The Urge to Nest

nest

This originally appeared on LisaKerr.net. Read the piece here. This is Part I of a series about turning thirty, getting closer to my family, and finally deciding to settle down. Read Part II here and Part III here

Something happened when I turned thirty.

I started missing my parents, even though I lived two hours away. I worried about their health. My friends’ parents were having major health issues and passing away at young ages and my own parents were starting their annual physicals and colonoscopies, sometimes with discussions about “what they found.” I began to realize that they weren’t going to be around forever. I was growing up and they were growing older. I could feel myself aging.

I started feeling the need to settle down and the urge to nest. I wanted to find a home I could stay in for decades, instead of an apartment that I changed from time to time. I was single, and not 100% sure I really wanted kids, so I adopted a rescue puppy. I didn’t realize she would make me want to both have a child and make me question the idea of having kids all at once. A year has passed now, and we have survived the puppy stage. We’ve house-trained. We’ve obedience trained. Kids might not be so hard, right?

During college, I promised myself I would publish at least one book before getting pregnant. It was one way to keep me focused on working toward my dreams. But as I aged, and as my second set of friends started talking about having kids (the first set of friends started having kids around their mid-twenties), I started wondering what it would be like to be pregnant with my closest friends who were pinning things to their Babies! boards on Pinterest). I also started wondering what I was actually waiting for.

Love, of course. I was waiting for love. But I was also simultaneously avoiding it.

I was also waiting to move away from L.A. where most of the men I met didn’t want kids…probably because many of them were still so immature. I figured if I stayed in that city I would have to be a single mom and the single moms I knew (who did amazing jobs raising their kids) cautioned me at how hard it was. I knew they were right. I had been a nanny in my early twenties and even that was difficult.

But more than babies, I wanted to fall in love like I had only a few times in my life. The last time I’d fallen in love was when I was twenty-six and he’d moved away. Sometime after the move and our failed attempt to keep a long-distance relationship working, we’d broken each other’s hearts.

He and I had met through a mutual friend in my hometown and we were instantly swept up in love. Within a month, we’d made love in one of the most intimate moments I’d had with a man. We’d watched baseball games together. We’d dressed up together for romantic dinners. And then at the end of that month, he told me what I already knew: that he was moving and we’d have to say goodbye soon–at least until he could afford to move me up there. He told me he wanted me to visit soon and he followed through with sending me a plane ticket to come for my twenty-sixth birthday. While I was there, we laid on the couch together and he gave me a simple, pink heart diamond necklace and we kissed each other in a way I thought meant he’d be the last man I kissed.

He wasn’t.

We fell apart for reasons that usually exist when you attempt to do a long-distance relationship. Sometimes, no matter how much in love you are, the timing is wrong and the distance makes it complicated. But I knew from experience with him that there were good men out there; men who wanted a family and kids; men who treated women well; men who were honest about who they were and what they wanted. As I entered my thirties, I knew I needed to stop dating men who weren’t like that. I needed to reevaluate who I’d been dating and sleeping with. But more than that, I needed to understand what my desires were telling me. I was ready to find someone amazing. I was happy in nearly every area of my life except this one missing piece and except for the itch that kept reappearing: I wanted to settle down and find someone to start a family with.

Image from Pinterest.

Read Part II here and Part III here

Thirty and Not Married!

I took this weird, winding road to where I am now.

I’m thirty years old.

I’m unmarried.

I don’t have children.

Ending up in Master’s Commission for seven years threw a kink in the “normal” life, if you will. A lot of people end up attending college after high school, falling in love with someone, getting to work on a career and having some kids.

Not me.

I took this weird, winding road to where I am now.

I’m thirty years old.

I’m unmarried.

I don’t have children.

I’m two classes away from a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

What really got to me for years?

I wasn’t married! All my friends were getting married except for me. I’d been a bridesmaid about five times (or more…I have enough crappy dresses to prove it). Now, going on 3-0, it’s actually not as huge of a deal to me as it was when I was 24. (Though my current boyfriend might argue with me here. =P Love you, babe)

Why?

My dating life has gone through a radical change.

