A friend of mine tried setting me up on a blind date recently. The keyword being tried, because it didn’t go over so well. He proceeded to tell me all the things that made her great and I countered it with things that I thought would make me repulsive.
“She’s really nice!”
“Tell her I’m weird.”
“She’s into old movies!”
“Tell her I like weird movies.”
“She’s really short!”
“Tell her I don’t like short girls.” (Actually, that’s not really true.)
“She’s a really good photographer!”
“That’s… Actually pretty cool.”
@1 month ago
I don’t know why I immediately got on the offense when he did it, but I think it has to do with the idea that with a blind date, I am not the one initiating the date itself and therefor I don’t feel like I am in control. I’ve always felt that if I wanted to go on a date with someone, I wanted to be the one to ask them, otherwise it wouldn’t seem genuine, and I would feel uncomfortable. Maybe it’s a man thing, I dunno. It must be, because when I told a group of girl friends about it, they all threw stuff at me, yelling, “What is wrong with you!?”
This did remind me of a past experience with another “blind date” that didn’t go so well. This dates all the way to my junior high days, and though it is not a direct cause to my response to this recent proposal, I could definitely see myself on a therapist’s couch recalling this memory to get down to the root cause of why I am still single in my 40’s.
When I was in 8th grade, I was invited to a Halloween costume party at a classmate’s house out in the city. This was a big deal for me, because it was my first party away from the parents, and my first party away from my small town atmosphere in general, among new people who were just getting to know me. Plus, the fact that there was limited parental supervision (and by that, I mean the parents were inside, the kids were outside) made it even more fun!
I was enjoying my punch and treats and chatting with friends when a group of girls approached me (I’m noticing a bit of a pattern here…). One of them spoke up, saying, “Hey Ryan, there’s a girl that we want you to meet! We think you’ll really like her!”
Intrigued and flattered, I asked, “Really?”
“Yeah! She’ll be here soon!” she said enthusiastically.
“What’s her name?” I asked, curious.
“Barb-ara.” she answered.
Barbara? I thought, That’s an odd name. Sounds like an old lady.
But, I was still very intrigued. A little later into the party, the same group of girls approached me, giggling. “Are you ready to meet her?” one of them said. I smiled and followed them as they took me over to their backdoor. The rest of the crowd followed to see who this mystery girl was.
We approached the garage, and one of the girls said, “Wait here, I’ll go and get her!”
I was nervous, and excited. The tension was starting to build up in me. I had never been set up on a blind date like this before, and I was ready to meet this girl who everyone was convinced was the perfect match for me!
The girl who retreated into the garage poked her head out. “Are you ready to meet her?”
“Yeah!” I said, enthusiastically.
“Okay, close your eyes!”
I closed them tight, waiting.
“Okay, Ryan. Meet… Barb!”
I opened my eyes, and found myself staring at one of those life-size 3 foot Barbie dolls.
Everyone in the crowd laughed.
I shook my head, smiled, and walked off. Even though I wanted to cause a scene and cuss everyone out that had anything to do with the prank, I couldn’t let them know that it had an effect on me. I wanted to put my mask back on and cry so no one could see, but I just went back to enjoying the rest of the party. After a few heavy metal songs blaring through the speakers and me looking like a maniac on the dance floor, the feeling of total humiliation eventually left.
I am happy to say that the future has proved everyone wrong who thought that the only suitable partner for me would be a naked piece of 3 feet plastic. Though, I have to admit, at any toy store that I am at, I get a slight shudder and a bit of rage when I pass by the doll section.
You are Loved.
