closing out twenty seventeen

2017. what a year. a year of growth, changes, adventures, heartache, the starts of things, the end of things, also a lot of the same things too. what a year.

I like to recap and think back on my years. particularly this year. this year I have taken steps in a real way to change things for myself. change how I interact with others, change how I talk to myself, change how I see myself, and even go so far as to start the steps to change my career.

I had the privilege to travel in every month except March & July. I got to go to 3 new states…all in the Northwest…got to see lots of friends and make some really wonderful memories. I let go of a lot that I’ve been carrying around for a very long time and mourned some people no longer apart of my journey.

The length of time we have to live out full years has been on my mind recently. I have had the opportunity to see the majority of 27 years…..27 years of learning, adventures, forming relationships…27 years to live. And I was reflecting how I’ve wasted a lot of them….wasted them being upset and worrying about what’s coming next or upset with myself instead of enjoying each moment I get to live. Life’s too short to be upset with others, upset with yourself, or not living life how you want.

During this year it was brought to my attention (more than once) about self talk. My self talk, in full disclosure, is pretty damn terrible. I would NEVER talk to other people the way I talk to myself. I am so hard on myself about nearly everything. It’s loud and it’s negative and nothing silences it. I struggle with not letting it get to me and I’ve had to face it a lot more this year in different ways. For some reason this year I have felt very unworthy of anything good. I’ve allowed the thoughts and actions of others define my worth. I HAVE allowed it. And so by realizing that I am the one allowing, I get more upset with myself. And the nasty cycle of negative self talk became more frequent and more detrimental honestly. How am I supposed to form relationships with others or find myself being open to dating or a real and true romantic relationships if I talk to myself that way? I can’t expect someone else to respect me or care about me when I don’t feel that way about myself. I have spent PLENTY of my years in this space of awful self talk and I am making a promise to myself here & now to change that. Change how I talk to myself and stop others’ opinions of me define how I see myself. Those are conscious choices and choices I need to make if I want to continue down the path I want to be on.

Truth be told I have not done a very good job of being open with others this year. I think it’s partly due to this head space I’ve been living in & the other part is me trying to be different and better (which I guess I could attribute to the head space). Regardless, I’ve become much more closed off and keeping my thoughts & feelings to myself. I’ve been doing a lot of internal evaluating and reflecting and there have been changes that have come with doing those things. I haven’t wanted to share and share and share the ways I used to. Sharing can lend to pity & misunderstanding & sometimes, unhelpful opinions. I do not want pity for sure & sometimes the more I share, the more misunderstood and alone I’ve felt so if I don’t share, I can’t be misunderstood right? Sure, in theory. On top of that, I allow others’ opinions to make my decisions. I gave that decision making power away and I needed to take it back. It has been challenging to have to honestly look inside and ask myself what I want. But I believe within this new approach, I’ve become more selfish and definitely have pushed people away. It is not my intent in anyway but I believe it’s become the reality. I have become content with myself enough that I don’t need other people like I did and instead of being a friend to others, I’ve become selfish and incredibly closed off. Plus I know that so much of what I always communicated with to others I have to deal with and move past on my own. Another piece to this is that in all honesty, I haven’t wanted to let people in. When I’ve let people in in the past, it’s caused pain and hurt. So in many ways I have been scared to open that door again. But I am who I am and I don’t need to hide things I’ve felt shame about anymore. Those who love me most don’t and won’t care and that’s what I have been trying to hold onto in the struggle of this opening up business.

As I’m writing all this out I realize it’s confusing. It’s confusing because they almost seem conflicting ideas. I want to be more internal so I don’t rely on other opinions but I also talk super negatively to myself and allow others’ feelings about me define myself? It doesn’t make sense in many ways but it also makes a lot of sense. I believe there is a fine line between opening up and letting others in and remaining true to yourself and making choices that are best for you. Oh and sticking to those decisions and allowing yourself some grace and a little love. In the end, you only have yourself so if you don’t speak kindly to yourself or love yourself, how miserable a life are you going to have? Well a little advice as someone who has been there for a long time, it can lead to the the most miserable life. Love yourself, seriously. Haven’t mastered it yet but working my way there.

