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How to Translate Being “Just Me”

June 7, 2009

The time is 2:55 am and it is now that I am realizing that my self-proclaimed “caffeine immunity” is, in fact, fictional. Espresso at 9 pm was Not a Good Idea. Two Americanos in one day was also probably not wise. (But I finally tried Madcap’s coffee…and mmmmm, was it yummy.)

So here I am, after my second attempt to fall asleep.
Caffeine: 1, Me: 0

I’m even typing in the dark, with the hopes that the lack of real light will lull me to sleep. In fact, it is just giving me a headache and is probably lethal for my vision.

So outside of that, I had other intentions/ideas running through my head as I reopened my laptop to write this.

I went to one of the loveliest weddings I have ever been to today. It wasn’t because it was a close friend (a girl I work with, who I don’t know very well) or because it was the fanciest (“short ‘n’ sweet” is a good way to describe it). Its beauty came from the fact that I have never seen two people more excited to marry each other than the couple I witnessed today. Joy, the purest, most unblemished and absolute joy, poured from them as they looked at each other — the entire time, I felt like I was intruding on some kind of private moment.

I have thought a lot over the years about what my wedding would be like if I get married — the dress, the food, the people. (Heck, I will go out on a limb to be extremely embarrassed here but after the romance of the day, coupled with my enormous, silly crush on the guy I bought my lettuce from at the Farmer’s Market today, I spent two hours tonight reading a blog on weddings when I have no immediate or impending plans of marriage.) However, the past few days, I have realized something.

I don’t know how to be in an “us.” I have absolutely no clue what it means to stop being “just me.”

I know how to be alone. I know how much to spend on two weeks’ worth of groceries for one. I know how to plan out next steps for one, and how to arrange vacations for one. I know what kind of furniture I like and what I will name my future cat when I finally find a studio that I like. I know how to wake up in the morning, and know I can do whatever I want. I know how to go run errands in a tshirt and glasses without caring, because no one will know that I slept in that tshirt.

I have absolutely no clue how to be in a relationship, and frankly, as much as it awes and excites me, it terrifies me even more. My few short relationship encounters never moved far past the “you’re pretty, no, YOU’RE pretty” stage and then imploded, and then ended. I don’t know what comes after that. It’s been two years since I’ve even been on a date (minus one last fall that I was completely unaware WAS a date and then had to awkwardly explain that to the guy who thought it was that it wasn’t). As I sat there today, watching this couple tenderly and humbly wash each other’s feet (literally, it was amazing), I realized that I don’t know how to do that. I know how to wash my own feet, but past that, it’s akin to landing on the moon with only a packet of freeze-dried ice cream and absolutely no NASA training or equipment.

I suppose all that relationship and “us” stuff is what you learn along the way (which is probably why relationships are so hard). I just know that in the precious gift that my single life has been, it has also spoiled me and I think made me a little selfish. Giving up that independence will be hard someday, even for someone that I love.

So those are my thoughts, hyped up on too much espresso and probably too honest through the veil of restless sleep deprivation.

I will end my post with these two gems:

1. I have managed to keep this basil plant alive and actually growing for a solid week. I think this deserve a parade and possibly a national holiday.

June 2009 047

2. I bought the most stunning peonies at the market this morning, and felt like a French woman as I carried them in my canvas bag back home. Aren’t they just scrumptious?

June 2009 046

8 Comments leave one →
  1. honeymim permalink
    June 7, 2009 12:02 pm

    Sweet Caroline,

    I’m going through a somewhat similar struggle. I’ve been “just me” for quite some time now, and I’ve grown accustomed to my own ways of living, without anyone to consult or please. And, while it’s nice to have that sort of freedom, I’ve got to say that I’m tired of being “just me”. I want to be part of an “us” for once. Like you, I too am terrified of the idea of having a second opinion in all my matters, but I think I’m ready for that second opinion. Just think of how much more exciting (and possibly challenging) it will be to have someone put in their two cents when it comes to groceries and vacations.

    We’ll figure it out eventually, my dear, and if we’re lucky, we’ll have an amazing man at our sides figuring it all out with us.

    Love and miss you. xx

  2. June 7, 2009 1:44 pm

    You know what? I had never been in a relationship before my current one, which began exactly a week before I turned twenty-three. When he asked me if I “cared to see where our relationship led us”, I was terrified. Well, I was equal measures relieved and terrified. Relieved that he actually finally read into my bashing him over the head with “I like you a lot” (I have honestly never ever felt this crazy for someone in my life before, and have never given out such direct signals ;), that I had read correctly into his similar signals. Terrified because I didn’t know the first thing about being in a relationship and being a couple and I was terrified of losing an amazing friend… and one of my best friends at that point was one of his best friends…

    So yes, you’re right, you learn along the way. As difficult as it is to say “you just know” and all that nonsense that still drives me nuts to this day (what do you mean I’ll just *know* that he’s the right guy for me that God has chosen????) I think it is a lot different for everyone, the things you’ll have to change and do along the way. But I think that one thing to look for that makes it a lot easier is knowing that you’ve got someone who loves you unconditionally, who cares for you more than anything else and is willing to work and learn alongside you. Because once you’ve got that, you realize that yeah, sometimes you can look totally stupid for doing this or that instead of what you were “supposed” to do, but if you have someone who accepts you — along with all your faults, it’ll make it that much easier to get up once you fall. Honestly, sometimes I forget that my boyfriend is my boyfriend; he really is my best friend in the whole wide world and I also sometimes forget that we are necessarily two people. He sees everything and me for exactly who I am and I am careful not to hide anything from him if I can help it.

