dating

Do Teenage White Females Understand Their Privilege?

Last Saturday, I went to Tout Suite to indulge in their infamous brunch and do some leisure reading. As I approached, four young white women stopped to take selfies, bare-shouldered and Birkenstocked. I stood patiently waiting for them to either finish or notice they were blocking me. Eventually, they politely let me pass. I walked into Tout Suite and was struck by the privilege I afforded them. One they didn’t even know they had. They had a luxury most minority girls don’t. In their aloofness and adolescent frivolity, they had been privileged with innocence. This innocence, that made them not a blockade, but just teens being teens. This innocence, that if something happened to them, they would automatically be victims. This innocence, that frees them to be nonspeculative of the world around them. It was a careless and free innocence.

I hadn’t ever noticed it before. I wasn’t angry or upset with these girls. As I settled into my book, I watched them. Lingering in front of the case of desserts, unaware of the line behind them. No one tempting to urge them or hurry them. They took selfies in front of everything. Older couples looked upon them and smiled. One spilled their drink, and several people stopped to help this damsel.

I don’t want to spend much more time discussing these 4 white adolescent females. I cannot speak on their assumed innocence. Rather, I was heartbroken for my own. I work with a predominantly African-American community. I spend a substantial amount of time with black girls. We talk. We laugh. We cry. We do each other’s hair. When I look at them they are innocent girls, but I know the world does not see them this way. Black girls don’t get the luxury of innocence. My girls get hyper-sexualized earlier. I don’t know if it is hitting puberty earlier or the commodifying language we use with black skin. All, I know you never hear anyone saying about little white girls, “Your skin is like a yummy dollop of mashed potatoes”, but there lives a level of impurity and “chocolate sinfulness” in a black girls’ skin.

Those 4 girls, were allowed to be free, and the world accommodated that.

Perhaps, history or society or a blend of the two has placed a filter on the innocence of the black girlhood. Recently, a study was released discussing the Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood. It is a good read. It is pretty spot on. I agree not only based on my experiences but the experiences of my girls.

I don’t know where is post is meant to go. I have thought about this for a week. It makes me scared for black girls. Worse, if there is little innocence to be given to black girls. I cannot imagine the consequences for black women.

Actually, I can…

God help us.

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Specified Lamenting

Sleep. Silence. Wake. Silence. Aldi. Silence. HEB. Silence. Clean. Silence.

A year ago my life was bursting with people. Busy was my normal pace. I packed in school and work and social obligations. I used busyness as a means of avoidance. I became hyper-productive. I still am. You can occasionally catch me in the office until 3 AM working on God-knows-what. Using the justification, it has to get done. People let me get away with it. I don’t really want them to, but everyone has their own busyness going on and I don’t feel the need to infringe.

People get into these rhythms. My weekend rhythm is empty most times. The peak of my excitement is the trip to the grocery stores. I go to Aldi and HEB. While standing in the checkout aisle (in Aldi), I longed for someone to share this rhythm with. I longed for someone to interrupt my rhythm with their own. I longed for a harmonious melody, where two sounds become one song, with seasons of discord of course, but one nonetheless. This thought carried to HEB. I stroll down the aisles mindlessly with tremendous amounts of time to waste, knowing I am only coming home to laundry and meal prep.

It gets exhausting telling God about your longings. I mean. We both know He already knows. Why does He even care to hear them? Why do I have to say them? Do, I even need to say them? Does God give me longings that will remain unmet? I think He does. Why would He do that? He is not cruel. I know He isn’t.

All the while, I hear the phantom whispers of well-meaning Christian singles and their leaders questioning my satisfaction and contentedness in the Lord. Stupid cliches about Jesus being their boyfriend or that they’re dating Jesus. Sarcastically, thinking in my head…“You don’t get to make out with Jesus like you would a human”. Then feeling condemned because positive female sexuality is not really a Wednesday night Bible study class offered in the church. Or people reminding me to live in a community that practices vulnerability. (insert eye roll). Maybe it’s not the community. Maybe it’s me.

