Arson

He stirs the waters
A storm on the horizon
Like the rising sun
He will not be ignored

Unsettled
Learning to rest in this
Rushing forward to the eye of the storm
There, in the center, peace is found

With every breath, Yahweh
Breathe him in
Breathe him out
Not gasping anymore

Every step of the way you have fought him
In acceptance and denial
But he has made you this way
He is proud of your fire

Your rebellious nature is one you have been brought up to carry with shame
Yet he breathed it into you at conception
His spark started a flame in you that only love can tame
And he is proud of your fire

Yahweh the arsonist set souls on fire with a new spirit
Though flames are something we have been taught to fear
Because we see only immediate destruction
Rarely has the time been taken to see the new life birthed from these fires

He is proud of your fire
He puts that fire in you
And you’re not going down in flames
If anything, you’re only going up

Right Now

I am currently sitting on my balcony, that I just swept off, for the first time since moving into this apartment seven months ago.  It is November 1st and it is 82 degrees outside.  Back home it’s 35 and they’re getting ready for the soon coming opening of the mountain for this winter season.  I have to get ready for work in fifteen minutes so that I’ll be there on time.

This forest behind my apartment is not silent.  Not the way Mammoth was.  Almost every second something is stirring.  It’s autumn, so leaves are constantly falling.  And I’m certain every step I hear is from a deer or a squirrel making their way around.  It’s like magic though.

My life has changed drastically in the past year.  I’ve probably changed too.  I’m fairly certain I’m not the person I was last November.  Maybe I’m better.  Maybe I’m worse.  Maybe I don’t like who I am.  But maybe I’m trying to.

My heart is as restless as it always is, but I think I have found a home.  I think I’m learning what life is supposed to be like.  I think I’m finding who I am.  And I think I’m okay with any mistakes I might make in the meantime.

Blogging Everyday in July|A Poem I Wrote on a Plane (No One Knows My Name)

No one knows my name here
I don’t even want to know it anymore
Finding comfort in the anonymous nature I now dwell in

The land forming below me holds no beauty for my eyes
Though I know some still find it sacred
Scattered through with lakes welling up
I stop to wonder where they come from

The anticipation my heart held before I fell asleep
Has been replaced by a new kind of dread
Expecting someone to collect the bounty on my head

I have been a thousand places
Each one unique
Yet I find them all in one another

Just one last adventure
Reminding myself not to hold my breath
Rising and falling with the pressure around me
I never meant to leave my heart behind

I think we tend to expect too much
Ending up defeated when we can’t fall asleep
These decisions weight heavy, but we continue to choose them anyway

I might beg you to hold me close tonight
Just one last time, I need you
As you wait up for me, watching for my figure in your doorway

I fell for you, tripped over who I was supposed to be
I gave you everything, forgetting who I was
I became someone else, changed my fate, my destiny, my name

I know we’re both pleading with our hearts to stop beating
You can’t have my anymore, but  you can have my every time
I was just a notch in your belt, you still wish I was more

Above the clouds now, drowning in your memory
I return, I return, I return
Tightness in my chest as my heart readies for the landing

Almost whole, almost home
Only to be broken
But this time I chose it, I chose you

I know full well that unless I stay, you’ll never choose me completely
It’s a game or it is real
We’re somewhere in between

So maybe this will be the last time
Maybe next time I’ll stay, gone
Begging you to pull me closer as I push you away

No one knows my name here
I don’t know my name here
But you know my name

No one knows my name here
But I’m more than just a name
You might know my name
But you’ll never know me

Blogging Everyday in July|Guys, Girls, Friends

Over the years I’m sure I’ve talked about guy-girl relationships before.  And in this moment I’m not sure why we make a deal out of it.  Can guys and girls be just friends?  Why is that a question?  Obviously the answer is always yes, but it’s as if so many people don’t want it to be.  But that’s not even what I was planning on writing about today.

I am one of those girls who connects more with guys.  I always have.  Maybe it’s because I had an older brother and grew up in the middle of nowhere and liked doing things outside.  “Boy things.”  That’s what they called hiking and camping and riding bikes and playing in the dirt when I was a kid.  Now they’re just “things that people do, regardless of their gender.”  Because people are trying again to realize the equality of the genders.  But again, I digress.
My mother wanted me to be a tomboy.  I wasn’t allowed to be a girl scout because she hated it when she was a child.  I wasn’t allowed to be a cheerleader because she didn’t want me cheering for boys.  If I was going to be on the field at a sports game, I better be playing.
But now she wants me to wear lipstick and dress like a lady, so I’m not entirely sure how this all makes sense.  The first time she heard me swear she blamed the “guys I hang out with.”  Because curse words aren’t said by females, I guess.  Sorry, I’ll stop.

When I am in a room of people, I naturally find myself sitting with a group of guys.  I seek out guy friendships before girl friendships, until I become aware of it.  In high school, almost all of my friends were guys and they made all the guy jokes and it didn’t matter that there was a girl in the room.  In college, I had a few choice female friends, and then a lot of guy friends.  That’s how it is everywhere I go in life.  And this isn’t because I’m subconsciously looking for a boyfriend.  I don’t date or develop feelings for most of my guy friends, and I’m sure they could say the same for me.  We just get along.
And it’s not even that I don’t like hanging out with girls.  My best friend is a girl.  And since I’ve moved to Florence, I’ve made a point to develop some strong female friendships.  A group of us have a Bible study/hang out every Thursday.  And I’m so thankful for it.  But part of the reason I want strong female friendships is because it seems like it’s time.  Like I’ve finally started to believe this lie that guys and girls can’t be just friends.  That it’s always something more on one end.  Or that all of my guy friends will be intimidating to a future partner.  But this isn’t true.  I don’t know what is true.

