Saturday, July 4, 2015

malise love story part one: right swipe

When I downloaded Tinder again a week or so before Christmas, I set up some ground rules for myself that I thought would make it a better experience. 1 - No Tinder-ing when I was feeling lonely/desperate, 2 - I would try initiating some of the conversations this time, and 3 - I wasn't allowed to keep talking to someone just to be nice if I'd decided I didn't want to go on a date with them.

These rules made Tinder a much more pleasant experience for me. Also, it seemed that I managed to catch some "golden window" of Tinder opportunity. Perhaps the holiday season brought more options to Tinder because of family dating pressure? Who knows. But within the first month of 2015, I went on quite a few great dates with really, really good guys. 

I clearly remember swiping right on Matt. He didn't even have a bio posted, just a picture of him holding a fish he'd caught. I guess I decided he was attractive enough that I could give him a chance without the bio. Plus, he just looked genuinely good. We matched, he initiated conversation, and we chatted off and on for maybe a week or so. 

There was also another Tinder guy who I was particularly interested in at the time. We had become friends on Facebook, which meant that I could see through Tinder that he also knew Matt. I started to pay more attention to this other guy and less attention to Tinder. I also intentionally let my conversation with Matt fizzle because I wanted to date his friend and I didn't want them to end up at a party together and talk about me and assume I was on some mission to date all the boys from their high school who were on Tinder. 

So, Matt and I stopped talking and he deleted Tinder shortly after.

missed the prologue? 

Friday, July 3, 2015

malise love story: the rest of the prologue

I had had the "let's get married" talk twice before Matt. At least one of those guys even had the ring and I know both had a plan for the proposal. Both of those guys were wonderful guys, each with their own reasons for not choosing to marry me in the end. Which, in retrospect, has worked out just fine. However, in the moment, those were some very serious heartbreaks for me. Those, plus a few other, smaller dating heartbreaks left me fairly gun-shy when it came to dating, but I also knew that finding a companion and starting a family was the one thing I wanted most in life. So, despite my fears, I worked pretty hard to find dating opportunities that could lead me to what I wanted.

After my "dumpster experience", I tried to be more open minded about who I showed interest in dating. I went on dates with some awesome short guys, younger guys, and one particularly great guy whose style was... well, he really needed new jeans. Being more open minded helped me to have more dating opportunities. For a few years before I met Matt, I had some really great and some really tough dating experiences. After a particularly great first date with a guy in my ward, I remember standing just inside my front door and thinking "This is what it's supposed to feel like. This is how it feels when you're genuinely interested and he's genuinely returning that interest." Not that that hadn't happened before, but never that easy. Things faded with that guy, and faded with other guys, and faded with more guys. But I kept a little bit of hope that maybe I could find more of "this is what it's supposed to feel like."

At some point in all of this, a friend introduced me to Tinder. I played around with it for a day or two, decided it wasn't really for me and forgot about it for a while. Then, in the midst of a particularly rocky relationship, the guy I was dating said he felt like we should date other people. So, because I didn't agree, I decided to download Tinder and date other people I met online as if that would hurt his feelings or something. I went on one Tinder "spite date" and gave up on that idea for a while again.

Months later, I was feeling particularly single and I decided to give Tinder another shot because at least it felt remotely "productive". I bounced on and off of Tinder, occasionally deleting it because it was just providing all kinds of awkward moments for me and I seemed to be only talking to guys who were nice, but not really who I wanted to date. Finally, I reached a point where I didn't want to date any of the 20 some odd guys I'd matched with that go-around, decided Tinder wasn't for me and I erased my bio, deleted my picture, and removed the app from my phone.

I kind of forgot about Tinder for a while until one Sunday when I had a conversation about online dating with my friend, Desiree. She told me that she'd met some incredible guys, that she found a lot of success in initiating the conversation, and just some other general things about online dating that gave me a lot more happy feelings than I had previously had. I hadn't heard many people speak so positively about online dating - in fact, I had somewhat of an idea that online dating meant you were desperate. And even though Tinder was a bit more "mainstream", I still wasn't sure that that was how I wanted to meet my future eternal companion. (Cough, dumpster, cough.)

Shortly after that conversation with Desiree, I had the opportunity to watch this TED Talk: How I Hacked Online Dating. I watched it twice, actually. I was fascinated by the way she worked to present herself to really seek out the kind of person she was interested in. But ultimately, the way she talked about finding some who really matched what she was looking for and was also interested in her gave me hope. She was so confident about who she found. It didn't matter where she found him or how, she was led to exactly what she wanted.

After a month of conversations like that and thoughts about that TED Talk, I got the feeling that maybe it was time to download Tinder again. So, three months after swearing off of Tinder forever, this happened:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

malise love story: a prologue about dumpster diving

In 2013, James Taylor performed in Salt Lake City, Utah with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Isn't that how all good stories start? No? Too bad, it's important.) I heart James Taylor, so naturally, I signed up for tickets. However, a week or two before the concert, something came up and I wasn't able to go. So, I posted on Facebook to offer the tickets to anyone who could use them. My friend claimed them for she and her son to use and I was excited to share them with her.

