All By Myself

Traveling alone has become a source of pleasure in my life. I look forward to escaping the day to day. I research and plan a true tourist experience. I like being a solo tourist and making my way around a city without a squad. Whether I’m ubering, walking, or metroing my way through Washington D.C. taking in the wonders of Seattle, melting at the beauty of the homes in Charleston, or taking a break from the crowd in Montreal there’s something really refreshing and fulfilling about going on a solo mission. Planning MY itinerary and whipping out my iPhone (I mean, how did people live without them?) to find my way to the next adventure is good for me. It’s taught me more about how resourceful and strong I am.  It’s a good time for reflection and creative projects. It’s also helped me realize that I can connect with just about anyone. I’m great at chatting up strangers and I actually enjoy meeting new people in each city. I don’t have to include anyone in my plans. I go where I want to, when I want to, and how I want to. I don’t have to have the dreaded. “What do you want to eat?” conversation and I don’t have to get pissed at someone for waking up late and ruining the whole day. No one has any expectations of me.  I’m a woman who didn’t ride a plane until she was 21 and just left the US for the first time last month. The fact that I can get to the airport and board the correct vessel, is quite a feat.

Mimosa at Poogan's

During my time in Charleston as sweet southern people asked me repeatedly, “Are you here alone?” “Did you travel by yourself?” “Do you do this often?” “Are you eating dinner here all by yourself?” to which I replied, “Yes!” only to hear their responses of, “Wow, that’s something. You’re brave.” “Good for you.” “I want to do that when I grow up.” “That sounds like a great idea.” I began to think more about the taboo nature of this to most people. Most people would never travel alone. It would never cross their mind NOT to call up their besties for a voyage to a new place. Most people would never saddle up to a bar and eat a delicious meal with no one to talk to but the bartender until the others sitting on nearby stools open up after a couple of cocktails.

I don’t know WHY I can do this. I do know that my mother has similar albeit local tendencies.

And now for the raw & real part, I also came to the realization that for me, this “going solo” mentality is really all about preparation for the rest of my life. I’m often putting myself in positions to be alone because I think that’s going to be my state of being until the day I am no longer walking this earth. In my mind, I will be alone. Not lonely, but alone, and really by alone, I mean, single. When one turns 33 in the South and is the most single person on the planet and doesn’t have children, one is inclined to think about this in a deep reflective manner. I’m NEVER in a relationship (well, I haven’t been since college) and the thought of kids give me a heart attack.  I want to get used to just being “me” without anyone else to help me or accompany me on life’s adventures. I want to get so good at being just “me” that I numb the pain of the absence of a romantic partner. I want it to become normal so that I don’t put in the emotional work wondering, “Where is he?” or waste my prayers on some person that may not even exist. So, I detach and I run off to places all by myself. Sometimes, this can be as simple as a movie, museum, fitness class, or a concert, but other times it’s a new city in a different state. It’s the purchase of 1 ticket and the reservation for a table of 1.

I want to be a person who is full of hope and faith in God’s plan for me. He may have called me to be single or He may have called me to be married with three children. His answer might be “Not Yet” and not “No”. This is always my loudest prayer. I work to hold on to my belief that all He’s doing is for my good. But sometimes, y ’all, I just want to accept what is oddly the easiest and hardest answer–I wasn’t meant to be a married woman and I wasn’t chosen to be a mother. By just grappling with that notion, I find it easy to throw myself into individual pursuits. If this is the way it’s going to be then I must embrace it and I must celebrate it. I must own the position of falling in love with myself because I’m not sure that anyone else will ever want the job.

Me at the Beach

Yes, I understand how negative and messed up this might sound but this solo act business has become a coping mechanism to deal with my sometimes tear inducing fear of never again experiencing romantic love. Instead of doing something about my single state ( I don’t know what to do.) I just run from it. That kid thing I’m still REALLY unsure about at this time but having a person, my person, would be welcomed.

So, yeah, traveling alone is fun, but it’s much deeper than that for me.

