Changing My Mindset

Right now my head hurts, and I feel a little achy. I’m not officially sick, but I feel like whining. I’m tired even though I shouldn’t be. I’m stressed even though I know that stress typically passes. I’m just don’t feel great. I don’t feel like myself. Instead I feel like crawling under the blankets in my bed and watching Christmas movies until it’s an acceptable time to sleep. (Okay, the Christmas part sounds like me, but  the watching TV in bed is definitely not normal in my world.)

I’m not at home because I had class today, which was followed by a tutoring session and church. (Once a month we have a service on Wednesday evenings,) and now I’m planning to meet someone for coffee. It has been a busy afternoon and evening, and I’m looking forward to sleeping.

I’ve been thinking about what I could do to improve my health between now and the end of the year. I feel like the sugar thing is under control now more than it has been in a long time, and someone who knows me made a statement earlier today that resonated with me. We were talking about adding more goals that would help me get a better grip on my health, and I’ve been thinking about his response a lot this evening.

He said, “You were really great at it when it was a priority.”

We all know that it’s true. There was a time in which I felt like I had it figured out, and now it’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t have whatever was necessary to keep it up. I think about my failures a lot, and for a long time, I’ve used them as an excuse to refrain from trying.

The last six weeks or so have been better. I’m eating less sugary crap, but I’m not exercising much. I did a 10k with a friend one day last week, and I walked a few times in the month before that. It’s just not enough. It’s a decent start, but I want that feeling that I used to have when I knew I’d workout everyday.

I want the endorphin rush, and I want to feel the consistency that I felt exercise even when I wasn’t eating as well as I should. I’m seeing the numbers decrease just a little, and I know that if I add some exercise back into my daily routine, I’ll see those little sacrifices add up to a lot of success.

My mindset needs to change. I’ve been lazy in fitness most of this year, but that’s something that I can change right now. I don’t even have to leave home to sweat it out. I have several awesome workout DVD’s, several flights of stairs and a gym at the top of my building. What else do I need? Motivation? Inspiration? Willingness?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I think I need to spend time doing it (and figuring the rest out later if I still think it matters.)

I need to change my mindset. I’m careful not to “fake it ’til I make it” because that attitude has gotten me into trouble in the past, but in this case, I’m pretty sure that it’s okay.

My weight and health hasn’t been a priority in a long time, but I’ve (successfully) trying to shift that lately. I will remind myself that I’m not going to miss anything important by heading out an hour later than normal. Actually, I’ll be using that time to do something important – to better myself. Few things are more important than our health, and it’s time to adjust my priorities.

It’s not Monday or the first day of the month. This day carries no particular significance, but it’s the day that I can decide to do something good for myself. It’s a day that I get to live without pain or illness. It’s a day in which I get to breathe and enjoy my life, and I’m going to respect that gift by doing something good with it.

 

 

 

Dating in The Big Easy is Hard

I’m a plus-size woman who likes to enjoy my life, and I like the idea of meeting someone who wants the same thing. I’m friendly and outgoing. Most of my friends would tell you that I’m confident in almost every circumstance, and in most cases, it’s true.

I am well-groomed, educated, independent and good at a myriad of things. I have talents and hobbies and ambitions (some that that I mention here and many that I don’t.) I have a lot of awesome characteristics, but my weight is the first thing anyone ever sees. Most of time time it defines me before people have a chance to get to know me, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I don’t mind that I’m not desired by everyone. I like attention, sure, but I feel validated and content without the constant need for attention that used to be important to me. I don’t need to be the girl who gets picked up by strangers who want to do her at the bar (or at the auto parts store,) but I’d like to be the woman whose characteristics are attractive and desirable to one man who has his own myriad of attractive characteristics.

It hasn’t been easy to date in New Orleans. (Okay, it doesn’t help that I was hung up on someone for nearly a year,) but recently I decided that I’d let myself try again. I went on a couple of dates while I was out of town,and I clicked with someone here. I was pleasantly surprised by it, and that’s probably all I’ll say about it for quite some time.

