White Carnations

I need to write.  I’ve been meaning to write.  I’ve been meaning to set time aside.  I’ve been meaning to.  I’ve been meaning to.  But there are so many things that have almost lost the words.  Or maybe just one thing.  Because I’ve felt a little numb.  Or maybe I’ve felt as though something was missing and it’s not a space I can fill.  And I haven’t even been trying to fill it.

I’ve missed my mother lately.  I always thought that we never learned to love each other right.  I thought we were too different to understand each other, but I have realized that we were almost too much alike.  She raised me to be strong and independent.  She raised me to value intelligence and adventure.  She raised me to never say no to the possibilities.  She raised me to value my own opinion, but to learn the opinions of others.  I am who I am because of who she raised me to be.

I find that I talk about her more now than I ever did before.  She was always a fixture in my life, even when I moved thousands of miles away from her.  She wasn’t everything that I thought a mother was supposed to be, but she was a thousand times better than her mother could have ever hoped to have been.  She was everything she knew how to be.

And maybe I’m just angry.  Maybe I’m angry that I never got to show her my new home.  I’m angry that I can’t ask her questions about living on my own that a daughter should get to ask her mom.  I’m angry that I’ll never get to introduce her to Bobby and ask her how she likes him.  I’m angry that I can’t travel with her anymore, even though she’s who put the love of travel in me.  I’m angry that life goes on, even when it doesn’t.

And I think I’m allowed to be angry.  And I’m allowed to not talk about it, because there’s nothing for anyone to say.

On Sunday, while I worked, Bobby spent mother’s day with his family.  He told me that his dad had gotten me a white carnation, because that’s a southern tradition.  You get someone a white carnation if they don’t have a mother on mother’s day.  It was my first mother’s day without her.  It was my first carnation.

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Love is Scary

Valentine’s Day was last week.  I don’t know much about the origin of Valentine’s Day, and I’ve never really fully partaken in the holiday, because it’s become a hallmark holiday to sell merchandise and make single people feel lonely.  However, this year was my first year as part of a real couple on Valentine’s Day.  Not that I find the holiday important, but it has gotten me thinking.

How does one know that they will love someone forever?  How do we trust that our partner will love us forever?  What is forever?  Love is about trust.  Love is about loyalty.  Love is a choice.  I’m in a relationship that I could perceive lasting forever.  I have zero desire for it to end.  It’s just sometimes hard to wrap my head around someone wanting to be with me forever.  People are constantly changing and evolving.  But my parents were together 43 years and would have been together another thousand if possible.  I want that.  Maybe I have that.  Giving your heart to someone is just a little terrifying.

But is it the same with God’s love?  Because he is love and will love me forever.  His love is not dependent on whether we’re in the same place or like the same things.  It just is.  As long as I can trust that, nothing else really matters, I guess.

So what if love is scary?  It just might be worth it.  God’s love brought me all the way across the country, didn’t it?  And there are probably a thousand more adventures to be had.

Goodbye 2016

I think most people would say good riddance to 2016.  It hasn’t been the worst year, but it’s been quite a year.

I started out the year working far too much and being home not enough and tired quite often.  I was spending time with someone who didn’t value me. I didn’t make priorities of the things that I should have.

In March, I made the biggest decision of my life so far and decided to pack up and move across the country, with no job, very little savings, and no place to live.  But I’ve fallen in love with my home here in Alabama.  I have great friends and my heart is finding somewhere to belong.

2016 will always be the year my mother died.  It’s not fair, how much this year has claimed.  The door is about to close here, and there’s nothing we can do to make 2017 the same.

I want to do great things in 2017.  I want to be healthy again.  I want to be even happier.  I want to adventure and try new things.  I want to learn to save and plan, while still having time to explore.

I want to fall in love with 2017.  Maybe fall in love in 2017.  We’ll see, I guess.

I wish that I had more to say.  There are a lot of words in my mind, but they tend to get stopped before they reach fruition.  So maybe writer’s block is weeds.

