For the First Time

I went home last week.  I was there for a week.  I adventured from LA to Mammoth, through Death Valley to Las Vegas, and as I always do when I travel, I didn’t relax at all.  But, this time I brought someone home with me.  My boyfriend and I flew on an airplane, and he went further west than he’s ever gone before.  It was easily one of the biggest adventures I’ve ever been on.

I’ve never taken a boyfriend home before.  I’ve never traveled anywhere with a boyfriend.  And now he’s met almost everyone.  We spent time with at least three of my closest friends, my dad, and my brother.  We went to the top of Mammoth Mountain and took photos.  We ate tri tip.  We drove through Death Valley.  We went from the cold to the heat.

While in Mammoth, we attended the Lighthouse Conference.  Most people know that Lighthouse is the Global Church family that I attended while living there.  There were words given.  There was music played.  There was community and food shared.  It was so good to be home.  It made me miss church.

Not that I haven’t been attending church here in Alabama.  I have.  But I have disengaged.  I hear far too much about the church politics.  I analyze the words without ever hearing them.  I am tired.

I brought a boyfriend home.  Because I’m in love with him.  And I fell in love with life again.  I fell in love with community again.  I fell in love with God again.  I tried something new, and I’m pretty sure I’m okay with it.

Nashboard Dashville

Last Wednesday I had one of the best days I’ve ever had.  My favorite person and I drove up to Nashville because we had tickets to see one of my all time favorite bands, Dashboard Confessional.
Before the concert, we spent most of the day at the zoo, then had dinner at the pub connected to the venue.  Zoo was great, got to pet a kangaroo.  Food was great, ate really good sandwiches.
Then we went to the show.

The openers were both really good.  They were both local Nashville bands.  Dashboard was phenomenal.  They played most of my favorite songs and some new ones, which I never expected to happen.  I think I really just thought that Dashboard was over.  That’s definitely not true.

One of my favorite parts of the show though, happened to be the conversations I overheard.  Most of the people in the audience seemed to be talking about the music on an educated level, like it mattered.  They talked about the stage presence and sound quality and the musicians.  And later, we did too.

I like experiencing music.  I like it more than just listening to it.  I’m going to make an effort to make shows like these more of a priority in the future.  Be enveloped in it.

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.

Drive

Long drives on county roads
Tall grass tracing existence
Giving me something to dream on
Noah on the speakers
But it’s God that’s speaking to me
This is church
This is worship
Presence on my mind
Behind me
Before me
At the top of my lungs

I am more myself here
With no one else around
Me, Noah, and God
Truth rings out in this car
Constantly craving authenticity
Believing I am failing at being authentic
Find me here

I have tried to drown myself
In self medication
Living in denial
Waking up to too many empty mornings
I need another drive
I was found there

Hipster Mentality

People like to call me a hipster.  Correction; people who are not hipsters like to call me a hipster.  I am not a hipster.  Not that it matters.  My mind defines a hipster as someone who loves to hate.  Someone who loved something before it was cool, but probably doesn’t like it anymore.  Someone who might not be a true fan.  Someone who likes something simply because someone else probably doesn’t like it.  Someone who is judgmental without knowing why.  Someone who hates things done the easy way, the normal way, and likes to make people feel bad for not doing something the hard way, the hipster way.  Fixed gear bikes are one example.  I personally don’t really have an opinion on these bikes, except that I’m probably not a good enough bike rider to ride one.  But I know that bikes have gears for a reason; not just for speed, but in order to make a ride less challenging and more worth while.  If you like to ride a fixie, by all means, go for it.  But if you ride one just to make people who don’t feel bad about it, you’re probably a hipster.

There are a lot of memes about hipsters taking over the world and liking things ironically.  I used to have a friend who would call himself a hipster, because by calling himself one, he ceased to be one, thus he was one.  And I would get mad if people called me a hipster.  Not mad, annoyed.  But it doesn’t even really matter.

