To the Boy Who was Never My Boyfriend…

I was never sure if I had a crush on you or not. I think part of me did, but part of me was confused by the endless chatter of co-workers. Flirting with you was fun, picking on you was fun, as well being picked on by you. Your dark hair made me melt a little every time I saw you, but did I really like you? I’m not sure. Perhaps I’ll never know. I liked you enough to potentially date you if the time ever arose, but those paths never crossed at the right time. Whenever I dated someone else, I noticed the change in your behavior. Gone were the days when we picked on each other. I never could quite figure you out.

Thank you for the walks around the lake and the days getting dinner and ice cream together. Thank you for the talks about life – where we wanted to end up, where we wanted to live, how many kids we wanted to have, what our goals were for the future, where we wanted to travel. It was fun dreaming about that stuff with someone for a change instead of spending countless nights dreaming alone. Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face.

You were the first true friend I made in this new city. When I popped my tire in the dead of winter, you were the one to come help me change it, and then take me home when it was frozen on. You were the one who drove me to get my wisdom teeth out and then stayed with me until it was time to go to work. You were one of the first people I ever told about my childhood and you never batted an eyelash or looked at me differently because of it.

I was so excited the last time we had dinner together. Once again, we talked about our lives and our plans for the future. And once again, I found myself confused by my feelings and trying to figure out if there was anything there or not. I don’t think there was anything there for you – or perhaps I was always too confused that I just couldn’t sort out my feelings. We were best as friends. And I treasure your friendship. But when the mixed signals started flying, I became lost.

We never kissed…we never even held hands. Yet, sometimes the heart cries out for all the things that could have been but never was true as our minds picture life together 20 years from now. It’s already picked out the wedding date and named our five children and our house full of animals and laughter and love and dreams and found the perfect house for all of us. It can’t help but picture life with you – trying to figure out what is there, if anything.

At the same time, the heart cries out begging the mind to stop dreaming of a life together. It tries to explain that it’s never going to happen. Then a call, a message asking to grab dinner and it becomes a cycle all over again. The heart cries out for the mind to say no even though it wants to say yes. The heart hasn’t been able to figure out how it feels. It needs time to itself.

I saw you the other night. You stopped by our old place of work and introduced me to some girl. I don’t even remember her name. I found myself instantly wondering who she was to you and if perhaps we were in the same boat. Maybe she likes you and maybe you’ll return those feelings.

But I let those feelings go. I let the thoughts spin around my head for several days before sitting down to write this to you. Although I now realize that there weren’t any feelings on your end, I’ve stopped trying to figure out mine. It doesn’t matter how I feel because there was nothing there.

So this is to you – to the boy who was never my boyfriend. Thank you for being my first friend in a new city. Thank you for letting me share my dreams with you. Thank you for never looking at me differently.

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A Letter to My Brother

You’re pushing me away. I know you are and I can’t figure out why. You’re picking fights with me simply to fight. You don’t want to talk about anything – if something is bothering you, you want to argue about it, even though arguing has proved to get us no where. Then you finally pushed me over the edge and I snapped. 

I have done too much work on myself in the last five years to sit and listen to anyone talk to me the way you feel the need to talk to me. I don’t have to listen to the lies that come out of your mouth. I won’t let you disrespect me. I am not a bad person – just because I don’t ageee with you doesn’t make me horrible. And just because I don’t agree with you, doesn’t make either of us wrong. We have a difference in opinion. It’s as easy as that. 

I don’t know how to talk to you. I’ve told you before that your communication skills aren’t good and I still believe that to be true. You would rather fight and argue than have a conversation to work out a difference in opinion. You pick fights over stupid things – cars and coats and cities – things that don’t warrant an argument from anyone, much less siblings. 

Why do you continue to pick fights with me? Are these things really worth fighting about to you? They aren’t to me. Are you bored and need something to do? Is something wrong and I’m the easiest person to take it out on? Let me in. I want to help, but I refuse to fight. 

