Single as Stuck

I’ve always thought of being single as “lady in waiting.” My single friends and I – we sit around the table talking about the man drought, and how there is a severe lack of genuine, responsible men left on the planet. I often get panic attacks, wondering when I will ever find the man and will this “waiting” ever end. I felt like I was stuck, and the only way to get un-stuck was to meet someone.

I guess I never thought of single life any other way because of… well… who can I blame? Society? Social pressure? Married friends? Actually, who’s fault is it?

No one. It occurred to me over the weekend spent in silence. No one is to blame because I am single. It’s not a fault. I read something about how being single is either a choice or a circumstance. You can choose to be single or you can happen to be single because of the circumstances in your life. I don’t choose to be single, I happen to be. And as much as we try to control it, the fact is, we have no power at all in deciding whether or not people will fall in love with us. I honestly believe that you cannot “make someone love you.” You can certainly make yourself more attractive and appeal to their interest but ultimately, they decide if they want to be with you. Same goes for us women. Men can look charming, pay for dates, drop the best lines but we make the choice whether or not we reply to that text or go along for a second date. Works both ways. We can only be our best self and live our best life. Ultimately, it’s a person’s choice whether or not they want to be with another person. I find that women, in particular, spend countless hours analyzing and trying to work out men, trying to take control of situations we know we have no control over whatsoever.

It also occurred to me in my time of silence, that being single isn’t “waiting”. Being single is not being “stuck.” I don’t know what on earth put that silly thought into my head. Single life is a time where your gifts can be given wholly to humanity. Because there is no obligation toward a significant other, I can devout 100% of my time and energy towards others. It’s just a different perspective really. When you have a partner, you share your life with him/her. When you are single, you share yourself with the world. Your talents, gifts, laughter etc. You’re not stuck, or in limbo. You’re not worthless. You have so much to give and why waste it? Why keep your gifts to yourself, waiting for a significant other to come by when there’s so many out there in need? It is a chance to give our complete self to those who need it, because when a significant other comes along, everything changes. Until then, why waste your time sitting around trying to control matters beyond your reach? Are you not significant just because you have no plus 1?

We never know when this world will end. Whether we like it or not, some of us may only have months, weeks or even days to live. Every minute is a gift. You and I are in a particular place, in a particular moment, living a particular life for a purpose. And if that purpose happens to be single, then live it! I know for a fact that if I only have a limited amount of time left in this world, having a boyfriend wouldn’t be a priority at all. I would travel, return to London, return to Munich, return to Budapest. I will stalk Chris Martin to my hearts content, and eat junk food without worrying about my health. God did not create us only to wait on a significant other. He created us to be significant!

The places you can read

  I came across a very odd invitation on Facebook the other day. It was for a “Silent Reading Party” held in a pub somewhere in a fancy part of town. I looked up the event because I was curious and I read from the various posts that reading in pubs have recently become a “thing.” And I thought people would usually go to a silent place to read. Why go to a place (the pub), predominantly used to socialize, to read silently? It seems paradoxical, but the more thought about it, the more it made sense to me.

Now I don’t know why reading in a pub makes “sense”, I can’t quite explain it. But I guess it’s the whole rustic-ness of it. There is something cozy about a pub, well, at least the pubs that I’ve been to. I lived in London for a while, and I remember London pubs being cozy and family orientated, with old men watching football and their grandchildren running around with peas and mash all over their faces. It was a place to socialize (not in a party with alcohol kind of way), but it also gave me a sense of “home.” Weird huh? Now I know pubs in Melbourne (where I currently live) is slightly different in terms of atmosphere. People go to the pub to have a good drink after a long day at work. People go to pubs to pick up or get “smashed”. Not really a place to feel homely and warm.