@1 month ago with 839 notes
My therapist gave me this list at my appointment today. Reading it, I was not just reminded of His love for me, but of His love for every single person on the planet. I feel so filled with love knowing how much he loves you. How can I not love someone who is so adored by Him? I…
I don’t know who you are, but I’ve seen you before. In every barrage of negative and hopeless thoughts, you are the one little thought that seems to pierce through them all. I see you in every little one I’ve had the privilege to hold and I imagine myself in the future in the delivery room where I am holding your fragile body wrapped in a towel while my happy tears clean your skin. I kiss my future wife as she lies exhausted in the hospital bed telling her what a great job she did and I keep asking her the same question over and over again in awe: “How on earth could we create something so beautiful?”, to which she would reply, “I just squeezed something the size of a watermelon out of me. Let me rest.” I would introduce my friends to you as honorary aunts and uncles because I want them to be as special to you as they are to me. And when you pout and throw tantrums and get bad grades, you will know how special you are, even if it kills me. But the fact is, you aren’t here yet. And for good reason, because I’m not ready. I’ve spent too much time under the influence of a culture that wants to make you without the responsibility. And even though I am a man, I’m still growing into the man I want to be when you become a possibility. And I will get there, I promise. It’s that very thought that keeps you from being a reality too early. So, sit tight little one. You and I will meet someday. Until then, please keep visiting me in my dreams.
@2 months ago
Breathe, young one, breathe.
@4 months ago
Breathe like you are writing Valentine’s Day cards to every part of creation that gave you the oxygen as a gift.
Breathe, and with every breath, release every bitter thought, every deferred hope, like an exorcism for the soul.
You can blow away every cutting word that wounded you, every trust that was betrayed, every move made that brought you back defeated and you can watch that wind turn into a hurricane of hope that I’m about to unleash.
I will take my winds and pick you up off the ground so high, you’ll make Superman jealous.
I will drown out every negative voice with your own personal theme song that I wrote for you.
Every superhero has a past, and the darker the past, the more epic the origin story. And the one I am writing for you is my masterpiece.
So, breathe, you one, breathe.
Because every breath adds more words to your legend.
Uncle #1: My mother had seventeen kids. Thirteen of us are are still alive. And growing up, all of us kids and our dad played sports, but Mom, she didn’t do any of that.
@5 months ago with 1 note
Uncle #2: That’s because she was always pregnant!
I have become drawn to humor books, especially autobiographical ones. One of the things I really appreciate about them is the author’s ability to be completely vulnerable and share some painfully embarrassing stories so that their readers can share a laugh at their expense. Sometimes I will read them when I’m going through a rough time and say, “Well, at least I didn’t do THAT!”
I was at a small gettogether with friends a couple nights ago and we were sharing some funny and embarrassing stories about relationships over pizza and margaritas (of course this stuff comes out when alcohol is involved). We talked about our worst/most embarrassing kiss stories. I figured I would tell this story for all of you, so that you, the reader, will be able to get a laugh at my expense.
To preface this story, I have to set a few things up. I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I went to school with the same people since I was in kindergarten. After junior high, though, I moved out of the small town district and went to high school in the city, and I lost touch with many of the people in my middle school years after.
Pre-high school, I was a tad chubby, or as my mom would call it, “healthy”. When I was a freshman, I was 4’11 and 107 lbs. I ended up joining the wrestling team, shedding almost 20 lbs of fat, and built up lots of muscle mass from lifting weights. By my sophomore year, I was in top physical condition. I even had a six pack (which I haven’t seen since)!
One night, I was out walking with my brother and his friend around our neighborhood when we ran into a few more childhood friends, all of whom were girls. Now, remember, I haven’t seen any of these people since leaving the school district. One of the girls was taking a few long gazes at me, apparently noticing how much I had changed since our middle school days. She and the other girls all of the sudden got into a huddle, and one of them came over to me, and very quietly, said, “So, so-and-so thinks you’re really hot, and she wants to kiss you.” I was taken aback, because at the time I wasn’t having much luck with girls in my high school career, and the fact that this particular girl had a “bad girl” reputation intrigued me even more. What would a girl like her want with a guy like me?
Anyways, feeling adventurous, I took her friend up on her invitation.
So, her and I closed in to each other,
I puckered my lips, began to close my eyes, and leaned in,
she tilted her head, leaned in,
…and stuck out her tongue at the last minute.
I should mention that I have never french kissed a girl up until this point. So, to have someone else’s tongue other than mine moving inside my mouth took me by complete surprise! I think I only used my tongue for the sole purpose of trying to push her tongue back into her own mouth.
It was weird.
