Onward and Upward

I can’t be my true self around my husband.  I can’t say whatever I want, do whatever I want, or act however I want.

And that’s a really good thing.

Because my true self is selfish and way too worried about schedules and spreadsheets (I would have made an excellent railroad operator).  My true self doesn’t think about the fact that she’s living with another human being who may not want to get dumped on about the day’s littlest details the moment she walks in the door.  My true self has sky-high expectations for her husband’s every word, thought, and action without holding herself to that same standard.  My true self is careless about feelings, quick to offend, and slow to forgive.

So thank goodness that my husband draws out the best in me and challenges me to be my better self instead of my true self.

“But shouldn’t we be able to be vulnerable and open with our spouses?  Shouldn’t our homes be safe places to share our feelings?”

Well, yes.  Of course.  But whether if you’re bound to someone in a marriage covenant or just split a rent check each month; you are no longer an autonomous being.  Our moods and words effect our housemates and spouses.  We should strive to build relationships that encourage truth.  But those beautiful relationships aren’t just the result of throwing all filters out the front door and saying whatever comes to mind.  Sometimes loving your spouse means shutting your mouth.

For me, it means checking my mood when I get home from work. Right before I turn the corner leading towards our studio apartment and right after making a few quick glances into the dark corners of the gardens to make sure our not-so-neighborly skunk isn’t waiting to sabotage me, I think “would I want to greet myself in this mood after a long day’s work?” If the answer is no (and it usually is, because even the best days at work end with a commute in Southern California traffic), then I pause and take a moment to reset my perspective on the day and stop dwelling over the little angsts from the past 8 hours.

My true self still shows up a lot.  I say things that are unkind and worse yet, I really mean them.  I am grateful that my husband and friends continue to shower me with love that appreciates me for where I am but also can see the better me and continually encourages me to become that person.

Top 30: Things Girls Wish They Could Say to Guys

So I was thinking the other day about all the things I’d tell guys if I could and started talking about it with my friends.  Turns out they had a few opinions on this matter as well.  This list is a compilation of girl’s unspoken wishes from across the hall, across campus, and across the country.  Girls, see if these ring true for you.  Guys, read carefully.

1) Please don’t buy us gifts.  It’s sweet but it just makes everything awkward.  Spending time with us and listening to us > anything you could ever buy us. (caveat: this depends on love languages aka not a universal rule for all girls)

2) Your attractiveness level increases exponentially with personality.  Not necessarily outgoingness, because we can see through that.  Just having a solid character works.

3) Don’t play games.

5) We aren’t looking for the cookie-cutter romantic night out.  A walk and a cup of coffee will do just fine.

6) Don’t tell me I’m perfect or the most beautiful girl on campus.  I know I’m not, and you’re not, and that’s okay.

7) Along the same lines, don’t change for us.  Holding yourself to higher standards is fine, but if we like you, it’s because we like you just the way you are.

8) Mostly, we just want you to make us feel safe.

9) We like to feel confident and self-sufficient, but deep down, we just want someone to take us by the hand and lead the way.  Even the leaders don’t want to lead all the time.

10) Flirting is overrated.  We don’t like having to do it and there are better ways to show you are interested.

11) Never treat us any differently in front of your guy friends.  If we are good enough for you, we are good enough for them.

12) Don’t tell us that we complete you.  We should be compatible and need/want each other but ultimately, God completes us.  If you need a girl to complete you, you probably shouldn’t have one.

13) When we cry, you can’t do, smash, or fix anything. We just want to be held.

14) What we love most are the moments when you are truly yourself. Those are tender and romantic. Don’t engineer things to try to be what you think we want.

15) Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t tell us what you think we want  to hear. Trust us, the truth has a way of coming out in the end.

16) Females are typically the ones that are stereotyped as being the insecure ones, so we have a hard time understanding that you are afraid of rejection too. That being said, we still want you to be willing to put yourself out there, and…

17) Initiate. Say something. Tell us you have feelings for us. BE A MAN (cue Mulan music). Because the girl that’s worth waiting for is one who is going to wait for the guy to lead the way. A pushy girl may make things easy for you, but as fast as you get into that relationship is as fast as you’re getting out.

18) A sincere compliment is the key to a girl’s heart.

19) We want to be able to build you up, but don’t belittle yourself in order to force the encouragement. We’ll give it without asking, we promise.

20) As much as you can, try and notice the little things. We feel special when you tell us that you remember something about us.

21) Your attractiveness increases TEN-FOLD if you show us that you are good with children.

