I’ve been dating a guy for almost nine months now.
And it seems odd to say that. I’m getting better at using the term “boyfriend,” but it still sounds kind of, I don’t know, foreign and fifth-grade at the same time.
It’s a long-distance thing (saints preserve us, he is so much better at this than I) and, on one of the calls he makes to me, faithfully, every night (and I so often miss the call! How?!?!?! I KNOW it is coming and everything) he was like, “How come you’ve never written about me on your blog?”
Sometimes he asks me questions like this, I don’t exactly have a prepared answer so then ALL THE WORDS come out in a jumbled, incoherent mess, I feel. I think I said something about respecting his privacy, which is completely true. I mean, life is just positively full of fragile what-ifs, and I respect that and the fact that we are two people with different lives and people and places and…we don’t know the outcome. No one knows any outcome, so before I plaster someone all over the internets, I’d rather just respect their pace and place and privacy (unless you are my family). (Or Kathryn). (Or Father Ryan). (Or Father Pio).
THAT BEING SAID, there are also things I didn’t say to him that night. I didn’t say that I really, really strive for honestly and authenticity on this blog (“If we’re just pretending behind masks, what’s the stupid point?” Father Ryan once asked me) and honesty is terrifying because you never really know what it will bring to light, and I just don’t know if people want to sign up for that.
Also, of extreme importance, I never really start typing these things with more than a rough outline in my mind, soooooo are you ready for all that that entails? Words and thoughts spewing from my fingers pressing in these keys *TACK TACK TACK TACK*without knowing where I’m going.
External processor, ya’ll.
Some people are probably wondering where we met and what he’s like and what I like about him and what he likes about me…but that’s not what this post is about. Go get your romantic fixes elsewhere, peasants!!11!. (But, if you need help, I adore this poem by John Blase…AS ALWAYS.)
Now, I know that I have readers who are all, all over the map and, generally speaking, I try to write to a general audience.
But, this post is not for a general audience.
This post is for the other young women out there who were raised like me (or, at least, somewhere thereabouts).
I was homeschooled, in an era when most homeschoolers were still Protestant. I still lived a Catholic experience with my white shoes at my First Communion and all (“…and a party on my Confirmation” and if you can name that song, stop listening to Satan-music, why don’t you), but, still, I feel like most of my formative years were more steeped in the lingo/ understanding/ thought processes of mainline protestant theory.
It’s an interesting place to be. One or two of my childhood friends share my faith experience, the rest give thoughtful head-tilts when I happen to mention, I don’t know, saint days or papal declarations.
I say this because I was a part of that world, and that world is a part of me. I read Joshua Harris. I listened to Jaci Velasquez and Superchic[k] and DCTalk. I have a purity ring, for heaven’s sake.
And, now, I have a boyfriend.
This is not a blog post for the general public. This is one for the young woman raised in a mostly-conservative home, but not, like, too too crazy of a home who finds herself at a place where, dang, she has a boyfriend.
It’s weird. It’s a weird place to be. Relationships turn out to be sticky and tricky, but I’m not going there, exactly.
I’m going to type out honest words for the other young women.
When you grow up in a culture, even if you don’t agree with everything, parts of it still creep into your fiber in some kind of weird osmosis.
I know now (and maybe I’ve always known) that idealized pictures of Christian-culture courtship were weird and idealized. I’ve been reflecting a bit over the past few weeks and months.
One thing is, our general culture tells us this:
Or maybe this:
And, like, we know that that’s not the life for us.
But, just like in that other post when I referenced St. John Paul II’s “The Jeweler’s Shop,” this line holds fast: there are no ready models.
Because, honestly, this:
On some level, all we have left is Disney, because we know the other images and storylines are not for us. But, those fairytales are over-simplified and problematic as well.
And don’t get me started on musicals.
Not really. 🙂 But, it does make you wonder a little bit. Where my 40-person dance/ song about love already? Guys tossing girls in the air? Girls doing fan-kicks? This isn’t really a thing?
And, I mean, of course I know that Disney and fairytales and Broadway are imitations of real-life…but, then, how does one navigate?
I sure don’t know.
But, I made a series of certificates nonetheless. For us, oh conservative women, trying to figure things out. Because a few of my people are in this stage, too. And if I’m not honest about these feels and handing out the support…then it’s time to re-evaluate my priorities.
Oh, single, conservative women: you are lovely, beautiful treasures and a lucky guy would be lucky to have you. But, until then, it’s a weird and sticky world of courting to navigate. I know, man, I know.
If you want, you can have these:
And, because you’ve been good, here are two of my favorite pictures with this guy who calls me every night, and once picked me up from the airport when I missed my flight EVEN THOUGH he had a really busy and crazy week at work the next week, and is kind to children and wait-staff and animals and the mentally handicapped and his mom and stuff.
So, there’s where we are.
Per the usual, the comment box is for ya, there. We can girl-talk it out together. 4ever.