Truth and Lies

When I was fourteen I got a phone call from my mother after school asking why I was telling rumors about Jessicah.  For most of my freshman year of high school, Jessicah had been my best friend.  I don’t remember exactly why Jessicah had turned on me, but I do remember she and a few other girls who rode my bus had started to make my life very difficult in certain spaces.  Anyway, Jessicah had told a close friend of my mother’s that I was spreading a rumor around that Jessicah had put razor blades in my backpack.  When my mother called me to ask me about it, I had no idea what she was talking about.  I didn’t even yet know about this rumor that I was apparently spreading.  Also, why in the world would it even occur to me to make up a lie like that.  I hadn’t even found any razor blades in my backpack.  That wasn’t even a thought that had come into my head.

The next morning before school, I was digging through my backpack looking for a book or something, and at the bottom I found a plastic container with razor blades in it.  I think they were replacements for exacto knives or something.  How did they get there?  Oh right, obviously Jessicah had put them there, expecting me to find them sooner.  So she started a rumor that was actually true.  But I never told anyone that Jessicah put razor blades in my backpack.  Not until after I found them.  And I got the school involved.  I got the “authorities” involved.

She was putting razor blades in my backpack because I was and “emo” girl.  We all had our “emo” fazes.  And everything else that comes with that doesn’t even matter anymore, because that was more than 10 years ago.  We are grown up now.  Adults don’t make up stupid rumors about each other out of malice or embarrassment.  We put the past behind us a long time ago.

Last year I worked for a local food delivery company called Shoals Takeout to bring in some extra money.  For the most part the job was really fun.  I got to drive my own car and listen to podcasts.  We worked for tips.  But none of or mileage was reimbursed, and since I don’t know the laws, I wasn’t aware that that’s technically illegal.

I left that job in December.  There was too much going on in my life.  Trying to work a second job when your main job is Starbucks during the holidays is almost suicide.  I was constantly stressed out.  I was tired.  I was depressed.  I was scheduled more than I had originally agreed.  And there was very little help when customers refused to tip or were unreachable.  But none of that matters now, because the past is in the past.

Right before I went to Europe with my dad last year, I went to do my cash drop in the Shoals Takeout office before I went to work at Starbucks.  We had to do our cash drops on our own time, but the office was only open certain hours.  I worked two jobs, so I didn’t often have free time to do my cash drop during those open hours.  I was leaving for Europe the next day and I had 45 minutes until I had to be at Starbucks, and I knew the office was open.  I walked in the owner yelled at me, because the time I chose during their open hours, the only time I had to do my cash drop and give them their money, because I was leaving for Europe, just happened to inconvenience her.  Even though I didn’t even say anything or need anything from her.  I should have just quit then and kept the money, but I would have felt too guilty.  Because I’m a nice person.  Fairly.

So, like I said, I finally turned in my 2 weeks notice in December.  Every time I went into the office they weren’t in the office, so I had to send my notice via Groupme, which wouldn’t have been my first choice.  However, since that was the way I was forced to do it, I have proof that I left that job by my own accord, in a peaceful manor.

Last week Bobby and I went to trivia and saw one of our former coworkers.  We discussed a lot of things and generally had a good time.  But we also talked about frustrations with our former workplace, and questioned whether we would be reimbursed for all our mileage, since we had heard that another employee was getting his backlogged mileage reimbursed.  However, he was still with the company, while we were gone by that time.  I’m not fighting for it, but it’s still a conversation we’re bound to have when we’re together.  But I also found out something else.  Apparently, even though I gave my notice when I left, Shoals Takeout has been telling people that they fired me.  I guess they were embarrassed to have lost too many good employees.  It is pretty embarrassing, when you think about it.  You have a great company idea but no people skills, so everyone quits because you’re rude to them.  Maybe I’d make up lies too.  Except I like to think that I’d be a better person.