I digress…

I don’t know, there was not really a point to all of this. I just felt these words ruminating in my mind over the course of two hours. And, I needed them to come out before I went to bed. Perhaps, I will find God in all of this. I am more hopeful that He finds me. I have not been searching for him. I am feeling a like the one lost sheep and really need my Shepherd to come along. I am a dumb creature, privy to falling off cliffs and being attacked. Please find me, Shepherd.

Words. Rest. Breathe. Rest. Post. Rest. Come rest.

Single, but not Incomplete.

Confession, I have never seen Jerry Maguire. I was six when it came out. Twenty years later, I can’t get past the fact that I don’t like the three main actors (Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.). Even with never seeing this film, I know the most popular line:

“You complete me.” 

Intro romantic music, smoke, and cherubs. C’mon, what single person does not want to hear those three little words? I mean the only other phrase a single person might be interested in is “I brought pizza”. Just kidding. We all know it’s, “I love you”. 

However, there are millions of spiritual and emotional problems with that phrase. Because, I don’t get paid to write (nor do I have the energy), I will focus on one massive issue.

People who are not in a relationship (single, divorced, widowed) are not complete people. 

Men and women experience brokenness. This is a universal truth, even if externally your world is perfect, there has been a time of where internally things were askew. Additionally, we are born with normal healthy longings. We long for companionship. We long for someone to spend our lives with and love. We long for a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, lips to kiss, a partner in crime, a person to embrace, someone to romance us. We long. It is normal and healthy. God placed this desire in me.

However, at some point we got our wires crossed. Two healthy separate desires (completion and companionship) morphed into one obsessive unattainable unrealistic goal.

Of the two desires completion is for more important, and MUST take priority over companionship. There is too great of a risk when incomplete people look for companionship before completion or wholeness. See any friend or person who has gotten their identity from the person they are dating. If, we are to be made whole, What must be done? How do we become whole? Because again, we all agree that we are broken people living in a broken world with broken ideas working in broken systems and structures that will not save us from our demise.

I will give you my answer. I have found my completion and wholeness in Christ. Paul writes about being made complete, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” I am full. I lack nothing. I have longings, but longings are not lack. Believing this truth and living in it are difficult. It is frightening. I have lived longer as a broken and incomplete person. So, wholeness is still sometimes unfamiliar to me.

I, as a single young adult, get to live in completion singularly. The benefit to this is that my completion before companionship, will make companionship much more fulfilling. Mark dictates the words of Jesus, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” There is no discussion about two halves becoming a whole. It is about two wholes becoming one. It is about peanut butter being completely peanut better and jelly being completely jelly and placing them together to make one sandwich. Not half a key lime pie and half and apple pie coming together to a nasty pie. In Christ, I am not a half. I am a complete one. 

In my oneness, I am able to do much. I am able to serve my teens with vigor. I work long hours often, but with joy. I travel on a whim, but how wonderful to simply get away. I dream and do life BIG and with unbridled intensity! I empty myself as often as I can, because in Christ even when I am running on empty, His eternal nature makes me full again. I do everything I do with joy because one day, when I am married, I will be divided. My attention will be filled with fulfilling my role as a wife and mother.

Even as I write this, I can feel my longing for companionship. Yet it is one I feel with joy because I know I am whole.

An Open Letter to My Husband

To My Mortal Companion…

During this season, the general yearning in my heart for you stirs and intensifies. I hope you feel this way for me. While I long for you, I am not waiting for you. Before you get all sensitive about my virginity and what not, relax. I am waiting, but that is more about God than you.

What I am saying, is “I am not idly waiting on you”.

I am not waiting on you for my life to begin. My life began twenty-five years ago. There has been joy and sorrow, stability and transition, fighting and peacemaking, logic and emotion, and people. Loads and loads of people. You are not my life. You are a major part of it, but not the sum of it. God authored my life. He is the one that dictates its beginning; as I said in the beginning of this paragraph it was 25 years ago.

