Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Weight Until Now: Part 2 of 2

To Read Part One: Click Here

As you have read, by college I was 285, which is a good amount of money but not weight. My freshmen year, I was on a meal plan, so it was easy for me to start portion control. I would eat until I was satisfied and then if I got hungry, bad luck, because I couldn’t afford anything in my room. Also, that year I learned the awesome sport of racquetball. I played so much that year, and the years to come in college. My only problem was, if there was no one to play with, I simply would not go workout, or even go and play a bit by myself. To me it still was not exercise or work, but a game for fun. By my sophomore year, I had lost some weight, and was probably down to 250. However, the problem was that my sophomore year, I liked this female (a lot, more about this in another blog) and when I got rejected, it really hurt. I was depressed of course, so I stopped playing racquetball, hid myself in my room, and ate (cause now I had some money to buy food). By the end of the year, I had gained back all my weight.

During graduate school and the two year after that working retail, I mostly maintained my weight. I did start trying to eat healthier things, which is good, but I was still far from exercising. I was just too busy or too tired, but really I wasn’t too anything, I just wanted excuses not to work out because it is hard, difficult, and inconvenient. In addition, because of bladder infections and a small kidney infection, I decided to start drinking less sodas and more water. This is when I cut down to one soda a day and most of the time, even to this day, will be walking around with a water bottle.

However, between graduate school and my current residency, I was pretty depressed about not having a good job, paying student loans, and working the two jobs I did have... and so, yes I enjoyed food. Bad food is cheap and it is easy to use food as a reward system or to partake merely because it tastes good. It can be something good when you feel like crap. The problem is that temporary good keeps adding up, turning into more pounds, and more weight... not just physical weight but also mental and emotional weight, because then you get depressed because you are big... and to feel better you eat to feel better, and so forth and so on... I think you get the cycle.

When I first started my residency, I had no money; I had used almost everything to move, so for the first few months, all I ate was sandwiches and spaghetti (Sandwiches are cheap and I got a box of spaghetti from a friend). It lasted me about 4-6 months. Of course, now looking back, all I can think is: I was eating so many carbs and so much starch! Anyway this brings me to what I think of as: The Change.

The Change happens to people for different reasons. Mine happened because of a patient I saw at the hospital. I was meeting with this guy who was really obese, so obese he was in one of the large beds and also had a variety of medical issues. This man was about my age and married. The problem was that he was so overweight that he could not have the gastric bypass surgery that could help him to save his life. The doctor said he had to lose weight, not just to get the surgery but to prove it wasn’t going to be a waste if it was done with him. I was glad to hear the man had a plan and would hopefully be back soon for the surgery; however, it made me really think about my own weight. Do I really want to be this big? Do I want to be this unhealthy? Do I want to be that man in the bed in 10-20 years going through the same thing?

My answer was a resounding no, so I started being even more intentional about eating better, getting advice from people and looking up better things to eat online. This was not going to be some diet but a life change. I was going to eat better and keep learning and changing to eat better. I also needed to start exercising immediately, so I started with a goal of working out twice a week for thirty minutes. The sad thing is it was so hard, not the time but the actually work. I just hadn’t forced my body to move like that. Over the next few months I kept increasing the days I worked out and the amount of time. I am proud to say now I am working out four times a week for one hour each. Yes, mostly I play racquetball... still my first love for exercise, but when I cannot play I do strength training and/or workout at my apartment. There are no excuses anymore, but the work is starting to pay off.

When I started working out and eating better in February of 2012 I was 325 pounds, then got down to 305, then 295, and last time (before Christmas) I was at 291. So, I have lost about 30 pounds, which has been a lot of work for me, not just physically but also emotionally and mentally (and it still is work, hard but beneficial work). My next goal is to get to 275, then 250. I just hope and pray I can keep this up, because it is so easy to just eat badly or not to work out. However, while I may be bad sometimes, I have stayed with my conviction enough that I have not once just stopped completely. I have persevered and hope to continue, I will continue.

