Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Green Monster

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Over and over I hear single women bemoan the fact that their friends are coupling off, tying the knot, and popping out little ones.

“When is it going to be my turn?” she wines.

“Why am I having such a hard time finding a man? All of my friends seem to be finding decent husbands!”

“Is there something wrong with me?”

I’ve never really considered myself the jealous type. My friend enters a relationship, and if I don’t automatically assume it will fail (since I’m somewhat cynical…) then I wish them the best. I sincerely hope it works out well. I’m not jealous because I LOVE my life! I never get jealous. I never got jealous.

Until last week. That green monster within yawned and stretched his arms. Rise and shine, Jealous Streak!

You see, my bestie found an **almost-boyfriend. There has been a lot of tension between me and her for the last few months. But last week everything mounted. [Almost-boyfriend: a man who is not yet in a relationship with a woman; a man who is on the verge of moving forward in a romantic relationship; a man who flirts shamelessly and pays lots of attention to a woman, but has not made any formal commitment; the title of a man the week before he becomes an actual boyfriend.]

Mr. UnpaidTherapist walks by my desk at work and I throw out the update on bestie and her almost-boyfriend. He laughs at my snide comment with a comeback stating that I am jealous. He may as well have set up a couch in his office and called me in for an appointment. Minutes later I hurry to fill him in on the actual issue.

He’s right. I’m jealous. But he’s wrong. I’m not jealous. And I don’t have multiple personalities either.

I’m still content. I still enjoy my life. I am not, by any means, overwhelmed with desire for a partner in life. I don’t look at any of the couples around me and seethe with envy. I am not one of those girls muttering the questions and phrases listed at the beginning of this blog with an intense feeling of despair. I don’t covet relationship to that degree.

The man doesn’t make me jealous either. I am in no way attracted to the almost-boyfriend she landed. That issue is a non-issue.

Naturally, Mr. UnpaidTherapist wonders what awakened my green monster.

My best friend no longer needs me. She doesn’t call me on a daily basis, because she is more than distracted by this fabulous new love interest. She doesn’t feel the need to hang out because she spends all spare time with him. She doesn’t really care what I think of this guy because she is so deeply infatuated that other opinions have lost all value. She’s not interested in my trip to Jamaica because her path toward relationship is way more exciting to talk about than a tropical island. She discarded her super-tight Queen of Spades for that studly King of Hearts. As the Queen of Spades, I’m chilling out in the middle of the table, mingling with the rest of the cards, glaring at King of Hearts and feeling dreadfully jealous.

The fact that King of Hearts isn’t even a real boyfriend just adds insult to injury. I’ve been abandoned for an almost-boyfriend? Really?

That was last week. This week has been better. A little bit of prayer, a lot of feeling convicted for a being a terrible support to my best friend when she is super excited about this new turn of events in her life, and a swift kick to green monster’s head helped considerably. I was even able to feel some genuine enthusiasm last night when I called to listen to her gush about King of Hearts officially asking her out this week. (Almost-boyfriend stepped into official boyfriend category tonight. Injury still healing, but insult removed.)

Funny coincidence: Bestie said something on the phone tonight about how she no longer needs my input in her life now that she has this boyfriend. She has no idea that her lack of interest in my input is what threw me into an emotional fit last week. Good thing I’m over it this week.

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Translate Love

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A group I meet with weekly is currently studying Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages”. In case you’ve never heard of it, the author teaches that people express and respond to love in 5 basic ways 0r understand love in “5 languages”. He explains that in order to express love to someone effectively, you need to communicate through that person’s primary love language. Quick breakdown of the 5:

 

  1. Quality Time: undivided attention or special moments set aside for me prove that  you love me/distractions during conversation, standing me up, or postponing a date hurt me deeply
  2. Words of Affirmation: tell me I’m beautiful, tell me you appreciate me, openly compliment me in front of others and  recognize your love for me/don’t thank me or compliment me when I do things or make fun of me and I feel devalued
  3. Receiving Gifts: give me a gift “just because” or go out of your way to find me that “perfect something” for my birthday and I realize that you treasure me/forget me or pick up something dumb because you feel you have to and I don’t believe you care about me
  4. Physical Touch: hug me, hold me, pat me on the arm, and I sense your love for me/your aloofness or discomfort at my touch devastates me
  5. Acts of Service: do me a favor, help me with some chores, ease my burdens somehow and I can see that you love me/break a promise, neglect to finish that project you told me you’d do around the house, or shuffle your responsibilities into my lap – those things really bother me

