THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF BIRDS

preface · part one · part two · part three · part four · part five

vi. inland

I had been so sure about Mark that I had bothered to tell people that we were dating. I really liked him, but I wasn’t significantly attracted to him. So I think I was partially trying to convince myself. After the angst and high drama of the whole Blake ordeal – with tentacles touching at least three calendar years – meeting Mark and clicking with him right away, meeting his family and listening to him rant for half-hours at a time seemed unexpectedly anticlimactic. Nonetheless, I was particularly disappointed when it became clear that things weren’t going to work out. Between school starting back up again, a few shows in the Bay Area, and working on their band’s sophomore album, Mark was legitimately busy with good and productive things. But he also wasn’t communicating in helpful ways, and when you’re just getting to know someone, it’s hard to tell sometimes if something is a quirk, circumstantial, or a classic red flag.

I am compulsively transparent in my dating process, so I gave it a month (yes, all the aforementions happened within a month) and then I asked my direct questions, and we decided to reclassify our relationship. That worked for two or three additional weeks before life and his headspace got in the way of us maintaining any kind of intentional friendship. And then, there was ‘Kyle’.

Kyle and I met on Match.com in November, which was I guess about a month and a half after Mark and I had stopped hanging out. He sent me a message that was 80% generic and had clearly been sent en masse, but the 20% that was personalized, and the effort of the generic portion compelled me to reply. We corresponded for a few weeks via email before having the first of many long and easy phone conversations. Kyle was an abstract fine artist with an obligatory day job and what I came to describe as pre-war, petite Jewish artist vibes. His art contains a lot of intricate and delicate and contrasting elements, and I really enjoyed the pieces that he shared with me. Kyle was a texter and a checker-iner and was clearly infatuated with me fairly quickly. He would text me frequently throughout the day, every single day which was definitely an adjustment for me, but also really fun at first. It’s fun to have attention and to be asked after; to randomly receive content someone would otherwise just post to social media – a thought he had, or a picture of what he was having for lunch. Especially considering the fact that I am a middle child and the primary initiator in a lot of my relationships.

But there was also a nagging undercurrent of something being off. Probably because we hadn’t met in person yet. Ha. And also there was drama and guilt regarding an ex-fiance who apparently couldn’t move on with her life.

Kyle and I were also snail mail pen pals. Between emails and phone calls and texting all day and parcels in the post, there was lots of distanced togetherness. So in consistent, compulsively transparent Bekkah fashion I wrote him a card like, hey here’s where I’m at with this because I could tell that he wasn’t entirely thinking clearly about the way things were and reality and the practical aspects of getting so attached to someone you haven’t seen. I knew I needed something at least as tangible as an honest conversation to keep me grounded. I am also usually entirely in love or indifferent, and I wanted to be clear about the fact that I am a floodgates kind of girl. So we kind of talked through some stuff and kept moving forward. And then he broke up with me via text message like three days before Christmas. Lol.

I. was. livid.

First I was just like, ok. Happy Holidays. Then I was like, HOW FREAKING DARE YOU. Then I felt bad about some of the things I’d said to him and apologized. Then I just honestly wanted to be friends. Ha. Now that I type it out I’m realizing the intensity of our dysfunction and I blame our day-apart birthdays in the middle of November.

The reason he broke up with me was complicated but essentially revolved around his ex-fiance and her feelings and his guilt. I couldn’t relate. But in talking to Christina and my baby sister who are both ‘feelers’ on the Briggs, they decided that the ex-fiance must be a lot less mentally // emotionally stable than Kyle had originally let on. As it turns out, that was the case.

We sent a few more messages back and forth and ended with a much healthier and more mature resolve than his initial lack of courage and my initial reactions.

In other news, my sister was finishing up with her PhD and would be accepting a Post-Doc in New Haven, and I was having to decide what to do with my life. When Kyle broke up with me, I was once again confronted with my tendency to put my hope in being rescued. For the longest time, I had been living passively and just sort of waiting for life to happen. I had hoped that Blake would stop running from Jesus and then we could have a low-key Cali-vibed life together that was simple and didn’t require much of me. I had hoped that Mark was the Better in place of Blake, and that we could build a life laying down hot-fire tracks and raising twenty-five-percent-Greek babies in Santa Cruz. I had hoped that Kyle would put an end to the waiting and the searching and give me a reason to stay in California, and a way to not be all alone and struggling by myself.

And then I watched Moana and it changed my life. Ha. I’m not even kidding. I knew that wherever I lived next, I would need a car. I wanted a completely different kind of life than the one I had in Berkeley slash Richmond. I didn’t just want to live by the Ocean, I wanted a beach town life. I wanted to not be within a 15 minute ride of a train station at all times. And I had very little confidence in my ability to achieve that kind of transition. But watching Moana, I thought about the ship-wreck I had already lived through, and decided that I was enough and I had enough and that Jesus would continue to help me. By the end of January, I had acquired an apartment share in my beloved Walnut Creek, and Kyle and I ended up getting back together (even though we still hadn’t met yet…I don’t recommend it).

As excited as I initially was about moving to Walnut Creek, the relief and pride of see! look what I can do quickly turned into anxiety. My Craigslist roomate from another country (the life I led, you guys) started to act all sketchy about the leasing situation, and I was increasingly paranoid about being Found Out. It’s amazing what time-distance will do for perspective. It had seemed like I was doing the best I could, and I didn’t feel then like I was living through a string of bad choices. God is so gracious. Things could have become a much hotter mess…

And in a matter of the three months I’ve been back in North Carolina, I have a sweet little Sube to drive to my Operations Assisting job at one of North Carolina’s largest universities, a church to help plant and lead worship at on Sundays, and time spent with family I hadn’t seen in half a decade. All this goodness has come out of my plans falling apart.

Because by March, I finally met Kyle and the chemistry that would have been necessary to keep our Crazy glued together just wasn’t there for me. My roommate was exhibiting increasingly irrational behavior, and my money wasn’t stacking like I needed it to be. I broke up with Kyle by the end of March, after a week of talking things over with my brother, and then crying about it for two hours straight the night before I called him to end it.

I moved from my roommate’s living room in Walnut Creek to a sublet in Berkeley and finally surrendered the identity I had been clinging to. If I wasn’t going to be with ‘Blake’ or be Mrs. ‘Mark’ or get rescued by ‘Kyle’, I at least wanted to be Bek in California. But after a series of helpful podcasts, and fasting with my godmother, God corrected in me the strain of what I wouldn’t have called rebellion that was keeping me from hearing His voice, and setting me up to walk into more vulnerability.

July 1st, Christina and her fiance dropped me off at OAK. A week later, my brother came down from Ohio to help me purchase my Subaru from a guy named Tom in Youngsville. In August, I was hired on at NC State, and in September I retired from online dating. I decided to focus on getting my life together, and working with God to be more open and approachable to meeting someone in real time – in actual life. There’s honestly no shortcut or substitute for spending time with people and deciding if the way the move through the world is something that you want to get excited about.

These days, there’s a patience and a restfulness that deepen with each iteration of God transforming me into a new person by changing the way I think.

So here’s to the past seven ages of my insides and the best that is yet to come.

. . . & &


Luke 17:33

C O M M E N T S

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