Healing is a journey

I wanted to write another post about partnership and what it is I’m looking for in life, but then I realized my last post was kind of a cliff hanger, so I am here to update you all.

First of all, I started therapy. Honestly, I am not sure why I ever stopped therapy and am I so glad to be back on my healing journey. Secondly, I was able to navigate and create boundaries that were necessary with the person I mentioned in my previous post. While there have been more tears and hard days since, they are getting more manageable as I focus more on myself and my healing.

While I know healing is a journey and I am just now re-starting it, I am already feeling less triggered and more centered on my wellbeing. I’ve been taking time to pray, meditate, and manifest what I want out of life. And, honestly, my social life has been exploding. I have been growing my network in and around Oak Park. I started a single moms and dads social group that has expanded to local singles. It went from once a month thing to a weekly meetup (but not on the meetup app haha). I have been coaching a running camp with my students at the school where I teach, in addition to teaching summer school. I have been training for the Chicago marathon and meeting new friends through different local running groups. I have been tutoring about 4-5 students a week for ACT or SAT. I’m about to travel to visit one of my best friends and get some much girl time with her. I’ve been living my best life with my daughter Aria as well. She tends to join at least half of my runs, and has been even enjoying the after-run beer with us! Just kidding, she just sips on her juice or water and eats all of the cheese sticks haha.

All of this to say, I am feeling fulfilled and full of joy these days. I am in a career I love. I am working towards that 2nd Master’s degree and more than halfway there. The only thing that I would love is a healthy and beneficial partnership.

That’s where I’ve been manifesting and I saw this post the other day on Facebook that one of my awesome friends shared. A healthy partnership is something I’ve never had, but it is something I both desire and deserve. This is something I will be working towards preparing myself to be a good partner who both receives and gives the love I deserve.

What is one thing you’re manifesting?

Waiting for my unicorn

A lot of people ask me why I’m single. Why, despite everything going for me, I can’t land me a husband. Or boyfriend. Or a guy that makes it past one date if I’m being honest. It’s because I’m waiting for my unicorn.

My unicorn is basically a male version of myself. I want someone who’s just as ambitious as me. Someone who’s bettering himself everyday. Someone who has as much faith and hope in Jesus as me. Someone who is as active as me, both physically and within their community. Someone who’s supportive of me as much as I am of them. Someone who can keep up with my humor and make me laugh just as much. Someone who’s vulnerable and real with me.

Someone who communicates well, or at least as well as I do with them. Someone who is trustworthy and transparent. Someone who listens when I need them to. Someone who is full of joy in their life but would like the cherry on top (that’s me haha). Someone who is passionate about their calling in life and pursuing it (whether that’s their career, business, or something else).

Someone who rolls with the punches and doesn’t let situations out of their control drag them down. Someone who falls 8 times but gets back up 9. Someone who sees the glass as half full rather than half empty.

Someone who wakes up everyday and prays. Someone who chooses me and keeps choosing me. Someone who loves me as much as I love them. Someone who pursues God and His unconditional love. Someone who puts Jesus at the center of our relationship and life together. Someone God has prepared just for me.

Until I find my unicorn, I will happily be single. I’ve found everything else I want in life. And like previously mentioned, even if I don’t find my unicorn, I will continue to grow in the joy and love surrounding me. Thank you for reading about my unicorn. 🙂

The longer that I wait, the more selfish that I get

Lately, I have been taking some time to meditate and reflect on everything I have. The other day, I broke down crying because I am so tired of waiting. Let me backtrack. It was the year 2013. I got married to the person who I thought was THE person. You know, the one God had for me. I got married thinking this was it. Happily ever after. The marriage that lasted until one of us passed away. And hopefully continued in Heaven. Fast forward to three years later and I was proven oh so wrong. My husband got bored and decided to sleep around then leave me when he found some greener grass. Ever since, I have been on a roller coaster of healing. Add in a surprise baby with someone who has no interest in being with me and I am about 4 years single.

As I took the time to meditate on everything I have and how far I’ve come in 4 years, I am full of joy and pride. I know God has helped me to grow into who I am today. Everything in my life isn’t perfect but fulfills me. I love my daughter, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my career, I love my community, I love my life. I love myself. And I love God. He has been calling me and I have been answering His call in my life. I feel like I have purpose in life. One that I don’t fully understand or see, but I am working towards it daily.

What made me cry then? I am so focused on this idea that I married the wrong guy and I KNOW there’s the right guy out there for me. I just don’t know why he hasn’t found me yet. I word it that way because I know I can’t force my way into this. I just so so badly want to marry again and have another kid or two or three. BUT I don’t want to marry the wrong guy again. So I just have to tell myself to be patient, slow down, and chill.

