Dating is Awkward

It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it? Just when I think life can’t get any busier…it does. So here we are, 6 months since my last post and a lot has changed. The ‘highlights’ include moving to a new apartment, my job moving locations, turning 30, and starting to date again [see title, above].

If you read my post from April, you may have noticed that I mentioned a relationship not working out that I really hoped would. Fast forward a few months and we’re dating again…but this isn’t the post you may be expecting.

Dating is weird, y’all. I feel like a lot of people talk about how much fun it is and how exciting it can be and while my relationship is those things (for the most part), it’s also awkward. And stressful. It’s full of ups and downs. Our story so far has not been ‘easy’ or traditional – we’ve struggled through hard conversations, through differences, through being on and being off and being back on again, through tough questions and even tougher answers…and you may be wondering why we’re back at it again.

The answer is messy and unresolved. My significant other and I haven’t reached the next chapter of our journey of either parting ways or deciding that this is the forever choice we want to make, so it’s harder to give you a nice-pretty-tied-up-in-a-bow answer for why we’re dating again. In a world full of highlight reels, smiling photos, and 140-character updates I haven’t found a lot of transparency in the hurdles couples face during the dating process, especially when dating as a Christian. We’re told that this is one of the most important decisions of our lives and we should take our time, but you should also date intentionally and work towards the goal of marriage (at what feels like a rapid pace). We’re told to set really clear boundaries (physical, emotional, and spiritual) but no one gives you practical advice on what those boundaries should be, how to have a conversation about them, or how to keep them. We’re encouraged to invite community into our relationship, but not told how to welcome feedback and insight from our friends and mentors. But how do you handle the tension of the not knowing and the ‘still-figuring-it-out’? As someone who has a very strong aversion to leaving things unresolved for any amount of time, I’ve struggled with how to deal with not being able to have the answers *right now.* Of having to take time to wait on my partner to think and pray about things, or for me to think and pray about things, or for us to see how things develop over time.

All of this to say: we’re working on figuring it out, one day at a time. I really like this person. Like reeeeeeeeeeeally like him. There are sooooooo many happy, fun, and exciting things that make me hopeful for the future. But then there are also sad, stressful, and disappointing moments that make me question if we are good for each other. I may experience the joyful moment that is sharing the bliss that is frozen custard for the first time, but I may also hear the same joke for the upteenth time and wonder to myself ‘can I really handle hearing this same joke for the rest of my life and not want to smother him with a pillow?’ For the majority of our relationship, I experience excitement and joy over this person, but I also have times questions and doubts. Is it ok for me to feel this way? Is this normal? How do I handle these thoughts and emotions?

If I’m being honest, I still don’t know. I’m lucky enough to be dating someone who is willing to let me be completely open with what’s running through my head and talking through things or affirming that he, too, is facing the same questions. He is so kind and loving and is thinking not only about if this relationship is good for him, but also if it’s something that’s for my good too, which I’ve never experienced before. I’ve been talking with a couple of trusted friends for accountability and guidance. I’ve been praying for God to reveal His plans for us – if it’s to end things, let that answer come quickly, and if it’s to keep going, make that abundantly clear. I’ve also been praying for a lot of grace and guidance on how to navigate the tricky world that is Christian dating in 2017.

I’m afraid I don’t have a great ‘lesson learned’ or pithy ending. It didn’t really occur to me to actually write about this until I was talking with a friend earlier today, lamenting over the challenges of dating and how I don’t really know of people facing the same issues, and she encouraged me to blog about it and share my experience with others (in the hopes that if there’s anybody else out there facing similar things, you’d know you have a friend in me). I’m working on taking one day at a time and reminding myself that I don’t have to know all the answers right this moment, I don’t have to have the 5-year-plan laid out today, and it’s ok to sit in the tension of the unknown. And, I think, the biggest takeaway for right now is that this relationship can still be good regardless of the outcome. Because we’re both actively working to date each other well, to keep God at the center of our relationship, and to help each other grow in our walks with Him, no matter how things end up, it will still be a successful relationship. I can only continue to look to God in all of the moments (those of happiness, of sadness, of doubt, and of hopefulness and excitement for the future) and persevere in seeking His will.