22) Poetry/notes/letters are not over-rated.

23) We like guys with a good sense of humor, but you don’t always have to try to be funny.

24) Don’t be a different person around your guy friends than you are one-on-one with us. It’s annoying when you are a different person depending on who you are hanging out with.

25) We will judge you based on the quality of your friends. Choose wisely.

26) We LOVE figuring out what you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to tell us.

27) It’s great having someone to go out on a date with, to hold, to kiss, and do all of the things that people in a relationship normally do. But above all, if we have feelings for you, we really want to be your best friend. Because YOU are OURS.

28) As mentioned previously, being a leader is important. But being the SPIRITUAL leader is essential.

29) Can you dance? No? LEARN. (Singing is a great alternative.)

30) We love hugs. The end.

There it is!  If you’re a guy, what would you like to tell us?  Comment if you so desire.

The Drawer

It’s full of odds and ends.  The junk drawer.  Where obscure items get shoved when your mom tells you to clean off the table.  In my house, there is this weird thing where we refuse to acknowledge that we have such a drawer.  But we do.  Just no one wants to admit it.

Good job, you made it through the intro.  This post is an odds and ends drawer.  A few random thoughts that are not quite meaty enough to have their very own post.  So they end up here.

#11.  Random Acts of Kindness
Guess what?!?  It is Random Acts of Kindness week next week!!  This is extremely exciting for me.  While it makes a nice theme for a week, it really is something that should be done year-round.  Give a friendly smile to a stranger, pay for the person behind you, clear off the windshield of the person next to you.  Come up with your own ideas!  There are some on the RAK website but they are pretty lame, more like things you should be doing everyday.

#86.  Valentine’s Day

If you are expecting some angry, bitter post on how Valentine’s Day is just a day to make everyone who doesn’t have a “special someone” feel horrible about themselves and that it is just Hallmark’s sneaky way of making everyone buy their overpriced pieces of card stock…..look elsewhere.  This is a positive outlook on the very controversial idea of love.  Everyone has had those impossible crushes.  Where you like someone one that has no clue or will never like you in return.  My friend describes it in a good way….you spend all the time when you are with them wanting them to notice you.  And then they leave.  And part of you slinks behind them.  It is at these times when love seems hopeless.  As Charlie Brown put it, “Nothing takes the taste out of a peanut better sandwich like unrequited love.” So, when you think about it….two people being in love is pretty much a miracle.  The fact that two people could both like each other and gather up the courage to admit it and take that first step…..love is powerful, wonderful, and dangerous.  But I’m just talking about two people. Zoom out.  There is a God who loves you like crazy.  He created this incredible universe for us, and as a thank you we screw up.  All the time.  He is under no obligation to continue loving us or saving us.  But He does.  And His love isn’t just that highschooly crush-type stuff.  It’s the real thing.  He loves me even though I could never reciprocate fully while I consistently prove myself unworthy. Mind. Blown.

#24. Polychromatic Emotions.
“And how does that make you feel?”  That infamous psychologist line is very difficult for me to answer.  I don’t just have one emotion about ANYTHING.  It’s a mixture, a blend of colors and tones and hues and saturations.  I feel pretty purply with a splash of lime green and periwinkle.  How do you like me now Dr. Phil?  I’m pretty sure others feel the way I do.  Not only do emotions come in vivid bright colors (forget the boring black and white stuff) there is a full range of colors.  They mix and mingle with each other, the pigments smudging over the futile boundaries that we set up.  If I am happy, I am not simply happy.  I’m most likely joyful and ecstatic but maybe a little apprehensive since happiness rarely feels sincere for me.  Every decision comes with an entire palette of emotions, one for each pro and con on my flip chart.

#49.  An Uncharacteristically Stereotypical Blog Post
Usually, my blogs are about my thoughts and philosophies.  This little scrap is just about me.
I’m getting really excited for college.  There are so many possibilities that I am simultaneously delirious with happiness and paralyzed with fear.  Kind of a fuchsia feeling with some neon yellow mixed in.
I love Narnia.  I’ve loved the idea of another world ever since I started creating one when I was five (I’ll save that for another post someday).  I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan.  I have not read all of his books but am working through his essays currently.  I very much enjoy his logical way of presenting confusing ideas.
I have amazing friends.  I don’t have a group since I haven’t really stuck with one “extracurricular activity” long enough.  It’s more an eclectic cluster of people that inspire me, love me, and make me wish I could be a better friend to all of them.
Okay, my incredibly egotistical writing is done now.  Tell me something about you.