Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Letter to Single Me

I read something the other day on Facebook asking what advice readers would give to themselves in the past, in only two words. Two words can't convey very much! I chose, "worth waiting"; this entire letter is what I meant by those two words. Hopefully I'll remember to do this again in another five or ten years, and write a letter to newlywed Megan... but for now, here's my letter to Single Me.

Dear me,
Let's start with “don't worry”. I know the driving force in your live has been getting your own family, and you will. I promise – and you can trust me because I'm you.
I know you're afraid it will be impossible to find your husband. I know you're sick and tired and of people telling you you have plenty of time and to enjoy your youth while you still have it. I know you are desperate to feel those little kicks inside you and then to hold your sweet little baby. I know that just thinking about that moment brings tears of mixed joy and terror to your eyes – because you're afraid it's all just a dream, but it's the future that you want with all your heart.
So believe me when I promise that it happens. It happens more easily and beautifully than you could ever have imagined. It doesn't take years of dating to know he's the one – for other people, sometimes, but not you. You get lucky, even though it seems like it's taking forever to you right now. And it doesn't take years of trying to get pregnant. You'll hardly try at all and suddenly that sweet little baby will be growing inside you like the seed of love.
And all that worry just disappears. Almost the minute you find him you'll start to calm down. You'll surprise yourself with your choices and with your lack of fear. You'll be completely yourself, right from the beginning; no holding back, no waiting to see if he can really handle all that affection you can't help but act on. It will shine through you, and your coworkers will nod knowingly and say you're in love.
You'll laugh together every day. You'll be silly and make mistakes and forgive each other, and the beginning at least will be so easy you'll be amazed. I know because I'm amazed.
You won't believe this, but everything you're feeling really does just disappear. You'd think that all that fear and anger would leave some kind of scar, wouldn't you? Maybe it does but if so, it's gone into hiding, now, for me. For you. Suddenly you'll be content to let things take their natural path, even though you never were before. Because once you meet him, you'll know. You won't be afraid of messing things up, not enough to matter. You'll just enjoy the ride. Because it really is beautiful. It really is amazing to wake up next to the person you love, every day, and just know that he loves you, too.
I know that just before you met him was a rough time in your life. You were never really happy, just kind of going through the motions. You couldn't seem to really get a handle on what you needed to find that happiness. You were just starting to see that taking control of your life was the key. And then came one of the dates you were looking forward to, the only one that didn't ultimately end in disappointment. You began to feel like all you needed was to take control – to stop feeling powerless – and suddenly everything else fell into place. It happens, just like that.
Of course I can't promise everything will be perfect. Of course there will be money trouble and different solutions to shared problems and all of that. But you will find that having a partner to work through it with you makes all the difference. You've suspected that, I know. But now you'll be sure.
And that's what you find – you find a man who understands that loving each other is only part of the journey, that it sets the foundation for all of the work that's coming. And he's willing to put in that work to stay by your side, even though it's been pretty easy so far.
He's totally worth waiting for.

Love always and never fear,
Megan in 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dating Advice for Our Kids (Part 2)

Yesterday, while browsing Pinterest, I came across this letter that a mother wrote to her son about dating. It was labeled as, a letter every mother should read to her son.”
Here is the second part of my altered version: I don't know how to start the numbering at 11 so let's just pretend :)
  1. Handle your date's heart with care. People (male or female) usually try to only show when they are strong, but inside they are also very delicate. Don’t ruin that. Do not be responsible for hardening a person's heart.
  2. Get to know his or her family and friends, and let your family and friends get to know him or her. How they get along and interact with each other can tell you a lot about what the future will hold if you become serious.
  3. When the time comes, tell him or her “I love you,” but only if you really do. Never, ever, say those words unless they come from your heart, because they are a very big deal. At any time, you can tell him or her why you like them – everyone deserves to be complimented.
  4. Do nice things; make a meal, take out the trash, offer compromises and so on. Show that you appreciate being together.
  5. Surprise him or her. Again, a little can go a long way. Just stick with small surprises. Bring a little gift like a bottle of his or her favorite soda, or show up at his or her work for a surprise lunch date.
  6. Never underestimate the power of the written word. As nice as it is to hear good things, it’s even better to have them written down so you can reference back to them. Write letters or notes to your love as often as you can.
  7. When the time is right and you’ve found that special someone, know that it doesn't have to be the man who asks, “will you marry me?” If you are sure, you can ask no matter your gender. You can also wait, if you feel more comfortable with that. Choose a course of action or inaction based on you comfort level, not societal expectations.
  8. Speaking of societal expectations, if you want to date someone of the opposite gender, that's okay. If you want to date someone of the same gender, that's okay, too. If you're not sure which gender you prefer, date whoever catches your interest when you're available. Some people may not accept your preference, but it's not up to them. It's up to you and the person you date.
  9. If someone treats you badly for any reason, they do not belong in your life. That doesn't mean you shouldn't forgive mistakes (you SHOULD), it just means you should defend yourself and demand the respect and compassion that all human beings deserve. If someone you date or someone you are friends with can't do that, they're not worth your time.

