Miss Independent

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A couple of years ago I wrote a blog in defense of my new lifestyle. I talked about love, working, and my need for space and independence. I cannot believe it has already been two years.

I am still roaming around as a wondering wanderer. Or is it a wandering wonderer? Either way I continue to seek adventure in every area of my life. My curiosity remains piqued and I am loving the opportunities I find for learning and experiencing new things.

I had some mishaps in the whole love department and I have taken a hiatus from my online experimentation. I just want to focus on my career, family, and friends for a while. Well, that is not entirely true. I did make plans with the infamous Tinderbabe for my birthday weekend. U2 and Hamilton in NYC! I am so excited and thrilled to share this with him.

I have no plans to spend the rest of my life in a shell, I am just not actively pursuing dating at the moment. Maybe later. We’ll see what happens when I am in an area a little less remote. I still do not believe in Prince Charming, and I am still not looking for some hero to sweep me off my feet and domesticate me. I like being a heathen.

I have made the decision to pursue my DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) and I am geeking out at the thought of working hard to achieve a new goal. I was working on some education modules we have to do and I cannot wait to be a student again. I suppose I thrive on the stress. Maybe I just enjoy getting feedback on the work I perform. It is nice to have life divided up into semesters; a beginning and an end with concrete goals and deadlines. It helps break up the monotony. Besides, I want to be better at what I do. I want to learn how to give back and promote professionalism of my chosen career. I want to be an advocate. I am nervous and a little intimidated by the thought of continuing my education, but it seems to be the best route for me to take at this point in my life.

I am still working as a locum. It continues to be challenging and for the most part I enjoy my work. The process is a bit of a hassle, but it is nice knowing it is all temporary. I don’t have to stay in a situation where I feel trapped in a rut of my own boredom. I guess my independence is still a priority.

I Think I Am Learning…

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Last winter you taught me how to trust myself and my judgement. You were my trial run. The relationship that had bookends. I knew the expiration date from the first date. It didn’t matter, it was reality. 

That made you safe. 

Yes, I loved you. I still love you and cherish the role you played in my life. You are my Tinderbabe. 

You never said things you didn’t mean and I learned feelings won’t kill me. I had lots of feelings. I spent too much time worrying about saying goodbye. 

The day came and you helped me load my car. Tetris taught you well. We went to dinner and then had a talk about feelings and other gross stuff. I’ll never admit that it may have helped a little. Even if it all seemed so dramatic. Then, we kissed goodbye and I drove away. 

I didn’t die. 

I may have cried a little. I had wonderful memories of you giggling during Deadpool, our trip to NYC, and many other fun times. You even introduced me to Game of Thrones. 

I managed to stop crying when I stopped listening to Adele on repeat. I was prepared to fall apart. I didn’t. 

I had a wonderful group of friends meet me in St. Louis. I swear, I’m not making that up. The distraction helped me transition from a winter fairy tale back to the real world. 

Now, I still freak out at the thought of relationships but I am willing to try them on and see what happens. 

That’s because of you. I learned to try and live and love in the moment. I don’t have to know what the future holds. I know I will be okay. I may even end up great! 

I continue to learn from so many experiences. Even the ones that are a little harder are good in the long run. I’m learning to trust myself and other people. I think it’s a step in the right direction. 

Mr. Right… Now

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I am not embarrassed or ashamed. 

No apologies or excuses. 

I am not looking for a soul mate. 

I don’t want Prince Charming. 

I’m just a girl… and I wanna to have fun. 

That’s all I really want. 

Some fun. 

I am 36 years old. I have never been married. I have not shacked up or had a ridiculously long engagement that ended in heartbreak. I’m not some jilted lover who is pining for the one that got away. My biological clock is not shrieking because it is almost too late. 

Yes, I cry at weddings. Of course I have imagined hosting a huge, expensive party where 500 of my closest friends watch me exchange nuptials. Most girls have. We are taught that is we what are supposed to want. The wedding industry has been telling us that is the ultimate goal of dating. I’m still not actually under any delusion this is going to happen. I don’t even think it would be that much fun. I would probably resent the expense and get drunk and ruin the whole thing anyway. It’s still fun to think about though. 

