I Should Be Engaged

Original Post by Duly Noted.
January 8, 2016 by Corinne Rogero

I want to be engaged this year. As of yesterday I’ve been on this earth for more than twenty-three years, and I think it’s about time for me to be engaged.

I’ve been asking people on my Home Team what one word they want to hold true for 2016, and when the question was finally reciprocated by my friend Sanford, I couldn’t come up with anything. I hadn’t found one that quite fit just yet.

I would say seemingly meaningful words aloud to see if their meanings would hold any significance for what I want this next year to be.

I rustled up words like depth or rest or value and announced them to myself in the car or in the shower or on my walk to work. Nothing was clicking.

Until I drove to Joshua Tree yesterday morning, and that’s when a word so unexpected was whispered into the silence around me: engaged.

And I know it’s the right word for this next year because it scares me to say it aloud. I knew as soon as I heard it that it wasn’t my idea- I’d never ask for something so radical.

But as I sit in this snow-covered coffee shop on the side of Bear Mountain, that word keeps repeating itself in my mind to the point that I can feel it making itself at home and warming everything in me like the flat white in my coffee mug.

So for my twenty-fourth year of life I want to be engaged, but it’s probably not what you think.

I’m as single as a slice of American cheese right now, which is perfect for me and I prefer it that way.

But when I say I want to be engaged, I don’t mean I’m looking for a fiance.

I mean I want to be engaged in the sense that I’m mindful of the people and surroundings and culture and the spiritual warfare around me.

I want to establish meaningful connections with the person on the other side of my coffee mug or in the booth across from me at dinner or in the passenger seat of my car.

I want to lean in and connect with the stories being told. I want to actively console the sorrows being shared. I don’t want to go through conversations absentmindedly anymore.

Because after two decades of being distracted by tomorrow and by my phone and by what’s happening in my peripheral, it’s about time I was engaged fully in these moments.

I just finished A Hobbit A Wardrobe and A Great War by Joseph Loconte. It’s a book about J.R.R. Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis and how the events of WWI shaped their views on life, transformed their writing, and grew them together as best friends.

I came across a quote in one of the last chapters from Lewis about what true friendship is and he says,

You will not find the warrior, the poet, the philosopher or the Christian by staring into his eyes as if he were your mistress: better to fight beside him, read with him, argue with him, pray with him.

I don’t think we’ll ever be fully engaged in the lives of others by staring at them through Instagram or Snapchat or by stalking their musical tastes on Spotify (all of which I’m fully guilty).

I think engagement happens when we turn off our phones and laptops and TVs and fight beside the people we love and want to know more.

It happens when we sit together in the silence of reading or doing a puzzle together or in the gentle murmur of prayer for one another.

I want to be engaged with this planet in my next year of life. I’ve already explored some of the most incredible landscapes in the past few months of living in California, but it’s only one state and I have the world at my fingertips.

So do you.

But if we never take the time to stick up for ourselves, to ask our employers for time away to rest and leave our cubicles and occupy our bodies and minds with the waterfalls and mountains and deserts and cobblestone streets of this planet, are we really living?

I want to engage in other cultures and environments and languages in this next year. I want to encounter more new places and faces than sticking to the social norms would allow.

More than that, I want to engage in the invisible war that’s taking place over the souls of the people around me.

I want to be locked and loaded with an arsenal of grace and truth and boldness to bring the good news of hope into the lives that intersect mine.

I want to be fully aware of God’s presence in every moment and not as much like Jacob who woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I didn’t know it!”

John 1:10-11 says, “[Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”

I don’t want to be one of His own who is too busy or distracted or preoccupied to recognize his presence in every moment.

I heard a pastor once say, “The holiest moment in life is the one happening right now,” and I think he’s absolutely correct.

Because the enemy has quietly and viciously crept into this world and distracted us with empty connections and excuses of worrying about tomorrow.

C.S. Lewis portrays this in The Screwtape Letters. The antagonist Screwtape maliciously states,

The present is the point at which time touches eternity…It is far better to make [humans] live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities.

If I want to be engaged in the holiest of moments, if I want to live fully aware of the battle taking place for the weary, helpless souls around me, tomorrow can (responsibly) worry about itself.

It’s a new year, I’m another year older, and I want nothing more than to be engaged.

Will you be engaged with me? Will you spend more time being present in the present and interacting with the current landscape and giving the enemy a good dose of his own fear as your heart and mind sync up with these points in time that touch eternity?

I think life looks better engaged, regardless of whether there’s a ring involved or not.

