Mornings and Afternoons and Evenings

I want a house on the outskirts of a little town, maybe near the ocean.  I want vintage furnishings in pastel colors like mint and lavender and grey.  I want natural light and fresh breezes.  I want wood floors and rugs and space to do yoga.  I want to walk into town on Saturdays and stroll and read and sip coffee.  I want mornings and afternoons and evenings with someone that I love.

I want to live not too far from the city.  Whether I work there or in town, either is exciting.  I want to be close enough to the places I like and the foods I love and find a new way to adventure as often as I can think of it.  I want love.  I want mornings and afternoons and evenings with someone that I love.

I want a porch with a swing and a yard with a lawn.  I want a garden with shade and a table for writing.  I want a hammock beneath the trees for napping and a chair for basking.  I want a dog to run in my yard and to play fetch from my porch.  I want mornings and afternoons and evenings with someone that I love.

I want travel.  I want trips to the zoo and museums and road trips to canyons I have yet to conquer.  I want music and color and poetry to fill my very being.  I want happiness.  I want to be overwhelmed with joy.  I want mornings and afternoons and evenings with someone that I love.

Blogging Everyday in July|Bad things, Good People, and Whatever’s In Between

There is a such a common question that is asked.  It’s asked to trip up those who have faith into doubting what they believe.  It’s asked genuinely, really wanting to understand if God really is as good as we say he is.  It’s asked out of curiosity.  It’s asked, just to see what kind of answer I can come up with.  But I’m okay with not having all of the answers.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I believe that God is perfect.  He created the world to be perfect.  But we failed, thus the world was corrupted.  However, God continues to love us anyway.  Because his love is perfect where we fall short.
Some people like to think that God orchestrates everything that happens in this world, but that’s not the case.  I mean, yes he could do that, but he gave us free will.  So, as humans, we have choices to make, choices to do evil, and choices to do good.  Hating someone because they’re a different gender or race?  That’s a choice.  Loving someone, even though they’re different, or might not love you back?  That’s also a choice.  And for those of us who had the misfortune to be born after the original sin in the garden, sometimes making the right choice doesn’t make sense.  Because we were born into sin.  So vision gets skewed sometimes.
But choice doesn’t answer the question as to why some people get cancer, or are born with a mental “defect” that makes life harder, or why people develop dysphoria, or even why I’m bipolar.  Am I not a good person?  I’m not answering that.  But it’s because this world is corrupt.  This world has sin in it.  And sin isn’t just an action anymore, it’s in the world.
God did not create the world originally to contain sickness and hurt and anger.  Those all came after sin.  And even if someone tries to live their whole life never sinning, they still live in sin.  Because sin is in the world.  It’s in the air we breathe.  It’s not something we can just escape.  We can’t fix a corrupt world overnight.  I’m not even sure if we can fix it at all.
And if we ask why God doesn’t step in and destroy all of the things that are not of him, I think it’s because he loves us still.  He loves us regardless of if we love him.  It’s not as easy as, “those who don’t accept Christ are going to hell.”  It’s complicated and unexplainable, God’s love.  His desire never was, is, or will be to destroy us.  Even when he told Moses on the mountain that he wanted to kill all the Israelites and start again, he didn’t destroy them, and he never ceased to love them.  Even when he sent the flood to make the world new, he broke his own heart and promised never to do it again.
But all of these answers aren’t really answers.  No answer I can ever give will ever be good enough.  And I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with the mystery of God’s goodness.  I’m okay with simply knowing that we don’t know what he’s doing, because we are inside of time, where he lives outside of it.  We don’t know what awful thing he’s going to use for some amazing goodness in our future.  And we also don’t know what awful thing he hated to allow, but did because of the corrupt nature of the world, and the rampant free will that he didn’t interfere with.

