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.

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.

 

Nobody’s Story

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
Even growing in perfection has moments of misdirection
Every stained glass had its broken moments

The one who has it all together had to learn to stretch to wrap their arms around the broken years
The one who shines so brightly in the light has trouble falling asleep at night because of fear of darkness
The early riser, morning conqueror never fell asleep in the first place
The one so quiet and concentrated has learned to gather scattered thoughts to keep from going crazy

We try to put everyone in a box
Believing no one can understand
That everyone’s life must be easy
Because you can watch them breathe while you feel as though you’re suffocating

Things don’t go to plan
Because the chaos of the universe already has its order
As we try to grasp it we fall apart
Developing a story to be told

Nobody’s story is simple
To get to where you are now had to come from somewhere
So tell it