If I am being honest, the next couple of months are going to be tough. I start looking for jobs in February to hopefully have a job before my residency ends in September. I am most fearful of getting depressed, anxious, and/or nervous and eating poorly; in addition to, not working out like I need to during this time. However, I am on the right track now and I don’t really think giving up is an option anymore. I am fighting for my future self, for me, for whoever may be my future wife and for any future kids. I want me to be happy and have more energy. I want to be around for a long while.

So, that is my journey thus far.

What has your journey been like?
Have you had The Change? If so, what happened?
What has been your relationship with food?
What has been your relationship with exercising?
What has been your relationship with a healthy self-image?

I am so very interested in YOUR story too, please comment or message me.

God Bless you in your own journey, whatever it may be!

~ Daniel

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Weight Until Now: Part 1 of 2

I have been pondering writing about my weight for a while now. Alongside dating, it is something very personal to me, not only how much and how far I have to go, but also some of the reasons why it has taken so long and is so hard to start anew.

I began my journey of being overweight (which turned into morbid obesity in college; however, let’s start with being overweight). My journey began in middle school. To look at any pictures of me now from middle school, one wouldn’t really know I was very much overweight, or at least beginning to be overweight. I remember at one point in middle school looking at the scale and it reading about 135 pounds. That means by the age of 12-14, I was already getting close to the actual weight I should be at today for a male with a height of 5-6".

I remember looking at the scale, thinking: What the hek? How did I get that big? What am I doing to myself? Of course, being so young, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t really have a lot of conviction at that age. I really really did not like being up in front of people... and I knew from TV shows that if I became the big guy I would have to (1) Stay under the radar, (2) I would get made fun of, or (3) I would have to become the funny guy. I mostly tried to stay under the radar from bullies (not that they were like the ones on TV), but sometimes the other two options popped up. Also, at that age, I was also dealing a lot with other changes, so that is the first time I let my weight slide. Instead of dealing with my weight and/or talking to my parents about my concerns, I just pushed back those thoughts, ate whatever I wanted, and didn’t exercise. This is all before highschool.

In highschool, at least for lunch, I remember eating very horrible every day. I almost never ate from the regular lunch line. I would eat pizza, burritos, or some other fried foods. I would also try to get Twix or some soda if I had the money. It isn’t that these things are bad, but things like these should not be eaten every day, five times a week, for nine months. In highschool, I really "blossomed". I think highschool is when I gained the most amount of weight; my guess is I went from about 150 or 160 to about 285 by the time of graduation. I already said I didn’t eat well, but I also stopped playing outside, so besides not exercising intentionally, I was also not playing outside with friends anymore. Of course, this wasn’t intentional, they were just in ROTC or sports and I was, well... in choir. Don’t get me wrong, I loved choir, but if I could go back, I would tell myself to get in order.

Did you have weight issued early in life? If so, explain.
Did you have self-image issues? What were they?

I am so very interested in YOUR story, please comment or message me.

God Bless you in your own journey, whatever it may be!

~ Daniel

To Read Part Two: Click Here

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On Being Sick

I have been sick this weekend.

I remember when I was in elementary school, I was feeling sick one day and my mom had to come get me. My dad was going to the airport for his work, so she took me to my grandma’s house. I remember having me grandma attended to every one of my needs as I lay on her couch watching TV with a nice blanket.

I remember all those times when I was young and my mom would make me soup or grilled cheese, give me my medications, and sometimes try to mix in my nasty medicine into a green-colored glass filled with a nice cold Sprite (this worked until I was old enough to figure out her trickery, ha).

The longer I live by myself, the more I feel like I appreciate and miss those times. My throat was feeling horrible yesterday, I didn’t want to leave my apartment, but I had to... I had to leave and go get some soup and ice cream (which have, in fact, helped).

I guess being sick, just reminds you that sometimes being single and living alone, it is the little things that bother me. I mean, I notice every time I get sick, my apartment just gets dirty, I just don’t have the energy to clean up after myself. I can usually tell when I am feeling better because I start cleaning my apartment from when I was sick.

Even as a guy, it would be nice to have someone who would hold and take care of me in such times... and to have someone to hold and take care of when she was feeling sick as well. It is just something else you have to learn to deal with when living by yourself.

