Sunday, July 26, 2020

On friendship, quarantine, and all the things of 2020

What in the world... this year is crazy!  I have been working from home since March 17th....  When I left my office that day I had no idea that on  July 26th we would still be working from home.  It has definitely impacted my work, my life, and how I am viewing the world around me.  I want this to be a reminder to me in the years to come of all that has transpired during this time.  I'm learning so much... about myself, and others.  I am learning about what I want to put time and energy into and what I don't.  I am also learning that I am okay with exactly where I am.  I am not desperate... and I am not going to put forth energy and effort where it isn't wanted or reciprocated.

I spent a lot of the Fall of 2019, and Spring of 2020 putting energy and time into a few people that I have learned do not care about me at all.  Or maybe they think they care, but they honestly only want to take from me, and not give anything.  It has taken me awhile to come to terms with this... and I really want to believe the best of them.. but the reality is that they are users.  They created in me a false sense of security and hope.  Saying the right things to make me think that they are in fact my friends but in reality... I am just another person to throw away.

There's no pity party here.  Because the thing is that I have realized that in the ups and downs of those relationships I am worthy of people that truly want to be in my life.  I am worthy of people that I can have genuine conversations with and not be made fun of or put down for what I believe.  I'm in this place where I am seeking out genuine friendships.  Friendships that will go into my 40's and beyond.  Friendships that don't have pettiness involved.  Friendships where I can actually count on the people to answer when I call.  Friendships where if I ask you to do me a favor, you go out of your way to do it and vice versa.  That's what my desire is, and as I gear up for my last year in my 30's... I don't long to go out of my way for people that will stop calling the minute they find "better" friends.

I'm a helper, it's what I do.  I long to help, until you push me to where I just don't care anymore.  I feel like that is where I am right now with a lot of people.  There's quite a few that have pushed me to just not care.… because they have done nothing to be a friend to me.

Earlier this year I found out that a man that I loved passed away.  All I wanted to grieve that was for a few good friends to want to spend time with me, and help me through it.  I'm thankful for a coupe people that did.  But the one that didn't.... well it hurt, but it helped me realize that friendship truly meant nothing to him to begin with.

So in the year 2020... I am truly understanding what it means to be there for other people.  I am learning what it means to have people use you.  I am also learning what it means to be a hateful Christian.

You can't open up social media right now without seeing something political.  From masks, to BLM there is a war waging.  It is crazy to me how every single Republican Christian  thinks that Christians can only be Republican.  It is amazing to me how every Democrat thinks that there can't be any good Christian Republicans.  I hate both sides.... like with a passion.  I hate that people think that our President is actually doing a good job.  I hate that people don't understand that you can support Black Lives Matter, and still support the police officers that are caring, compassionate and kind human beings.

It makes me  want to pack up my stuff and go live far, far away.

The other thing that happened the other day a friend who lives overseas posted something pertaining to an ad that was about soft towels.  She made it seem like that is the only thing "Americans" care about, and that just struck me.

Here's the thing....  I do not categorize people... at least I try not to.  So for people to think that their life is "harder" or they are better than me because they are living this life where they may not have all the conveniences of America... well I'm just not a fan of that.  Everyone is doing the best that they can.  We have all been given the life that we are supposed to live.   Some of us are able to live on the other side of the world, enduring that life.. because there are things that we need to learn while we are over there.  I know that was the case for me.  But I am NEVER going to judge people because I have lived in another place and they haven't.

We have to be careful... those of us that claim Jesus.  Sometimes I want to stop believing in Him because there are so many people ruining His name.  There are so many people that are hurting others in His name...and it makes me sick!  No wonder people leave the faith all the time.....

So.... 2020 is a year that I will remember as a year of defining my faith, my friendships, and the direction of my life.....

