MMXIII

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8 hours away from 2014.

I am less hopeful and less optimistic than I have ever been before.  I used to look forward to the new year so much.  I would write pages worth of inspirational, spiritual, deep thoughts in my journal about what I hoped for the new year and reflect on the last year.  This year, not so much.  I am as pessimistic as they come.  Any hopes of something better coming does not exist in my mind.

This is not to say that God hasn’t blessed me this year, because He has.  I wouldn’t be sitting in my living room, on my comfortable couch, writing this to you if He hadn’t.  He has blessed me above and beyond what I could ever ask or deserve.  This is true for EVERY year, not just this.

But, this year has been a disappointing one, to say the least.  I’ve had lots changes, difficult ones, when it comes to friendships.  I’ve had to let go of a lot of people and it wasn’t an easy decision, but a necessary one.  And, although years from now, I may wonder if I made the right decision, I can say with full confidence that, right now, I am happy that I let go. I’m sad to say goodbye, but ready to fill my life with people who want to be a part of mine.

My job, as rewarding as it is, has been challenging to say the least. I’ve been pushed to take on more than I ever thought I could and I still find myself second guessing my abilities to do it.  But, clearly, God knows more than I do about what I can and cannot handle.

My passion to sing and lead worship has wasted away, which if anything, devastates me the most.  I fear that I’ve lost the talent and ability to do it anymore and I don’t know where to begin on how to fix that. Every day I wonder if I screwed myself up when I quit the worship team at church, because work was becoming too much.

I traveled more than years before.  We went to Cali for a couple of weeks and then to DC for a weekend. I hope 2014 holds more traveling opportunities for me.

I cussed a LOT more than usual.  The F word becoming a daily staple in my life.

I lost weight and gained it all back, successfully.

I spent WAY more money then I should have.

I’ve tried new styles in clothing.  I’m trying to stop dressing myself like a lesbian lady over 40.

I’ve realized how incredibly selfish and unforgiving I can be.

All in all, 2013 is a year that I’m willing to forget.  But, I’m not going to hold my breath for 2014.  I’m too old to keep hope alive for something that has disappointed me time and time again.

BUT…for you, my faithful readers (real and BOTS), I wish you all the best in 2014.  That all you hope for and aim to be, comes to pass this new year!

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Pinned and Deleted.

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So remember when I told you I had those pins about my Dream Wedding?

I took a bold step and deleted it just now.

I did keep my dream home, because come on now, it’s a house.

But my wedding?  Gone.

I don’t know what came over me.  Well, actually, I do know what came over me.  I realized that I have forgotten what my real dream is.

You know, when I was younger, and naive, I had such big dreams and aspirations.  When I would tell people about it, they’d just look at me with that head-tilt and a look of, “Oh, you poor girl.  What’s wrong with you?”.    Singing was everything to me.  I wanted to sing and lead worship — and not just in a church every Sunday.  I wanted to travel and lead worship in different places for different people.   When I got the chance to do it in Mexico, not knowing much Spanish (and only 4 Spanish songs), it was the most incredible experience.  I wanted that all the time.

But as I got older, especially closer to 30, and the opportunities to sing publicly have diminished greatly, and people my age that I’ve grown up (and younger) started to get married and have children, I started to get worried.  Like I was missing something.  I got so distracted by that, that I forgot my own dreams.  I realized today that when I keep harping about “wanting more”, I wasn’t talking about those dreams of singing and leading worship.  It was dreams of getting married, having a family, and living a Norman Rockwell-esque life.  Because clearly, singing wasn’t happening so I had to focus on the next thing.

But the truth is, that’s not my real dream or passion.  Of course that’s what I would love to happen eventually.  There’s no such thing as not having BOTH of those things.  But the question I have to ask myself is which do I want MORE?   What is that I want most of all? What is it that burns in my bones?

And it’s been singing.  Music.  Leading worship.  Writing songs.  Things that I used to loved to do, that I’ve forgotten how to do.  I get mad that people have forgotten me, because they don’t ask me to sing anymore.   But the thing is, I should be mad at myself.  Because I have forgotten how to sing and lead worship.  I’ve settled for singing in the shower because I convinced myself that’s all I would ever do.

So I need to recalibrate.  Refocus.  If singing and leading worship is my first priority, then I need to figure out how to get back on that.  How do I take my talent and put it to good use — outside of my shower.

And don’t get me wrong.  I’ll still dream and hope for love, marriage, family, and that dream home.   But, now I have to just remind myself that all that will come if it’s in God’s plan for me.  Until then, I need to focus on what I really want.

I Don’t Believe in Soulmates, either!

