Dating, Handshakes, and Short Hair

Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks.  Where to start?

Well, I’d been dating someone and that ended this week.  That was hard.  Really hard.  Although I knew it was coming and was the one who officially ended things, it has been painful.

After the phone call that ended it, I talked with my mom about it all.  We had a really good talk and she just let me vent.  By the time we rolled off to bed, I was emotionally exhausted.  As she passed by me, I was trying to hug her or something (I really don’t know what I was going for), but I didn’t want to stand up, so I ended up shaking her hand.  Yes, after having a heart to heart with my mom, I proceeded to shake her hand.

Thanks for the meeting, woman who birthed and raised me.  Let’s shake hands – an I act I reserve for complete strangers, people I don’t want to touch really, and to make deals with business folk.

So, she’s never going to let me forget that.  It’s like the time my dad was praying before a meal and called my brother’s fiancé Alan (instead of her actual name, Alex).   We still on occasion pray for Alan before meals just to rub it in.

In the midst of this, I was picked to be a juror on a trial, which made for a full week balancing the case and spending breaks answering emails for work.  To be honest, it was a nice distraction for the week.  And I thought I was feeling pretty ok about everything.

Then I woke up today.  And I felt sad.  And I couldn’t shake it.  And I had to go to work.  The sadness sat like a heavy weight in my stomach.

As I was driving down to the retreat center where I work, gearing myself up for an overnight retreat, I began to consider cutting off my hair.  Because that’s like a big middle finger to men.

You say you like long hair, well screw you, you @#$@#$*)^*$&! (I don’t know what expletive that is supposed to be – I was just having fun hitting all those keys).

And that’s so very appealing right now.  Yet, I just don’t think I can pull off short hair.  I’ve considered this so many times and keep coming back to how it just wouldn’t be flattering.  I think the combination of my face shape and the volume of my hair just do not lend themselves to a short haircut.

Sadly, even the best haircut won’t make it all better.  I spent so many years avoiding the dating world, because I was so scared to feel the possible pain from rejection.  Choosing to date these last years has been hard.  I do get hurt.  Pain is not fun.  Yet, the pain I have experienced in the process of dating is never as bad as I think it will be.  Don’t get me wrong.  It hurts.  However, the fear that kept me from dating, whispered that the pain would incapacitate me.  I tried to protect myself from annihilation.  The pain, I am continually surprised to discover, has not been the end of me.

Earlier this week I found myself tempted to jump back into protection mode.  I began to think through how I would forget dating and throw myself into work.  For a moment that sounded great.  For a moment.  Then I felt a nudge from God.

Distracting myself with work, or with any other thing, will not erase my pain. 

Instead, the invitation is to step into the pain.

To feel it.

To cry.

To messy cry.

To messy cry in front of others.

I’m learning to step into the pain, instead of shoving it down.  It is humbling.  It is connecting.  As I have shared my pain with others, I am continually surprised at how friends and family have met me and comforted me.   These realizations have been tiny sparks of light, reminding me that I am deeply loved for by dear folks.

This doesn’t make the pain go away, but it also means the pain is not a lonely place.

3 thoughts on “Dating, Handshakes, and Short Hair

  1. Jen, I love how you show us how to heal through vulnerability. Although we know God is in it with us, life just hurts sometimes. And sharing that hurt isn’t always easy. For me writing a blog seems so hard – I just don’t know how to share myself so openly. But you’ve shown me that your hurt now has become a way for others to share and connect with you. I so admire that. And that you can create that connection with others from pain is very beautiful. Hugs to you dear Sister in Christ!

  2. Friend, I know how you feel. Kind of like women who’s menses sync up after being together for awhile. Me too! (awful comparison, I know but symbolizes, in some respects, the returning pain of feeling rejected….).
    A thought that really encouraged me was by Oswald Chambers. “What do you see in your cloud?” Through every cloud He brings he wants us to unlearn something…to simplify our belief…to that of a child.
    Looking forward to our small group meeting.

  3. Sorry things ended sourly again. Makes me kind of wish there were a dating site or quick questionnaire or something that would give you a measure of someone’s emotional health before you decide whether or not to start dating them…

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