I am not waiting for you to experience romance. This may sound weird, but I don’t think romance is limited for dating or married couples. In my head, I have these lavish ideas on how to surprise you and plan picnics for you and fun dinners to cook. I would love to do those things for you now, but I have friends who need to be romanced now. Who don’t need to wait to experience what it is like for someone to surprise them because it is a Tuesday or plan picnics for them. My hope is that I am sowing seeds in our marriage by doing this. I pray you have the thoughtfulness to be romantic.

I am not waiting on you to make me feel special. I never feel more special than when people surprise me with gifts. I love when people send me flowers on a Tuesday or write me a random note. I shouldn’t seek heavy external validation. Lately, I have wanted to be in a relationship so someone could affirm that I was special. How selfish is that? That’s not your job. God created me. God has imputed value on me, through Christ’s work on the cross. Now, all the talents and skills I have are directed towards Him being glorified. I am special.

I am not waiting on you to “complete me” or “fix me”. Allow me to make this super clear. YOU WILL NEVER “COMPLETE ME.” And despite what Coldplay says please don’t try to “fix me”. There is a deep brokenness in both of us. One of the delusions the enemy has utilized in relationships is: “dating people is about being completed”. God makes me whole. The Master Craftsman takes the toy who fell to bits and restores it. My hope is, when I enter into this relationship with you. I am further along in my restoration process.

I am not waiting on you to go on adventures with. Yeah, it is too late for that. I have been a foster mom. I have traveled. I have danced and danced. I have met people from across the world. I left my home. I have experienced a degree of homelessness. This goes to the first point. God writes the story, and He is the BEST author. Have you read the Bible? Eep, it is SO GOOD!

I am not waiting on you to make me feel loved. This is one of those harder truths to live out. I connect feeling loved to being chosen. There is something beautiful about two people actively and constantly agreeing on each other. If I can be frank with you, no one has chosen me. Randomly, I get this bitter sinking feeling of being unloved. God loves me. The more I learn of Him, the more loved I feel. Also, in His graciousness God gives me great friends who love me.

I am not waiting on you to create a home. Hospitality makes a house a home. Hospitality is outpouring of abundant love on others. Leading to an invitation into not only that persons personal space, but life. No where in Scripture does it say that hospitality is reserved for those in relationships.

I am not waiting on you to honor you and love you. I don’t do this perfectly yet. But it is important to me to practice honoring you now. You are worthy of my respect. Whether, I know you by name now or won’t for another 25 years, I do not want to harm our marriage presently or in the future. God authors stories and know them well. If marriage is in mine, then it is already a reality to Him and real to me.

There is a harshness to this letter. Allow me to call two things your attention. (1) If I don’t put the full weight on you to “complete me” or make me feel loved or to begin life with, it frees you from a burden that can only truly be accomplished by God. Listen, kiddo, I already love you (or at least the idea of you). The best thing I can do for our marriage is have a rightful view of God. (2) I would be brash to not share what I am waiting for. I am waiting to partner with you in a special way to do ministry. I am waiting to build a family with you. (Depending on God’s timing this may change. I already feel strongly about adopting kids). I am waiting to explore what romantic friendship looks like with you. I am waiting to hold your hand and rest my head on your shoulder. Friend, you are worth waiting for.

Anyways, I don’t write to you often. Which is for the best. However, I thought of you today and wrote.

Love You (flower)Bud,

Tose

No Country for Old Men

Tuesdays, I go blues dancing. I met a man about 40 years my senior. He sat in a group of three. We started a friendly conversation. He was a great tango dancer. He taught me tango. He was overt in his farewell that he was interested in me.

I arrived home; he had sent me a very complimentary, forward yet respectful message. Initially, I blew him off. It was weird. Men don’t hit on me, in a serious way. Maybe in a jokey, flirtatious, banter riddled manner but nothing more. I reread the message again today. Here are words he used to describe me: lovely, elegant, and pure heart. As, I drove home I thought about it. I began to rationalize it and see hope in it. I began (in desperation) to extract the outlandishness of this situation and romanticized it.