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May 21-June 21 Goals

Perhaps I should have posted these at the beginning of May but as I think Lara Casey would attest to there is really nothing special about the first of the month. It’s a day that we’ve socially constructed to mean the beginning or starting point but who says you can’t start on the 21st? Throw away nonessential rules!

Nashville Bucket List –My list of things to do in my favorite city this summer. I envy those people who say things like, ” I summer in The Hamptons.” You know folks got bank when seasons become verbs. I haven’t reached baller status so for now #isummerinNashville.

Fruit Name

Update my Retirement Plan–I’m 32 and it’s never too early to get this party started. I have great employer matching benefits and I want to make sure that I’m taking full advantage of every opportunity to save for retirement.

Restaurant Crawl– Dinner at Lockeland Table and I still have 2 reservations to secure for a dinner date and a group brunch. I’m also working on a visit to Biscuit Love.

Sunday Gratitude Time– I have a ton of Thank You Notes and Love Letters to write to special folks in my life. Time to get it started! –Fruitful Summer!

Mail God

Summer Reading List– Diving into Spinster by Kate Bolick and Do Over by Jon Acuff

The Nashville Zoo

The Peach Truck

Fitness Goals

Use my Fit Factory Nashville Groupon. I purchased a months worth of classes. Can’t let that $39.00 go down the drain. IP

Yoga on the Field!

Begin the Barre3 Anywhere Challenge on June 1. The first challenge was the best fitness experience ever for me and I’m looking forward to getting it done again.

– Pick 3 new recipes from Soul Food Love and Oh Gussie! to prepare.

Professional Goals

Present at the National Conference for College Women Student Leadership at my alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park.

Participate in Mid-Level Managers’ Institute taking place right here in Nashville. So thankful to have been selected for this PD experience.

-Hold action oriented meetings for PREVAIL and TEDxVanderbiltUniversity

– Transfer Student Recruitment for EVOLVE

Summer Leadership Challenge! First 3 challenges.

Peculiar Pearl Goals

3 Posts per week

Build instagram following over @peculiar_pearl

Get new business cards

Develop a Business Plan

Email Rachel about training with Liz

– Craft Key messages/services

Orientation at Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Faith Goals

Continue working through the Wholeheartedly Devotional

Attend the Belonging Co.

– Continue seeking and praying about a Bible Study/Small Group

I think that might be enough. I’m excited and tired –is there a word for that?

Krystal

Quiet As It’s Kept…

Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my perpetual state of being single. I’ve been in wondrous love once and crippling lust once and out of the two I’m praying for the former this next time around.

However, I just don’t do well with this whole thing. People always ask me, “Why are you still single?” That’s like asking saying to someone who’s lost, “Tell me exactly where you are.” If I knew the answer to this question, maybe I wouldn’t be single.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve conjured up or have been told to me by the gaggle of sages that inhabit my life (note the sarcasm):

  1. You’re surrounded by too many women. . You need to hang out in mixed groups.
  2. You should try online dating.
  3. You don’t leave any space in your life for another person. Start making room for that person to be in your life and he shall appear.
  4. You just seem really happy being single. It’s not easy to see that you want another person in your life.
  5. You’re too picky!
  6. Oh, and my favorite–You’re just really intimidating and have it all together. Men don’t really know how to handle that in a woman.

My single status only bothers me every now and then. There are days when I’m beyond the moon grateful that I don’t have a partner and children because of the freedom I have in my life, but then there are those days when I’m not sure that I can wake up AGAIN alone in my bed or go to one more event by myself. At 32, when I see all of these beautiful babies tottering around in the world, I feel like my uterus and heart are going to burst. Living in the South doesn’t help with these feelings.

I constantly ask myself, Why me? Why am I the single educated black woman stereotype? What did I do wrong? Hell, I worked really hard to do as much as I could in the manner I thought was “right”. Why can’t a male see that and want me to be a part of his life? Am I really that awful?