I thought we had left childish rumors behind in high school.  I thought southern people were supposed to be raised with better morals.  I thought parents were supposed to be more mature.  I thought a lot of things.  But I’m not always right.  I can be mean too.  I’ve never been fired from a job.  But I can fire some shots.  I can rant on twitter.  I can be a child too.

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About Church

One thing that I realized last week is that I’ve always gone to church because I’ve always had connection there.

I grew up going to church because my parents took me to church every Sunday.  And I went to youth group because my friends went and I liked it and I felt like I was learning things.  I felt a connection to the living God.

When I was in college I went to church because I had to be serving in church at least two times a month for my degree.  You didn’t have a choice to opt out if you were in Bible college.  But I got to know my pastors.  And I enjoyed being a volunteer, even if it wasn’t the fun jobs that I was doing.  I liked the connection.  I liked the family that I had there.

After college, I moved to Mammoth and I started re-attending the Lighthouse, and I found real family.  But I first knew about the Lighthouse because I would visit with my brother all the time growing up and when I visited during college.  I had friends there.  I felt community there.  And I connected with God there.

I’m just wondering how to get that community and connection back.  I’m wondering where it is here.  When I first moved to Florence I immediately started attending a church, but my only friends in Florence were a part of this church.   After being there for more than a year, I felt less connected than when I first moved.  My newness wore off and it kinda seemed like I wasn’t good enough to be connected.  I wasn’t good enough to be involved.  None of the original connections I had there include me anymore.  Unless they see me in public.  Then they complain that we never hang out, but I can’t remember the last time I actually got an invitation to do anything.
I got a text from the pastor saying he missed hanging out with Bobby and I.  I said he could ask us to hang out any time, but I never got a response.

I feel like church is something that I’ve had forced into my life for so long that I’m not sure what is real and what is fake.  I miss community and I miss connection, but it has to be genuine.  It cannot be forced.  I’ve visited other churches, churches with small groups, but I don’t necessarily agree with their theology.

I’ve felt a little lost lately.  I don’t like feeling lost.  So I might be breaking up with church for a while.  I can pursue my relationship with God and learn what I need, because I’m obviously not going to find what I’m craving.

Sorry I complain so much.  Sorry I’m not elite.

All That I Am

I might be fake.  I know I’m not fake.  But I might be.  Because I cover it all up.  As honest as I am on paper, very rarely will that honesty spill out of my being in real life.  Very rarely will I be okay with someone seeing me as I am.  Because I expect to be rejected.  Which is why it’s so very hard for me to reject.

I had a hard week.  Maybe one of the hardest, in a very different way.  In a way that I can’t process.  Because I’ve been on the other side, almost.  I can’t write about it, but I’ve talked about it.  I feel like I need to keep talking about it.  Because I’m not sure if I dreamt it.

I am not a burden.  But sometimes I believe I am.  Sometimes, when I have constant communication and suddenly no communication, I feel like a nuisance.  Sometimes, when I can’t process something,  I ask for help, and it gets blown out of proportion and that becomes everything.  Sometimes I feel that my problems are all that I am.  But that’s not all that I am.
I am fun.  I am small and, some might say, adorable.  I am an adventurer.  I love the people in my life.  I love when people see my potential.  Because I have potential.  I am human.  I am creative.

Thursday night, I was gathering my things to leave the house I was at.  And my three friends were on the couches.  And suddenly I broke down and sobbed.  I don’t sob.  Not in front of people, for sure.  It all spilled out of me, for a moment.  That kind of vulnerability is terrifying.  I want to be strong.  I want to be sane.  But I am far too aware of my insanity.

So yesterday I felt lost.  Yesterday I felt empty.  I still feel that way.  And I’ll be honest.  I thought about old coping mechanisms.  I thought about my options.  I could become numb.  I could close myself off.  I could disappear.  Instead, I went and bought a hamster.  My hamster is great.  Because I’m great.  I feel like a child.  But I am so content with my decision.  Maybe, someday I’ll let you meet my hamster.  Because I am not fake.  I am real.  I am a real human with real issues, and a real hamster.  (It’s less commitment than a dog).

