Life on the Inside: Finding the Connection We Crave

Woman in rainHave you ever felt like you were on the outside of a group looking in? Whether you were just on the sidelines of a party or trying hard to integrate with a new group of friends, it’s easy to feel like everyone else shares a secret that you don’t know. Or like they speak a language you don’t understand.

That’s the way I felt frequently throughout my growing up years. A little shy, a little uncertain, I didn’t fit in with the louder, funnier girls with their fashionable Gap jeans and pristine white Keds. I couldn’t keep up with their jokes and their knowledge of pop culture. I didn’t know who JTT was, I didn’t watch Friends, and I didn’t listen to No Doubt – unless I snuck in some secret CD time at a friend’s house. It was hard to fit in with the “in” crowd.

While I wasn’t often the center of attention, and I didn’t have an expansive circle of friends, I had a few very good ones. And to be honest, that suited me then and still suits me now. But as an impressionable, vulnerable girl, the fear of being left on the outside shaped me.

I learned to “armor up” and earn affection by making myself who I thought people wanted me to be – the good girl that my parents would praise, the perfect student that teachers loved, the Sunday school kid with all the right answers.

That “good girl” image sustained me through high school. I built my life upon it. I found my identity in it. It helped me feel like I fit in somewhere. But I soon found a more powerful draw than being admired for being good – the thrill of guys’ attention. Continue reading

Everything I Know About Dating

Yesterday one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, shared “all that she knows at 61.” There were so many gems in her post…

Laughter really is carbonated holiness.

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together…So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.

Earth is Forgiveness School.

Yes. Yes. And YES.

Inspired by Anne’s honesty and spot-on humanness, I thought I’d share “all I know about dating.” By no means am I an expert on this topic. I am simply another late-20s, verging on her 30s, city-dwelling girl trying to date well. Which, to me, means treating others with respect, enjoying the process, and learning a lot along the way.

People have asked me to write about this topic for a while, so rather than keeping it all to myself, I’m sharing it with you. Continue reading