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Stuck in a World Where No One Cares

This post has been brewing for awhile.  But I have been trying to get to a place where I can write it with clarity and compassion.  I finally just decided that I might not be able to do either of those things right now.  We have so much going on in our country.  If we could all just see things from other people's perspectives, like really see things we might be able to compromise on some things.  But instead we have people retweeting white supremacy videos... we have people threatening to shoot people in parking lots, we have so much unrest that we just live with it and accept it.  We also have so many people looking down on others because they aren't as far along in their journey as they want them to be.  Mostly it is just a really negative world to be in right now.

Don't get me wrong I know that it is never going to be sunshine and rainbows.  Unfortunately we are all human, and what I just can't understand is why we can't love each other.

It always has to be Republican this or Democrat that.  I am so sick of party lines.  I am so sick of people that can't look beyond party lines.  I am done with it.  Not all Republicans are racist/conservative awful people.  Not all Democrats are snowflake, liberals that want to take away all guns.  Like can we just for once look at people as people?  Why is it that some of the people I have grown up knowing are the ones that can't see beyond party lines?  I just don't understand.  And for the record I am talking about people on both sides Red, and Blue.

Do you honestly think that you are bringing good into the world by all of the conservative/liberal bull crap you continue to post or say?  There is so much hate... but frankly I see it coming from my church-going conservative friends/family more then I see it from the other side.

So.... here's what I have to say...

Jesus was not aligned to any party line.  Party lines have more issues than just abortion, and gay marriage.  Party lines will not get you into heaven.  Party lines are pretty much in my opinion a bunch of bull crap.  If people looked at the actual person instead of party lines, we might be heading in a different direction then we are today!

Some of you still won't agree with me... and that's okay.  You know why?  Because I don't live my life for people to agree with me.  But you know what I also won't do?  I won't name call, I won't look down on you because you are in a different part of the journey then I am.  I won't make myself smaller so that you can fill taller.  I won't do it.  I have in the past.  I have been SO afraid of losing people that I have shrunk myself.  I have not been the authentic person I should have because I thought I was too much.  But you know what?  I'm not!  I'm not too much!

So here I am stuck in a world where no one cares.  Not that no one cares at all, but we have stopped caring about being mean to each other.  Social media and our current leadership has made it the norm to name call, put people down, and just be mean.

I pride myself in being an empath, caring, compassionate person.  But I am learning lately that doesn't mean that I have to be there for people that only want to be mean.  That doesn't mean that I have to continue to allow people to be in my life if they don't add to it.  Boundaries... .oh am I learning a lot about those.

Sometimes we have to put up some walls to make people understand that we won't be treated the way they have been treating us.  It might be lonely for awhile.... but it will be worth it.

Can we be people that care?  Can we learn how to disagree with love and compassion, instead of name calling, and putting everyone who doesn't agree with us in the category of "conservative" or "liberal?" Can we understand that love means loving everyone.... that we don't get to play Jesus.  Can we see where people are coming from without agreeing with them?  Can we be kind?

I am going to pray that I am able to be more kind, compassionate and caring in a way that allows me to still have boundaries, and not let people use me.  It is not going to happen overnight.... just like all of us being kinder won't... but you know what?

I don't want to live in a world where people see Christians and think they are all racist, bigots.  If that is what the church is becoming, then I am out!

So I am going to live like Jesus.  I am going to love people for who they are.  I am going to know that people will let me down.... and I am going to try my hardest to be the most compassionate person I can.  Because I hope one day to live in a World Where People Care.....  like actually care.  And by that I mean that the name-calling, memes have stopped.  They aren't funny or kind.....  I truly hope that this next generation can be the one that sees beyond differences and loves outside of themselves...

Friday, June 5, 2020

My First Love Story

This deep gut-wrenching grief is very new to me.  I've had lots of people leave my life.  A couple have been my age, classmates or camp peeps.  But it wasn't anyone that I had really connected with and spent day in and day out with.  So... feeling this soul crushing grief kind of has me in a very new place.  I have had grandparents, uncles, and older friends pass away.  But most of the time that was expected.  So… here I sit in this grief.  Wondering if I will ever stop just randomly busting out in tears.  Will the sorrow ever cease?  Will the guilt that I couldn't do anything ever go away?  Deep inside of me I know it will.... but I am struggling.  In some ways I am really glad that I am dogsitting right now, and have the house to myself.  I have been able to scream, cry, and just be in my grief.  So... part of what I know will help me heal is to write our story... it's not a fairy tale... but it's mine, well ours...