If you are ever looking for a way as a married person to minister or show care to someone who is single, try something as simple as getting them medications or some soup (or ice cream!) when they are sick. If someone showed up at my door with some soup, even if it was the most horrible tasting soup, that show of love and care would really (1) Surprise me and (2) Might bring me to tears.

Just some thoughts...

How do you feel being sick and single?
Not Single? What do you like that your significant other does for you?

~ Daniel

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I Write This Blog

This weekend I have been making Facebook Pages for all of my blogs, but especially sharing this one with more than my friends on Facebook worries me. I started writing about my life as a single person back in 2007 (first post found here). Before that I wrote a lot about my faith and life but hid that part of myself. I did not like being that vulnerable to anyone, whether it was in person or online.

However, once I got the feeling that I could be single for a while, I began to reconsider keeping it all to myself. I knew there would be other people like me out there, singles who feel they have to keep up a front and an image, to maintain that confidence. But honestly, sometimes keeping up that image is extremely tiring and exhausting to me, I just want to be myself... and I want people to like me for who I am; all the wonderful and not-so wonderful parts of myself.

So I started writing about myself. I kept all my writings mostly on Facebook, what they call "Notes". Then, a year ago they changed their privacy settings and many questions were brought up about who owns my writing on their site. Additionally, I didn’t really feel I was expressing myself all that well on Facebook as I could do on my own blog, which would include my own style and design, as well as my words.

This blog I called "Single Me" based on a blog (found here) I wrote about a year ago by the same name. Since then I have only shared this blog with my own friends on Facebook (and only sometimes with Family). A lot of the reason I haven’t made it public is anonymity, I really don’t think everyone in my life needs to know all my business; my feelings about singleness are personal. Still, I know there are those like me out there who long to connect with someone else, to share life with another person, and who feel that many times expressing those desires makes them seem insecure, whiny, and desperate.

So, with my making of my Single Me Facebook Page and an upgrade on this Single Me blog, I am now making this public. I would still like to be anonymous if I can, mostly because I see no need for employers, ministry or otherwise, to know all the details about my singleness or dating life, or lack there of.

Please have a look around, leave some comments on my Single Me Facebook Page - Like Share, and Invite others who might be interested. Feel free to comment on & Subscribe to my Blog. I certainly appreciate your thoughts, questions, and interest.

I know this is about me being single, but I also think those who are married might find it interesting to get a glimpse of a male who is single, who is also not a person who parties or someone trying to sow is royal oats, but who loves Christ and seeks to serve Him foremost, but also wants to be honest about his desires and feelings of being single in our culture (that includes American and Christian/Church culture). I hope you will join me in this journey…or continue if you have been with me so far…for however long or short it may be.

~ Daniel

Also, feel free to stop by another similar blog from a female perspective:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Turning 30

I have been wanting and trying to write this post for a week. What I felt last weekend when my birthday arrived is hard to explain. Or maybe you might already understand what it means to turn 30, but to turn 30 and still be single is just such an issue (I had no family or friends to do anything for my birthday in-person). Turning 30 really kind of hit me in the face. I knew it was coming and I felt its weight as it got closer. I am three decades old. What have I accomplished? I have no spouse, no kids, no family, no home, no steady job, and no close friends where I live.

I know… I know... I need to keep positive and seek out relationships and friendships. I do try and things are better than they were a year ago. I am more confident in my current residency and I am working out now four days a week for one hour each session. I am feeling so much better and sleeping better. My back is hurting far less than before. I recently joined the choir which has been great because I am meeting new people and doing something I enjoy.

Still, despite all of this, I know my current job is temporary. I am not the person I was before this job, but I was also not the same person after graduate school or college. I guess I have never interviewed well or dated well. I suppose that is part of my introverted nature. I am good with people and things I know, but that beginning stage is very hard for me. I have been told when I do interviews I should tell them upfront I am an introvert and do not interview well. Not so sure how good that will work out for future employment opportunities or relationships.

I was reading a book for my hospital residency program that was speaking about elderly parents and how they depend on their children to take care of them. Then it hit me. If I stay single and do not have kids, who will take care of me? I admit. I was afraid. Fear struck me in that moment. My parents will likely be dead by then... and who will be by my side to comfort me then? I live by myself. Will friends come to my apartment to comfort me? If so, how long?