Back to my original thought of LIVING life, living life includes being open to letting others in. Sharing stories of success, failures, annoyances, joys, challenges, triumphs is what makes life doable. It makes it worth it when you share and you celebrate with your closest people or you are having a tough day and you need an ear and someone to tell you it’s going to be OK. And loving yourself is part of your job description.  THAT is what living life is about. We’re all in this together and I forgot that in the midst of my journey this year.

SO as I do….I want to thank those who have remained present and there for me when you may have felt that I shut you out. I want to apologize to those where I put all my “worth” eggs. That’s a huge responsibility to feel you have and an unfair one at that. I love and value those so much but it’s not fair at all. For those I pushed away and seemed so self involved, I am sorry. It was truly never my intent. There was a lot of work that had to be done this year and I did the best I could. But I never meant to push away or hurt anyone.

Life is tough you know? We face so many awful and debilitating situations and circumstances and it’s clear to me it’s not going to get any better. But I am starting with loving who I am, giving myself and others much more grace, deserved grace. We have to stick together. Sticking together, relying & loving on one another other makes all the other crap doable, livable, survivable, and OKAY. It’s not necessary to walk through the tough stuff alone and I see that now.

in terms of my plans you may wonder? I’m working on it. I’m doing the things that need to be done to determine where my next steps in 2018 will lead me. Not to sound so vague, but in truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I want to go to school in the fall…I want to move somewhere amazingly beautiful where I can continue to grow into this new version of myself. I want to get this master’s degree and maybe even my doctorate some day. I want that accomplishment. And THEN, I want to help people. I want to make a difference. THOSE things have not wavered. I feel called and driven in that and so I’m doing what I need to do now to make that happen. God has a plan you know? God will guide and place me where I need to be and when I need to be there. It’s been challenging but it’s going to be worth it when I am where I know I need to be. Portland? Utah? Colorado? Wisconsin? California? Arizona? STL? Where will I go? I have no idea. But God does and so I’m ok with not knowing today.

2017, what a year. these are without a doubt the biggest takeaways and things I want to share mostly to remind myself and hope to bring a little light and peace to someone else’s life. We aren’t alone and shouldn’t have to walk this journey by ourselves. Give people a chance. I have a feeling it will be worth it when I can change how I look at things.

2018: I’m ready for whatever God has in store for me.

 

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shedding the old

on this final Friday in October, I feel a strong desire to speak my truth. I feel it’s important to shed the final layer of the old by being honest with the world. It’s scary to be this honest on such a format but I hope by my sharing I can help someone else. Most may see my life as wonderful….I travel often, I have amazing friends, family who loves and takes care of me, yet I always found myself looking and searching for something more. I was never content with my life and never content with myself.I wasn’t striving to have a picture perfect life but I wanted to feel happier than I felt. Unknowingly, I had been fighting severe anxiety for a very long time which caused much of the discontentment. I couldn’t turn my brain off. I couldn’t make the racing thoughts stop. And at times, the anxiety paralyzed me 100%. A lot of the time, I didn’t even know what was happening as I didn’t know what I was dealing with. My anxiety peaked it’s ugly head a few years ago and I literally spiraled out of control. I couldn’t get out of the awful cycle (not to mention, a heartbreak was thrown in there that made it much worse). I would avoid social activities and just go home and sit by myself, get mad at myself for feeling this way and then just cry. I was so consumed by my own hate self talk that I was ruining my own life and my relationships with those I cherish most. I was paralyzed and no matter what fun thing I was doing or cool place I went, it didn’t stop. Nothing I did helped. Even when I learned I had anxiety I still did not know how to fight it or cope with it. No matter what I did, the “I’m not good enough” thoughts and worry about every little choice and decision just would not stop.

