On Holidays

This past Tuesday was Valentine’s Day.  That night, my boyfriend and I sat in my apartment doing homework — we had already celebrated by cooking breakfast for dinner the Friday night before, when we had more time.  A few hours into Tuesday evening, my boyfriend’s mom texted him asking if he had gotten me chocolates or flowers for Valentine’s Day.  He felt a bit awkward telling her he hadn’t gotten me anything, even though that’s what we agreed.

That brought up a discussion about holidays.  He said he had thought about getting me some flowers, because he knows I like them.  But, he said, I hadn’t seemed like I wanted anything this year.  And he’s right — I didn’t.

We’ve been dating for a little over three years.  The very first Valentine’s we spent as a couple was about a month into our relationship.  He did get me flowers and chocolates then, and I loved it — it was the first time I had ever had a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, and it was so fun to feel special and loved.  I dried a few petals from that bouquet, and they’re now in a frame on my bedroom wall.  But the reason those flowers were so special were not because they were for V-Day, necessarily; it was because it was a first for both of us.  It was a milestone.

Those are the things I’d rather celebrate, I told him that night.  V-Day is nice and all, but I’d rather celebrate an interview, or a job offer, or a milestone in our relationship than I would a holiday that people celebrate just because it happens every year.  Holidays can be nice, of course.  But to me, they feel a little obligatory.  Plus, practically speaking, it’s cheaper to celebrate things in the off-season — have you ever noticed how much flower prices go up during holidays?  It’s insane.  I would rather my boyfriend save the money, and if he wants to give me flowers, give them on a random Tuesday just because he’s thinking of me.  He wholeheartedly agreed.

There’s a lot to be said for holidays, of course — they remind us to slow down and appreciate the things we have, and there is often lots of historical significance behind them.  But we’ll save the fight for a table at Olive Garden for the (hopefully-soon) moments that we get job offers.

I will get my flower fix this spring, though — we decided that in a few weeks, when home improvement stores start stocking spring flowers, we’ll go get me some perennials to replace my begonias that died last year.  That’ll last a lot longer than a Valentine’s bouquet.

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my first flowers
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How I Own My Shared Apartment

I honestly don’t know if you can tell from my blog, but I am not the biggest fan of being around people.  As you can see from these (actually quite accurate) results from a Facebook personality test, I’m not the friendliest person you will ever meet in real life.  I’m not warm, I’m not gregarious, and I’m only friendly when I make a conscious effort.

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That said, it makes sense that having roommates is not my favorite thing.  I will admit that I have been blessed in the roommate department — I’ve had a total of 5 throughout the years, and none of them have been crazy partiers, or always had tons of people over, or were so absolutely loud that it woke me up at night.  I know roommates can be SO MUCH worse than that, and I’m really thankful to actually be friends with 2 of mine.  However, I’m the type of person that even if I have the greatest roommates ever, I still cannot wait until I make enough money to have an apartment that’s all my own.  I just really like having an entire apartment to myself.

Because of that, moving into an apartment was an adjustment.  When my freshman roommate and I moved into an on-campus apartment our sophomore year, I was excited.  It was the first time I had my own room, and it was great to have a kitchen.  But unlike my roommate, I wasn’t that excited about decorating or anything like that.  For one, decorating is expensive.  But mostly, I knew the apartment would be temporary, and I didn’t see the point in investing in it.  I put up a few photos in my bedroom, and that was all the decorating I did.

That first apartment was also the first time I had to take care of spaces other than my room.  At home, I shared a room with my sister growing up.  Our parents made us clean it every now and then, and we were required to clean our shared hall bathroom every week.  But those were always chores I hated, and didn’t want to do.  Moving into an apartment changed that.  Suddenly, the rooms were mine, and it reflected on me when they weren’t nice and clean.  It was me and my roommate who had to deal with messes, so we were more careful not to make them in the first place.

I moved out of the on-campus apartment halfway through junior year, because I finally realized how much more expensive it was compared to off-campus ones.  I moved in with two girls, one of whom I knew fairly well.  Moving in there was a bit of a different dynamic.  While my previous roommate and I had decided together to move out of the dorms, and had planned together which furniture each of us would get, when I moved again it was into an already-established apartment.  Of course, I did feel welcome, but I mostly stuck to my room because it was the only space that was all mine.  My roommates were much more gregarious than I (not hard to be, given the graph above), and had friends over to hang in the living room frequently.  That was fine, of course; it was their apartment as well, and their friends were nice.  But being the way I am, I didn’t hang out in the living room because there might be people I didn’t know coming in at any time.