The Lord very quickly shut that down. In doing so, He built an empathetic pathway for women who find themselves in bad relationships. I can happen with quickness and ease. I know there is no good that can come from engaging with this man. I know this is not for whom the Lord has preserved me. However, I know those words (lovely, elegant, pure heart) are words, I desire so badly to see in myself. They are words, I intentionally work on developing in myself. They are words that I wish to reflect out to people. They are words that are nice to hear from my girlfriends, but hold a different weight when heard from a man’s voice. For a matter of moments, hearing them from a man’s voice mattered more than hearing God’s.

I will do nothing with his message. I won’t respond. After, I post this I will probably delete it. It was just a thought I had while driving down 610.

God,

Waiting is hard. Waiting when all has been silent is even harder. I don’t think the desire for a relationship or marriage is wrong. I think You bless people with the desire for companionship. Waiting in the silence brings about as many insecurities as being in a relationship does. Yet, I will wait.

Forgive me in times, when I think You aren’t good enough and that I need more. Father, sometimes it is nice to hear Your Voice through the voices of those around me. Remind to trust Your words and not the flattery of men. Remind me to listen to You. Forgive me for the moments where I forget that You are the one who is the Great Companion.

Comfort me in great sincerity. Remind me that I can be weak with You. And, that I am doing alright being single. That even my singleness is ordained by You. You know that in this time, You get the most glory from my life, and I grow in godly character, by being single. God most importantly, remind me that my life is not about me. Help me to focus on You so deeply and with such intent that all the cares of this life trickle away, until it is just You and me.

Amen

Weighing In

I finished Whole30 yesterday. I capped it off with my favorite dessert: melon trifecta (watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe). Today, I simply attend work meetings and have the rest of the day to myself. When, I wake I will go to the gym, where I will be able to weigh myself….and I don’t know why, but that thought scares me.

Thanksgiving, after months of a poor girls diet, I stepped on the scale and weighed more than I ever had. Two hundred and sixty-five pounds. Instantly, I hated every pound of myself. I didn’t want to look at myself. I couldn’t find anything lovely about me. My face was hideous. My body horrendous. My esteem demolished. Every insult hurled at me about my looks resurfaced. Fat. Ugly. Cow. Behemoth. I clearly saw the faces of all the boys and girls who made me feel so small. I began believing that my weight was the reason no man was interested in me. No one wants to date a fat girl. I remember telling that to myself as a teenager. I told myself that yesterday.

I am scared to step on that scale, because I know that a massive part of me still places such deep value on that number. My beauty is in that number. My value is in that number. My hope is in that number. I don’t even know what that number is. There was no set amount of pound I desired to lose. All I know is that a number dictates so much of how I feel about myself and I hate it. I really do hate it. I hate that a decade past adolescence, I still have similar fears. I hate that I believe no one wants to date me because I’m fat and because I’m fat, I’m unattractive. I know this massive body positive movement going on, but even if I am positive about my body it does not mean I am perceived to be more attractive. Most of all, I despise that I work with teenage girls and still struggle with this. The young women, I serve, are so beautiful. It is easy to see their loveliness, but so hard to see my own…..

This is an area where I needs God’s grace. Because ultimately, I choose to surrender my worth. I choose to operate from a lie…even if feels true because of my empty relationship history.

God, silence all these voices. Silence me. Remind me my worth, that it was ordained before my birth and that is has nothing to do or say. When, I am slim or weigh 310 pound remind me that my worth is not assigned by man, but by God. You make me worthy.

Today, I step on a scale and pray all I see is a number.

An Open Letter on How to Handle Rejection

August 1, I attempted to thwart my desire to date. By doing the “faux-Christian, falsely secure in my singleness, everyone around me is Noah’s Arking” thing, by not dating for a year. I wanted to use the year to focus my attention on the hellish relationship with my father, how it affects my current relationship with men, and how God could redeem it.