I’m bipolar.  And I accepted my crazy a long time ago.  I used to believe that God created me this way, and that somehow it was going to be used someday, and I spent so many hours angry at him for it.  But maybe he didn’t create me this way.  Maybe I just am this way because of the corruptness of this earth.  But that doesn’t mean it won’t be used someday.
I both do and do not try to hide my crazy.  I can get really excited and feel so much love for my friends and want to do so many fun things.  But that excitement will get used up.  I’ll hit the mountaintop and drop off a cliff.  I woke up yesterday knowing I shouldn’t see people.  But I chose to drive to Nashville for the first time with them instead.  If it had been smooth, with a plan, and a city tour guide like I had in Michael Glenn, or Jackson, or even Jamie with his San Francisco list, or Aaron with his Portland list, and maybe a whole day, then my landing at the bottom of my depression might have been smoother.  My city exploring might have been something worth doing.  But instead, instead the chaos inside my head matched the chaos outside.  Instead I didn’t know what I was doing.  Instead, it was as if I had never been to a city before and things like paying for parking had to be mansplained to me.  Instead, I saw no river or beauty, I saw the ugliness that comes with all downtowns.  It was loud and hot and too much.  Why I ever thought that kind of adventure on a bad day would have been a good idea is beyond me.  Because I can’t explain my broken soul to those around me.  I’m unhelpable.  I’m broken.  But I’ve accepted it.  It’s just embarrassing when I’m spilling out onto the floor and the only thing that can be done is to mop me up.
Life is chaos.  Life is chaos.  Life is chaos.  And I could go on screaming at God to take me from it, because I’m not going to do it on my own.  Or I could find a way to take this chaos and make it art.  Find the beauty in the ugly.  Be Tyra Banks for a moment.  That’s not something I know how to do at the bottom of the cliff, but I will find my moment at the top again, and I will be living amongst the beauty again.
And none of this is to say that I had zero fun in Nashville, because I did have fun.  I love my friends here, they care about me.  It wasn’t there fault that I can’t handle my own existence sometimes.  That will never be anyone else’s fault.  That’s not what I want to be taken from this.  I am flawed.  We are all flawed.  Welcome to honesty hour.

 

Blogging Everyday in July|Some Thoughts on Why the South is Better

So I had a drink.  And yes I’m writing this the night before it posts, so don’t think I’m drinking in the morning.  I tried to call a friend back home who I texted to ask a question to last week, and he never responded.  He also didn’t answer the phone.  I’m sure he’s busy, and that’s not a big deal, it’s just part of the California dream.  They miss your calls.  But they’ll also not call  you back.  Or text you back.  Because they forget, or didn’t see it right away, and decide that you’re probably not that important.  Not that you’re not important to them, you’re just not right in front of them.  You could be ten minutes away, or a thousand miles, it makes no difference.
In California, I feel ugly.  Not that I compare myself to the all the beautiful girls, or that beauty has anything to do with it.  It’s like my soul seeps out and they see right through me, and my inner beauty doesn’t seem like enough.  It feels like I can’t do enough.

Yesterday when I got off of work I called a friend because I was too lazy to text said friend.  Today he called me back.  I wasn’t sure why he was calling, and it was simply because he had noticed that I had called him and was just getting to the point where he could call me back.  My friends here care enough to call me back.  As if I’m important or something.
My friends here try to take what I say to heart.  They try to make me feel comfortable.  They act as if  I’m part of the family, and they care when I’m not around.  There is a community that I’ve never experienced before.  It’s like I’m heard.  Like maybe I’m not ugly.  Like maybe I matter.

And this isn’t to belittle my California friends, because they mean the world to me.  But sometimes I make them my world, when I could never be their world.  This is my world now.  Big skies and clouds that light up.  Lightning bugs and actual lightning.  Humidity that could make me cry, and thunderstorms that make it all worth it.  All of the stories that meant the most from my childhood took place here.  I’ve come home, somehow.

Here, they’d notice if I disappeared.

In Love

I have never been in love
I have been in love a thousand times

I fell in love
With Wesley in preschool
Told my dad all about our future life together

I fell in love with that boy in my elementary class
Fell in love what that boy at camp
I couldn’t stop looking to the future

I fell in love with the first guy to crush me
The first one to use me
The first one to put me last

I fell in love with my best friend
Again and again and again
Though he fell for me first
He’ll say it wasn’t love at all

I fell in love with the prince of eBay
And slowly fell out
As I quickly fell for another
And as he dropped me too
I felt my cracks widen
As my contents spilled out
And I fell in love with dying

I fell in love with my failure
Then fell so in love with my music
That I fell in love with spinning words too

I felt myself fall for the bad boy musician
Every bad boy musician
But specifically the one who kept coming back
I let myself fall for him three times too many
He kept coming back for more
Before I finally learned to lock that closed door

I fell in love with the car guy
Every car guy
Who would find some way to rescue me
When they were the ones needing saving

I fell hard for the guy from my work
The first one who I’d let see my soul
The kindest, the sweetest, the one I wanted to give everything to
The first one that was really my fault

I fell in love with the filmmaker in training
And I fell for the guy on the bus
Because they really listened when I spoke
As if my words meant anything at all

I fell in love with the alcoholic drug salesman
Before I ever knew what he was
I let him have me and know me
Learning that I never wanted to be in love

I fell in love with fiction
With thoughts sent from broken minds
Because I forgot to believe in myself

But I fell in love with living
With beauty and vibrance and life
I fell in love with dreaming my reality
And adventures worth more than any love

