Monday, July 13, 2015

malise love story part two: a little bit of heartbreak and a little hope

As I'm sure you could have guessed, things didn't work out with the other Tinder guy. I went on another date or two, developed a new crush, got pretty bold one night and let that new crush know I was interested and he kindly told me that he didn't see us being anything more than friends. This had been one of the first times that I'd just been up front at the start of a crush and it was kind of refreshing to have just been honest and know how he felt before I had gotten all emotionally invested in the idea.

BUT. I still felt pretty heartbroken that night. It really just felt like the final straw. It seemed like I was giving everything to try to have a chance with all of these wonderful guys and experiencing rejection after rejection after rejection. I was so frustrated. I was on Tinder, digging through "dumpsters", putting myself out there, and I still wasn't making it past a third date with anyone. And I didn't know what I was doing wrong.

That night, I called my dad in tears.

We had a similar conversation to all the late night, Elise-in-tears phone chats we'd had before. He told me I was amazing and reminded me of promised blessings. He let me cry and complain and talk about how much it hurt. And he also told me that I had every reason to be gun-shy - he'd helped me through some of the pretty tough breakups and rocky relationships I'd had before. He told me he was pretty impressed by the way I kept trying despite the heartaches I'd been through. And then he said something that he hadn't ever said before. He told me, "Don't settle for unrealistic. Believe in the absolute impossible." Then he said, "It is going to happen." 

I hung up and knelt on top of my bed to pray. Through sobs, I told Heavenly Father that I couldn't do it anymore, that I was turning my dating life over to Him. I told Him that I knew of the blessings He had promised me. My patriarchal blessing talks about me being guided to someone and I'd had other blessings that promised that someone was being prepared for me. So, I told Heavenly Father that it was up to Him now. I promised that I would listen for guidance and do anything He needed me to do to help the process along, but that the rest was all up to Him. And then I said that I knew that would be hard for me to trust Him and asked for help to let go of the "I'll do it myself" control I'd been trying to have over my own dating life.

Not long after that prayer, my best friend Heather and I went for a drive to our favorite place, Magic Park. It was freezing outside, so we stayed in her car to chat this time. She'd just gotten back from a trip to Oregon where she visited the guy she was long-distance dating. She told me all about how perfect it was and then she told me that they'd decided they were going to get married. First, I felt really excited for her and then I started to feel some self-pity. I thought, "Really? Again??" I've had a lot of my best friends get married over the years. I'm always quite happy for them, but it can be tough when you have that go-to friend who is always ready to get ice cream or fries with you, and wants to hear all the pointless details of your life and the boys you've been texting, and they find a husband. It's not that you stop being friends with them, but it kind of feels like a breakup because you have to find a new go-to best friend.

When my best friend Nichelle got married, I promised myself that I was going to get a male best friend to "replace" her. That seemed like the best plan. (And if everything worked out right, I'd keep that one around for forever.) But Heather wasn't a boy (which is fine, because she was exactly the best friend I needed at that time). So as I sat in Heather's car feeling like I'd never find a forever go-to best friend, let alone just another go-to best friend, a quiet voice cut me off and said "It's okay. I will take care of you." and my concerns instantly went away.

Two days later, Matt and I went on our first date.




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.)

love,
elise


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.

love,
elise


dear boyfriend,

you're my favorite everything.

I love you more than instagram,
elise


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: http://www.sharingshine.com/store/

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