceptions to every rule. And this rule is no exception! I have several guy friends that are just friends. Some of whom I may have had a brief crush on at some point, some upon whom I’ve never crushed. And I daresay that these men have never crushed on me either. These guys have been dear friends of mine. In these situations, men and women really can be just friends. The expectations of both parties, whether spoken or unspoken, are in sync.

I don’t know if there’s really an answer about changing this cycle. Sometimes it seems that divine intervention plays a hand in who we choose to share our lives with. I’ve had situations that… well… we truly did love each other. And for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen. It seems inexplicable at times. Neither of us could explain it. And it was beyond heartbreaking to endure. But I did endure it. And even more than that, I still want to love and be loved.

Lastly, do I really want to change this cycle? Well, when all is said and done, no. I don’t. Eventually, this is the cycle that will lead me to my eternal companion. Eventually, a friendship will come into my life that will be caught on fire. I can’t explain how or why I hold on to that hope. Perhaps it is hopeless romanticism or maybe sheer stupidity. Perhaps I’ve read one too many Jane Austen novels. Nevertheless, I truly do believe that this pain I’ve felt within my heart, the feelings of rejection and ungoodness… As well as their counter-parts (loving, feeling loved, exquisite goodness)... These will all make sense at some future time. These things will all contribute to the greatness of a relationship that has yet to be born.

I'd like to add one last note... This is for the guys... If you have a woman best friend... and you find yourself preferring to spend time or talk with her than with the woman you have chosen to date... This is a HUGE sign that there is something fundamentally WRONG in your romantic relationship. You should take a step back and evaluate your feelings. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should hook up with your best friend... But as hokey as it sounds, your romantic partner really should be your best friend. You shouldn't need to seek anything more from anyone else if your romantic relationship is to be a happy, successful and functioning relationship. Ultimately, you shouldn't be emotionally closer to someone with whom you have no romantic ties than with someone with whom you are romantically involved.

16 August 2007

In the beginning...

Abstinence and the City:

If you are reading this and you know me, you know that I have had this idea rolling around in my head for awhile. If you don’t know me, you’re probably wondering, “what the…?!” Let us go back a few years to when I was living in Salt Lake City, UT…

Living in SLC as a young single adult can have its advantages in many ways. There are of course disadvantages as well. I found that there seemed to be many relationship disadvantages in the forefront of my life (as well as many friends). As such, many topics of conversation would follow [with my friends] on the woes of being single. Around this time, I had a few dear friends that were into the hit HBO series, “Sex and the City.” Personally, I think the show is complete trash and you may as well admit that you’re watching soft porn. I am an active LDS young single adult and as such, I don’t believe in sex before marriage. This is when the light bulb above my head almost exploded with electricity coursing through and EUREKA! Abstinence and the City was conceived in theory. Now is the time for it to come to fruition.

I understand that my views may seem old-fashioned or outdated to some. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, they are my views. I am entitled to them. You are entitled to yours. Don’t be hatin’ and we’ll all get along just fine.

Above, I mentioned that during my time in SLC (almost six years worth), I had many conversations on the upsets of relationshipping. In my case (I’m not going to lie), it’s always more about the LACK of a relationship (or the existence of an actual non-relationship) that has caused the grief. I am one of many, it would seem, that for whatever reason doesn’t date much. Honestly, I am quite OK with that. In life there are daters and relationshippers. I’d prefer to be a relationshipper. The whole idea of an unstable life consisting of playing the field has never been appealing to me. Even as a second grader I’d have long-term crushes on boys. This is my nature, I’ve realized.

Throughout this blog, I will probably more than once refer to personal experiences in one way, shape, or form. I’d like to think that even though I’ve never been in a serious relationship (which, I will admit, feels pathetic and agonizing at times), that my many experiences in “non-relationships” have given me enough experience to know what love is and in theory how I perceive a relationship should be.

With all that being said, this is the beginning of a new adventure. I anticipate enjoying getting to release my many thoughts and ideas on the various topics that will surely arise with regard to relationshipping. All I ask of you, the reader, is to enjoy this for what it is: One lone girl’s experiences in the garden of singledom.