Because we have a God who’s engaged and none of us did anything to deserve his fullness in every moment.

Stop for just a second and hear Him gently whisper,

Wake up to the life around you, my child. Awaken your senses to the people and places and my presence in this life, and I will wrap you up in light.

Lately I get  these perfect thoughts in my head and I sprint to the keyboard to type them out… but my fingers can’t decipher all the thoughts racing behind my eyes. I decided to carry a journal again so I could jot down my thoughts as I go, but the distance from my brain to my fingertips must be too far to travel. I fail at writing down the emotions coursing through me. But what if, it’s not the fact that I am failing in translation, what if, it is simply that my skin is so alive and on fire that it burns to pause.

I was asleep for so long I forgot what it felt like to be set aflame. I want to run everywhere again, and see everything that is available to be seen!  I also want to simply stand, and soak up everything that I am feeling, unmoved from the moment.

I want to be awed by the world. I want to be awed by people. I want to bask in the humanity of beautiful moments. I want to drown in the beauty of this planet.

It’s nice to say Hello to me again.

An Open Letter to a Man I Wish I Could Love

You deserve a mad, passionate, extraordinary love. We all do. And I am not giving that to you. How unfair.

There have been so many moments where you have shined and I say to myself “how beautiful of him, why don’t I love him”.

You are compassionate, supportive, funny, caring, giving, and extravagant in your love. You are always willing to please and are eternally helpful.

So why can’t I love you? After all the atrocities that I have dated, why is it that when you come along, I simply cannot bring my heart to love? No matter how much I have tried?

Through the last few months, I have come to realize that although you are an incredible man, you are not the right man for me. As I am also not the right woman for you. I do not love you ferociously as you do me. I do not express the passion for you, as you do me. I am failing to be a considerate and generous companion as my heart continues to make the realizations that we are not perfect for one another. Although I do so desire to be this for you, because you deserve all these things and more, I cannot force my heart.

I want someone to light up your life and empower you, you deserve this. I want someone to give you their everything, I want this for myself.

I want to run down the aisle to someone someday because the idea of spending forever with them can’t come soon enough. And I want someone to run to you.

I want someone who can make you feel incredibly special, blessed, by just their presence. I actually think we had this… I’m sorry it wasn’t enough for me.

I’m sorry that I am making this selfish decision, because I know it is selfish. You do not want this, but I truly believe that we both need this. Even if it is for the simple reason, that you truly deserve better than me. You deserve that full, all encompassing love that you have been giving. I really hope you can see that, I am sorry for hurting you, but I want more for you.

When it comes to the timing, no this is not perfect, but when is a good time to pull away from someone you have invested so much time in? I couldn’t have done this any sooner because I wasn’t sure, I still so wanted to fall for you. I also can’t continue to drag this out on you. As cliche as it may sound, life really is too short, and I don’t want to waste any more of your time. I say that, but I truly hope you do not feel that our time together was wasted.

I learned a great deal about myself during all of this. You showed me things that I deserve in a relationship, and made me aware that those traits exist. I am forever grateful, for before you I was losing hope in finding many of your qualities in another.

I will say this knowing you may not want this, but I do hope we can maintain the friendship. More than anything, I can say that my friendship for you has grown immensely and I hope we do not lose this completely.

Can I apologize enough for it? Are there words that can make this ok in your eyes? If there were I would write them. I do not want to hurt you, but I do not want to hold you back from finding the one that can make your soul sing.

Please forgive me, for I wished to love you, I simply couldn’t.

 

A Relationship Explained in Paramore Songs

I found this gem buried in my drafts section. How funny that I was able to use one band to describe an entire relationship haha. *These are great tunes, all lyrics and songs are Paramore and YouTube found.

 

The day we met:

Wish I could find a crystal ball…
For the days I feel completely worthless
You know I’d use it all for good,
I would not take it for granted
Instead I have some memories… for the days I don’t feel anything.
At the least, they will remind me not to make the same mistakes again.

Years Later:

You never, you never said
This wasn’t what you wanted
Was it, was it?