Another thing about me: I am a bit of neat freak.  Since I’ve had a room of my own, I love it most when everything is clean and organized.  I work and relax best with a clean desk and clean floors, and love to see my laundry basket empty.  I also hate a messy kitchen.  I’m not above leaving dishes in the sink, but I am above not wiping down the counter after preparing food on it.  Also, cleaning is one of the things that makes me happy — honestly.  Dusting is the only cleaning chore I don’t like, and that’s because I don’t like having to move all the stuff that sits on surfaces.  But when I vacuum, or mop, or wipe counters, it makes me feel like I’m being productive and like I can accomplish anything.  (Also, cleaning is seriously a great workout.)

I used to get annoyed when my roommates didn’t clean.  It felt like they didn’t care about their spaces, and almost like they didn’t care how I felt when I came into the apartment to see a huge mess in the kitchen or hair all over the bathroom sink.  But I’ve gotten over that.  For one, I’ve realized that not everyone notices grossness.  Take my boyfriend, for example — it’s not that he doesn’t care than his bathroom is kind of yucky, it’s that he legitimately does not notice until I point it out.  (I’ve accepted that when we move in together, I’ll be the one cleaning.)  And for two, I’ve realized that cleaning makes me feel more at home.  I definitely feel simultaneously relaxed and energized in a clean apartment.  But more than that, cleaning an apartment allows me to claim it as my own.  I take responsibility for it, and in doing so claim it as my space that I’m proud to be in — and have others in.

I admit I am counting down the days to graduation, not only because I’m excited, but also because I’m ready to move into my own apartment.  But for now, I’m content to live where I do, and I’m thankful that I’ve figured out a way to make places my own wherever I am.

 

Spring 2017 Goals

Well, it’s that time of year.  I started doing seasonal goals in the summer, and really have seen a difference in how deliberate I am about doing or not doing certain things.  So it definitely makes sense for me to continue that.  My dilemma now is that I don’t really like New Years’ Resolutions, per se, because I never keep them.  I think it’s better for me to create seasonal goals, and update them until I either achieve them or they become a habit.  So these are my goals for my final semester of college — January through May.

Life Goals

  1. Be intentional about communicating with others, especially roommates.  I really hate confrontation, and I want people to like me, so I tend to just shut up and tolerate it when someone does something that makes me uncomfortable.  While the roommates I had last year were really awesome, there were a few things that did bother me, and I bottled it up and let it get to me rather than just talking to my roommate about it.  This semester, I have two new roommates, and while I’m not going to be unreasonable, I am going to voice concerns if I have them, and I’m going to try to prevent problems rather than solve them.
  2. Get physically stronger.  When I was in high school, I had a routine I did almost every day, and I had great muscle tone and concentration.  College changed that — my schedule changed and I didn’t really have the room to do my routine in the dorm.  Now, I walk to campus every day, so I normally count that as exercise, since it’s at least movement.  But I need to be doing something more, and I definitely need to be in the habit of exercising once I graduate, because it’s likely I’ll be driving to a job — goodbye, built-in exercise.  Since I’m bad at exercising for the heck of it, and I’ve noticed how much weaker I’ve gotten since having to carry heavy cameras and tripods around all the time, getting stronger is my goal to reach for.
  3. Find ways to support causes I believe in.  Since I’ve been in college, I’ve really come to solidify what I believe in, and I’m to the point where I want to be more active than just talking about an issue or sharing a video on Facebook.  This might be a little tricky, because I can’t contribute to anything financially right now.  But I may be able to volunteer a little, or something like that — I just need to research.
  4. Read more non-white authors.  I mentioned a couple posts ago that I’ve noticed how few non-white authors I read, so I’ve been trying to add new authors to my TBR.  I’ve already marked a couple off my list (I highly recommend Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love), and plan to continue this.  I may not have a ton of time to devote to pleasure reading, though, so we’ll see how this goes.
  5. Food: Continue cooking at least once a week; stick to ~$15/month on coffee purchases.  I do cook fairly regularly, but I also end up eating frozen microwave meals or fast food quite a bit too.  I actually kind of enjoy cooking, and I eat a lot healthier when I cook.  I just need a reminder to continue doing it.  Also, this is my continuing experiment on how much I really spend on coffee.  During cold months, I like brewing my own coffee at home, but I like cold coffee when it’s warm.  Lucky me got a French press for Christmas, so I’m planning on using it to make cold brew when it gets warm to cut down on iced coffee purchases.

