Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spiritual Healing- Reintegration


 Thoughts on Life After (and before the next) Love: Reintegration




I've been doing some reflecting these past few days after coming home from my visit to LA. So many things to think about and so many reality checks. If you've been reading my older posts you'll know that I'm going through the post-break-up life. It's been a truly amazing healing journey for me. My soul has never felt so raw and so embraced by God. Lots of silence and solitude, lots of tears, and lots of friendships taken to a deeper level.

So, Los Angeles is an interesting land. Living there for 2 years, I had the chance to experience the night life, the social events, the red carpet premiere events, the graduate academic life, the local life, and the tourist life; but this was all as a taken woman (long-distance relationship). I didn't have to worry about having those awkward back-and-forth texts with a guy I met while having a night out on the town, stress over how I should sound when responding to a message, friend him on facebook?, discern what a hug or smiley face emoticon meant, watch how he acts around other ladies to see if he treats me differently or the same, wait "x" amount of days before calling back, or wonder if he liked me or not. Heck, I didn't really have to worry about how I looked or whether or not I was gonna attract a guy at this or that event. Let's be honest here. Aren't these things usually on the top 10  list of concerns running through a single-person's mind especially for those in their 20-30 something year old "prime chapters of life?"  ... Well, I am definitely beginning to feel all of these single-life pressures now. And being a newly single woman, I am realizing how out of the loop I am. 

The dating world is so foreign to me.

I was in a pretty serious relationship that lasted 5+ years of my early adult-forming years (age 18- mid twenties). These years are usually the time when you would run free, maybe "talk" to a few different guys (simultaneously), explore the sea, go on dates, flirt... And I say all this emphasizing that it is okay to see and explore what's out there while still maintaining your integrity and purity.

During my teens I was a pretty mellow kid. Social media wasn't the same back then (and only less than 10 years ago!)- Way less involved and my only pressure then was to respond to an AOL instant message on my dial-up connection. I didn't really date a whole lot, never experienced a typical high school party, wore sweat pants all the time (look out for a Transformation Tuesday post coming soon), and only recently stepped into my womanhood embracing my style and realizing and accepting that I am beautiful and not afraid to show it -Damn It!- without the fear from shame of appearing arrogant.

So, fast forward to now and in my mid-twenties, never really been in the dating scene- and I'm feeling just a liiiittle bit unexperienced. At a house party I visited while in LA, there were some gorgeous people in attendance. Both men and women. Not a prestigious type of scene, but more of a relaxed, grown n' sexy, cool, I'm comfortable with myself kinda scene. On the inside I'm having a little anxiety attack.

The thoughts running through my head all night: "Do I smile? Do I nod? Smile and nod? Am I talking too much? Not enough? What's his type? Am I his type? No, I can't possibly be their type...Wow, how does everyone stay so calm and collected and comfortable with themselves?..."

I figured one would usually learn how to deal with all these thoughts and emotions over the years of their young adult age and develop them by just being out there and available -but I wasn't. And being more of the introverted type where the many deep thoughts in my head don't always come out right, I'm often times a liiiitle more reserved when it comes to social events- many times mistaken for being timid, shy,  pompous, unfledged, naive, "young,"...Now don't get me wrong, I've come a long way and can say I don't consider myself to be an insecure person as I once used to be (lots of inner healing work done in that area), but I can't deny that it's a little scary stepping out into the dating world again. Especially as a single Christian woman. I am waiting till marriage to enjoy certain pleasures, and I am learning as I enter back into the single world that being "unexperienced" and 18 is not so rare and weird as being "unexperienced" and in your mid twenties.

And we all know what kind of experience I'm talking about here. 

We played a truth-or-dare game at this party. Yes we were grown people in our twenties playing truth-or-dare. It was all fun and games and innocent until the inevitable sex question was picked from the hat. Some people were more than eager to share and others were very coy. As we circled the room with our answers I felt my palms get sweaty. But why? I had no favorite position to be embarrassed about sharing (ahem...no experience)- as that was what the question from the hat had asked.

