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Archive for July, 2010

Oh dating sites

So I don’t know if you have noticed or not but I have been lonely as of late.  So I did what I usually do when I am lonely: I look at online dating.

Now in the past I have had horrible luck with online dating. I have met losers and abusers. But when I get particularly lonely: once a year or so I go find a new site and search.

I think men and women think differently about these dating sites. Or maybe I just think differently about these dating sites.

I have come up with some rules for these dating sites:

1. Post a good picture.  What is up with these side shots or photos where you look angry.  9 times out of 10 I will click on someone who is smiling or who is dressed well. I’m not saying you need a photo with a suit on but you should look good.  I mean would you click on a girl’s picture if she looked sloppy and angry in it? Your photo should be a good representation of who you are.  If you are laid back you should be wearing jeans and a nice shirt, if you are classy dress up a little, if you are a slob then dress accordingly.  In essence you are trying to sell yourself.  You are trying to say I am a good-looking guy read more about me.

Sure in real life and on websites dating is about personality and character more than looks but if you want the right girl to click on you, you must have a picture that makes her want to take a deeper look.  We are all physical beings, looking for someone who will match us physically and someone we would want to have sex with.  That’s just life.  When you pick out a mate physicality matters once you get to know that person, their personality makes you like them even more but if you sell yourself short  no one will look at you.

Looks do matter and personality can either make you look better or worse.  There is this guy I know who looks really great on the outside but is kind of ugly on the inside.  His wrapping is fantastic but the gift kind of sucks.  If you want a girl to take a look at the gifts you have to offer your wrapping has to look good as well.

2. Take time to write answers that make sense and are edited well.  There is nothing more annoying than a guy that doesn’t bother to answer the questions and who makes millions of spelling mistakes.  It annoys the hell out of me when a guy uses the wrong word or spells a word wrong.  I am an intelligent woman and I want a guy who can spell and edit his own writing.  Maybe I am being too picky but 2 miss spelled or wrongly used words and I close your profile.

I have been on these kinds of sites for years. I have read millions of profiles and I can tell the guys who want booty calls from the guys who want something serious.  The booty calls just post their picture and nothing else.  The guys who want something real answer the questions. 

Guys if I read your site you should have something there and you should bother to read what I post as well.  Nothing is more annoying than talking/e-mailing a guy for weeks and then finding out you disagree with me whole heartedly on an issue I think is really important.  If I take the time to write something you should take the time to read it.  Now I don’t read those color profiles or compatibility things either but the stuff I actually write you should actually read.  Sure websites ask the weirdest questions like “Describe your perfect first date” but take the time to read my answer.

3. Don’t be too romantic in your profile.  When you describe the perfect first date it should be realistic.  Guys that post things like “long walks,” or “romantic dinners” or any other crap like that are annoying.  Maybe I am jaded or maybe I have met too many losers online but crap like that screams you have never met anyone from online or you have never been on a first date.  First dates are awkward.  You are trying to learn about each other and figure out who the other person is.  You don’t need the added pressure of romance.  Plus you have no idea what the other person finds romantic.  First dates in my opinion are best when the pressure is lessened by a group event.  If you are meeting someone online you should always meet in public, so why not set up something real low-key and chill and maybe even fun.  Like going to a baseball game: you meet there; her friends in tow and your friends in tow.  A real low-key day/evening where there is little to no pressure and you get to know each other in a fun atmosphere.

We have grown up in this age that says that first dates need to be sexy, romantic things where it is all about getting to that first kiss.  But even that is rushing things a bit.  Shouldn’t we slow down and get to know each other.  Posting that a perfect first date should be romantic is fine if you already know the person and have a relationship.  Movies are a horrible idea because you are trying to get to know this new person and a movie where you have to sit silently next to a person you barely know for 2 plus hours is a bad idea. If you need a movie to develop conversation you are not much of a conversationalist.  Just because you have spent weeks talking to someone online doesn’t mean you know anything about that person.  It reminds me of the beginning scenes of the movie “The Ugly Truth” when Katherine Heigl goes on a blind/internet date and she brings the person’s entire profile.  Just because you read some stuff online about a person does not mean you know that person.

