Unsent Letters

Hey friends! I know I haven’t blogged in a while, and I apologize! I’ve actually been writing other things including an extremely non creative fictional story. But hey, its something I enjoy doing so I’m gonna keep writing it! Maybe one day I’ll share some of it here, maybe not. I also recently wrote a long letter to someone that I don’t actually intend on sending. That’s what I’m here to talk about.

A little over a year ago I was encouraged by a friend to write a letter to someone with whom I’d had a falling out. I’d grown resentful of this person for causing another friendship of mine to falter. So I took the advice. I wrote a letter that I would never ever actually send. I was feeling extreme anger and said some incredibly hurtful things that I would never in a million years actually say to anyone, even my worst enemy! But the thing is, it really helped. I knew I was feeling angry and hurt, but until I wrote that letter I couldn’t pinpoint why. After writing it, I knew exactly what my feelings were, and I’d processed them in a safe way. It felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

A year later (a few weeks ago) I was dealing with some different feelings. The situation and person could not have been more different from one another. I’m not going to get into too many details, but I thought to myself, “maybe I should write a letter.” So that’s what I did. I wrote a letter. This time the letter was much friendlier. I talked about all of the good times we shared and even smiled while I wrote it, a far cry from the previous letter. In some ways, it still hurt me to write it. It felt like I was talking directly to the person I was writing to and it truly sucked, but in the end I again felt a weight lifter off my shoulders.

Why am I telling you all of this? I’m encouraging you to do the same. If there’s anyone in your life that you have a lot to say to but you can bring yourself to admit it to their face yet, write them a letter that you don’t actually send. Make sure you use pen and paper or Word, not email. That could end up bad! I’m telling you that it works, especially when you just need to externally process! If I’m being honest, I could easily publish a novel of all the unsent letters I should’ve written by now! It doesn’t have a to be a long letter; it could be just one paragraph, but if you feel like you just can’t get something out of your brain, write a letter!

I hope this was all coherent! I’m not proofreading tonight. I’ll write a better blog in the future, but for now I’m gonna go write another letter because I just convinced myself that I need to!

When the Timing Just Isn’t Right…….Ever.

First of all, hey all! I got a new computer so I’m able to blog again! =)

I’ve been thinking a lot about timing recently. Not too long ago I posted a Facebook status that prompted my friends to like it and in return I’d answer a few questions about them. The questions were as follows:
“How did we meet?”
“What was my first impression of you?”
“What do I like about you?”
and finally, “What is my favourite memory of you?”
It got me really thinking about the past. About how some relationships, both platonic and romantic, would have been had the timing just been different. Right. Questions came to my mind like, “what if I hadn’t moved?” and “what if I hadn’t listened to what that particular friend told me?” These questions brought up this idea that if the timing had just been right, everything would have worked out.

I was originally planning to tell a few tales of relationships that could have been very different had the timing been “right,” but as I tried to construct my sentences, I was having a hard time making certain people unidentifiable, and since I share this blog on Facebook, there is a chance that they could read about themselves, and I’m just not ready for that. (I know I said I started this blog so I could openly talk about whatever I want, but that’s just it. I don’t want to share certain feelings right now. Not publically at least.) Let’s just say that there were many instances, in each case, that had I thought the timing was right, I would have said or done something different. For example, at one point I was potentially going to move in with a friend who disapproved of the guy I was interested in, so I stopped talking to him. I didn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who my roommate didn’t like because it could lead to an awkward situation. So I “sisters before misters” that mister because the timing just wasn’t right. The kicker? I didn’t even end up living with her! My point? I let go of something I wanted because it was “bad timing.” (Hey look! I shared a part of one of the stories I was originally going to tell! Go me!)

So when is the timing right? To tell you the truth, I have no idea! You’re asking the wrong girl! But honestly, I don’t really think anyone knows. In movies we always see that perfect moment happen. Whether its landing a dream job or finally getting together with a crush, fictional characters seem to always find the right timing, and it makes us expect the same. We all expect everything to feel right, but to be honest, some of the best things that have ever happened to me didn’t feel “right” at the time! So why do I still try to wait for things to feel right? That’s an excellent question that I don’t have the answer to!