It just stinks to think about all the things I have gone through and struggled alone. It should make me feel like I can do anything, but it makes me feel more helpless and alone. I try my best to connect, and every so often I do meet a true and good friend, but then it seems like I have to move and leave that person.... I have to hope and pray I find someone else, that Gods puts someone else in my life so I can stay sane.

Sometimes I write because I feel I have no avenue for my emotions. I have no girlfriend or spouse to share my deepest thoughts toward or my poetic and romantic side. But I also only have one friend who is a guy who I could share deep things with right now. Sadly, that friend lives three hours away. We talk and visit when I have time, but with my schedule and with my finances, I can’t talk to or go see him as often as I would like sometimes.

It is just hard. I don’t know whether to cry and let tears flow or to get angry and beat something, punch my fist into the wall. But no amount of crying nor anger will change my situation. I try my best to stay sane, realistic, and maybe even positive; but every now and then, like last week, all these thoughts come swirling around in my head. Those thoughts I am so good at distracting myself from come at me full force and beat me down, bury me underneath my doubts and fears.

My one consolation in all of this right now is that Christ is with me, suffering as I suffer, mourning as I mourn, and being joyful when I am joyful. Christ is with me in heart and presence. He knows me better than anyone and he never has left me, though I admit I do not always feel his presence of hand in my life. My hope is in his good future and that when I turn 31, I will at least have a good and steady job. I just don’t know if I can take another few years of working retail or having to move back home. I love my family, but moving back home would be like admitting I am a failure, I was defeated, that all the work I put into everything was for no reason. All will have seemed to be in vain. Truly, that would bring me into a long depression. ARG! I guess I need to be more positive. I know I am blessed in so many ways. I know I am a great person of much worth. I just don’t know how to convince others of this fact. How do I sell myself to employers or to potential mates or even friends? I just don’t know. It is just tough.

~ Daniel

p.s. - I didn't even speak about the weight I feel as a male to have money, so I can be stable and to provide for a wife or kids, thus making me feel that dating is not good for me and/or I would be rejected for my current financial situation. In college it seemed like no one really cared, but after about 25, it seems that a man's worth (at least in dating) is bound up in $$$, which is funny (in a sad way), because as a minister I will never make that much even when I do have a stable job.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Being Single in the Church

In the next week, I am going to post two new blogs, both on different blogs of mine. One will be here on this site today, regarding being single in the church; and another on my main site focused on being poor in the church. Be warned, these will likely step on some toes, but my intent is not to point fingers but to open our eyes. I think some of us have lived in our country so long with its values, at times, we do not see how those Americanized values are at conflict with spreading the gospel and creating a deeper and more diverse community among its members. So here we go!

This past Sunday, two things really struck a chord in me, regarding being single in the church. No matter how people try to sell it or look at it, singles are ostracized in the church. In my opinion, singles and their classes, are one of the only classes that meet as a group that is inherently seen as lacking something. I know the hopes of such ministries are community and like-minded people, but like some arguments against youth ministries which go too far and divide the church, I think singles ministries cause division the church. At least, they divide the adults who are single from the rest of the flock. Do you know what the greatest potential danger from a singles ministry at the church? Isolation.

This past week, I joined the choir. Yes, some of the reasons I joined was because I like to sing and wanted to be involved; yet another reason was so I would be able to meet new people and not have to sit alone in church. Yes, you heard that right. As a single person, post-college, one of the things that annoy me the most is sitting alone in church where there are tons of people. It makes me feel so very alone, alone amongst a great amount of people. Now, I am not suggesting all couples and married people feel pity and run at these singles, but I would like to submit like anyone else in the church, they have lives and are also very able to be in friendship and community.

Even as a youth minister, I was only ever invited a few times to one persons home for a meal. It felt good to be invited by this family, to share in their life in those times. However, I remember a friend of mine who is married speaking about how him and his wife were invited by members in the church to come over for meals or to play board games all the time. I admit it saddened me, that I miss out of a lot of community in my church, among my brothers and sisters, because I am single.

