To Myself

I can’t remember the last time I really got to relax.  I can’t remember the last time I got be alone and think and work and write.  Which is why I feel almost nonexistent.  I’m always working.  I’m always with someone.   There’s always something else that has to be done.  Why don’t we cherish things when we have them?

My heart is not broken, but at the same time, it is.  I miss home the most in the summer, when it’s so hot here that I can hardly breathe.  All you have to do is exist and you’re sweating.  And the rain does nothing to cool the land.  I miss my dad and my brother and my best friend.  I miss home cooked meals and long drives and being allowed to spend the day in bed.  I miss my mom.  You never quite learn to appreciate things until they’re gone.

This life is not what I thought it would be.  But then again, life never is.  It’s full of surprises, good and bad.  I used to call myself a writer, but I don’t think I can say that anymore.  I’m not even trying anymore.  Any talent that I may have once have has disappeared in the busyness of work, and relationship, and life.

I don’t know what I want.  And I don’t know why I complain so much.  As humans, I guess that we are never quite content.  I miss the days when I would sit in silence and meditation, but I live as though there’s no time for that anymore.  I can’t make the days grow any longer.

As I write this, I know I still need to go buy groceries.  I still need to clean my apartment.  I still need to do so many things that won’t get done if I’m not the one to do them.  Because I am an adult.  Adulthood snuck up on me.  It probably sneaks up on all of us.  Even though we spend our childhood chasing adulthood.  How foolish are we to want this freedom that isn’t really freedom at all.

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You’re Not From Around Here

I don’t like making blanket statements.  So I don’t want to say all white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Or even that older, white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Or even that older, southern, white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Because I’m not sure if it’s across the board true.  But whether it is true or it isn’t, it annoys me.

I’m not sure if it’s my personality.  Or the fact that I’m from California.  Or a combination of both.  But I don’t like talking to strangers very much, especially when I have no reason to.  So whenever I’m approached, I’m not very good at reacting.  I’m not even sure what the appropriate reaction is sometimes.  My thoughts immediately go to: “why is this person talking to me?”  And I don’t even really care what they’re saying.

The other day I was picking up from a restaurant for a delivery (I starting working a second job doing food deliveries for a new company because my boyfriend works for them and it’s fun).  I picked up from the same restaurant three times in a row, and the same man was sitting at the bar all three times.  The first time he asked me about delivering, and asked if he could order a grilled chicken salad… from the restaurant he was sitting in…  And I know he was messing with me, but I’m a joke killer, because it’s more fun for me to act as if I’m taking something literally.  I told him I didn’t take orders and that he’d have to go to the website.  Every time I went in to pick up he continued to pester me.  I told him it would be pointless for me to deliver to him because he is already in the restaurant, to which he said that I didn’t have a good sense of humor.  I told him I had a great sense of humor, but that I was from California and I tried to leave it at that.  Then he said he could tell I wasn’t from around here.  I really just didn’t think he was funny.

And I’m sure that there are men just like him where I’m from, but maybe I haven’t encountered enough of them.  Or maybe they know to quit when the receiver obviously doesn’t like their banter.  I wish I could wear a sign around my neck that says, “Don’t talk to me” whenever I’m not in the mood.

This seems to happen more and more though.  They seem to assume that because you exist in their vicinity, that you are fair game.  I’m not fair game.  I don’t understand the point of making jokes about my job or anything else about me just because you don’t know how to start a real conversation.  Especially if you’re not even there alone.  In this latest instance, his wife (I’m assuming) was sitting right next to him.

Just because a female exists, doesn’t mean you have a right to her.  Her thoughts belong to her, her conversation belongs to her, unless she wants to share it.  And that goes both ways.  It’s the same for men, it just doesn’t seem worth mentioning.

I wish I was more terrifying.

Honestly, what am I supposed to do?  Fake a laugh?  Hahahahahaha.  Shut up.

To Be a Woman

I was never taught how to be a woman.  It was never a choice I made.  So it was never something that I put much thought into.  Sometimes the word woman even almost makes me cringe when applied to me.  Maybe because the word woman seemed too mature for me, too momish, too much like a feminine adult.  Not that I have any issue with being feminine, I am feminine.  I just have never been able to box myself in with women who life fashion or makeup, or powerful women, or career women, or women leaders.  I don’t even group myself with women writers.  Because I just am a writer.  I just am a woman.

As a kid I was a tomboy.  It was what my mom wanted me to be.  She never wanted me to feel confined to being one thing.  She never wanted me to feel like I couldn’t do something just because boys did it.  I got to play paintball with my brother and his friends.  I got to play soccer and go hiking and ride my bike wherever I wanted.  I could wear silly tshirts with my favorite cartoon and shorts that I found in the boys section.

