Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Take My Advice...Or Don't.

Currently, my favorite app is Scout. All I have to do is type in my current location and Scout tells me how to get wherever I want to go.

But it’s not always right.

A few weeks ago, I needed directions to a restaurant in Norman. I told Scout I was at home and Scout’s lovely voice told me it was getting the fastest route to my destination. I started driving, allowing Scout to lead me down I-35 to my appointed exit. The closer I got to Norman, I started seeing signs about construction. In fact, the exit I needed to take was closed. I had to take a detour.

I got off of the highway and realized the area was familiar to me. I relied on my knowledge of landmarks to lead me where I was trying to go, even though my girl Scout kept insisting I was wrong. When I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, all I could do was shake my head at that voice that was trying to “reroute” me. I had already arrived.

I have a bone to pick with this sudden flood of relationship advice overflowing my newsfeed. Reading these memes. misquoted quotes and the flat-out incorrect statistics  leads us to believe there is only one road to the finish line-- which is marriage, for most of us. That road, according to Facebook, is filled with shame.

Single? Here’s why:

You’re fat.
You’re not thick enough.
You’re promiscuous.
You won’t give it up.
You have too many kids.
You don’t have any kids.
You’re too eager (or, for the younger generation, THE THIRST).
You’re not aggressive.
You’re too loud.
You’re too soft spoken.
You’re bitter.
You’re broke.
You want too much.
You don’t want enough.
You’re just not good enough.

If you combined all of this advice in a bowl and baked it at 350 degrees, what you will have is a hot mess.

This advice does not take into account the current mental status of its readers. There are some broken people in this world. If their hearts were jigsaw puzzles, those three connected pieces in the middle were swept up and thrown away with yesterday’s trash. They have dealt with grief, loss, heartbreak, abandonment and rejection so severe, even getting out of bed to face one more day seems like a chore. They log on and see words of disparagement “liked” and applauded by thousands of people, and the Trauma DJ begins to play their greatest hits once more.

You deserve all that has happened to you.

The vicious cycle continues. We create more brokenness in a world that is so desperately in need of whole people.

Dear FBRs, sometimes, it’s good to take a moment and reflect on your choices in life and love. My journal is filled with cringe-worthy, what in the world was I thinking moments. There are also epiphanies and lessons I have learned that, for me, will help me become the wife and mother I long to be some day. But I can’t post those things on the Internet and say it is the definitive road to lasting relationships.

I don’t have all the answers.
You don’t have all the answers.

And that’s okay.

In case you’re wondering, there is some relationship advice I follow.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

--I Corinthians 13:4-7;13 (emphasis added)

Detours, closed exits, reroutes and all, I’ll get there.

Be Encouraged,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Requiem: The Text Conversation

I was folding laundry and watching Basketball Wives (don’t judge me) when I felt my phone vibrate.


I don’t even have to glance at the top of the screen. I know who it is.



Leopard isn’t his real name, but it is the name he has in my phone. In fact, he’s had the same name in the last two phones I’ve had.  Leopard is the litmus test; the lens through which all new men are viewed.

Leopard is not a bad man. He is my type, both physically and intellectually. He is as sarcastic as I am. If I type LOL in a text message conversation with him, I mean it. He is not intimidated by me at all. On the contrary, he doesn’t allow me to get away with a one-word explanation or a dismissive brush-off. If I had a checklist for potential, he’d meet most of the criteria. Except for one:

He doesn’t want a relationship with me.

Well, he does not want a relationship with anyone. That’s what he says.  And I accepted it because…it sounded so different, such a millennial way to approach this male-female interaction. At the time, I was not in the mood for the late twenties melodrama that seemed to be engulfing my friends’ relationships. I had just gotten over one of those Toni Braxton heartbreaks myself (read: EPIC). I just wanted to hang out with someone every once in a while and have a good time.

And we did.

Eventually, I realized I had all the demands of a relationship and none of the perks.

If my car is making a funny noise, I still call my dad or a mechanic.

If I have a cold, he’s not bringing me orange juice.

When I have an aggravating day at work, I can’t get a reassuring hug from him.

I can’t let down my guard around him.

As long as Leopard is the placeholder in my life, there’s no room for anyone else.
I’m sort of dating someone now.

Six words I agonized over; two seconds to press send and begin to untangle a web of complex emotions stirring within me. I worried he’d make a scene. I thought he might call and demand more answers than I really have. But he was cool.

No all caps rants. Only one exclamation point.

Even when I told him I was going to blog about this, he gave permission with but one caveat: I couldn’t use his real name.  That’s fine. In my eyes, he will always be Leopard.

And a Leopard never changes its spots.