 

Things That Terrify Me

I recently started dating someone. Let me preface this by saying my luck with relationships is terrible. They’ve all ended (lately I’m the dumped not the dumper) and left me single and rather happy. I’m good at being single. Really good. I have a lot of fun and when I say fun, I mean that I’ll have to explain that later on my NSFW blog and my journals (which ironically I don’t share here).

So one thing I’m afraid of–terrified of–is falling in love, again. It seems like right when I let myself go I find myself falling and no one is there to catch me. Call me melodramatic, but it’s true.

The other thing I’m terrified of is getting close to people. I’m good at it, but I’ve been betrayed in ways that give me nightmares. I don’t like vulnerability. In fact, I find myself already trying to hide my vulnerability with jokes or comments that I don’t even mean with him, because let’s face it…when your previous boyfriends don’t reciprocate the kind of love you feel for them, you end up feeling a bit like you were born in the wrong century where love affairs happened to people and they fell into them…hard. Today people just call you “co-dependent” or say you care too much.

This relationship is different in some ways. We’re long distance and I’ve only done that once. Me and the other LDR met in my home town and he informed me shortly after we met that he was moving to Washington. I didn’t care. I was swept away. It was incredibly romantic. I mean, he romanced me in ways that only seemed to happen in movies. There were trips to Spokane, walks in the park, candlelight dinners. And it was the first time I had sex with someone who I loved. One time he flew in to see me and I surprised him with my own version of romance-a hotel room filled with rose petals, candles and music playing. When he walked in the room, he grabbed me and started slow dancing with me to “our song.”

Within six months we were talking about me moving up there and marriage and babies-and he meant it. His parents loved me so much and I loved them.

And then he made a mistake–saying he wasn’t ready for me to move up there–and I freaked out on him. I had been planning my move already and my dad was going to help me bring my stuff from California to Washington. What went wrong on his end wasn’t even that tragic. All he meant was that he wanted to pay for my apartment and bills and couldn’t at the moment (what with just moving and starting a new job). But I was like, “Who does that? I can pay my own bills. Just fucking let me be there with you.” And just like that, I was mad and he was misunderstood. I told him if he wasn’t serious then he should just break up with me and let me get over him. So we ended it over a misunderstanding.

Three weeks later in an incredibly romantic gesture, he flew to see me and took me to dinner and begged me to come back to him. And I….refused. What the flying fuck? I was already in a new relationship-dating a terrible person-really, not a good guy-but my pride was in the way and I couldn’t get past my anger and hurt. I was so hurt. And I sent him back to Washington alone. Then when I broke up with the loser/terrible guy, I emailed Washington boy (for years…even THIS year)  and begged him to come back. He told me he didn’t love me romantically anymore and now he doesn’t even respond to my emails.

At least my tragic love life makes for GREAT stories, right? For a writer that’s awesome. I should really pat myself on the back for taking so many broken hearts for society.
So after reliving the Washington memories, there’s already this feeling of “Is it doomed?” with this long distance relationship. I mean–someone has to move or it’s just not going to go anywhere. I love where I live and life is awesome here–except I don’t have him. And he loves his school and he’s doing fucking amazing there. He can’t move here.

Maybe I’m already preparing myself for the broken heart because I know they hurt so bad and in my life, they are inevitable. The thing that sucks about this time is that no matter how much I try to numb myself, it’s happening. I can’t help it. I’m litterally trying to protect myself but he hooked me already–in the first few weeks. The romantic things that were said and done left me feeling things for him that I haven’t felt since Washington. And it’s been several years since then-sure I’ve had relationships since then. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt something this sincere and this deep. In fact, I literally am in tears all day today and I can’t help but think it’s because of him/this. The helplessness I feel because I’m falling and I can’t stop. I can’t protect myself.

And then there’s this one small detail. Where he lives. He lives in the South, but not just anywhere. He lives where the bane of my existence lives. My Lex Luthor as one friend put it. The whole incident that inspired this blog–living in a cult. It happened in his city in Louisiana. And the only thoughts I have of that place are nightmares and memories of me wanting to kill myself. So, as if long distance relationships aren’t hard enough, there’s that one small detail-his location-that has had me tense for weeks.

Life is so ironic sometimes and love leaves no prisoners.