Dating in this plus-size body makes it more complicated than it would be if I were thin, but I’m okay with that if it means that I can weed out the majority to get the needle in the haystack.

People often assume that I must feel insecure, especially on dates, but the truth is that I feel pretty good about myself most of the time until society reminds me that I shouldn’t. I don’t remember who said it, but someone made an excellent point recently when they said not to worry about society’s standards because society sucks. I agree, and my hope is that there are guys out there somewhere who agree too.

 

I Can’t Believe That It’s Been Almost Three Years

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost three years to the day since Uncle Wesley died. I was pretty lost during that time.  I lacked faith in myself and in God. I struggled with my beliefs, my utter disdain for people in church and my lack of understanding in why someone like Uncle Wesley had to suffer so viscously.  I also struggled with guilt because I was so relieved that my parents were both healthy.

I was in a bad place, and one Sunday after a week that we were’t sure if he would live through, my uncle preached an entire sermon about faith. I talked about it on my blog right after it happened.  He believed in God, and he had faith that God’s will was best until his last breath.  It’s still hard for me to think of the last night that I saw him without getting teary-eyed.  He told Mom that he loved her, and with one tear streaming down his closed eye, he smiled as he went on to meet Jesus.

He knew how I felt about church and God, but he never failed to remind me of God’s love for me. He accepted me even though I was a complete mess, and it was obvious that he was at peace in spite of his imperfect life. I talked about that on my blog as well.

…feeling the peace that surrounds him already and the faith he has as he spends his last few days on earth has truly been a testament of his authentic belief to me.  People professing to be “christians” usually just piss me off, but Uncle Wesley has shown me what an imperfect human’s life should look like at its best and its worst.

I was filled with a lot of bitterness and anger at that time.  I was completely lacking in direction, and I was hanging on to hope by a thread.  I had no idea that the next few years would lead to extraordinary life change, but it did.

In December of 2012 I met my friend, Jeff, at the mall through my friend, Shannon, and I couldn’t have imagined that he’d become such a close friend!  As we stood by the makeup counter at Macy’s (waiting for our friends) he invited me to church.  Here’s how it went:

Jeff: Hey, you should come to church sometime.

Kenlie: Uh, I’ll be friends with you, but I’m not going to your (expletive) church.

Jeff: Okay.

During that conversation I explained to Jeff why I thought GOD was real, but I also explained why there was no way in hell I was going to church.

As a kid, I was in church (or church activities) several times a week. My dad was the pastor so I was there for EVERYTHING whether I wanted to be or not. I had to put a smile on my face and go regardless of what was happening in my life. I had to sing whether I wanted to or not.  I saw good things happen, and I saw a lot of horrible things happen – things that hurt me, things that made me angry. I did what I was told to do because well-behaved kids do that, but I was never overly concerned about GOD’s presence in my life.

After meeting Jeff I spent the next several months going out of my way to curse and drink in front of him. I waited for him to judge me or tell me off, but he didn’t.  Instead we became friends and eventually, because it’s hard to say no to Candi, who is now his wife, I walked into church.

Now it’s no secret that I have a relationship with God. I love Jesus, and I often talk about how incredible it is that He loves me in spite of myself.  Uncle Wesley’s birthday passed earlier this week, and I smiled as I thought about what he would think of me now. The truth is he’d love me now just as he did then, but I wish he was still here so he could see the changes that have taken place in me.

I wish I could tell him that he was right, that I get it now, that I know God loves me, and that I love Him back.  I wish he could be here Sunday as I lead worship at my church because he loved hearing me sing and because he loved worshipping Jesus. I wish I could have conversations with him about faith. I wish we could sing southern gospel together like we did even when I was far from God. I wish I could talk about the verses in the Bible that have impacted me recently.  I just wish he was here.

Uncle Wesley and Me

There’s a lot of hope, peace and contentement when you believe in God. You get to cling to the fact that you’ll see your loved ones again in Heaven. I’m able to acknowledge that what’s happening in Uncle Wesley’s life today is far better than what would be happening if he were still alive.