This isn’t what you wanted
This isn’t what you wanted

When She Hurt You:

I settled down a twisted up frown
Disguised as a smile, well
You would have never known

I had it all
But, not what I wanted
’cause hope for me was a place uncharted and overgrown

You’d make your way in
I’d resist you just like this

How I still felt about you:

Well you built up a world of magic
Because your real life is tragic
Yeah you built up a world of magic
If it’s not real
You can’t hold it in your hand
You can’t feel it with your heart
And I won’t believe it
But if it’s true
You can see it with your eyes
Oh, even in the dark
And that’s where I want to be, yeah

Your song to me:


So one day he found her crying
Coiled up on the dirty ground
Her prince finally came to save her
And the rest you can figure out
But it was a trick
And the clock struck twelve
Well make sure to build your house brick by boring brick
Or the wolf’s gonna blow it down

When I found out:

The truth is hiding in your eyes
And its hanging on your tongue
Just boiling in my blood

You were my conscience, so solid
Now you’re like water
And we started drowning
Not like we’d sink any further
But I let my heart go,
It’s somewhere down at the bottom
But I’ll get a new one
And come back for the hope that you’ve stolen

The End:

But you think that I can’t see
What kind of man that you are
If you’re a man at all
Well I will figure this one out
On my own


You can’t tell me to heal
And it hurts remembering
How it felt to shut down

The Way I Look At Me

I finally caught your eye yesterday… I know you saw me. All black Johnny Cash outfit at the gym. I could feel your stare my entire workout. Every weight I lifted I could see your eyes trailing over every curve of my arm, to my shoulder, along the outline, down the slope of my hip and back again, analyzing. I could sense the judgement in your look, but there was an overall acceptance of progress and drive. You were accepting of the fact that I was there, a female taking up free weight space.

Surprisingly, unlike the recent past, I wasn’t as self conscious as I had been on other gym days. Even though I knew you were laughing at my facial expressions when I struggled to put up the last few reps. I know you noticed the extra weight around my middle, not as prominent as it has been, but there. The shorts I had on made an extra roll I wasn’t particularly fond of. But yea I get it, I don’t have a six pack yet, but stand by, it’s coming! I know you watched as I moved from machine to weights, move to move, struggle to struggle. You never took your eyes off me.

Finally, during the rest on my last set of the hour you spoke.

“You are looking good, I like how far you’ve come. Yea, you have some goals to hit still, but you have got this. You look better to me than you have in a long time.”

“Thank you”, I said to myself, “Thank you for realizing what you have accomplished, what you are capable of and what you know you are about to discover about your abilities. You have a long way to go, but you are finally happy looking in the mirror”.

Sometimes, you need to check yourself out at the gym and remind yourself you only have one body and you should love every muscle, every fat roll, every scar and say “Damn self, you are looking good!”

Give yourself a pep talk today!

 

He Put The Corn in Corny

Literally… He went for it, spelling out his desires in a cold yellow vegetable. But the sentiment, the thought, was anything but cold, and maybe melted this heart of mine just enough.

I have come to realize in my life the things we should run from and the things we should grasp on to for dear life. Many of these things I had twisted. I was running from good people and grasping on to my self preservation. I had loved so hard for so long that the constant torture and pain from ending that relationship was never over. Every time I let someone hurt me I felt his pain again. I longed for him instead of the one who just left. Loving was never truly loving, it was a temporary dissolve of emotion that I could utilize to hide my struggle. Because it was my fault after all, I left.

The bigger issue with this, you end up feeling bull dozed by all the bullshit you let in to you life. I allowed myself to have my self esteem destroyed by one, to feel like I deserved to watch another get married, to understand why another couldn’t just have me but needed more. I allowed these things to happen to me while I built walls and froze myself off to anything that could possibly be good for me.

With this, I was so far away from expecting this one to be anything more than a friend, I very literally laughed when someone brought to my attention that he was clearly trying to enter the race for my heart. No way, we are just friends, I have known him for over a year, there is no way… Then he showed up at my door with a dozen roses and a smile that I couldn’t ignore… Yep… He is trying for me. Shit.

Shit. Shit. Shit! Here we go. A truly good guy that I am obviously not ready for. I just went through a train wreck of scenarios. I am bitter. I don’t know what I want. This isn’t going to work. I’m going to hurt him.

Don’t kiss him! Whatever you do after this date, DON’T KISS HIM!

You kissed him… you’re an idiot.

O.K… just tell him the truth about you, you suck at this thing of dating and you will probably run away from him a couple times and he should go now before it gets serious… He should be the one to run away actually, physically run if possible, the sooner the better.

Why is he still standing here? I just told him I was bitter and didn’t know what I wanted and I would probably hurt him and he is still standing here… He is standing here telling me that it would be worth it, I would be worth it. He will give me the time to figure it out, but he wants this.

So he is crazy? Blind maybe? A masochist?! Or will I have another push over good guy that I train wreck… It’s been a few years since I have done this, I am due for one right?