I guess reading at the pub appeals to me because of my personal experience with London pubs. I’m not quite sure, though, if reading in your typical Melbourne pub would produce the same effect. I can only imagine this in my head: I picture myself, snugged up in a couch on one of the London pubs, with a good book and a cup of tea. (Yes, it was OK to order tea in the London pub on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm before Manchester United played). Can that happen here in Melbourne too? I’m now curious, and I would love to go on Sunday to see what this “Silent Reading Party” is all about. I find it odd having the word “silence” and “party” in the invite. Seems impossible, to be silent and reading and to party all at the same time. And at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. They somehow contradict one another… but maybe that’s why it’s so appealing? Has a sense of mystery I would say…

Where do you read? Do you read in odd places? Do you read everywhere? I have students who cannot put a book down. They read while walking outside, they read while eating lunch, they read while walking… I’m not such an avid reader. But I do enjoy long moments tucked up on a chair with nothing but a cup of tea and a book. I often like reading on balconies, with the sound of traffic and footsteps under me. Not quite a fan of reading in bed before I sleep. Somehow that position isn’t comfortable enough. What about you? How do you devour a book?

The Perfection of Silence

The Perfection of Silence

silence-speaks-79426-500-550

I attended a silent retreat last weekend. It was a religious silent retreat: a group of young Catholics aged 18-35 signing up for a weekend of silence to seek. Seek what? You might ask. Anything that is worth seeking for, is my answer. I believe each and everyone of us that signed up for the weekend was seeking something. I, for one, signed up because of the mere fact that I was so afraid of it. Silence.

I signed up for a weekend of silence because I knew this was what I needed. I needed it because the moment I heard about it, every muscle and bone in my body made a move to run away, to avoid. And it took me a long time to decide, but ultimately, I did – because I knew that if I wanted things in my life to get better, if I wanted answers… I needed to do what scared me. I needed to dive into the silence and face what I’ve been trying to run away from.

I believe that sometimes we are sinking too deep in mud that we start swimming in it, not knowing that it’s actually swallowing us up, and choking us, little by little. And only when we reach out and get out that we realize just how “sunked” we were – how deep in trouble we were, how choked we were. Sometimes, more often that not, we don’t know how much we’re sucked in until we get out and breath a little.

That was what the weekend was for me. I was so caught up in my plans and my ticking of boxes that I forgot what calm and peace meant. I was so involved in my so-called future and my perfect plans for myself that I lost track of who I was and who put me here in the first place. Through the silence I was forced to reconcile with myself, my hollow, empty-self that only existed to gain pleasures from winning and doing. Constantly doing. For the longest time I thought I trusted God because I had a plan to trust God and I had a plan on what to do if that first plan fell through… how bizarre! And the silence held up a mirror to my face and in my reflection I beheld the truth that God was never actually really existent in my life. It was me. No God. Only me. God did not even make it because of my obsessive compulsive disorder of having everything in control all the time. And it was so disordered, so twisted that I actually thought, actually believed, that I trusted in Him. Oh how wrong I was!

It wasn’t until I found myself sitting in the freezing church with my hands in my pockets and nothing to greet me but several Bible verses that I was forced to reconcile with the ultimate truth: I never trusted in God. I never truly surrendered. And in some miraculous way, the only action of trust that I ever really took was when I paid for the weekend of silence – when I went against my will and signed myself up for 36 hours of truth, silence, confrontation.

It’s amazing how much you can do when you don’t speak. It’s amazing how far you can reach when you stay still. It’s amazing how loud you can hear God when you’re silent. And on a side note, the food tasted so much better when I wasn’t caught up with trying to make obligatory small talk with the people around me. Yes, it was wonderful. The best meal I ever tasted was lunch with no conversation except for Mozart’s Requiem playing in the background!

So my life has changed. Literally. Not externally though. Internally. I changed. And because the lens of which I look at life has dramatically shifted, I am starting to realize that I view things differently too. I start to understand people in a way that I never understood them before. I can let go. Truly let go. Not saying you let go and then make backup plans in the back of your mind.

Of course, the road is long, and there will always be pitfalls. But the most powerful thing I learned in the silence, is that the voice of the accuser is never Jesus. He never accuses but liberates. He sets you free instead of putting you down. And I can’t believe it took me 27 years to truly realize that!

