How Peter Kavisnky is ruining my theories on being single

IMG_8943

It’s likely that by now you’ve seen the utterly adorable “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, if only because it’s been plastered to the heading of most of our Netflix’s home pages for weeks. And if you have in fact seen it, you’ll know the movie 1) isn’t really about the boys LJ loved before, 2) pretty much stole the quirky attractiveness of Wes Anderson-esq shots and color schemes and 3) has a storyline that doesn’t really include any singular event that is extremely exciting…
so then WHY do we (i.e. all of Twitter-dom) love it so much?

Well. Peter Kavinsky my friends. Peter. Freaking. Kavinsky.

Which is also a little weird because on paper his character is just about as normal as the rest of the movie, yet so so endearing.

So here I am, Tuesday evening. It was a sick day for me, so I was stuffing my face with the only two things I really trust in Uganda-crackers and (cheap) imported wine, and decided it was a perfect night for this movie. I was genuinely hoping it would be some kind of reflection of all the boys in LJ’s life, that she’d transcend into a high-school version of Nola Darling, and I would go to bed feeling empowered in all of my womanhood. I was ready.

Rather, at 10:45 pm I was ready to sell my entire soul to the Lacrosse goalie of Adler High-MY WHOLE SOUL Y’ALL (good news is, he’s actually my age ;)). Frankly though, I was disappointed in myself. My impenetrable wall of ‘completely fine without a man I don’t need y’alls  blah *explicit blah, I’m just fine here thanks’ literally melted in the hands of a Netflix producer with 100 minutes at his disposal. Who was Will Smith. Will, why did you come for me like this?

And yes, I could have (*read, should have) let this moment slip away into the privacy of my crappy couch cushions, but I guess I just wanted to tell all the girls who had a similar response this one thing:

Your hopes for love, and sometimes disappointment at its absence do not make you weak. You can (will) kill it with, or without a man. Some days of the single joy ride will feel like that. And some nights will feel less like it. And that’s totally okay.

I honestly feel like we’re a little stuck. If you’re in a committed relationship you’re the girl who just ‘doesn’t get’ the struggle. If you’re single and don’t want to be, you need to ‘find your worth in the Jesus, honey!’. And if you’re living life un-bothered you’re at risk of being ‘too’ whatever: feminist, disinterested, independent, fill in the blank.

I guess for me, I just thought I had to somehow prove the moment of singleness. Like the only brave way to approach it was was take it like someone handing me a trophy and give the best dang acceptance speech (even if I’m not even sure I wanted it).

But I-we don’t have to prove we’re anything to anyone. Not your friends, not your family-not your ex. You’re you now and you were you then. You’re growing, learning, becoming someone who knows best how they shine. You don’t have to prove you’re better now. You don’t have to combat the thought of another year of singleness with striving to be amazing in some other area of life. You just need to keep laying the bricks of what you know to be today’s best.

Your value doesn’t come from being with a man just as much as it doesn’t come from being perfectly fine without one. And I just feel like we need to get this.

The boys are, and always will be a piece of the puzzle. But a piece. The Pangaea of your world has plenty of other colliding and drifting land masses. I can weep at Peter Kavinsky (or you know, like other real humans it doesn’t work out with), send my requests up to the Lord, and still very much be a whole, healing woman who’s pursuing her passions and looking great while doing so.

So let’s dream the big dreams right now. If the right guy enters the scene, then great. If not, we’ll build an empire while we’re waiting.

Advertisements

Can Guys and Girls Really Be Friends?

2834CB80-832A-476D-ABD9-485E574B9CF4And there he was. Strolling into my room with some of his own heaviness, sharing the understanding that we were perfect company for each other in that moment. He came in and sat on the edge of my bed. We bounced back and forth about what was weighing us down, did our best to lift the chin of the each other and remind them, they could totally make it through this. And eventually settled into a calm quietness of the comfort of a friend.

