A Dizzy Blonde

I just woke up and it is almost 11 PM.

It was strange, too, because I happened to wake in the middle of taking a shower. I stood there in the center of the clean glass box while a few songs hummed on my iPhone, letting the water rush over face and hair. All of a sudden my eyes opened and it was like lightening had struck my brain and woken it up.

I looked around, wondering what time it was and why I couldn’t remember what had happened the rest of the day.

This is a day in the life of the chronically ill.

After being sick for three years I have progressed so much. I feel so blessed to be where I am today, and that more of my days are good than bad. In fact, many of my symptoms have disappeared completely! Today, though, was rough. I was so dizzy that I had to spend my time lying on the couch or resting in between packing a few items in my suitcase for my weekend beach trip. The view from my couch reminded me of my illness three years ago when that was my entire life. It reminded me of how thankful I should be every single day, despite the symptoms I do have. I am so blessed that my brain functions normally most days (My symptom along with the dizziness today would have been called “brain fog” by the POTS community), and I am blessed that I am getting better, even though I’m not there yet.

I will write more later, as I am still “waking up” from my fog, but I just wanted a reminder to myself to be thankful most days for the health that I do have.

 

Feature Friday: The Face Behind 100 Selfies

If you didn’t catch my feature post last week, go check it out and then come back to this!

We saw how much Stephen cares about his fiancée… But how did she feel about being the center of attention every day for 100 days? I sat down with Kylie to find out and had the pleasure of learning what a sweet and wise young lady she is.

Single in The Suburbs:
It seems like there is a lot of positive feedback from friends about the Kylie selfies. How does it feel being featured every day for 100 days in a row? 

Kylie:
I have loved the 100 Kylie selfies! Initially I was so surprised — my friend was actually the one that showed me the first post and I cried at how sweet of an idea it was. Stephen’s thought that went behind the posts is very special to me. I knew he had been collecting them, but I never knew how he would end up using them. A lot of the selfies I took certainly were not meant to be on social media so they are not as flattering as what I would normally post myself, but that makes it funny and real and meaningful. I love reading the messages that go along with each selfie and seeing how many pictures have been posted — because each day I’m getting closer to marrying him!

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“I love sharing about my day with you after work. ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬

SITS:
What is your favorite thing about Stephen? 

Kylie:
There is so much I could say about Stephen! I’ll name a few favorites. First, he has a quirky sense of humor filled with sarcastic jokes and puns that I absolutely love. Second, he is incredibly passionate and hardworking at everything he does. Third, he loves music just as much (or more) than I do. I love being able to share that with him.

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“I love figuring out chords and harmonies to new songs with you. ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬

SITS:
How many selfies do you think you have sent to your fiancee?

Kylie:
Ha! I could not tell you. I didn’t even realize I had taken over 100 on his phone, but I definitely think I’m below the 150 mark. I don’t know. I think selfies are weird and funny, especially when they go unnoticed in your photos for a while! And I definitely have forgotten about some of them. It’s cool, though, because I’ve mostly been able to pick out when and where each selfie was taken!

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“Thanks for your grace in my failings and the constant support to be a better man. I love you. ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬”

SITS:
How does it feel that even strangers (like me!) are happy for y’all and following your “100 Selfies?”

Kylie:
It’s great that people are enjoying the posts and are happy for us! I think it is funny that my face is on all of our friends’ newsfeeds each day and all of a sudden. We have even had some friends call him out on their expectations for this series! Honestly, I don’t mind whether or not the selfies receive a lot of attention on social media. This is something that I personally look forward to and enjoy because it is from Stephen. When I see the selfies, I see us, and not so much of everyone else that is liking and commenting on them.

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“You are more beautiful than the roses you sometimes hide behind. Can you spot Kylie in this picture? ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬ ‪#‎camouflaged‬

SITS:
Are you doing anything as a countdown until the big day? 

Kylie:
I have considered doing a 30 day countdown with Stephen’s selfies and doing the same thing (things I love about him, things I look forward to in the future with him, etc). I am not the only one who sneaks selfies — his are just less consistent! However, I really will have to see if I even have 30 of his. I may be short a few.

4

“I love spending my weekends with you. Unfortunately this isn’t a weekend we get to spend together. But the good news is that this two week stretch will now be the longest time we spend apart until we get married! ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬

SITS:
You and Stephen seem to be very happy together! What kind of tips would you give my single readers for finding someone who is a good fit for them?

