My Thoughts on the Day Before Thanksgiving

I don’t really care what you have to say about Thanksgiving.  I know that it became a tradition in an unsavory way.  I know that people want to say it’s a white privilege holiday.  I know that this land is stolen.  I know this land isn’t promised.

But I don’t really care.  And I’m not even a Thanksgiving advocate.  I literally just don’t care.  I have never once thought about or celebrated this holiday because of pilgrims having a dinner.  I don’t even think of pilgrims.  I associate this holiday with thankfulness.

There’s a guy I know.  Not a guy I like.  This guy always has to have something to say.  He always has to be right.  He always has to have the last word.  And when I tell him to stop, he refuses.  He says sexist statements because he thinks it’s funny.  He calls me militant.  But that’s not what this is about.
This guy.  This male specimen.  He has spent more than half of his life in the United States.  I’m pretty sure he was born here.  He just spent a portion of his growing up, elsewhere.
The other day, he made a big, offensive deal about how he hates Thanksgiving and he doesn’t even know when it is.  He never paid attention because “we all know what happened when that dinner was over.”  To have spent all this time in America, regardless of whether you celebrate a holiday or not, something is major cannot be ignored.  You’re going to know when it is.  Everyday Muslim, Jewish, and Jehovah’s witness know when Christmas is.  People know when Thanksgiving is.  You’d have to be stupid, more than ignorant, not to.
How does he not know that you can change the meaning of a holiday?  I know it doesn’t matter.  And I know he’ll never care.  But I needed to say something.  Thanksgiving is in the name.  It is always a time that I have believed to be set aside to be thankful.  He believes everyday should be thankful, which is true.  But that’s not the point, is it?  We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, don’t we?  Shouldn’t we be showing how much these things matter on a day to day basis?  How bad is it that we set aside a special day as well?

This is my first Thanksgiving away from California.  This is my first Thanksgiving since losing my mother.  I don’t even want this Thanksgiving.  But it is a part of life.  So I’ll live through it.  Maybe.

Can’t we celebrate if we want?  What is the point of making someone feel bad for wanting to have a little joy in their life, even if it might be manufactured propaganda?

The only one who loses, is him and the turkey.

Everybody can shut up now.

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.

Blogging Everyday in July|Comment, No Comment

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That is a picture of me.  In case you didn’t notice, I am a pale, white human.  My eyes are green, my hair is red (though it will someday be blonde again), and I freckle almost as much as I tan, which isn’t much.  That’s the way I was born.  I can’t change it.

Because I’m new to the South, there are things that I feel like I can’t write on because I’m still an outsider.  Similarly, I have avoided writing about something else for quite some time, because I feel like an outsider.  I’m not a racist person, but by staying quiet, it’s like I’ve just said “no comment” on the topic entirely.  But I have views, just as we all do.
However, since I’m a pale, white human, the closest I’ve come to racism towards me is being made fun of for saying I have Cherokee in me when all the native kids where I’m from are Paiute.  I don’t even really have enough Cherokee in me to really claim it anyway.

The thing is, I’m proud of my heritage.  My dad is Norwegian, and I’m proud to say that I am too.  Froiland means “happy place” in Norwegian, and when I shorten it to Froi, it simply means “happy.”  That’s what I want to be, happy.  That’s what I wish everyone could settle for.  Everyone should be able to be proud of their heritage.
But growing up in such a small town in California, I wasn’t aware of my privilege.  I guess most white people aren’t aware of their privilege.  And whether or not that’s okay is a completely different topic.  Another thing about growing up in a small town in California, there were very few African Americans in my town.  There were plenty of people with Hispanic heritage, and plenty of Native Americans, and, of course, plenty of white people, but we could count the number of African descended families on our fingers.  Not that we did count them, that was just the way things were.
When I was really young I was concerned that I was racist because I didn’t have any black friends.  But that’s because I went to a private school in a small town, and so I didn’t have the opportunity.  In high school and afterward I realized my concerns were invalid.  The color of someone’s skin has never made me like someone more or less.
Last year someone commented that I didn’t date white guys, which I realize is almost true.  Most of the guys that I have fallen for have been of a different race, but that’s not the reason we were together.  In fact, the person I fell the hardest for was an African American (he still is), but again, that was never important to me.  He was an amazing person inside and out, and the only thing my mother had to say about his looks is that he was very strong, bulky, when I usually like skinny, lanky guys.

