Honest

please stop calling my singleness brave 

A friend sent me a blog to read last week that was a letter to single Christian women.

I’m going to be honest, I almost didn’t read it.

But I thought, maybe this one won’t tell me that when I least expect it the “right one” will come along.

Maybe it won’t tell me my singleness is brave.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

I have been, for the past couple of days, trying to figure out why I get so up in arms when I read these blogs or books or hear podcasts on the topic.

But I guess, what it is, is that I am only not ok with being single in the moments where I feel like my singleness is a disease. And, if I am being honest, when I read those very lovely, well-meaning blogs about “being brave” and listing a lot of rules for being single, I feel less whole than I should.

When I get told to “live in spite of” I feel as if there is something wrong with having lived without thinking of the fact that I am single.

And it’s funny because I know that this isn’t just a single-married person thing, it’s a kids-no kids, run of the mill job-dream job thing. I get that.

But today, for me, it’s a single person thing. Specifically, a single Christian woman thing.

Being single in the church is not easy.

Sometimes it seems as if we are standing on one side of the street waiting to cross over. Staring at the party on the other side where couples do couple things and get to minister together and have a partner in crime and go to marriage classes and double date.

Then, there are all of us singles. Male and female, watching, living life.

Just on the opposite side of the street.

It’s quiet on this side.

Trying our best to not be defined by something that most in our culture define as being “not quite there”.

So what do we do?

We read the blogs and books and we listen to the podcasts and we join the small groups.

And we don’t feel better.

There are over 2,000 books on Amazon when you type the words “single Christian woman”.

2,000.

That’s a lot of words and thoughts and ideas and advice that people have given and put out into the world.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are meant to learn from each other’s stories. And take pieces for ourself and figure it all out as we go.

But just like married humans can never fully be prepared for every possible emotion and feeling they will have in that phase of life, us single humans can say the same thing.

Because we could be single the rest of our lives.

I could be a single Christian woman for the rest of my life.

And it won’t mean I am brave. I’m brave for many reasons, and one of them is not for being single.

I am grateful for those around me in relationships that I trust. That I can talk to about these things.

But most of them will never know what it is to be a 32 year old Christian single woman and all of the connotations that brings. I am talking about contemplating owning a home by myself, being an island of a human making decisions by myself and pondering about the moral implications and qualms I have about sex outside of being married.

And I wouldn’t know right know what it’s like to manage a budget with two people in my late twenties or make decisions as a whole or decide on birth control or no birth control.
Neither thing is lesser.

Neither thing is brave.

It’s life.

Let’s save brave for actually brave things.

Let’s encourage people in the paths of life they ARE going down, not where they are lacking, or moreso where we BELIEVE they are lacking.

Let’s not create story for poeple.

Or give them false hope.

Because spoiler alert: I don’t neccesarily want to be single.

But I am choosing to keep walking out my life as who I am.

And that’s not brave.

It’s just exactly who I am.

A mimosa-drinking, tiny human wrangling, story-telling, cake-baking human.

Not brave. Just me.

Honest, I choose champagne

You were only waiting for this moment to arrive

I’ve been in Bellingham for two years this weekend.

That’s insane. I kind of can’t even fathom it. That I’ve been here for two years with all the ups and downs and tantrums (by myself and by toddlers). I’ve learned more here then I can articulate. 

The main thing being, I am very, very glad I have decided to the best of my ability to not just “get through” this season.

It was something I noticed being the two year old room. The two year olds were rough. I would find myself counting down the moments til nap and then the moments til three pm.

Trying to force yourself through moments, trying to just get through days is not a way to live.

There was a time in my life that I didn’t want to sleep at night because I didn’t want the sun to come up. I was working in a pretty hostile classroom and I was in an incredibly deep dark well of depression. I would stay up ‘til one or two in the morning just to have more hours in the day to myself.

If I slept then I would have to do all the things again. 

I remember hitting my breaking point, knowing that for myself and for those around me I could no longer just “fake it ‘til I make it”. Something had to give. I couldn’t just put my head down and try to get through.

It wasn’t working.