Thank you! We really are. Stephen and I were friends before pursuing a relationship.  When I started crushing on him, I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it and I did not let it affect who I was. I would say that being comfortable with yourself and who you are is absolutely the most important thing. Everything else just happened to fall into place for me. Then at that point, reflect on yourself and who you are. If who you are as an individual aligns with who you are with that special someone, I would say you’re on the right track. Nothing is more special than someone loving and appreciating you for exactly who you are (all the quirks and faults included)!
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This is the first of several “Feature Friday” posts to come. If you ever want to be featured, send me a message or leave a comment on any of my posts; I would love to share the story of you and your boo!

My Faith Is Shaking

I told you all I was going to be very open about my journey with God on this, but I haven’t had much to write about lately. I hadn’t thought too much about things and then got a little spooked about writing about the doubts and concerns I have on here. After all, my thinking was that just because I am struggling in my journey with Jesus doesn’t mean I should force doubt into other people’s minds who might be wondering about Christianity. I don’t want to stall someone else’s journey by bringing up questions that make them re-think anything too. Then a few things dawned on me. Maybe other people have the same questions I have. Maybe I’ll get some of the answers I am looking for and can be an example in the future of someone who once really stumbled — after all, the proof is right here in ink. I won’t be writing in the cheery “I have things figured out now, so can preach my story with enthusiasm and strength” tone. Instead I will range anywhere from angry to excited or confused. My emotions in a journey to find everlasting love are going to be very fresh, raw, rough, and genuine. I’m scared, but I also feel a twinge of excitement and hope.

One of my best friends who I really look up to told me the other day that she didn’t know the answer to one of my questions but that

“God is bigger than our questions and He can handle them, so keep asking!”

It took everything I had to not cry in relief. I have been afraid to ask so many questions for such a long time because I felt like they might take a hit to the little bit of faith I do have left. I felt like I couldn’t afford to lose any of the beliefs I was clinging onto so desperately, and that I didn’t want to risk anything by asking very tough, very real questions.

I know some of you aren’t as interested in reading about my faith as the goofy dating stories I like to tell and that’s fine — you can come back when I have other posts up or I can lose you as a reader today. This blog was initially created in order to make people laugh, but as many things do, has grown. It’s become a much more personal blog about my life, which does still include dating. I’ll still have a wide variety of stories, but this is something I am going to include from now on too, as it’s very close to my heart.

Hopefully I’ll begin getting the answers and security in my relationship with Jesus that I so long for. I am hoping the desire to have it is at least a good start.

Love,
Krista

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CONFUSION.

This story is something I think is a hilarious typical millennial move.

As I was drinking my morning cup of tea I got a text from “Matt,” saying that we needed to catch up and that he’d love to take me out soon. I realized that we hadn’t seen each other in awhile and figured it would be fun to hear about his recent trip to Asia. We texted back and forth for a bit and finally agreed that we would go out after one of my classes in two weeks.

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That time went by quickly, as my schedule is always packed, and he texted me the day of to confirm the plan. Matt was going to pick me up after my class and take me to dinner near my University. Perfect!

Something dawned on me that day, though. Was I certain this was the Matt I was thinking of? I assumed since there was no last name that it must be the Matt I knew from my childhood, but since I got a new iPhone we didn’t have any chat history so I couldn’t look back on previous conversations to piece the puzzle together. It seemed too late to ask which Matt this was — after all, I had already agreed to go out with him — so I went on with my day without giving it another thought. I surely would have put “Matt OKC” or added a last name if it was someone I didn’t know very well.

He called me after class and we discussed where he would pick me up on campus. I was a little taken off guard as his “phone voice” was quite different than what he usually sounded like, which only furthered my suspicion that this was possibly a different Matt. I began to think it must be the one from my friend circle in undergrad. I didn’t know this Matt very well, but I felt comfortable going out with him still.

I met him by the Starbucks on campus and walked up to the silver Camero he had described… As I opened the door I realized that this was not Matt #1, OR Matt #2, but this was a third Matt! Matt #3 was someone I had actually met pretty recently in graduate school. I played it off like I was expecting to see him, but I was completely taken off guard — thank goodness he was driving so he didn’t notice the surprised look on my face.

We actually had a really nice time, and I ended up making plans to hang out with him and some of our friends again soon. I added his last name to my phone as soon as I got home that night.

Today’s lesson: Always put first and last names in your phone. Especially with common names like “Matt!”

 

Feature Friday

I am a huge sucker for romance.

That’s what makes running a dating blog such a joy for me. So many people have reached out asking for dating advice or just to tell me about a great date or love interest in their life. I genuinely love hearing about it all, so please keep writing me!