Over the last few months, my self discovery lead me to really take control of the anxiety. I accepted what I had been fighting for years and decided I did not want to waste any more of my life. I went to counseling, worked with a life coach, and even went to an energy healer. I took up running, started praying….even did a prayer challenge, began openly talking about my challenges with others. I was able to let go of the past and the matters of the heart and in the process of all this, grew to love myself. I came to understand that I’m the only one who can change and truly the only one I can always count on, so I should be kinder to myself. Just because I have anxiety, does not mean I’m not a good person or a contributing member to those I cherish most. I realized that hiding it and being ashamed was not benefiting me at all. It was making it worse. Since starting these things, the self love has grown tremendously. Loving myself has been the biggest contributing factor to beating the anxiety. I see hope for myself for the future and I’m enjoying the little things about my day…and honestly, I feel like the Katie before all this took me under.
Perhaps I’m making this sound more dramatic than it is or it may be challenging for you to identify with this, but let me just say, it’s no joke. Granted, I haven’t suffered the way many others have or to the same extents that some have but it still was very real for me. And if you haven’t dealt with this debilitating way of life, then you count yourself very blessed. I believe we all deal with things like this at one point or another in our lives because of situations or circumstances but talking about it and owning it makes me feel less alone and more proud of myself for all I’ve learned and grown into. Not to mention, I feel a release of the shame and embarrassment I had felt for so long. The old is gone and the new is here to stay. And I’m grateful, so very grateful. As I end my long novel, I encourage you to be kind to others, be loving to yourself, and enjoy every moment no matter what.
a big thank you to my family and friends who unknowingly helped me along the way.

 

gray is okay

in honoring myself by being honest, I say- this week has been a challenge for me. The fear of the future and the unknown has started to paralyze me again. I had been fairly successful in maintaining perspective and looking at everything in front of me one step at a time. but as things go, the big picture became double wide in my view again and it caused my anxiety to rear its ugly head.

the thing about my anxiety is that it comes in phases and waves. for the last 6 months or so, it was like a hurricane. it was relentless…never giving me a break or room to breathe. It became so severe that it inhibited me from making any decision. I was paralyzed in fear of all the unknowns. I couldn’t even make a decision about what to do for my lunch! It was debilitating to say the least. I think a lot of that happened because I was truly facing myself and learning how to be at peace with myself…ya know look at and accept the bad/negative stuff no one ever wants to face. Together with facing myself, I was trying to let go of a past hurt (a huge undertaking) on top of realizing that what I thought was going to be my future was not making me happy. I was miserable and I was making everyone around me miserable (unintentionally I may add).

I am the person who needs affirmation from others on decisions, on reminding me who I am, lifting me up when I’m down, along with being a verbal processor. But when it came to all the above, I decided I needed to deal with it all on my own. I needed to face myself with myself and no one else, I had to be the one to let go of the past and not talk about it to anyone else, and the whole future part was just too terrifying to even talk about out loud. So not talking about any of that to others brought on another huge change. And when I did share, I felt guilty because I was miserable, probably being slightly annoying as it was the same stuff over and over again, and being a selfish friend. So I found myself sitting in my own misery and depression, not taking steps, realizing things I did not want to deal with, and all alone. It was dark and lonely and necessary. And let’s just say the anxiety was a flowin.

Now that I feel myself on the other side of that darkness, I recognize it was my season. This was my season for change. This was my season for me to sit with myself and find what I’m made of and if those in my life couldn’t see and accept that, then that is on them. I can only do what I can do and control how I communicate and what I say and if that is not accepted, it’s not my fault. That’s another piece of this….I was learning to love myself and be kinder to myself. I couldn’t be responsible for EVERYTHING that was going on around me. That is just not fair to myself and I finally saw that.

As I continue to walk through this transition season, it’s not all perfect and figured out and ya know, that’s OK. These changes can’t happen overnight but I’m taking steps in the right direction. I can finally decide again. I am cutting people out of my life that no longer fit into what is beneficial and healthy for me, I’m taking the steps to follow my dreams of what I see and feel I want to do with my life and most importantly, I’m being kinder to myself. Now that the fear isn’t paralyzing me anymore doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have moments or that the anxiety doesn’t rear its ugly head. Anxiety is something I’m always going to face and have in my life. And I’m OK with that. Nothing is going to “fix” it or make it go away. It doesn’t make it bad or me a failure of a person. It’s part of me and I’m finally at peace with that.

So back to this week….the bigger picture became too much for me to deal with again. Was I really supposed to be doing this? Could I get into grad school? How was I going to do on the GRE? Where am I supposed to be going for grad school? Will I make wrong choice and end up miserable?????