To my single friends, what helps you stay focused and grounded? I want to focus on all the positive in my life and not keep stressing over the one tiny missing piece in my life.

Pic of me at work for effect:

2021: Not that 2020 won, but that we be growing

In my last post, I went over the highlights of 2020. For the record, I got that upgraded car on the last day of 2020, a Subaru Forester which has been a great addition to my single mom life with Aria. I also unexpectedly met another great addition to my life.

I started texting this guy during the first week of December, at the same time of him leaving Chicago for the holidays to spend time with his family in Texas. At first swipe, I expected absolutely nothing much like all of the other matches and conversations that were going nowhere. But this guy did something unexpected. He was vulnerable from the first conversation. I found myself finding a lot in common with him, and demanding video calls to make sure he wasn’t a catfish. Fast-forward three weeks later, he’s in Chicago and agrees to walk around Oak Park with me. 6 miles later, I find myself just more comfortable with him.

Here’s the thing, I didn’t expect this guy to enter my life. I didn’t expect him to be vulnerable and real with me. And while it’s been a little less than two months from our random text message conversation, it feels like we’ve known each other longer since we have been our real selves with each other.

I waited until recently to have him meet Aria. To be honest, I thought he would meet her then change his mind and leave. As a single mom with a growing toddler, I know kids can be overwhelming for someone who is kid-free. Surprisingly, he has gone above and beyond my expectations of him. He went out of his way to make a great impression on Aria. And on the flip side of that token, he has been very careful and reserved as to how to react to Aria when she is showing him affection.

While I have come very far in my healing process, there’s still thoughts that creep into my mind that I battle daily. I recently reached out to a close friend who said “Love (or relationships) is scary” and they were completely right. But I also feel that if you don’t give relationships and love 100% chance than you’re missing out.

Until next time, here’s a cute photo of Aria being goofy.

Sifting through the garbage

Back by popular demand. I am here to update you all on the dating life of Jen. A few weeks ago, in a moment of weakness, I downloaded the dating apps again. After finally letting go of St. Louis (sorry Cal), I found myself a mixture of bored and buzzed. So what better solution other than swiping through other bored people in the middle of a pandemic?

The reality of it all? I had to deny and reject several offers before finally, weeks later, meeting someone. But up until that moment, I really thought I was literally sifting through a landfill. See, there were guys asking me if I’d give them a blowjob on the first date (true story). And there were guys sending me unwanted dick pics with no warning.

There was also this guy who never called me despite me telling him I wouldn’t meet him without a phone call first. He was so mad when he finally realized he was going kayaking alone.

Up until this past week, I really thought I was wasting my time. It felt wrong. All this swiping and texting for what? And with what pretend free time that I don’t really have? I was feeling overwhelmed and once again just wanted to run away from it all. But then there he was.

He seemed so simple and normal at first. The conversation was easy. Then we spent 5 hours on the phone and it felt natural. We met this past week for sushi, and once again it felt normal. Have I known him for a week or longer?

It’s all new but I’ve been praying daily for God to guide my footsteps. He told me, back in November of 2016, that He has “someone better” for me. I am really hoping and praying for my someone better.

Why I’m not afraid of being single

First of all, before I dive into the topic of my dating life, I must pre-cursor with: I am completely and utterly full of joy in every aspect of my life. My career, my education (on-going), my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything literally feels like a dream. Needless to say, I have zero complaints. Except for one. My singleness. But not enough to lower my standards. Or settle for less.

See, recently someone told me I can’t afford to be picky. Maybe because I have a daughter and want another kid. Maybe because I’m not getting any younger. Maybe because it would be really nice to have someone to help me grow in all aspects of life: financially, physically, and mentally. But no where in any of that is what God wants for my life. See, it’s easy to give excuses as to why I could just settle for the next guy who swipes right on me (if I ever go back on the apps lol). Or I could start building a case to go backwards and just accept someone who doesn’t value me as much as I should be valued. But in doing any of these things, I lose myself and what brings me joy.

Why should I walk away from my joy-filled life only to check a box? And while a good, healthy partnership is way more than a box, right now without that good, healthy relationship waiting on my doorstep it is just a box to check off. And at the end of the day, I have to focus on the most important things in my life. My daughter is important, my faith is important, my well-being is important. See, I love myself and I love Jesus. And I love others. I have so much love sometimes it’s overwhelming. But no where did God say it’s ok to love those who don’t love you back. Or, rather, you can love but with boundaries.