Over the past 32 years, I’ve dealt with confidence issues and  there was certainly a period of my life that rears its ugly head on my worst days, in which I thought that if I just lost weight, had longer hair, made myself less ugly, and dumbed myself down that I would be able to find him. Those days when I thought that if I just relaxed and let him control everything that I would be deemed less intimidating and more attractive. I’m not proud of those days and what I allowed to happen because of those poisonous thoughts. It’s still really difficult when I go out and don’t get any attention from men. It takes me a minute to not let myself fall back into that pit of worthlessness. Luckily, it takes me a shorter amount of time to bounce back then it did when I was 16.

I think this is one the reasons I enjoy social media because I certainly get positive affirmation from others in those areas in which I need it the most. On those days when I feel less than about who I am, a ‘Like’ can make a difference in my day. I know this isn’t healthy, but I think it’s a sickness many of us are dealing with in this world. The source of our approval should never be man and I’m working on that slowly but surely. The Krystal you see on Facebook is a real woman and in those moments, I am happy, but there are other layers to me –layers of sadness and imperfection—layers of wanting more and feeling like less more days than I’d like to admit. Those quotes I post are as much for me as they are for you. If I layer my day with hope, faith, and Beyonce-like motivation, I can get through just about anything.

What I know for sure is that I live a blessed life. The people, the places, my profession, my ability to wear bright colors, my intelligence, my large smile, and fun hair, the ways that I’m able to give back to others, etc. are all gifts. I mean, there are so many blessings on my doorstep that I’m constantly overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’ve got it so good…I just wonder more and more what it would be like to do my life in partnership with another person.

For the longest time I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I NEVER want to get married and I NEVER want to have kids.” I now know that a lot of that was fear. Fear that my marriage would turn out like my mother’s and fear that this was never in the cards for me. Sandbagging became my chosen defense mechanism. Maybe if I said it long enough, I’d come to believe it.

My conservative side is winning this battle and I want to be married and then have children. I want that good ‘ol nuclear family. I didn’t have this growing up and I’m not going to make the decision to be a single mother. My mother did a kickass job raising two unicorn children BUT that wasn’t her choice and a father is important in a child’s life. No one needs daddy issues. Believe me.

Say it and it shall be so. Well, I’m saying it out loud. I want at least to have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I don’t want this desire to completely consume me but I don’t want it to allude me either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the discotheques or start hiding out in Whole Foods playing ‘Spot the Wedding Ring’. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time winking, flirting, poking, and swiping folks on a screen. I’m also not going to become Eeyore. I shall be glad. It just means that I’m opening my mind and my heart. I’m going to stop denying what I want out of fear.

“You’re single not because you’re not good enough for one, it’s that you’re too good for the wrong one.”- Chris Burkmenn

God has given me this ever present season for a reason. He’s preparing me for greater. My first love and my crippling lust weren’t the end goal for me. While I’m waiting for His choice, I want to fully embrace this time in my life even more than I already do. I have great things to offer this world. I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want to press PAUSE on all the bright sides of life while I twiddle my thumbs hesitating to move forward until my Prince Charming appears. As I’m living and waiting with my heart, I want to cocoon myself in His word. My moments of loneliness and emptiness as I trick myself into believing that I’m not loved need to be filled with Him and His promises.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I found Natalie Metrejean and we’re sharing the same struggle. Wholeheartedly: A Devotional For Singles will be my new companion as I work through devotions focused on being a single woman and what God wants for us and from us during this season. Already, I have spent time thinking through lies that need to be confronted, so that I can move forward living based on God’s truth. Clearing out the junk including the negative self-talk that hurts me even more than others do on a daily basis. Follow Natalie Instagram @NATALIEMETREJEAN.

While I’m waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming, and certainly praying I think the Word is the best player to have on my team.

Pray with me and for me. Whatever God has for me I know is for my good. He hasn’t let me down yet and I know that He won’t start today.

Also, if you know of any bachelors, I’m more than willing to be set up. A girl’s got to eat and I might as well do it with another person ;).

Be Glad

 Thanks for reading.

Krystal