“You look a little lost”
I tried to reassure the person that I was fine and that I was just looking for somebody, which was true. I had been on a date that night, which had lasted for no longer than twenty minutes. Our animated banter from a week of text messaging was obviously absent, leaving us to sip our drinks in silence. I went to the bathroom in order to figure out what to do next, while a few feet away that decision was already being made for me. When I returned to the spot where we had been standing, he was nowhere to be found. It didn’t take me long to realize that he wasn’t coming back. In other words, he flat out ditched me. I can’t say I was overly upset about it, at least not at first. The disappointment set in an hour later, when it hit me that I really was lost.
I don’t want to go into the details, except that on the way home I ran into a friend, turned around and went back to the bar. There was a good looking guy and dance floor, a kiss, and an unbelievably annoying frat boy/wingman. I was hoping that something good could come out of being left behind for the umpteenth time, which is what made me angry in the long run. I probably shouldn’t have been there, especially since my instincts screamed at me that it was not going to go well. Yet, I wanted to go out and have a good time. At the end of it all, I walked home alone feeling empty and aggravated, like a piece of cardboard or paper that gets thrown away when there’s no use for it.
Even a few days later the typical response is, “you’re young and in college; what’s the big deal?” To be perfectly honest, it was fun the first few times, especially when I didn’t have any experience with kissing or dating. I’m not going to deny that. Yet, it has gotten to the point where I’ve become bored with it. It’s not about being wrong or right, good or bad. It’s the fact that I know deep down doing those things doesn’t make me feel good, nor does it reflect who I am or what I value. And yet, I keep going around in circles.
Lately I’ve begun to see that the hook-up culture, whether it involves sex or not, is like eating pretzels: no matter how many you eat, you never feel completely full. Therefore, you end up eating more and more until the bag is completely gone. Lo and behold, you’re still not satisfied, and deep down all you really want is a glass of water.
Then there’s the whole notion of experimenting and trying to figure out what you want. Everybody goes through a phase like that in life, some multiple times over. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that in some cases you have to make mistakes in order to understand who you are and what’s best for you. However, I’m way past that point. Since the end of freshman year, I have always known what I want, especially in terms of relationships. But it’s not just about what I want, or what I even deserve. It’s about what I’m made for. And that is for another time.
In reality, this is all coming from a place of grief, and not just because my friend’s death. I have actually been grieving since my birthday, and it has gotten to where I feel practically drenched in it. In February, I permanently ended a relationship with the only guy I have ever really loved, at least thus far. Over the past two years, my family dynamic has been changing, and from my perspective, it’s not for the better. It actually hit me not too long ago in regards to the one reason why I hate getting older: growing up can also mean growing apart. So when I take a step back and really think about all that has been going on, it becomes very overwhelming.
That being said, there are instances where I don’t want to talk about any of it; I would rather go out and focus on having a good time and being with people, rather than wallowing in the hurt and the anger and the confusion. It’s not about the alcohol, nor is it about the guys. It’s about needing to get away for a little bit, even if getting away only involves walking a couple of blocks to downtown
And then when I do want to talk about it, the hardest part is being unsure of who to talk to. I don’t feel all that safe in the church right now (and I don’t mean one particular church, but THE church as an institution). I have a lot of questions and some doubts that I fear will just be met with an onslaught of Bible verses and Christianese, which is not what I need right now. Not to mention my frustration at how Christianity has become more about how to look good as opposed to loving and serving others. Once again, that has been a big issue for me and I will elaborate on that another time.
But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been seeking God or community. I pray all the time, whether it be out loud or writing in my journal. I feel Him when I’m with a group of friends in someone’s apartment, and they don’t shudder when I say, “ya know, this all just fucking sucks sometimes!” with tears rolling down my face. I feel God when my best friend looks me straight in the eye and tells me that she loves me and she’s worried about me, as she tries to keep her voice from cracking. And I feel and see God when another person recognizes my love language of physical touch, and we can embrace each other for a minute or two without saying a word.
I sense that God is there, behind the cobwebs of the supposed to’s, do’s and don’ts, and other crap that people often hear when they’ve been sucked into an emotional rabbit hole. I know that God is there, even in the moments when I feel like I have to deal with everything on my own.
And for that I am grateful beyond words; to the people in my life that have kept me grounded and held me up, encouraging me to keep going. One of the reasons why this summer has become so special is because I am surrounded by my girlfriends, creating the most random yet beautiful memories. I’m thankful to my mom who reminds me that she loves me, no matter what kind of stupid decisions I make or how often I make them. Yes, I am going through a rough patch right now. There are good days and some absolutely terrible ones. All I can do is cling to the faith of a child: a belief that eventually, it will be OK. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but it will be OK.
photo credit: Denis Collette…!!! via photopin cc