But I also got to take ballet when I wanted.  And I got to wear makeup and bikinis and carry a purse.  I could have sleepovers with all of my girlfriends.  I could bake brownies and stay up late watching chick flicks.

And I don’t really think either side of the spectrum makes you more or less a woman.  But it seems to have become popular to point out who is more woman or who is less woman or who is the best feminist.  It’s always been so hard for me to care.

I think I thought I had a lot to say.  But maybe I have nothing to say at all.  I am woman.  Hear me… or don’t.

You Come in Close

You come in close
I can feel your breath on my neck
Breathing your life into me

You come in close
Loosening these chains that bind me
Watching my shackles fall to the ground

You come in close
Lifting me to my feet so I can stand with you
Preparing me to run

And we’ll run
You take me on a wild ride
Over mountains, through valleys, crossing streams, conquering deserts

You come in close
You take me on endless adventures
And let me rest when I grow weary

You come in close
You carry me out of the holes I dig for myself
Teaching me not to fight anymore

You come in close
You piece together my aching heart
You make me whole again

You come in close
Wrap your arms around me in restoration
Your warmth is unmatchable

You come in close
And it’s like magic without the tricks
And it finally all makes sense

You come in close
You love me as your own
Because that’s exactly what I am

You come in close
And I can feel you

Unintelligence

I have a good job.  I really like my job.  I just got promoted at my job.  And it’s okay that I’m not doing the type of job that I thought I’d grow up to do.  Welcome to our economy.

The job market is fairly small.  And sometimes it seems that people have forgotten that.  A lot of people go to college, but most people don’t get jobs in their field after they graduate, and that’s not for lack of trying.

A month or so ago, I was having a conversation with someone I work with who also has a degree.  People come through all the time and act like we’re dumb because we work at Starbucks, even though Starbucks will actually give tuition reimbursement to their partners who are trying to get their bachelors if they go to ASU.  Starbucks cares about education, so why would someone assume that only stupid or uneducated people would work a job like that?  No, you don’t need a degree, but I never wanted to get a job in my field anyway.
But I digress.  I was talking with my coworker about working at Starbucks and about how college isn’t for everyone and having your degree doesn’t really make you any better than anyone else, because in this economy, it’s usually pretty hard to get a job in your field unless you’re either top tier or you have a lot of connections where there are openings.  It’s luck and who you know, not necessarily intelligence or capability.
An hour after our conversation a very loud man walked and announced that he had a question.  But he then went on to say that his question required intelligence, and that was pretty hard to find in Starbucks.  Both my coworker and I looked at him with obvious offense on our faces.  He began to laugh and told us to take a joke, then my supervisor came up front and he got to ask her his question.
During their conversation though, he told her she should go back to school, because she dropped out when she realized it wasn’t for her.  He was trying to force his worldview on her.  And she was annoyed.  We were all annoyed.

It’s fine to value education.  I’m currently planning on possibly going back and getting my masters degree next fall.  And that’s not because I think my current job is beneath me.  It’s not because I’m dying to do something else.  Even if I do get my masters and find a job in that field, I might still work a few days at Starbucks, because I enjoy it, and I like the benefits.

A degree does not necessarily mean a career.  And a lack of a degree does not equate stupidity.

It’s okay that I have a degree and am a barista.  Welcome to the real world.

The Worst of These

I think that all Jesus wants is to give us eternal life so we can spend it with him.  I think all he wants is to love us.  No matter what.  I think that he came to the world to save it, to save us, from death.  That’s all.  And what began in the garden, what began with sin, was death.  There’s no escaping this, because although Christ came to save the world, and although he succeeded, we did not suddenly become perfect.  But we do get to have a choice now.  We do get to choose him, if we want to.