There’s so much to say that I’ve got nothing to write

I know that title is contradictory – and it may not make sense at first read. But I think some of you might know what I am trying to say. I have been quiet for a while, because there’s just too many thoughts. Funny huh? Being quiet because there’s too much. Too much to say… therefore, nothing to write. And by that I don’t mean “nothing” literally, I mean… there’s so much to say, so much to write about, so much to sort through, that a blank page of nothingness becomes the only way out. It’s easy… I don’t have to face it. I don’t have to come to terms with the thousands and thousands of words and thoughts floating around in this space I call my head.

I’ve been aching to sit down and write, but never got round to it. Every time I think that I should, I divert and do something else. Because there’s just too much. Too much to complain about, too much to rant about! I know, it sounds like I’ve got it so bad, but it really isn’t like that. It’s just that I’ve got a naturally curious mind – so everything and anything mesmerizes me. Everything and anything beckons me to analyze it. I want to break everything down. I want to try and understand the root causes of every problem I come across. I want to look through every personality and get into every brain. The world fascinates me. So much so that I often feel like crawling into a cave just so I can take a break from it’s fascinations!

But something happened this weekend. Something happened that make me snap – in a good way. It snapped me, but in a sense put me together again. Therefore I can write. I can now sit and write, because somehow the puzzle started coming together. And I realized… the first step to solving the problem of having too much to say, is to start writing. Not for anyone to read – it’s a bonus I guess if anyone did. But more to help me sort myself out. So I guess I’m going to start. Like right now. Here comes the fountain of words…

Fourth of July: My ex turns 28.

Americans everywhere would be celebrating the 4th of July. Suffice to say, I’m not American and this celebration always meant something different for me: The birthday of my ex. And it’s an impossible one to forget because the Americans will always remind me. So instead of trying to forget it, I will try to live with it.

Today is the first year that I have to live with the 4th of July being my ex’s birthday. Hopefully, by next year, it will just be the 4th of July, and I can celebrate it properly with my American friends. For today though, I’m going to contemplate and maybe, I might mope… forgive me, but I promise next year will be a different story.

Yes, this is the ex that you can see spread through this blog. He’s everywhere. If you scroll back long enough you can see all the great things I wrote about him. And if you were to find yourself very lonely and bored and need to stalk someone who’s life is worse than yours, I recommend you reading my posts from start until present. You will then be familiar with the roller coaster ride that was thrust upon me by the person who is turning 28 today.

I don’t hate him. That’s the worst part. I feel like I should, but I can’t. Everytime I think of him, I just get fluffy, sorry, cloudy thoughts. Because I truly empathize with him. Here’s a guy who (besides turning 28 today) has no idea where he wants to go in his life, and is so caught up by circumstance and never having the confidence to ride above it. I wish I could be his strength everyday, I wish I could always be the one to tell him that “Yes you can!” but unfortunately, I need a man to take care of me, not the other way around. I hope he finds a girl that can take him for who he is, because changing him will be impossible. For the longest time, I thought I was that girl, and I stayed because I felt that only I could save him. Nobody else would be able to put up with that!

He changes his mind like the wind. In the beginning, that was the trait that drew me to him. He was so unpredictable, so full of surprises! And I loved the ride. But when he took my heart with him, and started creating a yo-yo out of it, I realized the ride wasn’t so fun after all. But sometimes, when you’ve invested so much money + time in the ride, you just want to see through the end because quitting would just be too depressing. Not after all you’ve done!

Some people just aren’t build for commitment. Some people just don’t like sticking to one thing. Some people are just afraid of being bored, or maybe too afraid of leaving their comfort zone? My ex really tried. The fact that he kept running back to me asking for forgiveness and telling me he will try harder proves that he gave it his all. But it still wasn’t enough. Not for me anyway. He wanted two things. He wanted me and he wanted freedom. He wanted a girlfriend, a lover without the obligation to treat her well. He wanted comfort but didn’t know how to give it. He wanted to grow up but he also wanted to play with the toys. And for the longest time, I saw him juggling both ends, torturing not only himself but everyone around him.

Today, he turns 28. I’m sure he is lying there somewhere, hoping for a birthday message from me so he can tell me again, just how the “signs” are pointing towards a destiny where we can be together in some fantasy world where no rules are ever kept. Unfortunately, I live in this world. And this world has consequences for actions of fantasy. I want to live in the real world, where people hurt and have to sacrifice for each other to make something work. As much as I want to throw it all in the air, and ride roller coasters all my life and live the moment… it’s not real, it’s not human, and I was created for way more than a dream. I was created to live life to take every fall and every flight.