I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since he left earth. My life is different now, more settled…I’ve gained some weight, but I’ve also gained peace, friends who know all of my junk and love me anyway, a church family that is filled with other imperfect people who are working on being faith distributors. I’ve begun the process of healing from a time in which my entire world was rocked. I have a steady routine that I didn’t have back then, and I’m more honest with myself and the people around me than I’ve ever been before.

I miss my uncle, and many people that I love still miss him too. I know, in as much as my human brain can comprehend, that Uncle Wesley is in a far better place where he is.  I know that, but I miss him anyway.

 

 

 

 

Quick and Transparent

I’ve been absent lately because I’m finally creating the new blog that I’ve been thinking about for over a year now.  It should be up and going in the next week or two.  I’ve had a lot of good days lately, but I’m aggravated right now.

I’d rather focus my energy on the new blog and all of the reasons that I have to be thankful, but I’d like to get this off of my chest too.

—–

I’d like to go home and curl up on the sofa with someone that I love.  Doughnuts tend to be my fall back plan since there’s no ‘someone that I love” at home.  I realize that Krispy Kreme isn’t going to bring me inner joy or peace, but it will satisfy my need for instant gratification. I want to cuddle! 

It makes me feel weak and pathetic, and it’s happening at a time when everything else in my life is going incredibly well.  These feelings are not going to define my mood all day, but I know how important it is to acknowledge them so I can move on from them.

Am I the only one whose natural instinct wants you to turn to food when you’re lacking affection?

 

UPDATE: I did not eat doughnuts. After posting this, I completely forgot about them, and I drove straight home. This is why blogging has been such a helpful tool for me. I felt the feelings, then I let them go.

 

Life with Skinny Friends

Most of my friends don’t have weight problems, but I do. It’s fun to go out to eat with them or to bake for them or to have a drink at Starbucks with them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that either. I’d trade six-pack abs for enjoyable food any day, but I do need to think about what I eat even when the people around me aren’t thinking about it.

My friend, Alicia, is hot. (I can say that because she’s my BFF.) She is barely over 5 ft. tall and doesn’t weigh much more than 100 pounds. She’s tiny, but she fantasizes about sushi just as much as I do.

My friend and colleague, Brandon, is also hot. He’s tall and lean and perfect looking, and like Alicia, he’s Italian. He loves to cook, and he does it very well. Everything he makes is delicious, and he enjoys it. He also works out hard and regularly, and he seems to have a good grip on when to say no.

Another friend is gorgeous. She’d tell you that she wants to lose weight, but she’s perfect looking already. If you have any doubts about that, spend the day with her. Guys want to marry her before they even talk to her. It’s insane. We do a lot together, and she doesn’t have to watch what she eats how I do.

The list could be much longer, but you get the idea. I spend a lot of time with people who love food too, but none of them need to lose 150 pounds.

For some reason, it’s more enjoyable to eat with other people who love to eat, and there’s no shortage of those people in my life. I know that it is 100% my responsibility to limit the amount of food that I consume, but I’m beginning to recognize that eating with others has always given me a feeling of validation.

I’m not a binge eater. I’m a social eater. I am an emotional eater, but I’d rather eat among friends or family than alone. I’d rather dine solo at a restaurant than to sit at my dining table at home.

As I was eating dinner with a few of my colleagues from Plus Inc. recently, I realized that seeing someone else (someone smaller) accept a second helping gave me an emotionally charged green light to have seconds myself.

That behavior is something that has always existed in me, but I never realized it until that night at dinner.

Recognizing the emotions of validation that exist when I eat with others will allow me to adjust my behavior now. My mind was blown, and at this moment, I realize that I need a better reason to consume calories than “well, everyone else is doing it.”

Would I jump off of a bridge just because everyone else is doing it?

Of course I wouldn’t. Why would I let my eating habits be dictated by what others are doing, as opposed to my own nutritional needs?