I have a tattoo on my collar bone that says “All is Privilege.”  When I got it, it meant, and still means, that everything we have in life, including life itself, is a privilege, a gift.  We shouldn’t take life for granted.  Now that I’m older, here, in the South, and my privilege is being suddenly announced to me in a different way, I think my tattoo means something else too.  I need to recognize my privilege.  I need to try to use it for the betterment of society, because it’s not something that I deserve, purely based on skin color, anyway.

Racism doesn’t make sense to me.  What’s the point in disliking someone because they look different than you?  I think God made us all different because he likes variety.  If anything, our differences should be celebrated.
No one can help the way they were born, and no one should be hated for it.  No one is a lesser person because anything out of their control.  No color is more beautiful than another, because beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder.  Even if the beholder is wrong sometimes.

There are cops that are racist that are killing people based on their skin color because of their privilege.  And there are cops being killed, because someone might have decided that all cops are racist.  And that really is just as bad as hating someone because of their race.  It’s just as bad as hating someone because of their gender or sexual orientation.  It really is just as bad as hating someone for what they believe.  And it needs to stop.  Stop killing each other.  Stop hating each other.  Why isn’t there more love, acceptance, and happiness in this world?  Froi.  Happy.  Literally.

But maybe I should go back to leaving this alone.  Because it scares me.  Because I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to have input because I’m an outsider.  I will never be able to understand what it’s like to be pulled over because of my skin color.  I will never be able to understand being afraid to leave my home alone because someone might not like the way I look.  I will never understand being judged purely on my ethnicity.  Not in a fearful way.  And it’s not fair.  It’s not fair that there are people who do understand this.

This is my comment.  No comment.

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.

Feeling Finnish

I used to live with a girl from Finland.  One of the best roommates I ever had, really.  Anu was amazing in a lot of ways, and taught me a lot about her culture, as she learned to understand mine.  She would often joke that I was Finnish because of my introverted nature.

Finnish people do like to party.  It’s just that they like to party with their friends.  Suddenly becoming friends with someone new is a rare occurrence.  Not that they don’t make friends, they just don’t talk to strangers.
If it weren’t for my job, I wouldn’t talk to strangers.
And they don’t make small talk.  Even working customer service, all conversation is minimal.  If someone comes through your line and you’re a cashier, there’s no need to discuss the weather or ask how someone is.  You ring them up and let them go.  Anu used to tell me how she didn’t understand why someone she didn’t know, or barely knew, would want to know how she is.  Whereas in America, asking someone how they are is a greeting, albeit a fake one.  Very rarely does anyone actually care how you’re doing, and they don’t really expect an answer.  We ask so many meaningless questions here.

I just moved to Alabama from California.  Although I’m an introvert and don’t do well in parties where I don’t know everyone, back home I was fairly friendly.  People describe me as nice, as kind, as sweet.  I’m not really a rude person, especially not on purpose.  Because I have worked in hospitality for the last couple of years, I’ve learned to be a little bit more outgoing.  I can talk to guests, ask them how their day is while I’m checking them in; ask them how their stay was when they check out; see if there’s anything I can do to make their time in my town more enjoyable.  But I don’t go much farther than that without a connection or a reason.  I run out of questions.  I suck at small talk.  Because I literally don’t care.  If I don’t know you, my heart is not genuinely concerned about your drive or your complaining because it’s raining outside.  I was telling a girl from my church that I am the least friendly person that I work with, because I’m from California.
In California, you’ll smile at someone when they walk through your lobby.  You’ll say hello to them.  If they look like they need help, you’ll talk to them.  Otherwise, you leave pretty much alone.  You want everyone to be happy, but that doesn’t mean you go out of your way to be their friend.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Californians are pretty judgmental anyway.
I missed church on Sunday, a church that I have been going to for a month, because I was at work.  But a friend of mine was playing a concert that night, so I saw a lot of people I would have seen that morning.  And multiple people asked where I was that morning.  If you miss church in California, everyone assumes you’re out of town, or that you had something else going on.  They might care that they missed you, but people come and go as they please.
So out here, in Florence,  I feel a little Finnish.