Online Dating 1.1

So most of you know that I have been in the dating scene for quite some time, the online dating scene to be exact. I used to steer away from online dating because I had the thought that it made me look desperate. I always felt like people who went to online dating were those that have absolutely no hope of meeting anybody in real life, hence why they turn to the virtual.

I have since changed my mind, although I am still cautious about who I talk to about it. Only my closest friends know that I am on dating websites. I prefer to keep that information somewhat contained. I now realize that you don’t have to be desperate to go on dating websites, sometimes (like me) you just can’t be in so many places at once to meet so many potentials. So why not go through profiles and have access to groups of potentials? That’s how I see it. It sounds a bit like online shopping although I try not to think of it that way.

I like online dating because of the easiness of having the opportunity to “meet” or “know” several people at a time. It cuts down effort and it allows me to potentially meet people that I probably can’t ever meet in real life just because I don’t know where to go and may not be in the right place at the right time. I have had a few disasters with online dating, the first two guys I met (you must have read the stories) were creepy and only wanted a fling. But over time I have learned how to filter the genuine ones to the not-so-genuine ones.

My last post was about how I preferred European cultured men. I now filter my search profiles to those that have either migrated to Australia from Europe or I search for European type names. I know that may sound racist, but I just prefer the traditions of Europe when it comes to upbringing and family lifestyle. I am very conservative and I am one of those women who would not be offended if a guy offered to pay, open the door, take my jacket or help me to my chair. I guess because my only relationships have been with very traditional, conservative Europeans… I don’t know romance/dating any other way.

What I do with online dating, my strategy, if you will, is to have a few days of back and forth chatting (3-4 days maximum) just to filter out who I could potentially get along with and who I won’t. I’m all for meeting the guys early on, and I told this to the man I met last night on our first date. I met him after 3 days of chatting on the dating website. I do this because I want to eliminate my imagination or mind creating some kind of imagery about the man. I don’t know about you, or other women, but I tend to create an image of a guy as I’m talking to him. I will use his language, his interests to visualize what he might be like. And we all do that to a certain extent as human beings, it’s only natural. Because my visualization is strong and I have realized in the past that I always get surprised because the man I meet is so different to the “image” I have created, my solution to that is to meet the man early, and get as “authentic” an image as quickly as possible, so as not to allow myself to build some imaginary picture only to be disappointed/surprised with reality. After all, there’s only so much you can know about a person through chat messaging/e-mail. Once I have filtered the essentials, like their expectations, interests, family life, values etc., I want to meet them straightaway and see if we can work. And you can usually tell after about 15 minutes into the meetup whether or not it can go anywhere! So why waste weeks or months chatting?

What about you? If you were to online date, would you prefer to meet the guy straight away or chat a bit first to see where it might lead?

Australian Men: Don’t go there! (Please!)

I have decided to “steal” MacKenzie Connell’s humorous book title as a title for this blog. I have not yet read the book, but I am in the process of ordering it through for my Kindle. I am intrigued, and I can already tell you that everything in me is going to agree to what she will say, even though I have not read it. But I have a good feeling, based on my experiences with Australian men, that what she experienced for herself is 100% true.

I have been on several dates with Australian men since coming back from Europe. And boy, what a shock! I have only ever dated European men. I don’t particularly look out for them, but we always cross paths. The difference between European and Australian men really stood out to me the last few months when I went on a dating spree trying to find “the one.” After several disasters, I’ve given up on dating Australians. I don’t really want to go there anymore. And yes, MacKenzie is right: Don’t go there girlfriend!

My hopes in writing this is that someone would read it and tell me I’m wrong and that there is hope in Australia for me and give me some tips as to how I can go and meet good Australian men! But until then, I’m just going to push forward and look at another continent because the current one where I’m living in just doesn’t provide a high enough standard.