Everyone had left at this point, and we sensed he should to. But then something shifted. The air was different than it normally was with us, we both got a little nervous. I had been half working on school work this whole time and looked up from my computer. Finding his eyes made it clear what he was thinking…what we were both thinking.

We had come to this moment we all come to at some point. It only lasts a second, but that’s all it takes for you to step into water that was never meant for you. To end up much deeper than your intentions ever were.

And by the grace of Jesus, we snapped out of it. I forcefully said I had work to do, he clumsily stumbled out of my apartment. And while we endured the most awkward goodbye of our friendship to date, we both confirmed afterward, that we’re really glad we decided to be ‘just’ friends that night. Because now we get to keep being friends and there’s nothing in the way.

Ever been here? Ever been here and made a choice that ruined a lot. Ever been here, and made a choice that made too many rooms awkward, cost you someone you care about, or just added another thing to the complications of life?

If so this post is for you. This post is me trying to answer questions most people probably don’t want to ask out loud, but have been screwing up for a while.

So let’s get into it.

I think a lot of the problem lies in this reality:

We value relationships way more than friendship, and we have an unmet need for intimacy. And I think these two things may be deeply related.

If we back up to square one, we are hungry for intimacy.

We know we need it and want it. But no one taught us (or even acknowledged that hunger in us) (especially if you grew up in the church) how to understand our own need for intimacy, and how to healthy have it with anyone honestly.

Often the by-product of this is latching onto the first person you can have a ‘real’ conversation with. It’s falling in love with someone who ‘gets me’. Sound familiar?

The danger of this is that we’ve mentally associated intimacy completely with romantic love, and when we do this a few things are inevitable. 1) When you stop feeling understood by said person you become confused. 2) You have a deep quality talk with someone else (not your s/o) and immediately feel guilty, afraid you chose the wrong person etc. etc. 3) At best you float through the world looking to be understood by someone, placing tall orders on individuals, and likely experiencing a lot of pain.

These are just guesses. But I think we’ve all be on the search for that ‘spark’ one time or another. But this is what I’ve learned.

We’ve carved an idol from what was supposed to be a normal, healthy, commodity of community. So when we do in fact experience this gift of intimacy (no not physically, but emotional, mental, etc.) that was intended for us to have, we act reckless. We try to claim it as our own so no one can take it, and likely end up strangling it like a baby bird we squeezed too tight. 

The second unfortunate fallout of our misunderstanding of intimacy is that we (or maybe it’s just me) cannot separate intimacies.

I remember one night with a friend (who I was not romantically involved with). We were with a large group of our friends staying at a house, and everyone else had gone to bed. I found him out on the porch looking up at the stars. I love the stars so I walked out, asked if I could join, and we laid there on the porch talking about constellations and how we couldn’t see them like this from the city. Then-get ready, we got up and went to our rooms to sleep.

Crazy I know. But that my friends, is friendship. It is sweet, and special, and truly a gift. But I know the more common ending to that story for me and many I know is at worst: we then proceeded to hookup right there on the porch, or at best, we went to bed wishing we had. Hear me when I say, feeling a ‘spark’ is not always your cue to marry the guy! It’s actually just a gift that Jesus gave us to connect with MANY people, male and female, in different moments, with proper boundaries.

Wow, what a gift to know that ‘feeling’ we all treat like some buried treasure is ready to be harvested in the treasure of the people around us.

Anyway-that potential hookup does not have to be the story!! We can understand that a moment of healthy intimacy with a friend, DOES NOT have to lead to a moment of physical intimacy. The pie of intimacy was not made for us to consume in its entirety every moment, and with only one person.

The third tragedy our misunderstanding has created, is a deep fear in one another. Our lack of understanding in our own friendships, simply signifies that likely our significant other also does not understand the intimacy pie. And when they get more of it from someone or something else, they are likely to harm what you two have labeled as a committed relationship. And even if they don’t, that fear breeds a lot of jealously that simply would not exist if we were confident and trusting in the ‘friendships’ of the people around us.