First dates are about getting to know a new person and they should not be about “romance.”

4. Don’t rush communication. You should bother to read my profile and you should bother to take things slow.  Don’t rush to IM me or meet quickly.  Nothing screams booty call louder than a quick meet.  We talk for an hour online and you already want to meet, that is too fast.  Slow down.  Why does everything have to be so fast? It is your job to earn my trust and to make me want to meet you.  If you ask me to meet you the night we talk I am going to run in the opposite direction because all you are looking for is someone to hook up with. 

If we met in real life you would need to earn my trust and to make me want to date you.  The same is true for online dating.  Think of it as meeting in person.  When you click on my profile you may get more information than you would if we met at a coffee shop but it is kind of the same.  If I met some guy at a coffee shop and he asked me out right then I would say “No, I don’t even know you.”  This guy would have to meet me several more times.  He would have to put forth the effort and show me he is a nice, respectable guy, worthy of my trust.  The same goes for online to real life meeting.  When we meet for the first time it is like a first date (no matter if we meet that night or meet weeks later).  I would not go on a first date with a guy I met once at a coffee shop.  I would need to see him at least 3 or four times more before actually going on a date.  The point is just because we meet online instead of in line at Starbucks doesn’t mean you don’t have to earn my trust.

Take it slow.

I could go on and on but I feel like 4 rules are plenty to begin with. Good luck!

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Asking for help is hard

I never realize  how independent I am until I ask for help (or even think about asking for help).

My throat tightens and tears roll down my face just thinking about asking for help, let alone the anxiety I feel when actually asking.
I’m 29 years old and I still ask my parents to help me pay my rent. I feel like such a failure every time I have to ask for help. It’s like I can’t stand on my own two feet so I must have failed somehow. Like somehow everyone else in the world has this manual that someone forgot to give me about asking for help. 

It is like I have written my own manual, “How to get through life without anyone else.” I know God did not create us to be individual beings. He created us to be and live in community but still I wish I could get by on my own. I wish I didn’t have to ask my parents for help.

Why is that? I guess I feel like their job should be over. They shouldn’t have to help me financially anymore. I should be able to take care of my own needs.  I should be able to pay my bills without their support.  My therapist would say “should” is a word I need to remove from my vocabulary.

I guess I’m hurting. The stress of life is getting to me: trying to pass Hebrew (and at this point I am just trying to pass), trying to find a new job (which is stressful enough without my perfectionist mind telling me to hurry up), trying to find a new apartment (which to be honest I have kind of given that job to my new roommate I just haven’t told her that yet), thinking about the future (where to move, applying and getting into CPE), and thinking about relationships. I am so stressed out my sleep is being disrupted…I mean crazy dreams (last week I actually died in my own dream) and it is 1 am and I am still awake and thinking. Now being awake at 1 am is not new for me but being able to still think and process at 1 am is. 

I’m 29 years old and asking for help is something I still have to work on.  I rarely ask God for help let alone people that I have to look in the face.  How weird is that, a seminary student that doesn’t ask God for help? I rarely name when I need help. For instance, I know I have gray hairs, I have a friend (my new roommate) who is willing to help me dye them but I haven’t gotten up the courage to ask her to help me.

When it comes to asking God for help I figure that God has enough on his plate he doesn’t need my tiny concerns. I think the same thing about the people in my life.  I know when I have to ask my parents to help me out with my rent, I know at least a month ahead of time but I can’t do it. My throat right now is tightening just thinking about it. I talk myself out of asking at least 3 or 4 times a day because they have their own expenses they don’t need my extra expenses.  When asking friends for help I figure they have better things to do than help me.

I fear the rejection and the things people will think of me if I have to ask them for help.  A few days ago I wrote a post about family and in it I mentioned the lies we believe.  The lie I believe is that to ask for help is to be a failure, to ask for help is to be a drain on those around you, and the people you ask will leave because you are a drain.

These are lies. I can say that they are lies. I can say that the truth is that…well I don’t know what the truth is because I can’t see it. 