Anyway, I had noticed a friend of mine from high school got engaged and started a countdown of 100 Kylie Selfies dedicated to his fiancée until their big day, so naturally I had to reach out and see if I could hear their story — it must be great, since it was clear he just adored her.

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Kylie and Stephen met about three years ago at a Christian organization called Cru at James Madison University. They both played in the worship band and started dating shortly after they became friends.

Single in The Suburbs:
How did you come up with the idea for “100 Kylie Selfies?”

Stephen:
Honestly, I’m not sure how I came up with the idea. I have been saving these selfies basically as long as I’ve known Kylie and figured that one day I would use them or go back through them. About two months ago I was thinking about how she and I are close to being under 100 days until we get married and the idea just came to me as a funny way to celebrate the countdown.

SITS:
Did she know that you were going to do the countdown or did you just start posting the pictures?

Stephen:
It’s funny because when I came up with the idea I was really excited about it, so I texted her something like, “I just the had the BEST idea!” Then I realized I didn’t want to tell her what it was until the countdown began.

She was upset with me because I teased her with that text, but I was just excited and wanted to share the idea until I realized it would be more fun to wait. On the first #100KylieSelfies post, Kylie was actually playing with the Cru Band (which she took over leading after I graduated). At the end of the meeting her friends showed her the post and she loved it.

kylieone

“Over the last few years Kylie has taken my phone when I wasn’t looking to leave surprise selfies for when I would next look through my photos. I’ve been collecting those pictures for a long time but haven’t been sure what to use them for until now. Today marks 100 days until I marry this beautiful woman and to celebrate the countdown, I’ve decided to post some of my favorites from the collection along with reasons why I love her. Here’s to ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬. I love you, Kylie.”

SITS:
What is the sweetest thing you have ever done for Kylie?

Stephen:
I suppose the sweetest thing I have done for Kylie is proposing to her. I am really particular about the word “love” and actually waited until our engagement to tell Kylie that I love her. I know that withholding might sound extreme, but to me love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. I feel like saying “I love you” is as strong and committed as saying “I will choose to love you no matter what.” So getting to propose and finally say, “I love you” was the biggest/sweetest thing I can think of in our relationship.

That said, I feel like the sweet things we do for each other aren’t necessarily big, stand-out things. For example, I call her every morning on my way to work to wake her up and say hi. That’s a small thing, but it means a lot to her. She always just says “Mmmm” because she’s half asleep and I tell her that I hope she has a great day. I think it’s the little things that add up in our relationship.

kylie_selfie

“These just get better and better. Kylie is persistent and extremely hard working. She is equally persistent in leaving selfies on my phone. I love her. ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬”

SITS:
That’s adorable! What is the sweetest thing she has done for you?

Stephen:
Kylie does a lot of little sweet things for me… Things like surprising me with my favorite coffee — triple tall americano black — or sending me funny memes over Facebook. She is also just generally an awesome supporter.

kylie_note.jpg

“I love the notes you leave behind. #100kylieselfies #notaselfie”

SITS:
Do you have a favorite selfie?

Stephen:
Man, I’m not sure if I have one in particular, but my favorites tend to be the sillier ones that capture our goofiness in small ways. Like the post I made yesterday about Kylie’s obsession with pillows — we have had serious conversations about how we need to limit the number of pillows on the wedding registry because we don’t want to end up with all the pillows we are asking for, haha. When we go to Target together I have to steer her out of the bedding section or we’ll get lost in it. I like posts like that because they remind me most of the quality time she and I spend together — especially when it is a fun, not overly serious thing like exploring the pillow section in Target.

kylie_pillow.jpg

“I love your strange obsession with pillows. On our wedding registry, I have put a thousand unnecessary coffee-related things and Kylie has put a thousand unnecessary pillows. Your excitement over different colors, textures, and fluffiness has not gone unnoticed. I love you even though we won’t have enough room left to sit on a couch at this rate. ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬”

SITS:
Describe as best you can how excited you are to marry Kylie.

Stephen:
Kylie is truly perfect for me in every possible way. I feel that we are perfectly compatible with each other in all the big ways as well as the small ones. Everything this year has been building up to when we will finally get to be together and continue our relationship into some exciting life changes. The anticipation is huge and I am excited for just about everything that is to come very soon.

kylie_adventure

“I love our adventures ‪#‎100kylieselfies‬”

Come back next Friday to hear what Kylie thinks about being featured on her fiancées Facebook every week.


This is the first of several “Feature Friday” posts to come. If you ever want to be featured, send me a message or leave a comment on any of my posts; I would love to share the story of you and your boo!