What many in the church to not realize is that not only are singles separated to be alone, but they are also given a strong impression against male and female friendships. The theory goes that men and women cannot be friends, and if they are, at least one secretly likes another; so some males and females never become friends because this is a way to let the others know you do not find them attractive. However, we miss out on a lot of potential friendships. I admit, I totally miss having female friends like I did in college and graduate school.

Two examples I saw this week at my church:
The first thing that happened was that the church I attend is now separating our Sunday school group, which consisted of singles and married couples of the same age. They are creating a newly formed newly weds class. Of course, the married people are excited, because they get to be with people like them, but I think that is the whole problem. I really enjoyed the class because I got different perspectives and I appreciated my voice be heard and confirmed by those who were married. Also, I think it is good for those who are married to see what single people their age are struggling with at the same time they are having different issues. But alas, I suppose the church really enjoys dividing itself into niches. But what happens once we are all settled into our nice niches. How do we react to others who are different? I think it speaks volumes to the standards in the church that no one who is single is singled out until after college. To me, the church is saying, if you are still single past college, you are not normal. We will make a class for you until you one day reach normalcy and then you can join the rest of us in a regular Sunday school class.

Second, I was singing a song in choir and the irony weighed down on me because of the words I was singing and the sight I was beholding. The song was as follows:

Make us one Lord, Make us One,
Holy Spirit, Make us one,
Let your love flow,
So the world will know,
We are one in you.

What was the irony you might ask, that was a great song about unity? Well, as I looked out into the church I saw at least four people from my class, two guys and two girls, sitting alone and separated in various seats around the church. The truth is there are some ways we are not one. One of the ways is if you are single, you are an outsider. You are not normal. You should be married by now.... and another way we are not one is when it comes to the poor and money... and this, will be in my next blog.

But my cry and my prayer today is for the Lord to make us one,
Let us become one body with no one left behind,
No one left alone or isolated,
In the church all are welcome,
The gospel and the church are for all,
God's love is for anyone,
No matter where they are at in life.


~ Daniel

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rejection and Affection

I've had a really emotional weekend, which is abnormal for me. I am a thinker. But I have been unable to control my emotions and feelings this weekend. I was fine until this past Thursday. I was sitting in my office, finishing a quick game of chess before my co-worker beat me once again. No, it wasn’t that they beat me; it was that while we were playing another co-worker came in to confirm going out to eat for lunch. They were going out to eat with an old co-worker, one who I would have liked to see again, but no one said a word about me coming nor invited me (I don't like to self-invite).

We finished the game and I went to start some work on my computer, while I am working one of my co-workers comes in and asks me to cover the floors of all my other co-workers while they were out to lunch. Normally, I wouldn't have cared, but I couldn't believe the audacity and I was taken aback. I mean, honestly, I don’t know if I would have joined them, but to not be asked, and then to be asked to take their floors. It made me feel so little. Why was I not invited? Why do I feel like this happens to me often?

For the rest of that day I kept busy. I wept a little at my desk. I do not like being or even feeling rejected. The past few years these times hit me a lot more, since I have no family near me and I have had to move many times and make new friends. I feel like I try my best to invest and then am rejected. When I feel like this I just want to shut everyone out. Being single and 29, I think I understand why those people in the movies become workaholics, because what else gives you purpose if not friends and family, all one if left with is their work. Right?

Anyway, so I worked through my emotions and thought I was feeling better until this morning. I was on-call yesterday for work and got off this morning. I went to Sunday school and then to church. I sat by myself. I really hate sitting by myself, but then the church began to fill and I still was by myself. I saw people I knew passing me by to sit elsewhere... and yep, those feelings from earlier started to creep back. I moved from my seat and tried to sit in the back but it was no good. I felt so alone in a church building with people all around me... Now, I have sat by myself before. Being single you usually learn this will happen from time to time. But today I just couldn’t do it. I felt myself wanting to cry. I told myself to suck it up and be a man already but it didn’t help (hint: it usually doesn't anyway). I finally got my bible and water and left. I went to my car and drove back to my apartment. I guess part of me thinks if I am going to feel so alone, maybe I should just be alone. I don’t know... maybe I can be more distracted or let my emotions go in private.

