So, I’ve been on the dating scene for a few years now, and I finally feel like I’m in a pretty good place to start something new.  I’ve recently spent some time thinking about mistakes I’ve made in the past in my relationships.  I’ve come up with a list of some of the things I’ve done to help kill them.

  1. Stayed in a Relationship too long :  You were together, you broke up, made up, talked about breaking up again, made up, broke up, got back together…Once a relationship is over, it’s time to get out.  It is not time to be dishonest with yourself or stay with someone because it is comfortable and easy.  Staying with a long-term bf/gf just keeps you tied up from meeting someone else.  Not to mention the emotional damage you are causing the other person who thinks everything is fine. The longer you stay with someone and the situation is going nowhere the longer you’re keeping yourself and your significant other from being happy.
  2. Forced my Values on someone who didn’t agree:  For me, this was a complete rookie mistake.  I was young, naive, and morally strict.  While I’ll never say that I was wrong for the way I lived, I was terribly wrong for trying to mold my “bad boy” boyfriend into the same ideals. It may be cliche’, but a relationship is going nowhere fast if you don’t accept someone for who they are; or if you don’t look for the right people to begin with.
  3. Only cared about finding “The One”: While this does not sound like a bad idea; in practice, it kept me out of having, God forbid it, fun. I can thank Joshua Harris, (He wrote the famous I kissed Dating Goodbye, that every church forced on their teens), for helping me create this list in my head of things I thought the guy I would one day marry should have.  I could go on one date and know that the guy would never make it in my book.  Of course I am not suggesting that some things shouldn’t be deal breakers, but I am suggesting to give it time.  Go out, get to know people, laugh, hug, kiss, and go home and be happy you did it.  If you decide the person isn’t right break it off, but to bombard a first date with an arsenal of deep questions might potentially scare them off, or put an end to a possible friendship.
  4. Thought we were meant to be because we loved the same music, tv shows, books, and movies:  I am a geek.  Not only do I love to read, but I love to read fantasy and classics.  I watch the kind of movies where people wear a lot a leather, have an unhealthy amount of weaponry, and drive  fast cars (thank goodness for Jason Statham).  I’m also a fan of good ole grunge rock.  When I found a guy who was into this stuff too I loved it because we could talk for hours about meaning in LOTR novels and I didn’t feel like I had to apologize for it.  However, at some point I had to realize that being able to jam to Tool together had no bearing on our ability to be a good couple.  Sure, we never had to argue on what movie to watch at the theatre, but that shouldn’t be a determiner in a relationship.  Who wants an exact copy of themself?  Furthermore, I think it’s more important to make sure you have the same core values and then let the other stuff fill in.
  5. Spoke too Soon:  This is easily my most repeated mistake.  I am an open person.  Not only am I open, but I hate meaningless conversations about nothing.  If I am spending my time talking to someone I want to get to know them, I want to talk about passions, problems, and personal stories.  But sometimes, I let this go too far too soon.  A new guy does not need to know every gory detail about your crappy relationship with your last boyfriend, your parents, or your roommates. It’s important to get to know someone, but you are certainly giving off the wrong impression by overwhelming a potential “more than friend” with all your problems.  And though this is not one of my mistakes, I’ll throw in saying the “L” word too soon to this category.  Patience, have patience.  I am trying to learn to enjoy the early stages of a relationship of long phone calls and dates where I stress about what to wear.  I can look forward to the serious stuff later.

Lookin out for Number 1

Posted: January 26, 2011 in love, relationships
Tags: , ,

I  was recently playing a game with a friend where we were coming up with adjectives to describe each other, (yeah I play some pretty boring games sometimes), and my friend came up with the word selfless.  I immediately told my friend that I am not selfless at all because as soon as that was mentioned, my mind was flooded with hundreds of instances where I was anything but selfless.