I like people.  I like friends, old and new.  I like that we can make the world a better place if we try to.  I like that although we are all flawed, we make a kaleidoscope of good intentions.  I get that genders are different.  But also, I don’t.  I understand anatomy and thinking.  But hearts and souls are the same.  Can’t we all just be friends?

Blogging Everyday in July|A Poem About Mass Attacks

I’m sure everyone is aware of the shooting that happened at Pulse, the club in Orlando.  It was a terrible thing to happen.  Any shooting is a terrible thing.  Any mass killing spree is a terrible thing.  And a lot of them seem to happen in the name of something, whether it’s a god someone believes in or something that a person believes that they stand for.  Battles like this are things that I try to stay out of.  My thoughts are controversial for some Christians.
I believe that if I follow the God that I say I do, then my first job is to love.  God loves and accepts his children.  Whether or not we live the way he originally created us to or not is besides the point.  So I choose to love and accept everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, preference, or religion.  I hope that everyone would act the same toward me, but that’s not always the case.  Not every person knows how to love.

The man responsible for that shooting, it is assumed, did it because he believes homosexuality is wrong.  However, it has since come out that he “struggled” with homosexuality himself.  I put struggled in quotes, because once accepted, sexual orientation is no longer a struggle.  One only struggles when one is resisting something they believe is wrong or sinful.  (In my opinion, of course).  So he hated something he saw in himself.

In saying all of this, after the shooting I felt compelled to write a poem about conviction.  I don’t usually explain my poetry, but there you go.

Conviction
Maybe it’s conviction
That causes so much pain
Believing so strongly that something is wrong
Then finding it within your own self
Must be terrifying
There is either hatred or acceptance
So many choose wrong

This whole world might be broken
Thought it was held together by perfect beliefs
Beliefs that keep getting challenged
It’s not so black and white anymore
Finding more truth in the grey areas than we’d care to admit

How could someone live their life that way?
Is it sin nature?
Or just sin?
Or could it honestly just be nature?
Something we found we hated in our genetic code
Refusing to evolve with it
Resisting until we feel we might just give in
Or give up
Take a gun to your head
Or harm someone else in this wrongful conviction

Both Worlds

There are things that I love in life.  Things that I’m figuring out.  Things I feel called to.  And I’m learning that there are things that I need.

I love art.  I love stories, both hearing them and telling them.  This is why I love people, even though I make such a point of saying that I don’t.  I love writing and being able to share that side of me.  Being encouraged in that is one of my favorite things.  Being pushed to do that is what I really need though.  Which is why I love community.  I need a community that has at least one person who will do these things with me, because my anxiety won’t let me do them on my own.  That’s something I had when I was in school, but I have no desire to be back in LA, with the traffic and how long it takes to get anywhere.

I love mountains.  I love nature and open spaces.  I love adventures and hiking and skiing and kayaking and swimming in lakes.  I love that these places aren’t crowded.  I love that I could take off my clothes and jump into freezing cold water and not have to worry that anyone would see me.  I could do this back home.  But I didn’t love the isolation.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe there.  Two different kinds of people were telling me who to be, and the people I found myself listening to weren’t the best people for me.  I needed to do something on my own.  And there wasn’t art, not in the way I crave it.  The artists there were lazy.  If someone had talent, no one would know it, and not enough people cared enough to pursue it.  You had to have the type of personality to make your own name known.  That’s not who I am.  I hide.
And Mammoth was so far from everything.  Two hours to get to the nearest city, and working too much to make going anywhere possible.  No one pushed me to be the best me, but that’s not anyone’s fault.  It’s a town of individuals.  Those individuals didn’t build the kind of community I needed.

I love good music.  I love musicians.  I love history and wildlife and culture.  That’s something that Florence has, although I haven’t grasped it yet.  There’s events all the time.  I just found out the university here has live lions as their mascot, though they weren’t out when I went to see them because it was too late in the day.  This town has culture and nature and art.  It has people who I could love, if I would stick around enough to be in their community.
But I’m an individual.  And I work in hospitality.  So I don’t have weekends or a regular schedule.  I used to go out after work and drink, but be only five minutes from home.  I was spoiled.  If I didn’t want to be by myself, I didn’t have to schedule time.

I was called here.  Or I thought I was.  But I wonder if I just wanted to escape what I thought was an unhealthy environment.  I wanted to do something on my own.  I was miserable.  I need to remember that.  I needed to know that I can make it on my own.  Yet, I keep asking myself why I decided to do life alone.  I went running the other day and realized that absolutely no one knew where I was.  I suddenly was very aware that if I disappeared, no one would notice for quite some time.  And no one would know where to look for me.  But who the hell am I going to tell my daily whereabouts to?  Isn’t that a weird thing to do?

I’m not giving up.  I’m just having a lot of doubts in myself.  I keep wondering what I have done.

I want so badly to find a place where I belong.  I want mountains and lakes and kayaking.  I want culture and community.  I want poetry and art and options.  I want the city.  I want the snow.  I want to be my best self and I want to be somewhere that I can thrive.  But I don’t want to do it alone anymore.

 

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.