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I am going to direct you to a blog that someone wrote which I felt was SPOT on to how I’ve lived my life concerning marriage and finding “the one” and where I am NOW and how I feel about those issues.   I so appreciate Hannah, wherever and whoever she is, because she says what I couldn’t accurately or effectively write out myself.   So please go read her blog post about soulmates.  It is fantastic, to say the least.   And I want to be her friend just because of it.

http://theartinlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/my-husband-is-not-my-soul-mate/

Lessons Lucy Has Taught Me

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I Love Lucy.

What I mean is, I love I Love Lucy.  It’s been one of my favorite shows for so long. I even own the complete series on dvd.  I literally LOVE it.  I don’t know what it is, maybe because it’s a classic and it’s STILL funny even today.  It’s just a good ole, reliable, non-raunchy show that I can watch.  You bet I want my kids to watch it, too.

But, the woman in me tends to get offended when I watch it, too.

Mind you, I am not Gloria Steinem or anything.  I’m not this feminist that goes around burning bras and standing up for women’s rights.   But it’s amazing how backwards life and different the world  was when Lucy was on tv.

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One example, Lucy was given an “allowance” from Ricky as spending money.  Can you imagine? Yes, those were the times.  But can you imagine that now?

Or, when she was pregnant with her baby, there’s an episode where she has a shower thrown for her.  Ricky was feeling “ignored” because she didn’t have time to cook him lunch or dinner because she was so busy with the shower. Then, she didn’t pick up his dry cleaning (mind you, the woman is pregnant!).  So he starts feeling sympathy pains and she has to figure out how to make him feel more important.

These are just a couple of examples out of hundreds of episodes, but the sad part of it is that there are people who live in 2013 that STILL operate this way.  I can name a few Indian men I know that treat their wives like this.

This all just goes right back to my previous post — the confidence of a man.   That whole archaic idea of a woman “knowing her place” still exists but in a new way now.   Nowadays we’re being told what we’re supposed to with our body.  Yes, we can work, but we still don’t make the same amount (or more) than men in our same positions.

Women can have the 9-5 job, raking in 40 hours a week, but they also have to be a chef in the kitchen, a maid for the house, and a pornstar in the bedroom. All because it’s our “place”….this “role” that has been thrust upon us.  A few months ago, a pastor’s wife was speaking to the congregation (that I was a part of) and was talking to us about how to be a good wife (for lack of better words, “keep our man happy”).  She suggested, and I’m not even kidding, that even if YOU (the woman) are tired, you should still be intimate with your husband if he’s wanting it.   Essentially she was saying, it doesn’t matter how YOU feel, lady, if your husband wants it, give it to him because that’s what a dutiful wife does.  Needless to say I was stunned.   What are you telling women??   That it’s not okay to be tired?   That it’s not okay to say NO if you are physically exhausted?   That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!!

Although, I appreciate how much progress women’s movements have made in 60 years, there is still so much work to do.  I can only hope that for my daughter(s), they will be able to truly stand on their own.

(Blogger’s Note: Lucille Ball, the woman, was a trail blazer in her own right.  I am only referring to the premise of the show and the lives of its characters). 

Stedman, Stedman, Wherefore Art Thou, Stedman?

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I need Stedman Graham.

Ok, wait, maybe that sounds really bad. Let me rephrase. oprah-and-stedman

I need to find a man who is LIKE Stedman Graham.

If you live under a rock and don’t know who I’m talking about, I am referring to Oprah Winfrey’s long-time partner in life. He’s a successful educator, author, speaker, and businessman.  You would think someone with the power of Oprah would have a difficult time finding a man.

The reality is that a typical man would find it very intimidating to be with a woman who is more successful and more famous than he is.  It’s pretty much a sure thing that Oprah brings in lots more money than Stedman does.   For a typical guy, being with a woman like that would question his manhood.

But here’s the thing….I do not want a typical guy.  I want a Stedman.

Stedman is confident in himself and secure in who he is as a man, that he doesn’t feel threatened by Oprah’s success. They both support each other and encourage each other to blaze their own trail and  since they’re successful on their own, they are able to succeed together as a couple.

And I know that lots of guys reading this will say that I’m wrong and that they’re confident enough in themselves to be with a woman who is more successful. But I have yet to find that guy.  Especially in the Indian community.  I have yet to find one (married OR single) that resembles someone like Stedman.   I’m sure all the wives reading this will probably say otherwise.  But unless you’re doing your own thing without your husband’s name somewhere in there, you don’t have room to talk.

Apparently all the Stedmans are taken.

And I have to say, I admire the relationship.  The idea of committing the rest of my life to a man, who may or may not be like Stedman, scares the poo outta me.  I’d rather be in a “long-term” relationship than date a guy, get married, and find out later on that he really isn’t secure enough to let me fulfill the dreams that I have.