So the thought process I'm going through in this stage of life after love is really calling for me to be accountable to myself and to really make sure I keep my uniqueness in check. Anything but staying true to myself would be the utmost disservice I could give myself moving forward in this area of my life. Yes, the dating world is tainted with social media pressures, low-value for sexual boundaries, pretentious masks, dishonesty, and superficial perspectives on appearance and lifestyle. But the dating world after and before the next love is also an opportunity to have fun, not take every single encounter soooo seriously, and to also learn more about myself---ourselves. What I like. What I don't like. What is okay. What is not okay. What's attractive to me, so on... And to- believe it or not- get practice in learning how to talk to men again; knowing that the best "type" I could be is myself.


The worst thing that could happen is that someone falls in love with a version of me that I created because I was trying to be what was expected of me and not who I really was. 

"Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it" Romans 12:9 (MSG)

Stay tuned for more on the "Life After Love" series


xoxo Mary

4 comments:

  1. Mary,

    I can totally relate to feeling awkward in social situations and it's like you took the thoughts right out of my head. Even though I'm pretty used to going out by myself now, those are all of the things I think about. Are you a fellow Virgo? :) Yes, smile! It take some practice to get out of your head and truly be present but you'll find you're so much more comfortable and people will naturally be more attracted to you.

    Also, instead of worrying about whether the guy is your type, try to figure out through his conversation and behavior whether he's YOUR type. This subtle shift takes the pressure off and can help make you feel more in control. You're the prize! :)

    Dating (especially in LA) is an interesting experience and I can see how it might seem overwhelming for you. I'm sending you lots of positive energy and love and can't wait to read more of your posts.

    Alana

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    1. HI Alana,
      I'm glad to know I'm not the only one juggling all of those thoughts in my head! Everything you mentioned is such good advice and encouragement. I look forward to getting more practice in just being out there, comfortable, and focusing more on re-learning my type rather than my counterpart's type :) It's crazy how we can be so quick to downplay our own importance and value!

      Thank you so much for all the positive energy and love! I'm sure some more unfolding in this thought process will occur and I look forward to sharing my journey on here :)
      xoxo Mary

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  2. Alana's point about the subtle shift is spot on. I agree that it removes the pressure and whether he's YOUR type is the most important thing for YOU to be concerned about. Let him worry about whether you're his type--that's his business lol. I respectfully push back against the whole "one of us is a prize" idea. That attitude can also get in the way of honest courtship and create this unnatural "chasing" dynamic which a) makes it hard to know when one person stops chasing and when y'all start mutually courting each other and figuring out if this is forever and b) is unappealing to some perfectly nice, good guys. I think a proper partner is a "prize" no matter the gender. Knowing what I'm looking for, when I find a guy with those attributes who also respects mine, I'll definitely feel like I got a prize! And he should too lol.

    Don't get me wrong, remembering your value definitely makes social interactions easier. People love talking to you, inviting you to outings and so on. So talk if you want, keep things to yourself if you want, but if you see someone you want to talk to--man or woman--try to summon up the courage to talk to them! People usually appreciate it and if they're not nice, you learned something valuable early on.

    Okay this comment is turning into a book but from our conversations, you know I could go on and on about this!

    looove!

    Ivy

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    1. Yes, I can see what you're saying, Ivy. I took the "I'm the prize" declaration more of a reminder that I am indeed "a" or "the" prize and to not underestimate or belittle my value -in addition to the man's value- and not so much as an "I'm more important/prized" kind of statement. I think a lot of women struggle with remembering their worth and end up settling for less than what they deserve or for men who take advantage of their meekness. This doesn't say that men don't also suffer from the same. I also think men are attracted to women who are confident in themselves and know their worth and present it in such a way that they don't have to flaunt it. I think it's more likely that the flaunting of the confidence is what becomes unappealing to the men you mentioned? I think there is nothing wrong with a little season of chase/pursuit. I believe the problems occur when there isn't a "defining the relationship" type of conversation- which is necessary in order to usher the transition of the pursuit into mutual courtship.
      Sooo, my comment it getting long here, lol, and I know that there must be mutual pursuit in a relationship; but I know that there is something to be said about the pursuit that God's word calls for men in particular to embrace when in relationship with a women. I don't mean to get all preachy here but Ephesians 5:22-23 calls for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. And we know that Christ also considered the church to be his bride whom he pursued fiercely.
      I haven't quite gotten all of this figured out, but I do know that man's pursuit of woman is important and biblical. Not to say more so than the other way around, but it is highlighted in the word and I am determined to dig into it more to find out the significance behind it.

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