Dancing with Myself


I went to a wedding this weekend.  It was beautiful, it was lovely, it was awesome!  It was my brother’s wedding, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.  It was my little brother’s wedding.

He’s not that little, I mean, he’s 27.  I am 29 and my wedding hasn’t happened, and I’m totally ok with that, because I haven’t found someone I want to walk down the aisle with, and I refuse to settle.

The thing is, a couple times during the evening, I was told the following things:

“You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that [taking ridiculous selfies].”
“I hope you can find someone to be happy with.”
“Your time will come.”

The ‘your time will come’ didn’t bug me quite as much because it wasn’t quite so condescending, despite the fact that I don’t think any of them were meant to be condescending.  In fact, I suspect the last two were meant to be encouraging, but… anyway.

The first one made me jump to my own defense.  See, normally I’ll take those comments and accept them, assuming that perhaps the person is right and I am doing something that’s keeping me single.  After reading a blog post though about food shaming and a lady who stood up for herself, I decided I’d do the same.  The conversation went down like this:

Me:  (sitting taking ridiculous selfies of myself at the dinner table)
Someone:  You’ll never get a boyfriend if you keep doing that.
Me:  No.  I don’t think that’s true.  There’s someone out there who will love me for all that I am, stupid selfies and all…. and if there isn’t, well, then I’ll be happy being single because I don’t want to change just to get a guy to like me.

I felt pretty proud of myself, because normally I internalize that stuff, but while I do believe the person who said it was just telling me something they thought would be helpful information, I don’t believe it to be true for a second.  I’ll find someone someday with a silly side who loves that I take stupid selfies.  It’d be awesome if he’d even lean in for a couple every once in a while.  I’ve been taking selfies since before selfies were cool… legit… I’d turn my disposable cameras around backwards and then be mad when I’d develop the film and half of the pictures were of half of my face cut off because it’s hard to angle them when you can’t see a screen.  Technology has made them a lot easier!  I’ll post some of mine from my bro’s wedding for you to see… haha I figured I wasn’t gonna look that dolled up again until my own wedding day.  Some people say they’re attention seeking.  Some say they’re narcissistic.  I think they’re just plain fun, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

 

To “I hope you find someone to be happy with” I responded that I’m already happy, and that a man can make me miserable if he’s not a good choice, so I’m not just going to settle for someone for the sake of being with someone.

 

Lastly, to “your time will come” I simply said “thank you.”  This person was pretty much a stranger, and didn’t really know me, so had no way of knowing that I don’t resent my lil bro for getting married before me.  Also, can I tell you how much I LOVE my sis-in-law?  My brother’s got fantastic taste.

 

With my new-found self-confidence that evening, I got out on the dance floor and danced like no one was looking, even though people were watching.  This is not like me, I promise.  I had grandparents watching, and sometimes they were laughing… because, well, I was doing the lawnmower and the shopping cart… I deserved to be laughed at haha.  But you know what?  I had fun.  I dragged my grandmother out on the dance floor, and I taught her how to slow dance.  That was so much fun, and it’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.  My grandma had never danced before, and she even came out on the dance floor during a fast song and started shuffling and moving her arms to the beat… determining that “I think it’s just about having fun!”  and she’s right.  So it doesn’t matter who’s watching.  It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks you don’t look amazing.  It doesn’t matter if all you know how to do is shuffle to the beat or jump up and down (hello high school lol).  My step-Dad taught me how to polka, and it was fun!  and I don’t care if I didn’t look good doing it.  My Grandma was right, it’s just about having fun.

 

Anyway, selfie time!  Here they are!  Allow me to state that as someone who enjoys taking pictures very much, the ability to play with the light from behind me, whether it be from the sun-reflected lake or bouncing off the glorious fall leaves… it’s fun.  I suspect the admonition that stupid selfies won’t get me a boyfriend probably comes more from the 2 silly ones (which, by the way, I didn’t post on Facebook and am only putting here to make a point), but anyway…. here they are.

 

 

IMG_4813 IMG_4867 IMG_4880

IMG_4881   IMG_4962

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
IMG_4931 IMG_4930

 

 

Advertisements

When we don’t realize what we’re saying


I am single.

That’s not a secret.

At this point, it’s not my choice.  At most points, it hasn’t been my choice.

As a result, I don’t have kids.

Again, not my choice, because I’m not married and while I admire single parents and hold them in high esteem, it’s not something I see myself entering into by choice.

