extroversion & solitude.

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When the husband is away for Valentine’s Day…

The wife sits at home and watches Netflix for hours on end. I blame auto-play. And a lack of self-control.

This weekend had a lot of potential. Señor was in Texas having brother bonding time while I had the apartment to myself. I could have crafted. I could have worked way ahead on homework. I could have been the domestic dream queen.

Instead, I sat. And sat and sat and sat and sat.

I admit–I was a little pathetic most of the weekend. Grant was away and my typical weekend structure was shot. Sure, I had a few plans. My beautiful friends, Mark and Lauren even let me crash their Valentine’s Day. But some plans fell through and some never came to fruition because of homework. I even made the conscious choice to just stay home all afternoon on Sunday. But I was mostly alone this weekend.

What I didn’t realize is that I totally I needed it.

I can be obnoxiously extroverted. When I make plans to hang out with people, my heart literally warms at the thought. It is energizing and the best part of my day.

I can also be uncharacteristically introverted. I crave time alone. I need space to just think–or not think (though this is nearly impossible, amiright, ladies?). I did not used to always be like this. In college, I thought spending an evening alone made me an old cat lady. Minus the cat thing because I’m allergic. I also hate them. I digress.

Being alone sounded terrifying. Why would I opt for solitude when I could be with PEOPLE. Happy, joyful, make-me-laugh-til-I-pee-myself people! It’s glorious. And it’s also an easy mask to hide behind.

Too much time around people means less time with me. We live with ourselves everyday. Obviously. But how often do we place ourselves in the type of solitude that really forces us to see ourselves fully–the raw, uncensored parts of ourselves that we rarely allow others to see?

This weekend, I realized how uncomfortable I am to just be alone and how I need to do it anyway. It forces me to slow down, take a look at the state of my heart, and quiet my frantic mind. It allows God the space to speak. It forces me to shift my identity back to Him and away from my activities or relationships with others. Solitude evokes a stirring anxiousness in my heart that only Jesus can calm.

Solitude is so hard. But it is so necessary for this extroverted woman.

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husband-less valentine’s day.

Señor and I are the kind of married couple who “celebrates” Valentine’s Day by going out to a casual Mexican restaurant two days early, ordering fatty meals, gorging on a one pound chocolate cake, and giggling at all the stereotypical, cheesy couples around us. We’re mature.

We just aren’t ones to make a big spectacle of the commercialized holiday. I remind him every year that I’m not the girl who says, “No, you don’t have to do anything,” and then flips her lid when she doesn’t get a diamond necklace. Please don’t ever do that, señor. Our budget would crumble into a million tiny pieces of shattered money-saving dreams.

Despite my desire to keep it a no-gifts holiday, Grant has been known to sneak in a few goodies. Like last year’s French Press. You sneeeeeaky hubs.

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If I’m honest, I always greet Valentine’s Day with a bit of shame over past mistakes. Lemme explain.

In February 2010, señor and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. We had only been dating for a little over a month, but we jumped in head first. At that point, we already dropped the L-bomb and decided we would probably get married. He wanted a fall wedding: I made him wait for winter. Cruel, I know. Needless to say, we were pretty committed and head-over-heels.

Minus my occasional moments of “OH MY GOSH HOW CAN I THINK ABOUT MARRIAGE WHEN I’M SO MESSED UP!?” Let’s be real–we’ve all been there.

Madly in love, señor wanted to do something romantic and spontaneous for Valentine’s Day. He planned a surprise drive home to my mom and stepdad’s in Ohio where we would enjoy grilled steak and a relaxing evening at home. Super sweet, right?

Well, yes, had I not been a total brat.

I was so not in the mood for a surprise. I griped the whole way there because I had no idea where we were going, whether or not I needed a change of clothes, and how I was going to get my homework done for the next day. Total buzzkill. There was lots of awkward silence in the car and plenty of pent up aggression. Poor us. We had no idea how to argue and express our feelings in a productive manner.

The night improved, thankfully. It ended with a kiss (Or a make-out session. Who can say?) and no hard feelings. I expressed that I was having a freak-out about our relationship which led to me overreact over the unknowns of the evening. It was all silliness. And that ridiculous night has stuck with me 4 years later. I may have scarred my poor husband into thinking that I don’t like surprises or big gestures of thoughtfulness. Au contraire. I love them. I need them. They’re my love language.

It should also be publicly recorded that this was one of the pictures we took before we left for the that fateful, Valentine’s evening 4 years ago. Great photogenic spot, amiright? And disclaimer: I don’t even remember whose bike that was. Awesome.

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Why the nostalgia? Because this Valentine’s Day is the first one since being married that I’ll be spending alone. Señor is off to visit his brother in Dallas for the weekend. Clint is in the Marines, and we are crazy proud of him. Here’s another walk down Laura’s-old-pics lane. Just imagine we’re all celebrating Valentine’s Day together, mmk?

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While they’re gallivanting around Dallas, I’ll be in one of four places: my bed, the couch, a coffee shop, or friends’ houses bumming off their pity to hang with the married girl who’s alone on Valentine’s Day. But seriously, this weekend is my time to catch up on life–and by life, I mean homework. Because that is my life.

There will also be lots of Chinese food and Netflix marathons. It just seems right.