I’ve been reflecting on my habits and desires lately, and I’m trudging through them because I want to continually work to become a healthier version of myself. I want to control my habits instead of letting them control me.

I’m more mindful than I’ve been in years, and I’m confident that it will start to show on the scale at some point too.

Things Change

Clint is moving to Chicago in a few weeks, and when he called to tell me about the job offer, he asked if I thought he should go.  My opinion matters a lot to that guy, and I don’t like it lightly.  I asked him if he wanted to go, and he answered the way I thought he would.  He said, ‘yes.’

As hard as it is to think of living in downtown New Orleans without him, it’s easy to be happy for him as he moves into his next phase of life.  He graduated from Tulane recently, and he got a promotion that allows him to move into a bigger market (which will be a solid career move for him.)

I tend to get mushy when I talk about “The Suit” because I could never say thank you enough for the friendship that he’s given me.  So many of the incredibly positive changes that have occurred in my life since 2012, happened as a result of his willingness to say “Hey…who you are is okay.  You’re great the way you are, and if people disagree, they’re not worth your time.”

One of the defining moments of my life happened in an empty hallway at Tulane on day before our first final exam together in 2012.  I had just been on ABC News Nightline, and I was taking heat from online bullies who hate fat people.  One particular message that I received, in which the person threatened to find me, rape me and kill me hit me hard….really hard.

I was in tears, not realizing that anyone else was around, and Clint showed up right in front of me.  He read the repugnant words on the screen of my cell phone, and he gently put his hands on my cheeks.  He said, “Kenlie, look at me.  You’re safe.  This a-hole isn’t here; these words aren’t reality.  This is your reality, and he grinned.”

It was in that moment that I realized that my reality was safe and happy.  In reality, I was walking into class, surrounded by people who respected me, and I was finally creating the life that I wanted to have for myself.  I’m not sure what I had been so afraid of before, but that day, the fear began to subside.

Clint was instrumental in what would become a series of radical life changes for me that included accepting myself, finding a church home, remembering who I am in Christ and discovering that my circumstances could and would change.

I never knew what it was like to have a friend like him, and now I never want to know what it’s like without him. It looks like it’s time to add Chicago to my favorite destinations…There could be worse places to visit.

Kenlie and Clint at George Strait and Reba

 

 

 

Facing the Past and Asking for Forgiveness

“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

I’ve always been pretty good at extending grace to people who have hurt me, and the biggest reason for that is because I’ve been given so much mercy in times in which I totally didn’t deserve it.

It is no secret that I’ve made mistakes that I wish I could take back.  I’ve written several posts over the last few years that highlight my regrets, but I’ve never really shared specifics.  I’m not sure that there’s any merit in listing all of the things that I wish I hadn’t done.  I also realize that I don’t owe the world an explanation for things that are none of their business, but I do realize that there are times when I should have said “I’m sorry” to people that I did hurt.

It’s hard to look back and think about the times that embarrass me now – times when I lied about my background (educational, financial, etc.)  It’s hard to remember how much I hated myself and how I desperately wished to be someone else.  It’s hard to face the embarrassment that exists in my past because I simply couldn’t imagine changing my circumstances.

I was conditioned to be full of crap from a very young age.  There were times, far too many of them, in which I had to pretend that I was okay when I wasn’t.  I became very comfortable in not telling the truth, and I let that seep into my adulthood.  I didn’t know who I was, but I knew that I didn’t like myself.  I also had no idea that I had the power to change what I didn’t like.

There was a time, more than a few years ago, in which I ‘dated’ someone whom I thought could understand and empathize, but the truth is that I never gave him a chance to do that. Instead, I never let him know the real me.  Hell, I didn’t even know the real me at that time.  I lied to him to try to keep him close because I desperately wanted someone to love me.

I haven’t given much thought to that man in many years, but last week I saw a link to his blog on my Facebook feed.  I clicked on it to see how he was doing on his amazing weight-loss journey, and my name came up in the comments.  Seriously…Nearly four years later, people are still asking questions about me.  Whoa!