I closed the door. Well, I tried to. You sent me straight to tears and told me that I deserved to be crying and that you didn’t believe me that I was. You treated me worse than anyone ever has and after so many times of letting you get away with it, I put my foot down. I told you to not contact me unless it was to apologize. You decided to continue to text me and be me until you realized I wasn’t going to let you off or back down, and then you blocked me. 

You really are mean. I don’t believe you’re mean in the center of your soul, but right now, you’re mean. You’re mean and you hurt people and you say you don’t care. 

What happened to you that made you that way? We both had the same rough childhood, we both left home too soon, we both lost dad and had hard relationships with mom. Maybe it became a matter of how we chose to deal with everything. 

I decided in January 2012 that I would do everything I could to be happy. That’s all I wanted that year and that was my only resolution. It was also my last resolution and has become my motto. I don’t claim to be perfect by any means, but I treat others like I want to be treated, even when they don’t treat me that way. 

You built walls. You built walls that I can’t figure out how to break. You built walls that made you mean. 

Perhaps it’s because I was also in therapy in 2012. I had somewhere to go to talk about everything. I had somewhere to go where I felt I could gain the tools I needed to become the person I wanted to be. You weren’t given that same chance and have denied opportunities to do so. 

Maybe it’s because I found a family. I learned a new defintion of family. I discovered that family isn’t always blood related, sometimes family is the people who said they will be there for you, and then prove it. Family is the people who hold you when you cry and want to take away all your troubles. Family loves you despite everything you’ve gone through, not because of it. 

I couldn’t listen to you degrade my character anymore. I couldn’t listen to you call me a liar and say I was making things up. I couldn’t listen to you pick fights with me anymore. 

Maybe that means I’m not strong. However, the true judgment of strength is knowing when to say enough is enough. I said enough is enough. I closed the door and you barricaded it. All you have to do is knock, and I will always be here. 

I’ve tried to set ground rules with you before. You promised to talk before fight and then went back on that promise. I guess I feel like it’s a one-sided relationship at points – I don’t fight or get upset until you push me there, while it seems like you want to fight most the time. 

Perhaps one day we’ll be on the same page at the same time. Maybe you’ll grow and understand how to communicate with people in a healthy way. Maybe you’ll stop picking fights with people. Maybe these things happen in order to help us grow into the people we need to be. Just know that even though the door is closed, I never lock anyone out – including you.

Open Letter – to the Family I’ve Lost Touch with Along the Way

You know who are you. Each and every one of you. The family I’ve lost touch with along my journey through life.

Some of you I deliberately stopped communicating with at one point. I could no longer take the drama. I didn’t have the time or energy to listen while I was taking a full-course load and working full-time. I felt that all you did was bring me down. I made the choice to let the negative people go from my life and I’m sorry you were among them. 

Some of you I spent too much time arguing with – the back and forth was not healthy. I think of you as the ones I would be willing to have a relationship with, if we could sit down and have an honest conversation about our differences and develop a game plan to move past them. I would offer this option to you, but in my heart, I know you would decline the offer. 

Some of you I never got a chance to know. This is by far the biggest group of people I feel I’ve lost touch with, but honestly, I hardly remember most of you. You are the ones who left my life suddenly and without notice – not by your fault or my fault, but by situations and circumstances outside our control. You’re the cousins that I long to know, but have no idea how to start a conversation with – we’ve grown so much since we were 5, 6, and 8. I hope you remember those times spent together as fondly as I do and smile at them. Some of you I never got a chance to learn about, I only know we’re related somehow. I struggle with knowing how to strike up a conversation with family I know nothing about – perhaps it’s because family has always been complicated in my world. 

I want you to know that I still think about you from time to time – all of you. From the ones I purposely don’t talk to to the ones I would love to get a chance to know – I think about you and wonder what life would be life if you were here in mine. Would we be best friends? Would we have endless conversations via text message? Would we plan trips together?

I hope that life is treating you well. All of you. I sincerely mean that from the bottom of my heart. Facebook shows that you’re doing well, and I hope that it’s the truth. I hope that you get everything out of life that you want. That all your dreams come true. That you get where you’re going and can look back on your life and smile. 

