My Thoughts On a Crisis

The world is going through sudden pandemonium. And apparently none of us saw it coming. Even though we’ve been warned. Even though we’ve been writing books about it and making movies about it and scaring each other with it for years now. Because we never expected it to really happen.

Everything is changing, but I almost feel as if nothing has changed at all. My routines are still the same. I’m still alone all weekend because I don’t have any friends and my husband works weekends. I still do yoga most days. I still take my dog on walks and deal with her anxiety when there’s too much going on outside. I still go to work. I still buy things only in the amounts I need.

But life has still been thrown off kilter. I take public transit to work because it’s cheaper than filling my car up with gas every week. On Friday, I was one of the only people on most of my buses. I’ve been told the freeways feel empty. Everything is being closed or cancelled. And my company’s sales dropped by 50% in two days. Which means they can’t afford to pay all of their employees unless we drop down to four days a week. On Monday we’ll find out if more days need to be cut. Which means I’ll lose money when I’m barely making it as it is. Which means the review and raise my offer letter promised I’d get a month ago most likely aren’t ever going to happen. Which means I’m once again questioning every decision I’ve made in my recent years.

I sometimes wish I’d never moved to Alabama. I was making good money before that move. I was stable. But I was wild. I was going out and drinking and trying things that I once said I’d never try. I was staying out late and getting up early and working two jobs. But I was having fun. I was also in my early 20s. I’m not in my early 20s anymore.
I often wish I’d never quit my job at Starbucks. I had good benefits. I always knew I’d get hours. I had friends at work that I enjoyed talking to and listening to and hanging out with outside of work. I had stability. If this pandemic had hit then, that large corporation would make sure I was taken care of as a valuable employee. But I was depressed. I didn’t feel heard by the other supervisors or by my manager. I tried for months to quit that job. I didn’t have weekends or evenings off. My back always hurt.
I sometimes wish we hadn’t moved home to California. My boyfriend turned fiance turned husband wouldn’t have been screwed over by someone I was friends with in high school. And he wouldn’t have spent six months feeling depressed and isolated because that’s what small, shitty towns do to you if you’re not ready for them. Half my stuff wouldn’t still be in his dad’s basement or in random places in my childhood home. I would still feel like I could make it on my own. But I’d still be dealing with Alabama weather, Alabama wages, Alabama politics and everything that goes with that. I would still be told by old, slow, southern women that I talk too fast and be hated when I apologize and tell them I’m from California. I would still be homesick.
I wish I hadn’t quit my graduate program. I loved that program. I loved the people that came with it. I would be almost done by now if we hadn’t left. I would have a sense of purpose. I would know that I’d be actually stable in the future. Because I chose a program here and went through the process of writing essays and getting more letters of recommendation and getting accepted so I could finish only to be riddled with so much anxiety and stress and depression that I decided it was better to wait longer. Or maybe not go back at all, because I want to be in another program that is actually good where the professors actually care and where I actually know what is going on. I want to be part of program that I’m excited about it. But I’m not excited about much these days.
I quite frequently wish we hadn’t moved to San Diego. We didn’t have the money saved for this move. I feel so sunk in the hole that I’ll probably never get out. I don’t know anyone and I have no friends. Covered CA keeps fucking up my health insurance and has now cancelled it without telling me. I don’t make enough to keep myself afloat. I am struggling worse than I have since my mom died. I 100% don’t know how I’m going to get through this. But I know that I will. And I know that my partner is happy. I know that I did this for him. I know that I have someone to spend my life with and see everyday, and not everyone has that. I know that we’ll take care of each other. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. We’re going to be okay, eventually.

So our world is sick. Actual insane (most likely white ladies) are buying up every roll of toilet paper, bottle of hand sanitizer, and non perishable food item on the shelves in literally every store. These people actually plan to never go outside again. Sucks for them. But you know what? The world is still turning. Most of us will survive this. We’ll someday get to say “remember when?” And hopefully this will open our nation’s eyes to how much we need healthcare reform.
After days and days of rain, the sun came out today. I got to feel it on my skin and was reminded that very soon it will be warm enough for me to spend hours laying on the beach. Because I only live a mile from the ocean.

Go outside, even if it’s only for a minute. Take a breath of fresh air. And then go read a book, do some yoga, watch a movie, binge some netflix, pet your dog, and kiss your partner. Take this chaotic time and turn it into a time to remember what peace is like. Remember what stillness is like. Remember what it’s like to not feel the need to keep up with everything going on. Take this as a time to hit reset for a little while.
Remember what the sun feels like.

I Don’t Want to Live in This World

I hate this world that I’ve created.

I hate that I moved across the country with big dreams, none of them being fulfilled.  They’ve been destroyed so much that I’ve let them go altogether.  I don’t even write anymore.  I probably don’t even exist anymore.