I’ve also daydreamed about magically falling into a huge sum of money that would allow me to never worry about finances again. 

If we want to talk about fantasies I am also a broadway actress and Olympic athlete who has a multiplatinum record that has been nominated for a Grammy. 

In my rich fantasy life I have jumped out of airplanes, climbed mountains, and rescued kittens from trees. I have penned bestselling novels and my memoir is the hottest book in all the book clubs. I’ve made the rounds on all the late night talk shows. Jimmy (both of them) loves me and I am his favorite guest. I hide from the paparazzi because I am just a humble artist doing what I was born to do. 

I play on Tinder and I flirt with cute bartenders. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for a booty call or a string of sexual conquests. I don’t have any intention of sleeping with every man who makes an offer. By the way, has anyone ever noticed how quick so many men make that offer??? It feels like they are just casting a net and hoping to drag in the days fresh catch. 

I am looking for interesting, smart, funny people to have some adventures with. That’s all. If we are exceptionally lucky we will end up friends. I want to spend time with someone special. I want to invest energy in getting to know them and equally as important, I want them to get to know me. 

I want to know what makes him smile and laugh. I want to know how his day has been. Does he like puppy and otter videos? Will he see an owl and think of me? Better yet, will he snap a quick photo and send it to me just to make me smile? I can still have all of that even if I don’t want to plan our joint retirement, can’t I? 

What book is he reading right now? What movies can we share with each other? Can we watch the sunset and marvel in the beauty of our planet, both of us reveling in the fact that we got to see it together? Will he know and appreciate the fact that I am a cryer and I actually enjoy it? Will he think it’s cute that I cry at Folger’s commercials? 

At some point in the near future I will be moving on to the next grand adventure. Can we part ways without hurting each other’s feelings? Can we acknowledge the bittersweet feelings goodbyes bring? Can we be excited for the other’s future escapades? Can we actually fall in love a little and still move on when it’s time to go? 

Is it possible to share your present life with someone without planning a future? 

Yeah. I think so. I want this to be true. 

I don’t want to be rescued because I am not a damsel in distress. I don’t want to be caught because I don’t need a cage to keep me safe.

I just want to have fun. Maybe with a little love sprinkled in so I don’t get tired of traveling alone. I may not be looking for Mr. Right, but I am looking forward to hanging out with Mr. Right Now. 

I Met Someone

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Television commercials are cunning. I think the mad men are trying to tell me how to live my life. They want me to question my choices. Do you think they want me to feel bad about myself?

There was a commercial for a dating site. It was filled with people whispering “I’ve met someone” to their closest friends and family. Wait a second! Is that my end goal? Is that what I am supposed to be doing? Meeting someone? I knew I was doing this all wrong. 

Do I have to meet just one person? That doesn’t work for me. I would have to spend most of my time missing him. I think I may have found a perfect solution. 

I meet lots of people! I go out and have fun. I let you buy me dinner or a drink. I listen to your stories and decide if I would like to hear some of them again. If you manage to entertain me, I lose track of time and can’t wait to see you again. Those are the best nights. 

Despite all the fun, sometimes men amaze me. I think there should be some rules or protocols to follow when one chooses to sign up for Tinder. 

1. Don’t act all pissy when I don’t answer fast enough. You don’t own me. That behavior just sets off all kinds of warning flags about your potential for being scary or dangerous. Controlling men are automatically out. I have way too much to do to worry about your fragile ego. 

2. Don’t assume I am going to sleep with you. Surely that doesn’t have to be explained. I don’t have to have sex with every man who expresses an interest. Once again, you don’t own me. 

3. Please don’t ask for or send me naked photos. I promise: your penis is not that special. If I wanted to send them to you, I would. 

4. Don’t ask me out if you are leaving your wife and kids at home to fend for themselves. Don’t lie and say you are separated or divorced if you are not. 

