You deserve the love you give

I’ve been reflecting on my past relationships and how despite even being married, I have yet to find someone who has been able to love me the same way I love them. This honestly ties back to a post I wrote in early 2019, but I still am circling around it since I’m seeing patterns throughout my relationships and I need to write them down in order to hopefully heal and move on from them.

With my ex husband, no matter what I did it was never good enough. One day I came home after a long day of working and kung fu class to basically be yelled at for not cleaning the entire house as well since his friends were coming over that weekend.

Another time, I did all of the laundry and cleaned the entire house, but he got upset since I didn’t also cook dinner. Actually me not cooking daily wasn’t good enough either.

Actually I almost never heard thank you for cleaning the house. Or thank you for doing the laundry. Or I’ll help out and do the dishes.

Instead I was just torn down regularly. Beyond just the house chores, he started questioning me in other ways. If I got upset over something, he would turn it around on me and say no one else was upset so it must’ve just been me.

To this day, how he treated me and my grief over losing my mom haunts me. To this day, I remember he told me how I should feel after I lost MY mom. To this day, this event sticks out. Even more so than the time he was trying to manipulate me into feeling like the divorce was my fault (which didn’t work).

I don’t know if these events being traumatizing are why I see parts of my ex in other people, or if I am just more sensitive to the things people say and do to me. But when someone never gives me any type of praise and instead nit-picks every little thing I do, it triggers me. When someone doesn’t actually listen to me and instead does whatever the fuck they want to, it triggers me. When someone tells me if only I did X, Y, and Z then I would’ve been successful, it triggers me.

And there is someone in my everyday life who triggers me. It’s weird since we will go weeks or months and be fine, but then all of a sudden I am a triggered mess. Like I spent most of the last week crying my eyes out. This person isn’t someone I’m even in a relationship with, but he still triggers me. I’m still navigating this situation since I just don’t know what to do other than distance myself and be honest with him. Even that is triggering though since when I speak my truth, he shuts it down.

And unfortunately I can’t just cut ties with this person (he’s family). So, for once, I am looking for advice. How do I navigate this situation, this relationship with someone who triggers me? Do I need to create a code word where maybe if I say it he gives me space and time to decompress? How do I stop being triggered? I know therapy is likely the answer. I just don’t know where to start.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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:

2020 Vision: Let me reintroduce myself

This year has not been the one I imagined it would be. I’m not going to lie, when 2020 started I had high hopes. I had hoped things between my daughter’s father and I would work out. I had hoped to run the Chicago marathon for the second time. I had hoped to be a science teacher in a local High School. While none of these situations panned out, so much more, better things have happened this year.

I have been inspired by both a good friend of mine and Gwen Stefani to list out all of the abundance that happened this year. So, please enjoy:

  • I got to spend so much more time with my amazing daughter Aria.
  • I financially survived my income getting cut in half overnight in March.
  • I learned to adapt to a pandemic by utilizing my toolbox of skills and experience and becoming a relief vet tech.
  • I learned how to tutor and eventually teach over Zoom.
  • I continued running despite the marathon being cancelled. I ran a virtual relay with my friends.
  • I started my 2nd Master’s Degree in June.
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone and became a science teacher in a local Middle School.
  • I am now on the right path towards my career goals.
  • I travelled to Denver and Door County and spent some quality time in nature.
  • I went on some interesting and new dating adventures despite Covid-19.
  • I sold my 2007 Jetta for a good price. Kind of bittersweet, as it was my first new car that I grew out of.
  • I’m gearing up to buy a safer and upgraded car for Aria and me.

While I am still a work in progress, I have come further than I thought I would this year. And I am looking forward to what’s next, despite the pandemic. 2020 has been good to me, and I am excited for 2021.

Let me end by saying: Let me reintroduce myself. I’m still the Jen you know, but I am growing everyday. You could say I’m evolving. Until next time.

The Color of Compromise

About six weeks ago, I joined a zoom meeting and had no idea what to expect. I was the youngest person in the meeting, and the entire meeting was uncomfortable and interesting. We watched (or listened, rather) to an episode of “The Color of Compromise” and had an open and honest discussion afterwards. I was so engaged in listening that I nearly forgot to say anything. Since then, we’ve met another two times and I wanted to write about my journey so far.