I think these past four years since my husband left me in late 2016 I’ve struggled with my self-worth and value. See, I believed the lies the devil told me that I wasn’t worth it. I still battle these lies daily, but I know that I am beyond worth it. I know that I am powerful but not powerful enough to ruin God’s plan for my life. And so far, from what I’ve seen, it’s a glorious plan. Even if it includes me being single. I have all the love and joy I need.

I’ll leave you all with this piece of wisdom:

Three strikes, you’re out

After my last post, things took a drastic turn for the worse. I won’t lie, I was totally smitten with this Doctor moving to Boston. I am not sure if it was Harvard, or all the punny jokes, but he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, as I was developing feelings for someone who was about to move away from me, he turned into a 14 year old over night. All of a sudden, his mom wouldn’t let him out of the house (I could see why he was moving away lol). I tried to see him, but all of the excuses came up and it made me realize I was not as important to him as he was to me.

Moral of the story: don’t fall for a guy who’s moving away and knows he’s moving away and doesn’t tell you right away. Ugh, Boston, you got me!

I literally paused my dating apps, but once he refused to hang out with me again I went back. I met the third guy, who was cool until he told me he was legally married. Three years separated and supposedly hasn’t talked to his wife in three years, but I couldn’t see past the word married. See, I dated a married guy before and you know how that ended. In total utter heartbreak. I told him there was no way I could see past this. Also what the hell was he waiting for? Aaron Burr, if you stand for nothing, what will you fall for? Like if 3 years of no communication didn’t warrant a divorce, what would? AND why the FUCK are you on a dating app if you’re married?

To be a little nice, I agreed to be friends with him. But even that is iffy. He supposedly is calling a lawyer tomorrow, but I am still confused as to why he didn’t call them yesterday, or better yet three years ago.

Amidst all of this, another guy started talking to me. His profile stuck out because he used foreign words such as: He is dedicated, loyal, and loving. He was really cute and worked in a hospital. It was almost too perfect. He video called me and I agreed to meet him three days later. Right before we meet, I look up his dating profile and I realize he deactivated it. I’ve never seen this before, and it sticks out to me. We meet, and we talk, and I realize we have a lot in common. We have been through similar situations, and we have similar goals in life. He’s a year away from his PhD about to be a doctor/director of a hospital. To say he’s smart is an understatement. I won’t lie, this guy seems foreign to me. He legit wants to be with me after two dates. I deactivated my dating accounts and I’m giving him a shot. So I guess, wish us luck. I’m weary after Bright to be honest.

And the craziest part is I have two guys from a dating app who slipped through the cracks right before I met new guy who are quite upset I didn’t even give them a chance. But I am not able to date around. I am a girl who gives each guy a fair and even shot. So to the new guy and to us. Hopefully we survive Covid (I told him I want him to meet my church fam but obviously that’s not possible). I’ve been praying daily as I really do want what God wants for me. Whether it’s this guy or someone else, I am looking towards Him to guide my footsteps.

Stay tuned for more adventures in my dating life and beyond.

My adventures in dating and how I found a unicorn

Due to popular demand, I am writing this blog post late on a Sunday night in regards to my adventures in dating. This is an ongoing narrative, but thought I’d give an update in the dating life of Jen.

Some background: I have been in full-time school since June 8th, and I have a 1 year old who keeps me busy when she’s not with her sitter (about 2-3 days a week) or her dad (every other weekend). To put it simply, I don’t really have time to date. I am looking for something very specific, I actually made a list. Ideally, I want to meet and be pursued by the man God has for me. I have a very specific plan that includes marriage in the future. I will list below what I want out of the man in my life, which has guided me in my decisions towards who I date and who I say bye to.

*He’s ambitious
*He’s open-minded
*He’s intelligent
*He’s passionate
*He’s family oriented
*He’s kind and sweet to me
*He accepts me for who I am
*I must be able to learn from him
*He wants to be my closest friend
*He enjoys learning
*He loves trying new things
*He knows who he is
*He’s on his journey of finding his purpose
*His heart is pure
*His soul is raw and real

Through my experience, I tend to have very specific preferences. Ever since February of this year, I’ve been very interested and honed in on black men in the medical field. I dated a pharmacist from March to June, and I went back to the dating apps about two weeks ago. That’s when the adventure started. I was striking out on the app until last week Saturday I was inspired, drank some wine, and started swiping away. I started talking to some interesting people, video chatted with one in particular and we agreed to meet the next morning for coffee. We met, and he was super cute and really tall (6’4″) but after thinking further, I determined he wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I also, indubitably, got distracted by someone more engaging. This guy just kept texting me these awful and hilarious jokes. At first I thought he was yet another guy trying to get in my pants, but he turned out to be so much more.