The good news is, we can be! In fact, we are CALLED TO BE. Actually, more than friends, but BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST. WHOA. This is who we are before and after anything goes down. In Matthew Jesus calls us his brother, sister, and mother. In Romans we’re a part of one body. In 1 John, we are called brothers. In 1 Timothy we’re told to treat those who are older as fathers and mothers, and our peers as BROTHERS AND SISTERS. IN 1 Corinthians, we are told to not sin against our brothers. Proverbs tells us our brother and sister are born out of adversity….

Are we getting this? These are pictures of intimacy. Working together, loving one another, experiencing pain together, forgiving one another-these are intimate events and the bible outlines each one happening with a friend-in fact a close intimate friend. One who is like a brother and sister.

A full life is full of SAFE intimate moments with the people around us. Have we been missing out on the fullness of this?

But Emily, how can I get close to a guy when I know one of us will fall for eachother-and then that just gets awkward.

I get it. But I honestly believe this is an issue of maturity.

I have done all of the below:

Left a friendship because we couldn’t stay on that level.

Agreed with the other person to PROTECT our friendship from romantic elements.

Moved forward in a serious relationship with a once friend.

There’s not a wrong answer, and every situation is different…but if we trained ourselves to build friendships BEFORE dating, we might be able to 1) avoid unwise relationships in the first place and 2) care about someone enough to work through the feelings with them, in vulnerability, and decide together to protect your friendship from complications.

Knowing that every piece of the pie is on the table, but having friend relationships that are so valuable, that you guard them against the pieces that just don’t fit. These kind of friendships are SO possible, but both parties have to be willing, and mature enough to enjoy the gift and not control it. 

I think part of this is waiting for the right people. And not looking over the great one’s you already have. The greatest compliment a guy can give me is being someone who genuinely wants to know me, spend time with me, and care for me as a friend without expecting a physical benefit from it. I love my brothers. They out their ladies.

*This topic is REALLY big, and this is only a scratch on the surface. If you think I didn’t touch a specific thing enough, or have questions on a more specific situation comment or email me at e.beth2014@gmail.com for later posts!

 

 

Heart Maps

Recently I was driving to meet a friend with another friend in the car. Everything was going as normal until my friend in the passenger seat asked, “Wait, why are you going this way?” To which, I responded, “What do you mean?” My friend in the passenger seat redirected me to what was apparently a more normal route to the coffee shop we were going to, a route in which I honestly had never used. And just like that I realized, I had never learned the ‘normal route’ using main roads.

I had learned to get to that coffee shop based on a landmark, a landmark from my past. I hadn’t realized it, but I had been navigating my way to several places orienting myself around this one place. I knew how to get to the grocery store, from that point. To the coffee shops, from that point. To my friend’s house, from that point. I had never considered that when the relevance of that place ended, it was no longer the best route.

And then I just sat. How long have I been orienting my present around past landmarks? How long have I been taking the same way home, driving past pain points because it’s the only way I learned.

This might sound ridiculous to you, because unlike me you have a great sense of direction and can quickly find new ways to get from point A to point B…but even if you aren’t doing this in real life, we all do a little bit of it in our hearts. Even when we know we need to leave a life landmark in the past, we always seem to find a way to drive back by. Check in, see if anything has changed…see if it still feels like it did a few years ago.

But I recently got smacked with a Bible Study one of my friends wrote. In session three she came around John and taking up your cross daily. I had never realized that implied moving forward. I had never realized Jesus is rallying beside us, cheering us on to keep taking steps, to not slow down. It’s like He’s saying, “You may have some things to carry, but I’ll help, we can’t just stop here honey.” I also certainly never realized the cross I was denying to pick up, the cross that was keeping me from moving forward was my simple refusal to do so.

Jesus wants to rewrite my heart maps, he doesn’t want me driving down those old roads anymore.