My questions to you, reader, are these: have you experienced those moments of uncertainty and if so, how did you handle them? How do handle moments of tension and things being unresolved and how long is it ok for them to last? I think it would be even more helpful to hear the answers to those questions from people across the dating spectrum – single, dating, engaged, married…in a time where we want to show the best parts/happiest moments of our lives, how do you practically work through the hard parts? I’d welcome any comments, stories, or feedback – thank you for ‘listening.’ 🙂


Can I just say…I don’t even know where to begin. How to start the delicate dance of talking about the sensitive topics of today without sounding ignorant, misrepresenting my faith, or alienating a fellow Image-Bearer (aka another human)…But I recognize that the whole point of blogging is to share your thoughts, and they aren’t always going to make everyone happy (ground-breaking revelation, I know). I also don’t want to run the risk of becoming complacent because I typed a few words that reached a few hundred people and call that ‘engagement.’

So…I’m just going to be honest as I try to wrestle through the twists and turns of my thoughts.

I didn’t march this week. I’ve been so scared to say that out loud for fear of being judged as ‘unprogressive’ (whatever that may mean) or uncompassionate or anti-feminist. Quite honestly, up until a few minutes ago, I didn’t really see the point of them. My mild agoraphobia aside, I’ve felt apathetic towards the marches that have happened this past week. Do they accomplish anything? Can change actually be made from the gathering of thousands of people with their signs and posters? My head says ‘yes’ – we have historical proof of it (hello there, Dr. King), but my heart still isn’t sure.

But then, through a conversation I had with my friend Andrea (aka Dre aka D-Swizzle aka my spirit animal) this evening, I started to see that attending a march can matter, regardless of the outcome. She said ‘I just have to think that if I were in a position where Trump’s laws were oppressing and belittling me as a human being, seeing that thousands of people showed up on my behalf would be a pretty big deal. So while it won’t change the whole world in itself, it can empower and inspire enough people to do something in response to it.’

That’s huge. It makes it ‘click’ for me now. I’ve had a hard time connecting with the enormity of the things going on in the world today and how I – one, small, insignificant person – can take action in a way that points people to Christ. I think tonight I took a step toward understanding how to do that better.

I’ll admit, this isn’t my most eloquent post. There are still dozens of other thoughts swirling in my head that I wanted to include, but I’m trying not to go down the rabbit hole. I welcome any thoughts, musings, or suggestions of how you think I could show my support through action.



Ghosts of Boyfriends Past


Recently I went to my last apartment to pick up a few lingering bits and bobs. I came across an old and faded box labeled ‘Important School Stuff.’ After lugging said box home and opening it, I stumbled not only upon long-forgotten college papers, but also a photographic trail of the loves I’d had from the past decade.

This was very strange for me – to see the photos I’d carefully selected and taken the time to upload to a website, order prints, pick up from a store, purchase a frame, and assemble so that I could have a physical reminder of the relationship I was in. It was especially weird as I had just written and mailed a forgiveness letter to my ex-fiancé not 2 weeks ago. I tend to remember the worst parts of my relationships – the fights, the annoyances, the endings – and writing my forgiveness letter made me realize just how much I’ve focused on the negative over the past decade.

Although these ‘ghosts’ are all from the past, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the impact they’ve had on my present (and future) by being thankful for each one.

Ross (2006).* Ross was my First Love. Ross and I dated when I was a senior in high school, and we got engaged the summer after I graduated. For better or for worse, this relationship has had the biggest and most lasting impact on my dating life. I’m thankful for my relationship with Ross because it was exhilarating. The drives in his fast car. The pride I felt when we held hands knowing (at the time) that he was ‘mine.’ The goofiness we had (because we were basically kids). The vulnerability. The promise of love everlasting, even though we were only 18 and 19. I’m thankful that I got to experience both the very good and the very bad with him.

Joey (2011).* I’m thankful to Joey for opening my eyes to new cultures. Joey grew up in another country and had a very different view of the world than I did. Joey was smart. He had big ideas and big plans for the changes he wanted to make in how students learned soft skills and critical thinking. I’m thankful for Joey living in Boston and giving me a reason to come back to visit time and again. This gave me the chance to fall in love with the city so much that even when we broke up, I still wanted to take the risk of leaving behind life as I’d known it in North Carolina and move to New England. I’m thankful for his help in landing my first job in Boston, which gave me the financial ability to make the move. My life is so full and I love this city!

Chandler (2015).* Chandler gave me a peek into what Godly dating can look like, and for that I am thankful. While our relationship’s ending was like the punch-line-opening-scene of a romantic comedy (he broke up with me at my best friend’s wedding on New Year’s Eve 40 minutes before midnight), I think that of all my relationships, we had the healthiest boundaries and most God-centered relationship, and for these things I am grateful.