There are a bunch of articles floating around the interwebz about “the things that single people are tired of hearing” and normally, I don’t share them, but since I’m writing this out of a place of genuine emotion, I’m doing it now, on account of …. I’ve dealt with every single one of those.

Disclaimer:  I want to tread lightly here.  Before I go further, I should point out that I’m quite sure that there are things that married people and parents are tired of hearing, too.  I’m certain of it.  I don’t know what they are… I do my best not to gripe about this to my married friends.  We don’t talk about this.  But I’m sure there are things.  In fact, some of you might be annoyed with what I’m about to say.

But…

Here it is.

“Just wait til you have kids.”

This is how the conversations go:

“What’d you do last night?

“Ordered a pizza and watched Netflix for 6 hours.”

“Ugh, I wish!  Just wait til you have kids.  I never watch TV anymore.”

The one that stung the most was “I don’t think we’re really the best teachers we can be until we have kids.”  While that one wasn’t said to me or directed at me, it happened.  I said nothing, because I know your intent wasn’t to hurt me.  I know that.  I know I was just in the room while you were reflecting on how being a parent has made you a better teacher…. but it still hurt a little bit.  Because I may never get that.

And you know what?  Fair.  You’re busy.  I get that.  Kids are busy.  I watch you guys parent your kids and I think you’re superstars.  There’s a big part of me that has considered in a very real way whether I’m selfless enough for kids.  It’s a lot to give up.  It’s a lot of freedom that you no longer have, and I see that.  I don’t know how you do it coming home from working all day long to parenting your kids with everything you have in you.  Especially my teacher friends…. you spend all day with little kids, and then go home to kids of your own.  I know it’s not the same kind of care, but trust me when I tell you I legit think you’re superstars.  Also, if I’ve met your kids, please know that there’s a pretty good chance that I love them to death.  If you’re important to me, so are your kids.  I love your children because I love you.

But when your answer to asking what I did the night before, or what I did on the weekend, or what I like to do with my free time is to shake your head and say “just wait til you have kids,” I don’t think you realize how much that hurts…. because I’d give my left arm to be able to have kids right now… but it just hasn’t worked out yet.  It might never work out, and I have to be ok with the possibility of that reality or I’m going to be miserable until I die.  I’m only not-even-30-yet so if I never get married, that’s a long time to not be married and not have kids.  It’s also enough time for it to still happen, and I totally understand that, but I have to be ok with the possibility of it not going the way I’d like.

I understand that I could do other things.  I do enjoy Netflix though, especially since I just discovered it on Monday (oh my gosh, do you watch Suits!?).  But while I am single, and while I have no children, I have chosen that instead of sitting home and wallowing, I will do what I’d like with my free time.  If that means that I watch Netflix for 6 hours, then sometimes, that’s what it means.  Sometimes it means I take my dog on nice, long walks.  Sometimes I play my violin for hours until my fingers are numb.  Sometimes I go to Bible Study.

I can’t have kids right now.  At this moment, where at 10 pm on Saturday I’m sitting on my couch alone watching TV, I wish that I had a baby monitor on and that I was listening to make sure kids were still sleeping.  I wish I was hanging out with my husband.  But… that’s not my reality.  When you’re putting your kids to bed, please know that I would rather be putting mine to bed than watching TV at most times.

So when I tell you that I watched Netflix for six hours straight, and you wish you could go back in time to that, it would probably do us both a lot of good to remember that there are plenty of times that I’d like a time machine to propel me forwards.

Can we all just be happy with what we have, instead?

No one gets hurt that way.

Thanks.

Happy Flipping Valentine’s Day


**That title is very much the PG version of what I wanted to call this post… I decided to behave :p**

This year, I’d determined that I was not going to let Valentine’s Day get me down.  I was doing really, really well with that actually until about 1 pm.  I got slammed with a cold.  I was teaching Grade 2 Drama and my head plugged up, I couldn’t finish sentences without sneezing, and the kids were all like “you sound funny!”

I know, right?  Funnier than usual, of course 😉

I’m supposed to be headed away for the weekend, since in Ontario it’s Family Day weekend and it’s a long weekend.  Wooo!  No school on Monday!  I’m picking my brother and his fiancée up on my way, and it’s supposed to be fun.  I was supposed to go away two weekends ago as well, to see a bunch of my Camp peeps… and I got sick then, too.

You see, this is the curse of working with children who don’t blow their noses, who sneeze directly onto my arm without covering my mouth, and who insist on hugging me all. the. time whilst snot drips from their noses.  And you’d think that by Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2… they’d have figured out that these things are not ok.  Well… some of them haven’t.  They share their germs quite freely.  I’ve been sick off and on since November…. more on… but I digress.