I hate that I moved to the south and have encountered far more entitled people than I ever did living in a resort town.  I hate that I feel that I can do nothing right.  I hate that I don’t have anyone to depend on, so I’ve learned to depend on myself.  I hate that my heart aches for a church like the one I left behind.  I  hate that I can’t find that here.  I hate that every promotion brings more misery, instead of confidence.  I hate that I complain so often.  I hate that I’m depressed.

I miss my home.  I miss my family.  I miss my friends.  I miss my mom.  If I had known that moving here would mean losing her, I never would have come.  I miss that she made me empowered.  I wish that I had appreciated it while she was around.

I don’t want to be alive in this world anymore.  I know it’s supposed to get better.  I know it always has gotten better.  But I don’t like the in between.  I don’t like that I’m in the in between again.  I don’t like that I’ve gotten so lost, that I’ve disappeared completely.

Unwelcome

Have you ever entered a room and felt completely unwelcome there?  Like you didn’t belong at all?  Because I have a thousand times.  I feel that way at parties.  But I feel that way the most in the company of Christians.  I hadn’t felt that way in a long time, and I had almost forgotten the feeling, so I guess it was time to remind myself.  Why do I even try, sometimes?

It makes me feel like I’m not good enough.  Because I’m not part of the elite.  I have differing opinions.  And it makes me want to run away completely.

After my mom died, I stopped getting invited to things.  It felt like no one wanted me around.  I never knew if my original group of friends was doing anything.  But if I invite some of them to do anything, the ones who weren’t invited get upset.  And the odds of anyone showing up are slim, at best.  They ask me to have more great ideas, but only so they can take them as their own.  But I’m not playing the blame game here.
Because, if I get invited, there’s a 75% chance I won’t go.  Partly because I might be working.  Or maybe I’ll already have plans.  Or maybe I’m just not interested.  But whenever I am interested, I feel like I don’t belong anyway.  It just makes it all very draining.

I used to do a lot.  I used to plan things and attend things and have a lot of fun.  But then I moved the south.  And I’ve started making my life smaller and smaller, till almost no one fits in it anymore.  So maybe it’s my fault that I’m not good enough.

My 90s party was better anyway.

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.

When It’s Overwhelming

A truly interesting experience
To step into
Fall into, really
When you don’t know what to expect
And then God embarrasses you
Seeing your heart
Whispering in your ear
What do you have to be ashamed of?
When I have redeemed you
Rescued you from shame

Too much
Too good
Too crazy
And wondering what am I?
Amidst the chords and insanity
I don’t know how to follow this
Can I dwell in this glory?
Can I be free in this?
Or am I locking up my heart and throwing away the key?

The seats are empty around me
Because they all live at the altar
But maybe this is my altar
Making my sacrifices alone

70 times seven apologies
Cities he’ll give you
Cities he’ll take
Even when we don’t want to say it
We belong to him
In him
And he will take us over
If only we’ll let him

Maybe something broke within me
Every time I step a little closer
A little more love spills out of me
Overflowing
I can’t control it
It’s too much
Feeling I’ve become too much
Again

Trust

Trust.  It’s something I’ve talked about a lot.  I’ve talked about moving across the country and trusting God that it’s the right decision.  I’ve talked about how scary trust is sometimes.  I’ve probably talked about trusting people.  But I was recently confronted with a realization.

A close friend tried to promise something and I said I wouldn’t hold them to that.  They asked if I trusted them.  I told them that I was fairly certain I didn’t know what trust is.

And maybe that’s true.  That I don’t know what trust is.

Trust is defined as the “belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength” of someone or something.  It means to “have faith or confidence.”

Such a simple definition for such a huge concept.

Trusting God is hard, but it’s also the best decision, because he already knows the outcome.  Trusting a bridge when you cross it makes sense, because you’ve crossed it before, it has been crossed a thousand times.  We trust what we know.  We trust what makes sense.  We trust what we’ve experienced before.

But trusting people?  I’m pretty sure I forgot how to do that a long time ago.  Because people are forever changing.  If I look at my own life, a year and a half ago, I had no idea that I’d be living so far from where I grew up.  I didn’t know that I’d be starting my life over.  I didn’t realize that I would suddenly become an unknown.  So anyone who trusted that I would stay in Mammoth, or in California, or at least on the western side of the country ended up having their trust broken.
People have their own agendas.  So being close to someone, trusting someone, is one of the easiest ways to be let down in the long run.  As soon as my heart calls me somewhere else, I’ll probably leave, so if anyone comes too close, I’ll let them down.  And every time I am somewhere new, or around new people, I’m an exciting person, because I don’t really fit into any regular mold.  I am constantly surprising.  However, after a while, that gets old too.