So, I made changes, I moved out the classroom, I started therapy, I went on antidepressants.

I tried to find joy again and I worked really hard to do so.

There are times, chunks of the last two years, when I know in my knower that I was sitting in a pit of depression. That I didn’t want to go to sleep at night because then the day would come again. 

And I would have to do all the things.

I’m thankful for the people around me who remind me to be present and for the tiny humans who demand it.

I don’t know what this third year in Bellingham holds and I don’t know how many years will follow it; but I’m going to choose, still, to the best of my ability to be present. I’m going to choose to try not to live of faking it ‘til I make it. 

I have parts of my life that I can say without out a doubt that I’m trying to get through. I’m pretty sure most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t trying to get through something.

A season in a city, a season of singleness, a season before marriage, a season of a job.

Days, weeks, months that we are so desperately trying to get past, to get to the next season.

But why?

Why do we deem these moments less important than the ones we are trying to get through? Who are we to decide what moments we can learn from?

If I allow myself, I can learn from everyday. I can learn from the tantrums and the laughter and moments when I feel less than myself. 

But the instance I put my mind in forward, the instance I decide that minute I want ahead of me is less important than the minute I am in, is the instant I decide that my present doesn’t matter

During one of my object lessons I did at camp a couple weeks ago I talked about how there is a plan and a purpose for our lives. There are big, awesome things ahead.

That’s hard to stomach sometimes.

More, is hard to stomach.

But, this minute you are in right now? The one in which you’ve decided to read this collection of words?  

This is a part of your more.

And so is the next and the next.

Let’s start with tomorrow. Let’s start with not getting through tomorrow, but for living every moment of it.

Let’s create joy and growth and hope and light.

So, when we get to the next day and the day after that, we won’t have moments lost in the abyss, but days we can build upon.

Let’s do the damn thing each and every day.

And when we need to- take a deep breath to our toes, and dive back in.

 

Honest

a letter to those that lack 

This is written to those occupying the same stage of life I am in, but if you are a human who has ever found themselves identifying what they lack over what they have have, my Sunday morning thoughts might help your brain too.

Dear single woman,I get you.
No, really I do.

See, I’m not writing from the other side of the thing, or writing from a different phase in life. You won’t click on my bio and see I’m now a married woman with two kids and a house in the suburbs or find an Instagram with me sporting a diamond. I’m in what some would call “the waiting” or “the before”

 (I just call it life.)

I am not going to tell you to “enjoy this time” because you should enjoy everything. I am not going to tell you that you aren’t ready, because you are the only human who knows that.

I am going to tell you that I know. I know that you have eyes and a heart and a mind. You see, you feel and you think.

And those don’t always connect. You logically know you are good, solid. You feel about 95% whole. But your eyes always lead you astray. The land on the differences, the missing pieces. Your eyes don’t know how to outline what you have, they only know how to outline what “should” be there.

I know you have days that are harder then others.

And those hard days make you feel a lot of things. Filled with shame because you feel like “that girl”, upset at yourself because you don’t want to feel that way, you want to be whole and independent. It might make you feel more determined to be whole and independent.

I want you to know that I truly believe in the bottom of your knower that you know that you are good. That you aren’t less of a person because you don’t have something you want. 

I see you.

I see into your insides. I see that you are reminded of what you lack, you are reminded of the step in life you have yet to take.

And I’m writing this because I want you to know aren’t alone.

You are in a world, daily, of people who feel so similar to you.

That couple you see in the coffee shop every Saturday wants kids.

The dad who wants to coach the little league team but can’t leave work early.

That family of five just wants to buy a house in the same neighborhood as their friends.

And you might of just thought the same thing I did even as I typed those words: “but at least…”

At least they have each other.

At least he has the job.

As least they have the family.

We live in an “at least” world and sometimes being a single woman feels very bottom of that food chain.

But, IF we don’t want people to belittle us with “at leasts” we should work on the same.

If we want to choose to see what people have, we need to decide to do that for ourselves.

Let’s stop living in lack.

Let’s stop living in lack WITH the knowledge though, that some days are harder than others.

I am not great at focusing on what I have. 