When I was in college I was never ever the girl that said she wanted to get married and have kids right away.  In fact I actually had a ten year plan.  I would graduate from college, get a job, get my masters, then get married.  That's just how I expected it to go.  So the early parts of my life although I developed crushes, and thought a couple times that I had found "the one."  It was never meant to be, and I graduated with my Bachelors and headed off to Cairo, Egypt.  During my time teaching overseas I didn't really have any prospects, and for the most part I was okay with that.  There were a few men that I think if it had been a different time, or if we each had been in a different place in our lives, it could have worked... but it wasn't meant to be.

I will admit that there was a part of me even though I felt content to be alone, I really wanted to not be.  I wanted someone amazing to come into my life and make it better.  I was in Thailand for 3 years.  It wasn't without its' own set of drama and misunderstandings but that is not the part of the story I want to share at this time.  I left Thailand wanting and needing to find a boyfriend.  Perhaps if I hadn't been so desperate, I wouldn't have chosen the first guy that showed me interest and pursued me... but if I hadn't there would be a different story written down on this page.

The first time I met Paul I had just been back in the states for a few weeks.  A friend of a friend had introduced me to someone, and she had a friend that she wanted to hang out with.  So after going to the fair one evening, we went over to Paul's apartment, and drank.  I hadn't drank at all while I was in Thailand, so to say I was a light weight would be an understatement.  We hung out, I drank more then I should have, and needed to sleep it off before attempting to drive.  So... I fell asleep on his couch.  Upon waking up in the morning, I found Paul sleeping on the floor with just a blanket covering him, in the living room just opposite of where I slept.  Upon inquiring of why, he said he just wanted to make sure that I was okay.  Now if I could go back in time that's the moment that I understood that at the heart of who he was, there was kindness.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, we hung out, went out to eat.  Our mutual friend was not a huge fan of us hanging out so much.  I was also interested in someone else at the time, but they seemed to be busy with their kids and co-parenting with the ex.  So... Paul pursued me.  I tested him, we had tons of communication issues, but we started dating.

I know that I am not an easy person to date.  I don't trust easily, and I doubt that my boyfriend actually likes me.  I'm not sure why that is a thing with me, but it is.

Paul had quite a hard life.  His Dad wasn't around much at all, his parents had divorced pretty early, and then eventually his Dad ended up passing away.  His Mom got cancer while he was in college, and passed away when he was in his early 20's.  One time he told me a story about after his mom passed away.  He wasn't paying any of the bills.  He was just sitting in his house and eventually everything was shut off.  His aunt eventually came over and told him he would have to live with her.

One time we were able to drive by where his old house was.  It is no longer there.  Sometimes I think about the childhood and early adulthood that he experienced and I know that it created something in him that eventually would lead to his destruction.

Paul inherited some money and was able to go back to school and finish college.  That is when I met him.  He was finishing up his Bachelors degree in Biology.  He  worked so hard to get that degree.  But then something in him got blocked.  He couldn't handle moving past the college part, and getting a job.  I am not going to sit here and analyze this.  Because honestly I don't know why.  I don't know what was stopping him, but he just couldn't do it.  So, he lived off his inheritance. Paul and I were off and on a lot.  For both of us, it was our first and really only serious relationship.  The first time we dated, we had a good time.  But he didn't believe in anything, and that was hard for a girl who has had deep faith for her whole life.

I love helping people, and looking back now, it seems like I fall for the ones that I can help.  That was very much the case in this situation.  I wanted so bad to be the one that helped him find his drive.  I wanted him to graduate and then get his life together, get a job, and honestly...  marry me.  If I am honest that is what I wanted.  I don't know that I would have ever admitted it at the time... but it truly is what I would want.  The first time we dated, it did not end horribly, but I think I just knew that he wasn't ready to do what he needed to do in order for it to work.  But the door was never closed completely.