I have been thinking about my future lately and one of the things I have been thinking about is writing books. One of the books I want to write is how to disprove the lies we believe and to instead believe and hear the truths that are out there for everyone. 

I cannot remind myself of the truths but I can see the lies for what they are. If I had said book I could pull it out now, look up the lie I believe and read the truth that is for me.  The truth is I am not a failure, I human and imperfect and it is okay to ask for help.  God asks us to live in community so that we can care for each other.
I am loveable and asking for help does not change that. I am not alone and everything will work out even if in this moment, at this time I cannot fully believe it.

I know everything will work out but in this interim it is hard to remind myself of that fact.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME and he will take care of me. He takes care of me when I cannot ask for help and when I can.
I’m going to bed now…not because I am tired but because I just want to stop thinking.

Familes are changing organic creatures

Facebook is where I connect with the family I never see.  I have cousins and aunts whom I can now miss from far way and love from far away.  In some ways it makes them more loveable.

For instance, when I look at a picture of my cousins sitting next to each other talking to other people I can think, “aw isn’t that cute.” I can for a few brief seconds forget that those two people don’t really like each other or that there is friction.

Today I was looking at some summer pictures of my cousins and I saw something that was strange but once I remembered the family dynamics it made complete sense.  This side of the family (I’m not saying which) has its problems (like any other family) and there has been some real hurt.  In this picture there is an obvious group of people and then an obvious split from other people.  There is a giant gap in the picture which makes me ask did they know they were doing that? 

My first response was that they have no clue that they just put this huge gap between themselves.  But the group on the outside has an insider obviously making an effort to have them be part of the group.  It is very odd to look at.  The first time through I thought that’s interesting. I mean I knew something was off about the picture but I wasn’t really sure what it was.  One side of the picture is grouped tightly together, where people are almost on top of each other. Then there is this obvious gap and the other group which has gaps in it and is a much smaller group.

I wanted to comment on the picture that it was odd and that I wanted to use it for a paper.  But I decided that that was in poor form and that I should instead write an ambiguous blog.

There is a wedding this summer that is happening in the family that is a secret.  Now if you know anything about me you will know that I abhor secrets. I have lived way too much of my life in secret.  I wish I could go to said wedding and be supportive. I wish there would be an opportunity for me to give my blessings to the happy couple.  But the wedding is in secret because of reasons I will not share (because it is their secret and not mine…if it was mine I would tell you but I can’t).  This saddens me to my very core.  Weddings should be happy occasions not occasions filled with secrecy.  I can understand why it is a secret wedding but can a wedding/marriage that begins with secrecy last? I’m not asking this question to be a witch or to be mean or anything like that.  I am asking because I want to know.

There seems to be a veil of shame over this wedding.  It is complicated and I understand that.  I look at this cousin who is getting married in pictures and he/she seems to be caring this shame with him/her.  That makes me sad to my very core.  I want him/her to be happy.  We are similar creatures: shy, inward processors, middle (kinda) children, (that’s all I can think of right now, I haven’t seen this cousin in person for years). I can understand why this wedding is in secret but both of these people come from huge families…I just wish for their sakes that it wasn’t in secret.

I understand that there are people in their families respectively that are having a difficult time with this wedding.  Heck, in the beginning I had a hard time with it and even today (if I am going to be completely honest) I am trying to wrap my mind around it but I still want my cousin to be happy. 

All families are surrounded with secrecy and lies.  All families have shame.  I just wish that families were different. I wish that there didn’t have to be a scapegoat or a lost child.  I wish that we could open up to each other about the real stuff and that it wouldn’t be scary.  I wish I could open up to all sides of my family and it wouldn’t be scary.

We want our families to love us and for the most part they do.  But what happens when they don’t?  I think that is the question behind this secret wedding.  My cousin, God bless his/her soul, is afraid of what will happen.  Now I haven’t actually had this conversation with him/her.  But if I had to guess I would guess that this cousin is afraid that the love will run out.  That this secret marriage is so wrong (in other people’s eyes) that they will stop loving him/her.  THAT IS A LIE!!! Lies are horrible.  The lies we hear in our heads that keep us from the ones we love and those that love us are horrible.