I’m not sure why the turning of a year brings so much hope and promise. January 1st of one year is no more sacred or meaningful than December 31st of the previous. But as the craziness that was 2016 comes to a close and the light of 2017 shines through the darkness, I’m thankful for having the opportunity to reflect on the romantic relationships that have taught me so much. None of these relationships were perfect – all of them had many bad and un-Godly elements. I know that while none of these men were God’s best for me, I was certainly not God’s best for them. Even with the tears cried and the heartbreak endured, I’m still thankful for each of these men and the lessons I was able to learn from them and the time we spent together. I pray that they feel the same.

I have hope that the wisdom I’ve gained and the lessons I’ve learned will help me be a better partner for the next man I date (and -hopefully- eventually the man I marry). Above all, while I may not always understand it, I’m thankful for the plan that God has had for my past, the plan He has ordained for me now, and the plan He is orchestrating for my future.

*names have been changed



A Musing on Setting Foot into a Chanel Store.

Recently I had a friend bless me with a bag of amazing goodies. She knew my week had been stressful, so she surprised me by stopping by my office, handing me a Chanel shopping bag, and telling me to enjoy what was inside. When I got back upstairs and had a moment to myself, I got to delight in many French treats and also marvel over my very own, very first Chanel lipstick. Little did my friend know that I had been admiring all things Coco for years (ever since I’d seen Coco Before Chanel) and have been saving for a Chanel bag of my very own for awhile.

Yesterday, something came over me where I felt that I had to visit the Chanel store here in Boston and see ‘my’ bag. I’ve always felt uncomfortable walking into luxury-brand stores, even in such touristy places as Newbury Street here in Boston, or 5th Avenue in NYC. I felt like I didn’t belong – my clothes weren’t right, my hair wasn’t adequately highlighted and styled, my nails weren’t manicured, I wasn’t wearing couture or high-end brands, and so of course the sales clerks would immediately be able to tell that there was no way I could afford any of their merchandise.

Back to yesterday. I had just visited the French Culture Center and was just around the corner from the Chanel Boutique. I reeeeeeeeally wanted to go (and I almost chickened out) but I started walking over. I was feeling pretty good about my outfit, my makeup was ok, I’d splurged on a manicure a couple of days before. As the doorman held the door for me and I walked in, I felt immediately out of place, but I held my ground. I made my way to the beauty counter and a cheerful woman asked if I needed help. Caught off guard, I said yes and she immediately set me up at the counter and asked me the most surprising question – ‘would you like some water? still or sparkling?’ I frowned internally – she didn’t even know if I was going to buy something and she was offering me Perrier? Would they still charge me for the water if I didn’t buy anything? (I can hear all you luxury brand aficionados are snickering.) I hid my concern and she brought out the bottle and its own branded Chanel napkin (not gonna lie, I was tempted to take it home as a memento of this occasion). She proceeded to let me sample 5 or 6 different lipstick shades and blush, all while giving me beauty tips and tricks. I felt so special and important! I ended up getting a lipstick and a blush, and couldn’t believe that my purchase came with my receipt in an embossed little folder, my blush in a velvety slipcase, and a cute little Chanel shopping bag. Emboldened with my purchase (using my shopping bag as my ticket to say ‘I deserve to be here’), I approached a saleswoman and asked to see ‘my’ bag.

They didn’t have it in the store, but she started bringing out similar bags. And that’s when I saw it. THE bag. This was it. Whatever I’d had in mind before was now replaced with this gorgeous, luxurious, French masterpiece. The Chanel Calfskin New Medium Boy Bag Flap in Silver. I held it in my hands. I tried it on. I admired in the mirror. And now I have $5,200 (plus tax) to save.


Enter Qapital. I’ve been using it since early June to save for MY bag by setting up rules to save $ by either rounding my purchases to the nearest dollar and putting that amount in the account, or by linking it to fitness goals (a certain number of steps will deposit a larger amount in the account). I’ve only saved a few hundred since June, but this has been a painless way to save and requires absolutely no brain power on my part. Will it take me a while to save for my bag? Yep. Will it all be worth it when I can pay cash for something I’ve thought about and saved for months (or even years)? You betcha.

This has turned into a rather long post that can result in many closing thoughts to tie it all together. I think what I’ll end with, though, is with the excitement and anticipation of one day being able to own and use such a quality piece of craftsmanship. Anyone else on this journey?