Ashley in Tinder-land

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I must be mad, y’all.  Sunday night, I did something I swore I’d never do again…

I got back on Tinder.

Now, my previous Tinder experiences have been lackluster at best.  (Yes, at BEST.)  Some of the men I’ve had the displeasure of meeting include:

…the one who asked me (before we’d ever met) if I liked to give head.

…the one who (after a pretty great date) disappeared for five months, then tried to come back into my life only to be too busy to spend time with me.

…the one who (again, before we’d ever met) called me damaged because I refused to cosign on his claim that he was the best thing that ever happened to me EVEN THOUGH I HAD NEVER MET HIM.  He claimed I was “choosing a Buick over a Bentley” (whatever that means).

…the one who sexually harassed me, then bashed Black women (a.k.a. women who look just like me) on Facebook.

…the one who had a girlfriend the entire time we were dating.  His girlfriend actually contacted me to find out the details of our relationship.

Y’all can see why Tinder-land wasn’t a place I wanted to stay for an extended period of time.

But because I’m optimistic–or a glutton for punishment, I’m not quite sure–I’ve decided to give it another try because I want to find love.  My last relationship was pretty terrible.  My Tinder experiences weren’t much better.  But through it all, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Distancing myself from toxic people is okay.  In fact, it is necessary for my personal sanity.
  • I don’t owe anyone anything.  A man doesn’t deserve a date, an explanation, or a minute of my time just because he decided to speak to me.
  • I shouldn’t settle for just anyone.  The man God has for me will be all I need him to be.
  • High standards yield high results. Holding myself to a higher standard (and expecting the same from the men I interact with) will help me weed out the ones who don’t deserve me.
  • Self-love is a prerequisite to a loving relationship.  In the words of one of my role models, RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”
  • I am worthy of unconditional love.

So with all of those lessons learned, I’m ready to head back to Tinder-land.  Lewis Carroll said it better than I ever could:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

Here we go…

Starts With Goodbye (a.k.a. How My Entire Life Changed Over a Single Weekend)

Long story short, I’m not getting married anymore.  I’d rather not go into the gory details–those who need to know already do–and besides, the most important part of the story is that he’s gone.

So now I get to focus on me, which is something I haven’t done much over the past three years.  I’ve been thinking a lot about myself over this past weekend and I’ve come to some conclusions:

  • I like to fix people.  Call me the Olivia Pope of broken boys, if you will.  But sometimes you just can’t fix a person, and that’s okay.  The person God has intended for me won’t need to be fixed; God will have already prepared him for me.
  • I thought that putting myself first was selfish.  Putting yourself first isn’t selfish.  If you don’t put yourself first, who will?  If I don’t make myself the best person I can be, I won’t be the best person for someone else.
  • I can be willfully ignorant.  The warning signs about this relationship appeared LONG ago, but I chose not to see them.  However, God will make you get the message one way or another–I’m one that He has to bash over the head with stuff before I finally get it.
  • I am awesome exactly the way I am.  I’m not bragging; I’m speaking fact.  I shouldn’t have to change anything about myself for someone to love me.  If they don’t love me for who I am, they don’t deserve to marry me at all.

Throughout this ordeal I’ve also realized that I have the best friends and family on the planet.  They have supported me in so many ways and showed me that I am never alone.  I cannot begin to thank them for all that they’ve done for me.

Finally, I serve a God who will never, ever, EVER give up on me.  God will always deliver for His children, no matter what.  He brings people into our lives for a purpose and He takes them out of our lives for a purpose too.  Trust Him and you can’t go wrong–He won’t let you.

I guess it’s gonna have to hurt,
I guess I’m gonna have to cry,
And let go of some things I’ve loved,
To get to the other side,
I guess it’s gonna break me down,
Like falling when you try to fly,
It’s sad, but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life,
Starts with goodbye.

-Carrie Underwood, Starts With Goodbye