5. Don’t ask me out if you can’t afford to date. Sorry. I’m not sorry. 

6. Don’t lie. 

7. Come ready to talk! I like conversation. 

8. Don’t text me in the middle of the night wondering if I am available. No. I am not. 

I’ve met a lot of people. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes I wish I had stayed in. Maybe one of these guys will make me want to change my ways. I certainly hope not. 

Empire State of Mind

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The world looks different 86 stories above the street. Despite the crowd of tourists I feel like we are the only two people in the universe. Picking out the most interesting views, wondering what lives are occurring behind the filmy windows of apartments, and watching the cars slowly advancing down the street. I have no worries at all. I reach out and his hand is right there. My fingers intertwine with his in a comfortable, easy grasp. I am having such a good time. 

The Art Deco lobby and the chrome finishes within the building shine brightly in the sunlight. I am reminded how small everything really is. This is just a moment in my life. Things will never be exactly like this again. I hope I can remember this feeling later. 

The Statue of Liberty is tiny in the distance. It’s odd how huge this sculpture seems in movies and on TV. From this vantage it is more simple. It is just a landmark. 

I have been excited about this weekend. It’s really our last chance to spend much time together before I leave the Northeast to head home. I am struck by my conflicting emotions. I can’t wait to go home and I am sad to be leaving him. 

This man has been such a good person for me. He has taught me about honesty and openness in relationships. I have learned more about communication than I thought possible. I have vacillated between fighting the ease of our situation and just accepting it for what it is. 

We have been dating since Valentine’s weekend. Our schedules have been a nightmare to navigate and we have just taken advantage of time when she was kind to us. There has never been any intention of this relationship being more than it is. We never pretended we were building a future together. We both dated other people. 

I always thought when you were in a relationship there were rules and expectations. Timelines that must be adhered to. I thought if I could not plan a future with someone, I should not be wasting time getting to know them. I thought emotional connections should be saved for people planning forevers. Relationships should be forced into submission until someone does something so egregious they can never be forgiven. 

I did not know I could have a healthy, loving connection with a man I would be leaving. I did not understand how investing in a relationship could be an investment in myself. 

There has never been any idea that this would continue after I go home. Life is not a movie. We are not going to decide to reunite and live happily ever after in the suburbs. 

I get something better. I get to know that perhaps you don’t only get one great love of your life. Maybe you can learn to love people while it lasts and appreciate the experience. I got to see how infatuation and all the mushy feelings I avoid can be fun and healthy. Those butterflies in my gut don’t mean I have to run away as fast as I can. 

I learned not all men are self-serving douchebags. I figured out how to move past my own insecurities and enjoy something as the reality it is. 

Love does not always mean forever. I was doing myself a disservice by feeling love was an anomaly that must be avoided. 

Yep, I did it. I loved and felt loved and I did not die. I believe I am better for it. I am no longer scared of being myself and letting someone in. I get to live for today and I am grateful. 

I will be leaving soon and I have a ton of happy memories of my time here. I will always remember this winter as a time full of new experiences and adventures. I will always think of my Tinderbabe and be happy I loved him. 

Independent. Not Isolated.

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Somewhere along the way I convinced myself to path to true happiness included falling in love with a man, settling down in a suburb, and living happily ever after. I could not understand why I would not successfully find my dream life.

I now know I was wrong all along.

I’m Not Defective.

It is perfectly acceptable for me to pursue anything I am interested in. I do not need the approval of other people. I can take a boxing class, do Tough Mudders with groups of strangers, and date strange men I meet on Tinder. I can leave my job and start working as a locum. I can write this blog. I can take stupid selfies and edit them however I want to. I don’t have to be cool. It does not matter who approves or disapproves.

I get to be me.

Boxing, Obstacle Course Races, and Friends

I am a TERRIBLE boxer. I have not even been to class in over a year. I still consider myself a boxer. I learned so much about overcoming the voice in my head and pushing past my own fears. I cannot wait to get back to Lubbock and to the gym. I know it will hurt and I have to work my way through the pain, but it is worth it. The satisfaction I get from making it through a class is worth every drop of sweat.

