Spaces

Spaces

I cleaned out my storage unit in November. Emptied it completely and (with the help of a wonderful TaskRabbit) hauled everything away. Some of it to my place. Most of it to Goodwill. And when I say most of it, that’s the God’s honest truth. It would be a safe estimate to say that I shed 80% of what I had been holding on to for somehow, somewhere, someday. “Are you sure you don’t want to keep this?” the TaskRabbit kept asking me about different things and while the hoarder in me kept wanting to reconsider, I was resolved to be resolved. So I said goodbye to boxes of clothes and shoes, pieces of furniture, dishes, shelves, odds and ends; with some unopened/brand new things in each of those categories. And you know what? It was hard. And it was expensive. And annoying. Having to get up early on a Saturday: hard and annoying. Catching an uber to and fro: expensive and annoying. Hiring a TaskRabbit: expensive. Letting go of the way I thought my life was going to go: hard, expensive and annoying. Because that’s why I had the storage unit, right? To stockpile things I used to have space for while waiting to have space again. Somehow, somewhere, someday…

So what made me give it all up? Two realizations:

#1. It wasn’t fair.
Things are meant to be used. It’s what they (non)live for. And me keeping them locked away was feeling more and more wasteful. And selfish.

#2. It wasn’t worth it.
I’ve had some type of storage space for nearly three years. And as I have moved and my living situation has ebbed and flowed, I have downsized as needed, but averaging it all out, it would be a pretty accurate estimate to say that storage has probably cost me around $4,000. And NOTHING I had in storage was worth $4,000. Maybe all of it together was worth that much. MAY. BE. But, sentimental value aside, with any long-term storage arrangement, there is going to come a point where the cost of holding on, is equal to and then higher than the cost of replacing. And to be completely honest, I probably crossed that threshold 4 months in. Maybe five. MAY. BE.

So I set a date to shut it all down. And I remember getting there that morning, unlocking the unit and just immediately feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of sorting through it all. “Maybe the taskrabbit will cancel and I can just save this for another day… maybe I should just cancel the taskrabbit and save this for another day… maybe I should just keep saving all this for someday…” The second thoughts were there, but I had already given up my sleep-in so too bad, too sad – it was happening. And it did. And afterwards…

It felt SO. GOOD. I actually felt freer. There was something liberating about knowing there wasn’t a bunch of stuff waiting to be sorted. And something exciting about not knowing how I was going to replace any of it. Not that I would have to worry about that anytime soon. Or so I thought.

But three weeks ago my roommate got a new job. In a new city. And she’s moving today. As we speak. So when I go home tonight, it will be to a now unfurnished apartment. So all that stuff I gave away… well, I was thinking about it this morning and you know what? I’m still glad it’s gone. Maybe even more glad. Because instead of stocking this new year with old things, I get to wait and see what God has next for me. Will it be annoying and inconvenient when I go to reach for something (a toaster, a kettle, a couch) and it isn’t there? Yes. But will it kill me to be without it temporarily? No.  “But Janice,” I can hear some of you saying, “Wouldn’t it be better to have something than nothing while you wait for the next thing?” Good question. And the answer, for me (and probably for you), is NO. Because most of the time, when I have something, it’s really hard for me to make space for the next thing. Because why should I? If it ain’t broke, why fix it? And if there’s no space, why fill it?

If I had to sum up 2016 in one word, that word would probably be “loss”. From celebrities to politics to friendships because of politics… I feel like we all took a lot of Ls. And those were the public, widespread ones. On personal levels there were breakups, financial issues, plans that went awry, relationships that went off-track, hopes that were disappointed – I feel like 2016 left us all with new uncomfortable spaces. And old spaces feeling emptier than ever. In December, I had no less that three friends who went on Bumble streaks. And I myself spent about 36 hours on Coffee Meets Bagel before remembering that nothing is actually better than something when something is just a bunch of nothing in disguise.

So for those of us who entered 2017 with spaces in places we’re not quite sure how to fill: good.

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lordhe brought me into a spacious place.
Psalm 118:5

God is a creator. He specializes in making something out of nothing. It’s kind of like His thing. But He seems to like starting by clearing something out first.  So what do you have in storage? And I don’t mean just physical storage units, I mean in the back of your mind and heart. What old habits, relationships, apps or coping mechanisms are you hanging onto? And why? Maybe it was the best you could do in the past, but do you think it’s the best God can do now? Or next?

Lowkey, I’m excited by all the blank spaces I’m facing in 2017. Because I have no idea how to fill them, but I know someone who does. And I trust that He will. Because NOTHING is impossible with God. So He’s always up to something.

Singular She

Singular She

Back in March of 2016, the founder and writer of a wildly (mildly) popular blog suddenly and unceremoniously shut it down, leaving her readers with the promise of a timely retool, rename and relaunch. A promise she did not keep. But this past Friday night, when most of the world had forgotten her and her blog were ever even a thing, she quietly began her desperate attempt to return from oblivion. So today, I will be catching up with Janice Wooten (me), the founder of what was once The Miss League. I’ll ask her (me) the tough questions about the shutdown, the long absence, why she’s returning now and what’s up with that new name.