I'm so thankful for that first round of us dating.  I got to experience so many things, and although Paul had only been outside of the country once, and never really left Missouri much other than that.  He was always up for adventures.  It was also nice that he could afford the adventures.  So, we were able to go visit LA and stay at the Beverly Hilton Hotel...  which houses one of the famous award shows.  It was probably one of my favorite trips.  We were able to see so many things, and I know that for Paul it was a dream come true.  We also took another trip to San Diego.  He treated me well.  We were compatible in all the ways that two people should be, yet I couldn't help him do something with his life.  He came to visit me when I was nannying in Colorado.  It was adventure after adventure.  He made me feel beautiful every single day.

We broke up, and it wasn't the greatest of break ups, but we remained friends.  I left for Kuwait/The Philippines.  We spent the year that I was away talking or communicating almost daily.  I still wasn't a huge fan of him just spending his time at the bars, but I honestly loved him, and loved that he loved me.  He loved me in a way that I had never been loved before or since. He loved me with this love that was endearing.  Sometimes it was too clingy, and he was too emotional.  But looking back now I feel thankful to know that kind of love.

When I came back from The Philippines we started dating again.  This time it was more of figuring out what life would be like day in and day out.  Most of you may not even know this part of it, but we were living together for a time.  Yes, judge me  all you want.  I lived with someone that I wasn't married to.  He got us season tickets to MU football games.  And we continued our tradition of going to the Heidelberg before each game, until my Dad and Step-mom started tailgating.  It was good.  It wasn't perfect, but it was good.

Paul had things he was fighting.  I won't go into everything that I think it was, but I will say that there were things that I just couldn't help him with.  He coped with life by drinking.  He felt worthy by the amount of people that liked things he posted, and he kept in touch with.  He never felt good enough.  The thing is that even when we love someone the best we can, we can't fight their battles for them.

Paul and I broke up after an incident that involved him not getting a job, and then drinking himself into a place that I had never seen him before.  It caused a rift in our relationship, and led to a time when we no longer talked for awhile.  But there's something about that first love, and the draw...  it is like a magnet.  Paul and I would never consider seriously dating again.  We weren't compatible as the person that he was in that time.  But I was there as his friend.  When he ran out of money and could no longer pay rent, I went over to his apartment and helped him call his aunts, so that they could move him to their house in St Louis.  When he was feeling lonely or like he didn't matter in the world I would talk with him, and sometimes go hang out with him.

He eventually found a group of people in St. Louis that seemed to enjoy his company.  And the last time we hung out was just about 2 years ago.  Actually it was probably a year before he would pass away.  We always texted each other around New Year's and the Golden Globes.  So, this year when my messages went unanswered, I assumed that he had just met someone and didn't want me to pop back into his life.

But that was not the case.  I have thought about him these last few months, we aren't friends on FB but upon looking his FB page hadn't been changed since March of 2019.  So, this past Tuesday night I googled him and his obituary popped up.  I didn't want to believe it.  My heart hurt.  It was probably the worst pain I have ever felt.  It wasn't just due to him being gone, but I don't think I ever truly grieved the relationship that we had and could have had.  I think that in seeing that death notice, I really had to understand  that there would never be an us again.

Paul didn't reach his potential.  He was given so much, yet what he needed was a childhood and young adulthood filled with love.  I don't know that he got that.  I don't know that he ever felt truly loved, even by me.  I think that Paul saw the world and life in a very different way.  He wasn't able to understand things the way most people do.  I'm thankful for him.  I am thankful for the memories, for the moments that I have in my mind that are just ours.  I am thankful that he was my first.  I am thankful that in the midst of this anguish I can remember that there was good.

