From the comments I got on what I should write about, most just said to write about them all. Thanks for the direction, folks. :) The one person who did tell me to write about something in particular (my life dream) is going to be shunned, because I don't feel like that one. Sorry, Jo. :) I'm writing about flirting because that's what I did and who I was, for years and years. So that's what you get.
Nobody taught me the art of flirting (can you imagine elementary grade classes on the best ways to flirt? Strange thought.). I learned, like I have seen others learning. I figured things out for myself: what worked best, what didn't, when, where. My first attempts at flirting, looking back, were ineffective and comical. It's interesting to see the same methods being employed by many boys and girls today, as if it's something that every person has to go through, the different stages of flirting. Insulting girls as well being mean to them were my original tactics (a paradoxical and zero result approach...why was I surprised?). From there I moved on to more show-offishness, although that had been there with the cruel words . Being arrogant and judgmental isn't a good combination, and I ditched those methods as well. Now, if I tell you what worked, will you be good and not use them? Good. Because I hit pay dirt when I began taking good and desirable Christian qualities and using them to ingratiate myself with girls. It works to be nice. It works even better to listen to our female counterparts. That's the progression I underwent. I don't think I need to give you specific instances, as I'm sure many of my readers (who actually know me and have seen me in action) are having flashbacks of that Peter, or seeing him. I'm sorry. I'll give a full and heartfelt apology at the end.
Of course, flirting is viewed as a normal and even attractive trait in the world's eyes. Let me tell you how it hindered and hurt me, as well as others. I don't want to blame my church, my parents, or friends; I was not taught to guard my heart. I was taught to help a girl guard her heart, to not defraud her, but never to "guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." That's how I became such a flirt, and unaware of my flirtatiousness to the extent that the first time somebody told me I was a flirt I was angry with her for months. I wanted attention from girls, and I wanted it so much that I would do anything I could with any girl I thought I had a chance with and wanted a chance with to make her like and talk with me. My god was myself, and my drug was attention from girls. Some of my happiest times from those days were times when I felt certain a girl liked me and was getting attention from her that seemed to say that she did. The things that catapulted me into depression were the times when I felt unwanted or unliked by the girls whose attention I craved. Can you see how my spiritual life had no chance? I did good things and thought I was serving God, but I did them for the wrong reasons. I went to staff at summer camps, and flirted with the counselors. I did Backyard Bible Club primarily because of the closeness I felt with the girls who also did it. I was always looking, and I was never satisfied. Not until Jesus showed me that I wasn't valuing Him and couldn't be satisfied by anything else did I see how much of a god I had made girls' attention. Even after Jesus started becoming more real, my old habits (from years of practicing) influenced me to make wrong decisions and eventually get fired from a job that I loved and an opportunity that was great.
The only reason I can write about this with honesty is because of the incredible mercy that Jesus shows me daily. His grace is why I can stop flirting, although it's still a battle. I have no idea the number of girls I have hurt, or how deeply. It hurts me to think about how much I have hurt them through my insensitivity and self-serving attitude. I don't know exactly how to say how much I regret my actions, and I wish I could remedy those hurts. The best way I know to gain joy and move on from pain is Jesus. Jesus is my one answer, the only answer, the true answer. And that's the only hope I have, and the only hope I can see healing the hurts that I have inflicted. Someday, when I write a book on flirting, I'll have a clearer perspective and be further removed from it. Until then, this will have to do, although it's nowhere near close to enough. Thoughts? Memories? Responses?