As far as obstacle course races, I don’t know if I will ever do another one. To tell the truth it is more an excuse to see friends than anything. I have realized I do not need an excuse to see friends. I can just go see them. I don’t have to suffer through a miserable experience in the name of bonding. We can find fun things to bond through. Like movies, music, and wine.

I have the option to make friends wherever I am. I can put forth some effort and continue to nurture the relationships I have as well. There is no rule that says you have to choose between your new friends and your old friends.

Dating and Relationship Stuff

I do not know where I got the idea you could only date people you wanted to marry. I could never go out with anyone because I did not imagine myself married to them. For the first time in my life, dating is fun! Nope, I did not get all thin and beautiful. I just got over myself. I relaxed. I stopped looking for a hero. I stopped judging the people I am with because they have the audacity to want to be with me.

I am very happy in the situation I have now. There is a guy who I like a lot. I always enjoy the time we spend together. I even look forward to seeing him when our schedules don’t allow us to work it out for a bit. It is not entirely casual and there are also no expectations. I don’t feel like I should behave a certain way or say the right thing. I am myself. We date other people and yet I am happy when I get to be with him. There is no jealousy or resentment. I don’t feel smothered or annoyed because he is demanding more from me than I have to offer. It is the perfect relationship.

I have met some other people who I enjoy spending time with too. I don’t have to choose just one. I am not looking for a life partner. I am looking for shared experiences. I can get to know someone and even develop feelings for them without the need to tie them down and demand they pay attention to me for the rest of my life.

I can date! I can meet new people. I can even fall in love with someone if I want to. Removing all the pressure has made the whole experience better for me. My refusal to engage in what I considered “healthy” relationships in the past made me feel broken. I thought I was incapable of loving other people. I thought I was inherently flawed. I was doomed to be a spinster.

I require a lot of quiet time. Time to myself where I can think, daydream, or just be still. When I have too much interference in my personal space I become desperately unhappy. My relationship with Tinderbabe does not interfere with my time for me at all.

I am not a bad person because I may want to kiss more than one person in my lifetime. And by kiss I might mean… oh, well. You know where this is headed.

There may be a cute guy in Canada who I want to spend time with. I could meet someone at the grocery store next week. I have no need to settle down and raise a family. I can support myself. Why do I have to find someone to become bound to? Would it be the end of the world if I simply followed my heart from day to day?

Work Stuff

Just a blurb about work. I did not let anyone down when I left my dream job. I did not waste everything they taught me. I simply moved on to another opportunity. I can still go home from time to time. They can still be my professional home base. They are still there for me. I don’t owe anyone anything except for gratitude and respect.

I changed my mind.

Just because my life is not turning out the way I always thought it would does not mean I am a loner, loser, or unhappy. I was wrong. My biggest mistake was believing I had to convince myself to want a dream that wasn’t mine. It’s okay to change your mind. It is okay to do what makes you happy. I don’t have to fit into any mold except mine. What a relief. I am glad I am not broken.

Is it too much to ask?

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I am so tired of all the fighting. I do not understand any of the things happening around the world. I do not understand the things happening in my country either. There is too much hate in the world.

I want to live in a world where people:

  • are tolerant
  • build each other up instead of tearing each other down
  • celebrate unique differences instead of spreading hate
  • look after one another
  • care for their communities
  • are curious about the world around them
  • strive to be better than they were yesterday
  • encourage love and understanding
  • forge relationships instead of waging wars
  • help each other
  • encourage others to be self sufficient
  • forgive others for their mistakes
  • build teams instead of armies
  • work together for the common good
  • celebrate each other’s successes
  • promote honest and open communication
  • care about whether or not others have food and shelter

I am sickened by the actions of humanity right now. We are so busy judging and hating we are unable to see how we are all the same. It breaks my heart. What good is going to come of all this terror and turmoil? I do not know what the answer is, however it seems rather simple… just stop being assholes. Don’t blow people up. Stop committing genocide. Stop promoting fear and distrust of others.

I feel guilty for being safe and happy. I feel guilty for feeling gratitude for my son’s safety. He has a warm bed and plenty of food to eat. I do not know the answer. I do not know how to help the world be a different place. Why are there people who prefer hatred and violence over love and peace? Seriously, it makes no sense.