I hope in his last moments he was able to feel loved.  I hope and pray that he was able to understand that he did make a difference in the lives around him.  I hope that as I continue to live my life, I can take some of what I learned from him with me.  It isn't the ending to his or our story that I would have ever dreamed, but it's the ending that has happened.  So as I continue to grieve, and process... and will live a life that sees people where they are.  I will try my best to help whoever I can, and I will hold inside of me the story of my first love forever and always.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Quiet through the Storm

This whole past weekend was supposed to be rainy.  The forecast made it seem like we were all going to be stuck indoors for the long haul.  Even this week was supposed to rain everyday.  It got me thinking about life, and the future.  Sometimes when we look at the future it seems like it is just going to be full of rain... it seems like we are stuck in this place of never getting what we want and prayers going unanswered.  I feel like that a lot of times, especially when I am thinking about where I thought I would be in life right now.  But this year, especially the last few months have taught me a lot about my faith, and the things that happen in my life.  I have relied a lot on making things go the way I want them to go.  If someone doesn't choose me, I take it personally and focus on what I could have done wrong.  I'm reading the Boundaries book right now, and I am finding it to be very enlightening.  I'm realizing more and more that I'm a pretty cool person to be around.  I'm a good friend.  I give sometimes to the point of breaking.  So, if people want to leave my life, or not put forth the effort to get to spend time with me... well that's on them.  I'm not going to push my way into anyone's life.  I'm also not going to let people use me for my kindness, and willingness to be there for them.

So I have decided that sometimes when it seems like the storm will just keep going... you just have to sit it out.  You have to wait, and sometimes wait some more.  In the wait you realize that you don't control the storm.  But you control how you react to the storm.  You can either waste a lot of time and energy trying to get the storm to go somewhere else, or you can enjoy it... learn in it... and move forward when the sun comes out.

We all have emotions, and experiences that mold us and define us.  We all have moments in time that we wish we would have said something, and not let that moment slip away.  We all have people that we wish could see us differently, and wish they wanted us to be a bigger part of our life than we are.  But the thing that keeps replaying over and over in my mind is something that was put very clearly today:

"Only what God initiates will be sustained and fulfilled."  -Bible Recap

It seems to me that I spend a lot of time and energy trying to get things initiated on my own.  But you know what?  The right people, the right experiences, they will happen for me, not because I forced them to.  There is something that I have been praying about for awhile, and although it doesn't look like it is going to happen the way I wanted it to... I am thankful for the experience, and how it has taught me to focus up.  Sometimes when we hear "wait" it isn't for a yes... sometimes when we hear "wait" it is for a no.  Even in the no we can learn so much... but if we are busy trying to control the storm, it is too loud to hear and focus on what we are supposed to be learning.

So I sit and wait through this storm.  I think I've heard no... and I'm okay with that.  It will still take time to process, and I will still probably have some doubts.  But when I sit, ponder, wait, and trust the storm seems beautifully destructive of all that wasn't meant for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Untamed... book #14

I haven't been blogging about every book this year... but I really want to blog about the ones that truly impact me in the deepest way.  Untamed by Glennon Doyle is one of them.  I knew that I would love it as soon as I started it.  I didn't really know that it would be just what I needed at this moment in my life.  Words they are like such a comforter to me.  It has always been that way.  I few written words after an awful day and I feel just so much better.  Words are definitely my love language.  So as I read this book, I just let it wrap me up.. kind of like those big burrito shaped blankets that you see.  I let myself be a burrito.  I allowed myself to feel all the things... and because of that I am one giant heap of sobbing tears and red-faced crazy.  But you know what?  I would rather be crazy emotional, then be able to just push someone away like they didn't mean anything to me at all.  So I take in all my feelings as I grieve a friendship that I thought would never change this drastically or come to what seems like an end.  I grieved as I read.. and I learned.  I learned about who I am, who I want to be, and my next steps that I need to take in order to heal from rejection.

Some of my favorite things that were in untamed weren't necessarily the quotes, but more the stories.  The stories of life, love, and understanding more of who she is.  We get put in boxes so early on, and we think that just because we have believed in one thing our entire lives that wee have to continue in that path.  But it isn't true, is it?  We can forge down a new path.  We can make a life that is different from the one we thought we would be on.  We can start over in a new place....