THE TRUTH IS THAT ONCE YOU START LOVING SOMEONE YOU CAN’T STOP (at least in family)!! Maybe my heart is more open than others or maybe my brain just started working again and I can see that your happiness (cousin) is more important than anything else.  It may take more time for my brain to wrap around it.  But that doesn’t mean in the interim that I stop loving who you are.  I love you, the whole you, and that doesn’t stop no matter what you do. In the grand scheme of things your happiness is more important than any weird or awkwardness that may ensue. 

The truth is family is forever.  It doesn’t matter if you marry, or divorce, or if you’re gay or straight, or if you have an affair, or if you have been abused, or if you become an alcoholic, or if you never do anything in your life.  None of that matters because family is forever.  YOU ARE LOVED!!! AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP THAT!!!

To my cousin (who probably won’t read this): I LOVE YOU, THE WHOLE YOU AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU COULD EVER DO TO STOP THAT.  I bless your marriage. May it be built upon love and trust.  May you be happy most days and sad only a little.  May you find the happiness you so deserve.  May you live a life that is pleasing to God because in the grand scheme of things his is the only opinion that matters.  May you be blessed with joy and laughter and children (if you so wish).  May you live beyond secrecy.  May lies never touch your lips and shame never enter your house.  May you be a blessing to those who see you.  May you LOVE in big and small ways.  May your marriage be a blessing to those who witness it and may your life be filled with all God’s glorious blessings.  Amen.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME!!!

I had a small break down this weekend.  It was a long time coming. I have been beyond stressed in Hebrew and this past week I found out that my job is ending sooner than I thought and I need to definitely move this summer. For instance, I thought I had a whole month to find a job but actually my job ends this Friday.

We all have the response of FIGHT OR FLIGHT and I lean heavily toward flight.  I am an addict. I have 3 addictions that when stressed I like to use. I love to escape my own problems through an addiction or napping or any means of escape. I like to refer to myself as an escape artist. 

But I digress. All that to say that in the past few weeks when confronted with stress and triggers I have ignored them and said, “I will deal with that when I have more time.”  The only problem with that is that I haven’t had any extra time and if I have extra time I am using that to do more work. So anyway all the stress and emotions in my life were boiling over and on Saturday it all kind of exploded all over me. 

I spent the day shaming myself and crying and basically having my own pity party.  It was a depressing day.  I mean I was dealing with things but I couldn’t see beyond myself. 

But again I digress.  GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME!!

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME…I believe and trust God has everything under control in my professional/calling life. I have the plan…I know the goal and can see the small steps to get there.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME….I believe and trust that God will take care of my basic needs. I will get fed, I will have a roof over my head.  These things will happen but they do cause me to worry.  I worry I won’t find a job but my whole time here at Fuller God has provided for me.  I mean there are months I look into my bank account and I start to freak out.  10 dollars for a whole month just does not seem possible (it’s not that bad now but by September that might be a different story). How am I going to eat? How am I going to pay my bills? And by the time I need money somehow there is some miracle.  God provides but knee-deep in stress that is hard to remember.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME…I have a hard time remembering that God has my romantic life under his control.  I mean I have been single (as single as a girl can get) for the past 6 years.  Soon it will be 7 years.  This girl is feeling a little lonely.  We as humans need touch.  I need touch. In relationships there is this unwritten rule that you are able to touch each other.  When you feel lonely you can reach out and touch someone and he welcomes that touch.  If he needs to be touched the same works.  I miss that.  I miss holding someone’s hand. I miss being able to hug a man who is more than a friend.  You know what I mean. You hug your friends differently than you hug your boyfriend.  There is an intimacy that is shared in a hug.  An intimacy shared in holding hands. 

So this weekend I broke down because of stress and because I am lonely.  When I am lonely it is hard to remember that GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME!!! No matter how idiotic I act or how aggressive or passive I am in a relationship God will take care of it.  No matter how I mess something up God can fix it.  I got worried this weekend about a possible missed opportunity with a guy but I forgot that God has it under control.  God is bigger than me and he can work out my romantic issues.