I’m having trouble coming up with a conclusion here, so I’m just going to say don’t try to wait for the right timing. Don’t give up on something you want because the timing just isn’t right. Its never going to feel like the “right time.” Go for it! Whatever it is, go for it! (This blog was kind of a letter of sorts to myself, sorry. But y’all probably needed to hear it too!)

 

The Life of a Socially Awkward Extrovert

(Before I begin, I want to apologize for missing a whole week of blogs! I never said anything, but I was trying to keep to a schedule of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, but that just didn’t happen this week. That’s all. Enjoy!)

Yes, I’m talking about me. Surprise, surprise! If you were around the internet circa 2011-ish, you’re probably aware of memes such as Bad Luck Brian, Over Attached Girlfriend, Successful Black Man, and Socially Awkward Penguin. I am Socially Awkward Penguin.

Here’s an example of one that I do all the time:
penguin3
I just don’t always know how to respond to people sometimes. Its not that I didn’t enjoy meeting you, because I likely did. What am I supposed to say though? “Nice meeting you too!”? That just sounds so fake and forced to me, so I’m left with the ever so awkward, “Yep!” (I feel like I should talk about how the word “yep” is awkward in and of itself, but I’ll leave that for another time.) Here is another somewhat related example:
penguin2
This is my life! I’m always mulling over what I could, or should have said in a situation to make it less awkward. Only on occasion are my witty comments on time, and then this happens:
penguin1
Talk about the most relatable meme I’ve ever seen! Whenever I do have something intelligent to add to a conversation, nobody listens to me.

So what does this have to do with also being an extrovert? A lot. Socially awkward extrovert used to sound like an oxymoron to me. Before I learned what it actually means to be an extrovert, as opposed to a stereotypical extrovert. In case you don’t know, I’ll enlighten you. Stereotypically, extroverts are loud, outgoing, and the life of the party! While stereotypical, they can be true. Where do you think stereotypes come from anyway? One of the actual traits of an extrovert includes being energized just by being around large groups of people. You can love being around people and still be socially awkward!

Because of my social awkwardness, I’m often perceived as being introverted. Depending on how you know me, you probably see me as either a definite extrovert, or a definite introvert. If you’re family, or someone I haven’t spent a lot of time with, you’d probably say I’m introverted. On the other hand, if you’re a close friend that I’ve spent lots of time with, you likely view me as the extrovert that I am. The reason? I’m so much less awkward around people that I know really well! (The exception to this is the people I met while on a YE team, because it was my job to get to know them.)

Why am I writing about this? It sucks! I mean seriously, I want to be around people and spend time with them, but half the time I can’t even produce any intelligent sounding sentences. Most people prefer to surround themselves with interesting people, but its hard to be interesting when you’re plagued with social awkwardness. It really is a curse that many people suffer from!

In dealing with this my whole life, I’ve come up with some ways to spend time with people while not being completely awkward. Sports are a great option because you’re concentrating on what you’re doing while still enjoying, hopefully, each others company. Whether playing a team sport with a large group, or something one on one like tennis, it fills my extroverted needs of being with people while eliminating the social stress of conversation. Always having background music is a staple of my life. If there’s ever a lull in conversation, I can either start jamming out to the song that’s on or it will spark another subject to talk about. You can also just bust up some silly dance moves, which brings me to one of my favourite activities, dancing. Dancing is especially great for socially awkward extroverts because like sports, it lets you concentrate on something else. It also requires music and if you’re feeling comfortable, especially in partner dances such as swing, you can hold a conversation at the same time! Plus its fun!