Education/Career Goals

  1. COB Ambassadors:  Try to help project manage an event.  This is a continuation of one of my fall goals.  I don’t know if this will be possible, because I’m not sure how crazy the semester is going to be.  But I’ll keep my eyes open.
  2. Apply to ~5 jobs a month at least.  This is going to be an -ish goal.  Normally when I sit down to apply for jobs, I do 3 or 4 at a time and then don’t look again for awhile, because it takes a few weeks for new jobs to be posted.  Regardless, I don’t need to be neglecting this.  It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t, but I’d really like to have a job lined up before I graduate.  How’s that for a goal?

I may end up adding to this list as the semester really gets under way, but those are the main things I want to focus on in the coming months.  This is already quite a lot, so I don’t want to overload myself.

Finally, here’s a random life update: my aunt, who helps manage a new-ish church in Alabama, contacted me recently to be the church’s webmaster of sorts.  I’ll be updating the site and content every so often, and I’m really excited about that!

On Kids, and Why I Don’t Want Them

I haven’t wanted kids for a long time.

Obviously, I’m only 21.  I’m still in school.  I’m in a relationship, but not engaged.  I’m not at a place right now where I could feasibly have kids, even if I wanted them.  I know lots of people my age with kids, and it works for them.  But for me, now is not the time.  And there may well never be a time.

I used to like kids, back when I was 8, 10, 13 years old.  I liked playing with babies (though I have never thought they smelled good).  I thought toddlers were the cutest.  I babysat for a few families.  But as I got older my desire to have my own disappeared.

This is common knowledge.  People, when they find out I don’t want them, laugh and say I’ll change my mind.  I’m too young to know, apparently.  Right now the common question is, “When will you get married?”  But after that, it’ll be, “When are the babies coming?”

There are a lot of reasons I don’t want kids.  I’m in college, surrounded by people who want to achieve.  I want to achieve, too.  I’d like to own my own business, or run a marketing department, or be a real estate agent.  I want a career, and kids would complicate that.

Second, I read this article a few months ago that had a theory about people who don’t find babies cute.  The (paraphrased) theory was that disgust may override the parental care response when a baby is seen.  When most people see a baby, they see a helpless, cute creature that can’t survive on its own, and they want to take care of it.  Other people see a helpless creature that’s kind of gross and annoying because it can’t take care of itself.  These same people find baby animals cute, because baby animals are much more self-sustaining.  I feel like the article was written about me.

I just don’t like children.  I’m not good at interacting with them.  I’m very small, so children tend to see me more as another kid than an authority figure, and that just makes it worse.  To be brutally honest, I find kids annoying and expensive.  Kids tend to replace dreams.

That’s not to say I look down on people who have kids.  While I don’t understand it, I know that kids are the dream for a lot of people.  I have several friends who have wanted to be stay-at-home moms since they were children, and that’s great.  It really is.  It takes a lot to raise a child.  I appreciate people who do it.  I just don’t want to.

I’ve talked to my boyfriend about this.  He’s known that I don’t really want kids.  And he doesn’t want them either, right now.  But I know people change their minds.

I asked him, the other day, whether he thought he might want children in the future.  He thought about it for a little while, and said maybe.  A little us running around would be really cute.  And they would be around to take care of us when we get old.

I said I thought he probably would.  I felt like crying.

He asked me, Does that bother you?

I wanted to say no.  Instead I asked him, What if you do?  Kids are a deal breaker for a lot of people.

He sat up and told me this.  If I change my mind, and want kids, that’s fine.  But if not, he’s not going anywhere.  Because we, the two people here right now, are what matter, not hypothetical future children.  We, the two people here right now, are best friends, and want to spend our lives together, and whether or not that involves kids, it will still be the life we both want.  He’ll still be happy, even if it’s just us two front porch sittin’ when all our hairs are gray.