That’s the rundown. If you want to see which love languages apply most in your own life I encourage you to take an assessment here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

Anyway, as we discussed some of these principles last night, I found my mind wandering back to Jamaica… again. There was one man, in particular, that I became attached to while I was down there. As a girl who is not easily wooed by the opposite sex, I kept wondering why this man left such a strong impact on me after just two days together. (They weren’t even two consecutive days together – we saw each other the first Friday my friend and I were there and again the last Sunday.) During our meeting last night, it dawned on me. In the two short days I spent with him, Raul (as my friend fondly nicknamed this guy) expressed love to me through four of the five love languages!

Raul was braiding my hair within the first twenty minutes of meeting. 🙂

His friendly introduction started the process. My friend and I passed a restaurant and he called down to us from the balcony, inviting us to stop. We passed by, but returned a short while later to eat lunch. He approached us with a smile and asked if he could join us. Within seconds he not only welcomed us to Jamaica, but he was talking openly with us about our trip and about his culture. Quality time.

This restaurant had a couple of water slides and water trampolines. We went for the slide into the ocean. After exploding out the slide into salt water, we climbed up onto a trampoline to lay down for a while and catch our breaths. More time to talk. He began to emphasize how much he liked me. He exalted my smile. He told me I was beautiful. He went on and on about how nice I seemed to be – which he could not always expect from tourists. In contrast, he claimed that many tourists are rude to Jamaicans. Words of affirmation.

After some more play in the water, we climbed onto the dock to relax. Raul left me for a few moments as I laid down in a lawn chair. A lifeguard came and put the rest of the lawnchairs away. When Raul returned, he sat at the end of the chair by my feet. It didn’t take long before he pulled my legs into his lap so he could rub my feet. I watched him in awe as he caressed my feet so tenderly. I thought about stopping him – how could I accept such an act from an almost-stranger? Was I using him? But I never could say “no” to a good foot massage. I decided to delight in the special treatment and he continued. Physical touch.

My friend and I left him, but agreed to think about hanging out later that night. We did end up spending more time with him and we met more friends of his later on. After a fun night together, he and his friends offered to walk us back to our hotel. We had been by the beach, so my feet and flip-flops were covered with sand. He looked down and then asked us to wait. He went for the shore and came back with a cup of water to clean the sand off my feet so that it would not irritate my skin as we walked back. My friend stared at him with her mouth wide open as he hurried back and forth from me to the ocean until my feet were completely clean. Acts of service.

Those were four specific instances that Raul expressed love to me in our first day together. I could list countless other gestures if I took the time. I highly doubt this man’s ever read the book. But he is fluent in the languages of love.

Welcome Home!

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Mommy, it’s too early to shine a camera flash in my eyes!

<— I can’t imagine waking up to a cuter face. I was in Jamaica for twelve days. That’s it. My parents pick me and my friend up from the airport and give me a “welcome home” gift from two of my close friends. I drive to my apartment and find my kitty, delighted to see me, evidenced by mass quantities of cuddling and purring. I open up my refrigerator to discover more food than I could ever dream of eating by myself. I gave my brother some money and food to watch my cat and my apartment for me while I was gone and he blessed me with far more groceries than I gave him money to buy. He also shared all the stories of how miserable my cat was while I was gone and how Oreo would not let him sleep because he was not me.

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I’ve been home for four days now, and my cat is still acting ridiculously cuddly compared to usual. This is actually a beautiful thing – Jamaicans are such a warm people compared to Americans. I became accustomed to constant touch throughout the day… Hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, you name it. To have all that healthy touch ripped away from me is difficult. It sounds kind of funny, but my cat helps me cope.

Last night I went to play volleyball with some friends. At the end of the night, one of them apologized to me that everyone seemed to have paired off while I was gone. She mentioned how hard it must be to see that once I returned. She also noted how hard it must have been to go back to work after my trip.