Blogging Everyday in July|Celebrity Distractions

Have you heard about all the beef going down between Taylor Swift, Kanye, and Kim Kardashian?  I guess they’re in a fight.  Why do we care?  Because they’re famous.  Because it gives us something to focus on.  Because we don’t want to focus on the conflicts in our own lives.  We need a distraction.  We need a distraction from the hate in politics and deaths in the media.  We need a distraction from the war going on on the other side of the world.  We need a distraction from the war going on on our own soil.

A coworker brought up to me that he thinks celebrities and Hollywood and the tabloids are just a ploy to distract us from political issues.  He compares it to the gladiator battles from Roman times.  Those caught public eye, so they didn’t notice that Rome was collapsing.  And I’m not saying that our government is collapsing.  But I’m not saying that it’s not.  I’m not saying that there aren’t issues there to be addressed.  I’m not trying to point out that our voting decision seems to have become a choice between the lesser of two evils.  It’s just easier to get upset about one celebrity calling out another celebrity than it is to take a stand for our brothers and sisters losing their lives and living in fear because they are of a different race, religion,  or sexual orientation.

Yesterday I felt like listening to Macklemore.  Did you know he had a new album?  I’m not good at following artists or anything like that, so I hadn’t noticed.  But it’s fairly amazing.  Same old fighting words, same old spoken word rap feel, same political lyrics mixed with upbeat funny songs.  Really, it’s worth listening to.  Anyway, the song Light Tunnels is a song that I can’t stop thinking about.  It has to do with going to the Grammy’s and winning their award.  It has to do with the falsity and cravings of the commercial public.  We crave controversy.  It’s a distraction from what is real in the world.  Go listen to it.

Do you remember the Hunger Games, the books and the movies?  The Capital?  I like to think it’s a statement on what the world is becoming.  We like to just watch.  We like to make ourselves crazy and beautiful and beautifully crazy.  We like to have something to distract us from the wars and the hardships.  We like to be sheltered from reality.  Give us something to talk about.  Don’t tell us that another airport was bombed.  Don’t tell us that someone ran a bus through a parade.  Don’t tell us that cops are killing innocent people because of the color of their skin.  Don’t tell us that we’re privileged.  Just tell us that Tswift and Kanye are fighting again.  Tell us that Hiddleswift is real.  Tell us that Miley and Liam got back together.  That’s what we want to hear.  We don’t want to be forced to deal with what is actually real. It’s just a distraction.  And pretty soon, an orange man might be our president.  Snow.

Blogging Everyday in July|Social Media

Do you ever log onto Facebook and see someone’s post about something great that happened that day?  Do you log onto Instagram and see photos from some new and exciting adventure?  Do you see tweets on Twitter from all your friends who appear to be hanging out without you?  Can I let you in a secret?  It’s not real.  Not really.

Yes, great things are happening in your friends’ lives, but that’s not all.  Think about what you post on social media.  You only share what you want people to see.  You of course share the good times, the fun times, the spontaneous jam sessions, and midnight adventures.  How often do  you post the dark times, the lonely times, the times you feel left out?  Exactly.  Because when people are negative on social media, they look annoying and pessimistic, unless they find a way to do it in a funny way.

And I’m not saying any of this to point a finger.  We all do it.  I do it.  Go through my feed and you’ll see photos from my adventures and posts about how great my friends are.  I once had a friend from college say that I only take photos in scenic places.  Which is only true because that’s what I share.  I do my best to make my ordinary surroundings look extraordinary.  I go out of my way to find something beautiful.  I push myself.  And I think for a while it became less about the adventure and more about the photo.

When I lived at the camp in Mammoth, 85% of my photos were taken in the same location, but if you didn’t live there, you’d never know it.  I could walk less than 200 feet and get a completely different vantage point.