I don’t have dreams to be the next Oprah, but I do have big dreams — dreams that may make any typical guy think I’m loony tune.

And unless I find myself a Stedman, this gal may be S.T.R (single til rapture).

The Big M.

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I’ve always wanted to get married.  If I pull out journals from the past, all you will read about is how desperate I was to find “the one” (even at the tender age of 16).  To me, getting married was the high point of a person’s life.  And, to delve even deeper than that, finding my “soulmate” would have convinced me that SOMEONE out there loves me, not just my mom.

But the older I’ve become,  the more I’ve learned what marriage really is about.  In actuality, I wanted the wedding MW3_My_Parents_Divorce_and_Video_Games1all those years. As I got older, I realized marriage was more than just the 3-4 hours on a Saturday you spend in a white dress with a bunch of people.   It’s way more.  More than I think I am ready for.

I don’t know anything, really, about marriage.  So, doling out any advice about it would probably be really pointless. I know that marriage is about compromise.  I know that it’s 2 very different people living together, putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies and annoying habits, and learning about who that other person REALLY is.  Cause the truth of the matter is, EVERYONE looks cute and perfect when you’re dating.  Heck, they still look like that 6 months after marriage.   That’s a huge problem I have with those people who get married and post pictures and stupid statuses about their “amazing husband” who pumped gas in the car because it was going to snow the next day or their “sexy, beautiful wife” who cooked Shake & Bake for dinner after working 8 hours.   I’m sorry, but is it wrong to think that’s what they’re SUPPOSED to do?  Aren’t spouses SUPPOSED to take care of each other?   I’m not saying wives are SUPPOSED to cook or husbands are SUPPOSED to be the mechanics…. but those things that these annoying people are posting are things that make marriage sound so idyllic.  Why don’t you see those statuses like, “Man, I love my husband, but if I walk in the bathroom and see his underwear hanging on the doorknob one more time, I swear to God…..” or “I love my wife, but she sucks at cooking” (this would probably be what my husband says).   I want to tell these obnoxious people, can you talk to me in 10-15 years after you’ve LIVED life? After you’ve had kids with health issues?  After you’ve got into some sort of financial crisis?  After one or both have lost your job or have some health crisis?   Or how about when your kids have grown and moved out, and your left with this stranger that just years ago you were gushing over about how well they put gas in your car? Please don’t tell me how amazing your significant other is a week/month/year after the honeymoon is over.  Call me in 15 years. (PS: Is it just me or does the honeymoon stage seem to last a lot longer than 6 months nowadays?!).

But I digress.

What I do know about marriage, and I believe this more today than ever before, is that I want my husband to be my friend.  I want to be able to look at him and say that I genuinely like him.  That if we were two strangers thrown into a room, I would like his company.  I never want to say that he and I aren’t friends and we don’t like each other.  To think that those are words that I could possibly say to my husband scares me.   This is why watching these young 20-year-olds getting married lately gets me so riled up.   I am 30 years old and feel so cautious and anxious about getting married.  How is it so easy for these kids!?  What do they know that I missed?  Was there a class I was supposed to take as an undergrad? How is it that suddenly they’re ready to MARRY this person?

I blame Facebook and Pinterest for this.  Weddings LOOK perfect.   Marriages SOUND ideal.  Of course hanging out with other young married couples for game nights SOUND fantastic.  Congratulations, you’re in the married club!   But, have you and your spouse had the conversation about what kind of parent that person will be?   What kind of plan do we want for the first 5 years?  What’s our goal as a couple?  As individuals?  As a family?   What will happen if we’re strapped financially?  What are our weakness in communicating with each other?   What are our strengths?   What if one of us gain so much weight that we’re not attracted to them?   Can we have honest conversations?  What if we’re unhappy?  What if one day we look at each other and realize we don’t like each other?   Are we willing to get help or are we going to throw in the towel?  Is THIS the person you’re willing to fight tooth and nail to keep at your side for the rest of your life?  That even when THEY want to give up, you won’t??  What if you lose a baby in miscarriage?   What if you have a child with special needs or health problems that require your full attention, that your marriage suffers?   What if the skeletons in your closet, that you so effortlessly pushed into the closet, come back to haunt you?   What then? I wish these were questions and conversations that these people have had.  Perhaps, they have.  Maybe I’m being too judgmental.  Just because I’m not ready doesn’t mean they aren’t.   So I shouldn’t compare myself to them.

All I can speak for is myself.  All I know is, once I make that commitment and covenant in front of God, there’s no turning back and that’s a vow I may not be ready to make just yet.

May God be with all those who have made it, are about to, or are in a place where you’re thinking about asking.

Better you than me.