It seems to me that a lot of people have forgotten the “if we want to” part.  It seems to me that some people swing to the side of “you must choose him or you deserve to die.”  As if they forget that we all deserve to die, whether we choose Christ or not.  Because you do not suddenly become perfect or sinless just because you call yourself a Christian.  Yes, your slate is wiped clean in his eyes, but he still knows you.  He still knows the judgment in your heart.
In Matthew 18: 21-35, Jesus tells the story of a ruler who decides to collect on his debts.  He calls a man before him who cannot repay him, and the man falls to his knees, begging for more time, begging not to be thrown in prison.  The ruler has mercy on the man and forgives him of his debt completely.  But then the man seeks out someone who owes him money, as if he has learned nothing, and demands the money be repaid.  When the money is not repaid, he has him thrown in prison.  When the ruler hears of this, he throws the first man in prison to be tortured until his debts are repaid.
Forgive as you have been forgiven.
I think a lot of us forget that we have been forgiven already.  We forget about our sin as if it never existed, as if we had never done anything wrong, as if we had never been in debt, and then we try to force others to “turn or burn.”  We tell people little one liners like, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”  HELLO! WE ARE SINNERS TOO!!  All have sinned and deserve death.  And all sin is equal, because all sin is deserving of death.  
So we do things like telling someone, because they’re gay, they’re probably going to hell.  No.  Because they were born into an imperfect, sinful world, they might miss out on eternity with the Creator.  And you telling them their lifestyle is wrong does not allow them to see the loving God you claim to serve.  Who wants to follow a God who will not accept someone for who they are?  I honestly don’t believe anyone wants to be gay.  Nor do I believe anyone really wants to be straight.  I think you just are gay.  You just are straight.  You just are short.  You just are tall.  You just are lanky.  You just are stocky.  You. Just. Are.  I cannot make myself taller unless I add something that is not myself into the mix (tall shoes).  I cannot make myself love a woman unless I pretend to be something I am not.  Wearing high heels is masking who I really am.  Someone pretending to be straight when they’re not would be masking who they really are.

Christ did not come so we could point out people’s differences, flaws, or downfalls.  He did not say to Peter, “stop being so zealous and causing trouble,” he said, “follow me.”  He did not say to Mary, “don’t sleep with so many people,” he said, “follow me.”  Follow me.  The rest will get figured out along the way.
I had a professor in college who told a story about when he first gave his life to Christ.  He went to his pastor and said, “Well, now that I’m a Christian, does that mean I have to stop doing all these things,” and he listed off a bunch of “sins.”  Because he didn’t want to stop.  The pastor told him that he didn’t have to stop doing anything.  It was more about what he started doing.  He started spending time with his savior.  He started serving more.  He started worshipping.  And a lot of those sins?  He stopped doing them when he felt he needed to, when he felt led to, through his personal relationship with the Spirit.
That’s how I honestly believe God wants it to be.  Not every person is the same, so what is “sinful” for one person might not be for someone else.  Yeah, murder in cold blood is probably always a sin, and infidelity, and anything else that can hurt someone else.  But having a few drinks?  Loving someone of the same gender?  Eating shellfish?  Probably not across the board sinful.

Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.”  Paul equated himself with every other sinner, while we like to call him a saint.  In fact, he put himself below everyone else, because he knew his sins, knew himself, better than he knew anyone else.  Yes, he did his fair share of judging and calling people out.  But you know who he was calling out and judging?  Those who had already turned to Christ.  He was calling out those in the Church!  He wasn’t finding random strangers and telling them they were going to hell because they weren’t in the pews every Sunday.

Be like Paul.  Be like Christ.  And never forget who you are.

 

 

Two Kinds

This was supposed to go up several days ago, but my internet has been out because of the rain.

A week and a half ago I ran a 5k in Birmingham, at the zoo, with my friend, Eli.  He’s not yet a strong runner, so after the first mile and a half, we decided to walk for a little while.  It’s a 5k, it’s not like it mattered for anything either of us was doing.  Anyway, the race was pretty obviously on the road and we were walking on the sidewalk.  After about a minute, a slightly overweight, older woman passed us running, which didn’t matter.  However, as she passed, she chose to yell at us for walking because we weren’t walking single file, even though we were on the sidewalk and there was more than enough room to run on the road, where the race actually was.  People like that make me so mad.  I told Eli that one thing I’ve noticed in the South is that if you’re doing something that someone doesn’t like, they’ll say it as rudely as they can.  In California, you judge everyone, but you’ll say it to your friend, and if you really mean it, you’ll say it loud enough that the person can hear.  Yes, I know that this isn’t a nice thing to do, but I think I prefer it.  I hate confrontation anyway.

Later on in the race we were just reaching a water stop, and we had decided to run after we got a drink.  While we were walking to the table, an older lady passed us and started saying, “Come on, go go go go, don’t let an old lady pass you!”
At first, I was unsure that she was talking to us, but she most definitely was.  It annoyed me, but she was trying to be encouraging.  And after we got our water, we ran.  And we finished the race.

We passed both of these women.  One of them was proud, even though she’d never met us, simply because she was probably a nice woman.  Whereas when we passed the mean lady, I said loudly to Eli, “There’s a mean lady.”  Then as we passed her, I said, “Bye mean lady.”  You know, because I’m a child.  One woman was proud that we finished.  The other one, I was proud to have passed.  She deserved to finish far behind me.  It still irks me.  So stupid.

Anyway, we have the choice to be one of two kinds of people.  We can choose to be annoying and encouraging, because everyone deserves a good life.  Or we can choose to be cranky because not everything is exactly as we wished it was.  Who will I choose  to be today?