“Are You Putting Yourself Out There?” was almost the title of this post. Mainly because I’m tired of being asked that question. I’ve never understood how to answer it. And with the current dating trends, I’m not sure I want to be part of the putting myself out there gang.
It’s weird, other people seem to be more concerned with my singleness than I am. This wasn’t always true. Up until my early twenties, marriage was my mission. While friends and acquaintances worried over which I said yes photo to share on facebook, I panicked. I was falling behind. They were starting families and I’d never even had a boyfriend. I was beginning to wonder if there wasn’t something wrong with me.
It took time but I eventually moved past the stage of feeling like a defect. The truth is, I don’t mind being by myself. I’m more weary of the prying “why are you single?” questions I can never seem to adequately answer. Unintentionally, others try to convince me that the absence of a man in my life is an indication that something is wrong or that I’m abnormal, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I cherish dearly this opportunity of discovering who I am through my own eyes.
My desire for marriage has never been to fill an internal void. I recognize it as a gift from God meant to be an earthly expression of his unfailing love. A union that serves to magnify our understanding of the depth of that love. It’s not something I’m willing to forfeit for the sake of a warm body and sweet nothings. I’d much rather wait on God to send me someone of value than put myself through the horror that is- very loosely called– dating.
Although I’m pretty stable in my season of waiting, I still have moments when I need reassurance. A nudge or a wink, something to assure me that I’m on the right path. I find myself praying to God, I’m totally cool with waiting, but I just wanna make sure- Am I doing this right?
I had a bout of doubting debbie a few weeks ago. An impromptu girls night at my crashpad in Newark led to the overwrought topic of boys. The evening lasted well into the next morning as the other two girls gushed about their complicated love lives. I was exhausted just listening. One of them had been trying to figure out if she was actually in a relationship with some guy she’d been talking to, while the other spilled about how she’d rejected going back to her guy friend’s place after dinner in the city that night. Then there was me. Single as a dollar bill. No stories of one night stands or swiping left for love. As quickly as I could, I blurted out the riveting details of my love life- “I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’m a virgin. I’m trusting God to find someone for me.” I waited for their reactions.
Initially, they were all, “That’s great, there’s nothing wrong with that!” But as the conversation continued, I talked myself into a box. A close-minded Christian girl who’s just going to stand idly by and wait for God to send her someone. Those words were all but plastered across their foreheads. One of them in particular. She asked me, “Well, do you put yourself out there?” I rolled my eyes in exacerbation. When I told her, “not really” she returned the gesture. “I hate it when people think that trusting God to do something means sitting on your butt and doing nothing!” She was annoyed by my small thinking. I explained my perspective. If I was striving to be a lawyer, I wouldn’t pray to God to make my law degree appear while I sat on the sofa binge-watching Law and Order: SVU. There is a clear process in what must be done to attain a law degree. Relationships are different. Unless I missed it, there’s no certain equation that leads people to lasting love and marriage. I’d much rather let God do the weeding out. In the meantime, my focus is my relationship with God and learning to enjoy that journey.
I hadn’t wanted to admit it, but my roommate had gotten to me. Her words rang in my head for days and I began to question myself. Am I doing this right? Maybe I am too close-minded. Maybe I should try to find out what it means to put myself out there.
So I did.
Although I had no plans, I’d decided to take off from work for New Year’s Eve. For a change, I wanted to celebrate! I browsed the internet for Christian parties or anything remotely wholesome to attend. Nothing. I didn’t want to go to church because I’d gone that morning and I wanted to do something more festive. I didn’t want to watch fireworks downtown by myself because it seemed a bit pathetic- even for me. I opened my meetup app hoping to find some last minute get together. Nothing. Just as I had come to terms with having a quiet New Years Eve, I came across an event: New Years Single Mixer for Christians on January 13th.
Still hung up on girls night, the meetup event seemed fateful. Is this a sign? I bookmarked the event but didn’t register. It was at a nice restaurant and cost $23, which made me feel better. Yet, the idea of a “singles mixers,” made me nervous. I felt awkward and angsty at envisioning what it’d be like. And as if I’m not enough of a girl scout, I felt like I’d be doing something wrong by attending the mixer. I know, I’m ridiculous. But every time I chickened out, my roommate’s words reignited my insecurities. After a few days of teeter-tottering, I finally committed to the event.
I had something to prove. Although to whom, I still can’t be sure. I don’t know if I was more fixated on proving to my roommate or to myself that I don’t live in a box. Either way, for three hours on January 13th, I put myself out there.
To be continued…
Oh and by the way, if you’re wondering how I ended up spending my New Years Eve: I showered and went to sleep.