Why you shouldn’t wait.

Five days after I turned 25, I got a tattoo. A black ampersand on my left wrist, something I’d been wanting for several months. It meant a lot to me, getting the tattoo and being able to get it while in San Francisco near my birthday. I loved it immediately, the small mark on my skin. It became a part of me, of my story.

A few days later I realized the man I eventually meet, fall in love with, and presumably marry will never know me without my tattoo. He’ll never know what my wrist looked like without the black ink embedded in my skin, full of meaning and beauty. He’ll never know who I was before I got that tattoo. He’ll never know the woman who struggled with whether to get it at all.

And he’ll never know who I was before I was a writer. He won’t know the woman who wanted to be a history professor with a PhD in Victorian history, culture, and literature. He won’t know the woman who was shocked to discover she loved reading about gender studies. He won’t know the student who hid away in a library, researching and scribbling nonsensical notes, living on coffee and broken prayers.

He missed out on the moment when I had to choose between England and Egypt. He missed the all nighters I pulled finishing up my senior thesis and all the little papers that came before. He missed the tortuous weeks I spent watching friends walk away from me, spread out over years. He missed my first day of college, my last day of high school. He missed out on my awkward years, my naive years. He missed out on the time when I was a bookish nerd before I even knew that was an insult.

He didn’t see me fall apart in Alaska. Or Vegas. Or Nashville. He didn’t see me fail in each of of those cities, packing up in defeat and returning home. He didn’t see me fall into depression, confused by the darkness that wouldn’t leave me, rendered helpless and empty and so very alone. He didn’t see me floundering to pull myself together, to create something from the ashes. He didn’t see the moment I fell in love absolutely with writing; the moment that saved me.

In so many ways, this man who is supposed to be my partner in life, my very own love, won’t know me. Or rather, he won’t recognize who I used to be. He won’t know that girl, the girl who slowly grew into the woman he fell in love with.

And I think it’s easy to use that as an excuse. We don’t want to miss out on sharing experiences with our future spouses, so we hold off. We tell ourselves we’ll do all these things that we love when we meet the right person. When we find our soul mate we’ll travel, we’ll move, we’ll focus on finding the right career, we’ll go back to school, we’ll do that one thing on our bucket list that seems to beckons to us. When we find the right person, then we’ll start living the life we really want. We’ll fulfill our hopes and dreams and make them our reality. We have all the time in the world.

In the meantime, we wait. And wait. And wait.

Life isn’t meant to be put on hold. Because the longer we wait, the more opportunities pass us by. Chances that are once in a lifetime might not be there in a few years when we’re married, settling down, and perhaps thinking about kids or a career. We might not have time in the future to do what is waiting for us today.

And every time we say no to a new experience, we leave room for regret to grow and fester. We open the door for us to resent our future spouse. Because we waited for them to come around so we could share that moment with them, but the moment has passed us by, the chance we were desperate to take, and it’s easy to place blame. If we hadn’t waited, we could have done that amazing, wonderful thing.

But they aren’t asking us to wait. I think they want us to be happy.

I believe that our lives are a story. Different moments in our lives are different chapters. Different characters come in and out. There are plot twists, thematic arcs, epiphanies and climaxes, action and suspense, and hopefully some humor and romance. And those stories that you live are meant to be told, to be shared with people. Your story is amazing and exciting and you are the only one who can live it. You deserve to live it.

There are so many chapters of my life that have already been written and lived; pieces of my story that my future husband played no role in. But my story is worth telling, and someday I will be able to share my story with him. I will get to sit up late at night, sitting across from him and tell him how I came to be the woman he fell in love with. Because everything I’ve done, every mistake I’ve made and every triumph, every smile and move and piece of writing will have somehow brought me to him. By living my life, I became the woman I’m meant to be.

Life isn’t about waiting to find a husband or wife; life is about living each day, doing what makes you happy, what brings you joy, with the hope that by living your life you find the one you’re meant to share it with.