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”

(quote and photo from Facebook)

The Feminist Mormon Housewives

While everyone is obsessing with mommy bloggers who cook organic roasted squash for their babies, I’m over here watching and reading (for years now), the Feminist Mormon Housewives. I don’t remember where I first heard of them, but I joined their secret Facebook group and slowly started learning that they were just like me, except they decided to stay in the church and change it from the inside. For this, I applaud them. They are a brave group of women. Many of their experiences with doctrine have been similar to mine and their questions have been similar to the ones I raised.

“Why do we have modesty doctrines and guidelines?”

“What if a woman doesn’t want to raise children? Is she less of a woman?”

“Is a woman’s only role to bear children? Why not?”

“What is this patriarchal world we’re all living in and how did it get this controlling?”

As a young woman, I was drawn to Mormonism. Quite a few times, I almost made the leap and converted, but something held me back. Perhaps it was my parents’ voice saying, “No, they’re a cult.” (I don’t consider them a cult anymore than I would consider Evangelical Christianity as a whole a cult. Mainstream Mormonism is vastly different than Fundamentalist Mormonism, which is the most restrictive, and I’ll be honest, cult is a harsh term. Patriarchal religion is maybe the safest term for Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity, though it might not capture the complexities quite as well as a term like cult. And yes, both movements do have cult-like traits.)

Despite my parents not wanting me to join the Mormon church, I went to every Mormon dance I could in high school with my Mormon friends. I went to “Seminary” with them on a weekday before school. I sang with my Honor Choir in a Mormon church. I even dated young Mormon boys.

When I first entered Master’s Commission the appeal was simple: they based Master’s Commission’s rules on the Mormon missionary movement. No dating, limited communication with family and friends from back home, strict dress code, and a focus on purity, relationship with Christ, and evangelizing. Okay, okay…maybe Mormon missionaries do cult-like rituals when they sign up for the mission field.

Regardless, the new Mormon feminism is fascinating. There are thousands of women who are questioning the oppressive traditions of their church, wearing pants to church, and thinking like, well…feminists. I can’t explain how complex it all is without giving away some very private conversations and people’s identities, so for now I’ll let you explore if you’re interested.

Here’s their new campaign, called I’m a Mormon feminist where they feature stories of women: http://mormonfeminist.org/

Here’s their blog, which began in 2004. You can learn quite a bit about them here: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FeministMormonHousewives

Or read this piece in the Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/05/women-hope-for-mormon-spring/kSchzSqQDRRKAQtvfi8hhL/story.html

Here in Salon magazine: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/20/the_rise_of_the_mormon_feminist_housewife/

If I End Up Single…

If C and I break up, here’s my plan:

1. Send off my book proposal in the next year.

2. Raise my Credit Score.

3. Get a book deal.

4. Buy a house.

5. Have a baby.

 

All of those are pretty much the same “plans” but I wasn’t going to have a baby so soon. However, my clock is ticking and I really don’t see the point in waiting–especially if I’m not dating anyone.

 

Have you joined My Cult Life Talk? We’re a community of people focused on recovering from cults and educating others about them.

That Awkward Moment When I Realize I AM the Overly Attached Girlfriend

You’ve heard of the overly attached girlfriend meme, right? No? What do you do with your free time (ahem, not Internet, apparently)?!

Over the course of the past year, I’ve realized I may lean more toward the overly attached girlfriend than the “normal” girlfriend. I’ve had two people dump me in the past year by saying something along the lines of, “You talk about marriage and babies way too soon.” AKA, EVER! Men just can’t deal with commitment or marriage/babies talk.

I’m not quite this bad:

 

 

 

 

 

But I have done stuff like this (maybe last week):

 

 

 

 

Last week was when I realized I was way too overly attached INSTANTLY. It happened when I started dating (aka went on one date and then he was over it) a really short guy, who on the first date, told me he wanted to have kids within the next five years (So? What’s your point? I thought. If you’d taken me to the Holiday Inn, I could’ve done something about that, but I’m eating a salad now.) Later that weekend, I told my friend and her husband that he said this over lunch and my friends husbands eyes got so big from surprise. Mental note: apparently that’s weird. (But I didn’t quite think so, because I’d have done the same thing)

I suppose I didn’t think it was weird because I’m worse. If I’m not engaged by week three, I start the crazy, obsessive girl diatribe.

