I am Mandy. I have tried this blogging thing so many times it is ridiculous. I will start a blog but I write stupid posts that have no theme other than how I like some guy and he doesn't like me or that I am SO READY FOR THE WEEKEND. Going back and looking at these posts has made me realize just how shallow I have been over the years. Yes, my Catholic faith has always been a guiding force. Yes, I have loved my family and friends with all my heart. Yes, I have been a successful teacher. Yes, I have had a tons of fun.
The problem is, though, I haven't been consistently happy. And I always blamed that on external circumstances. "Guys are just such jerks." "I have no money." "People just expect too much of me." "I have curly hair and that's why I'm single."
So in order to fix these problems that were so CLEARLY stacked against me (umm.. please note my sarcasm) I of course continued to date jerks, I continued to live a lifestyle that I couldn't afford (bars, expensive restaurants, shopping sprees, etc), I continued to sign myself up for too many responsibilities that I couldn't possibly keep up with, and I continued to spend time with people who the only real thing we had in common was our love for alcohol. The only thing I did do to "fix" myself was spend countless hours and too much money straightening my hair. And surprise, surprise, that didn't exactly solve all my problems.
The funny thing is this: The past few months I have quit going to bars (as much, I mean I still go when appropriate), I started a young professionals group at church which has admittedly been a huge undertaking, I have given up on straight hair, and I have spent many Saturday nights alone on my couch. Recently, alone on my couch and cross-stitching. That's really depressing, isn't it?
Except.. not depressing at all. I've never felt more fulfilled, more NOT lonely, more in touch and happy with who I am and how God made me, more connected with the friends that have understood my hiatus from the social world and have stuck by me, and I have become friends with some amazing people I probably would have never thought I had much in common with.
Now, I've still had my moments. I went to a teaching conference this past week with some beautiful women (inside and out) with whom I work and I was the only one not engaged or married. The wedding talk was all consuming at times and I felt that awful green eyed monster rear his ugly head up. It was work to squash him and took me a few minutes to really stand up to him. But I did tell that monster where to go and it was worth it because really, isn't it an honor to have friends confide in you about THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN A WOMAN'S LIFE?
Anyway, it is the Fourth of July and I have no plans other than spending the day with my parents, their foster child, and my three year old sister/godchild. Last year, I did everything I could to avoid such a lame fate. I even spent the day in the rain at a pool to avoid having the depressing task of spending a "party day" with my family. Because of that, I missed out on getting to know my cousin's future wife, spending the day with my grandmother, who won't be around forever, and seeing my precious goddaughter's eyes light up at the beauty and wonder of fireworks.
This year, I had an invitation to a lake party with some friends. They are all great people, don't get me wrong, but something told me I needed to lay low this year. Maybe God knows that I've come pretty far on my journey to His plan for my life and that a day on a lake with unlimited alcohol and people drinking and partying might be a detour I can't afford to take. I've already taken a few detours and have been lucky enough to back on the right path. I know that I won't always be so lucky.
It is so freeing and liberating to know that I can be happy without having plans that impress other people. I cannot tell you have amazing it feels to not be constantly worried about what people think or how I'm going to have fun next. I know without a shadow of a doubt that my future Fourth of July's will be filled with love, laughter, and one day a husband and children. Until then, I am not doing ANYTHING that will get in the way of all the wonderful things God has planned for me. I know that I will continue to be chaotic and silly and make stupid choices. But I know now more than ever that it's okay as long as I do my part to keep on the path and avoid detours.
Let freedom ring, y'all!!