I talked with my dear dear friend who gets the feelings I’ve been having and can give me a different perspective. She told me that since we are black & white thinkers—things are either one way or another, there is no gray….that can lead us to be paralyzed in decision making. We see choices as right or wrong instead of choices leading us down one path or another. There is no perfect decision because we will never know the unknowns. We can only do what we can do and make the best decision in the moment and that no matter what, it will turn out OK. All decisions will have bumps in the road….nothing will be easy but if we choose a path that doesn’t get us to where we want to go, doesn’t mean we failed. We just took a different route. I struggle a lot with failure as well & her sharing all this with me gave me a perspective I don’t have most days. It clicked….no decision is perfect….any decision will be right for where you are meant to be….and that gray is OK. Being in the gray world is OK. It was empowering for me to hear and accept that. All we can do or concern ourselves with is what is right in front of our faces. And when it comes to my future, I can only do what I can do now and the best I can and trust that everything will work out how it’s supposed to and that if things don’t go as I want, I’m not a failure.

This season has been anything but easy. I’ve really fought off a lot of inner demons that have held me back for a long time. Worrying so much about what was or what could have been inhibited me greatly.  This week has reminded me it’s ok not to have it all figured out and setbacks and moments are perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s also reminded me how far I’ve come and that alone is encouraging and empowering. Me alone recognizing that my anxiety is heightened is a step. I’m shedding so much of who I was and turning into who I want to become and that is amazing and wonderful and makes me feel that joy I have been missing for so long.

I want to take a moment and thank all of the people in my life who have gone through this with me whether they knew it or not. For the kind words, the understanding, the love they showed me. I will never forget that or how knowing I had you in my corner during those darkest days saved me. Life is not meant to be lived alone and I’m blessed to have some pretty amazing people in my life.

I’m shedding the old Katie and no matter what happens, I still firmly believe, it all happens for a reason, even the “bad”. Gray is good. Gray is life.

 

breathe

deep breaths are extremely powerful. and I didn’t realize how powerful until a couple of days ago. really breathing through pain and uncomfortable moments has a profound impact on the brain, heart, and soul.

you see, I’m still on this journey to let things go. let the past go. let the pain from the past go. forge something new….a new attitude, a new perspective, a new outlook, a new feeling on the inside. It feels impossible some days…some days I would rather curl up in a ball on my couch and let the world pass by me. Some days the energy to change just feels too much and it’s easier to sit in my old ways. However, I have learned this week that I need to give myself a real chance to be different, do different, think different, treat myself different. If I can start to treat myself with the love I treat those I love most, maybe things really would be different & maybe, just maybe, I would treat others with even more love than I feel I do now.

I have spent enough time beating myself up… not trusting my own decisions & feelings and losing my sense of self. I have worried so much about what everyone else thinks about me, my choices, my behaviors, that I have lost a huge part of who I am. I believed myself to be strong & independent but I was not living that way at all. And it’s OK that I wasn’t. It’s OK. Everyone has their seasons of this I feel…it’s human nature to care what other people think about you. It’s natural to want to have the desire to make others happy. But I have learned it’s most important to make yourself happy regardless of what the rest of the world is telling you. You have to find it within yourself to be happy with whatever season your in and wherever you are sitting. You have a voice. You have a powerful, beautiful, strong voice. Use it. Use it for good. Use it to create for you. Living in fear (whatever fear may look like to you) does not serve you. It holds you back from being your full beautiful powerful amazingly wonderful self. Don’t let the opinions or thoughts of others hold you back. Don’t let the negativity that surrounds you, hold you back. Breathe through it all and let go and trust yourself. (and honestly, as I type you….I’m really talking to myself here.)

It’s OK to have been in this season. It’s OK to have challenges and struggles of self-identity and with who and where you put your value. The important part is that it has been identified now and you have the ability to change this. You don’t have to stay in the same place. I have struggled with the ability to change but I can change too. I’m more than capable and the possibility of creating something and someone new for myself could be the answer to my all of my prayers. God is right there with me and while I don’t always recognize or consciously remember that, I know He’s there….guiding, encouraging, pushing me on with His plans.