But I don’t really feel that way. I feel pretty awesome actually. I may keep whining that I should have stayed in Jamaica [I do miss the friends I made, but mainly I whine just because I am a whiner baby.] But how many people go on vacation for less than two weeks and come back to welcome home gifts and a thousand “I missed you so much!”s from their friends? How many people return from vacation to find more food in their cupboards than when they left? How many singles come home to an animal eagerly waiting at the door for them because the house sitter just was not mommy? On the flip side, how many singles return home from vacation to an empty house with no pet to smother them with attention? How many women go on vacation and literally feel no reason to return home? How many people return home and wonder if anyone missed them at all?

I always go through a little bit of post-travel depression. I LOVE to travel, and each time I come home I wonder why I have not moved from this country yet. But it wasn’t so bad this time. This time I was too aware of how loved I am. My friends pairing off? It’s nice to see them happy. My job? There are worse jobs. I am blessed to have one that allows me these luxuries in life such as travel. Loneliness? What loneliness? God has surrounded me by people who love me. One of my new friends from Jamaica called me last night and he immediately asked me if I was okay. All I could think was, “Why wouldn’t I be okay?” No problem, Mon – life is good!

Jamaican Me Crazy

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Mmmm….

I like my men the same way I like my coffee: Give me a man with a hazelnut mocha complexion who is sweet, sweet, sweet!

I just returned from Jamaica – a beautiful country known for its coffee. But the coffee isn’t what will stick in my memory… I couldn’t help but wonder why God sent me to this country full of gorgeous black men who like to flirt shamelessly with white women. My brother warned me that I would come home with a big head because Jamaican men love to tell women how beautiful they are. He was right. [As if I needed an ego boost…] To any and all American men who are reading this post, if you need help in the field of charming and/or pursuing women, I suggest you invest in a trip to Jamaica. Sit on the beach and watch. Just watch the men as they interact with the women. You will learn everything you need to know, I promise.

Snorkeling with Darren, the coolest lifeguard ever!!

I was treading water in the ocean and talking with some friends when I accidentally brushed my hand against the lifeguard’s hand. I immediately apologized. He looked at me curiously and asked me what I was apologizing about. I explained and he told me that I should not apologize for touching him. There is nothing wrong with that kind of touch. Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward him. Jamaican men are not shy. Although some claimed to be – they lied. They were SO NOT shy. A few may have felt like it compared to other Jamaicans – but stick one of those guys next to an American and he epitomizes bravery.

The lifeguard’s statement was simple. And yet profound. There isn’t anything wrong with touching a person’s hand. Why did I feel the need to apologize? What is there to be afraid of?

I kinda think God sent me to that beautiful island this year in order to loosen me up. God is known for His perfect timing… My trip to Jamaica was no exception.

Eccentricities

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Headed for vacation (Jamaica!!!) this week, so I felt like it was time for a somewhat lighter post tonight. My big bro is coming to cat-sit for me while I’m away. Currently I am in the process of preparing my apartment for someone else to live in… In case you don’t know me, I am sort of a slob. Not to the point of “Oh, dear Lord, don’t enter that woman’s home without a gas mask!” But, I’m no Martha Stewart. There are certain things that I just don’t get around to cleaning very often…

I love to take baths, so my bathtub is cleaned quite frequently. However, my shower curtain hangs outside the bathtub during said bubble baths. While the tub gets scrubbed down, the curtain isn’t touched. Long story made short – tonight I wound up stomping out my shower curtain in a bathtub full of bleach water while wearing polka dot rainboots. How is that for a visual?

These are the moments that I chuckle to myself and realize that, if left to myself in singleness for another 20 or 40 years, my current eccentricities are going to transform me into one of those off-the-charts, crazy cat-ladies! I totally see how it happens. The quirks we all have (some of us more than others…) multiply and intensify. I’m sure I could continue with stories, but instead I am going to share a bunch of hilarious pictures I found referring to cat-ladies.  Enjoy!

This is where it begins….

 

This is where we go if we need training…

 

This is how we keep our cats from fighting with each other since we cannot send them all to separate rooms.

 

After we finally embrace our calling to be cat-ladies, the world will recognize that we are not actually crazy. We are superheroes. And we totally deserve action figures.