And if we ever pass each other while walking along our paths of life, I hope you’re not afraid to say ‘hi’ or at least smile in my direction. I hope you remember that I’m always here for you – regardless of the time and distance that has come between us. Even though we no longer travel the same road, I promise to never truly abandon you. 

Flashback – Interviews and Jobs (2014)

Recently, I’ve been trying to practice patience. It’s an ongoing struggle for me. I’ve never been a patient person – I want to know where life it taking me – mostly so that I know it’ll all be okay. There’s been a lot of changes going on in my life lately and a lot of uncertainty that I’ll discuss when the time is right.

In the meantime, I find myself reading two previous pieces I’ve written. Since they were parts one and two, I’ve decided to share them together in my first “flashback” piece. 

Disclaimer: writings have been edited for misspellings/grammar/etc and some parts have been deleted for privacy. Names have been changed for privacy. 

March 21, 2014
Interviews and Jobs

I was late for a job interview a week ago. I had agreed to work third shift the night before and accidentally fallen asleep. I woke up at 8:04 and my interview was at 8:15. Luckily, I was able to call and tell the lady that I was going to be late, but I felt the damage had been done. I arrived at the interview around 8:35 and was extremely grateful she was still willing to interview me. The interview when smoothly after that and no one seemed upset, but first impressions are very important and I couldn’t shake the feeling that being late had ruined all my chances.

The day before I had sat down and told my boss I had an interview the following day. Many people had warned me against this, but I had such a good relationship with my boss, that I knew the right thing to do was to tell her. Much to my surprise she was completely cool with the whole thing and wished me luck. I felt so much better for deciding to tell her. And it actually became my saving grace. I told the interviewer that my boss knew about the interview, even though the interviewer had told me she hadn’t told her yet.

Monday came and my boss asked how the interview went. I told her fine after taking a deep breath. She then told me she had heard about me being late. I crumbled! How did she know? It turns out the interviewer had told her and asked about my attendance and my boss was totally in my corner! Telling her how I’m never late and very reliable. She even told her I had worked third shift the night before as a favor for her and that it had probably contributed to me over-sleeping. When the interviewer told her I was visibly upset, my boss said she would be too if she were me; being late for something you desperately want, especially when I’m never late.

I’m still not sure about the job. I was supposed to hear by today at the earliest if I have a second interview. I’ve literally been waiting for this job to pop up the entire time I’ve been working at the hospital. Maybe no news is good news.

But my point to you is this: follow your gut when it comes to telling people things. If you have a good relationship with your boss, tell her when you’ve got an interview somewhere else. There’s a good chance she will be in your corner and help in any way possible. If I hadn’t told my boss about my interview, the interviewer might have never known I had worked third shift the night before and am never late for work. Go with your gut. Even when you’re nervous. And whenever I’m really nervous, I just remember that my dad is watching over me. He’s there with me every step of the way.

And He’s watching over you too.

———

November 29, 2014

God Works in Mysterious Ways (Interviews and Jobs – Take 2)

The long overdue letter about interviews and jobs. The letter I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for ages. The letter I want to write before I forget, and forgetting would be such a terrible thing.

When I last wrote, I was not-so-patiently waiting to hear if I got a second interview or not. A few days later I heard great news — I got a second interview! I was so excited, but mostly, I was scared. Having already been late once before, I knew I couldn’t mess this interview up. It had to be perfect or everything I had been working for would be lost. I would be back at square one, and very possibly, changing careers.

I walked into my second interview confident, armed with all the questions I had meant to ask the first time, but hadn’t. I was then given a list of 4 scenarios and told I had 15 minutes to read through them and answer them. Oh, wait! Time-out! This is not was I was expecting! But it was also a welcomed challenged. It had been months since anyone had actually challenged my brain in any way whatsoever and I was excited to finally put some of that brainpower to go use.