And it was thrilling.
But mostly weird.
When I got home, it took me a while to come off the whole endorphin high before I realized that I had just played tonsil hockey for the first time with a girl I barely knew, a thought that sent me running to the bathroom and frantically brushing my teeth and washing my mouth out with any bacteria-killing wash I could find. And then, my dad came in, because apparently, my brother and his friend were spying on my rebellious, scandalous act and felt the need to inform him. What followed was the only “birds and bees” talk that I remember my dad and I ever had.
Dad: Hey, you need to remember to do *insert chore*.
Me: Okay. Hey, dad?
Me: Did Justin tell you-
Dad: Yeah, he did.
Me: How do you feel about the whole french kissing thing?
Dad: It’ll feel weird now, but when you get older, you may like it.
Me: Oh, okay.
I have to say that I was guilty of going back for a “Take Two” shortly after that conversation.
It still felt weird.
@1 month ago with 1 note
I guess this piece of writing would be considered as a confession if anything.
@3 months ago
I don’t consider myself a bitter person, a cynic, or a pessimist. At least, not anymore. The times where I felt myself getting bitter or cynical were the times I felt that my opinions were worth more than my relationships. After going through that season, I knew I never wanted to experience that again. When we get even a tiny glimpse of the outpouring goodness of God, anything less than that feels like cancer.
And I confess, bitterness is something that I am struggling with right now.
I consider myself the “black sheep” of the family because I choose to lead a lifestyle that many of my family does not understand, and it’s lead to a lot of persecution based on their own fear and misunderstanding of it. What you don’t understand, you will always fear. I’ve had to endure a lot of cutting remarks and gossip from certain family members that has left me torn up inside, making it difficult to pick myself up and gain confidence back to really get momentum to move forward and see the best in me. I’ve dealt with cutting criticism and hurtful words before from different people, but when it comes to your own family, I think it hurts a lot worse because you always see family as people you could (hopefully) trust. And sometimes we are really let down.
What I’ve been learning this past year is that sometimes you really can’t expect much from your blood family, because simply put, they will not understand you 100% of the time. This is where our spiritual family comes in, because they understand us in a way that no one else can, because they are looking at us through the lens of Jesus, only seeing the best and the goodness in you. And when we need correction, it is always done out of love, and not fear. I am so glad that I have such a supportive spiritual family that has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible.
But that still leaves the question of how to deal with my blood family. I have forgiven them for a lot of their hurtful gossip that was done out of fear, but I feel like because I have been wronged more than once by some of them, though I love them, I don’t trust them. That hurts for me to say. It hurts for me to see them during the holidays and not want to say a word to them for fear that they could use anything I say as ammunition against me. I may as well not be there.
As I sit down writing this, there is a TV show called “Ax Men” that is on the History Channel. I just saw a scene that absolutely tore me to pieces. The boss of one lumber company featured on the show is dying of cancer. The camera has been following his decline all the way to the hospital bed, with his son wondering what to do with the business. The interesting thing about these two is that the father has a big anger problem, constantly taking it out on his son. The son, in turn, has taken his anger out on his fellow workers. It’s this ugly, vicious cycle that has spiraled out of control. Even in the hospital bed, the father refuses to be vulnerable with his son because it would stress him out.
This leads me to a disturbing fact: A large percentage of cancer sickness is rooted in unforgiveness.
This was a very sobering thing to watch. I never want to carry any bitterness that far to where I am suffering in a hospital bed because of it.
After going to church and having a long and fruitful conversation with one of my pastors, she explained something to me that was very freeing. It is perfectly okay to distance yourself from those who have hurt you, even if it’s family. But even in that, we bless them when we can. We honor and respect, but that doesn’t mean we let them back into our lives 100%. We keep hope that something will change in their heart, and it could happen in a day, a week, a year, etc. But it’s not our burden to bare. We can let it go, and go outside where things are bright, shiny, and more fun.
I felt like this freed me from the bitterness I was carrying. I no longer had to worry about whether or not I was being a good Christian, whether or not I was still holding their trespasses against them. Life is too short to be under the influence of people’s opinion that doesn’t see the goodness in you.