What? You don’t LOVE me? I say.

If you really loved me, you would want to be with me forever–like Mormons do.  

Ugh, I just want to settle down. My cats need a father. It’s what they’ve been MISSING in life.

I’m crazy and no one LOVESSSSSS me.

I carry on like this for a few months or until they dump me. It’s true. Men just can’t handle this–not even short, gamer nerds who are just as bad.

The truth is, therapy is fucking expensive. I know I have daddy issues, being raised with an alcoholic issues, abandonment issues, and dozens more. I know I do, although the revelation has just become apparently. Did I mention therapy is expensive? Several hundred dollars a month!

I also have…committment issues. (See? I can’t even commit to a full sentence. I have to use ellipses.) When I was young, my mom and stepdad fought so long and often that they were constantly on the verge of getting a divorce. I think I was traumatized, so I’ve never been able to commit. It’s weird–I want to be in a relationship for the companionship but I have rarely been able to picture my life with any of the guys I’ve dated. In fact, at this point in my life I don’t want to be married and I certainly won’t do so without a pre-nup.

Recently, my parents decided to officially split up. It’s been a really rough past few months, and I’m not sure why but it really hit me hard. My initial reaction was, Damn, I definitely don’t want to get married now. Now it’s more like, I’m 31 and have never been married and now I’ve got so many issues I’m going to end up alone. People keep saying, “Oh, well at least you’re older. It won’t affect you.” But the truth is, I’m incredibly sensitive and it does affect me. I mean, my family is falling apart.

I’m way too honest on the Internet.  And in real life. And on first dates.

I also sleep with people on the first date (usually, except not with ugly people). I know society has this rule that most people follow and I had an asshole friend tell me that this short dude probably dumped me because I slept with him on the first date and he thought I was a floozy, but you know what? I don’t care. I am not interested in playing games. If I like someone, and I want to sleep with them, then I will. And then I’ll cry if they don’t fall in love with me immediately.

 

This weekend, I watched Young Adult with Charlize Theron. And then I wanted to  kill myself because Mavis, the main character, really reminded me of myself. She’s got the perfect life in every way possible with the exception of her love life. She’s also always unhappy and suffers from depression (although, aren’t those two things often interconnected? being unhappy and depressed?). She’s essentially a train wreck and a bit lot like me. So she goes back to her hometown to look up her ex boyfriend and try to get back together with him, because, of course, he must love her and want to be with her.

Not that I’ve done this recently. Ahem. Okay, I can’t lie. I’ve looked up an ex boyfriend recently. Whatever.

My point is, I can’t tell what’s wrong with me anymore. I’m sick of everything and everyone, and I can’t tell if I’m actually fucked up or if I’m just doing the depressed thing where I feel guilty about everything and can’t be nice to myself. If you’ve ever read William Styron’s book Darkness Visible, he’s got a great line in there about how depression is about self-hatred. This is more true than you’ll ever know.

I don’t really know how to “fix” this whole overly attached thing, and I think to compound issues I don’t think I’m meeting the right guys anymore. I keep doing that pet project thing, where I date people who are fucked up in some way and I want to help them. I don’t know if I realized I was doing that until I met a dude like me (ambitious, has their shit together, etc) and I was really attracted to this person. Attracted to them in such a way that felt right and felt like I would be comfortable being myself around them and not wondering if my opinions or success would offend them. That was a nice feeling. (Damn, I really have been settling.)

My family has been trying to tell me for years that I’ve been dating beneath what I should be and that I’ve been settling. Of course I ignored them. What do they know? I think I’ve inadvertently been dating ugly dudes or unsuccessful dudes thinking…and this sounds terrible…that they won’t leave me because they’ll never find anything better. Too honest? Oh well. I was proved wrong years ago, when I dated someone so embarrassingly ugly and he cheated on me with his ex-girlfriend. Even ugly people can be assholes.

