What My Sorority Sister Taught Me About Being Single

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At the beginning of sophomore year, I was getting dinner with some sorority sisters. We were catching up after a long summer, and the conversation inevitably turned to boys: cute ones at church, in our new classes, seen around campus. Amongst my friends there was a general consensus that this was going to be the year that we made some progress on the dating front.

I say “we” because I don’t like to be left out of the group. In reality, when my best friends start talking strategy for Project Find a Boyfriend, I feel like I’m Tom Hanks floating away from Wilson into the vast ocean. Very much alone.

Too Single To Date

You have to understand here that I’ve never been the boy-crazy type. Sure, I can do the giggly girly thing, but after a few minutes I’m like, “So… seen any good movies lately?” Don’t get me wrong: I’m looking for The One as much as any other 20 year old, but I also really like being single.

Sometimes it makes me angry that I have to feel ashamed about my singleness. And yes, people have made me feel really bad about it. One friend really hurt me with his harsh words in high school. He told me that the fact that I enjoyed being single didn’t bode well for my future relationships. “You are too independent to be in a long-term relationship,” he told me gravely. “You would hate it. You’re just too single to date.”

And like a fool, I believed him. I believed there was something innately wrong with me, that my beloved independence and feminist spirit made me incompatible, and that ultimately I would have to give up these qualities in order to be loved. You can imagine how much I’ve disliked talking about finding a boyfriend when I’ve been hearing this voice in my head for years.

I Get Called Out

So the night I was out at dinner with my sorority sisters, I became more and more upset as dreams of beautiful formal dates interfered with what I wanted my sophomore year to look like. Unfortunately my face is an open book, so one of my sisters noticed my mood change.

She addressed me individually, “Are you ready to find a boyfriend, too?”

I shook my head. “I’m too single to date.”

“But do you want to?”

“Yes…”

“So do it.” She stared me down with authority, and I knew I’d have to explain myself.

“When I say I’m too single to date,” I sighed, “what I mean is that I don’t date a lot. And the longer I go without dating practice, the more independent I get. And I am afraid that I will go so long being so ferociously independent that I will never be able to let go of the reins and share my life with somebody else.”

“So you don’t want to date because…?”

“Because I’m afraid that I’ll end up alone regardless.”

She looked at me thoughtfully for a moment. “Can I ask you something? In your head, what does the rest of your life look like? Just give me a quick overview.”

“Well I’d like to graduate college first.”

“That’s a good start,” she laughed. “Then what?”

“Find a job I like and get really good at it.”

“And then?”

I sighed. I knew what she wanted me to say. “I also want to get married, have kids, travel the world, and live happily ever after.”

“Bingo!” she beamed. “And let me ask you this: how important is that last part to you? On a scale from one to ten?”

“Probably an eleven,” I told her.

“That’s what I thought. Here’s the deal, Ashley: if you have the desire to be loved in that way, God will provide someone. You have nothing to worry about. “

What My Sorority Sister Taught Me

What my sorority sister taught me is that we live in a culture that shames us for our singleness. No, we are not the only women in history who have ever faced this problem, but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful. For single women who want to be in a relationship, the waiting is hard. The media doesn’t make it any easier to cope as it constantly throws couples together in movies, books, and TV shows.

My sister taught me that I don’t have to feel bad about myself while I’m waiting. Being single doesn’t mean that I’m broken, in fact, it doesn’t even mean that I’m unwanted. I just needed a friendly voice to replace the critical one in my head. And just like that, I felt this wave of peace come over me. For the first time in a long time, I feel secure in my singleness, trusting that it will end when the time is right.

-A

Image by Abby Weeden Photography & Design. Theta Formal 2014.

Being Auntie Em: Every Nanny’s Nightmare

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In light of the severe weather we’re going to have in Dallas this week, here is a guest post from my friend Emily Barrett. She posted this story on Facebook a few days ago, and I asked if she would be willing to share it on my blog. Here’s to Emily for being my first guest post!

From May 21, 2014.

As a nanny, the scariest thing that could happen is that the baby could get severely hurt, kidnapped, or die. While those are all awful and terrible, nothing is as bad as finding yourself in a situation where both you and the baby could die at any moment, and no one— not even the police— could help you.

Today, a tornado touched down in Aurora, CO where I am nannying for my sister. I was alone with the sleeping baby and two dogs watching Game of Thrones like any good nanny when the TV went blank and sirens erupted from the speakers. Suddenly, the TV switched over to the news where a weatherman told me that a tornado had touched down approximately 2-4 miles from my sister’s house.

The house didn’t have a basement or a secure place to hide, so I grabbed my sleeping niece and took shelter in the garage. A now screaming baby and two barking dogs sat with me as I called my family members frantically. When I talked to my brother to say “I love you” one last time before I died, he responded jokingly, “The wicked witch is back!” We loved The Wizard of Oz as kids. He was teasing me because the beginning tornado scene was always traumatic for me. I often had nightmares of tornadoes sweeping away my family, and here I was, the nightmares melting into my real life.

