Category Archives: relationships

boys. can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

rainbow wheel

some days i feel as if i am staring at a spinning rainbow wheel. i have committed to starting this conversation, both within myself and as part of a bigger theological discussion. and yet…i find myself stuck, wondering where to even begin. i guess i should just go for it.




i had a dream this week (that i actually remember). i dreamed that i had a family. i had a husband and two little boys. we went on adventures, we joked, we held hands. i was happy.

i want that life. i have tried for the last three years to convince myself that i don’t. because it hurts. it hurts to know that i want a partner to travel the world with, and kids to love and teach and learn from. it hurts to know that i am nowhere close to having that life. i have convinced myself to let this dream go, because i have also convinced myself that i will never have it. to hope for it hurts.

because the truth is, for as much as i want that, i can’t imagine that life for myself. i just can’t picture it. i think there are two reasons why: first, i can’t imagine a man with the qualities that i want/need that i can also stand to be around every day. second, i can’t imagine anyone who would actually want to love and be with me every day.

these two premises are deeply problematic. the first makes me incapable of love, the second makes me incapable of being loved. or perhaps more appropriately worded: incapable of loving and incapable of allowing someone to love me. the first makes me unable to hold someone else’s complete vulnerability, and the second makes me unable to trust someone with my own vulnerability.

to me, love is not safe, it is dangerous. it is not worth risking for.

this is somewhat shocking to articulate. in friendships, i tend to love freely and deeply. i continue to risk and invest in friendships, even when i know they can only last for a time, and even though i have been hurt in the past. i can’t comprehend how i can be this way in a friendship and not in a relationship.

to sum: it seems i don’t know how to love within the context of an intimate dating relationship, and it also seems that i still believe that i am unworthy of being loved. so there’s that.

what does this have to do with this conversation about sexuality? to tell you the truth, i’m not sure i know. but it would seem that if i can’t seem to wrap my brain around being in a relationship with someone, it is not a surprise that i can’t wrap my brain around sex.

sex, like many other things, serves a function for everyone. for some, it is merely an act intended for procreation. for some, it is merely an act that satisfies some physical and biological urge or need. i see sex as an act of utter vulnerability – a vulnerability that i can’t comprehend.

some questions that i have moving forward from here:
– why do i still feel unlovable?
– what is it about vulnerability (in dating relationships) that scares me so much, given that i am pretty good at it in friendships?
– how should sex function in our lives? how do we distort that function? what does that distortion do to us as humans?
– is my desire for a family simply related to enculturation and gender stereotypes? is it just because i know that staying single means that eventually i will be the only one of my friends who is still single, and that is a lonely place (for an extrovert) to be?
– is sex part of what it means to be human (the everyone has sex argument)? if i don’t ever have sex, does that make me less human, or somehow deficient?

big questions.

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sexuality and identity

year two can be summed up or categorized by three themes:

creativity
sexuality
formation

nearly every conversation i seem to be having is about one or more of these topics, and often, all three.

that said, i feel very strongly that i have some work to do. perhaps some healing, maybe some confession, certainly some articulating of my own story that helps me to find clarity.

there is going to be a lot of uncertainty on this journey. i will probably say a lot of things that will be in process. i may not want to land on them for a long time, or incorporate them as axiomatic for my life, but they might be where i am at any given moment. i will also be raising and addressing what i think are valid, honest, and important questions. because of these things, and because if i am posting it might keep me accountable to actually do the work, i think that i will be posting this journey here – but with some limitations.

first, i wont be advertising on my facebook. this will most likely severely limit my audience. that’s okay. this means that the people reading it will be people who want to hear it, not just people who stumble upon my post in their newsfeed.

second, i reserve the right to password protect any post i desire. usually it will be because it is intensely vulnerable for me to share, and i am unsure about it. if i decide to password protect a post, my hope is that it doesn’t stay password protected for too long, just long enough to run it by trusted sources to affirm that it is worthwhile to the conversation.

ADDENDUM: third, my hope is to be able to experience some of this process creatively as well. that may mean that you see more poetry (Lord willing), perhaps artwork, etc. know that in sharing those things i am simply trying to articulate my own process, not necessarily contribute to a larger conversation.

so…here it goes.