Wrong…

What I was actually due for, was a solid person to invest their interest in me at the same magnitude that I invest. It was time for me to get out of my own way and let someone worthy in. It was time for the guy who wouldn’t give up, the guy who was just himself, the man that was so incredibly willing to possibly be crushed by me that would end up breaking this ridiculous trend of self destruction.

And even then, I continued to talk myself out of it until I came home on lunch one day. There he was, simply and unapologetically himself, standing next to a pizza and a Yankee candle with little pieces of corn arranged just right.

“Will you be my gf?”

And through my laughter, I would break the vicious cycle and allow in the Nice Guy.

I No Longer Have Patience

I have been going through a lot of interesting transitional scenarios in my life currently. I had a friend of mine send me this quote by José Micard Teixeira. This quote was most recently mistaken for a Meryl Streep quote, I admire the woman, but need to credit the correct author.

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” 

 

This really hit home for me, and it brings to light a lot of things I have learned about myself over the years. Although I have always been strong and independent, I have always had an issue with cutting people out of my life who did not add anything to it. I hung on to old relationships, whether a lover or friend. I made excuses for old friends who were no longer the person I connected with. I made excuses for myself on why I had allowed to be treated in certain ways in love. I avoided the idea of severing communications with these people… because what if?

Over the last year I have gained confidence in the ideas of what happiness is to me and the people who add or subtract from it. I no longer have patience for things that hurt me, I no longer want to waste my time holding on to things that will never be, I lost the will to continuously try to please those that do not expel the same efforts in my direction.

I have become a pro at finding friendships in people that enlighten me, grow me, challenge me and bring an overall sense of trust and understanding in souls of amazing human beings. These people continue to push me towards a greater sense of myself and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I have a tendency to give with a ferocity that has yet to be met in love. I am not desperate, exact opposite; I am not looking to snatch up a husband by any means. I am simply looking for my…. well my dude I guess. I never really know how to describe what I want, because it’s easier to describe what you don’t want. I no longer have time for disrespect, I no longer tolerate laziness or bad habits that are harmful and/or disrespectful, I don’t have time to settle for anything less than what I deserve and I have decided to not waste my time with someone who does not deserve my time. I want a guy who desires, strives, laughs, enjoys and lives.

And he has to like animals.

 

Weather The Storm

I am awake before I choose to open my eyes. I can hear the thunder rolling through the sky, rain pattering the ground hard, flashes of lightning through my eye lids. This is what I call a perfect storm. My body can tell it is not quite morning, even with the storm it is still too dark for it to be time for me to wake. So why am I waking? It is then that my body processes the soft touch of his hand on my hip. The sensation on my thigh still lingers from the trek up my body. The feel of his hot breath and soft kisses on my neck.

“Good morning my love” is whispered, he knows I will hear it.

I lose myself in the fog of exhaustion and passion. I refuse to open my eyes, to fully allow myself to wake for I want to live in this dream. I wish to feel my way through the mess of sheets and find his lips with my lips. I crave to allow our bodies to tangle and intertwine as the storm makes its way through the core of me.

His touch tingles my skin with every rain drop, my heartbeat can be heard over the thunder. Flashes of lightning allow me to see glimpses of the desire in his stare. I will not be able to weather this storm. Each clap of thunder, each wave of passion breaks down the wall. My structure is weakened.

I will not be able to weather the storm that is this man.

I have so many words in me and I don’t know where to put them all. I don’t know how to let them out slow, to stop them pouring. Place your fingers to my lips, let some of them drip down your wrist.

– Tyler Knott Gregson

Between the Sheets

passion

I could see the desire in his eyes. Immediately I was nervous, unsure that I was able to keep up with the carnal interest he was devouring me with. I could feel what he wanted and swear I could already taste his lips. He was across the room but I knew… He approached me slowly and with each step my heart quickened. I was anxious and excited, couldn’t wait for him to be next to me yet so afraid I would make the wrong move.

His arms slipped around my waist and I could feel his hot breath on my neck, ever so gently tracing with his kiss until he reached my lips. I knew I would lose my grip on reality in this moment. I was swept away in a blaze, lost in a tangle of skin and passion. Could this be real? Was this a dream? The playful bite on my shoulder assured me that I was most certainly awake and alive. Wrapped up between the sheets and the length of his body I was gone. The feel of his lips tracing the contours of my body and his strong grip moving me where he pleased… how could I say no? Was there ever a chance that I could have resisted?