I recently told someone that it’s better to be hated than to be passively ignored and forgotten.  Not a lot of people hate me.  But a lot have gotten over me.  That’s one of the things that I can really trust.

Sure, go ahead and prove me wrong.  I mean, it’s fine.  I’m fine.  I’m pretty much just over all the false promises.  And I fully understand that no one does this on purpose.  You can’t know the future when you say something in the present.
I promise to never promise something again.  Trust me.

And Then She Walked Into the Room

And then she walked into the room
And everything was forgotten
Words stopped flowing
As awe washed over
Interrupting banter
But is it even important?

And then she walked into the room
Eyes rushed toward her
Welcoming her home
As if for the very first time
Hearts skipped a beat
And ears stopped hearing

And then she walked into the room
Like nothing else mattered
Prodigal returned
Swept up in it all
All else is forgotten

And then she walked into the room
And I ceased to exist

Hipster Mentality

People like to call me a hipster.  Correction; people who are not hipsters like to call me a hipster.  I am not a hipster.  Not that it matters.  My mind defines a hipster as someone who loves to hate.  Someone who loved something before it was cool, but probably doesn’t like it anymore.  Someone who might not be a true fan.  Someone who likes something simply because someone else probably doesn’t like it.  Someone who is judgmental without knowing why.  Someone who hates things done the easy way, the normal way, and likes to make people feel bad for not doing something the hard way, the hipster way.  Fixed gear bikes are one example.  I personally don’t really have an opinion on these bikes, except that I’m probably not a good enough bike rider to ride one.  But I know that bikes have gears for a reason; not just for speed, but in order to make a ride less challenging and more worth while.  If you like to ride a fixie, by all means, go for it.  But if you ride one just to make people who don’t feel bad about it, you’re probably a hipster.

There are a lot of memes about hipsters taking over the world and liking things ironically.  I used to have a friend who would call himself a hipster, because by calling himself one, he ceased to be one, thus he was one.  And I would get mad if people called me a hipster.  Not mad, annoyed.  But it doesn’t even really matter.

I hate a lot of things.  Or at least I dislike them.  I dislike them, so I won’t even give them a chance.  I don’t like worship culture or Christian authors.  I don’t like musicians who talk so much about the fact that they are a musician that you feel like they might have lost their identity.  Or that you feel like you’re not good enough as a person because you don’t quite understand their terminology.  It’s as if they want to look cool, so they make you feel stupid.  But I might do the same thing as a writer.  Forgive me for my alienation, I guess.  I wonder if this is how it feels when foreigners try to fit in in the States.
I don’t like to be put in a box or pinned down.  So I try to keep my horizons broad.  I love dinosaurs, but I don’t carry a lot of scientific knowledge about them.  I like indie films, but I haven’t actually seen enough of them to call myself an aficionado, because I’m not really a movie person.  I like music from the early 2000’s, like Death Cab and Postal Service and Dashboard, but I might not remember the lyrics or recognize the song in a different context.  I like driving stick shift and hate driving automatic, but I only retain some car knowledge.  I like apple products because of the simplicity and clean feel, but I can’t have tech conversation about specs.  I like drinking whiskey, but I don’t know enough about brands to actually know what is good.  I like drinking and having friends that drink, but feel unloved in a Christian context.
I love my God.  I love that he continues to love me, in the midst of all of my struggles and short comings.  But I don’t like to be compared to other Christians.  I’m not ashamed of my faith.  But I am ashamed to be thought of as a Christian first, and I’m ashamed of that fact as well.  Because my first thought, when I think of a Christian, is not that they have a relationship with a loving God.  It’s that they are going to judge you.  I don’t want to be associated with judgement, but I might be the most judgmental of all.
This is a struggle within me.  I want to accept everyone while hating everything.  I want to be accepted, but I’ll shoot down what I don’t like.  I’m not even sure why I hate the things I hate.  It must be this hipster mentality.  This craving to be different, set aside.  We all want to fit in, but not actually blend in.  We all want to be the pop of color.  And let me tell you, this life is a lonely one.

Every time I feel as though I have found my place, where I can be comfortable, it’s as if there is a shift.  It’s as if I don’t exist, but I really do.  I was told, not too long ago, that I’m a pioneer.  What they meant is that I don’t have many lasting friendships.  Not close ones.  Because I have big dreams and am pursuing them.  The people who are really excited about my existence get over it pretty quickly.  I can appear and disappear easily.  So maybe right now I feel as if I have disappeared.  Although I haven’t.  I am not stagnant.

Maybe I’m just a hipster.  Maybe that’s why I feel hated.  Maybe that’s why I hate myself.