After texting all day Sunday and Monday, we decide to last minute meet on Monday night. We go out for food and the connection is undeniable. I literally can’t stop laughing all night long, the next day my face hurts as I teach my lesson in my internship. He is one of the two guys I’ve ever met and felt this instant connection with. So much, I start thinking there’s something not right about the situation. My fears are confirmed on Wednesday afternoon when he texts me that he’s moving to Boston in August for the job of a lifetime: to be a doctor at Harvard University Teaching Hospital. He basically asks me if I want to move forward and try a long distance relationship (insert gasp here). Day 4. LDR. Understandably, I start thinking about the pros and cons. I actually take the next 24 hours to process things, ask others their opinions, and make a pros and cons list. The pros outweigh the cons, and I agree to continue to see him until he moves on August 3rd.

We spend Thursday night, and Saturday night together. I meet his friends Saturday night and have a great night with him and them in the city (both downtown and in Lakeview). We both are currently in the same mindset that we will take things one day at a time. I won’t lie, I already looked at flights to Boston and texted my bestie Joyce who lives in Boston to tell her I want to come (pending covid status).

Someone tell me to wake up. This guy is too great but is it only because he’s moving away? Has anyone been in a long distance relationship? Did it work out? Or no?

Picture of me attached. I refuse to take a picture of us because there is no us unless we somehow weather the storm of the impending distance between us.

On to the next! To be continued…

October = Change

For most of my adult life, the month of October (and the season of Fall in general) has brought change for most years than I can remember. In this post, I’m going to go over some of the biggest changes I went through and how they’ve shaped me into the person I am today.

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The year was 2007. This was the year I dumped my first long-term boyfriend. The actual break up didn’t happen until mid-November (right before Thanksgiving) but I initiated a break during the month of October in hopes that maybe we could mend things. But really, things were beyond repair. To be completely honest, I was in major denial since my ex never fully trusted me. Reading my emails, searching through old chat histories. He was on the hunt for any hint that I was unfaithful. Even when he found nothing, he just kept looking. And I just kept telling myself things would get better. I’m very thankful for the Fall of 2007 when I finally took a stand for myself and walked away from a toxic relationship.

The year was 2008. It took me a year to finally build up the guts to consider dating again. And I went in swinging. Asked a guy for his number that I met at a Young Adults (20s) Ministry, then called him 2 days later and asked him out. We went on several dates over the next few weeks. But after about a month or so, he took me to get coffee and basically dumped me. This was the year that I learned that I couldn’t always get my way.

The year was 2009. I told my close friends and my parents that I was dating a married man. Needless to say, no one took this well. My good friend went so far as to take away my phone until I promised her I’d end things. My mom yelled at me for what felt like weeks, maybe months. I had to even face HIS mom, who was somehow even worse. This was the year I decided to break all the rules.

The year was 2010. The married guy I was still dating was now divorced. This was the year I learned that divorces take a long time and a lot of money, especially when there’s an angry spouse involved.

The year was 2013. I married who I thought was my soulmate. This was his second marriage, but he told me everything was different. He said we were meant to be. He had never felt so sure, and I was right there with him. I loved him unconditionally and saw myself spending the rest of my life with him. This was the year that I learned that I loved planning weddings. After planning my own, I briefly considered becoming a wedding planner. Still wouldn’t mind this job one day, so it’s still on the table haha.

The year was 2014. My parents announce they’re moving to Pryor, Oklahoma. My dad got a job at Google and my mom will benefit with the amazing health benefits offered by Google. My dad recommends my husband to take his job that he’s leaving in Chicago. I start a new job as well, and finally make closer to what I’m worth (actually using my Master’s degree for the first time). Finally, my husband and I aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. This was the year I learned prayers do get answered, even if some of them aren’t exactly what you imagine.

The year was 2015. I ran my first half-marathon. My parents announce they’re moving back to Chicago. My mom’s health turns for the worst once they move back and she’s gone faster than anyone could’ve guessed. This was the year I learned that life is too short.

The year was 2016. My husband decides to fight for me for most of October, cancels our anniversary trip to Hawaii and moves out of our house the week of his birthday. My entire world comes crashing down. Soon enough I figure out everything that happened, especially since he refuses to meet with me in person due to guilt and shame. This was the year I learned that no person on Earth is worth losing your shit over. I even graciously didn’t destroy any of his things he left behind (which was everything). I’m very thankful I had an amazing therapist who helped me through the divorce.