So, I’ve written this blog post with you in mind. To those of you who know that EVERYTHING in my life is going stellar: I have a fucking fantastic job, some TV shit going on, a book that’s been requested by some great publishers, and I live in one of the most amazing areas of Southern California. And just to brag for a second: everything I put my mind to doing, gets done (and done well). I’m on a bit of a professional high–shit is coming together in ways I never thought it would. But, I wanted to let you know that even with a near-perfect life, one thing hasn’t ever been perfect–my love life. And I seriously doubt it ever will. So, when I’m sitting on the beach drinking a beer or talking to my agent about future projects and you’re stuck with crying children or a smelly husband, just remember this post. And take joy in the fact that even when I’m rich and famous, I’ll still be alone…

Except for the hot sex I’m having with my boy toy.

 

 

Sick or Pregnant?

Yesterday I started feeling it-what everyone else has been feeling for months.

The winter cold.

At least I think its a cold. Everyone around me has been sick with much worse, so if I just end up with a cold, I’ll be happy.

I filled my body with fresh veggies yesterday and today, fruit juice and vitamins. And then I sort of took a three hour nap.

Well, not sort of. I did.

And it was awesome, minus the sweats my fever gave me. Unfortunately, I think I need to go straight back to bed because I’m exhausted. Yes, from sleeping.

The funny thing about being a girl around my age (31 and proud) is that when anything happens to your body that’s abnormal, friends start randomly saying you’re pregnant.

Yesterday this happened on Facebook and it was pretty hilarious. I’ve got a runny nose and am craving veggies after all the holiday junk food and everyone starts saying, “Preggers!”

Babies are so adorable, but not something I’m ready for right now. Now that my cold is developing more, it makes me laugh even more. Can’t sleep? Pregnant. Grumpy at work? Pregnant. Can’t stop crying? Pregnant. Bad cramps? Pregnant.

We women seriously go through life always thinking we could be pregnant and when we aren’t pregnant, we get a little bummed out-even when we aren’t ready for a kid. It’s so contradictory, but who cares? I can’t wait til I have a little baby bump, no matter how scared I am of popping that little tyke out of my vagina. And regardless of my not being able to afford a little runt, I imagine I’d make it work pretty damn well. Being a mother is something that I try to act nonchalant about, as if I really don’t care, BUT seriously, if I could get a little cold and have it turn into a little pregnancy, I probably would.

Babies

Awww, the baby!

 

I’m going through a baby craze right now.

I’m 30.

I’m not married.

I make money, and am working steadily toward reaching some of my life-long ambitions.

So, what is it about babies that are so intriguing to me right now?

They throw up on you. They wake you up in the middle of the night. You can’t just carry them around like a purse and set them down. You actually have to keep up with them. Not like my cat, which is pretty independent when I’m at work. I don’t need a cat sitter. I have a litter box and a few toys for him.

Babies aren’t cats.

Sometimes I psychoanalyze myself. With the marriage and babies thing, I’ve come up with this: maybe the reason I want a home with a husband and a baby right now is that I was involved in a group (Master’s Commission/Our Savior’s Church) that summed up womanhood into two activities:

motherhood

and

marriage.

Maybe that’s not it. But, it’s probably a significant portion of my obsession with marriage and babies.

Waiting to Get Married

My dating life has gone through a radical change.

I used to date Christians only. They had to be super spiritual, really love Jesus and read the Bible a lot. Past that, I don’t know if I considered much else.

Now, I date men who are not religious, respect me as a woman, and can handle a saucy woman. Sauc-y!

When I was still into uber Christian men, the only thing I wanted to do was walk down the aisle and pop out some little chickadees of my own. Maybe decorate my house, too. Oh, and collect tea cups.

I never gave myself the time to discover my own hobbies, my likes and dislikes, if I liked fried eggs or boiled eggs or poached eggs. (Notting Hill reference, 🙂 )

I was waiting. A Lady in Waiting, as a book I once read called it. One of those women who was waiting for my Prince Charming to come sweep me off my feet and solve all my problems and take away my loneliness. Waiting for a spouse to COMPLETE MY LIFE.

Until I found my spouse, there was nothing worth living for.

Eventually, I decided that was unrealistic, kind of co-dependent and desperate.

I had to become the  tYpE of            person who

a) was happy and <3 in love <3 with MYself

b) solved my own problems

c) resolved my own feelings of loneliness by creating hobbies, other friends and things that would keep my active mind going.