I never thought I struggled with comparison.

I was wrong.

So, for me, it’s going to be a mind overhaul. I’m not talking about making lists or writing in a gratitude journal, though if that is how it works best for you, go for it. I’m going to attempt to, whenever I see something I lack in the picture of what someone else has, I am going to remind myself that for everything I see they have, I have something too. I’m going to remind myself that we are different humans, with different journeys and lives.

I repeat again: I’m going to try.

And I know that doesn’t and won’t always happen.

So now, at the precipice of a new week, I raise my can of sparkly wine;

I raise it to the couple who wants kids,

To the dad who wants to coach the team,

To the family who wants the house,

And to you, my single friend.

I raise my wine to you all. We forget so often in the midst of comparison and haves and have-nots, in the midst of constantly feeling less than or lacking, that we are all in this together.
Our commonalities are far greater than the things that separate us.

Let’s be kind to our minds this week.

Let’s see what happens.

Sincerely,

Meg

Honest, washington whimsy

Sitting in the dark.

I’ve been hemming and hawing over grouping these words into sentences for an hour or so mainly in my brain but also over text to my friend Amanda.
During the holidays there are articles and videos and news segments about dealing with this or that or the other thing. There are lists of coping with depression or grief or being away from home or being alone or being single or divorced and literally everything in between.

I don’t like to add to white noise.

But the nagging in the back of my brain reminds me that there’s probably something I need to say for myself anyway.

I live a full life.

An always-busy-never-see-my-roommate-have-no-clean-clothes-survive-on-espresso-and-la-croix full kind of life.

I honestly couldn’t count on one hand the amount of completely free weeks I had in 2016.

Sometimes I overdue it and I’m learning to say no.

The holidays are like my normal schedule on crack. Presents to buy, presents to wrap, cookies to bake, parties to throw, parties to attend and also sleep and sanity.

I came home Friday night after having beers with coworkers and just sat in my dark house watching tv. Because, along with all the things that the holidays brings it also brings anxiety.

I think all of the lists and articles are good.

But I also think it’s ok to take a moment to sit in the dark. It’s ok to take a breath. It’s ok to miss a party so that you don’t have to “make it through” the holidays but so you can enjoy them.

For me, sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I have anxiety. Something being a single person during the holidays is hard.

Sometimes I need to sit in the dark.

So I did.

And it helped.

Because I live a full life.

I have people that love me and I love them back.

I have a job and a life and traditions that I am creating regardless of my marital status.

So my mantra for the holidays is this: choose to sit in the dark with some Christmas lights on. Choose to slowly drink your coffee or catch up with a friend while baking. Choose to cry if you need to and wipe your tears off so they don’t freeze on your cheeks. Choose to do what you need to do to enjoy the holidays not just survive them.
Choose to have this be the year that redefines how you live during the holidays.
Savouring, laughing, and maybe, just maybe, sitting in the dark sometimes.

Honest

I am not actually single.

I’ve been avoiding writing these words for two hours.Actually, scratch that, I’ve been avoiding writing these words for at least a month.

Before I went to Spain back in the spring of 2014 I wrote a two part blog series about why I wasn’t going to get married. It came down to the fact that I didn’t want to want something I wasn’t sure if I even wanted, so why not skip the heartache of maybe wanting it by not wanting it at all.

Then, of course, I went to Spain where every g42er ever can attest to the fact that at least once a week in class the conversation turns to relationship and marriage. And I still sat there not knowing if I even wanted to get married or have kids. 

And side note: I was terrified of admitting that to Andrew (founder, teacher, father-figure). 

I guess that I was terrified because somewhere in me didn’t believe that was true. I didn’t believe that I actually did not want to get married.

My heart changed in Spain. I’m not sure where. But if I could scroll far enough back in my text conversation with Preed there would be a moment where my thinking changed. She was talking about a future business of ours having a name with the beginning being “Ree-” something since our last names both begin with those three letters. 

My response was that, that was a great idea, because when we each got married our maiden names would be apart of our future. It wasn’t an “if” or a “when she” it was a we. I had changed my perspective on marriage somewhere.

