one down, one up 04

1down1up, 08-22-2014

this is my roommate’s cat, meet Scout

one down

My one down this week was facing reality that a relationship that I thought could be something long-term won’t ever quite make it there.  (Here‘s the post in case you missed it earlier this week.)  There’s just a lot of emotions and I’m still working out how I want to handle them all.

one up

Earlier this year I sold a plush Ikea chair on Craigs List.  When the couple showed up they were so so friendly.  She was super pregnant and she and her husband had plans to turn the chair into a rockingchair using a DIY tutorial they found online.  About four months later I emailed them asking if they wanted the ottoman that goes with the chair for free.  They showed up within the week to pick up the piece.  I thought that was going to be the end of it, but this week I actually recieved a Starbucks giftcard in the mail with a note saying “Thanks so much for thinking to contact us for the ottoman!  Appreciate it!.  Honestly, they didn’t even have my last name, the envelope just says to Chrystina, but it really was such a nice gesture and it made me smile from ear to ear.

how you know it’s over

how you know it's over

Now, I’m one of the last people who should be giving relationship advice, but there are a few things that I have learned over the years.  I have learned what I need, what I want, and what doesn’t work for me.  I’m going to continue to tell myself that that is equally as important as discovering what does work for you.  It’s all a process.  Below is a discussion of whether or not you should ask someone to go steady, how you know it’s over, and what to do when it ends.  I’m no expert, this is just my story, and I wanted to share it with you.

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I somehow managed to start a discussion at a work event a few weeks ago centered on my personal life.  I asked a question to the group I was sitting with, and then when the head of the practice asked what was going on, I told him.  The next thing I knew every one of my co-workers was sitting around the table discussing the question “should a boy have to ask a girl to go steady”.  Now, I understand that this question can happen in reverse, it can happen with two girls, it can happen with two boys – power to you all.  In my life though, I happen to have a firm belief that a boy needs to ask me to go steady in order to be “officially dating”.  Officially dating meaning being exclusive and being committed to the possibility of a future together.

Pre-junior year of college (thank you Drexel) I was dating a boy.  We had been hanging out for weeks.  We had known each other a very long time.  During a random afternoon car ride one day he finally broke down and asked me, “why aren’t we dating yet?”  I matter-of-factly looked at him and said “because you haven’t asked me.”  He couldn’t believe it -but it’s true, that really is what I was waiting for.

There are a few reasons this is important to me.  I tend to fall head-over-heals and quickly and I like to know that the other person is as invested as I am.  In order for that to be the case, I want you to have thought about it, not to accidentally have fallen into a pattern of seeing me resulting in you being my boyfriend.  I want you to know that at some point the boy thought to himself “Wow, Chrystina is really amazing and I want to keep her and only her in my life.  I want to get to know her better and learn about her.  I want her to be in my world; I might see a future with her.”  Because I can guarantee you if I’ve been seeing you for a few weeks, I feel that way already.

There definitely needs to be a point where you have the “are we exclusive” discussion, but then for me there’s a point that’s even a step beyond that, a step of commitment.  Part of me thinks that it’s because I watched too many hopeless romantic movies and sitcoms growing up (thank you for that, Cory & Topanga).  I’m okay with that though, because hopeless romantic movies and occurences are big part of who I am.

Now please don’t think that I leave the boy questioning how I feel throughout this whole process.  If I like a boy, I’ll tell him.  If I think he’s handsome, I’ll tell him.  If I feel safe in his arms, I’ll tell him.  I will also actually lay out the fact that I want you to ask me to be your girlfriend.  There aren’t any games here, I just need you to make the decision that you want me to be your girlfriend.  The key word here is decision.

Back to the work discussion.  The second I said the phrase out loud “going steady” the comments began.  Do you have his letterman’s jacket?  Did he give you his class ring?  Did he pin you?  I laughed it off, but honestly, all of those things sound lovely.  (Just in case my hair didn’t confirm it enough, I was born in the wrong era.)  At the end of the discussion, a good number of people told me that I should cut the boy a break and just consider it official.  It had been 10 months, I had met his family, he had met my family, and we had gone on vacation together.  That sounded like dating, didn’t it?  Well, not exactly.

