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first retreat and next video…

Last December I closed out 2014 with a retreat. Not a defeat in that sense of the word, but a silence and solitude retreat with members of the church I was a part of. (It feels so strange to me to use the word “was” because everything’s changed so quickly and this wasn’t that long ago. I was a part of that church for about six years.) In my next video I documented a small portion of my experience, shared with my good friend Leslie and roommate for the weekend of December 5-7, 2014 in Rocheport, MO.

As part of my video experiment, I have been trying to add audio without overriding the original audio. I don’t think I have figured that out yet, but I did manage to add music at the introduction and take it out when the speaking part comes in. In my previous videos I struggled with having music run simultaneously with me talking about a book, but I know other YouTubers have successfully made videos with talking and music at the same time, so I have hope that I will figure it out one day!

This was my very first retreat experience and I had a basic idea of what it was going to be like, but I was not prepared for how changed I was going to be coming out of it. I could probably write a few pages about this, maybe even a novella, but the whole reason why I needed to go on this retreat was a desire to grow closer to God. Well, it was more like, everything else in my life seemed like a mess to me and I needed to do something to fix this mess. Little did I know, I had been struggling to fix relationships with people my way that God was telling me I had forgotten about Him. I had not realized that I had not put any energy into repairing and building my relationship with Christ. And the only way to allow Him to help me was to be still. Spend time alone with Him. Block out the noise. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” (NIV)

So here it is…here is my journey…

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Marriage is not mandatory

After many talks with many different people, I have decided that marriage doesn’t have to be that one thing that makes me happy. (Mind you, I’m not talking about anyone else. I am talking about me, baby!) I truly believe, even if you do desire to get married someday, that you need to know how to be happy single first. Then you will have the tools you need to deal with whatever comes next. If you don’t do happy single first and you go straight to coupling up, you will have roadblocks or wasted time. The person you thought would be the answer to your happiness will disappoint you, the relationship will crumble and you will be onto the next relationship before you’ve had time to evaluate what happened. Then you find yourself on a merry-go-round you can’t get off of.

Now I understand that some people get lucky and meet that one person who may not have all the answers (because who really does, anyway?), but is willing to work with them on happiness, flaws, insecurities and everything in between, blah, blah, blah. That’s great. I just don’t believe it for me. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted as far as coupling up was concerned, but once I did, I came to this conclusion: if I can’t get married to someone who will only generally increase my happiness, then I want to be happy single. Marriage should be something that adds to my happiness, not complete it, and certainly not decrease it. So, being a straight girl, I want a man, but I don’t need one. So if I don’t meet the right one, I will learn to be happy on my own. And it will take learning what makes me happy as a single straight girl first before I go down either one of those paths.

I met a high school girl once who imagined what her wedding dress would look like, down to all the dirty details. I’m not sure, but it makes me feel that younger girls all dream about their wedding day, before they dream about who they will be when they grow up. It’s like a “thing” for teenaged girls to get boyfriends, to hurry up and get that first relationship experience before getting dropped off at Jaded City. That is simply not true. When I was a teenaged girl, I didn’t think about weddings really, let alone what mine would be like. I was thinking about school mostly. But beyond that, I wasn’t doing much thinking about the future. I was doing a lot of doing, if that makes sense, to prepare for a future I couldn’t really see except for what was expected of me. I was never one of those girls, who on her free time, thought about her wedding dress, her wedding cake, her bridesmaids’ dresses, her groom, how the proposal should go, what the ring will look like, and so on and so forth. (I’m not even sure back then I knew what all those things were, to be honest.) Because I didn’t think about these things, I got used to being single and doing what was expected of me.

I have an older friend who not only knows a lot about relationships because of the one she is in, but also from the stories her friends tell her. Over the years she’s spilled numerous stories about single girls, married women and those who have it in between—relationships that don’t seem to be headed anywhere solid. I think after hearing all these stories I finally understood that marriage is not the answer to happiness. What’s the point of being married to someone who is basically still living a bachelor lifestyle and doesn’t spend time with you? Don’t you end up feeling more lonely than you ever did single? You really have to find happiness within yourself. After all, besides God and maybe your parents if they are still around, who else knows you better than you? I’m sure there are some things even your closest bestie doesn’t know about you.