We are fighting over ideals and imaginary laws. Somehow we have been blinded to the most important truth; we are all human beings. You would think this would be a firm enough foundation for forming new relationships. We should be working toward a common goal.

Maybe I am naive, but I really just want things to be better. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want anyone to be afraid. I just want everyone to meet their potential and to be safe from violence.

It is rare for me to have no words.

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Looking more than a little tired.

I have so many things I want to say, and yet I have no words.

We are not guaranteed anything in life. We have a responsibility to let the people we love know how we feel about them. We have an obligation to be kind and to try to leave the world a better place. Don’t waste your life waiting for it to begin.

So, in the spirit of that sentiment, here are a few of the people and memories I love the most.

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I love this picture so much. This costume was logistically more difficult than I thought it would be. He was the perfect little mummy.

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May as well continue with the Halloween pics. Look, it’s my baby brother- wearing eye shadow! Looking tough Bubba.

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I would not go to school with crazy witch hair and makeup. I did not want to be seen ugly. (One of my family’s favorite stories.)

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I can’t believe it has been so long. We did it! One of my favorite pics of my BFF and I.

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Good times with my dear friends. Love these women so much.

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Me and my little buddy. My nephew, Kyle. I love this kid so much!

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Tough Mudder Adventures. I can’t wait for the next one!

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Me and my other nephew, My Squishy.

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Kurt and I before the Tough Mudder. He basically held my hand, and let me flirt shamelessly with him all day. Love all my superhero friends. It certainly helps how easy on the eyes he is.

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My “little bro”- Trevor and my brother, also named Trevor- are two of the nicest guys I know. I am a lucky girl to have all these great dudes in my life.

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I vote for: it’s always a good idea to get a selfie with the guy in chains.

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This is one handsome dude. I love his heart. I do not know how I got to be so lucky with a kid like him.

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Fun times with fun friends.

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Hanging out in Memphis.

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Just because we don’t have shot glasses, does not mean we don’t do shots. However, the lack of a corkscrew- did lead to wine bottle breakage… Live and learn.

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Love these peeps. You guys look so cool.

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Me and my beautiful mom. She’s pretty much awesome. I am lucky to have her.

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My first time! With Sushi, get your head out of the gutter…

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Ty and Granny… He played my favorite song for his talent show. The Entertainer from one of my favorite movies: The Sting.

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Just a girl and her dog. This was Cinnamon. She was the bomb-diggity.

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Ty’s first time! …. With Sushi!!! NYC was so awesome. I am so glad I got to share the experience with my favorite person in the whole world.

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Just us grandkids with Mamaw. Always a good time. I love it when she is game for selfies.

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Just one of the random things I miss most from my other job…. getting to take random selfies with this hottie. (He is Shannon’s husband- I always send them to her….) It makes me smile.

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Oh, my Gracie Belle. She is the coolest cat. Moody, temperamental, and my sweet girl. She nurses on my blanket, and she is always glad to see me when I get home. Her sister Bonnie Blue on the other hand…. not so much.

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My girl Brooke, who refuses to bleach my hair ever again… because the bleach makes me cry and whine… and then I demand to go dark again after the wounds on my scalp heal. Love that she humors my many whims when it comes to my hair.

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My dear brother and sister-in-law. Trevor and Robin, you guys are a good example of what a decent marriage should be. You love and respect each other every day. I love that you two found happiness with each other.

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My four guys. I always wanted a “red-headed step brother,” JT, thanks for making that wish come true.

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I love having all these strong, beautiful, brilliant women as my friends. I think I may have the best group of people in the world. I am indeed a lucky girl.

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Selfies are always better when you are wearing shades.

Yeah…. now, we are all professionals and responsible for real human lives. Scary thought.

So, what’s the point? Well, my life is meaningful because of all these people. There are a lot of other people who mean the world to me too. I am lucky. We have to remember to love our people. Don’t take them for granted. My heart is with my family in California tonight. I will be sending you all the loving vibes I can. I love you guys!