Our short relationship ended when he recognized my dishonesty, and in an attempt to hang on, I told more lies.  It was the only way that I knew to deal with my feelings at the time, and I was wrong.  It’s easy to see that we weren’t right for each other anyway, but hindsight has a way of making everything clear.  I wish that I hadn’t lied.  I wish that I hadn’t hated myself enough to justify being dishonest, but I did.

I’m sorry that I lied to you.  I’m sorry that I didn’t have the guts to tell you the truth, and I’m sorry that I didn’t own up to it sooner.  You were far from perfect, but you didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated you.  And for what it’s worth, I thought you were great.  I just didn’t realize that I could be great too.  While we’ll likely never lay eyes on each other again, I hope that someday you’ll accept my sincere apology.  I’m sorry.  

And while I’m at it, I owe an apology to someone else as well.  My blog was the first place in which I ever poured out my feelings.  It was the first place that I learned that I could be myself and have friends who liked me just for me.  I’ve made some amazing, encouraging and uplifting friends through this blog, but I lost one because I was still struggling to be myself offline.

I felt pretty good about our friendship.  I knew that I could tell her anything, and I did.  I just didn’t tell her enough.  I wasn’t honest enough.  (Have I  mentioned how hard it is to look back and realize that I was dead wrong?)  I know that I owe her an apology, but I haven’t reached out to say “I’m sorry” because I don’t think she wants to hear it.  She’s tough, but she also has a good heart.

Maybe it’s too late to make it right, but I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything.  Believe it or not, I told you more than most at the time, but you deserved to hear everything.  You were the best friend I ever had up to that point because you were the first one to show me that I was cool just as me.  I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you everything, but for what it’s worth, I was trying.  I was working through my issues, many of which you knew and understood, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t a better friend.  I’m just sorry. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever experience grace and forgiveness from these specific people that I hurt, but I have experienced a lot of it.  I feel at peace, and I do know that I am loved.  I know that I’m worthy of love.  I know that God has forgiven me, and I forgive myself.

I know that I can’t fix what I did wrong, but I also know that I can’t change it.  I’m not perfect, but I no longer tell lies in the hopes that people will like me.  There are people in my life (several, in fact,) who know the sordid details of my dramatic, self-loathing past.  I recently read somewhere that we’re only as sick as our secrets, and I can’t even begin to express that freedom that comes in knowing that there are people who truly know all about me – my past included – and accept me anyway.

I can’t express the freedom that comes in being who I am and working toward being the person that God designed me to be.

The past will always exist, but I’m done hiding from it.  I know who I am, what I believe and why I believe it.  I’m keenly aware of the areas in my life that need improvement, and I am equally aware of the areas in which I am exponentially better.  I’m just so thankful for the grace that I’ve received up to this point, and though I don’t deserve it, I’m thankful for my life as it is today.  And I hope that someday, “I’m sorry” is enough to begin the healing process for people that I hurt…

 

 

Spending Too Much Time at Starbucks

Just kidding.

I don’t think it’s possible to spend too much time at Starbucks.  Summer classes started Monday, and I’ve already completed a homework assignment!  Summer moves quickly because the sessions are short, and doing homework and completing other projects is more fun at Starbucks than it is at home because it’s far from isolated.

Kenlie at Starbucks

One of the classes that I’m taking right now required me to do a stress assessment.  I had to answer questions about my sleep patterns and do an inventory of  major life changes that I’ve experienced over the last year (ex. death of a spouse, relocation, change in social activities, etc.) I haven’t experienced many major life changes in the last year, which makes me extraordinarily thankful after the changes I experienced in years prior.

I also had to list 10 stressors, and it was difficult to do that.  I came up with several though – my current weight, relationship/lack of, aggravating people, etc.  Making that list reminded me again how thankful I am for me life, but it also helped me recognize that the things I stress about affect me in a variety of ways.  My weight affects me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

The fact that I’m still obese…still not in control of my weight…makes me feel like a failure, but there’s a solution.  There’s always a solution, right?  For me, it starts by not making excuses.  I’m pretty good about owning up to the fact that I suck when it comes to losing weight.  Kudos to me for not blaming anyone or anything else, but taking responsibility means more than admitting that I”m wrong.