So this is the ode to learn a new way. It’s okay that those places once meant something to you, and it’s okay that that isn’t how it is anymore. They can hold those memories just fine without you checking in.

 

Better Breakups: A quick guide based entirely on things I’ve messed up (but hey, you don’t have to)

While I know this post has an unncesarily long and slightly awkward title, I left it. Because that’s kind of how breakups make me feel. Trying to get something out I’m not quite sure how to articulate, a little wounded and insecure from the fallout, a little rambly, but very very sure I’m not the only one who’s been here. Very sure there is a moment where things seems smaller than they once did. If you’re not there yet, here’s a few tips for the ride.

1. Feel the feels

I think this should probably be 1-5, because c’mon. It sucks.
Let me say it again: it sucks.
And honestly, in a couple months when you are supposed to have picked up the pieces and moved on, it will still suck.
I’m here to tell you, that’s okay. I realized recently I never learned how to properly process pain, I was always wishing it away or ignoring it (see last post on pain). But pain doesn’t play like that, and like the monsters in the closet, he’s best tackled when looked straight in the face.

I can’t stress enough the importance of crafting time into your schedule to feel the feels in a place and time where it’s safe. Work crying is not the move (God bless my past and future bosses), so sit, weep, and pray. Being vulnerable with yourself is a discipline, and one that keeps the gremlins from growing into something very scary.

2. Don’t burn bridges at midnight

In a heartbroken moment it’s easy to make decisions that can’t be undone. It’s easy and likely justified to say, do, express the worst things-to take a match to what you’ve spent months, maybe years investing your heart coins into. If you’ve been hurt, you know that deep desire for the world to see the flames. This time you’re the arsonist, and you won’t go down that easy. But hear me when I say, it’s not their fire to watch burn, and while it may feel better in the late night moments to lash out, don’t. Breathe instead. Rest.

3. The only one who really scores on a rebound is Lebron

Whatever your motivation, I get it. You want to numb, forget, feel better, ignore, prove to yourself that you’re okay-our brains tells us a lot of things that simply aren’t true, and our brains on sad juice are even more of a liar. You may think you can control the aftermath, and in the wake of an unexpected breakup you are probably thirsty for control, but let me tell you something I read from Jenna B (now Carver) a few years ago. People aren’t things, and you can’t keep them. You don’t get to control them, so don’t hurt/use someone else because you feel hurt. It only ices your cake of late night regrets.

4. Master the art of the Breakup Glo-Up *sparkle emoji*

If you’ve ever seen that Twitter meme of Demi Lovato from Disney Channel beside now Demi that reads, “Your girl when y’all were together v. when you broke up” just know it makes me audibly laugh and well, enough said.

5. Give yourself some grace

This is BY FAR number ONE on the list, and I only put it here because this has to be the afterthought. This has to be the final voice in you head when you lay down on your pillow. When the thoughts, the blame, they ugly lies are flowing through the outgoing bins of your brain only to be stamped and mailed straight into your heart- give yourself some grace. It’s okay. You did great. No time has been wasted, it’s all a part of the beauty that’s you, even this.
I truly believe (and partly hate) that the best opportunity we have to look like Jesus is when we’ve been hurt. And the best time to walk out grace is when we’ve clearly hurt someone else. You can do this, and you can do it well.

This Wasn’t The Plan

Growing up my, over and over my dad would say, ‘Have a plan Emily. It doesn’t have to be a good plan, but have a plan.’

And so I did. In every situation, in every phase of life, I did.

Except…this wasn’t the plan.

It wasn’t the plan to be at 21 with a degree walking on next steps so shattered I should have noticed they were glass sooner.
It wasn’t the plan to be estranged from some of the people who literally built a home for me with their hearts not too many years earlier.
It wasn’t the plan to so soon have to reconcile my past pieces with my a confused now, and try decide how (or if) they fit together for a salvageable future.