On the other hand, I know part of the appeal to coupling up is having a plus one on hand for certain occasions that it seems more appropriate to go as a twosome as opposed to attending solo. But then that specific idea messes with my head and sense of individualism. If we feel like we cannot attend an event alone, what does that say about us? That we care about what other people think? Or that we are clingy and can’t go to any event by ourselves?

Then there’s the fear of dying alone or ending up lonely. If you have a healthy happy marriage, you can probably prolong your life. However, if you’re like me and don’t see yourself meeting someone suitable and not caring what the world thinks of that, then there are some things you should do if you want to live a long happy life. I think the most important one is to have a social life. Sure, you can get a cat or a plant, but it’s just not the same as having some sort of regular human interaction. Plus if you have no amount of human interaction at all, you risk dying alone in your apartment and nobody finding out until your corpse started to reek and your cat ate half your face. No one wants that much paperwork!

Even if you do get married, don’t you want the person to love you for you? How are you going to know who the real you is without being single first? After all, a relationship with yourself is the only one you can’t break up with and isn’t that the best kind of relationship to invest in?

Bottom line? Be free to choose your own happiness. You don’t have to get married. It’s not a requirement. They don’t actually shoot single people.

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the corner of acceptance and insanity

What are we overanalyzing for? Unless it’s for a Calculus (I love how I have to capitalize all my school subjects like they were that important) problem, why are we constantly going over and over again in our heads what someone said or did and what they meant by that and how we feel about it and then how we feel about them as a result of our conclusions about what happened? (Phew! That was a lot of work just the get that all out.)

When we overanalyze other people’s words and actions, we tire ourselves out. That is a fact. Whether you are a guy or a gal, I’m sure at some point in your life you have overanalyzed what something someone either said or did to you. Or didn’t do. Maybe you even do it several times a week. Dare I even say several times a day? Some days are better than others.

Why can’t we just accept that whoever is a true friend, whoever truly cares about us, will find a way to show it and make time for us no matter what and leave it at that? We can’t, so we go right back to analyzing. It’s like we as humans need constant validation that someone cares about us, that yes, we are worthy.

But if we get to the point of overanalyzing, think about what we don’t accomplish. If we are overanalyzing, the situation is out of our control. If it is out of our control, we must accept whatever outcome comes out. I think acceptance is the hardest part of this process. If we can’t accept this fact, we continue down the path of overanalyzation. It’s right at the intersection of Acceptance and Insanity. How much time you waste by overanalyzing, yet you still do it!

As a fellow overanalyzer, I have no tips for you for how you stop yourself. Maybe we just need to accept that we overanalyze. 🙂

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william carlos williams

Not much has been said about
the many bodies on my wall where the water runs to clean the shampoo container.

Neither have the bodies on the floor by the door corners have been talked about.

I guess I’m the only one who’s noticed.
Or no one else has been up here.

Either that or no one can understand my descriptions…

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10 months left in 2015

Happy 21 to Justin Bieber!

(Do not ask me why I am thinking of him, but somehow one day I found out his birthday and a friend told me they had the same birthday and now it’s kind of stuck. The fact that I know he’s 21 today is…I have no explanation for that one!)

I like that video and felt compelled to share it. I think it’s useful for everyone, not just girls.

Can you believe two months of 2015 have already gone by? People say that every year (with the year changing of course), but this year I hope you live your life on purpose. 10 months left to make a change. Maybe all you will need to do is change one habit of yours. Either drop one or adjust one. Or maybe it’s add a new beneficial habit. One habit can go a long way. Don’t underestimate.

Maybe at the end of every two months you need to check in with yourself. Accountability. It takes at least 30 days to make something a habit, so tacking on an additional 30 will only help. Whether you like to do things one thing at a time or multi-task, work towards something every single day to get one step closer to where you’re meant to be. When you wake up in the morning, first be grateful you get another day on this planet to try.