Here’s the thing, if a boy can’t ask you to be his girlfriend (yet again, boy/girl are all interchangeable), you know something’s wrong.  Either he’s not feeling it, or he’s not sure if he sees a future together, or he’s seeing somebody on the side.  I’m sure there’s a million other reasons, but no matter what the reason, none of them feel good or are heading anywhere useful.  I was glad I didn’t cut him any slack because I found out about two weeks later that he didn’t think we had a future together.  I ended it after that.  I was one dinner and two makeout sessions away from being head-over-heals in love and I knew I didn’t have the energy stored up to have to fall out of love.  It really is amazing how much more energy it takes to fall out of love than it takes to fall in love.  Probably because the opposite of fall is pick-yourself-back-up, in which I think the key word is “yourself”.

The issue was religion.  It wasn’t a personality problem, it wasn’t a communication problem, it wasn’t a chemistry problem – it was the fact that we couldn’t figure out how our two religious (or not-so-religious) backgrounds could come together to make a successful family in the future.  A few thoughts here.  (1) Yes, it’s crazy that we weren’t even dating when we were discussing this, but I’m glad we discussed it when we did.  (2) We tried compromising and just couldn’t reach a middle ground.  (3) How the heck am I even old enough to be having this discussion? (4) For some reason my theory of having two kids and each one of us raising one of them wasn’t approved.  Weird.

The worst part is that I totally knew this was coming.  I knew it wasn’t going to work months ago.  The same way he knew it wasn’t going to work months ago; we just couldn’t let go of it.  We liked each other.  We liked each other a lot.  Heck, we still like each other a lot.  (Definitely for me, a wishful hoping on my part about him.)

Do you want to know where I knew it?  I knew it in my gut.  That gut feeling that you get when you just know that what you are doing right now is not helping you out in the long-run.  The same feeling you get when you’re working a job that’s not leading you towards your long-term career goals.  The same feeling you get when you spent all day watching television and had a million other things to be doing.  The same feeling you get when you bought those really expensive shoes that you know you shouldn’t have, but they just feel so good and look so nice.  And we just ignore it.

Then our best friends tell us that something doesn’t seem right.  And we always find a way to justify whey we’re doing what we’re doing to them, but they know the truth because there’s a reason they’re our best friends.

Here are some signs in my past that I should have told me that things were over.  I do not understand how these signs didn’t grab me by the shirt collar, shake me around, and slap me in the faec with reality.  These are not personality issues.  Not signs that point to he doesn’t treat me well or he doesn’t care about me (although those may have been some causes of the symptoms).  These are all internal signs that point to “I am not happy in this relationship and we do not have a future together.”

  • I once made a party guest list for 150 people and forgot the boy that I was dating.  That should say something.
  • I once couldn’t bring myself to make a boy a Valentine’s Day card using pre-made stickers because I didn’t want to say anything that was written on that to him.  (i.e. I like you, you’re cute, you’re sexy, you make me happy, kiss me, love me, etc.)  I ended up making a card for my grandfather instead.
  • The point when I develop a nickname that has a curse word in it and only refer to him as that nickname to my friends.  (Yeah, that one probably definitely should have been a sign, huh?)

Here’s the one that always gets me though.  Here’s the one that always tells me that it’s over.  If I’m with a boy and I start to cry and I try to hide it from him.  Not because of a movie or a sad song or a romantic gesture or a book, but rather from an overdose of emotion, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, or not feeling right.  That’s what it takes for me.  It’s my body’s way of saying alright, Chrystina, you tried, you gave it your best and you really just can’t do this anymore.  You need answers.  You need to make things better.