I was having a really good Valentine’s Day until I got sick, and then came home and opened Facebook.  I should have known better than to open Facebook when I was already feeling icky, but Facebook did me in.  When I opened it up, I found that….

  • Several of my friends received beautiful bouquets of roses today
  • Several of my friends are going out for lovely dinners this evening
  • Some of my friends are going out with their friends to celebrate their singleness together (which I’d totally be doing if not for the snot coming out of my own nose… bahaha)
  • Many of my friends are chilling with their kids
  • Every blog I follow has posted about Valentine’s Day… all week.
  • A friend’s Dad drove all the way out to her home to deliver her flowers, a Starbucks card, and a card just for her.  My heart melted.
  • One friend has posted honeymoon pictures

Now, this side of a spoonful of Buckley’s, I have a bit of a better perspective.

I love my God, my friends, my family, my job, my students, my house, pretty much my life… I don’t need to be upset because I lack any of the things in that point form list on Valentine’s Day for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s one day a year, and it’s highly over-commercialized …. therefore its sole purpose isn’t for love, it’s for money.
  2. I was completely content with everything in my life … um… yesterday.  So this is silly.
  3. I am genuinely happy that all of the people in my life have things that they can look at and be truly thankful for.  We’re all blessed.

So instead of burying myself under my blankets and crying or moping about the things I don’t have, I choose to be thankful for the many, MANY things I DO have.  I think that I will go to the store, and I will buy some conditioner (I’m almost out, and I’m going away all weekend.  Bad news bears.), and then I will hit the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru for some soup.  What else would any good Canadian girl do when she’s not feeling well?  If it can’t be cured by Timmy’s Chicken Noodle and some Buckley’s, you might as well buy a gravestone.

This post was brought to you by Buckley’s — the giver of perspective (because it’s the clearer of heads).  Also brought to you with indirect support from Tim Horton’s and WordPress.

“I’m Sexy But No One Knows It” — Thoughts From a 29 Year Old Virgin


What a topic.  My friend Darcie over at Darcie The Kindred Spirit is doing her blog on a theme called “The Sessions on Sex” for the month of February.

She’s asked me to guest post for her on singleness and celibacy.

I’ve posted on singleness many times.  I’ve been single for the better part of my 29 years on this planet.  There was a brief stint in high school (like 11 days brief) where I technically had a boyfriend, though I’m not even sure at this point that I count that.  I’ve dated a bit, but haven’t been out on more than two dates with anyone since then.

And this is the shocking part.

I’m OK with that.

But I’ve never once talked about celibacy in this platform before.  I’ll be honest when I admit that I’m a little nervous to write this.  And I’ll also admit that it’s one thing to write it with the intention of handing it over to Darcie, but I’m nervous to post it on my own blog …. to my own readers.

I’m single.  I’m also a virgin.  I have a few reasons for having made that choice, and for having maintained it all these years.  And this may be surprising, but the reasons for still being single and a virgin run deeper than “because the Bible tells me so,” although that’s a completely valid reason.

Firstly, I’m single mostly by choice.  I haven’t found anyone yet for whom I’m willing to give up the independence I’ve grown to love deeply.  But I also have a lot of experience in watching absolutely broken relationships, as well as phenomenal ones.  As a result of the combinations of those, I’ve made a conscious decision not to settle.  If it means I’m single until the day that I die, I’m ok with that.

Before I came to grips with this for myself, before I was really ok with that (even though I’ve been saying it for a long time), I had many people tell me that it’s better to be single than in a bad relationship.  I knew deep down that they were right… I did.  But it was very hard to internalize that.  When you look at a good relationship though… a really good relationship… you see the things that are worth waiting for.  They respect each other.  They have each others’ best interests at heart.  They share a common love of Jesus (when they’re Christians — I’m not at all saying that healthy relationships don’t exist outside of Christ, they do… I just don’t want to be in one of those).  They know how to disagree with each other.  They share common values and aren’t completely opposed to each other on really key things like how they raise their kids.  They’re friends — they know how to relate to each other in all circumstances because they do life together.  They share a sense of humour.  They’re equally committed to the success of their relationship.

I am holding out for a relationship with a man who can share that kind of relationship with me…. even if it never happens.  In the meantime, I have incredible friends – I’m so blessed.  I have a family who loves me dearly.  I have a church community that I love.  I have great interests and things that I invest my time in while I continue to become the best version of myself I can be in Christ.  I’ve waited this long, I don’t intend to settle for less than wonderful.