Then I started thinking, what does it mean to be selfless?  Should we all be moving to Africa to become Mother Theresas?  That would be nearly impossible for most people so that can not be completely the answer.  Nor can we all quit our jobs and volunteer full time at Habitat for Humanity or any other shelter or non profit.

So if we are not doing these obviously selfless things what can we do to actually be less self-serving?  I think it starts, as most things, in our heads.  But we have to be careful about even this first step.  I used to think selfless meant I hate myself and that you take care of everyone else then you take care of yourself.  But this was all messed up because it’s simply impossible to take care of anyone well when you haven’t slept, eaten, or been to work to support yourself.  Sure you can try for a while but this will most assuredly result in your own burn out or in letting down the people whom you have trained to depend on you.  This is still a very self-focused approach because you being to focus on your own self-denial rather than on others.

No, I think selfless starts in your head as in, instead of focusing on how bad everything is going for you, like bad traffic, no love life to speak of, angry parents, etc.  Start listening to other people.  Start seeing how much other people are going through the same things you are, or oftentimes worse. Think of what you would want in their position and do it.  Think of a widow and how much a ten minute phone call could be the highlight of her monotonous day sitting and watching soaps, that’s one example.  One.

If we start viewing people as people and realize that most of the time there is something more to why they’re angry all the time, or why they constantly complain we will develop more compassion and compassion always leads to selfless acts.

I’m not saying I always get it right, I’m not saying I get it right most of the time, but I am saying I think I have found the way for us all to love each other a little better;  As friends, as family, as a community of people that are trying to figure out how to cope in this broken world.

INSOMNIA

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Itchy eyes, infomercials, irritable.  These things can be summed up into one thing for me, insomnia.  If you  ever lie in bed begging the sand man to pay you a visit, you have experienced some level of insomnia.  Some Web sites suggest insomnia is brought on by stress, lack of a sleep pattern, or something as simple as consuming too much caffeine.  I personally, am best at getting frustrated about having to wake up early and not being able to sleep, producing more stress.  This creates a vicious cycle of tossing and turning and worry.

Whether you’re a late-night coffee drinker or a worry-wart I’ve come up with  some ways that you can try to coax yourself  back into the land of nod.

One of the first things I do when I can not sleep is clean.  I clean everything.  Not the pick up the clothes in the floor kind of clean, but scrub the baseboards kind of clean.  This accomplishes a few different things.  One, it gives me something on which I can focus my restless energy.  Two, having a clean house gives me one less thing to worry about in my life.  Not that some dishes in the sink are keeping me awake in the wee hours, but washing them gives me that great feeling of accomplishment of knocking one more thing off the ever-growing “to-do” list.  If nothing else, cleaning is tiring; dust, sweep, mop, and scrub your way into a blissful slumber.

In case you cleaned your house yesterday and you can not sleep tonight you must have another plan to beat insomnia.  My second tactic is being creative.  This runs in a spectrum from crocheting, blogging, scrapbooking, editing pics on my computer, to re-decorating various rooms in my house.  Creating, or working on something new gets my mind on things I enjoy and away from thoughts about (un)employment, rent, and relationships (guys).  Play some music, make yourself a new mix cd; just doing something that is for your enjoyment will put you in the right mindset to ease into sleep in no time.

My last suggestion is what not to do.  These are not scientific facts, but believe me I’ve tried them all.  Do not read a book.  You may think that letting Nicholas Sparks make you a sobbing mess will put you to sleep.  But, the reality is, it won’t.  What it will do is get your mind turning and thinking about characters, storyline, or whatever you associate with the book.  This is more likely to keep you awake than anything else.  The only time I have found books as effective sleep-aids is when I was trying to read them to pass History class.  Also, don’t turn on the computer/t.v.  These devices may seem like the perfect things to get the worry off your mind, or to help pass the time while the caffeine works its way out of your system; however, the visual stimulus will have your brain up and running like a hit off a crack pipe.

I wish you all the best of luck in your sleepy endeavors.

