Goodbye 2016

I think most people would say good riddance to 2016.  It hasn’t been the worst year, but it’s been quite a year.

I started out the year working far too much and being home not enough and tired quite often.  I was spending time with someone who didn’t value me. I didn’t make priorities of the things that I should have.

In March, I made the biggest decision of my life so far and decided to pack up and move across the country, with no job, very little savings, and no place to live.  But I’ve fallen in love with my home here in Alabama.  I have great friends and my heart is finding somewhere to belong.

2016 will always be the year my mother died.  It’s not fair, how much this year has claimed.  The door is about to close here, and there’s nothing we can do to make 2017 the same.

I want to do great things in 2017.  I want to be healthy again.  I want to be even happier.  I want to adventure and try new things.  I want to learn to save and plan, while still having time to explore.

I want to fall in love with 2017.  Maybe fall in love in 2017.  We’ll see, I guess.

I wish that I had more to say.  There are a lot of words in my mind, but they tend to get stopped before they reach fruition.  So maybe writer’s block is weeds.

Here’s to 2017.

Too Hot

You say, “it’s too hot here”
Too hot in here
Can’t handle the heat
And I can’t help but think
That if you find it so damn hot
Maybe you should stop
Stop breathing so much
Stop thinking so much
Stop moving so much
Stop being so much
These complaints in the stillness of my heart
The hardness of my heart
Where I still live in the cold
Leave me icy
Chilled
Unbroken
Unable to comprehend
Why you think
“It’s too hot here”

Risky Business

Almost two months ago I did something crazy and I packed up my life and moved across the country. At that time I didn’t know what was awaiting me here in Alabama.  A lot of people couldn’t understand why I would move to the south.  They said I was going backwards, usually people move west, not east.  They couldn’t picture me somewhere with no mountains or snow, where the weather is hot and humid, and most people speak with a drawl.  But I did it.  I followed my heart.  I followed a voice that had spoken to me a world away.

I keep telling myself not to wonder what I have done.  I left behind a great job.  I left behind friends and family and a place that my heart has beat for for so long.  I left behind horrifying relationships and mistakes, but mistakes can always be undone without the need to run.  I left behind comfort.  I wasn’t alone there, although I always could be if I wanted to be.  I left behind familiarity.  I left behind a community that I didn’t even know existed.  Most of the time I could pick up my phone and find someone to go out with me or do something.

I keep forgetting that this isn’t summer camp, or college, or high school.  Close friendships aren’t built overnight, or in a week.  So my loneliness kinda comes with the territory.  Of course I don’t have everything that I left behind.  Of course I spend 90% of my time away from work alone.  Yes, I could have stayed behind and wondered about Alabama.  But I would probably be even more miserable there.  This is my home now. And there is a community here, although I haven’t fully tapped into it yet.  I’ve been told that the first three months are the hardest anywhere.  Well, I’m halfway there.

If I could go back, I’m sure I would have made the same choice to move when I did.  I may even have made it sooner.  Sure, my job here doesn’t pay as well, and I have far less to do.  But the cost of living is lower.  And I have so much more space.  Plus, a job is a job.  I keep getting emails from other companies about my resume, so maybe I’ll move on up in the world.

I have never been so alone.  But I won’t let myself feel alone.  This is just an opportunity to watch my life unfold.  In a year, I’ll probably look back at this and laugh.  I’ve been looking back a lot lately.  Maybe it’s time to start looking forward.

The Consequences of Moving On

In commotion we try to rush things
Moving on before things are finished
Abandoning lives before they’ve fully blossomed

There is rhythm in motion
And there is upset if you skip a song before it’s over
This is not a solo road trip

Stop leaving without saying a word
You have built something
Don’t forget that you have a family

No one is ready to let you go
They want to send you off right
A house warming and goodbye in one

Welcome to real life
Where decisions are hard
But we choose to live with the consequences

Community Living

Something I’ve been thinking about.  Living in community.  It’s something that people talk about a lot, they praise it, they say how great it is, but no one really knows what it is, apparently.

When I was in college, my senior year I lived in a quad that showed me the closest thing to living in community that I have experienced.  We had “quad time” every other week, and it was amazing.  We would play games, watch movies, go to dinner, worship, or just talk about our lives.  We got to know each other.  We prayed for each other.  We listened, and we knew each other.  If something was going on, we worked together to fix it.  We heard each other out.  We worried about each other and we cared about each other.  But we also had our space.
I remember when my grandmother died I went to the house of a guy I was dating, and one of my quad-mates kept texting me to make sure I was okay, and to make sure I was coming home.  She was there for me.