So there you have it folks! The life of a socially awkward extrovert. Hopefully my 3am writing is coherent because I don’t really feel like editing today! =)

My Week On Tinder

(At this point its been more like two weeks since I’m late in posting this.)
Recently, I decided to conduct a bit of a social experiment. I had heard a lot about Tinder and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably have too, and you know what it is used for. For those of you who don’t know, I’ll be nice enough to enlighten you. Tinder is somewhat of an online dating app. According to my extremely credible source, Wikipedia, “Tinder is a location-based dating and social discovery application (using Facebook) that facilitates communication between mutually interested users, allowing matched users to chat.” Another incredibly reliable source, Urban Dictionary, defines Tinder as “A popular dating app for college students used on iphones and androids. In which you select individual based on your attractiveness to said individual and an individual brief statement. Its pretty much the most shallow thing in the world.” (Yes, I chose one of the nicest definitions from the website. Feel free to read some others if you feel the need.) If you don’t know how it works, here’s a quick idea:
1. Download app
2. Connect to Facebook and choose up to 6 photos you want to represent yourself with.
     – They don’t even have to be of you! I have seen a lot of pets and cars. Choosing a main photo of you posing with your more attractive friend seems to also be a favourite, and if you play any instruments, you’ll want to make sure to have a photo of you playing that as well!
3. Maybe write an about me section. Serious or sarcastic.
– Apparently height is a requirement as well, at least for men.
4. Choose gender, distance, and age range of potential suitors. (I missed this step originally.)
5. Start swiping! Left for no. Right for yes. And a new(ish?) feature, up for Super Like!
6. Message the people who mutually swiped right, or not. Its up to you.

You may be wondering, “why would you subject yourself to this?” I can’t speak for the millions of others out there who have made profiles on the app, but for me the answer is quite simple. Pure curiosity. I’d heard about that app, including both good and bad stories of Tinder dates. Here’s a story on Youtube. So a little over a week ago, I decided to conduct my experiment and share the results on this blog. Before I get into all the details I will tell you that there are a lot of things I could have done, but did not do, to supplement my experiment. I hope you enjoy my findings anyway.

When I first set up my Tinder account, I chose the maximum amount of photos, six, to represent myself. Obviously I included the photos which I felt best represented me, while also being flattering. The first photo I chose was my favourite, it also happens to be my photo on the blog. Of course its deceiving because I don’t actually know how to play guitar. (I’m pretty sure other people also have deceiving photos.) This is the first picture that people will see of me, and the only one they’ll see if they choose not to look at my “profile”. The next five photos including one in New York City, a couple from sorority formals, and one of me canoeing. (If we’re friends on Facebook, you can probably guess which pictures they were.)

Next, I started swiping. Let me tell you, that Urban Dictionary definition of Tinder being shallow is spot on! I felt so shallow and judgmental because I was basing my swipe direction purely off of looks, age, and name, so I began to look at the profiles as well. I noticed quickly that a lot of people included interests in their profile, so I soon added a few hobbies and activities to mine before continuing to swipe through people. It still felt shallow, but at least I learned a tiny bit about someone before I inevitably swiped left. I’m pretty sure my ratio of left to right is 100:1 meaning that I didn’t find very many guys appealing. (That’s an exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like!)

In the first couple days, I realized that I had subconsciously created a criteria that someone had to meet. Remember that I didn’t find the built in age filter for a few days, so I would automatically eliminate anyone under the age of 21. Eventually I discovered the age filter settings and changed them to fit my needs, but not before a few awkward moments. (At one point, there was an 18 year old that I knew for a fact was in high school because he plays basketball. Of course I swiped left, but that was a strange moment.) Moving on to more subconscious requirements, if they had a picture of them partying, they were out. I don’t mind it necessarily, but if that’s how you choose to represent yourself, no thank you! Anyone with a mirror selfie also got nixed. If you’re going to post a selfie, use the front facing camera on your smartphone that I can obviously see in the mirror! Do you see what I’m saying about being judgmental?!

Despite my low ratio of right swipes, I did end up matching more guys than I expected. In the past almost two weeks now, I have somehow matched 25 people. I’ve always considered myself to be pretty average looking, not the most beautiful by any means, but also not hideous. Just kind of in the middle. Between that, being picky, and only using the app on occasion, I was surprised by this amount of matches. (Maybe it was that deceiving guitar picture.)