Goodnight

Not about Resolutions

Posted: December 26, 2010 in love, relationships, Uncategorized

Though my 2010 began with a (possible) concussion from my friend Eric’s stereo and my skull colliding, oh ten turned out to be a memorable year. Many thanks to all who gave me a place to crash, introduced me to a new band/book, listened to me complain about college woes, and simply made my life better by being there.

  • Traveled to The Tabernacle in ATL with 4 friends to mosh to Flogging Molly; and yes, I crowd surfed for my first (and last) time.
  • I survived a semester of 4 upper-level English classes, French IV, and an Education class.
  • Graduated College after 5.5 years, 20lbs, writing 43 papers, developing a taste for beer, learning what “over-draft” means, and making a few new friends.
  • Saw Ray LaMontagne sing “Hold You in My Arms,” live and cried.
  • Dressed up as an 80’s work-out chick zombie.
  • Moved my best friend to Oklahoma and cried the whole way home.
  • Spent a week in West Virginia as a staff worker for a youth group, and learned more about community from them than I could have ever taught myself.
  • Almost froze to death at Barren Lake Resort in KY alongside some of the best people I know.  http://www.benchmark.org/
  • Sang my lungs out to Garth AND Trisha at the Nashville Flood Benefit Concert.
  • kissed a boy and liked it
  • Found myself fortunate enough to sponsor 1 1/2 angel tree kids this Christmas
  • Overwhelmed by the generosity and forgiveness of an employer and friend.
  • Belted “The Funeral” by Band of Horses at Nashville’s Live on The Green
  • Spent 3 weeks at Mallory, Jonathan, and Eric’s houses while I was homeless.  I love you guys.
  • Found a church where I can be real.  Where I am challenged.  And it doesn’t hurt that the band’s pretty legit too!  ;)
  • Was lucky enough to have 12 of the best people I know show up to celebrate my 23rd year of life.
  • Watched Inception in theaters, and I’m still angry about the ending.
  • Learned that good looking, charismatic, guys with college degrees, and decent families are actually attracted to me.
  • Had my mind blown from reading both We The Living by Ayn Rand, and Radical by Davd Platt.
  • Came in first place in a poker tournament, winning a good 2o bucks cash and some new friends.
  • Tried to drink an entire Guinness without getting sick to my stomach.  Didn’t happen.
  • Ran, walked, and cried through my first haunted house experience.  Though I was in the fetal position in a state-of-panic, I made it out alive.  Thanks Monster Mountain.http://www.monstermountain.net/
  • This bridge  gave me an anxiety attack before I was even on it, thanks to some major “coaxing” from friends I made it across, only stopping to freak out once.

Pass it On

Posted: December 24, 2010 in Generations, Parenting, relationships, tradition

I love tradition.  One of my biggest fears about serious relationships is the thought I might have to be somewhere else on holidays, eating different food, with different people.  As much as I like all three of those things; when it comes to Christmas, I’m just not ok with the change.

However, as Bob Dylan says, “The times are a changin’,”  and thus, my family has been forced to finagle our schedules so all obligations are met and people are seen.  Sometimes I wish that I could wake up with my brother at 3 am to check out our stockings, go back to bed and wake up the parents to open presents, eat mom’s homemade cream cheese danish all before we head off to Kentucky.  But, since neither I nor my bro lives at home and he’s married those days are now cherished memories.

There is one thing that has been a Christmas tradition in my family that I will continue however.  Every year the night before Christmas Eve, (since we celebrated on the Eve), my family would sit down and Mom would read the story of the birth of Christ from Luke 2, and then “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard it, there is something about my parent’s diligence in repeating the story that makes me want to hear it again.  Their diligence modeled value to me.  A value that I would grow to hold as well.  A value for which I am thankful.

I don’t have kids.  I’m not great with em, and frankly they just don’t like me.  But, for those of you who do, I hope you start instilling in your children traditions that matter, and some that don’t too, of course.  Traditions that can become cherished memories and ones that help shape who they are.