So I ended it.  No, it doesn’t feel particularly good.  No, I’m not over him, but I’m trying.  Here’s my game plan:

  • Step 1: Learn from it.  I didn’t realize exactly how important it was to me that I date somebody with similar religious beliefs to mine.  The weirdest part?  I’ve never even dated a practicing Catholic before.  Maybe that’s my first problem.  It’s also crazy that I didn’t realize how important this was to me before because I found this exact problem on a pro/con list on the con side for a boy that I was seeing a few years earlier.  I really do have to learn lessons the hard way.  Twice.
  • Step 2: Make plans.  I’ve been calling up friends to get ice cream, to go to brunch, to do photo shoots, to have parties, to have potluck dinners – and I told my friends that I’m bored and going to be looking for things to do.  Saturday night at 6:45pm when I got a text from a friend asking me to go to a beer garden with her, she was exactly the litle miracle I needed.
  • Step 3: Take time to get over him.  I’ve done the thing where you start dating other people while you’re still hung up on someone.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work.  With no closure on the first relationship, it’s not remotely possible to start a second one.  It’s going to come back to bite you in the ass.  So, I’m taking the time I need (maybe having a little fun?) and then I’ll see what happens next.

So here I stand, officially single again (as opposed to unofficially dating).  I’m 25, there’s plenty of time, I’m not worried.  I also want to point out that I’m not necessarily on a hardcore hunt for “Mr. Right”, but I thought I might have found him.

I’m also good at being single.  I like meeting new people, I like dating, and I’m one of those really weird people who kind of likes making small talk (hello super-extrovert).  So once I accept the fact that I’m single again, I’ll be fine.  But phew, it’s been quite the rollercoaster ride and I’m still feeling a bit off balance.

Also, as for how the dinner conversation that evening actually ended.  There was no consensus on whether or not one person should have to ask the other to go steady; however, they did all end up deciding that I should never ever use the phrase “going steady” ever again.  Something about it not being 1950 anymore…

What about you?  Are you getting over anybody right now?  Have you learned anything from your past relationships worth sharing?  Or maybe you had to learn it twice.  I’ve been there.

a music card for krissie

Card for Krissie 01

I had the pleasure of meeting Krissie on an airplane almost three years ago at this point.  She is a music junkie and it is awesome.  She always knows what bands are up and coming and she can give you a million recommendations based on your own personal style.  We met on an airplane, I offered her a raunchy romance novel to read, and the rest is history.

Her birthday was recently and I set out to make her an awesome birthday card.  I knew that I wanted to use the mix tape stationery I had on hand to make her a music card.  I made the first card, and I hated it.

Card for Krissie 02

It looked so flimsy and incomplete and blank.  I actually made it to the point that I had written the entire message in the card and was about to put it in the envelope when I realized that this card really just wasn’t going to cut it and I started completely over.  Take two:

Card for Krissie 03
I rewrote the message inside of the new card and went from there.  Overall, I felt like I wasn’t focusing on the mix tapes enough and that they had to be mounted in order to show their true awesomeness.  And I got an awesome thank you text message when she saw the mixtapes, so that was designing time well spent.

That’s just proof to show that the right card doesn’t always happen the first time.  Luckily for me, it happened the second time.

I’ve been thinking about making a “how to make a great homemade card” e-course to share the skills I’ve learned along the way.  I have a little bit more time this month, so I’ll be excited to see if I can make it happen.  Here’s to new exciting things in life.  First I just have to finish that book I’ve been writing.

one down, one up 03

one down, one up 08-15-2014

One Down

The worst part of my week this week was attempting to get back onto a normal sleep cycle.  I had been sleeping from 1:30am to 9:30am on my vacation last week and all of a sudden I’ve needed to move my sleep schedule about 90 minutes earlier everyday.  It’s not working out as well as I had hoped and I’m definitely going to be trying better for next week.  Buying that mattress topper two years ago probably didn’t help either.

One Up

Wednesday I got a gchat from a friend asking what I was doing that evening.  When I inquired about why she was asking I found out that she and her friend had registered for a GIA music reading event in Center City, Philadelphia, but neither of them were able to go any longer.  For those of you who don’t know, GIA is one of the music publishers in the church world.  This means that I got to go sit into a music reading session for 2 hours and get about $40 worth of free music while doing it.  I’ve got to tell you, that was a pretty glorious evening.