I hate a lot of things.  Or at least I dislike them.  I dislike them, so I won’t even give them a chance.  I don’t like worship culture or Christian authors.  I don’t like musicians who talk so much about the fact that they are a musician that you feel like they might have lost their identity.  Or that you feel like you’re not good enough as a person because you don’t quite understand their terminology.  It’s as if they want to look cool, so they make you feel stupid.  But I might do the same thing as a writer.  Forgive me for my alienation, I guess.  I wonder if this is how it feels when foreigners try to fit in in the States.
I don’t like to be put in a box or pinned down.  So I try to keep my horizons broad.  I love dinosaurs, but I don’t carry a lot of scientific knowledge about them.  I like indie films, but I haven’t actually seen enough of them to call myself an aficionado, because I’m not really a movie person.  I like music from the early 2000’s, like Death Cab and Postal Service and Dashboard, but I might not remember the lyrics or recognize the song in a different context.  I like driving stick shift and hate driving automatic, but I only retain some car knowledge.  I like apple products because of the simplicity and clean feel, but I can’t have tech conversation about specs.  I like drinking whiskey, but I don’t know enough about brands to actually know what is good.  I like drinking and having friends that drink, but feel unloved in a Christian context.
I love my God.  I love that he continues to love me, in the midst of all of my struggles and short comings.  But I don’t like to be compared to other Christians.  I’m not ashamed of my faith.  But I am ashamed to be thought of as a Christian first, and I’m ashamed of that fact as well.  Because my first thought, when I think of a Christian, is not that they have a relationship with a loving God.  It’s that they are going to judge you.  I don’t want to be associated with judgement, but I might be the most judgmental of all.
This is a struggle within me.  I want to accept everyone while hating everything.  I want to be accepted, but I’ll shoot down what I don’t like.  I’m not even sure why I hate the things I hate.  It must be this hipster mentality.  This craving to be different, set aside.  We all want to fit in, but not actually blend in.  We all want to be the pop of color.  And let me tell you, this life is a lonely one.

Every time I feel as though I have found my place, where I can be comfortable, it’s as if there is a shift.  It’s as if I don’t exist, but I really do.  I was told, not too long ago, that I’m a pioneer.  What they meant is that I don’t have many lasting friendships.  Not close ones.  Because I have big dreams and am pursuing them.  The people who are really excited about my existence get over it pretty quickly.  I can appear and disappear easily.  So maybe right now I feel as if I have disappeared.  Although I haven’t.  I am not stagnant.

Maybe I’m just a hipster.  Maybe that’s why I feel hated.  Maybe that’s why I hate myself.

24

I’ve always divided my life into themed years.  I think it’s because my birthday is so near the start of school, so I refer to time in semesters, rather than whatever year it actually happened in.  Age doesn’t matter at all, but it has always mattered to me.  It used to bother me when people I enjoyed were so much older than I was.  Even months people had over me seemed like monstrous gaps.  As I’ve gotten older, years and age seem so much smaller.  Someone can be several years older, or younger, and it’s as if we’re all the same.  Though age is but a number, it also gives me something to pin down.  23 was the year I learned to like myself.  It was a year of adventuring on my own.  It was a year of chasing my dreams.  It was unforgettable.

But 24.  The song says that nobody likes you when you’re 23.  I’m 24, so you can like me again.  This year the song is less known.  The song says that I’m not who I thought I was 24 hours ago.  24 I am finding myself.  I am learning who I am.  I am coming into a recognition of who I was created to be.  I’m not restricting myself anymore.  I’m doing what I love.  And I’m going to learn to do it as a healthy person.

I wanted people to like me.  I’m learning that they love me.  I am learning to be loved.  I am genuine.  I want to be surrounded by genuine artistry.  I want to be known.  Actually known.

I talk a lot about celebrating life, but I don’t always do it very well.  I focus on the negative things that have happened or that I have done.  I focus on the negative in the decisions I’ve made.  I’m not an optimist because I’m afraid to be one.  But you know what?  I don’t care anymore.  This life is mine.  I have done a lot with it.  And it is not over yet.  I’m still writing my story.

I am thankful, this year, for all of those that love me.  I am thankful that I am loved.  I don’t always feel loved, but that is my own flaw, not a flaw in those that love me.  I am surrounded by safety.  I am a blessed human.  I have people who love me in my brokenness.  I have people who love me in my mess.  I am taken care of.  I am not lost, but I am found.

Here’s to 24.

Lost, But Not

Lost, but not
In a sea of commotion
Home is right around the corner
Just out of sight
Close your eyes
And you’ll find it

Excited at prospect
Impatient for time
Essence overtaking
Hands opening
Dropping all expectations

Artist spilling over
Out of the corner of your eye
Angels watching
What will she do next?
Touching the seams
Where heaven and earth collide
Feel it break

Interrupted in thought
Caught up
In whatever this is
Lost,
But not