The year was 2017. I ran the Chicago Marathon, my first full marathon. I trained hard and I raised enough money to provide clean water to 26.2 kids in Africa. Ok, actually 27 since it’s hard to cut kids into little pieces. This was the year I learned the most about myself. I invested in myself and my spiritual life. I’m very grateful for the change in 2017.

The year was 2018. I recently found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. While I wasn’t officially dating the father of my baby, I had let myself have deep feelings for him. Despite all the things going on, I was still too scared of rejection to really talk to him about how I felt. Lucky me, he decided to move on without really talking to me. I also decided to get baptized. I felt like it was extra-special since I was pregnant with Aria. This was the year I learned that while not everything is in my control, God is still on my side helping me be strong to face every challenge. This was the year I learned that I had to be strong and independent because now a baby was going to need me. I’m very humbled by the experience of being pregnant and single.

The year is 2019. And while I have a baby now, I am wondering what this October will bring. Hopefully good changes. Some things really aren’t much different from last fall, but definitely not pregnant this time.

What types of changes have you seen in your life? Do you see them in the fall like I do?

A dating dare

The year was 2005. I was coming up on the end of my first year of college. And what a year it had been! I started the year out homesick only to do a 180 and find myself not wanting to head home for the summer. After a short-lived long-distance relationship and a failed attempt at dating a fellow freshman, I was going into a long summer in the suburbs very, very single. And my good friend Polina was facing a very similar situation, just home to her was a bit further away in Korea. So she had a genius plan! Whoever could get a boyfriend for the summer (summer fling, anyone) would win the bet. I think it was something silly like 5 dollars and/or bragging rights. But it lit a fire under my butt.

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And that was a fire I very much needed. A push off a long-term obsessively ridiculous love for someone I had never met. Ask me another time about that one. But what happened next wasn’t exactly what I expected. I signed up for a free dating site (I was a poor college student who had just finally picked up a summer job!) and within days was inundated with messages from nearly every eligible man near Chicago (and Bloomington???). After carefully weeding out the very noticeable weirdos, I settled on meeting three guys who seemed the most interesting (or least creepy however you’d like to see it).

I liked the first guy. Actually, almost so much that I nearly considered calling off the other two. But there was two things that kinda threw me off about him that I noticed on the first date. And while they weren’t deal-breakers, I didn’t want to torture myself over the long, hot summer with someone I’d have to settle for just to win a bet. So I met the other two guys.

The second guy was awful. The red flags were burning from the beginning, but by the time I decided to call off the date it was too late. So I actually had my guy friend join us on our date, making it more of a casual hangout session. He still tried to kiss me at the end of the night, which didn’t happen. The third guy caught my eye, and on the second date I fell in love with… his mom. Fast forward, I cut things off with the first guy and third guy asks me to be his girlfriend halfway through summer. I win the dare, I win the bragging rights, and I get to hang out with a pretty stellar guy.

His family is great, and actually one of the first examples I witness firsthand where step families get along and mesh well together. He has a step-brother in California, an older brother his mom had during her first marriage. Her first husband moved on and had another family of his own, and all of them are friends. So original marriage, divorced but remained friends. I didn’t know this level of forgiveness and friendship existed. And it was beautiful.

I liked the guy too, but I think a part of me just grinned and bared it for the gloating rights. I also expected him to dump me and move on once we turned into a long distance relationship. The main reason for that thought was that the only other girlfriend he had was someone who lived a few blocks from him. I was already pushing it being about 25 minutes away, I doubted he would survive with me being 2.5 hours away. But once back at school, he proved me wrong. We worked something out and ended up seeing each other every 3 weeks.

What was supposed to be a summer fling, ended up lasting 2 years and 4 months, y’all. My point is, never label something until you know all the details. I learned the hard way to not just write someone off as a fling. Actually, that might be why to this day I still try to imagine myself being with whoever I’m dating for much longer than just that moment. It tends to get me in trouble. Thanks to the summer dating dare, I now try to see if Mr. Joe could be Mr. Brice (obviously he would take my name bc it is superior lol).

This has bitten me in the butt a few times, most noticeably recently when my mind was about 5 million light-years ahead imagining things actually working out with someone only to have him not even give me a chance and choose someone else. So maybe I have to work on balance. Not just write someone off as a fling but also stop imagining myself walking down the aisle in a white dress with them. At least make it a cool color!