I took far too many ski lift photos to show how sporty I am.  Except I rarely skied more than three hours at a time, and I usually went up for less time than that.  But that’s only because I had the luxury to do so.  I want my life to be an adventure, so I did my best to show that I really was adventuring.

In reality, I spent a majority of my time at work, and the rest of my free time drinking, sleeping, or wasting time with the boyf on Netflix.  I’d probably ski once every week or two.

I gave the illusion that I travel a lot.  I’d post photos of Costa Rica or Ireland like it was no big deal.  But those trips were life changing, and I have no idea when I’ll be able to do another one.

A lot of times social media can bring depression.  We feel alone or sad or lost, and people post about how their lives are so great.  You’d never know that those same people have struggles too.  If social media is getting you down, maybe you should unplug for a little while.  I know I’m thinking about it.

Because social media isn’t all negative.  It has a way of building community.  I am able to keep in contact with my friends from literally all over the world.

So we have to take the good with the bad.  Step back, look at what you have.  And maybe, the next time you get annoyed at how great someone’s life appears, think about what you’re sharing.  Because you’re probably comparing their positive with your negative, and that’s never a good idea.

Blogging Everyday in July|Vanilla Coke

Bottle me up
Take care of me
Fizzy sweet cream
I scream

Thought I’d become a rarity
But you’ll never get rid of me
Find me freezing in your fridge
The perfect hostess

Offered up
Not one for sharing
Can’t let them know that you’re not health conscious
Convince yourself I’m healthy
As I rot your teeth
Stain your sheets
Spilled over

Perfect job
Perfect body
Always trying
Never reaching
Perfection

Originally
Unoriginal
Though everybody loves me
Until love turns to distaste

Stop looking for me
You won’t find me in stores
Not your average pour
Still waiting inside your fridge door

Blogging Everyday in July|Through Unreal Eyes

She took me out of the car today, finally.  The heat in this new place is unreal, I felt like she was trying to bake me by making me live in there.

She put me on this red couch as if I was part of the decor, then left me there.  After she went outside, I got to take in my new surroundings.  The couch was red, the carpet brown, the space around me empty.
I’d been living in that car since February, in a place where there was snow.  I remember her getting into the car and hugging me as she cried; that was how we met.  She never did give me a name though.
A few weeks ago she found me and hugged me again, then carried me out to her friends, who christened me Tito.  It was nice to finally know who I was.

Finally I heard her return.  She rushed into the kitchen and started cooking, then rushed around the house, trying to grab as many personal belongings a she could, as if to hide her very presence in this place.  But I got to stay, as if I belonged.  Thankful that she’s not embarrassed to be seen with me.
It wasn’t long before there was a knock at the door and more and more people started to arrive.  They talked about tacos and music and someone picked me up.  My new friend with the blonde hair!  I think they call him Bobby.  I think he loves me the most.   He named me.  He calls me Tito the Potito.  It’s a name as cute as I am.  They like to pass me around to hug me, because apparently my hugs are some kind of magic.
The set me down and made plates.  Everyone had tacos except me, momentarily forgotten.

Eventually they had their fill and the music started.  Fun music, everyone together.  I was passed around like a joint that no one was smoking.  I was overwhelmed, needing to hide myself.
I tucked myself away, into a ball, when someone yelled “Hot potito!”  Suddenly I was flying through the air.  They tossed me back and forth until they grew bored of this new game.  I was happy to be included, but terrified that I was about to die.  I wonder if this is how they treat all their new friends.

The music was good, the laughter loud, joy emanating from the room we all sat in.  I could sense a real community, a new family forming.  I wanted this to be my home.  I think maybe it is now.

My friend, Jasper, got to be a part of the party too.  The blonde one, Bobby, kept trying to make Jasper dance.  Jasper’s not good at talking about his anxiety and was sure he was going to pass out the whole night.  But he held it together.  Even after they messed with his sweater.  He knows  it’s not made for him, but he’s had it too long to care.
Jasper is my family, the way all these strangers are the girl’s family now.  I hope she feels home here too.