I have to do some cognitive restructuring, which simply means that I need to change the way I think.  (Easier said that done, or is it?)

I’m excited about this class because it seems like it might become one that leads to positive life changes.  I have a few close friends in this class, and they feel the way I feel about it as well.

 

A Shift in Perspective

I was sitting with the production team for NOLA Church after a meeting last night when my pastor, Monte, who’s also my friend, said something that completely changed my perspective about this blog.

I lead the social media team for our church, and we were discussing how my personal blog has changed over the last year and a half or so.

I explained that I’ve outgrown it -that the good no longer outweighs the negativity.  I don’t exactly believe that so I also told the team about all of the positive things that have come as a result, and I admitted that I was torn.

Some of you have been praying for me for years, while others aren’t very happy that I love Jesus now.  They don’t like that I talk about Him, and they’ve been pretty candid about it.

We talked about the folks who are few in number, though sometimes extraordinarily annoying.  You know them – the jerks who troll the internet trying to tear strangers down.  Sometimes they target me, and sometimes it bothers me.  I ignore it, but sometimes it bugs me.  I’m human, you know?  I wish I could keep all of the good while eradicating all of the bad.

He said,  “If you know what HE did for you, then it doesn’t matter what they do to you.

In the past I’ve treated people poorly.  I’ve been selfish.  I’ve lied.  I’ve spoken people with less respect than they deserve.  That said, I repented, and it’s something that I have to do often.  I’ve spent the last few years becoming honest with myself, and while it has been incredibly difficult,  it has also allowed me to experience freedom.

I’ve found happiness, but I’ve also found contentment.  I’ve experienced forgiveness and grace, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the love of God and the people around me.  I’m more humble, more honest and more fulfilled than I ever could have imagined, and while I’ll never be perfect, I know who I am now.  I know how God sees me.  His grace has been extended to me, and I accept it.

There are some changes coming on this blog, and I hope that they’ll represent me as who I am today.  I still have issues to work through, and there’s a lot that I’d like to say.  I’m not done working through every single issue. I haven’t figured out how to be successful in weight-loss yet, and that’s a big one.

This blog means something to me, and those of you who offer support and encouragement mean something to me.  I’ll be turning a page on this blog soon, and I hope you’re around as I start the next chapter.

 

 

 

 

No More

This is one of those posts that’s for me, not you. If you don’t want to read about my love life or God, come back another day.

I fell for someone last fall when I was trying to focus on other things. He came into my life and complemented it. He’s a family man, and he provided a lot of stability in my life…until he didn’t anymore.

If you asked him, he would tell you that I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was amazing in my not-quite-relationship with him. His kids adore me. They started blooming when I came into their lives. Their grades went up, they started getting closer to God, and they all had someone with whom they could trust to share their feelings.

Life was good for all of us. He was happier at the mention of my name than his family had ever seen him. Even his ex-wife was happy for him, and that was an odd, yet lovely feeling.

At one point several weeks ago (immediately following one of the happiest evenings I’ve ever had with him) he said, “Kenlie, when are we going to stop pretending that we’re not a couple?”

I giggled and said, “when you stop pretending. That’s your issue, not mine.”

He didn’t laugh though. Instead I spent the evening talking with him on his sofa. We held hands, giggled, flirted and talked for hours about his “need for clarity.” He has issues/fears about getting remarried, and I reminded him that I was in no rush for that. I explained that I would need time to develop an exclusive relationship with him (even though I had been un-dating him for months.)

He said that he knew me well enough to know that he wanted to marry me. He spent nearly everyday with me for months. He knows my family and friends (many of whom are mutual.) He knows every lie I’ve ever told (the little ones and big ones.) He knows all of the mistakes that I’ve made and my imperfections, and still, he said that he knew enough to want to marry me. Sadly, he said that he believed that God wouldn’t like it.