I refuse to fall in love
I fall in love every time

I have never been in love
I have been in love a thousand times

Road Trip With Me: Making Adventures

The other night I slept in my car at a rest area alone, for the first time ever in my life.  I’m not going to say I wasn’t scared or lonely, but it was an adventure.
An hour or so earlier, I was driving through Utah,  and I saw a sign that said “Dinosaur footprints at Johnson Ranch, next right.”  So I got off the interstate and followed the signs.  However, I had just hit the time change, so the place was closed by the time I got there.  I bought myself ice cream at a gas station and drove until my eyes couldn’t see well anymore.  After dusk, it’s often hard for me to see, so I don’t feel super safe driving in unfamiliar places all the time.  Never really realized it was an issue until now, but I digress.

The next day I set out for Denver.  I had reservations at a dinosaur themed hotel for two nights, and one of my oldest friends lives in Denver with his girlfriend, so I knew it was gonna be a good stop.  On my way I saw a sign that said “Dinosaur Museum.”  So I decided to try this spontaneous adventure thing again.
It was open.  It was tiny.  I paid $9.  But it was so worth it.  I don’t know why, but dinosaurs give me such a simple joy.  It did delay my getting to Denver and dinner until 6:30/7pm, but who cares.
I met up with Cristian and his girlfriend and we had dinner.  It was more than good to see a familiar face.  I went back to my hotel and slept.  I wanted to relax and sleep in for once.
I got up late and set out for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  I saw dinosaurs and went to a history of chocolate exhibit.
I drove to downtown to wait for Cristian to get off work.  Two strangers told me I was beautiful.  I decided Denver was kind.  Cristian and I got dinner and struggled to find my car.  I took him home and we said goodbye.

Today I really slept in.  I drove into Kansas.  After 5 or so hours of driving (with stops) I started to feel weird.  I took myself to a movie, which wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.  I was feeling very uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to drive further, so I got a cheap motel room and I currently feel very stupid and alone.

I am further from home than I have ever been alone.  Saying goodbye to Cristian meant saying goodbye to the last person that I’ll see in a long time that knows me.  I wasn’t afraid for this adventure at all.  But now I am.  Because now there really is no turning back.  Now, if I made the wrong decision, I won’t know where to go or what to do.  I can’t just call my dad if my car breaks down.  I can’t expect my brother to come rescue me from a snow storm, or for Michelle to be able to watch a movie and just be with me.  I have to make it on my own now.  And even though I know for sure that I can do it, I am suddenly terrified.  What was I thinking?  Why did I do this?
Oh right, I was called.  I followed God.  I followed my heart.  I’m crossing things off my bucket list.  I’m making life an adventure.  I just wish I didn’t feel so alone and stupid.

Rose Field

You’re standing in a field
Feeling empty
But it’s full of roses
While you only see the thorns

Find beauty in what is causing you pain
There is no one left to blame
You are joy
Let them find you

You might be begging not to be chosen
Yet in this field
You are in full bloom
The most beautiful rose

Step out
You have grown
No one can see your thorns
Not anymore

Unbroken Joy

You are the rhythm I dance to
No one else can match it
The song in my soul belongs to you
Just as I do

I sprint through fields of truth
For a moment to touch your beauty
I can’t quite grasp you in my hand
You open up my whole arms
My whole heart
Taking over my being

Here I am
Take me
All my pieces
You don’t make broken people
In your presence
I am whole

Things I am Self-Conscious About

I think it might be human nature to be self-conscious.  We are ourselves, so it makes sense to be most aware of ourselves.  And we are the most aware of the things that other people don’t notice.  Most of the things are stupid.  Some of them would go unnoticed for years if we didn’t point them out.  Some of them aren’t even real.  Some of them aren’t noticed, even if we do point them out.
So here are a few things that I’m self-conscious about:

1.  I have a lisp
When I was a kid, my lisp was really bad.  Now that I’m older, not many people hear it.  But I hear it.  I hear it in recordings of my voice.  I hear it when I talk to guests.  And as soon as I hear it, I try to fix it, but when I try to fix it, it gets worse.
I was telling this story to my manager one time.  I used to work at a camp in Sonora.  One day I was in the snack bar with a girl that I worked with and it was really slow.  We thought it would be funny if we used accents when we talked to guests.  “Or we could have lisps!” She announced.  “Oh wait… sorry.”  She apologized when I gave her a look.  I laughed.  This story makes me laugh, but my current manager told me, “You don’t have a lisp.”  He fully doesn’t believe in it.  He can’t hear it.
My best friend can hear it, but only when I point it out.
Really, I’m self-conscious about my speaking in general.  I talk fast.  But I work in customer service, and I often deal with foreigners whose first language isn’t English.  So I try to speak slower for them, but it’s a heavy effort.  When I get excited, I speak much faster.  And I mumble.  I trip over my words.  Not always, but enough for me to notice.
I also talk too much.  I have so many things on my mind all the time, that I just want to say them.  I find myself annoying.