 

Because I’m Happy

Someone asked me recently whether I was genuinely as happy as I seem, or if it was just an act.

This question really took me off guard.

First, I feel like I’ve been brutally honest with a lot of my struggles on this blog — a very public place. He must just not read this.

Second, I don’t think anyone should aim to “be happy.” I think happiness is an emotion, which is more fleeting than a state of being. I have learned that the best thing to aim for is contentment. You can, of course, throw in sprinkles of happiness all throughout your day, but frankly being happy all day long kind of reminds me of a super-hyper yippie dog. That seems exhausting and, frankly, unrealistic for a human.

Third, I think assuming anything from social media is a very slippery slope. Granted, I have a zillion different ways of communicating, as I’m pretty into social media, but even analyzing my Instagram, Facebook, Venmo, Spotify, and blog is not enough — you still don’t have the full picture of my life by these little pieces to the Krista puzzle. My meals are rarely as beautiful as they appear on Instagram, the mortifying moments I post on my Facebook page are sometimes hilarious in the moment, but others are genuinely horrifying until they are an afterthought, and then there are pieces of my heart you really won’t get to know unless you spend time with me in person.

My intention is to be super-honest on here, as I’ve found people often benefit from not feeling as alone with their struggles in life, but there is only so much time in the day to spend writing about my life.

So in short: Yes, guy, you caught me. I’ve been really genuinely happy a lot lately. My life is nowhere near perfect, but I am able to smile and laugh again, and when it rains I choose to dance in it more often than not. Sometimes, though, I do break down and sit as the rain falls on my face until it stops. And then, I bask in the warm feeling of contentment.

sunny2

This picture was taken by my beautiful friend Audrey, who also did my hair and makeup for our shoot. Check her out if you’re in the DMV!

Love Is Blind

… And sometimes it can be deaf too.

As I’ve mentioned in many posts before this, I was in a very serious relationship with someone for almost five years. In my mind he was the one for me. I think he believed the same about me, but I won’t speak on his behalf.

Our plan after graduation was for us to somehow end up in the same city together. At this point we had dated for about three years and were on the road to engagement. Life doesn’t always go the way you think it will, though. He decided on his own to move 2,000 miles away. I was reluctant to move to him at first — after all, we met going to school in the DC area and for a few years we both dreamed of settling down here. It got to the point where the only way we were going to be together would be if I moved to him.

At first I resisted. I had no desire to be in the midwest; I loved the east coast and would have been happy going to New York City or even Nashville. I have a lot of ties in the DMV and wanted to be able to visit home easily. My chronic illness made it hard for me to travel, and I was scared of being somewhere I didn’t have a big support system. When I realized I was fighting a losing battle I finally started preparing myself to move there. I loved him more than I loved anything else in the world.

When he finally told me I wasn’t his top priority anymore I cried. It was the first time he broke my heart.

I didn’t listen to him, though. I should have broken up with him then — or in the many months before when his actions showed that I was no longer a priority, but I was blinded by my love for him. Instead of breaking up, I desperately tried to change his mind. He couldn’t possibly mean that he cared more about finishing school and making a big chunk of change than living life together, could he? I didn’t even know how it was possible for someone to care more about a thing than a person. He meant it, though. And I held on another 8 months.

Actually, I had our relationship in a death grip. He showed me time and time again his priorities weren’t with me, but happily continued to keep a girl who was okay with this wrapped around his finger. None of this was his fault — it was my own. I didn’t listen closely enough to the words he said to me or pay attention to his actions and what he put his time into to make a smart decision.

I was blinded and deafened by the love I had for him. A better word than love might be anxiety, though. I did love him once — I was in love with him once, which I think is a step past love. Circumstances change, though, and so do people. I learned an amazing lesson in that relationship, and won’t lose any of my senses moving forward.

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Today’s lesson: Make sure you do pay attention to what your significant other does and says to you, as that is where his heart is. If you aren’t happy with his priorities, find someone who holds the same values as you.

Friends Are Golden

One really amazing thing I have figured out about dating someone who is deployed is all of the support that is offered back home. I do realize part of it is just that I am surrounded with incredible friends, but I also think people seem to be able to sympathize with you a little easier with this than other tough situations in life. Maybe it’s all of the military movies — I’m not usually a crier at movies, but 9 times out of 10 I do cry in Army-themed films — or maybe it’s because so many people know and care for someone in the military.

Having someone you love go overseas to a dangerous area is a scary thing. It’s filled with a lot of unknowns and you feel a strange sense of loss, as you are not able to communicate with your soldier as often as you are used to.