We can also unbelieve some of the things that we were taught to believe and it will be okay.

But here are some of my favorite quotes...

"I wanted to be a good girl, so I tried to control myself.  I chose a personality, a body, a faith, and a sexuality so tiny I had to hold my breath to fit myself inside.  Then I promptly became very sick."  page 5

"I was wild until I was tamed by shame.  Until I started hiding and numbing my feelings for fear of being too much."  page 46

"Feeling all your feelings is hard, but that's what they're for.  Feelings are for feeling.  All of them.  Even the hard ones.  The secret is that you're doing it right , and that doing it right hurts sometimes."  page 50

"Pain is not tragic.  Pain is magic.  Suffering is tragic.  Suffering is what happens when we avoid pain and consequently miss our becoming.  This is what I can and must avoid:  missing my own evolution because I am too afraid to surrender to the process."  page 52

"I have learned that if I want to rise, I have to sink first.  I have to search for and depend upon the voice of inner wisdom instead of voices of outer approval."  page 60

"Discontent is evidence that your imagination has not given up on you."  page 67

"The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one.  We need to let go of the lie that it's supposed to be."  page 70

"What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world's expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves."  page 75

"You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy."  page 93

"Brave means living from the inside out.  Brave means, in every uncertain moment, turning inward, feeling for the Knowing, and speaking it out loud."  page 105

"She trusted her own voice more than she trusted the voices of others.  Brave is not asking the crowd what is brave.  Brave is deciding for oneself."  page 106

"She offered a new friendship memo:  that for us there would be no arbitrary rules, obligations, or expectations.  We would not owe each other anything other than admiration, respect, love- and that was all done already.  We became friends."  page 110

"What if love is not the process of disappearing for the beloved but of emerging for the beloved?  page 128

"The moment after we don't know what to do with ourselves is the moment we find ourselves.  Right after itchy boredom is self-discovery.  But we have to hang in there long enough without bailing."  page 158

"What if we decided that it is strength- not weakness- to let other people's pain pierce us?"  -page 182

"The miracle of grace is that you can give what you have never gotten."  -page 17

"Judgment is just another cage we live in so we don't have to feel, know, and imagine.  Judgment is self-abandonment.  You are not here to waste your time deciding whether my life is true and beautiful enough for you."  page 201

"I want us to all grow so comfortable in our own feelings, our own Knowing, our own imaginations that we become more committed to our own joy, freedom, and integrity than we are to manipulating what others think of us.  page 202

"Luckily, I am a woman who has learned repeatedly that while rock bottom feels like the end- it's always the beginning of something."  page 213

"Blessed are those brave enough to make things awkward, for they wake us up and move us forward."  page 222

This life is full of doubts and fears.  We learn at an early age that we are too much, that we need to calm ourselves or people won't like us.  We learn early on especially in spiritual households to be this way or that.  It is too much sometimes.  As I read through these quotes, they help me heal from some things.. and help me realize others.  My emotions they are a part of me... being brave means understanding those emotions.  Being brave means not being afraid to be exactly who I am... with all my faults.  My imperfections, my passions... everything that I feel is okay.  I don't have to hide or belittle myself for the sake of other's feelings.  That's what this book did for me....  

So thankful for these words.... read this book! 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thrown Away....

This week has been tough for a number of reasons.  I learned that I am going to be working from home until at least the end of August.  I learned that I am going to have to do a lot more in July than I thought.  I learned that I have to change my vacation time, that I so desperately need/want.  I also learned that I'm not as valuable to people as I thought I was.  None of those things are really within my control.  Except maybe the vacation, but honestly I am just over it at this point.

As a 2 on the Enneagram scale I am a helper.  Everything that I do pretty much is to help other people. Most of the time it is to help them without wanting anything back in return, except to be loved.  If I am honest being loved and liked is very much a part of who I am.  I want people to like me.  I want to feel like I don't have to earn their love or attention.  That I can be who I am, say whatever I am thinking and they will still 100 % love and support me.  In the past few years that has proven to be false, so why would I think any differently now? I find myself in a situation once again where someone is leaving me.  For whatever reason my friendship isn't good enough to pursue, and keep.  My friendship is very easily being thrown away.