This isn’t the plan so much that I honestly feel kind of dumb.

But after my dad told me to make a plan (even a bad one) he always quickly followed it with, “You can change it later if you need to…just have a plan.”

And I may have never had to execute that second part until now. But this is where we are. Maybe my plan was bad…maybe it wasn’t, maybe things just change and end and move and that’s okay.

So here’s the plan, the new plan, the new subject-to-change-just-as-much-as-the-last-plan:

I graduated. And I refuse to digress.
I will carry my story beside my diploma, and say ‘This here, this is proof that I’ve learned.’
I will dig my heels into the dirt of my sadness and I will hold onto my faith, my heart, and my dignity like a life or death game of tug-of-war.
I will not blame, and I will not spit on the beautiful that was, because of the painful that is.
I will take each moment as a lesson of 2 Corinthians 4:18, and I will gaze into the eternal as a homing beacon for my soul.

Yet I will not rush out of this here. Because if life is going to grind on me, I refuse to lessen my potential shine.

Like the 12-year-old me with a rock tumbler in my basement, I always hated to wait the hours it took to make those yard rocks into shimmering stones.
But I am not that little girl, and I will wait and listen to the rumbling of the tumbler, because out of it I will come more beautiful than I even know.

This is the plan. At least the first one of 2018.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Interracial Dating (Pt. 2)

I REALLY enjoyed getting everyone’s responses to part 1. It’s always encouraging as a writer to hear that your words mean something to someone. So THANKS. I hope part 2 is equally as real for you guys. xoxox

P.S. if you haven’t had a chance to read Pt. 1, check it here.

Let’s get back in it:

6. Everyone’s a little bit racist. In the early 2000’s a play surfaced called Avenue Q. It’s essentially a parody, adult version of Sesame Street. My community theater decided to give it a go. I remember laughing all the way through one of the musical numbers called “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” because it’s so true-even when you’re dating someone different than you. The thing about relationships like this, is that it simply shines a light on a lot of those things and can allow yourself but also the people around you to see their biases. But warning: this light can sometimes create a lot of tense air. When you start noticing how ignorant the words coming out of your mouth or someone close to you are, it can be hard. That’s okay. It’s simply a chance to see it, address it, learn from it, confess it, and grow from it. Racism is nasty enough by itself, the denial of it’s existence in our hearts and minds only extends its shelf-life.

7. I know y’all were probably waiting for this one, so here it is. You can’t control how your family will respond. This one surprised me actually when Cam and I first started dating, but it’s not a surprise that here in the south there are a lot of opinions and judgments about race that are based on nothing but a dark history and ignorance. Between myself and other friends in similar situations, I have seen every response on the spectrum from families: indifference, subtle disappointment, confusion, fear and even brash rejection. The reality is, as an interracial couple you have decided to actively nudge up against an existing culture. You have decided to say ‘equal’ when history screams ‘unequal’. You have decided to live ‘love’ when cultural undertones say ‘dangerous’ and ‘less than’. You’ve decided to say ‘this is good’ when the norm says ‘that’s uncomfortable’. But also, in many ways you have chosen difficult over easy, and parents want what’s easy for their kids. The best way to respond here (if there is room for response) is to keep communication channels open. To be understanding in a world where no one wants to listen and what started as a difficult thing could actually build bridges between entire families that once were at odds. That could be beautiful and that’s an amazing possibility.

8. In response to #7, learning and engaging someone else’s family is SO FUN and always interesting. So enjoy this, consult your s/o, and learn to love the people they love. Family stress from dating someone of a different race can often over-shadow some of the really beautiful parts about getting to know someone else’s tribe, try not to let that happen.

9. If the person you’re dating is the only person you’re close with of that color, you’re doing it wrong. In order to really care for someone, you have to know them and part of that is knowing their culture, their pains, their background. You can’t learn that from one person or one situation, but a lifestyle of intentional diversity.