I made a decision early on that since I was only doing this as an experiment, I wasn’t going to start any conversations. I left it up to the guys to begin the conversation. Only one did, which actually kind of relieved me. I didn’t want to have to break the news that I wasn’t actually interested in meeting anyone. I have to admit that I expected everyone on the app to be a little douche-y, but the guy I ended up talking to was pretty nice. We ended up talking about travel which was cool. Luckily, he lives in St. Louis, so I have a good excuse to not meet him.

I had expectations of having a terrible experience on Tinder of guys only wanting to hook up, but it actually turned out okay. Maybe it was because of my judgmental qualifications! And maybe its because not all people who use shallow apps are shallow people. Whatever the reasons, I was pleasantly surprised with the way my little social experiment went. I realize that to get the full experience I should have begun conversations and eventually gone on a date, but my intentions being what they were, I didn’t want to do that. For now, I’ll be deleting the app, but maybe in the future I won’t find it the most horrible way to meet people.

If you’d like me to conduct any other social experiments, let me know! And if you have any funny, interesting, or awkward Tinder stories, I’d love to hear them!

Confessions of a Commitment-phobe

I have a confession. I am a commitment-phobe. Yes that’s a thing, and yes it does tend to cause problems. It causes problems in a lot of aspects of life! I tend to think of myself of a person who doesn’t plan ahead, and what kind of non-planner commits to anything really?! I’m not really sure what the point of writing about this is yet, but maybe somebody somewhere will get something out of it!

Let’s look first at the root of my problem. I’m a military brat. Yep, that means I moved a few times growing up. How does that relate to a phobia of commitment, you ask? Well, aside from my family, I’ve had no sense of permanence in my life. The longest I’ve lived in one house continuously is seven years of my childhood in Silverdale, WA. That’s less than a third of my life! I have friends, maybe some of you reading this, that lived in the same house from the time they were born until they left for college. That is a completely foreign and absolutely terrifying idea to me! Making a commitment seems to me like a lifetime thing, and I don’t understand things that last a lifetime!

What parts of my life does this affect? Quite a few! From small things like planning out an outfit or meal the day before to big things like relationships. Let’s start with the small stuff. Okay, I’m not actually afraid of planning an outfit the day before, but I am 98.7% likely to change my mind the day of. I’d rather just choose something that I feel like wearing at the moment I’m getting dressed. Planning meals is a very similar concept. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve thawed something out and changed my mind on what I want to eat at the last minute. Obviously not being able to commit to an outfit or meal is not going to change my life, it’s just annoying.

Relationships on the other hand are a bigger deal, both platonic and romantic. My longest running friendships of people that I would still consider good friends are about eight to nine years in the making. (Shout out to Sarah and Chase!) That’s not to say that I don’t make friends with people, my friendships just tend to be short lived because I don’t commit to them. Here’s an example. Two years ago, I began volunteering with Youth Encounter on a ministry team. (Feel free to ask me more about it sometime!) About twenty-five us, split into four different teams, all spent one month of training together before going our separate ways. I had this mindset of not needing to commit to forming relationships with anyone outside of the other five people on my team because I would only be with them for a month and a handful of other times throughout the year. I just didn’t see the point. I did come out of that year with some solid friendships thanks to an eventual change of mind, but I know I missed out on cultivating more great friendships because of my fear of committing time to people who I didn’t think would be permanently in my life.

As far as romantic relationships, its a whole different ball game. I’ve had more platonic relationships than I can count, and zero romantic. It’s really not for lack of opportunity, though I used to believe it was. My lack of commitment is strong in this department! At twenty-six years old, if I get into a relationship I feel like I should want it to end in marriage. That’s what everyone says at this point in there life, but that’s terrifying! Marriage=permanence=scary! Don’t get me wrong, I get crushes just like any other girl out there, but once they start getting too close, I’ll push them away. Usually I’ll do this by either cutting off communication or blatantly acting disinterested, even if I actually am interested. It’s something that happens sub-consciously, but I am attempting to be more self-aware. This is definitely the aspect of my life that I think is most affected by my phobia!

There you have it folks; confessions of a commitment-phobe! I’m not sure if there was even a point in writing this, but I hope you were at least somewhat entertained by my shortcomings! And if you want to offer up any advice on how to not be a commitment-phobe, have at it!