The night before she was coming to pick the tickets up, I went to pull them out of my wallet and put them on my bedside table. But, they weren't there. And they weren't already on my bedside table, and they weren't in the kitchen... then I realized that I had cleaned my purse out earlier that week, so I checked my bedroom garbage can and the kitchen garbage - not there either. I felt pretty frustrated.

My roommate, Janielle, used to always say "prayer works" - usually after a story of losing her keys or purse, but always very full of gratitude. So, as I stood there in my room mad about losing the tickets, I heard a little Janielle voice in my head say "prayer works" and, though I thought it might be dumb to pray to find tickets, I knelt down and decided I'd pray until I stopped feeling dumb about it. As I started to pray, I remembered that it was garbage day, but we'd forgotten to take our big garbage can out to the curb that morning. Which meant that if I'd thrown the tickets away, they'd still be out in the garbage bin somewhere.

I started to feel hopeful that that's where they could be, but remembered that my neighbors were having a party in their back yard. I worried about what they would think of their neighbor dumpster diving at 11:00 PM on a Friday night. SO lame. "I really don't want to look in the garbage can", I prayed. And then a soft voice said "If I lead you to exactly what you're looking for, does it matter where I send you to look?"

I was humbled and I agreed that I could look in the dumpster in front of my partying neighbors if that's where I would find the tickets. Shortly after that, I opened my eyes and saw the tickets right on top of my bedroom garbage can (which I swear I looked through before). I said a prayer of gratitude and got the strong impression that I needed to compare this experience to dating.

I learned that it doesn't matter where you find what you're looking for, how you find what you're looking for, or even if it doesn't look like what you're looking for (cough, shorter than me, cough) - Heavenly Father will still guide you to exactly what you're looking for AND He'll give you the peaceful confirmation that you've found something right.

So, I started learning how to let him guide me through my "dating dumpster".

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

dear boy

dear "punk",

thanks for being all kinds of cute and trying to one-up me in battles of who is nicer/cuter/etc.
I'm glad we're adorable. (and you're totally more adorable than me, ha.)


dear matty,

my heart does magical firework-y things when you smile
and also when you smirk because you think you're being really clever
and also when you tease me
and also all the time.


dear boyfriend,

you're my favorite everything.

I love you more than instagram,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

note to self: you are valuable.

I was never asked to a dance in high school. Looking back, it's definitely not a big deal. But then it was. I remember watching my friends get asked to dances and wondering if anyone would ever ask me. One dance, Homecoming maybe, I remember sitting at the computer near our front door the night before. Just in case someone decided to ask last minute. The phone rang, my parents told me it was for me, there was a male voice on the other end of the line who said "Elise. This is Harry Potter. Please stop being so obsessed with me." Click. Needless to say, I didn't get asked to Homecoming at the last minute. (I also didn't stop my Harry Potter obsession.)

Like I said, in retrospect, those dances weren't a big deal. I turned out pretty alright even without a pretty prom dress. But if I could go back in time and hang out with 17 year old me on the night of the dance, I'd bring her a giant bag of caramel kisses and we'd have a heart-to-heart where I'd hopefully convince her a little bit earlier in life that her worth wasn't defined by how many boy's choice dances she was asked to.

That's the cool thing about perspective, looking back, you understand a lot more than you did in the situation. I like to go back and read my high school journals sometimes. I've learned to skip over the pointless pages of American Idol updates (although it is kind of fun to remember how many times I managed to vote for Clay Aiken and Carmen Rasmussen in a single night.) My favorite pages are the ones where I was convinced that I was "in love" with so-and-so for whatever reason it was that day. It would be embarrassing to admit how many last names I've sampled my first name with. (In gel pen, naturally.)

I've come to love writing an awful lot. I also like to think I've become a bit better at writing since my high school days. My notes app on my phone is full of half-completed blog posts and stressed-out word vomit sessions. I've also learned to write when I'm feeling happy or grateful, so that I can remember those things when I'm not feeling that way later on.

Anyway, here's the point of this post.

Months ago, I went on a really good date. There actually wasn't anything particularly special about it, mostly just that I had a good time, felt comfortable with my date, and felt some sense of potential. I try to begin and end dates with a prayer so, when I got back from this one, I was expressing gratitude for the date and felt like I should write what I was feeling. I pulled up my beloved notes app and wrote something that has been a real blessing to look back on since I wrote it:

"I think this is what hope feels like. A moment of believing that everything I've always dreamed of could actually come to be. I feel like spinning and screaming, the lights all seem brighter, I feel like every part of me is smiling. 

I also feel this fear of 'what if I'm wrong?' and 'what if I get my hopes up only to get them crushed?' But something tells me that no matter what happens, this feeling of bliss and hope and 'maybe so' has a lot more to do with truth - it doesn't all rely on 'what if yes' or 'what if no'. I am valuable not just because tonight I feel valued, but because I am."