You have so much to offer yourself, your family, your friends, the world & you haven’t even tapped into all of it yet. You are capable of any and everything and moving on from the past and seeing it as learning experiences and what you needed at that time to get you to where you are now. Forgive yourself and others will continue to help clear and pave the way for where you’re supposed to be going and who you’re supposed to be.

Breathing through the release of letting go….just breathing…..shed the old and trust in God and yourself to create something amazing. Just breathe, it’s all going to be OK.

new beginnings

If you don’t know me or haven’t talked to me in a while, when I turned 27 I started on this quest to find myself. I know I have said that many times and in many situations prior but I really meant it this time. I could feel it was crucial to my future and my future happiness.

As I have explained to close friends and family, I have been feeling like I’m sitting in this bowl (in my mind, it’s this small purple one I’ve had since I went to college) and there is press and seal covering it and for years, I was content at the bottom…not needing to think or make decisions for myself. I have been too scared to make a decision because I don’t want to disappoint others or am too scared to actually change. Recently, I have felt like I’m at the top of the bowl banging on that press & seal and not being able to break through it. I want to break through it, desperately. I am no longer content at the bottom being miserable. And I know there has to be change. It’s time to think for myself…make decisions that will make ME happy….and follow my heart.

I knew that in order to get out from the bottom, I needed to deepen my relationship with God. God and I go way back and I like to think he spends a lot of time chuckling at me with my grand plans and my hopes and dreams. On June 26th, I started a 40 day prayer challenge. And if you know me, you know I like dates and the anniversary of important things and I believe, June 26th will remain a very important day in my life.

 

The 40+ days I’ve spent praying really hard and looking at who I am, where I want to go, and asked God to continue to open my ears and my heart to where He was guiding me and that He would get the glory for whatever happened because I sure don’t deserve it. There is a lot of other stuff in there, but that is at the core of where my prayers have been focused. During all this I struggled a lot (ok that is probably not surprising) but I reached new lows…lows I haven’t experienced before…lows that made me question everything: who I am and where I belong. Why was I not worthy of all the things I wanted in life? Why did I feel not good enough for anything or anyone? Those questions ran through my head time and time and time again and then I found myself questioning the most important relationships–my dearest friends and confidants and my parents. I hate that I felt that way but I did. I was at the bottom of that bowl. And worst of all, I felt completely 100% alone.

I didn’t know if it was going to get better and not that I was questioning God because I don’t know that I was but I was not recognizing that He was there with me all along. I got too caught up in my own brain and my need to control, I wasn’t truly giving Him the power. Once I realized that, I felt less alone and I was more than capable.

The one person I really needed to be honest with and fix my relationship was with my Dad. He and I don’t always see eye to eye and have a lot of similarities that don’t help that all the time but we have had many ups and downs this year and that has been extremely hard on both of us. I felt extremely compelled to finally talk to him and be honest. It was weighing on me every moment and I absolutely hated the discord. He has always been one of my strongest supporters and inspiration for me so not having that in my life during this was killing me. I had been so scared of what this conversation would look like but I knew it had to happen to really start being true to myself. Our conversation was so wonderful and was the best conversation we have ever had. And I know God was there with both of us that day. I was honest…I told him I was not happy at work and while I desperately wanted to want to be there, my heart was not in it. I wanted it to be…it’s all I ever have thought of and known. I want to make him and my mom proud and I feel that by feeling that I’m not happy I will disappoint them more than anyone has before. On top of that, thinking about making a career change and leaving is really scary. And I have NO idea what I would even want to do! At one point out of no where he suggested I look into becoming a counselor. It was a sign! most don’t know, but I have thought of that off and on for over a year. I was too scared though. I was too scared to make any decision. Again, for so long it was just easier to sit in fear than to rock the boat.

Anyway, I KNOW God was in that conversation because I had asked for a sign a few days earlier in my prayer that God would continue to guide and direct me in what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I needed and still need the guidance. But my dad saying that to me in our conversation was my sign. The more I talked about it or shared with others, the more excited I have become.

Counseling, I can see it! Me helping people, making a difference in someone’s life. I finally feel like this is my calling…this is what I’m supposed to be doing. It doesn’t matter that I’m 27 and completely changing my career. I feel and know God has spoken and instead of trying to control, I’m giving it to Him to guide and carry me through on this plan. This is my time and God has said a lot of “not yet” in my life when I feel like He should be telling me “yes yes yes” but this one is a yes, now.