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still more

air rushes in
and for the hint of a moment
i am full
i am filled
until
the flutter of
adrenaline kicks
and just as quickly
the air escapes

the salty droplets
seem to halt
at my lashes
because i can’t bring myself to
let go

there is a weight
so heavy on my chest
as the rhythm repeats:

in, full
panic, out

because i know
deep down i know
there is still more to process
still more pain
still more lies to dismantle
still more truth to unfold

this is me
i am strong
i am confident
i am whole
i am known
and named.
it isn’t a lie

yet
words
and memories
still swirling around
still stuck in my heart

words
and memories
like bricks and mortar
keeping this wall
impenetrable

but why?
my biggest question is
why?

why is love still the issue?
why have i gotten so good at portraying an image
no matter how true
that it is the only thing even i can see?

why don’t i believe it?

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Protected: a unicorn or a leper

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Protected: the vulnerability of lament

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love

I have recently read two articles that have gotten me thinking. This one by Lori Gottlieb, and this one by Donald Miller. You can read these on your own, I wont rehash them here, but share some reflections.

As I approach the landmark of 25 and look back on my 24th year, I can’t say that I am where I thought I would be at this point last year. I have made some mistakes, been humbled, and grown a lot because of that. And I have learned a lot about love.

There are things that I like about both of these articles, but at the same time, there are things that don’t sit well with me.

Gottlieb talks about “settling” in a relationship (read the article for the specific points she makes). To an extent, I think she has a point. The way that women go about seeking someone to spend their life with is somewhat shocking and discouraging. We have this fairytale ideal in our minds of what we should be holding out for. Its been my experience and observation that this does not exist. The story doesn’t end with the charming Prince kissing the girl, followed by the words “and they lived happily ever after…” I think the point that Gottlieb is trying to make is that we need to be a little bit more realistic about what our expectations are and should be. My contention with her, though, is in some of the language she uses around “settling”. The term, in my mind, sends a message that the person you are “settling” for is somehow subpar and you are lowering yourself in order to be with them. I think this robs a person of their inherent worth as a human. Rather than “settling”, I prefer to think of this action as more of an awareness and a choice. Instead of choosing to seek after some unrealistic ideal that may or may not ever happen, Gottlieb’s “settling” is to me the choice to engage real life as an adult.

Similarly, Donald Miller talks about love as a need rather than an emotion. I love his language around this, and exploration of God as love, in this context of love as a need. Miller talks about this assumption that we have that a need exists because we have some sort of incompleteness or weakness…but what if that is not the case? What if need is inherent in what it means to be human and in relationship with God and others?

After reading these two articles and reflecting for a bit, I think that love is a need. Love is a need for connection and relationship. But love is also an action, a choice.

Love is a need that we each have, and love is the choice to meet that need for someone else.

Without both of these things, a relationship cannot work. I cannot expect someone to meet my need for love if I am not choosing to meet their need as well. This is love. Love is not a fairytale romance. There is no “happily ever after”[1]. Love is about walking side by side through the muck of life, a partnership, a daily choice to work together to move forward in life, to build each other up and help to meet each other’s needs.

This is the kind of love that I want.





[1]This is not to say there is no such thing as romance….that’s an entirely different conversation

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dating

i have decided something.

dating, in and of itself, is an excellent activity. i think this for two reasons:

a: i know myself pretty well, and am confident in who i am. i’m not willing to compromise myself for anyone. that makes it pretty easy to meet someone new and not be nervous they aren’t going to like me. if someone doesn’t like me while i’m being myself, its probably not going to work out. that kind of straight-forwardness is comforting.

b: i also like learning new things about other people and about myself. dating presents a very unique opportunity for this. i get to meet all kinds of different people from all kinds of different backgrounds, and i get to interact with them in a pretty intentional way. that’s cool! i also get to see how i react and respond to different things, what is important to me, and what i need to be aware of or change about myself.

granted, there are those dates that i spend the entire time silently pleading to myself for them to end, but they don’t happen that often.

i also think dating is a practice that is highly underrated in a lot of christian circles. that’s an entirely different blog post, though. 😉

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