So live your story, every day. Live a life you can be proud of, a life you can someday share with the person who means the world to you. Live a life that fulfills you and gives you joy and isn’t about waiting. Because God brings opportunities into your life and certain moments for a reason. You are allowed to take hold of them and have the adventure of a lifetime.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

The Nice Guy/Good Girl Pedestal

“I just want to find a nice guy who appreciates me.”

“All I want is a good girl to take home to my parents.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sort of thing, or a variation of it. (The beauty of going to a Christian college I suppose.) Nice guy. Good girl. A gentleman. A Proverbs 31 woman. We have these ideas and ideals of what we want our someday spouse to be like. We have them on a pedestal. We put them up there and admire them. But they aren’t real people. They are imitations of perfection. They are statues we’ve molded from our imagination. They are untouchable and unreachable. They are beyond us.

I’m guilty of doing this. It’s so very easy to let my thoughts run wild, forming images and hopes of what my husband ought to be like. I have expectations of what I’d love for him to be. Tall and handsome with a quick smile and charming wit. Free and affectionate, with a dark edge that maybe only I can really see. I want him to love words as much as I do. I want him to care about me, love me deeply. I want him to be a good, Christian man. I want him to love his family and love mine, despite the craziness. I want so many things.

But the more I imagine him, his past and his present, I don’t feel as if I belong in his future. I imagine him into a perfect, blameless being that I don’t deserve. I could never deserve him. He deserves a good girl, the sort without a past she sometimes feels ashamed of. He deserves a woman with a strong faith and relationship with God. He deserves someone who will encourage him to be better.

He deserves a woman I could never be. Really, it’s too late for me to be all those things.

And that breaks my heart.

We place our future loves on a pedestal and we realize that we don’t deserve them. We never could, because they are far better than we could ever be. We aren’t worthy of them, we tell ourselves. We don’t deserve that sort of happiness. We can’t have it, because of the things we’ve done.

And it leaks out of our fantasies and into our reality. We meet decent men or lovely women in real life, and we let our insecurities hold us back. We project our shortcomings onto the possibilities a relationship may hold, and we tell ourselves they are too good for us. They could do better, because they are better. Better then we could ever be.

He shouldn’t have to deal with my past, she says.
She could never understand the things I’ve done, he says.

It’s selfish, I think, to deny ourselves love and affection, because we imagine the men or women in our hearts to be better than us. It’s unfair to put them on a pedestal and convince ourselves and them that they should find someone else. We place expectations of being the “good girl” or “nice guy” on them, and they can’t possibly live up to that. No one can. We know we can’t.

We create for ourselves an impossible situation – we find a person we could love fiercely because of who they are, but we can’t trust them or ourselves enough to take that chance because of who they are.

But they aren’t perfect. And it’s unfair for us to believe they are.

Everyone is a bit broken, a little twisted, a tad askew. We all have pasts and baggage. None of it’s the same, but all of it makes each of us less than perfect. We’ve all been knocked off the pedestal by our thoughts and actions. We’ve made mistakes that left us feeling guilty, and we’ve held on to the shame. We look in the mirror and tell ourselves we are unworthy of love and undeserving of happiness. Good relationships are for other people. Perhaps we have to settle for something less.

I say no. You are lovely. You are good. You are amazing, strong, resilient, and wonderful. You are better for what you’ve experienced and inspiring for what you’ve gone through. You are a beautiful, fearful creation of God. You are His child, and He loves you in spite of everything, without conditions. And you deserve a person to come into your life who will love you in the same way.

You are allowed to have an amazing love story.

Instead of placing the men and women in our lives on pedestals and expecting them to live up to standards that we have convinced ourselves make us unworthy, we should have a bit more faith. Because if you feel as if you are unworthy, chances are the love interest in your life may feel the same way. Work together past the insecurities in honesty, rather than denying yourself the beauty of relationship with a good person.

Because we are all good. Good men and good women, and we deserve real love. We deserve to be given a chance.

You deserve to take a chance.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.