I have never been someone that needs a lot of good friends.  I like to have friends, and I like being around people most of the time.  I would say that I do get energy from being around people a lot of the time, but I don't need tons of friends.  I just need a few good friends that I can turn to when I need to be picked up at 4:00 am after a volunteer party, or need to come help me when my tire is flat along a very busy road, or am just feeling lonely and need some company.  The past few years have been a little lonely in the friendship department.  I will get a good couple of friends, and then something happens and they will just disappear out of my life....

Most of the time they disappear because I stop trying.  Not that I don't want to be their friend, but I just stop being the first one to call or text.  When that happens, they slowly drift away.  I find that people really like me when they first meet me and for about another 2 months after that.  Then I don't know I guess I flip the "crazy tawnya" switch or something, and they find someone better to hang out with, or they no longer need me.  

I'm a great listener.  I know this about myself.  I rarely interrupt, and I usually let other people talk about what is going on in their lives, and only mention myself if they ask.  Some of that is to keep myself in a little box, but also because I genuinely like hearing what other people are going through.  And trying to be there for them.  This also means that there are very few times, when I actually get to talk about what is on my heart, and have someone genuinely listen.

When I think back to people leaving me...I most of the time blame myself.  What did I do wrong?  What is wrong with me that I can't keep friends?  I go out of my way to be a good friend.  I listen, I drop whatever I am doing whenever they have a problem and drive however long I need to do just to be there for them.  Yet for some reason it isn't enough.  For some reason I can't get people to do that for me.

I have thought through this a lot, because even writing those words, makes me feel extremely selfish.  Love isn't about what other people can do for you... it is about what you can do for them.  But I have to ask myself….  if I am the one every single time dropping everything to listen to and be there for other people.… but there's none of that done for me.....  then I don't really know that I am the problem after all.

I believe that love is about sacrifice and courage.  You have to be willing to sacrifice some of your own wants and needs sometimes.  You have to be willing to put other people first.  You have to be willing to be vulnerable and that takes courage.  Loving someone means showing them love the way they need to be shown love.  In whatever way that is.  But if you say for instance that your love language is doing things for people.  And you are making a valid effort to do things for some people, but only when it will benefit you... then I am probably going to question your love.

I realized this week that if someone says their love language is gifts, but they have never given me a gift... then I would say I am not actually one of their top people.  Or if they say their love language is time, but they never want to spend time with me.... probably not one of their top people.

I will never be someone that isn't kind.  I will never be able to stop helping people... but I am getting to the point where I realize that my friendship can have different levels.  I don't have to be everything for everyone… I can't.  Especially when it is not reciprocated.  I can't continue to put forth effort and energy into friendships that would die if that effort and energy were no longer coming from me.

So.....  even though it feels like I am easily thrown away.. I have to remember that the right people will see my worth.  I won't stop being kind and helpful, but I am also not going to continue to put so much into developing friendships that it seems like I'm not getting anything in return.  Or the effort and love that I am giving aren't being seen as worth anything.  I am a really good friend. I have my faults, but I give and love.  I see the good in people, and I would do anything for anyone.  So for today, I say good-bye to those that don't see my worth and look forward to the ones that will come next that do.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Quarantined.... some thoughts for now...

I've been working from home for over a month now.  I didn't know when I left my office in March that we probably wouldn't be going back till at least the end of May... if not later.  It's weird this working from home thing... I am literally doing everything at home, and it can get really old.  But there are also things I really like about it.  I get to create my own schedule.  I can get up at 10, and end work at 6.  I don't have to put on real pants.  But there are other things about working from home that are driving me crazy.  I feel like I have no time off.  I literally have 2-3 zoom meetings every single day.  I've had to create virtual programs, and a lot of them.  Which means more zoom meetings.  I work everyday except for Sunday.