10. You will never fully understand what it means to be your significant other. For girls, this might be really difficult (or at least for me it is). My idea of love for so long was being perfectly in sync, living and loving on the same wavelength, and being the complete comfort for someone when they are broken. Turns out, love is choosing to stay even when you can’t fill someone’s gaps, and sticking around even when you don’t know what to say. I am never going to understand fully what it’s like to be black in America, and that’s okay. I will learn as much as I can, and then I will rest. Because I’m not the end all for Cam, and I don’t have to be. Cam and I are both Christians and there’s a huge relief in knowing we don’t have to bear the full weight of one another’s pain because Jesus already did that for us.

That’s 10! And although it was a heavy 10, my 11 would be that loving your best friend is really really FUN no matter what color they are, and that’s totally worth the ride. Don’t back away from the hard processes, they are the storybooks of the beautiful.

 

 

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Interracial Dating (Pt. 1)

So, I’ve purposely not written too much on this because it was just a part of my life (a very important part), but a part I like to very selectively share about. No one wants relationship vomit in their inbox…but today’s the day for a little taste.

So if you didn’t know, I got a bae.

InkedCapture_LI

And if you can’t tell, he’s brown. And one day I might write out our story, because those of you who know us know it’s been a ride. But today I’ve been working on balancing and constructing a fun and insightful list into what it’s like to be in an interracial relationship. If you’ve noticed, there’s not a ton of interracial couples around, and people ask us about it a lot.

So let’s gets started.

1. Just like any good thing, it’s rewarding but it’s hard. I don’t say this to elevate, complain, or attention seek. But trying to mend two cultures into a thriving relationship that most people don’t even notice they have a head start on is hard. I love Camilo, but I often hate the reality of what it is for us to date. I hate that if a cop ever sees me in the car with Cam and less than a smile on my face I could be putting him in danger. I really hate that I am inevitably feeding into the narrative that black men don’t value black women. Even in writing this, I’ll probably make 12 people upset in one way or another, I hate that man. But when you didn’t grow up in the same place, weren’t raised with the same cultural norms, and are treated two completely different ways by America herself, things can get sticky…But hey, it’s all in the magic.

 

2. Dating isn’t advocacy. While some may feel differently, we didn’t sign up on the “different race donor list” when looking for a significant other. YES we do want to leverage what we’ve been given as a vehicle for encouragement and understanding, especially in a world where it seems like no one who’s different can get along…much less be in love. BUT that wasn’t why we started dating each other. The order of that is really important.

 

3. You will never take a selfie that is properly lit for the both of you. It simply can’t be done. 🙂

 

4. Dating someone of a different race than you does not make you woke. Being woke makes you woke. Another way to say this is, caring for one black person, does not mean you care about or understand black people, or Hispanic people, or people of a different class, or people who have been hurt because of how they look. One well dressed black boy who can speak clearly is not the exception, and the white readers have got to get over the idea that getting in with one person who’s different from us somehow earns us a gold star.

 

5. Someone of a different race is not your key to being cooler or what you need to make cute kids. This might sound silly but you would be surprised at how many people see it like this. These motivations for dating make your significant other more a utility and less of a person, and that mentality gets reallly messy reallly fast. My alternate title to this one was “Black people aren’t your next pair of sneakers.” In the realm of pop culture and relevance, African Americans are consistently creative geniuses, musical artists, and culture setters. A lot of people our age want to be black in one way or another (peep cultural appropriation)-all that to say is, if you’re going to date someone who isn’t like you, you’ve got to know who you are. And you’ve got to make sure you aren’t dating to satisfy something in you that feels like a shortage.

A silly but good example of how Cam and I have learned to balance this is with music. We might have to strong arm it for the aux cord, but we spend a lot of time showing each other what kinds of music we know and like-because I totally listen to white girl music and I totally make him listen to white girl music. So yea, equality. Bam.

Pt. 2 coming atcha on dealing with family, friends, and lots more fun 😉