Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Grace's Story

If you have been following Semper Eadem for any period of time, then you probably know Ingrid’s story. If you haven’t read it, please read it here.

I’m Ingrid’s sister Grace. I’ve contributed from time to time. I work full-time as a registered nurse, so I don’t always have time to contribute. However, I would like to share my story- since I (borrowing a term from Ingrid) was also “burned” by the I Kissed Dating Goodbye Movement. When I was about 15, I remember reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye, its sequel Boy Meets Girl, and other courtship-type books. I also followed Young Ladies Christian Fellowship (YLCF) and their Courtship stories religiously. I was SO in love with those books and the courtship stories and the examples that they included. I distinctly remember reading Emotional Purity and it telling me to think of all the guys I knew as someone else’s husband. Also, from the books and articles, I learned that I shouldn’t: talk to guys too much or give them attention (it might give them the wrong idea!), dress “immodestly”, and that I must save my first kiss for marriage. I was really sucked into this for several years and all the while I became more proud (because I was a “good girl” and I wasn’t like those “other girls”!). I became quieter and scared of talking to guys. The thoughts in my head when I was around any and all guys were “What does he think of me?” “What if he wants to ask me out?” and “What if he is the one?” I was literally obsessed with these thoughts. But through it all, I always thought that Prince Charming would magically come along, talk to me, like me, talk to my dad and then we would court, fall in love, and get married with our first kiss at the alter. Yeah right…. That is a fantasy world.

I remember that I graduated high school and immediately started college classes for my RN degree. That took a whole 2 years, in which time I was more exposed to the real world and all the time I was still really quiet- because what would a guy think if I talked to him?  He might think that I liked him and that I was flirting, which would make him and me loose pieces of our hearts that we could never recover.

Fast forward to recently: I’ve been out of school and a nurse for three years. I’ve been realizing that I really have trouble talking to guys. It’s really difficult and I don’t know why. I never had any problems as a child or young adult. No wait… Now I remember. I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and all the other trash and it changed how I think about guys. Men went from friends to “there might be something more and if I talk to them they might get the wrong idea.” Oh dear- how on earth do I get over that?  I have to completely change my thinking—namely that guys are humans, they are friends, and that they are not going to assume that I am interested in them just because I talk to them.

So lately, I’ve been talking to my mom, Ingrid, and girlfriends about guys. I’m 23. I’m single. I’ve never had anyone interested in me (that I know of). I’ve finally come to the realization that I Kissed Dating Goodbye and the other garbage really poisoned my thinking where guys are concerned. So, one of the first things that I did was I started praying more—for opportunities to talk to guys and help my communication.  I started teasing and talking to men at work. I joined eHarmony to help improve my communication skills. I didn’t expect to really meet anyone, and I didn’t. But that’s perfectly okay, because it sure did help my communication skills and help me narrow down my priorities. I did communicate with several guys and it helped me realize that not every guy who expresses interest is the right man for you. It also proved that you don’t hurt your heart by communicating with a guy. I’ve also started communicating more with my guy friends. There is one guy who I have liked for many years and I find it so hard to communicate with him, because of the thinking planted in me from I Kissed Dating Goodbye and other titles. I struggle with questions like “Will he think I’m too pushy? Too forward? Too flirty?” My mom says “no” and I think she is right. I struggle with my self-image. I have to continually remind myself that just because I talk to a guy, it doesn’t mean that I’m sinning as I have a fun time talking and laughing with him.

The rest of the story? I decided to communicate more with him and seek him out more when we are out with friends. And it’s working-- we’re getting to be better friends, we’ve had a few good talks in the past few weeks, we text from time to time, and that’s okay for now….  My story isn’t over yet, it’s still in progress. :)