Still worried about our safety, I moved us all to the stairwell with blankets and a cold bottle. We huddled down together and waited. One dog on my right, one dog on my left, and a baby on my lap: all four of us were crying and shaking. Then, the house decided to join in and began to shake and rumble. One dog peed on herself, and I did everything I could to keep everyone quiet, which did not work at all because we were all screaming by that point. I remember hysterically asking God to forgive us all and to not have us die so young. Outside the wind roared like a freight train— like the ambiguous “they” always say. The house was so loud from wind and buckets of hail pounding down that I swore the tornado was right on top of us. It sounded like a firing squad bearing down on the house. I prayed aloud through my tears and ragged breath, thinking I was going to die with my sister’s three treasures in my arms, knowing that I was completely helpless.

Twenty to thirty minutes (of panic and holding on to my life) later, the storm passed. The house was quiet again. The baby had stopped wailing and was asleep in my arms. The dogs were no longer whimpering. Peeking through the window, I looked outside to find about a half foot of peanut M&M sized hail shining in the sunshine.

By the grace of God, I survived my childhood nightmare. We are all alive, and there was no damage except to the newly planted vegetable garden. I learned today that God is real, and life should not be taken for granted.

Hopefully this Auntie Emily and her Dorothy (Piper) don’t have any more adventures to Oz this summer.

 

 

533969_10152383580423018_183857459_nEmily Barrett— amateur artist and writer from New Orleans who specializes in baked goods and binge watching Netflix. She also enjoys fashion, fangirling, being a complete nerd (in and out of school), and adventuring in her free time.

 

Tornado image from http://realestateyak.com/2009/06/08/homes-for-sale-tornado-not-included/

While You Were Out… We Did a Room Makeover

Thank you to everyone who has sent their encouragement and compliments about Caroline’s newly decorated room! For anybody who is interested, I wanted to do a quick post laying out my thinking process when I get the urge to shove furniture around. Hopefully this will help you with your upcoming decorating projects!

Phase 1: Vision Board

We loved the look and the function of this sleek DIY vanity. It was a great picture to conceptualize around because it helped us “de-baby” her room.

We loved the look and the function of this sleek DIY vanity. It was a great picture to conceptualize around because it helped us “de-baby” her room.

Pinterest is a great tool to hone in on your vision. Make a new board and pin everything that inspires your vision of the room.

Note: If you value your Pinterest followers, you might want to make this board a secret. Nothing annoys a fellow pinner more than when you blow up their feed with the same thing over and over again.

 Phase 2: The Clean Slate Approach

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The Clean Slate Approach involves two steps: 1) organizing the room, and then 2) taking everything out of the room (including furniture).

Note: I recognize that this isn’t always a necessary part of redecorating. Organizing is probably the reason why you didn’t want to redecorate in the first place. Nobody wants to deal with all their stuff. But if the clutter and lack of functionality of the space was one of the key reasons why you felt the desire to re-do the room, then I would highly encourage you to dive into organizing. If you need help, here are some tips to battle the clutter without losing your mind.

Phase 3: Set the Tone with New Paint

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The color of a room sets the tone for the space. For example, the light grey walls in the before pictures above have a calm and serene tone. Not quite what our fourteen-year-old wants for her bedroom. Before we started this project, she requested a neutral color so that she could play with the color scheme of her room for the next couple of years. To oblige her request, we painted the room a warm cream color. It totally changed the energy of the room, setting the tone for the bright colors we implemented later.

Note: We love the edger tool to paint the ceiling and baseboards. It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of how much paint you should put on it and how hard you need to push, you’ll fall in love, too!

Phase 4: Introduce Your Focal Point

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Duvet cover from PB Teen. White pillows from Homegoods. Turquoise pillow from Pier 1 Imports.

When you walk into a room, the first thing you should see is your favorite piece in the room. Most of the time this is the bed, dolled up with a comforter and pillows. In another situation, it might be a beautiful chair or your bookshelves. It depends on your style and what is important to you.

Note: Although we decided that the bed would be our focal point, buying the bed never hit the top of our priority list. For now, she’s enjoying her time close to the ground on a mattress. It’s like camping!

Phase 5: Buy or Build

This desk took us 3 hours and 1 trip to IKEA customer service to put together. *sigh*

This desk took us 3 hours and 1 trip to IKEA customer service to put together. *sigh*

Once you establish your focal point, buy or build the remaining pieces so that they complement it.

Note: You may need to rearrange the furniture several times in order to get the perfect layout.

For this project, we added white pieces only. This was in an attempt to “mature” the room. When decorating, I find that the more bright colors you match, the more juvenile the room looks. Neutral pieces are a decorator’s greatest cheat. The white pieces also helped contrast our focal point, which is the bright-colored and bold-printed duvet cover.

White pieces. Shelves, desk, frames, side table, and magnetic board from IKEA. Bowl chair from Pier 1 Imports. Mirror and jewelry box from Target. We already had the white desk chair.

Desk from IKEA. Mirror and mirrored jewelry box from Target.

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Side table from IKEA. Bowl chair from Pier 1 Imports (this is the greatest chair ever).

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All of this is from IKEA. We really like that place.

Phase 6: Add Your Personality Through the Details

Now here’s the fun part! Think of creative ways to add your personality to your room. We color coordinated her closet, painted the white side table a bright marigold, strung paper lanterns, made a “bow bouquet,” and displayed her favorite beauty products on her vanity.

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And finally, you’ve got a room fit for a teenager!

So tell me, when am I coming over to work on your room?