I feel the most comfort and peace I have felt since I graduated college. I don’t know where I’m going to go or how it all looks but I am open to any and all ideas and keeping my ears listening to God.

It’s a brand new beginning for me and I feel so confident and content about it that it brings me to tears. God is good and I know no matter what, He is there with me every step of the way.

I want to thank my closest friends and my family…especially my parents for supporting me and being there for me through my post college journey. It has been challenging in many ways but I have grown and feel so blessed to continue to have such an amazing circle in my life. I love you all so much.

I don’t share this to brag on my new goals/dreams/plans that have come from this 40 day prayer challenge. I share and write this to give hope to others. To show that because of digging deeper in my relationship with God, it has brought me into a new mindset with a different perspective. It just happened to impact my goals for my life. God gets all the glory here….He is the one carrying me along and guiding me. No matter what is going on in your life or things you may be dealing with, God is right there with you. And no matter what He is saying, trust Him because I know it will be worth it.

cheers to new beginnings and all that’s to come!

 

friday humor

let me tell you a little story….it's a story that is mostly humorous and comical… filled with a touch of disappointment and a "WTF" thrown in there a few times.

it's a story of Katie's dating life or lack there of. I don't like dating, I don't like feeling the pressure to be the perfect version of myself when I know good and well that no one is really 100% of the time that way. and because of who I am, I choose to put even more pressure on myself. Dating is supposed to be fun and light and exciting and casual and I look at it like I have one shot at going on one date with one guy in order for him to be "the one". It's insane!!! Part of it is my own fault and part of it is the way the dating world works and my experience, or lack there of in relationships. It's comical to me when I hear about other friends going on dates and how they look at it and honestly, it just terrifies me. I would rather be friends with someone first and let it grow into more…that's what I prefer but that can't happen if I'm going on dates.

After many a year NOT dating and my broken heart finally truly on the mend, I decided it was finally time to try this again. (I'm serious, this is like a once a year, every few years deal for me). Yes, have been on all the dating apps with little to no success but about over a year ago I matched with this guy on Tinder and he seemed really sweet and nice and we started chatting on there and then started texting. At this particular time, I was not really wanting to go on dates or date anyone, just to talk to someone to distract me from my unrequited love (I know it's dramatic but what else do you say when you love someone and they don't love you back?) So I wasn't really in a place for actual dating…too scary I wasn't ready to give up on my heart. We continue to talk for a few months and I finally get up the nerve to actually meet this guy. He was patient and I think I was hoping I would piss off the other one enough that he would realize his true feelings for me. And let me just be frank, life doesn't work like that….that is in the world of fairy tales where the girl ends up with the boy….not. real. life. and p.s. me doing that did not make him jealous. AT ALL. alas, I digress…back to my story.

This guy was kind enough to come to my neck of the woods and we met a sports bar I've never been to so we could watch the Carolina basketball game. (I'm a big fan) I was super nervous but kind of excited! I felt like I knew him pretty well so I would be more at ease. I arrived first and I saw him driving to find a parking spot and when he saw me got super excited and was waving so big. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking "oh lord here we go". I waited for him at the front door and he asked for a hug and so I hugged him and as we were walking inside, he held the door and it made me feel uncomfortable (why I have NO idea) but it did and so being me, I said "Oh you don't have to do that!" Ugh I'm such an idiot sometimes. We had to wait a bit for a table and so we sat on this small bench and then he tried to touch my thigh right above my knee and I said "oh that's a little too much too fast". I think it made him feel uncomfortable but I met him less than 5 minutes before!!! Again, I do NOT move fast. AT ALL. Not going to apologize for it either anymore. We eventually sit and talk and hang out and eat and drink and he shared very interesting things….talked a lot about his daughter (I get it) and about his ex-wife which I found rather odd. And how she was a virgin on their wedding night (COOL. THAT doesn't make me feel uncomfortable or weird or anything……….) And honestly, I was thinking about the other guy and was comparing the two pretty much the whole time. I never really relaxed and didn't feel like I was myself but in all honesty, I realized I wasn't ready. I wasn't over things and I didn't want to be unfair to this nice guy. I feigned illness so I could go home…and yes that is bad but it had been 3 hours and I was mentally exhausted. He walked me to my car and planted a kiss. WHICH by the way, I had mentioned multiple times while we were eating that I like and need to take things slow. Sorry but to me, that is not slow and you clearly didn't hear me when I said SLOW. I said goodbye and got the hell out of there.