I just pray he works it out soon 😉

I just have to remind myself that GOD IS BIGGER THAN ME!!!

Naming the ministry

So I haven’t done too much for my internship so far…its just been a lot of watching how things happen and enjoying getting to know people.  But my supervisors are encouraging me to get things started and the first thing they want is a name for the ministry.

These are the three names I have come up with so far (One is my favorite but I am still considering the others)

1. Hope Sexual Abuse Ministry: A ministry for women who have been sexually abused that focuses on finding the hope, healing, and wholeness in all areas of life including but not limited to: intimacy, relationships, spirituality and sexuality.

Why Hope? Hope is a message that we all seek. We are rumaging around in the darkness hoping for some kind of refuge.  I wear a ring on my right middle finger that says HOPE because hope keeps me going.  Hope keeps me looking to the next journey to wholeness. This ministry will bring hope through conversation with other women who have been abused because knowing your are not alone is an important first step.  Hope will also be fostered through worship.  Christ is an important part of this ministry because he does the real healing. Finding and singing music that speaks to our souls can help us see God in our despair and in our pain.  Hope also comes through healing prayer.  We will invite the Spirit to move and heal us through prayer.

2. Fractured Wholeness: A ministry for women that seeks to bring wholeness, healing, and hope to women who have been sexually abused through prayer, worship, and sharing.

(This is my favorite) Why Fractured Wholeness? Healing is a process.  There is a professor on campus that says “We are all broken, damaged, missing the mark kind of people.” I like the broken part but not the damaged part.  To me damage is such a negative word and it feels like it cannot be fixed.  I like broken or fractured much better.  It’s like God molded us into pefect pieces of glass and abuse shatters or fractures that glass. As we put the pieces back together the glass is still fractured and only God can bring true wholeness.  Its like a picture of shattered glass and in the center God is putting the pieces back together.  When we are completely healed the fractures will be unnoticeable but it is a process.  (I don’t know if I am being clear enough here).  Fractured wholeness means a break has happened but things can be put back together piece by piece.  It won’t be a quick process and it won’t be pain free but it will happen if we invite God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit into our broken, shattered, fractured places.  There is something beautiful about naming where you are at and then showing up to do the work to get better. We are fractured for now but wholeness is coming if we do the work through support from others, prayer, and worship.

3. Washed Clean: A ministry for women who have been sexually abused that focuses on cleansing the mind, body and spirit in order to bring wholeness to all areas of life.

Why Washed Clean? This one is still forming in my mind but cleansing is a ritual that can be overwhelming and refreshing at the same time.  Most women who have been abused feel bad, ugly, and dirty and cleansing can help this dissipate or disappear.

So which name do you like best? Which name makes the most sense?

Fortune Cookies

Last week or so I went to get Chinese with Betsy and I got two fortunes that I keep thinking about:

1. “You enjoy playing to a crowd”–I do enjoy playing to a crowd.  If you ever want to hear a funny story told from an amazing person that’s me.  I love building the story to the punch line and if my friends and family are right I’m great at it.  There are some people that can’t tell a story: they get really excited about the end and rush towards it and forget all about building the story. 

I used to write fiction all the time as kid. I even have some awards and some things were published in a school publication.  I loved writing and making up stories. I have a wonderful imagination.  My mom tells stories of all the fun I used to have with my imaginary friends.  I usually thought about inventing people to be part of my surroundings.  So in my writing I am great at presenting a situation I have lived in. Writing about the people I see and making them become characters I might be interested in knowing.

I like describing people’s qualities and making them explosive on a page.  I can tell a story like none other but writing one is a bit more difficult.  Perhaps this week I will devote a few hours to trying to write a story that is as much fun as telling one.
I do love playing to a crowd.

2. “You will gain admiration from your peers”: this one I am not so sure about but I can always hope it comes true.  I wrote a blog a week ago about my reunion.  I don’t care if I gain adimiration from people from high school because I really don’t consider them my peers anymore.  I do care about adimiration from the people I go to graduate school with.  They are my peers.  Their opinon matters most to me because they know me.