As many of you know, I am the mother of a beautiful and amazing biracial baby girl. When I decided to join this group, I never imagined I’d be crying during the third meeting. Nor did I expect to find others who have experienced racism similar to me (or rather, my daughter). See, I’m not the only one praying for my child (or grandchild) and their future in this climate. It is 2020 and only recently did the Washington Football Team change their name and finally dropped the racial slur Redskins. It is 2020 and I still hear close family members share their opinions on my dating life (I’m an equal-opportunity dater). It is 2020 and yet it feels like the 1800s.

Which led to me crying. When will it get better? Sometimes, I get so very overwhelmed. But what I heard this past meeting sparked a new hope within me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can work on myself and help to change my circle. And circle by circle, change can start and have a ripple effect. So, I am challenging myself by putting myself in these uncomfortable conversations. I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I mostly listen, but I also am learning how I can change myself from within to be more accepting and loving of others.

Because at the end of the day, that is what it’s about. Loving others as God loves us. How are you trying to be a better version of yourself? What are you doing to abolish hate and racism?

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.

Hey, I just met you and this is crazy

But here’s my number, so call me maybe.

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This is an untold story. Actually, to be completely honest, I don’t think anyone knows this story other than me. My mom knew a bit of it, but she’s no longer here to tell it to anyone. And as far as I know, she kept my secret safe with her.

The year was 2012. I was newly engaged, about to plan the wedding of my life with who I thought was the love of my life. It was a cold wintry night when my Mom invited me out with her girlfriend. At first, I thought it would just be a lame night with a bunch of old people. But we ended up at a local bar that had a live band playing, and the crowd was mixed with mostly people my age. I ended up drinking a few drinks, and dancing with a few people. Nothing terrible, and always with my Mom right there with me. As the night went on, I kept crossing paths with a cute guy. My Mom was kind of nudging it on, since she kept talking to him as well. We danced and at the end of the night, he asked me for my number. I gave it to him, but didn’t plan on following up with him since you know, I had a fiance and all.

During the uber ride home, my Mom laid it out in plain, drunken word. She asked digging questions like: Do you really want to marry Vince? Can you see yourself with this guy, or someone else? Why are you texting this guy already?

I was texting him to let him know I had a great night but was about to get married and wasn’t looking to start anything. At all. Nada. Zip. Zero. Fast forward to sober Jen driving to work a few days later and this song plays on the radio and takes me right back to the bar, with the cute ginger boy. His eyes, his red hair, and his number in my phone leads me to texting him. Days later, we’re still texting a ton. A week or so later, my fiance notices that I’m texting a lot. This was pre-unlimited texting and I was getting dangerously close to the limit. So I had to stop. I told the ginger we had to cool it down. And we stopped talking. Dead silence.

Except for that time we met up again – once to see a movie and another time to get drinks with some of my friends. Yeah that wasn’t awkward. So I kinda liked him, but I was way too focused and stubborn to walk away from Vince. Also, morals.

Fast forward a few years later, I’m sitting in my empty castle of a house crying my eyes out and all of a sudden ginger boy texts me. At a moment of weakness, I cling on to him. But he is now living in St Louis (which I kinda knew anyways) and the idea of me driving down there to see him seems to be similar to climbing Mt Everest at this point in my life. What happens when we re-connect is interesting though. All of a sudden I start imagining how my life would’ve been had I followed my instinct. Had I left Vince, even if I didn’t end up with ginger boy, where would I be? Would I be happier? Could I have avoided a divorce and major heartache? Would I be better or worse?

And it brings me back to that night. What was my mom getting at? Did she know something I couldn’t see quite yet? Did she think Vince was the wrong choice?

Anyways, I didn’t end up visiting him in St Louis and actually decided he wasn’t the right guy for me. But it’s all interesting and in the spirit of sharing random stories about myself I wanted to share this one.