As I read through the different scenarios, I answered them the best I could, with one goal always in mind — what is the most cost effective way to answer this question. I wrote down a couple alternatives for each question, I wanted to have a back-up answer already prepared. With each given scenarios, it’s good to have a couple ideas of how to solve it, so that is one fails, you have another plan ready.

They came back in the room several minutes later, I was finishing up the last question as they entered. I sat there so nervous, but confident in the answers I had written. They took turns reading the questions, and after each one, I discussed what I would do to solve each one. I was freaking out on the inside, but one of the people, Jess, kept winking, almost as if to say “yes, good answer, you’re doing fine.” I left the room that day confident, yet scared…the whole being late for your first interview thing.

Then I waited. And waited. And waited. If God was trying to teach me patience through the whole interview process, I feel I grew a ton, though I will also be working on my patience for life. Finally, the call I was waiting for — I missed it. I was in the middle of my shift and when I saw the missed call, I called back and left a message. Luckily, there was hardly anyone at work that night, making it easier to check my phone. I saw the call again, and quickly ran to answer the phone. I was too late. I called back and no answer. I listened to the message again. She left her cell phone number. I tried it. I remember standing there, in the hall, hiding just out of view, listening to the phone ring, praying she would answer. I stood behind the wall for several minutes, hoping she would call back. There was no way I could wait another day.

And then she called. I answered immediately and just stood there, taking in everything she was saying. And then the magic words I had waited so long to hear: “I would like to offer you the job.” I was so excited and I just kept repeating “yes” over and over and over again. She told me she would call me tomorrow with more details and asked if I would like to tell my boss. I said yes, just to give me a couple of days – the whole bouncing between day shift and third shift made it a bit difficult to track her down at points, and this was something I had to tell her in person.

I told Susan two days later and then I kept it very quiet. I told very few people, but until I had an official date to switch jobs, I didn’t want to tell many people. Then I found out – four weeks – the maximum amount of time the hospital would allow before transitioning jobs. Slowly, word started to get out. A few people caught me off guard by mentioning it to me, therefore forcing me to tell people before everyone found out – I knew it was best for most people to hear it from me. Then I waited. And waited. And waited.

I spent a whole lot of time waiting. But God was proving to me that the waiting was just beginning. I then starting training. Two weeks of training turned into three weeks of training. Three weeks of training turned into multiple half days of training. Assignments were switched around and I needed to learn Jess’s job as I would be covering for her when she was away, and she would be covering for me when I was away. Half days of training would be devoted to learning her job inside and out until I could do it on my own.

While all of this was going on, Tina, my new boss, was still trying to finish my office. Since my job was a newly created position because the hospital kept growing and thus, they needed more help, there was so official home for me to move in to. I ended up down the hall for several weeks on end. God continued to work on my patience. And then everything happened all at once – I was given the okay to finally move into my office around the same time that Jan was going on vacation and I was to cover for her. I’m a little unsure of how I made it through those days – trying to move into my office, continually discovering problems with my computer that needed to be addressed, and working two jobs at once. Jess was amazing, giving me her cell phone number in case I had an emergency, and also giving everyone a heads up that I was going to cover for her for the first time. It was nice and they all eased me into it. Until the moment I just wanted to cry. I don’t recall exactly what happened, but I remember calling her on the phone and she asked what she could do to help. Tears started to come down my face and I told her to hang ont just a moment as I caught my breathe, not wanting to let her know I was holding back tears, yet knowing that my voice was giving it away.

I survived. I lived another day. And the great thing was – it got easier. The more I covered for Jess, the easier it got and the better I felt about how I was doing. I used to leave her a whole pile of things I was unable to get done, and slowly overtime, the pile has shrunk. Slowly overtime I have settled in and become more comfortable with my job and how I’m handling every situation. I am more confident when dealing with situations and have learned from the past few months.

But, the crazy thing is through all this, God was still working on something else. Slowly but surely Jess and I became more than co-workers, we became friends. Since my relationship with my mother has never been the best, I’ve always tended to lean more towards mother-like-figures. Allison, at points Carol, and then Jess. I knew through general conversations that Jess went to church, somewhere I’d always talked about going back to, but never made it. We talked about it one day. A month later I still hadn’t made it. It was casually brought up again and she gave me the address. I promised I would go the following week.