The Difference

I have lived in different parts of California my whole life.  I’ve visited a lot of different places over the years as well, but if there’s any place I know, it’s California.  Until a few weeks ago, I had never been to the south, except Florida, but that doesn’t count.  I hadn’t even really been to any other eastern states.  Yet, here I am.  And I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Here, people talk in church.  Which happens in some churches in California, but I am used to attention not being put on me, and I like it that way.  However, I also really like hanging out with the people I’ve met in church.  I was expecting a bunch of conservative people, because in California, everyone told me that it would be too conservative here for me.  It certainly is not.
I had Mexican food for dinner.  It’s not California Mexican food.  The beef was ground, not shredded.  There were veggies in the rice.  But it doesn’t make me not love my life.

I don’t know many people here yet.  I haven’t started working yet, so I’m bored a lot.  But I know all of this will change.  I’m lonely, but content.  I know that I am where I’m supposed to be.

People look at me funny when I fill my car up with diesel.  And until I took the Thule box off, I got questions about it far too often.  But here, people aren’t afraid to ask questions.  Maybe some would say “nosy,”  but I like it.  I like how kind people are, how caring they seem.  I like that I have been invited into a community, a family, instantly.  I don’t feel like I don’t belong.

My anxiety makes me feel like everyone is staring at me all the time.  I haven’t yet found “my spot.”  But I have begun to make a home.  I know it’s all in my head, and no one is watching me take my trash out.

Before I moved, I thought southern hospitality meant that when I moved in neighbors would bring me food.  They didn’t.  I’m kind of glad about it though.  I’m glad that people aren’t trying to force their way into my life.

I’m rambling.  But I love it here.  I’m unsure still, but I can feel my heart filling.  And yes, I will definitely need to adjust to the heat and the bugs.  Good Lord.
Hello Alabama.  Sweet home Alabama.  Haha.

Alabamily

I haven’t done this in a while.  Just stopped and let my thoughts flow here.  So maybe it’s time to do that again.

Last September I went to Ireland on a trip that changed my life.  While there, I felt God calling me elsewhere.  I felt like he was saying Florence.
I came back to Mammoth with no definite place to live, but found myself stuck in a lease with my brother instead.  I thought I would move in a month or two, felt my heart screaming at me to get out.  But instead, we couldn’t find a roommate to take my place, and I settled.  And then the snow got good, so I decided to stay a little bit longer.  I became someone I’m not.

I went to LA and spent some time with some old friends.  One of them gave me the wise advice to pick a date and go with it.  So I did.  I chose March 15th, and I was all ready to move then.  Until everyone around started dragging me down.  Until everyone around me had their own opinion.  Until everyone around me couldn’t understand why I could move to a Southern state, a “less progressive” state, a humid state.  How could that ever be home?  I honestly don’t know.  I just know what my heart says.  With every beat, it says get out.  Get out.  Get out.  Get out of Mammoth.  Get out of California.  Get out of this stagnant life you have let consume you.  What the hell are you still doing here?

I started doing things that have dragged me down.  I started spending time with people who I have allowed to change who I am.  I have all but cut ties with the people that I love here.  I let someone have my heart who definitely doesn’t deserve it, but that’s always the case anyway.
I feel torn.  I feel pulled in a thousand directions.  I feel like my life is out of control, as if I don’t get a say anymore.  My mom kept telling me how I need to save more money.  My brother wants me to stay longer so he can have more time to find a roommate, because he’s being picky.  My manager wants me to stay because he doesn’t want to find a replacement.  My new friends want me to stay longer because we can hang longer.
But what about what is right for me?  What about my life?  Where is it going?  Am I still holding onto something that is broken?  Because it feels as though my hands have been sliced open and are dripping blood.

I might be past my breaking point again.  I think I’m done here.  I probably should have left a while ago.
I need to find an Alabamily.  I need there to be something ahead of me again.
Because I’ve forgotten who I was.  I’ve been ignoring my soul.  I’ve been ignoring God.  I’ve made mistakes.  So I’m still here.