I hope one day to gain admiration from my peers

Reunion eh

My high school reunion is coming up GO FALCONS!!! (But said in a dry tone with no excitement what-so-ever). 

I had a dream last night about the reunion and it reminded me of how I felt in high school.  I was a shadow.  No one really knew me.  Teachers would announce that students were to work with “Tammy Waggoner” and people would look around the room and say “Who is that?” And I would raise my hand (I was usually sitting directly behind the person/people I was supposed to work with or I was just a few seats away) and I would say, “I’m right here.” And I would be thinking, “what an asshole!!”

But really I can’t put all the blame on people in my high school.  There are some people who can recognize my face and can say “hey” to me when I see them in public.  There are even the people who can actually remember my name and call it out across a crowded mall (that’s right Nick Proctor I was totally hyped when you called my name out when you were working at that store at the great mall that closed in record time).  I’m even facebook friends with some of my closest friends from high school (and even some people I don’t recognize but since we went to the same high school i figure what the hell, let’s be friends :)).

Like I said I was a shadow.  I went to school, I did the work, and I went home.  On Sundays I went to church and hung out with my “real friends.” It’s actually really funny; I was just trying to think of who I am still friends with (and what I mean by that is we hangout and converse outside of facebook and e-mail) from church and the two friends I have now who I was friends with then are two guys I dated in junior high and high school.  (On a side note I find that really interesting but I will have to explore that at a later date).

I had some friends who I hung out with at school and who gave me rides home after school but that was really it.  We hung out a couple times outside of school but they didn’t even really know me.  But back then I really didn’t want to be known.  In Olathe, KS school district if you didn’t start kindergarten with the people in your class then you were always an outsider. My parents moved us to Olathe when I was just finishing up Elementary school.  I tried my hardest when I started junior high just to blend in with others and that continued into high school.  It didn’t continue so much into college but that was mainly because of large amounts of alcohol.

I don’t blame the kids (now adults with husbands and wives and kids {some of them}) in my high school, I mostly blame me.  I was a shadow who tried desperately to be unknown.  I didn’t want my core group of friends to find out that I didn’t think  ‘Nsync was all that.  I didn’t want anyone to know who I really was or what I was really like for fear that they would no longer like me. (that makes me unbelieveably sad to think about)

I didn’t want people to get to know me for fear that they wouldn’t like the real me.  For those of you that know me now you are probably thinking “for shame.” But I always felt like I did the wrong thing and with the past that I had that can be understandable. 

School was all about how to get through the halls and get to class in the quickest manner so that no one could possibly see and make fun of the real me.  Looking back I don’t think anyone made fun of me but no one tried to get to know me, which back then was really okay with me.

I am not going to my reunion because I 1 can’t afford it, 2 I think I will still be in Hebrew when it happens, and 3 I don’t want to turn into a shadow again.  The only reason I could see for going to my reunion would be to show everyone the real me.  But what do I need to prove to anyone else. 

For the most part Olathe South High School was all about appearances so I am guessing the people that go to the 10 year reunion will be people that 1. are married and have kids, 2. are successful in career, or 3. are successful in other ways (that I can’t think of at this moment).  By their measures of succes I am nothing. I am still a single person and I am no where near to being married or having kids (I’m not knocked up and I am not engaged and I am not dating anyone).  I could say I am successful in my career but I haven’t really started it yet (by their measurements.  I know I have done a lot to get things started but when they ask “where is your non-profit?” all I can do is point to my head).  I don’t own a house, I live off loans and my job is working as a coordinator for OurPrayer on Fuller campus.  I think my biggest success is moving out of Olathe, KS (but that’s just me).

Anyway in my dream I came across someone that didn’t want to go into the reunion because she wasn’t dressed properly.  So I gave her a makeover and a pep talk and we went to the reunion together.

I am not a shadow any more and the only reason I would ever want to go to the reunion would be to show people that I am a real person with real thoughts and real ideas and my biggest concern is no longer whether or not you like me but WHETHER OR NOT I LIKE ME! I LIKE ME so really there is no reason to go to the reunion (so it is a good thing i have no plans to actually go!)

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