Tag Archives: dating

Temptations of Teaching: STOP BEING WRONG AND LISTEN TO ME!

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By Rachel

Today, I had the extrovert’s greatest joy: a day full of meaningful connections after a FREAKING DESERT OF AT HOME ALONE SICKLINESS.

It was awesome.

Anyways, this brought me to a few observations about teen dating practices, based on the comments some of my students were making about Pride and Prejudice in relation to their lives. Here are my observations:

  1. Girls do this stupid thing where we imagine things into existence until forced to acknowledge the passive rejection that is “He is not asking me out.” This is bad.
  2. Boys do this stupid thing where they pretend that things didn’t exist in order to side-step the sensation of actual rejection that is “No. I do not want to date you.” This is also bad.

So what do you (or as it happens, I, their teacher) tell teenagers who are participating in or are victimized by one  of these two very stupid things…besides: stop doing that, it’s dumb.

I ask because I really don’t know. On the girl side, I have an easier time imagining what to say. I could say, “Oooh. I’ve done that. And you won’t believe me, but the just imagining thing is not only a bad and unhealthy thing to do. It is also kindof a sin. No really.”

On the guy side, I mostly want to say, “Stoppit. This does not make you look cool or mature. It makes you look like a 5-year-old throwing a temper-tantrum. Or an ostrich (head in the sand and all that jazz).”

Neither of these is particularly teacher-y. Nor does either respect the prerogative of teenagers to do stupid (and hopefully harmless) stuff and (DEAR GOD, I REALLY HOPE!) learn from it. This is the problem with teaching. Freaking boundaries and freaking knowing that some of the crap that your students do is idiotic… and or damaging.

Right now I am settling for vague statements about literary figures: “Look, isn’t it stupid when Mr. Collins won’t take no for an answer, and then tries to think of Lizzy as less worthy to convince himself that the rejection isn’t that bad. Doesn’t he seem immature!” or “Look, isn’t Caroline Bingley, by reading the second half-of Mr. Darcy’s novel in order to make it seem like they are on the same page, a little bit pathetic and begging for a heartbreak. ISN’T SHE!?!”

Not that these behaviors are limited to teenagers. Nope. No, they are not. So, I can tell you (and through this, my future self) that both of these behaviors are BAD. Reality is good. And difficult. And good… That’s what I am sticking with.

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Spiritual Warfare of Valentine’s Day: The Lie of Specialness

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BY Rachel

Does anyone remember that Drew Barrymore movie, Never Been Kissed? In it, she plays (apparently) the ONLY fully grown adult who has ever made it to maturity with the crippling deformity of never being kissed. This (of course) means that she becomes a crazy, grammar-obsessed, crocheting, cat-lady with bad hair, who is weirdly interested in the lives of teenagers.

For the visual confirmation of loserdom

For the visual confirmation of her specialness.

I freaking hate that movie. It is a parade of awkwardness from start to finish, complete with 90s fashion. And in my weaker moments, I become convinced that it will be my life… MINUS the Romantic Comedy ending. 

I become absolutely certain that I will be the ONE PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE who will NEVER be in a serious, long-term, marriage-destinationed relationship. (Fortunately for me I have been kissed. In my most psychotic moments, that convinces me that I won’t be a cat-lady or have bad hair. That leaves me with crazy, grammar-obsessed, crocheting, and being too aware of the teenaged relationships around me.)

Three down. Just need to learn to crochet.

Anyways, why am I sharing this?

Here is the list:

  1. Because this week is Valentine’s Day.
  2. Because a statistically improbable percentage of my friends are dating, engaged, married, pregnant, and/or have babies.
  3. Because I am teaching Pride and Prejudice to a group of 11th graders who are simultaneously relationship hyper-active and relationship challenged.
  4. Because ALL of my students are obsessed with my relationship status and ask about it weekly.
  5. Because today was World Marriage Day, so the homily centered on that particular vocation.
  6. Because my roommate has taken to sharing (frequently and in alternation) a list of her prospective suitors and her extreme romantic woe.

  7. Because I am lonely.
  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Because I am pattern obsessed and convinced that all of these things are some combination of God’s will and the devil screwing with me via Spiritual Warfare.(I never really used to think about Spiritual Warfare. Until Reesa. And Jennifer Fulwiller. I really like the idea. It means that when I am a raging psycho, there are actual evil things attacking my psyche, and apparently I am confrontational enough that this idea gives me a reason to fight back.)My current battle is the battle of Special Loneliness and Suffering. Basically, the devil tries to convince me that I am alone. That I need to lie so that people don’t discover the awful truth. That I am the one  broken never-dating girl in the world. That NO ONE has ever been as lonely as I am. That NO ONE has ever been as pathetic and undateable. That NO ONE can understand. That I am Specially Doomed.

If it sounds dumb, that is because it is. As an antidote to this ham-handed but wildly effective assault on my soul, here is some “Fight Club”:

Fight Club

Listen up, maggots. You are not special.

You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Harsh? Yes. But I am pretty sure that the principle holds. I think that one of the greatest lies that the Devil has come up with is that suffering makes us special. 

 I wrote this post, because I am not. AND I AM SO GLAD! My loneliness is not special. My sinfulness is not special. My suffering is NOT SPECIAL. 

Crucifixion

Christ died on the Cross, saying:

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

In that moment suffering and loneliness were transfigured into the great and beautiful points of connection between people. Even if I am the only person in the world who never has a date on Valentine’s Day. Even if God’s will is for me to spend the rest of my life teaching high school students about healthy relationships without ever having one myself. Even if I watch every last one of my friends and roommates fall in love, while I do not. Even IF…

My suffering is still not special.

He shared every moment of it. I am not alone and neither are you.

Happy Valentine’s Week, y’all! If there is someone who is fighting the same spiritual battle as I am: REMEMBER, not dating does not necessarily lead to lonely cat-lady-hood.  We can be crazy dog-ladies together!