I Think I Know

Today I went to church and work and home.  I’ve been working a lot lately, a closing a lot lately, so I haven’t been able to make a decent meal at home, and since going to Europe, I haven’t had a lot of money outside of bills, so I’ve been waiting to get paid again (I did last Friday) so I could buy groceries, which are now bought, so life is becoming normal again.  Anyway, I’ve been eating out (a lot of Taco Bell) or making due with what I can get at work, or eating cans of soup, for the last couple of weeks it seems like.  But tonight is different.

While I was at work, my boyfriend went to Publix and bought steaks and squash and potatoes and is currently reverse searing a ribeye and making mashed potatoes and sautéing some things.  I love home cooked meals, and he’s really good at them.  So I’m pretty sure that I think I know what love is.

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Choices?

We’re always making choices
Every moment is a choice
We choose to stay
We choose to leave
We choose to get angry
And we choose to let things go

So you can choose now to let this go
Even if you don’t know what it is
Slamming doors, passive aggression
Waking your perceived enemies from slumber
Trying to win a battle that no one else is fighting

You can choose to get out
Or act as if you’re being thrown out
As if you’re not wanted here
Although the only thing that isn’t wanted is your anger

Feeling lost in this
Your life’s a wreck because your heart is
Or maybe vice versa

Your choices are yours alone
The time is coming
Which will you choose?

Too Damn Comfortable

People used to ask me what I wanted to do with my life after I finished college.  And for a long time that answer was the same, even though it seemed impossible.  Because what I dreamed of doing, what I dream of doing, is something that could never be more than a dream.  I was always told I wouldn’t be able to make money, because apparently your dreams have to fit into a career.  And those that did believe with me, that did dream with me, none of them knew how to help me, because they had their own dreams to follow.
Ever since I fell in love with poetry and started doing spoken word, I’ve wanted to travel and do that.  My entire life I’ve imagined myself speaking and telling stories and somehow encouraging people who felt as lost as me to keep going.  But trying to explain this has gotten too hard and unconventional, so I’ve allowed myself to settle.

When I packed up my car and moved across the country with no job, few friends, and no place to live, I really thought I was taking a step toward making my dreams come true.  I thought that I would be writing more.  I thought that I would be performing more, possibly.  I thought there would be people that believe in me and knew how to help me.  Because I’ve never known how to make my dreams come true on my own.

Instead, I sort of allowed myself to almost give up.  I settled into a good enough for right now job.  I let my minimalist ways slip a little bit and probably have more than I need.  I have a dog and a boyfriend and furniture and I’m locked into a lease.  I can’t fit all my possessions in my car, and I can’t just pack up and go anywhere, even if I wanted to.  I decided to go back to school next fall and get my masters in counseling, because maybe I’ll be able to change lives using poetry through counseling.  Because this makes sense.  Because this is comfortable.

I bought a camera about a year ago.  I bought it so that I could start filming spoken word videos for youtube, because that seemed like a logical first step.  I had someone that was willing to help me with shoots, but they aren’t as willing as I thought.  So I can do them on my own, but I guess I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of the judgement of the quality, because I know my editing won’t be as good.  And I know that the sound quality won’t be perfect because I don’t own a separate mic, and I know of at least one important person who will judge me for that.  I’m afraid of embarrassing myself.  I don’t really like to draw attention, I’d rather have it be given.  Thus, I haven’t really tried to chase my dreams.  I haven’t tried to book any gigs.  I haven’t shown anyone anything .  And I’ve almost quit altogether.

Last Wednesday I went and saw a spoken word artist that I used to listen to in college.  He tours and does spoken word for a living, and he happened to be coming to Florence.  He doesn’t make a lot and he doesn’t have a lot, but he’s doing what he was made to do.  He’s doing what I wish I could do.  And I told him that.  And he told me to go for it.  He told me do it anyway.  Because I actually have the resources to record an ep.  I actually can do some videos.  I actually could start doing gigs.  And I’m wondering if I’m just too damn comfortable.