Now I know that slow is different to each person so I respect that and I knew very well and good I was comparing in my mind the whole time and this guy simply did not live up to what, in my mind, is my standard. Regardless if things didn't work out with the other guy, doesn't matter, he set a standard and will continue to be my standard….good or bad as that may be. And I'm ok with that, especially now.

After our date, I blew the guy off for a few days and decided I needed to be honest with him. I told him that I really liked him (maybe a stretch) but I was just NOT in a place to be dating. I was getting over someone still and my heart was not ready or willing to move on. And he accused me of lying and not be truthful but in fact it was the honest truth. We went back and forth a few times and he finally got I was telling the truth. I still wasn't ready to be dating and his intenseness with me freaked me out some so I know that was part of it too.

Alas, we continued to talk off and on from April last year until now. Nothing too serious or deep but he always seemed to reach out when it was like I was getting too wrapped up in the past with the past. It was comical because I felt like God was giving me a sign. I tried to listen and be really open to going out with him again and giving him a real chance. I felt he deserved it after kind of stringing him along even though I wasn't being too forward or saying how much I liked him or wanted him. Just felt he deserved another chance. Oh and he drunk texted me one night…something really inappropriate…it was funny but definitely made me feel uneasy. Oh and he's 40ish so that makes it even more comical and slightly, WTF, you're 40.

FINALLY I got up the nerve and we decided to meet up….last Friday to be exact. Originally we were going to meet on Wednesday and I was FREAKING out. FREAKING out. I was so nervous and I felt I was because he continued to say how much he liked me and was so into it. And I knew I was putting too much pressure on this date and myself but I couldn't stop myself. It wasn't fun and casual anymore, I was back to looking at it as I get one chance, one guy, one shot. And I had been sick the week before so I postponed until Friday and there would be alcohol involved so it would be easier for both of us. I panicked about it all day and talked to way too many people about but I knew I had to go no matter what. I needed all questions answered and to really see what this guy was all about. I ended up messaging him about my nerves because I felt it would help and it really did. He told me no pressure and that we would be friends regardless and he was nervous too so I felt like "Ok I can do this." I psyched myself out and I was going to do it.

As I walk up to him, I said a little prayer…asked God to be with me, help me be open, really give him a chance, and to be myself. We said hi and hugged and here apparently is where it goes south. I was nervous so I said something silly- "Oh it's casual Friday?!" I was in a dress. I felt over dressed compared to him and plus I was just trying to break the ice. I wasn't intending to be critical of his outfit (although he was wearing a winter fedora so I was internally critiquing that…who wouldn't? It was 1000 degrees outside). I remembered he likes to open doors so I let him this time without saying anything rude and we were seated. We kind of talked about my nerves and there were many lauls in the conversation so in order to keep it going, I asked a lot of questions. I didn't want to feel uncomfortable so I just kept up with the questions. He chugged his beers and whenever I did talk (p.s. he did not ask me ONE question about myself. not. one.) he stared everywhere except my face. My hands, my arms, my chest (mostly there) and never once looked at my face when I was talking or sharing a story. He didn't seem interested in what I had to say or getting to know me at all. Cool. His staring made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and I was trying to ignore it and just chalk it up to nerves. Now remember, I told him earlier that day how nervous I was and that I needed to take things slow, I kept saying it and was being up front and honest. Don't think there is anything wrong with that….I was being true to myself. And what does he do? Awkwardly reaches across the table and tries to grab my hand. Which then I literally snatched it back so fast I didn't even realize I did it. CLEARLY did not want him holding my hand let alone touching me. It was not because he repulsed me (although on some level he totally did) but it was about the fact that he completely ignored and disrespected me in my requests for things to go slow. SLOW. and again, while hand-holding is not slow though awkward when you're sitting across from one another, it's fast enough to me. at least with him. SO there was that. And soon enough it was time to go and he made a comment about how he would "pick up the tab since I'm going to buy dinner in a few". GEE. THANKS SO MUCH. That bothered me too but again, I was trying to do this whole thing in a different space and different mindset than before. I was still not feeling comfortable with physical stuff but hey, it's been one time. Give me a flipping break PARTICULARLY with my lack of experience.