He’s a black and white kind of guy, and while that can be great at times, it can also screw things up when he becomes closed-minded. He believes certain things that I won’t share in detail here, except to say that those beliefs are based on pride, fear of moving on and religion. And that’s a deadly combination.

Religion is the arch enemy of Jesus. The rules that religion have dictated on this man’s life leave me oscillating between anger and uncertainty. If Jesus walked into the fundamentalist church that this man left, He wouldn’t be welcome, yet those rules (which are based on ungodly, self-righteous, religious garbage) have given him reason to hang on to the past and to walk away from a woman who makes him happier and more balanced than he’s been in a long time, maybe ever.

There are few things that I hate in the world, but religion is one of them. I love God, and I’m so thankful for the aggressive grace that Jesus pours out on me. I just wish that this man could truly experience and understand that grace too.

He knows and loves God, but he is so wrapped up in religion that I don’t know what to think. Did he lie to me about his feelings? Was he just humoring me because he didn’t want to hurt me?

It has been weeks since he ended our quasi-relationship. He still calls, and I still see him at my church (a place that I hope he continues to go so that he can truly collide with the love of Jesus someday.)

His kids miss me like crazy, but not as much as I miss them. He seems to be fine without me though – just not as happy or at ease or loving. It makes me wonder if he ever had feelings for me.

I’ve asked a few times since that night if I’m crazy…if I misread his feelings, and he says that I absolutely did not misunderstand. He says he felt everything that I felt and that he can’t be with me for the ridiculous, religious reasons that I can’t mention here.

I know him, and I believe that he’s clinging to religion instead of God because it’s easier than taking responsibility.  It’s also possible that he just doesn’t understand the difference. I do believe that he’s a good man though…who’s just dealing with unresolved issues.

He called me last night, and the things that he said (though not directed at me in any way) made me wonder what happened to the man I met and fell for.  He’s different without me. I ask myself when he reverted back to being religious and judgmental and self-righteous, but the truth is, I know exactly when that happened.

I’m pretty positive that I did not misunderstand his feelings. The man I met was humble, and I believed that he valued me. Now I’m not so sure.

Maybe talking to me was better than talking to than no one. Maybe we spent evening after evening together because he had nothing else to do. Maybe the hours we spent on the phone talking about everything from religion to politics to his work environment was more fun for him than sleeping. Maybe he never cared about me at all.

I don’t exactly believe the last part, but it certainly was easy for him to turn off his feelings. It seems that it was easy for him to forget the peaceful, quiet moments that were captured on his daughter’s camera phone when we weren’t paying attention to anything or anyone except each other. It has also been easy for him to forget how we laughed so hard that our faces hurt  just because we were using chopsticks together or discussing the Council on Foreign Relations.

It has been easy for him to pretend that none of it ever happened, but it’s been impossible for me. I spent the first few weeks drowning in misery, sobbing everyday and hoping that he would get back to normal. After that, I started ignoring his calls. When he asked why, I explained that while I loved it when he called me, I was better off when he didn’t.

I told him that he either needed to stop calling, or we needed to talk with my (our) pastor because I needed to heal. He reluctantly agreed, and when I asked him why, he said that was he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me if that’s what I needed to know that he cared.

We haven’t had the opportunity to chat with my pastor yet because of our schedules, but it meant a lot to me that he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me. Talking to your pastor is a big deal when you’re hyper-religious. Thankfully, my pastor is a cool dude who wears jeans when he preaches and loves all of the people that more traditional churches reject. Jesus would be welcome at my church if he showed up in old clothes and worn out sandals.

I’ve been much happier over the last few weeks, realizing that my life would change a lot if he and I were together. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want to change it for someone who wouldn’t be willing to do the same for me.

As I go to sleep and as I wake up, I ask God to eliminate the feelings that I have for this man if I can’t be with him. It’s the only thing I know to do, and I’m counting on Him to fulfill me because He’s God. I’m also counting on Him to heal the man who broke my heart someday regardless of whether I’m around to see it or not.