Not that Patriotic

I don’t remember often doing the Pledge of Allegiance growing up.  I went to a private Christian school up until high school, and we may have saluted the flag once a year or something, but it was never a priority.  I didn’t know the words to the National Anthem until I was in high school and was trying out to sing it at the football games.  My school was so unorganized though, that they forgot to schedule me anyway.
They sang the National Anthem before every swim meet that I was a part of, but never at any of my soccer games.  I can’t remember if we did at the track meets at all.  And it’s really never been that big of a deal to me.

Growing up, I always wanted to be from a different country.  Travel has always been something that I’ve loved, and other countries and other cultures are always so enlightening.  Learning different ways of doing things keeps us from becoming too ignorant.  There is no shame in adopting someone else’s way of life if it seems like it might work better.

I remember when I played soccer if there was an injury, or a death, or anything else going on, we would take a knee.  This showed respect for what was happening.  Last year, to peacefully protest racist police brutality, Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem during his football games.  This eventually started what they’re now calling the “take a knee protest.”  He was showing respect for the lives that were lost because white police officers “felt threatened” when they had no reason to feel that way at all.  Police officers who were not often being punished for their lethal mistakes.
So, this protest has been going on for  more than a year now.  But for some reason our president has decided that this protest is about him.  And people have decided that this protest is about disrespecting American soldiers.  Because to them, our country is more than a country, and our flag is more than a flag.  It’s something to be worshipped.  Maybe they believe that our country is more important than the God who put them here.  Maybe they have decided that our flag is more important than Isis brutally enacting a genocide.  Maybe they have decided that attacking a peaceful protest that they want to make violent is more important than helping the families that have been affected by the several hurricanes that have rained down on this planet in the last several weeks.
Or maybe I’m wrong.

I never really wanted to be American.  But I was born in America, thus I am American.  And that doesn’t make me better than anyone else.  If anything, it makes me more ignorant, and probably more privileged than I deserve.

I just wonder what this country would be like had Rosa Parks stood and moved to the back of the bus.  I wonder what this country would look like had Martin Luther King Jr. stayed silent.  I wonder what this country would feel like had Abraham Lincoln decided not to back the civil war.

I hope that in the future, our country will care less about attacking those provoking change, care less about flags and symbols and their decided meanings, and care more about what we say we stand for: freedom.  If this country was really free, speech wouldn’t come with such a cost.

Europe

I just took a trip through Northern Europe with my dad.  We flew into Copenhagen, rented a car, then drove up through Sweden to Norway, where we spent a couple days outside Oslo.  We walked through the city of Oslo, went to a viking ship museum, then drove down to Kristiansand and went to the zoo.  It was amazing.  We saw capybaras.
We then took several ferries to get down to Germany through Denmark.  We spent a night in Hamburg.  I don’t recommend it.  We drove over to Switzerland where we spent several days in Interlaken with people from all over Europe who are a part of my home church, the Lighthouse.  It was the trip of a lifetime.

Two years ago, I took another trip of a lifetime.  I went to Ireland, where I spent ten days touring and writing to be part of a coffee table book.  That book didn’t end up being what it could have been, but that’s besides the point.  It was there that I really started dreaming about driving through Norway with my dad.  His entire heritage is Norwegian, and it was really cool to see where we came from.  Next time we’ll spend more time just in Norway, and maybe travel up to see the fjords.

But this trip was one that I think we both really needed.  While we were overseas we hit the year mark of my mother’s passing.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year.  We got to see beautiful landscapes that she would have loved.  We rode a gondola up a mountain and hiked across, looking down on houses and lakes and trees.  We drank coffee and ate chocolate.

This was a trip that I’ll always be thankful for.

European Dreams

This post will be short.  I’m about to leave Florence, AL to drive to Atlanta, where I will get on a plane with my dad and fly to Europe.  I have dreamed of this trip for so long, and now it’s here.  For two weeks I will be exploring Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.  I will get to see where I came from.  And maybe I’ll get some insight on where I’m going.  I wish I had time to write more, but I’m already running late!  I’ll try to post while I’m there, but it probably won’t happen.  Sorry that this isn’t that thoughtful, I just found it necessary.

Northern Europe, I’ll see you soon.