I'm happy to have work to do.  I am happy that I am being paid.  Because I know that some people aren't.  I am happy that I am able to be in an apartment that I like, because honestly if I had been in my previous apartment this situation would be basically hell on earth!

But this situation has also created in me a time of reflection.  I have had some of the best conversations during this time, but I have also had to face some things... and help others through some things.  I talked to a friend the other day who is going through some hard things.  This friend shared with me some of what was said in a conversation where they told someone how they felt.  It was this heartfelt thing that this person said... and I am happy for this person if everything works out the way they want it to, but it was also this deep, painful reminder to me that I may never have that kind of love.  I long to be pursued, to be worth going above and beyond.  Someone who wants all of me... all of the mess that I am.  Loves me even when I am an emotional wreck.  Loves me even when I am annoying, and demand more than what they want to give.  I long for that with all of my heart.  But you know what I get?  I get the, "hey what's up?" from the engaged guy that I dated 2 years ago.  Or the late night texts from someone who is drunk and just wanting attention.  So.. it makes me feel like I'm not worthy.  It makes me feel like I am good enough to be a friend, or a text buddy.. but will I ever be good enough for someone to want me in their life forever?  Will I ever be the one that someone wants to move mountains for?

Some of you will be so bold to say.. but Jesus does that for you....  and that's all fine and good.  And on my best days, I know that.... but there aren't a lot of best days.  Especially stuck in a world where I can't even attempt to go on an actual date... not that anyone would be asking me anyways.  Because truthfully dating right now is just a bunch of text messages without anything real behind any of them.  Regardless... to those of you who are married or in a long term relationship and want to tell me that I need to find my all in Jesus.. I inquire of you.. is that what you do?  I 100% bet it isn't.  Because through this quarantine you have had someone always there for you, right?  You have had someone hug you when you needed a hug... you have been able to cry and scream and know that you are loved through this mess.  So.. .please do not tell me I need to find my spouse in Jesus.  Frankly I just don't want to hear it.  Not today, maybe not tomorrow...  Especially when things don't go as you think they will....

I will get through these doubts, I always do.  But for me I just need to process them, think through them and choose what is truth and what is not.  I wish I didn't have the baggage of friends leaving me for no reason.  Sometimes I wish that instead of going overseas and waiting to really date till in my 30's I had just stayed in the states, married the first guy who was interested and had a couple babies.  Because then it might feel like my life was at least worth something...

Please do not read this and think that I am feeling sorry for myself.. because I am not.  I know that I have lived a life that some people dream about.  But the real honest part of me struggles everyday with feeling like I am not good enough.  I know that there are plenty of people living in marriages and relationships where they don't feel loved.  I know that there are plenty of people that feel like every friendship they have is one-sided.  That if they don't reach out no one will ever reach out to them.  I feel that way quite often.

But then I stop focusing on myself.  I look outside of the selfish desires that I have and I realize that love isn't really about me.  If for the rest of  my life I am the person that everyone comes to for a listening ear and advice without being there for me to lean on... I will fulfill that role with joy.  If I never have someone pursue me to the point of marriage, I will be okay.. and even though it will probably break my heart on a daily basis I will live through it knowing that there is another purpose for me being on this earth.  If I continue to have people walk out of my life, because of things I did or didn't do... I will learn from those and understand that the people that are meant to be in my life will stay.

If you are still reading this... thanks!   I think that sometimes it is easy to post things that are only good.  We don't post the times when we doubt, fear, or are sad.  But there are those times... every single day.  We need to talk more about those times.  About how hard things are... of course we need to see the good... but the way we help each other is by being authentic and real.  So.. this is the raw version of me... the thoughts that I have that I don't always share.  Why I choose to write them on a public forum?  Well....  I feel like it helps me process.  And maybe in my process it can help someone else too... perhaps it can help someone else to not feel so alone in what they are going through...

Here's to days ahead, I don't know what is in store... and I am sure it will be good.. but sometimes you have to go through the valley to get to the mountaintop...   And sometimes the valley is not what you ever thought it would be!