I don’t know what to do. Being single and alone in a new city. Well, everyone has advice, everyone tells me to get outside my box. The thing is I do... and have. I try things, but as an introvert I only have so much energy and I also have limits, set-in borders that come up when I feel the need to protect myself. When I feel or sense rejection now I close and clam up, letting nothing in and nothing out, except sometimes through writing. I want to talk about it, but it always feels like I am whining, like I am needy... And maybe I am needy. I am in need to affection, of community, but where do I get such community. My family and good friends are in other towns. It is just hard having no one here I can sit with and just be myself, just unload all of this that is going on. I just want to cry sometimes, other times I want to scream. There are others times I want to yell at people, those who I have felt hurt from. Still... there are other times I want to ask questions, questions you are not allowed to ask because they would be improper: Why are you rejecting me? Why wasn’t I invited? Is there something wrong with me? Part of me wants to know and part of me doesn’t want to know I suppose. I just feel hurt today. I have all these feelings and no where to put them, no where to organize or set them. They, for now, seem stuck on the surface, welling up through my face and coming out in tears and in anger making my face flush.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to write this. I will likely not share this on my FB, so these people in real life don’t know what is going on. Sharing stuff like this might make people I know in real life distance even more from me because me being so open makes them uncomfortable or because I might make them feel awkward. What sucks is I don’t want to make them feel awkward, I want them to understand what it is like for some of us, those of us who are single and on our own, who feel so alone surrounded by so many people sometimes, so many people that don’t invite us or talk to us. And I also know it is not always singles who feel alone.

I guess I am just having one of those days or weekends, sometimes things hit my like this and after a few days or a week, I will feel better. It comes in strides... I wish there was something to do about it but since it is emotions and dealing with life, all I can do is pray to God and push forward. I can still try to reach my hand out and make friends, but not be so concerned with reactions of others. All I can do is be myself and hope every so often good, strong, and deep connections might be made. When that happens, I am so thankful to God for meeting and relating to someone, someone who seems to get me in a way that so many other do not.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How Did I Get Here?

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. How did I get to the age of 29, still single, not even dating? I know I missed a lot of opportunities in college, though I really didn’t have the money then and lacked the mobility (a.k.a. A Car). I feel like college would have been, and still is for those younger than me, the best time to date other people. Why? Well, they are in your classes, your cafeteria, your clubs, and organizations; not to mention the network of friends, who know other friends, gets to be pretty rich to meet new people. But in college, I still wasn’t really emotionally ready. I did like one girl, but she didn’t feel the same. Then, she wanted to be friends on her terms, never returning my calls but then getting frustrated when I didn’t return an Instant Message at 2AM cause I was tired and going to sleep. I guess I just have a hard time getting over rejection, seems like it takes me like two or three years to get over someone if I really liked them and invested time in them, invested myself in them, even if we were not dating.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t go on my first date until graduate school. I took her out for Chinese and to see The Hulk (the one with Edward Norton, eh... it was OK). I had a feeling she wasn’t into me, but then she would open up to me and we would talk for hours. I guess I was confused but also too infatuated to be reasonable. I had this gut feeling she was using me emotionally, because I was a good guy and a listener, but when it came down to it she wanted nothing more; so she cut ties. She also said she wanted to be friends, and of course, my attempts came back void, were all in vain. I hated that I liked her so much, and maybe that is why she never responded, but it is hard investing so much into another person, than having all of that totally blocked off, especially when you are an introvert.

Lately, I suppose I have been feeling lonely once again. I miss my family and my friends. I do like my job here, but starting over in a new place from scratch is tough, and I really enjoy deep friendships, but getting there is hard work, and you really have to sometimes try to invest yourself in many places before you find friendships that really work and are reciprocal. Of course, part of me also would like to think about dating and being in a relationship. I mean, my older brother is engaged and getting married in a few months, so that makes me happy for him but sad for myself in some ways. I know so many are happy for him; yet I feel certain questions and expectations from those same people, asking me: When are you going to get married? Why aren’t you dating anyone?

Honestly, I do think about it, but the program I am in right now is only temporary, so I will have to be moving who knows where for a job in about another year or so. Plus, I can barely afford to live for myself, with student loans, bills, and this next month I will start trying to save money for my move to wherever next year. I trust in all of this God knows what he is doing. I have to trust I know what I am doing somewhat as well. It is just hard sometimes, because when you are single and living alone, you feel you live for yourself, which sometimes makes you feel selfish; but it isn’t, because it isn’t even by choice but by necessity.