Also, it’s always the random guys I meet in the local bars that steal my attention away. After years of trying online dating, I already know that isn’t for me. Meet me in person, dance with me, buy me a drink, and let’s talk. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

This is Me: Take it or leave it

Once I heard the song This is Me for the first time (in church of all places) it instantly got stuck in my head. After looking it up and playing it on repeat for a few weeks, I finally sat down and watch The Greatest Showman. It was a great movie and in some ways reminded me of Hamilton. They both channel that whole this is me, this is who I am, and I’m not changing for anyone. Strong, powerful lead characters who are impossible to take down. And these characters fuel me.

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As a writer, I’m a lot like Hamilton. I could see myself writing pages and pages, the words flowing out of me. Actually, I’ve had days like that where I just write and write in my journal. Some stuff almost no one will ever read. But today I feel like sharing just a little bit more about me and why I no longer give a f*ck.

Growing up I had a lot of f*cks to give. I cared a lot what others thought of me. I’d go out of my way to dress a certain way, brush my hair, and try my best to be nice to everyone. I actually found myself between a rock and a hard place several times in elementary school as I tried to be friends with everyone, including the nerds and the populars. At the end of the day, I just wanted to be accepted and feel like I belonged. But I also didn’t want to make anyone else feel alone.

Most of my life I’ve been really nice. Actually I am still really nice. So nice that it’s been painful at times. But I always have and always strive to see the best in people. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I’ve been around some of the best of the best. The people who I’m so glad I gave a chance. The people I love to love. It’s a curse because there are people who have and will stomp all over my heart for their benefit. I had someone who after I pushed past all of the barriers and obstacles only to choose him, over and over again, used that same blind love to stab me in the back and still demand a quick and low-cost separation. Of which I granted, out of kindness not only to him but also to myself.

So I am nice, but after crawling through flames I’ve decided to be nice to myself first and foremost. This is not to say I’m not nice to others, it’s just to say that I have to consider how being nice to others affects my niceness to myself.

In other words, I ask myself how much of myself do I want to pour into someone before opening up. I’ve been singed a few too many times to just openly love and pour on strangers. But I also still have the ability to love on the right people. The people who are there for me no matter what. The ones who show up in the middle of the storm and at the top of the mountain peak. I try my best to be as warm and kind to those who are there for me. And I give my standard kindness to everyone else.

But for those who shun me or judge me, I have nothing for them. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on draining individuals. Instead, when one person leaves, I tend to take that energy I almost wasted and pour it into myself. This way, with every person I encounter, I grow spiritually and emotionally. Whether they’re terrible or great, they bring with them a lesson that I learn and grow upon.

But never will you see me chasing after the wrong person. I would rather watch them walk out of my life than be anywhere near them. And to be honest, I’m running low on f*cks to give. I gave a lot of them to who I thought was the right person. Now, I’m taking the time to step back and breathe as I try to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake again. (third times the charm?)

Holding on to these last f*cks for the right guy. For now, they’re in the vault until the time is right to let them shine.

 

Running is a lot like life

I recently started reading a book by a local runner appropriately named The Incomplete Book of Runningย by Peter Sagal. Even within the first chapter, I saw that this book wasn’t just about running. It’s way more, and running is way more than just running.

You have good days and bad days in running. Some days, the weather’s perfect and so is your pace. You feel like you could run forever and a day. Your feet feel like they’re running on clouds and there’s a stupid smile pasted on your face. These are the days we look forward to and hope for.

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But then there are the bad days. The weather is cold, wet or dreary. Your feet feel like they’re weighing you down. You can barely look ahead let alone up and above the dreaded horizon. Each step is felt and you count them until your last step. You have to push yourself every step of the way, and don’t even think about your pace because that’s a lost cause. If it’s bad enough, you might even consider quitting running for good.

And these days don’t just apply to running for fun, but also race days. You can train and prepare and get to the start line on race day only for everything to fall apart between the start and finish line. Now think about life. Life is the same way. We have good days and bad days. We train and prepare hard for certain things. And sometimes, hopefully usually, we are successful. But nothing is guaranteed. We may fail, but it’s up to us to get back up and dust ourselves off.

You may not finish that marathon, or you might have a terrible running day or streak of days. Or maybe even weeks, months, years. But those running shoes will be waiting for you to lace them up and try, try again.

What keeps you going?