Now… something that goes hand in hand with this is that I’ve never had sex before.  Absolutely, it’s something I’d like to do at some point… and I won’t talk about that any more 🙂 …. but I made a decision really early on in my young years that just like the Bible instructed me to do, this was something I’d like kept for my husband.  It’s my sincere hope that when I do find a husband, he’s done the same for me, though I hope if that’s not the case that I can be full of grace and understanding.

But for me it’s more than just a “because the Bible tells me so” kind of commitment.  I’m a product of the youth group era where we glued paper together and showed the damaging effect sleeping around can have … we get all torn up and we’re damaged.  And then I grew up and realized how terrible of a message that is without the other half of it — we’re covered by grace and there is beautiful redemption in the arms of Jesus if we didn’t make it to marriage.  I have an issue with the amount of shame that was pushed on me while I was a teenager, and it pains me to know that we’re still preaching the same rhetoric without the love and grace.

Anyway — beyond the Biblical reasoning, beyond the possible diseases, beyond all of those typical reasons… my biggest reason for keeping sex inside of marriage (if I ever get there) has come in the last couple of years, when I would say I’ve really owned this decision and made it for myself and really thought it through.  My biggest reason has come from something really profound that a couple of friends of mine (who are married to amazing men) have expressed to me.  The type of relationship you have with your partner outside of the bedroom will impact the type of relationship you have with your partner inside the bedroom.  It would stand to reason then that it’ll be better if I wait until I’m in an awesome relationship… and if I’m holding out for a God-glorifying relationship before I commit to giving up my singleness, why wouldn’t I hold out for the God-glorifying sex that goes along with that?

I think that the people who claim that you can’t really know someone until you’ve slept with them (I had a guy try to pull that one on me after we’d spoken on the phone once… ick!), are wrong.  Because while I know that this isn’t a popular stance in the culture I’m in, God’s designs for us aren’t meant to be culturally popular.  In fact, normally they’re counter-cultural…. and I’ll trust the designs of my Creator who knows best for me before I’ll take the advice of my culture.

This post first appeared at darciethekindredspirit.com.

Are YOU my husband?


When I was younger, this book came out called Are You My Mother?  I thought it came out much earlier than it did… my experience reading it must have been to groups of young children… because it came out when I was in Grade 8 so I guess it’s not something that my Mom would have read to me.

Anyway, if you haven’t read it, the premise of the book is this:  This baby bird starts to hatch, and its mother decides it’s going to need something to eat when it comes out.  Well wouldn’t you know it, after the mother bird has flown off to get ready to feed her baby, the egg hatches, and this poor baby bird wonders where its mother is.  He winds up out of the nest, hopping around like the precious, lost little baby bird that he is, and he hops up to many things, asking “Are you my Mother?”  The dog says no, the construction equipment says no… pretty much everything says no.

To be truthful, I honestly can’t even remember how the story ends… so you’ll have to watch it yourself…

I was talking to someone yesterday, and we were talking about being single and online dating a little bit.  I asked her if she ever feels like every time she goes somewhere new, she’s sizing up who’s in the room, wondering if she might meet her husband there.

I’ll confess I’ve done it.  I don’t do it all the time, thankfully… I think that’d drive me over the edge… but I’ve done it.

I compared it while talking with her to that little baby bird… I sometimes feel like I hop from new setting to new setting, and like maybe I’m sending off this “Are you my husband??” vibe to every single man in the room.  I don’t mean to, but it’s hard sometimes not to be thinking ‘maybe I’ll meet my husband here!’

It’s funny though, because I have actually never been more content with being single than I am right now (we’ll see how I feel in ten months when I turn 30, haha), but those habits are so engrained that it’s hard to convince my brain that we’re not on the lookout for the first man with no ring.

And… to end this post on kind of a bummed out note… I thought that this analogy — my comparison of myself to the baby bird in Are You My Mother? — was really original.  I found it extremely humorous… and I had a brief moment this afternoon while thinking through this post in my head where I thought it’d be kind of neat to write a book in the same style as Are You My Mother? but change it to Are You My Husband? and kind of make fun of myself in the process in a children’s-book style.

I went to Amazon though to find Are You My Mother? to link into this post…. and I found this brilliant, yet terribly disappointing gem called Are You My Boyfriend?

Not gonna lie…. I might buy it.