2. My Handwriting
I have terrible handwriting.  I mean, terrible.  It’s legible.  But it’s really not pretty at all.  And it’s inconsistent depending on my mood.  I look at it and cringe.  Thank God we’re beyond the days of guys asking for a handwritten number.
The worst part about this, is that I’m a writer.  I write all the time.  I heard that messy handwriting is a sign of intelligence, but it still doesn’t make me happy.  Maybe I should have been a doctor?

3. Texting People First
I would much rather give people my number than get theirs.  Unless I am standing with them at the exchange and text them right then.  I hate texting someone I’ve never texted before, or someone that I haven’t talked to in a long time, and them responding with, “Who is this?”  It makes me feel so awkward.  Like, why do I have your number?  Are we friends?  Most of the time, I don’t even want to respond.  Which is probably more awkward.

4. Dancing/Playing sports
So, I’m not a horrible dancer.  But I hate when people watch me, or if I feel like people are watching me.  If I’m with the right friends, it’s great.  Most environments, I’m too self-conscious, so I’d rather stay in my seat.
As for playing sports, I used to be good.  I had fun.  And I still have fun, if we’re just messing around and it’s not competitive.  But if I kick the ball wrong, or if I fall while snowboarding, or miss a block in volleyball, I don’t want to play anymore.  Unless I can laugh about it.  If you’ll laugh with me, I’m fine.  If you’re mad, or if you give me a hard time, forget it.

5. My Appearance
Obviously we knew this one was coming.  Every female, scratch that, every human, is critical of their appearance.  But I didn’t used to be.  When I was younger I thought I was pretty.  I thought I would be thin forever, which is kind of what my mom told me.  I had always been active and eaten whatever I wanted.  I had clear skin.  I looked great in a swimsuit.
And then that slowly started to change.  I stopped swimming competitively.  I went through puberty (dear god).  I hurt my knee running, so I had to take some time off.  But I still ate what I wanted.  I have my mother’s hips.  And I’m short, so I feel as if my body is disproportionate.  I’m not even fat, but I feel like I am.  We all feel like we are.  I hate my stomach.  I hate my legs.  I hate my butt.  And I hate when people draw attention to my body at all.  Girls do it far more than guys do.  But I just wish I could hide.
And my skin is not clear, not all the time.  It’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.  I don’t break out nearly as bad as other people, but if I get one spot, I mess with it, and it only gets worse.  And I have moles on my face.  They’re not harmful, and aren’t even that bad, but I am very aware of them.
I obsess over every stray hair.  I have never had good hair, and I am shocked when I hear that people actually do like my hair.  I’m lazy, and I do nothing with it.  I just dye it a lot, because I get bored.  Really, I probably shouldn’t have hair at all.

But none of these things make me a bad person.  They don’t make me ugly.  They don’t make people like me less, even if I sometimes feel like they do.  They won’t keep me from finding someone to spend my life with.  They don’t affect me as a writer, and they shouldn’t affect me as a person.
Remember that you’re beautiful.  Don’t sweat the little things, but that’s just what they are, little.  No one notices but you.  And if they do, they’re not worth it.

En Fuego

Sometimes there’s beauty from ashes
Nature taking itself back
Flood gates opened and communities destroyed
But it’s what we always asked for

Bring on the rain
Pour out the fire
And disappear in the smoke that follows
Because that’s all I know how to do

Go for a swim and come back drowning
These lungs don’t need air anymore
This voice is nonexistent
They always forgot to listen anyway

I’m not exactly running away
I’m escaping
From this prison with no doors and windows
Lacking the space that peace builds around

The grass grows anyway
The flowers bloom anyway
And nothing you can say will stop them
Even in my efforts to protect them from you

The weeds you’ve planted are dying
Not strong enough to withstand my fire
Because that’s all I am
All I was born to be

I used to be afraid to burn
Never seeing the beauty that came after
Only seeing destruction and death
Forgetting that all is natural

But this spark gave way to an inferno
And there will be nothing left
Flame on
I am strong

Strong enough to claim this valley
But choosing to move on instead
They can’t breathe in my smoke
Falling, gasping for air

I am not hardened
My heart still beats freely
To the rhythm of war drums
Yet my storm is quelled

I’ll be a candle again
I’ll be peace again
I’ll be silent again
As I am reborn