Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Tinder Chronicles, Part 2

So my tindering has majorly slowed in the past week. After Thursday, my swiping started to get very sporadic. I'd often get bored and fall into long streams of only swiping left. The danger with that is that sometimes you swipe left on cute boys that you actually wanted to swipe right on--especially the ones that you actually met at a party and talked to and that have a lot of mutual friends and you've heard a lot about. But it is really fun(ny) running into a lot of friends there.

So essentially, I am probably going to keep Tinder, but I will swipe a lot less often. Especially since people actually chat and follow through a lot less often than I originally imagined (pretty much like normal life, right?). What is the point of swiping right in the first place if you're not going to even try to connect with the person? I mean, I know why, but that is one thing that bothers me about Tinder.

This stems from the fact that I'm an ENFJ. (I will probably write another blog post on this later). I need sincerity in my life. And so while the matches and casual flirting are nice confidence boosters, it all just feels really fake to me. Especially since I can see that it has a lot of potential to not be fake. It's like doubly fake since it could actually be really good but that isn't utilized most of the time.

In short, here is my Tinder verdict: I'll keep it, but it's definitely a joke or a game to play when I'm bored (literally). I am not emotionally invested at all, which is a big deal for me, simply because it seems so pointless.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Tinder Chronicles, Part 1

I know, I know. Tinder is old news. I'm slow to the boat, mostly because I made fun of the app and never saw myself getting it. But Tuesday night I came home and found my best friend/roommate had gotten Tinder. Watching (read: helping) her swipe was addicting, so I decided to get it for myself. These are the results.

Oh Vova...you definitely go to the left. Via Huffpost UK
Tuesday: I spend the rest of the night swiping, ending up with four matches and a conversation, partially in Russian. I am excited when a friend--who I know is/was Tinder-obsessed--pops up. Of course, I swipe right while laughing hysterically. I am mostly in shock that I caved and got Tinder (I had always said I would never get it), but to my surprise I'm having fun.

Wednesday: I am officially addicted. I refrain from swiping most of the day, but it's hard and distracting. I learn an important lesson: if you want matches, you need to swipe right. But I am very selective with my right swipes. I get some more matches, have another conversation with a guy, and start to learn some things, including:

  • I apparently find beards a lot more attractive than I originally thought.
  • I am much more picky than I originally thought, too.
  • Based on my matches and my recent actual interests, there is a 4-letter combination/name that is apparently attractive to me/finds me attractive.
  • It is really satisfying to get a match. Surprisingly so.
  • I get really frustrated when people don't have anything in their profiles.
  • Tinder could/would be really useful in trying to get over other people.
  • People aren't really as chatty as I would have thought.
  • Beyonce-style: To the left, to the left. Everybody here in the box to the left.
  • I'm really bad at small talk and coming up with conversation starters (but I really already knew this one).
Wednesday's Tinder adventures also featured my roommate and I swiping and/or matching with the same guys, old flames, and Elders from my mission (of various levels of acquaintance).

Thursday: I wake up to a notification that I have a match. I feel like I could be genuinely interested in this guy (you know, based on the small amount of information in his profile), but I have no idea what to say to him. Because I'm awkward like that. 

I decide to swipe a little bit before working. One of the first guys who pops up in CUTE. I can tell from his picture that he's LDS, but he has absolutely nothing in his profile, and we have no mutual friends. I decide to swipe right, and it's an immediate match.

(Side note: I am a researcher. So if you pop up on my Tinder and I can't tell anything about you, I am going to actually try to find out what I can. If there's absolutely no information to be had, the default is left. So the above right swipe was kind of a rarity. I know that's not how most people use Tinder. But it's what I do. I'm weird.)

Here's where things get interesting. He starts the conversation out with a...well, it isn't how I'd prefer to have someone I don't know start a conversation, but it was flattering. My feminist side was not sure how to feel, because while it was borderline cat-call-y, I also didn't feel degraded or objectified. However, my suspicions are soon confirmed: he's looking for a hookup. (This is why I'm very selective with my right swipes) But he offers very respectfully (!) and respects my choice not to (!). We end up talking a little about Nietzsche and writing. I decide to take a break from swiping at least until later tonight.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'll Always Be Сестра Ашби

Yesterday marks 4 years since I entered the MTC to begin my full-time mission in Moscow, Russia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The first okrug
It's funny to see how the passing of time changes my perspective. As I marked the day, I realized that while I still missed my mission so much and while I will always treasure that time of my life, I didn't necessarily want to go back. I realized that I am where I need to be and that I am on the precipice of many more great and wonderful things in my life. But despite that knowledge, I am always, continually thinking about and reflecting on my mission.

Sometimes, I think back on my mission, and I guiltily think about all the things I could have done better and all my many imperfections as a missionary. I should have talked to more people. I should have been more diligent in helping other missionaries be obedient. I should have had more courage I should have set a better example. I should have been more obedient myself (not that I was disobedient, but if you've been on a mission you know what I mean). I should have had more faith. I should have been a better missionary in so many ways. Often, I wonder if I had been a better missionary if I would have seen more visible success.

But then I think about Ksusha, and my companions, and the Elders I served with, and all my areas, and all the people that I still (and always will) love with my entire heart, and the miracles I did see, and the fun times, and the times that were so hard but I treasure them with all my heart. I think about putting my nametag on and passing out Kniga after Kniga after Kniga and really connecting with people individually. I think about bearing my testimony time and time again. I think of my heart breaking and the times I cried on the street because someone rejected the message. I think of the joy I felt seeing people I didn't even know (and especially those I did!) enter the waters of baptism and receive the Holy Ghost and just progress in the Gospel--even if it didn't lead to baptism right then. And mostly, I think of the changes for the better and the blessings I am still experiencing in my life as a result of those wonderful 19 months. I left my mission knowing that no matter how much I touched people's lives there, my mission was a success because I let the Lord and the people of Russia touch my life and my heart.
I love this book and this place and this language and all the people I gave one of these to
So, yes, I should have been a better missionary. There were days when I probably COULD have been a better missionary. But when I came home and was being released, I had a very sacred moment with my stake president. Because of its personal sacredness to me, I won't share the experience itself, but this was the resulting revelation:

No matter how "perfect" of a missionary I was, God knew that my heart was always fully committed to my mission and trying to do my best to serve him. And He accepted and loved my offering, my mission, and me. 

Even with the mornings I physically could not get up and then freaked out when I realized I had slept in, even with all the people I was too shy and scared to talk to, even with all my imperfections--He accepted what I could and did bring and sanctified it and somehow turned it into something worthwhile that I hope touched others even half as much as it touched me.
I will always miss this.