He asks me to walk with him to his car so we did and asked him not to make any moves because I didn't want to be taken off guard again and I was trying to get him to respect what I had asked and said so many times before. He awkwardly gave me a hug and we said goodbye.

I left feeling relieved and proud of myself for going….and as the night went on I knew it wasn't right. If I really liked him, I would have been more willing to let him hold my hand or kissing me or if it was right, he would have respected me more. So I was proud I went but needed to tell him I didn't want to move forward in a relationship. I put it off and really didn't hear from him much so I thought maybe he wasn't feeling me either. I was kind of cold. :O

I talked with Jason and he helped me with what to say and so Tuesday I got up the nerve to text him finally. I said exactly what Jason told me to and felt good about it…..I was kind but was honest and was allowed to not feel it. He responded with "I figured as much. 14 months is a really long time to go in between meetings. And I wasn't feeling the same as I did last year anyways." Ok. I can respect that….it kind of stung because I was MORE myself this time so I did feel a tinge of rejection but let's be honest, I didn't spend that much time with him nor did I spend that much emotion on him so he didn't deserve me to be upset. I replied and said "OK. Well I'm glad then I guess you feel the same. We both need to be honest with ourselves and each other. So I guess we won't be friends then either?" To which he replied….and it's too long to go into on here…but he replied. A big. Long. Rant and what I'm calling a text attack about how terrible I basically am. He reiterated he wasn't feeling it and that he was super offended about my comment about his outfit (thus why I said that above) and went into all the reasons he dressed that way….I don't care! I didn't care then! I said it because I was nervous!!!! (other than the winter fedora). And that he could tell I wasn't into him so he bailed and didn't care and that we couldn't be friends because he was just saying that because he was hoping for something romantic to come from it and that's what he gets for being positive and hopeful about it turning into a relationship and plus he needs to clear his mind and focus on the positive things in his life, and honestly, I'm not one of them. END. (also he blocked me on FB…again, how old are you?!)

speechless. it left me in tears if I'm being honest. It felt like a verbal attack. written attack I guess but I felt attacked. I chose not to respond because he didn't deserve to hear from me again but OMG & WTF. I had been honest and upfront with where I was at and what I needed the ENTIRE TIME. I did not lie and I did not lead him on so if he thought I was just joking with him, I was not. I was as honest as I could possibly be. And it all became more about his unnecessary text attack…he doesn't really know me or what I meant by all that or anything about me because he never took the TIME to ask me questions. It became highly evident he cared about having sex and getting some then he did about me. I was mad at myself for believing he was a good guy and made me really question, what is wrong with me?! I shared all this with way too many people but I felt like I needed support. I needed backing. I needed someone to say I was right and he was just being a complete ass for no reason other than he was upset and disappointed.

I have to be honest, this whole thing threw me. It made me question everything and everyone and it was so small and trivial. It was one date. No big deal. But why could he not have said something else and just been cordial about it? Fine if you didn't feel it, great. Makes it easier in a way. But no. He attacked my character and who I am and that is what hurt. I am still trying to process through it and let it go….it's in the past and it really is a good lesson more than anything.

So. Here I am. Still pretty much in the same place. BUT that is OK. I still have a standard. I did not give him anything (literally, Thank you God) and he doesn't know anything about me obviously. I was true to myself, I let myself be open and that is really all that matters. I am and will remain proud of myself for that. I just can't let myself wait another 3 years to go on another date…..even though I am scared about it….I gotta keep doing it. No matter what. God guided me to this situation for a reason and while I have an idea what it is, I know he has something even better in mind for me 🙂

Thanks for reading….I hope you laughed and cringed and well, someone out there may relate.

Cheers to this life….it's pretty great

all my love,

K