I actually feel really vulnerable sharing that note. Because, spoiler alert, not much more happened with that guy. And since nothing happened, it seems kind of silly that 'every part of me was smiling'. But I've had this note on my mind all day and I'm kind of impressed by what I seem to have understood the night I wrote it. Today, as I'm writing this blog post, I am valuable. Even though nothing progressed the way I hoped it would when I was all twitterpated that night, that simple date taught me something that had always been true all along.

And it's true for all of us. We are valuable. We have infinite worth that is not defined by whether or not we are going on dates, or our marital status, our employment/education status, or anything like that. That's something that has taken me a long time to understand. And somehow, separating those things in my mind has made all the difference.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

come party with me: sharing shine lunch & shirt

Not a lot of things make my heart happier than sparkles, doodling, service, and girl time. Combine #allthethings, and I'm holding back happy tears of joy. Seriously.

Sharing Shine is a community that encourages women of all ages to share their shine. The website is filled with shiny, sparkly stories that I just love reading. So, when Kelsey asked me to design a shirt for them, I was pretty much elated. 

This Saturday, Sharing Shine is hosting a "Beating Hearts Brunch" here in Logan. They'll have Fizz 'n Fryz, a valentine craft, and a speaker on self-care. So, basically, be still my beating heart. If you're free Saturday morning, I'd love for you to come party with me!

If you're not a local, hurry and buy plane tickets real fast... or at least check out the Sharing Shine website, cry over a few incredible stories, and then maybe buy a sparkle shirt. (I don't get any money if you do, but CAPSA does, so #goodturndaily).

Register for the event & buy a shirt here:

Monday, January 26, 2015

late night ramblings about neil diamond and kindergarten plants.

If you've ever been to a fireworks show with me, you know that I seriously love Neil Diamond. There aren't many things in life that feel more blissful than watching colorful explosives to the sound of "we're coming to Americaaaaaa TODAY!" And everybody knows that it's appropriate to shout "ba ba ba" and "SO GOOD!" throughout the chorus of Sweet Caroline, right? Because that's almost more than appropriate.

This is not actually a blog post about Neil. (Though he may deserve one.) But Neil is relevant. Because a while ago, I was stressed out of my mind, not sure what to do, and driving past the temple when the answer to my prayers came in the mental form of "Good times never seemed so good - SOW good! SOW good!" (And that's when you know the Neil obsession is potentially pushing it a little.)

But really. Sow good was the answer. And has continued to be the answer for the last several months.

"Fear not to do good... for whatsoever ye sow that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall reap good for your reward." (Scriptural reference here.)

If you ask me, that's a seriously cool promise. So, homeboy Neil and I have been focused on sowing good for the last little while and it's been great. But recently, I've been back to feeling some anxiety about my life. And by recently and "some anxiety", I mean that I often find myself somewhere in between "it's fine" and "I'm so worried I could vomit".

And what I mean by "I'm so worried I could vomit" is that I have a tendency to focus on what I don't have in my life - those things that I hope to some day reap. Occasionally, I get so caught up in what's not there and what's not going quite like I would plan, that I get all emotionally attached to these ideas in a way that I feel like I'm not functioning normally and I can't think of anything else. I focus on what I must be doing wrong, instead of all the things that are going right.

The other day, I was having a really tough time with this and praying about it. (I say praying, but it sounded a little bit more like "whyyyyyy me?" than I usually prefer my prayers to be.) And suddenly, I gained a little perspective. Remember in kindergarten when you'd take a little dixie cup and fill it with dirt and then you'd stick a few seeds in, write your name on the cup, and place your soon-to-be plant on the window sill next to the rest of your classmates' respective dixie cups of dirt? Life is like that. We're all sowing - planting seeds with hopes of growing a flower or a vegetable or whatever our seed has the potential to be.

Sometimes in life, I'm that kindergartner that just can't handle what's happening under the dirt. The one who sneaks over while everyone else is finger painting and sticks their fingers into the dirt to see if anything is happening to the seed yet. Lesson one: seeds can't grow if you're constantly digging them up. Other times in life, I recognize that I can't dig up the seed, but I try to compensate by giving the seed EVERYTHING it needs all at once. Lesson two: seeds do need light and water and nutrients, but they also need those things in moderation and over time.

Somehow, picturing my life like a kindergarten project makes me feel a lot better about things. Ultimately, I'm learning that we have a promise: If we sow good, we reap good. With that promise comes a need to understand that reaping takes time. It takes patience and it takes trust. And there's a lot of value in sowing good and taking necessary steps (water, light, patience) in the "sowing process" and then taking a step back and letting the seed do what it's best at. There's less value in constantly trying to reap things that aren't ready to be reaped. Trying to watch a single seed grow will only keep you from experiencing all the other joys in life. Stepping away for a time allows you to see the progress without focusing in a harmful way.

I sometimes feel like my blog posts need disclaimers. Like, hey thanks for the free therapy, because I really needed to get this out in a way that other people could read it so I could finally understand it myself. But mostly what I mean is thanks for reading my blog. I think you're rad. Sow good.


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