While lust got the best of me, in August, no one was worth casting my gaze upon. September was different. September allowed for a friendship to emerge. In this friendship, I remember seeking wisdom and direction from the Holy Spirit. Our friendship was encouraging to me. I appreciated his kindness and knowledge. Conversing with him was typically a delight; there was always this elegant waning among the spiritual, the silly, and the serious. I appreciated his transparency in our conversations. I appreciated how in his transparency, I also saw how delicate he was as a person. And in his delicacy, I saw strength. I appreciated that I was able to see him in a different context and manner than others did. I saw his flaws, but knew they were not mine to solve. As he walked with God, God would do the work.

Soon, I found myself unexpectedly keen on him. With my best attempts again sought wisdom from the Holy Spirit on how to navigate the keenness. I prayed  God would keep me from romance conspiracy theorizing, but I did like him. While, he verbalized friendship, his actions often spoke an alternating message. I was confused, but I wanted to honor our friendship, and honor a commitment he had made. April 2015. If our friendship continued in the trajectory it was, I planned on reaffirming or reevaluating our friendship.

The reevaluation came sooner than anticipated. He took on a beau. Our friendship was stripped down. All I appreciated about him was gone. In attempts to honor his steady, I was shut out.

I decided to lay low for a while. If, I had to lick my wounds, I wanted to do them solemnly and privately. This passive rejection was all a hurtful reminder, that I was not good enough, to be considered worthy of a relationship. All, I could ever be was a couple of laughs, a dinner, and a farewell. So, I kept quiet. I kept to myself. I tried not to kick up a stink. In time, things began to scar. Sorrow evolved into anger. With no opportunity to address my hurt with him, I chose spite. I was juvenile and said hurtful words to him and about him. I sought ways to despise him. I was angry and still struggle with not feeling angry. My anger was so great that, I was unable to think clearly of him and how to manage this tension.

This evening very poignantly, the Holy Spirit spoke and asked why I stopped allowing Him to guide me. It dawned on me, God desires to guide me in all things, but especially when I experience failure, hurt, and rejection. God wants to navigate me through passive rejections, but also wants to strengthen me through them.

I am not writing this and stating that I have forgiven him. I need to forgive him as well as be forgiven by him. If I had voraciously pursued the Holy Spirit to guide me when I was shut out, I would have never lashed out. I would have chosen humility rather than being overcome with hurt.

It is unclear where to go from here. I don’t know if I desire his friendship any more; he doesn’t seem to reciprocate his previous levels of transparency or authenticity. I am no longer keen on him. I do mourn the loss of the way I once saw him. I would love to just talk to him and share this, but I am not longer worthy of his audience. I guess my desire for knowledge will not be satiated this time.

Verse of the Day

God, sometimes, I think so highly of You, that I simply assume You don’t care about the trivial aspects of my life. That a foolish little heartbreak is not worth the time or attention of God. Help me to be humble enough to turn to You for the little things. Remind me that I am terribly unfit to even handle the small situations. Lord, You are not calloused. You understand how I feel, whether it is justified or ridiculous. Forgive me for forsaking You. God forgive me for my unkindness. Whether he knows he hurt me or not, it is not my place to be malicious and defame his character. Forgive me for not being mindful of Your creations. I’m sorry that ultimately, I hurt my brother in Christ.

Father as I experience a passive rejection, I want to rest in You. I want to experience Your vibrant beauty in sorrow. I want to serve you well. I love You. Protect me from fortifying my heart and allow me to remain open to new friendships.

Holy Spirit, help me love my him well. Remind me to love my brothers in Christ.

Finally, I pray for my husband. Jesus walk with him and guide him. Lord, he is imperfect as I am imperfect, but allow us to both desire for growth as we journey towards You and each other. Set his heart ablaze for Your kingdom. Let his love for You be seen clearly in the manner he loves and worships You. Surround him with a community of men who pour out wisdom and knowledge on his head. Let him be accepting of their discipleship. Also, surround him with a community of young men or boys that he serves. Strengthen him to be a mighty warrior in Your army. I thank You for his life. Thank you for Your faithfulness to him.

In Christ’s name,

Amen