Then Sunday rolled around. I didn’t go. Jess asked the next day if I went and I told her I hadn’t – that it was complicated. She said it wasn’t complicated, it was God talking to the you through the Pastor. Then it happened. All those emotions I was trying to keep buried came up. I was upset. I thought I was over it, but I wasn’t. No matter what – no matter how many times God had proven to me that He was taking care of me, no matter how many times He had helped me when I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, no matter how many amazing people He brought into my life – I was upset. He took my dad. He took my dad away from me. And no matter how thankful I was for everything that had happened in my life, I missed my dad and I wanted him back. But there was also the flip side of that – I was thankful, so very thankful for everything that had happened in my life and I was happy – and that made me feel very guilty because as much as I miss my dad, I am oh so happy with where my life is. I believe with every fiber in my being that I am on this path for a reason. But how was I supposed to make it back to church when I feel so conflicted inside?

With a little help from Jess. As I sat there and poured my heart out to her, she responded with love. The same love that both Allison and Carol had shown me time and time again. And then, she promised she would meet me outside church, she would wait for me and she would walk in with me, holding my hand for the short trip to our seats. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. The thought of walking into church with someone else wasn’t nearly as scary as the thought of walking into church alone. And as I sat there in church that day, tears rolling down face, I felt a hand on my back, reassuring me I wasn’t alone. Then it started to get easier and easier to walk into church, until the day I was able to walk into church by myself.

You see, God is always working in our lives. Sometimes we are not able to see it right away, but He is always there and He is always working on something. I think back on all those months and how everything fell into place so nicely and ultimately I ended up back in the one place I had such a hard time getting back to – church. Imagine – I was so impatient for months waiting to hear about my job, and yet, God has showed me nothing but patience for years as He worked to get me back into church. He really does have a lot of patience for all of us. He continues to help us learn and grow and become better people. He is always working in your lives to. And I promise you, He will always lead you to where you are supposed to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Dear Gym Person…

The person I look at every once and a while while I’m running. I promise I’m not judging you. You see, I hate running. A lot. But I know that running is good for me, so I’m trying to form a habit. My eyes have always wandered. Not in a bad way, I just like to observe the world around me. I refuse to look at the time on the treadmill – it does nothing good for me. So today, I’ve decided to look over at you from time to time. It’s okay, I’ll look at someone else tomorrow. I look at a variety of people. All of you have one thing in common – you’re on the treadmill too. 

Some of you are running. Some of you are walking. Some of you are doing intervals just like me. But you’re all moving. I’m not judging you in any way, shape, or form. I’m looking for inspiration. I’m looking for something to take my mind off of running, until the day comes that I don’t hate running as much. 

You’re inspiring me and you don’t even realize it. I may be competing with myself at the gym, but seeing you run is inspiring me to not quit when my mind is yelling at me to stop. Seeing you walk is encouraging when I can’t run another minute, reminding me that it’s okay to walk a bit. Watching you do intervals reminds me that I’m not alone on my journey. 

I will likely never introduce myself to you. I won’t introduce myself to the person I watch tomorrow either. I didn’t introduce myself to the person I watched yesterday. And I only watch when I feel like I might quit. It’s not like I spend thirty minutes staring at you – that would be weird. But sometimes, when I’m on the fourth of six intervals, when I need a little more inspiration, I glance in your direction. I don’t feel so lonely in those moments. 

I’ve always prided myself on being a strong person. However, I have started and quit running multiple times in the past. This time, I am determined not to quit. I have given up the habits that drag me down – soda was the first to exit, followed by the introduction of healthy snacks; I refuse to step on the scale most days and instead look to how my clothes fit that day. When I glance over at you during those last thirty seconds of my interval, I think about how strong you are and how you keep moving. You haven’t quit your workout. You’re inspiring me from a distance. Thank you.