 

Why It’s Not a Bad Thing if You’ve Never Been Kissed

Last night, I went out for coffee with one of my best friends.  We went intending to sit and read at the coffee shop, but (inevitably) ended up chatting about life.  Somehow, we got to talking about relationships, and my friend told me about a conversation she’d overheard where two girls were talking about how sad it is, at our age, to have never been kissed.

I think a lot of people our age feel that way.  Not having been kissed can make us feel left out and undesirable.  Especially as we get older, it becomes a point of insecurity, and many people hide the fact so they won’t be stereotyped as inexperienced or prudish.  We think potential partners don’t want the “responsibility” of being someone’s first, or that we’ll be bad at it when we finally do kiss someone, or that our friends will secretly judge or pity us (which is exactly what those girls were doing, if obliviously).

There Are Other Things in Life Besides Kissing

I definitely understand all those concerns, because I’ve been there.  But I also don’t think that not having been kissed should be something to be sad or insecure about at all.  Kissing and physical intimacy are great, but there are also a whole lot of other great things in this world that we can get excited about.  Putting a lot of emphasis on a person’s kissed-status implies that their sexuality and sexual experience are more important than their thoughts, opinions, hobbies, skills, talents, interests, and the myriad of other things that make people awesome, and that’s just wrong.

When I meet someone new, I couldn’t care less whether they’ve been kissed or not.  I’d rather learn what they’re interested in, what they’re good at, and what they want to do in the future.  Teachers care about whether you’ll be a good learner.  Employers care about what you can bring to their company.  Even potential partners should care more about whether you two will get along than your sexual experience or lack thereof.  (Obviously, in a serious relationship sexual pasts are something that should be discussed, and sex and kissing are very different.  But I’m talking about kissing, and whether you have or haven’t been kissed shouldn’t be an initial deal breaker (if it is, get away from that shallow human!).)

Not Having Been Kissed Can Be By Choice

Although it may seem a foreign concept to some, sometimes people have had opportunities to have their first kiss and have (gasp!) passed them up.  A lot of times, this is for religious reasons — I know several people who want to save their first kiss for their wedding day.  Some people know that kissing and physical intimacy will distract them from their goals, so they avoid it altogether.  Some people don’t want to date for whatever reason, so they don’t kiss anyone, either.  Some people wait for a partner they know will be lifelong.  Not ever having been kissed isn’t always because you can’t get a date.

Never Having Been Kissed Doesn’t Equal Inexperience

So, we’ve established the fact that kissed-status has nothing to do with a person or how awesome they are.  That said, not having been kissed doesn’t necessarily equal sexual inexperience or naivety.  We live in the age of the Internet, and that means people have access to porn (which, to be clear, I’m neither condoning nor condemning at this moment).  While porn may not be (and probably isn’t) the best teacher for sex stuff, the availability of it means that many people are exposed to sex and physical intimacy long before they ever touch anyone sexually.  (We can discuss the consequences of that later.)  And even if porn isn’t accessible, our media and our culture are so overrun with sex-related topics that it’s really not hard to figure out what’s going on.

Also, people are natural explorers.  Just because someone has never been kissed doesn’t mean that they don’t know what pleases them or turns them on, and it doesn’t mean that they don’t have ideas for what they might like to try with a partner in the future.  And it definitely doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t have a good sex life all on their own.

Unfortunately, too, some real assholes exist in our world, so not having been kissed romantically doesn’t mean that someone has never been touched sexually.  It may just mean that that person had a terrible experience before they ever got to experience a romantic kiss, and perhaps now they just want to be not be touched like that ever again.  You just don’t ever know someone’s background or what they may have gone through.

Not Having Been Kissed is Not Sad

Kissing is an important and awesome part of life.  Physical intimacy is one of the things that makes us human, and we know that humans need love and physical contact in order to develop properly and feel connected and happy.  But people can live and thrive without kisses.  What we can’t live without is love from friends and family.  It’s sad that there are babies who grow up in overcrowded orphanages and never get held, ever.  That is a tragedy.  What’s not a tragedy is someone who hasn’t been kissed.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

TL;DR:

  1. Just because someone hasn’t been kissed doesn’t mean it’s because they’re undesirable.
  2. Why are we still putting so much importance on what a person has or hasn’t done sexually?  There are so many more things that make people people, and that’s what we should focus on.