    What dating advice would you write to your kids?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dating Advice for Our Kids (Part 1)

Today, while browsing Pinterest, I came across this letter that a mother wrote to her son about dating. It was labeled as, a letter every mother should read to her son.”
I appreciated the sentiment. It was very clear that this mother's purpose was to teach her sons how to respect and honor the women they date, and to do so in line with their family values.
I really felt that something was missing, though. What if they and their date prefer to step outside of the gender stereotypes about dating? So I changed the letter to reflect the advice I would/will give to our children, male or female. I left the original text plain, and added my changes in italics; some parts I simply deleted.
This was a long post, so I split it into two segments. Here are the first ten pieces of advice:

  1. If you want to go on a date with someone, ask them. Straight forward & direct. If you can ask in person, that's always best.
  2. At least for the first date, actually go somewhere. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate or immensely creative. Sometimes the best dates are simple, like a picnic in the park. Try to make sure your date is having at least as much fun as you are – if he or she looks bored, suggest a change of plans.
  3. f your date opens the door for you, thank him or her. It's always okay to open the door for someone and your date will probably appreciate it.
  4. Plan to pay for your date – have enough money to cover both meals and the tip if you're going to a restaurant. If the person you go out with offers to pay, that's great, too, and you can certainly accept graciously. But don't expect the other person to pay for or plan every date you go on. If you choose to pay for every date, make sure the person you're dating is comfortable with it and doesn't feel like they're taking advantage of you.
  5. If you are the one driving, walk to the door to pick up your date. Never text from the car or honk! Always get out of the car to say goodbye, and watch to make sure your date gets inside safely. It's also nice to walk your date to the door at the end of the night.
  6. Use your good senses when it comes to kissing. Only kiss someone you want to kiss, and follow their cues to make sure they want to kiss you, too.
  7. Listen to your date. The best dates involve getting to know the other person, so take your date somewhere that will allow you to talk. Ask questions and share insight about yourself. The purpose of dating is to find someone you could spend your future with. So the longer you date a person, the more you should get to know him or her.
  8. Always make your intentions clear. If you aren’t clicking with someone then end it. Don’t string him or her along. It may hurt for a minute but he or she will appreciate your honesty. And if you are feeling a connection then let the person know. Everyone loves clarity. It will make the whole dating process easier if you follow this one simple rule.
  9. Date around, but only seriously date one person at a time. Once you’ve found someone you are interested in enough to date exclusively, be faithful. Always, always be faithful. If you decide things aren’t working out or you meet someone else you’d like to get to know, refer back to rule #8.
  10. Don't be afraid to show your affection through touch, but make sure you don't crowd your date's boundaries. Hold hands, kiss his or her head; these sweet gestures speak volumes and make a person feel cared for. Going too far physically can never be undone so take it slowly and make sure you're both comfortable before you do anything serious.