Here’s to 2017.

Christmas (A Poem)

Christmas.
Family.
When the air is filled with cheer
A time you want your loved ones near

Christmas.
A time we’re prone to forget
Wrapped up in the mess of present wrapping
Though its reason is all about the presence

Christmas.
A time for remembering
A God most powerful, became so humble
A child in a stable, came to save mankind

Christmas.
Unwrap new beginnings
It doesn’t matter what your tree looks like
There wasn’t even a tree at the original

Christmas.
Wisemen, shepherds, nativity.
So much more, though our small minds might make it less
King, creator, Lord of our hearts

Christmas.
A time to be found
Don’t get lost in this
Find time to be merry

Christmas.
Let your heart be warmed
No matter how cold it may or may not be outside
It was never about the weather anyway

Christmas.
Remember.
Be humbled and bring praise
Its every reason is so you could be saved

Christmas.

On Santa and Christmas Traditions

Working in customer service has taught me that people get meaner during the holidays.

I’m almost positive that I’ve never taken a picture with Santa.  My parents didn’t really teach the Santa thing.  I don’t remember ever really believing, but maybe I stopped before my memories began.  I vaguely remember logical conversations with my dad about how Santa wouldn’t fit down our chimney, but I’m pretty sure I knew it was always pretty much a fairy tale.
We focused more on the original Christmas story.  Yes, we did the tree for most of my life, but we opened at least one gift on Christmas Eve, and as my brother and I got older, we started to follow my dad’s family tradition of opening all the gifts on Christmas Eve, which pretty much takes Santa out of the equation entirely.
Sometimes my mom would write “from Santa” on certain gifts, but we always knew it was from her, plus, those gifts were under the tree days, if not a couple weeks, before Christmas.  Thus, it was really hard to actually believe in Santa.  And that’s okay.  I don’t really feel like I missed out.

Every year since I can remember, apart from the random years we were spending the holidays out of town, my family has gone to a Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in.  Even after I moved away and my parents stopped going to that church, we still went to the service.  It was tradition.  Afterward, my parents would drive around and look at Christmas lights.  As I got older, I kinda got over that tradition, and started going home to wait for them.
The four of us would gather in the living room and usually eat a dessert or something and then give gifts.  It was nice.  It was pretty anticlimactic.
This year, I’ll be away from family for the first time.  I’m okay with it, I’m not complaining.  It’s just different, like almost every aspect of my life in the south.  I was expecting to work on Christmas, like I usually do, but this year I have it off.  So I’m going to cook and spend the evening with one of my favorite people.  I’m going to drink champagne.  Maybe I’ll start a new tradition.

 

Be Kind to Each Other

I work at Starbucks.  No, I’m not an advocate for Starbucks and I don’t worship the siren, but I do think it’s the best company I’ve ever worked for.  They care about their employees and they care about their customers.  But they’re also a fairly liberal company, just like I’m a fairly liberal person.  And you know who likes to give Starbucks shit for no reason other than to have something to complain about or to have something be the enemy?  Overly conservative people.  And most people assume that all Christians are overly conservative.  I’m not.  I don’t.

Last year, people threw a fit saying Starbucks was trying to take Christ out of Christmas.  Because they did minimalist cups.  I never really understood how those correlated.  But, people have been blaming companies for taking Christ out of Christmas for as long as I remember.  And, as someone who works for the company, I’ve realized that Starbucks celebrates Christmas harder than most.  And I used to work in hospitality.