I miss having roommates, miss having someone to come home too like I did in college. I miss sharing life with someone in the day to day that isn’t my face in the mirror. I feel in many ways the new job market is bad because people my age have to constantly move from friends and family, so while they are advancing their career, there is a part of them that is left behind, all those invested relationships. Sure we have Facebook and texting, maybe even a phone call, but it isn’t the same as face to face contact. It isn’t the same as sitting down at a coffee shop with friends you have known or going out to eat with your family. It is just different and it is something that is missed. I long for that kind of community again.

Then again, the past is not the present, nor the future; perhaps something better is coming along for me. I just wish it would get here. It is tough trying to hold on, hoping something better will come, and that the next place will be a place I can stay for a long while. I can invest without feeling I will have to just leave again in a few years. I know God has some plan. I want to be involved in that plan. But I also desire a tight-knit community to be apart of, one that won’t evaporate on me. A community that I can invest in and will invest in me for the long haul. I want a place where I am able to be myself, as corny or serious as I may be. I pray that God keep me calm; that my worries, anxieties, and frustrations wouldn’t own or depress me, but that I would continue to seek wisdom, love, and community... and of course, that Christ always remain the core and focus of my vision for my life not matter how I feel. And that Christ love may rest on me, give me peace, and continue to be a beautiful song in my life and my soul.

~ Daniel

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hard Week

It has been a very hard week for me. You always feel pretty self-sufficient until something comes along and shakes you in your boots, makes you quiver in your skin, perhaps makes you angry, annoyed, or fall to the floor in tears. I have written a lot on this blog about being single, as it relates to dating and being a minister, but the absence of close friends and family is also something very big, especially for those who are single and moving around, always having to go to the next place, make another life, be in another community, and start new friendships.

This week was the first time in this new town that I had car trouble and that might seem minor, but it makes me feel so out of control. It reminds me of being back in high school and college, when I had to depend on others, when I was not free to go anywhere and wasn’t able to feel useful and productive with a job because I lacked transportation. It is also very odd to call people, whom I have only known a few months, and ask for help. I don’t want to seem like I am merely using people, but it feels that way, because I haven’t been in this town long enough to make really close friends and don’t really know who to call, on whom it wouldn't be a burden and who won't think I am trying to use them and take their friendship for granted. I did have one person from church and one person from work come to help me jump my car, once this Money and another time after I was on-call  Friday so I could drive to the shop. From no water in my battery, new batteries, check engine light, car not starting, corroded battery clamps/cables, and spending 2.5 hours at the auto shop after a 24hr on-call; it has just been a emotionally exhausting week, as well as financially, shelling out $100 for a battery and $300 for repairs (and I may have not even needed a new battery!).

I am feeling better now I suppose, but some residual feelings are still left. I don’t like not having order, not having control. I do not like feeling like my life is chaotic. I wonder about all the bad things that can happen. My car breaking down and I can’t go to work. Can’t find a ride. Can’t find someone to help. Everything worked out but I still do not like those feelings. I felt a lot calmer when I was around family, because a broke down car meant nothing bad, just call family; my mom or dad, maybe my brother, they would come and help. It will be OK. But when you are own your own, away from everyone, you only have your self, you are all alone; at least that is how it feels. You have to relearn everything, make new friends, and go to another church. Sometimes it is just so much. After moving to Lubbock, I would like a job here or only to move another time, then stay put for a long while. I am tired of moving, of being and feeling uprooted. I want to make friends and not have to leave anymore.

The odd thing is, I am so blessed, and everything turned out fine; yet emotionally I still feel icky somehow. I guess I would just like some peace, some stability. I am thankful for where I am at, yet I know I will likely have to move again and do all this over again. I guess I am getting better at moving but I want to be better at staying, at being. If I have to move again, I want it to be in a place where I can stay for at least 5-15 years. I want a good job, deep and long friendships, and to be in a church knowing I wont be there for the short-term.