    Check out Part Two tomorrow!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I'm not sure how much I've dropped in recent posts about how much my life has changed in the last year, so here's a basic update for everyone.
1) I met an amazing man, and we're engaged. We're also expecting our first child in late December, who will be approximately 3 months old by the time we get married in March. We did get engaged before I got pregnant, if that matters to anyone.
2) I am no longer working at Dynamite, or even living in Phoenix. Dylan and I moved to Northern California and I'm working at a new school, which I adore, and we're as happy as ever.
3) Our new apartment is a lot smaller, and I'll probably be writing about its quirks pretty soon. There are going to be a lot of things we look back on and laugh about; I know it already.
4) I'm going to continue to write about whatever is on my mind at the moment, usually things that I want to change, or things that I love and want to share with others. My posts will probably continue to be sporadic and erratic.
5) It's likely that I will have some posts relating to atheism, religion, and Christian privilege. Though I don't identify as an atheist I do have some experience with Christian privilege, and being engaged to an atheist blogger has broadened my horizons as to exactly how prevalent it is. This does not mean I am judging all Christians and it does not mean I am anti-Christianity.
6) I'm super excited about becoming a wife and mother! I'll probably talk about birthing and child-rearing and breastfeeding and stuff, and there might be some overlap with my other blog, MontessoriMoments.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wrong on the Internet - No Innocent Bystanders

Recently an actor I adore posted on Facebook that he had just avoided getting into a “someone is wrong on the internet” discussion. If you're not familiar with that phrase, it's usually used by people who think that we should avoid getting into comment wars with people with whom we disagree. Because someone is always "wrong" on the internet, we shouldn't waste our time and energy arguing with them, especially since it is unlikely that we will actually change anyone's mind.
If you know me at all, you know I disagree with that.
I think it's really important that I share what I believe to be true, and what I know. I may not always be right, but I do know that some statements, ideas, and concepts are without a doubt wrong. I am not of the school of philosophy that says there is only gray, and no black and white – although I do realize that there is far more gray than either extreme. I also know that some people are very strongly advocating for things I know and/or believe to be wrong – especially in areas such as human rights, and particularly relating to children.
Now, I know sometimes, maybe even most often, people use that phrase to mean we shouldn't quibble about unimportant things like the exact wording of a statement or the exact statistic when the posted one was only a tenth of a percentage off. That, I agree with; it's not a big deal. But it's also not the kind of thing people usually get into comment wars over, unless I spend less time on the internet than I think I do and don't have a fair basis for comparison. Anyway, that's not my point; that's not what I'm arguing to defend.
I think it is critical to speak out against things which harm others, and to advocate for things which benefit others. I think human beings have a moral obligation to make the world a better place, and while we all have different ways to do that, sharing what we know is one way that every person can contribute. I also think it is ridiculous to sit quietly while people promote inequality, physical violence, or other equally reprehensible ideas, because there are no innocent bystanders. If I choose not to speak out, I am encouraging those who, through word or deed, cause harm to other people. That includes when people have misguided ideas and just need the correct information (correct being determined by the most current research on the topic, and how definitive that research is, not by opinion).
I say speak out! Make your voice heard, so it's not just the voices of the bigots and jerks that seem to form public opinion. You probably won't change their minds specifically, but you can at least help other like-minded people know they are not alone, and encourage people to look into things for themselves. There are a lot of lurkers on the internet who just might be influenced by your statements, especially if you share them in a compassionate and logical way. But if you keep silent when the majority of speakers are against you, you are not even fighting for equal footing. You are letting them win.
Just as an FYI, two of the things I think it is critical to speak out about include equal rights for all human beings and child rearing techniques. The first, right now, I most often hear discussed in terms of sexual orientation and marriage law, or rights for women in other countries (and to a lesser extent, the U.S.). That's important to me because I have an innate sense of justice which is highly offended when I see people mistreating others. The second speaks mostly to ideas regarding physical discipline, with which I disagree on both a moral and scientific level, and other ideas to a lesser extent. Child rearing is a particularly important topic to me because children cannot advocate for themselves, and this is an area in which I have a lot of education and a lot of experience. I know a lot of people are struggling to figure out what's right, and a lot of people are just doing what their parents did without any idea that current research suggests there might be a better way.
What do you speak out for or against?
Is there anything about which you feel passionately, but haven't had the courage or inclination to discuss online?