peace, love, and having a mind of your own

i refuse to look at life through the lens of tradition.
i refuse to believe everything i am told.
i refuse to live a life that doesn't promote peace, love, and having a mind of your own.

15 February 2011

confession: my mom was my valentine.

It's true. Yesterday my mom and I got massages, had coffee, went shopping, and then joined dad for dinner and a movie. And did I feel like a lame-ass because I didn't have a guy bringing me red roses and chocolate? Nope. I wasn't the least bit disappointed to have my parents as Valentines.

If you're one of those people who hates-on Valentine's day when  you don't have a hot date, I've got news for you.... you're a downer. And you're still single. Whether by choice or luck, this is the boat you're in, so quit pissing on everyone else's parade and talk with me for a minute.

Let's think about your last relationship. Why did it end? Were you bored with each other? Did you feel like you weren't living up to your full potential? Was it compromised? Unsatisfying? Was your ex a selfish dirtbag? Were you a selfish dirtbag, and the relationship made you aware of it? Whatever it was, there's a reason you're not together anymore. Side note: if you gave your heart away and got it back destroyed beyond comprehension, I am sincerely sorry. But there's still a reason you're not together.

I have a confession: I used to be a serial-dater. It started with my first boyfriend at 17, and shortly thereafter I became addicted to being in relationships. I loved being loved, so much that I even got married when I was 18. The marriage ended after three years [which is a long story I won't get into today] and I resolved take that as an opportunity to relish my singleness and let my free-spirit fly.

Yeah, that lasted about 2 weeks. I had a sequence of short term almost-boyfriends before settling into another serious relationship just a few months after my divorce was finalized. When that romance had run its course, I again pledged my independence. I knew I needed freedom, and discovery, and time for myself. But the next weekend I met a real charmer who I just had to keep texting and calling and kissing. And when the thrill of that one died, I started going out with a hottie from work.

Through this process, I grew increasingly more aware of a subtle suspicion about myself: I was co-dependent. I couldn't be single for longer than a week or I started to doubt my self-worth, attractiveness, and likelihood of someday being kick-ass wife with a trophy husband. I had to prove to myself that I could win the affection of whoever I wanted. So I did. Over and over again. I lived for the excitement of a new crush, of hearing what a babe I was, of sweet texts and notes and fun dates and kisses and hand-holds. But I got bored with each guy as quickly as I decided I liked him. I knew none of them were right. And more importantly, I knew I was fooling myself to think I had it goin' on, because something inside of me was always screaming, "Who are you?"

And it killed me that I didn't know the answer.

In October of '09 I signed up for this crazy/amazing spiritual journey, the World Race. It's 11 countries in 11 months of volunteer work and adventures, and I signed up just in time to leave in January. One of the requirements of the trip was that you had to put your dating life on hold for the duration of the 11-months. They wanted us to be completely free of infatuations and relationship-drama so that we could focus wholeheartedly on God and service for that season of our lives.

When I heard about this, I almost called the whole thing off. The idea of being single for a whole eleven months was too much to handle. I thrived off male attention and affection. And besides that, I can't stand rules. I passionately dislike being confined. The World Race is easy-going about a lot of issues, but they believe so relentlessly in their dating policy that, however unpopular, they stick to their guns. I admire them for it. And my instincts told me they were right.

So I got a passport and a backpack and got ready to leave in 9 weeks. Does that mean I stopped going out with my smokin' hot co-worker? Nope. [Don't tell!] I kept seeing him until a few days before I jetted of to New Zealand with the Race. I still wasn't ready to break up with my co-dependency.

My travels afforded me an abundance of time to get to know myself, and illuminated some unsettling truths about my past. For the first time ever, I slowed down long enough to process my marriage, why it ended, and how I felt about it. I had never cried about it. In fact, there were tons of things I'd never stopped to do. Always ready to jump into a new relationship, I rarely thought about any past ones. I never even thought about what I wanted, or didn't want, in a boyfriend. I was easily charmed by a handsome face and a great sense of humor, and all else was thrown to the wind. I would eventually find myself disappointed, wanting someone more challenging, or adventurous, or intellectual, or honest, or just.... different. But these feelings were never given the light of day before I was falling in like with someone else. I desperately needed to give myself time to process and acknowledge what I was learning.

Now I don't have anything against dating. It's a valuable learning experience, and some of us don't figure out who we are and what we want unless we can try on different options and see which one fits. But for every not-quite-right relationship, there should be a time of reflection and evaluation.

So if you found yourself without a valentine yesterday, lucky you. You didn't have to buy into the commercialization, or spend your evening in a crowded restaurant with a stressed out server who ignored your empty wine glass. Don't panic, you'll find your sweetheart someday. Use this time to ask yourself why you're so upset about being single. If it helps, reflect on all your dirtbag exes and why you couldn't stand them. Then use that to figure out what it is you're looking for, so you'll recognize it when it comes along. And don't settle for anything else!

Now go on, free spirit! Get out there and LOVE.


  1. Jealous of your date with mom!

  2. Jealous of your date with mom!

  3. Wow. Total honesty and self reflection, great writing, and the use of the word "ass" a few times makes for a great post! I enjoyed the read!

  4. Unbelievable. Love the witty take on dating combined with raw vulnerability. Good stuff as always.

  5. sweet blog. i love your raw honesty. i am forwarding this to a girl on my team now who needs to read it! you're a great writer.

    it would be cool to include a link of the sermon we listened to in Ukraine xx/xy by brad baker about dating. May add some more insight into how we both came to our conclusions of needing to reflect and observe the opposite sex! :)


  6. Your good keet! Love you writing girl!