When I graduated from college, I was planning on moving to Portland.  A friend of mine hooked me up with a pastor friend of his who has a communal home and had an opening in August, when I was planning on moving up.  We spoke on the phone and he explained that they lived in community.  They weren’t okay with people just living in the house, they had to be a part of the house.  Food was shared unless specifically stated otherwise.  They ate meals together.
This scared me, having strangers be part of my life.  And it ended up falling through anyway, I didn’t even move to Portland.  But that was living in community.

I am aware of another living situation right now, that people keep saying is living in community.  However, some of the people who keep tossing that word around don’t even live in the house.  There are people in the house that are forgotten, who are not included, and who have no voice.  They  need their space, but it is never given.  They ask for silence, and it just gets louder.  They want to be left alone for a while, but are instead intruded upon.  And whenever they do speak up, they are beaten down and overruled.
How is that living in community?

A community is defined as people who live in the same area, with the same interests, working toward a common goal.
So this house’s goal must be to force people out.
Well, they’ve gotten their way.

Welcome home.

How to Love

The other day a friend texted me about two guy friends of hers.  One of them responds quickly and gets all her jokes.  He laughs at her pictures and responds with another one.  The other one responds vaguely, and it’s usually a little more difficult to get ahold of him.  She said she felt really bothered by this.  She said she felt like chocolate, and that yeah, some people don’t like chocolate, but chocolate doesn’t really feel great when it’s unliked, even though most people like it.
I told her that I wasn’t so sure that that’s what it was.  See, everyone has a different love language and a different way of communicating.  But everyone loves the way they want to be loved.  And everyone communicates the way they want to be communicated with.  And so if someone doesn’t respond right away, they probably don’t expect you to.  If they don’t send you funny pictures or have hilarious responses to your jokes, it could be that they think you’re funny, they just don’t communicate that way.  But friendships do take communication.
I feel a lot like chocolate covered bacon, I told her.  If we’re sticking with the dessert references.  I feel like I’m something that people shouldn’t like.  Like I’m something that some people think sounds so awesome until they try me.  Or the opposite, that I sound horrible, but once people give me a chance, they’re hooked.  But even more so, there are parts of me that are so sweet, that people love, and parts of me that are savory that people crave.  However, when mixed, they’re not always what you want.
I feel unappreciated.  I feel like a joke.  I feel like an acquired taste that no one wants to take the time to acquire.  But I hide away so much at the start that I have to put some of the blame on myself.

I had a discussion with people.  I’m being vague on purpose.  We talked about having people in your home when you come home from work.  Especially when your house is the size of three vans.  How 2 extra people can feel like 10.  But the other participants of this discussion dwelled on the noise issue.  People should be quiet after 10pm.  I have social anxiety.  And I’m so much better than I was a year ago.  But for me, dealing with people has very little to do with the noise factor.  It has to do with the presence of unwanted people in my house.  So telling me you’ll keep it down doesn’t make me feel better.

On Wednesday night I came home at 11pm after a stressful day at work to a group of people hanging out in my living room.  Yes, some of them live here, but not all.  And it was too much.  I can’t feel comfortable in my own home.  They said they were being quiet and that they were making brownies, but they also always fail to remember that I don’t have a door.  I went outside to grab my phone charger and had a full fledged panic attack.  Why is it okay for me to come home to that?

And maybe I do need to learn to live in community.  But I’m the kind of person who needs to wade into the water, not be thrown into the waves of the ocean, drowning.  I feel like I’m drowning.  I forgot my life-vest.

Maybe it’s time I move out.  Maybe it’s time I move on.  Because my broken heart can’t keep beating.  My bruised lungs can’t keep breathing. And no one can hear my screaming.  No one can hear the words I pen.  No one reads anything that comes out of me.  Because I don’t even matter.  I’m just trying to live.  I’m just here.  But I want to be more than that.  I want to be loved.  I want to be cherished.  I want to be invited.  I want to be sought out.  I want to be asked.  I want to be chased.  And I want to matter.

Or I could just run away.

Or I could just disappear.

Racecar Excuses

I want to blame it on my tired eyes
My racecar excuses that sound just like lies
But I am seeing you in a new light
Wondering if I’m seeing right

It will always be easier to lie to you
Because everyone always lies with a smile
And really I can’t tell you the truth
Because I’d like you to stick around for a while

In whatever capacity this lasts
Don’t become just a part of my past
Be in my future
Not the whole thing, but still be there

I wish I could show what my eyes see
Or maybe I need to get my vision checked
Take your eyes out, go blind toward me
Because I can’t bear this light anymore

Could your ears take my voice
Not just hear the music, but the words that I’m saying
This rhythm gives you a choice
Even if you’re going, I’m staying

But I’m not standing around waiting for you
I’ve closed that door
Left it behind me
But don’t you dare call me a bore

I have bigger things I’m doing here
I am moving, growing, changing atmospheres
But that’s not something you’d understand
I don’t need you to hold my hand

I am climbing this mountain on my own
This summit is my own accomplishment
You can’t take this credit
For my freedom