Janice, thank you for joining me today.
Yeah, of course, thank you for having me!

So let’s get right to it.
My thoughts exactly.

So what the heck?
What?

What the heck? You start a blog, you run it for two years and then you just shut it down. What. the. heck?
Well, I didn’t shut it down, I just… I mean, I did shut it down, but it wasn’t a “shut down” shut down, it was just a break.

Seven months? That’s just a break?
Has it been seven months? Wow. I did not mean for that to happen.

So what did happen? Did you get a boyfriend? And then he broke up with you and that’s why you’re back now?
No.

So he didn’t break up with you? You have a boyfriend and you still feel qualified to write to single women?
I think we both know I never had a boyfriend. I mean, not never, but not in the last seven months.

Dang girl, that’s sad. So that’s why you shut it down, because you were sad?
No – I wasn’t sad! My relationship status had nothing to do with the blog.

Nothing at all?
Nothing! Well… maybe a little.

Yeah. Thought so. Please elaborate.
Look, I loved The Miss League, I started it for women like us – single, Christian women over the age of 27; but the more I kept writing and talking with more women, the more I realized that a lot of the things I was grappling with didn’t suddenly start at age 27 and they weren’t limited to just Christian women or just single women.

What kinds of things?
All kinds of things! Struggles with confidence and what it means to be a woman, fears about not being enough – pretty enough, interesting enough, feminine enough; worries about the future and running out of time, all the issues and shame around sexuality, feelings of being overlooked and looked down upon in church circles. So many women are fixated on a relationship as a fix, but marriage is not a catch-all cure for any of that.

So realizing that struggle was more widespread than you originally considered, you thought it would be best to just pack it all in. And leave everybody hanging.
No. I realized that I needed to find a way to widen my base and be more inclusive.

So?
So I knew that the first thing I needed to do was find a new name.

Why? I thought The Miss League was a great name.
It was.

Thank you.
What?

Nothing. Continue.
It was a great name, but one of the most common questions I got from the beginning was “Well what happens to the blog when you get married?” And I always said that it wouldn’t matter. I would still write The Miss League, even if I wasn’t a Miss anymore, but… I didn’t like that it was such a black and white term that was so tied to marital status. So I started praying and searching for a new name.

And?
And I ran across this word. This amazing word that means “exceptionally good or great and remarkable.” This word that has a list a of synonyms like extraordinary, exceptional, outstanding, noteworthy and it was like a rocket went off in my heart because that word? It’s Singular.

Singular.
Yeah! And I love it because it sounds so close to single and one of it’s other definitions is as a reference to something individual, but it has nothing to do with marital status. Me being single? That can (and hopefully will!) change some day –

Dear God please.
But me being singular? I pray that NEVER changes.

So the new name…
Is “Singular She”.

And who is the “She”?
She is me. And you. And whoever. She is any woman, of any age, stage or marital status.

So the blog is back?
It’s back.

And who is it for now?
Well, it’s still being written by a Christian, single woman in her 30’s so that will always be the homebase, but I’d love for all women to read it. And be part of the conversation, because honestly… in a lot of ways, it’s too late for me – I wish I had known in my 20s, not necessarily what I know today, but that the things I was worried and afraid about weren’t isolated to just me. I think it would have saved me a lot of angst and anxiety if I could have heard more honest conversations. I mean, I survived and I’m okay, but I would love to save the women right behind me from as much of that shit as possible.

You, uh, wanna watch your mouth there?
Nah. I’m good.

But you just said you were a Christian.
Yes I did. And I am.

Mmmhmm.
Look, this isn’t your mother’s (my mother’s) blog. Which isn’t to say she can’t read it, but this is my space and I’m trying to build something as authentic as possible, so I’m going to be as authentically me as possible. Everything in moderation, ya know?

Okay. Well… good luck with that.
Thank you.

So Singular She. It’s here, it’s authentic, it’s live. What’s next?
Well, I’m excited to be writing again and seeing what comes up, I’ll also be editing and re-releasing “classic” posts from The Miss League and I’m gonna try out some new things — I want to start Singular Reads, a book club where we’ll be reading some of the books that I love and have helped me. And I i’m excited to do some Singular Meets, where we’ll be getting together in real life!

And doing what?
Well that remains to be seen. But uh… it’ll be great.

Okay then. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the people reading this, any final thoughts to finish this up?
Yeah, I just… I’m sorry it took so long, but I’m really excited to be back and moving forward and I hope you decide to come along with me. So please – subscribe, share and be part of this thing. Decide to be singular. Because the truth is that you already are.

6779e7_a2c06f0a2c214cffaa3721e21144f8a7-mv2



And there you have it folks. “The Miss League” is so yesterday and Singular She is on the move, with it’s sights set on encouraging and empowering all women. So if you’re into that kind of thing, get into it. And let’s see how it goes.