As for us childless bunch, I hope that in our own lives we can attach meaning to our actions.  That we will not simply do things for the sake of tradition, but that we will uphold tradition because it is something we believe in, something we can hold on to, something we can pass on.

Merry Christmas

“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, “Fear not I bring you good tidings of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

My day just got ruined

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s a gorgeous, 45-degree Friday in mid-December.  It is my last full week of student teaching, and I don’t have to keep the detention kids today.  Not only did I wake up on time, but I woke early enough to brew coffee at home.  What an awesome morning!  Until my most popular student comes up to me and whispers, “Miss Bracey your tummy sticks out in that sweater, you should put another shirt on.”

Maybe it’s because I’m female, maybe I’m just hyper-sensitive about my not-so-rock hard body.  But that just hurt.  Let’s be real, no one wants to hear that, not even from a 6th grade boy, whose opinion amounts to pretty much nothing on the universe scale.

After the initial anger and embarrassment, (and after actually changing my shirt), I started to think how quickly I went from having a great Friday to being ready to go home put on some sweats and never come out of my apartment.  I think this is a two-fold problem.  Part of the problem is putting too much esteem into myself.  If I really didn’t care I would’ve told the little punk to sit down, shut up, and finish his essay.  But, since I do care about my looks I let him get to me.  Don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said for giving a damn about your looks.  We can’t traipse around looking like Britny Spears on a bad day and expect anyone to take us seriously, much less as professionals.   However, there is a difference between being well-kempt and outwardly-obsessive.  Considering the average amount of pics we have of ourselves on FB and all the reality shows where people make complete fools of themselves to be noticed, I’d say we fall into the second category.

The other part of the problem is people’s sense of entitlement.  It’s not new to us that we think we are entitled to have whatever we want at our convenience; what we don’t realize is  how that transfers to thinking that we are entitled to our opinions too.  Regardless if they’re asked for or even helpful.  Without being too cheesy, I think it is worthwhile thinking about how much our words can impact people.  If a 12-year-old, Justin Bieber look-alike can ruin my coffee time who knows what you’ve done.

Arch Nemesis

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have recently expressed to several of you that one of the most fulfilling things in life is when you get to be present when karma* smacks someone in the face.  I’m not talking about watching your friend who cheated on one test in her life get caught cheating on that one test and fail the class; no, I’m talking about the guy who’s cheated his way through three years of college get kicked out of school for plagiarism.  It’s a breath of fresh air.  Justice is restored, and all is right with the world.

I had an experience like this recently.  Only I was not the one getting to watch the perpetual d-bag go down.  I was the one caught by karma.

I’ve always considered myself an overly considerate and understanding person.  If anything, I am usually both of those things to a fault.  However, since my later days in high school I have had one, enemy.  Said enemy became so for some valid reasons on my behalf.  Slander, jealousy, and gossip all played crucial roles in the break of our friendship and the beginnings of years of judgment.  I don’t want to make this look worse than it was.  I was never sitting at home plotting the social demise of my nemesis, (as I felt she had done to me), but I was certainly not giving her a fair shot either.  Basically, I just used every opportunity that her name was brought up, (which  became less and less since I removed myself from our mutual friends and aquaintances) to let people know how much of a lying phony I thought she really was.

Six/seven years later, I have now found myself in a situation where I must see this person on an almost-daily basis.  Even better, since I’m the rookie around our shared territory it puts me in a position to to need to ask her questions and for her help.  Talk about choking down some humble pie. Although there has yet to be a large blow up or any conversation to clear the thick-as-asphalt air between the two of us, I think the situation is working itself out to teach us both to be better people.  While I haven’t harbored bitterness or anger over the years, I have kept an undue distaste for someone I barely even know.

*(If the use of the word karma bothers you, 1st be less ignorant 2nd think of reaping what you sow).