~ Daniel

Edit: Sorry I repeated myself. I noticed as I was editing this but I am leaving it because I think it shows my emotions somehow in all of this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Letter to Females

For a long time I have wanted to open up about my feelings regarding this but I couldn’t figure out how. There are too many variables in life that block me from expressing my feelings in this manner, so I do my best to encourage sometimes in the small amount that culture allows me to, but it still seems rather trite and empty. I do not want it to be that way, I don’t want my expressions of appreciation and encouragement to be so small and seemingly shallow, but I don’t know how to move forward, to push over the cultural hump I find myself.

Let me Explain.
What am I wanting to say?

It is hard for me to open up, to females. I am always wondering how they are going to see my comment, my conversations; just as mere words, or might they be looking for subtext that is not present. In the place where you find yourself a single male, going towards your thirties, how do you open up to females who are single or who are married? To the singles I feel my discussion gets misconstrued into thinking I am interested in them, as if I am attracted to them and want to date them. To those who are married, my discussion comes off probably as just odd. I am not supposed to be chatting with married women. That is how it feels.

Where do I find my way to be open?

Where do I find a way to express,
A way that is acceptable?

A way that won’t leave me or the other feeling odd,
But a way that brings us closer together,
As a brother and sister in the faith,
As common people in the thread of humanity?

There are many things I want to say, to express, to my female friends, my females sisters in the faith, but I can’t find an outlet, cannot find a way, so I suppose this is the best way I can think of to tell you what I think, what I feel about who you are, and who you are going to become...

Let me get started...

For a long time now I have seen you question yourself. I have seen you define yourself through the eyes and desires and needs of others. I see you squander and hide yourself and your identity behind the cloak of someone else. You seek their approval for who you are, who you have been, letting that define your self and who you will be and become in the future.

You are stronger than you think.

I see strength in you, a strength you must really not know you have, and one I see in the day to day. Many of you strive for perfection, though this may sometimes go overboard, it shows your dedication and sincere thoughts for the things you do and want to accomplish. To the home mom, I see strength in your care and concern for your child, for your home, and for the lives of your husbands and kids. I see this strength in the woman who works; who leaves her kids each day, has been left by her grown children, or is working to better herself. I see the most strength in the single moms, who perform all functions of raising children while also working. I find it ironic that the most hard-working women are the ones who are likely to be judged so much more than anyone else. You stick with your children, love them. You wear your family as a badge of honor and rightfully so... It is sad to think people use it as a way to judge your past in some way, trying to sow honor as dishonor.

In You I see Beauty.

I am not just talking about superficial beauty here, though I know how much your looks concern you. You wonder if all that makeup will change the way the world sees you, the way you see yourself. Will it make you look normal, sexy, professional? You wonder if you will ever be a healthy weight. A pretty weight? An attractive weight? A weight that will finally, after all that work, all that exercise, and all those diets, make you feel confident in yourself... Finally feel comfortable in your own skin.

But you are more than your looks,
Though some of your identities seem tied and bound by them,
At least in your own thoughts and those dark times at night,
And those dark times in the day, when you questions yourself once again.

But what you don’t know, what you cannot see is what others see. The beauty of who you are on the inside. The way you care for others. How you express concern for the poor, the oppressed, the taken advantaged and disadvantaged; you simply cannot know how lovely it is to see how much you care. The ways you care for your family or desire a family, for being the great wife and/or mother you are or the great wife and/or mother you will become when the time comes. You are beautiful for the way you do your job, the way you face you fears. You are beautiful, not because that is what psychologist say women desire most, but because it is who God made you, who God made you as a unique person. There is only one you. You are beautiful in your identity, whoever and however you are.

Own your likes and dislikes, and do not sacrifice pieces of you for someone, for anyone else. Cherish and protect those pieces of yourself, keep them always and forever. Mold your own identity based on who you are and who you will become. You will find you are most beautiful and most strong and free when you are simply yourself; body, mind, and spirit.

These are the things I have been wanting to say, to you; my sisters, my friends, the females circling my life. You are more than you know, many times more than you give yourself credit for, but so important to my life, and the life of everyone around you. So I end this letter, just saying to be you. You give another great life to the world in your comings and goings.

~ Daniel