Now, I live in Bellingham. And 90% of the people I interact with on a daily basis are in a relationship. And I am their biggest cheerleader.

And this has been hands down the hardest “being single” season I’ve ever had in my life. It’s messed me up.

I don’t feel looked down on because I’m single, or less than, or not enough. 

That’s the thing. I’m 31. I’m solid. I’m good.

But all of these relationships are messing with my head, my heart and my tear ducts.

What I am feeling these days is a lot in response to relationship. It’s brought about a season of loneliness, independence, and a wonderfully scary realization that I’m not afraid if my relationship doesn’t look how I thought it might.

I’ve scrapped lists and ideas and images because what I realized is I am already a pretty damn awesome whole person. I’m not perfect, I don’t have all the answers, but I’m caught to who I am, with the knowledge that I will keep learning more.

Another person isn’t going to complete me, he’s going to bring out more of me, and I him. Just like any real friendship, relationship, community should.

All of this I am feeling right now kind of sucks, some days are lonely, some days I want to shut out all the couples in my life.  Some days I want to skip town and run.

But man, this foundation I’m standing on is becoming more and more unshakeable and that’s the most beautiful thing to realize.

And the more pressure I feel, the more discombobulated and lonely I feel, the more I know that I’m not those things and the more I know that beauty is waiting beyond the horizon. 

The most lovely, beautiful, unique, real things are made not through waiting but through living. 

That’s why I detest sitting here and thinking and writing about singleness. Because I am not actually single. 

I am just me.

And one day, I will be married, in a relationship. 

And I will still be me.

Honest

if I’m being honest….(part 2)

I’d like to start this off with saying I’m not putting all the things out there that I discussed I would in part 1. I’m realizing the line between vulnerability and sacredness.

I think I’ve been putting off writing the second part of this blog because no doubt it’s a heck of lot more vulnerable and real than I think I really want to be.

But I do.

I want to be.

I want to put this ridiculous notion that is in my head on paper and then hopefully let it die.

In part one I mentioned a conversation with Catherine. My team leader, the person with whom I always ended up in a car with day one of ministry in a new country in a situation that could probably be clarified as stranger danger.

And above all, Catherine is an amazing friend of mine.

I wish I could remember where we had the conversation, what country, what month…a lot of me wants to assume it as in Romania…

 (This is all just me procrastinating actually writing about the conversation)

 Anyways…I made an offhand remark about not getting married, not wanting to have kids etc.

I put my wall up and leaned on it like I always do.

Image

Cat took a sledgehammer from the other side, put a wall and peeked over.

She wondered if I didn’t want kids because I didn’t think I’d ever get married.

Gosh thanks Catherine.

 If I’m being honest…yes that is probably a part of it. I am fearful I am never going to get married.

Never going to be wanted in that way.

deep breath

And it’s not just me.

I’m never the girl people assume is going to get married.

No one ever assumes that I WANT to get married.

No one ever set me up (or attempts too)

I’m rarely told “you’re man is coming”

And yes, it could be how I look.

It could be that I have a nasally voice.

It could be that I’m shy.

I don’t know why I’m stuck in this category for a lot of people.

My hands are shaking as I write out the hurt I felt each time this situations popped up. Because each time my name wasn’t brought into a conversation about future weddings and husbands and kids…

Ugh.

And I’m not blaming, I’m not accusing.

I’m just saying it hurt.

And at the time I didn’t have the words or the emotional capability to form the sentences to say that it hurt.

I look at life a little different now and I can see it hurt and it probably ingrained itself deep into me.

And yes, there are probably multiple defensives etc. that I put out that cause people to think

 “oh that girl just doesn’t want to get married”

 And maybe it’s because I don’t.

And maybe it’s because I don’t think I’m good enough.

Maybe it’s because marriage isn’t in my DNA.

I don’t really know.

And that’s ok.

So this isn’t a huge revelation or something that comes from Jesus.

But it’s me.

Recognizing hurt, hearing my heart, choosing not to get

caught up in something that I might not ever want to get

caught up and also making the decision

to keep things sacred in my heart.

Thanks for reading.