I’ve had so many people reach out and I’ve felt very supported, though. My best friend has been extremely encouraging, making the 9 months seem a lot shorter than they are. She surprised me earlier this week with a craft — she had purchased two fishbowls, a bunch of Mancala beads, and USA stickers to create a visual countdown. Every day now I will be moving one bead from the “Days to Go” jar to the “Days Down,” until one jar is completely empty and the other is full, meaning he is home in the states again. I’d be lying if I said the visual didn’t feel slightly daunting, but it does feel good putting one bead into the second container every day!

crafty

We crafted in a coffee shop; clearly everyone there thought we were super-cool.

Not only was this a great idea, but it was moving that she cares for me so much that she would take the time to come up with an idea and go shopping to make it a reality. One thing I love about our relationship is that I feel like she and I can be really cutesy together — we’ve been going on a lot of little fun dates and adventures with each other since we’ve both been single ladies. (As a side note, I apparently love being cutesy with people, as this is the third time I’ve used the word on this blog… Yikes.)

Furthermore, I’ve had friends reach out telling me about their experiences with deployments, as well as putting me in touch with other girls who are currently going through the same thing so I can have a support system of people who understand. I love that when you collect difficult experiences in life you are at least able to help others feel less alone when they are struggling.

I am tearing up just writing about this — I am so incredibly blessed. Thank you, all of you, for being so amazing.

Guarded

My last relationship left me with dust and rubbish. It was as if a storm came in and demolished everything beautiful I had taken so long to build. How could someone else completely ruin me like that? When did I give him that kind of power?

I spent months sitting in the middle of the wreckage. I was paralyzed from the shock of it all and couldn’t move — until I saw a little flower peeking out from the middle of the place my comfortable home used to be. I cautiously walked over to it and took note of the beauty that was before me in such a gray space.

Finally after gaining my strength and seeking help from others, we rebuilt a new, stronger foundation. I had been naive last time, failing to build walls on my home and trusting the man I loved not to destroy it. This time I put up giant concrete walls. No one would even think about trying to break them down; they were my fortress and protection. Nobody could come in, but I couldn’t get out.

Then I met someone new. He tore down my hard, concrete walls and rebuilt a home with windows so the sun could shine through.

Now there’s a garden with flowers and I can come and go as I please. He can come inside and sit with me. I notice the clouds when they’re looming outside, but more days are sunny than not. I go outside and dance in the rain, and I have realized that a life filled with love is completely worth risking another storm. I now know that I can make it through any kind of weather that comes my way and that there is always going to be beauty in my life — even if it’s just a single flower in the middle of a bunch of ruins.

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This picture was taken by my beautiful friend Audrey, who also did my hair and makeup for our shoot. Check her out if you need a photographer in the DMV!

Our Sad Spot Was Macy’s.

I think everyone has places you associate with an ex.

Mine were my alma matter, — particularly where we carved our initials in the sidewalk and our running route — Dunkin Donuts, Georgetown, and he would never know this, but our saddest spot is Macy’s.

Macy’s was the place I was when we had our first big argument over the phone. It was the first place it began to sink in that he may not care about me as much as he did his work, and the place I realized it was the beginning of the end.

Macy’s was the place he casually shopped for new clothes right after we talked about potentially breaking up for the first time. I held back tears as he felt the blue leather jacket on the sale rack. I didn’t like the jacket, but I didn’t care about it — I just cared about him. I wanted to keep him, even if he did have a new off-putting jacket.

During the several months we took to break up I drove the long way to get to classes. I stayed on the highway a little longer just to avoid the spot with our names. I wished they weren’t carved in the pavement.

Later, I found out that although our names were set in stone, our relationship wasn’t.

We broke up.

It took time to go back to all of “our” places, but it slowly didn’t bother me as much. Time went by and suddenly I was more shocked when I actually did think of him, since those thoughts were scarce.

I began thinking of Elizabeth and Megan when I saw Dunkin Donuts (It’s always been their place as well), and then met another special man who happens to be from Boston and obsessed with the place. I think of my time in New York City when a group of my girl friends came to visit and Thanh spilled her Dunkin hot chocolate all over the subway. I think of donuts — I don’t just think of him.

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Georgetown became a place I traveled to with friends to go shopping or grab a cupcake, and my school became just that — my school — including so many memories with and without him. I am able to look back on our time there fondly and separate that part of him from the part he became when he grew up.

Macy’s was a hard place to tackle — until it wasn’t. The heart has a way of healing itself, and you learn to let go. I’m so glad I did, too, because one of my fondest memories now lies there — picking out my new guy’s dress suits together for his trips to the embassy while he is overseas.