    Relationships *are* hard. Achieving that level of comfort with being vulnerable is also hard. But I think that when you get to that point, where you’re not afraid to let them see how broken you are and when you’ve seen how broken they are too, you realize that you’re both learning. And that learning together, hand-in-hand, you become strong. πŸ™‚

  3. June 7, 2009 6:23 pm

    I can totally and completely identify with you :). But I also agree that being two is something you learn by doing. Not that I speak from experience, but it makes sense to me.

    I adore peonies, and am impressed with your basil.

    Coincidentally, I had four cups of coffee this week, hoping it would help with the brain fogginess caused by light insomnia, but to my dismay, I only felt worse a few hours after drinking the coffee. No coffee for me after 9am, that’s for sure.

  4. Caroline permalink*
    June 7, 2009 11:16 pm

    @ Kimmy!

    Hey hey girlfriend. I understand the place you’re in — while I also enjoy my freedom, I also know what it is to be lonely or to feel like you’re ready for the next stage.

    I never know what “being ready” for someone really means. Soooo many people tell you, “When you stop looking for someone, you’ll find him.” Well, I frankly just don’t get that. Because I’m not looking for anyone…haven’t been for two years. People catch my eye once in awhile, I ponder, then I usually just keep trotting along. So if that advice were true, then theoretically, my “him” is a few years behind schedule.

    All I know is how to work on being the absolute most “me” version of myself that I can be — and while I am ready for someone and have been for some time, I am ready in the sense that I want to be patient. “Ready” for me implies the understanding that love, even unrealized, unactualized love, is selfless and focuses on the needs of the other person. If there is “someone” waiting out there for me, I want to honor and love him by being patient until he’s ready, until we meet, or whatever. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I hope it does. It makes sense in my head. πŸ™‚

    I am so glad that you are exactly who you are, and I know that you will find someone, whenever that may be and whoever may find you, because we all deserve to have someone alongside us, figuring out this life. Even if for now, it’s just each other.

    Love and miss you too, lady. xxx

  5. Caroline permalink*
    June 7, 2009 11:20 pm

    @ Prissi!

    Hi there! I really, really appreciate your perspective and words of encouragement and wisdom. Having never been in your shoes, it really is huge to me to be able to hear what wearing those shoes is like. πŸ™‚ I am so happy that two more people in the world have found someone that they are committed to in the kind of love that Christs reflects back on us. It’s always an amazing thing, always something to celebrate.

    I absolutely love the last part of your comment: “Honestly, sometimes I forget that my boyfriend is my boyfriend; he really is my best friend in the whole wide world and I also sometimes forget that we are necessarily two people… I think that when you get to that point, where you’re not afraid to let them see how broken you are and when you’ve seen how broken they are too, you realize that you’re both learning. And that learning together, hand-in-hand, you become strong.”

    I think that was exactly the kind of affirmation I needed to hear — that two people, who probably neither have any clue what the heck they’re doing, can find each other and grow and learn and make it work and blossom into that beautiful “one-ness” that we have been designed for all along.

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I bookmarked your blog and plan on taking a gander soon!

    Grace and peace!

  6. Caroline permalink*
    June 7, 2009 11:25 pm

    @ Sabrina!

    Ahhh yes, our weird “twin-ness” surfaces again! πŸ™‚ Just kiddin’, I love it!

    Learning by doing has always freaked the crap out of me, to be honest, because I am perfectionist and like to be good at things. In relationship, there is a large margin for lots of goof-ups, errors, mistakes, smack-your-forehead moments, and all of that joy. But I think I need to fall on my face more. So if a relationship with some totally top-notch fella is in my future, well I just hope he’s patient. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for being impressed with my basil — I myself am as well. I watered it the other day with such a concerned look on my face, you’d think I was performing brain surgery. I tend to get too overzealous in my caretaking efforts, and over-water, and effectively drown my plants. I become botanically homicidal out of a deep desire to nurture and care. (Yikes, I hope this says nothing about my overall nurturing nature! Read: I am not a smotherer. I promise.)

    Anyway, hurray for peonies and great blogging friends! I saw you posted up about “The Shack” and haven’t had a chance to delve in yet, but look forward to it!

    Thanks for stopping by. I always look forward to your comments on entries like this. We stand united, sister! πŸ™‚

  7. June 10, 2009 11:41 pm

    Hehe, yeah. I also have perfectionist tendencies, and not knowing how to do something going into it is just scary and stressful. But God totally knows your heart better than you do, and will give you the right guy πŸ™‚

    Congrats on not over-watering the basil!

  8. Caroline permalink*
    June 11, 2009 8:04 am

    @ Sabrina!

    I love that God knows me better than I do myself, and that I can trust Him to “pick out” a guy, whatever that means exactly. I figure if I’m pursuing God and a man is pursuing God in a similar way, with a similar heart, well…we’re bound to bump into each other on the way.

    Day 12: Basil is still alive and flourishing! πŸ™‚

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