#1: Severe lack of manners

I live in Melbourne. So maybe it’s just a thing with Melbournian boys? But they severely lack the most basic form of manners. (Please, thank you, ordering for the lady, asking for the menu etc.) They don’t know how to treat women politely and have this thing where they treat you like a “mate.” I’m sorry, I’m not a “mate.” I don’t appreciate the footy talk and the slang and the banter. Not for a first date anyway. MacKenzie mentioned something about “hanging out” and it’s true. The Australian men I go on dates with don’t seem to know that they are on a date, they treat you like a “mate” on a cool hangout session. And they justify their actions by claiming they are great because they are so relaxed and laid back. It’s not being laid back, it’s plain rude and it demonstrates a lack of respect for the female sex. I’m not asking for flowers or chocolates or romance, (although in Europe it’s probably normal for a woman to expect it on the first date) but I need to know that the guy is actually excited and interested in dining with me. All of the Australian men I’ve gone out with don’t seem to enjoy sitting in a restaurant with a lady. They much prefer a social group hang in the pub. Not impressed! When I was living in Europe, even friends demonstrated more interest when dining with me. Even friends (male friends) would offer to pay for the bill. They would lead the way into the restaurant/cafe (and not hang back looking at their phones like the Aussie blokes here) and would ask for the menu etc. I’m so used to that now I just can’t go back to looking at a child sitting opposite me, staring at the menu and complaining how things are a “rip off.”

#2: Lack of intelligent conversation/social skills to keep a conversation going

The topic of conversation is often very limited with Australian men. It’s either the football, getting smashed, how to cure a hangover or how the economy/job market “sucks”. They don’t know how to talk about a topic without insulting that topic or throwing a sarcastic comment that only demonstrates their lack of maturity. I have tried to get in to their conversation about football, and I have found that it works. Women who love sport do well with Australian men but I find that they often don’t give it back to me. I try hard to talk about what they like to talk about and when I turn the topic around to something I am passionate about, I can see the fire dying in their eyes. They look bored, and they don’t have the skills to manage a conversation in which they have no interest or knowledge of. And believe me, they have very little knowledge of anything else. Try asking an Australian man about his travel adventures to Europe. You find that he cannot articulate anything about the culture or the history. It will generally go along the lines of: “Oh yeah, great party place, but damn it was so expensive…” They complain a lot, and love giving off an air of “can’t be bothered” attitude. They seem to think that it works with women. Does it really? Am I just too different to find that fascinating?

#3 Casual, casual, casual!

It’s completely opposite here in that the more casual you are, the more attractive you think you are. (I use think because I honestly don’t think being too casual is attractive, but the men here seem to think so!) I don’t know where that rule came from or why it’s so accepted here. I’ve been on dates where boys would rock up in a wifebeater, thongs and shorts and when I make a remark, the response was: “Well that’s how I roll.” Yet, they expect women to dress “hot” all the time. Do they not care about presentation? I find that they really don’t. The women too. Walk around the city late Saturday night and you can see so many Australian women and men dressing with despicable tastes. And even if they did have something lovely and chic on, the behaviour would not match the dress code. You can see some wonderfully dressed Australians from afar but the moment you move closer you can hear a string of expletives coming out of their mouths, and the lack of intelligent conversation. No sense of history, no sense of language, no sense of culture and no sense of self-respect. It often leaves me confused, scratching my head thinking: Is this the kind of impression you want people to have of you? Or maybe I spent too long in Europe. I get it, Europe and Australia, completely different continents. But isn’t it important for men to act like men and treat women properly? It’s okay to slap your blokey mate on the arse and make a joke about him being a player but I find it completely disrespectful to do the same to your female “buddy” and comment on how she’s “a real catch” on a first date/group hang/whatever it is. I’m tired of it and I demand to be treated better. And yes, I expect the men to pay or at least OFFER to pay. And I’m not being weak when I say it, I don’t care what some feminists out there think. I’m a lady and I want to be treated like one. I have a career and I am independent but it doesn’t mean you can treat me with such casualness. I am a unique, intelligent and I am special. So treat me like that. Nothing more, nothing less!

I now filter my dating preferences based on cultural background. No more Australian men for me. Bring on the imports from Europe!