I had heard that people were coming into stores and giving a certain name to be written on their cup.  I wasn’t sure if it was real.  I didn’t care all that much.  I just feel the need to mention why Starbucks likes to have names on their cups.
First off, it makes the coffee experience more personal (their words, not mine).  It also helps to identify drinks, so if ten people order white mochas, you know which one is yours.  Trying to make it political or whatever is pointless.  It just causes problems.  And no one really cares if you want to put a fake name on your cup to be funny.  You’ll still know that it’s your drink.
Anyway, I had heard that people want Starbucks baristas to write “Trump” on their cups.  And they were going to complain if the barista didn’t call out the name.  Last week, I was on bar with another guy I work with, another Christian, and a woman came in and told her friends she was going to see if she could get a rise out of someone.  She said her name was Trump.  My shift, who took the order, came and told us, so we would be aware of the situation.  We weren’t supposed to make a big deal out of it.
So, I ended being the barista who got to make her drink.  And I made a decision.  Most of the people I work with don’t always call out the names on the cups, they just say the drink.  I decided to do that as well.  So, I called out her mocha as a mocha, and called out the next drink as a pumpkin spice latte, because that’s what they were.  Most of the other drinks we were making were for the drive thru.
When she came to pick up her drink, she loudly asked if it was hers.  Both of the baristas making drinks, myself and my coworker, were pretty busy with other drinks.  I told her if she ordered a grande mocha, it might be hers.  She turned to her friends and complained that we called out the drink, but not the name.  Then another of her friends came to ask me, while I was obviously trying to work, if it was her drink.  I politely told him that I wasn’t sure, but that it might be.  I was preoccupied.  Then he left, and when he came back, he asked for my name, then they all left the store.
See, this situation to me sounds like it would be a group of self-righteous teenagers acting up for no reason.  But no, these were adults, most likely in their forties.  I didn’t realize it was so hard to grow up.

It really bums me out that I’m grouped with these people.  Regardless of what you believe about Trump or Starbucks or Christianity, it matters to me that people are kind to each other.  Yes, Trump is our president.  No, he is not kind, so I find it hard to support him.  However, I do believe in praying for our leaders.  As a citizen of this country, Trump is my leader.  And this is a really hard time for people like me.  This is a hard time for feminist Christians.  It’s a time where it’s hard to voice and be okay with what you believe.  But causing division is not the way.
Be conservative, whatever.  But don’t try to make people angry purely because you can.  Purely because they believe more freely than you do.  Purely because they might have a more open mind.  Purely because you disagree.
I’m into loving and accepting people first.  Which means loving and accepting overly conservative people just as much as it means loving and accepting someone who might think I’m close minded simply because I’m a Christian.  All people are equal.  Be kind to each other.

The Case of the “I Don’t Matter”s

I’m experiencing an increasing case of the “I don’t matter”s.  So much that it’d probably be easier to disappear.  And I don’t need people to try harder or act smarter or to learn to remember.  Because it’s me.

And it makes me think.  Maybe no one really matters.  I mean, people matter to each other, and it’s my fault that I have no one.  I’ve never really learned to have anyone.  But in the largest meaning of the word, no one matters.  We are all just blips.  Time keeps going, and the longer time gets, the smaller chance our existence will impact anything.

I feel really abandoned, but I’m the one who abandons.  I’m the one who packs up and moves away.  I’m the one who doesn’t stay in touch.  I’m the heart breaker with a broken heart.

I went to a friend’s family’s thanksgiving.  I traveled to be there.  On the way home, I realized it probably would have been better for everyone if I hadn’t gone.  My being there changed nothing.  I was just overwhelmed.  Because I don’t like lots of new people.  I don’t like feeling stuck.  I’m not good at socializing.  Why do I think that because there is a holiday, I need to spend it somewhere, when I’d be happier at home?  I don’t matter.

I entered into something I didn’t mean to enter into.  But it wouldn’t matter if I was here or not.  They can argue over everything without me anyway.  And there would probably be fewer arguments if I didn’t show up, because I’m too liberal, apparently.  Anything I have to say just gets interrupted and forgotten.  I don’t matter.

And when people say that nothing is going to change, it always changes.  When they say you won’t get dropped, they’ll have excuses for when you do.  Because it’s impossible to articulate anything real at all.

I feel alone.  But I feel alone because I don’t know how to express what is inside of me.  I don’t know how to make anyone understand this grief that has built up.  I don’t know how to be anyone else.  I don’t matter.