One of my girl friends asked me pretty upfront how I was with girls. I had to think about it for a second before I responded, “I don’t know, the majority of the girls that I attract are either basketcases or sexually confused. Do the math.” No joke, either. Usually, when I’m in a room full of women, a good majority of the time, they are my lesbian friends. And the response I get from that is classic, because the guys are all “Dude, sweet!” because their minds have been warped by how the media portrays lesbian women. And my response to them is usually, “Yeah, nothing gets me more revved up then being around a bunch of girls that I will never have a chance with! Sweet, indeed!”
In all seriousness, when it comes to relationships, I’ve always been known to refer to myself as a hopeless romantic, with a big emphasis on the “hopeless”. Why, you ask? Because I always seem to do something to crash and burn.
Here’s a recent example:
Before I made the decision to start dating this girl (which didn’t last long), we had this heart to heart moment that I totally botched. We were cuddling close, and she whispers to me, “I think I’m falling for you…”
…And I stayed silent, just looking at her, for an uncomfortable amount of time. And she called me out on that, wanting me to say something after she just bared her heart.
And I was conflicted, because I didn’t know how I was feeling, but I knew I would be nuts if I didn’t give it a shot because she was this amazing girl, so after a long period of silence, I finally say this…
As in, “Why not give this a shot?”
But as per usual, it never sounds great outside of my head. And it really didn’t.
“Yeah, that’s not really romantic,” she said to me. She burst into tears, telling me how being vulnerable with her heart was really hard for her.
I walked home that night totally kicking myself for saying something really stupid. I needed to think things over about how I really felt about the situation, and I needed some insight. So, the next morning, I gave a friend of mine a call, and he basically called everything out as if he was in the room with us that night.
“You need to keep in mind that for a person like her, it’s probably really difficult for her to be vulnerable with her heart.” he said.
“I know, that’s what she said. And I said the stupidest thing! When she told me she was falling for me, all I could say was, ‘Why not?’”
“You said, ‘Why not?’”
“Dude, that’s not very romantic.”
“I know! That’s what she said!”
If it’s one thing that I learned from that experience, it was that I have to be honest with myself and with how I am feeling, and be upfront about it even if it doesn’t make the other person feel all that great. I’ve learned enough never to compromise on what I’m looking for when it comes to that future someone, but at the same time I can also over-think and over-analyze things so much that I screw things up by trying not to screw things up. It makes me afraid that I could be in a perfectly healthy relationship, but I’m so worried about doing the wrong thing that I would almost self-sabotage everything.
I think that’s what makes me a “hopeless romantic”, the fact that I am a very romantic person, but hopeless in the sense that I never can seem to find or keep that relationship because I’m afraid of settling. My mother suggested that I should just become a lifelong bachelor or a priest, none of which seem favorable to me.
@5 months ago with 2 notes
I am confident that that future someone, whoever she is or wherever she is, is out there, and that I just need to know and be more comfortable with myself so that when the time comes for when we both meet, I’ll be ready.
Maybe not “hopeless” for long.
When you can accidentally let a curse word fly in front of your father and he doesn’t go for the paddle.
@5 months ago
When I was a kid, I was playing in the room with my brother, and the “F” word came out of my mouth within earshot of my parents. It’s one of those moments where you don’t mean to say it, and you don’t even say it regularly, it just sort of… you know, came out, because it was something that you may have heard from an R-rated movie in passing and it just embedded itself into your vocabulary. My dad got the paddle, and it was over from there.
Fast-forward to 14 years later when I let the word “Dammit” slip out in front of my dad out of frustration when was trying to fix a door. He just gave me an understanding look and helped me fix it. Now, mind you, it wasn’t as bad as the “F” word (believe me, I learned my lesson the first time), but I find it funny how once you reach a certain age, certain things stop being such a big deal to your parents. It was like the next step after you can share a pitcher of beer with your dad, or smoke a cigar in front of him. Maybe it’s strictly a father-son, thing. I know, because my mother walked in on me having a beer with my burger for lunch one time and gave me the alcohol lecture.