You’re Not From Around Here

I don’t like making blanket statements.  So I don’t want to say all white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Or even that older, white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Or even that older, southern, white men feel like they can say whatever they want.  Because I’m not sure if it’s across the board true.  But whether it is true or it isn’t, it annoys me.

I’m not sure if it’s my personality.  Or the fact that I’m from California.  Or a combination of both.  But I don’t like talking to strangers very much, especially when I have no reason to.  So whenever I’m approached, I’m not very good at reacting.  I’m not even sure what the appropriate reaction is sometimes.  My thoughts immediately go to: “why is this person talking to me?”  And I don’t even really care what they’re saying.

The other day I was picking up from a restaurant for a delivery (I starting working a second job doing food deliveries for a new company because my boyfriend works for them and it’s fun).  I picked up from the same restaurant three times in a row, and the same man was sitting at the bar all three times.  The first time he asked me about delivering, and asked if he could order a grilled chicken salad… from the restaurant he was sitting in…  And I know he was messing with me, but I’m a joke killer, because it’s more fun for me to act as if I’m taking something literally.  I told him I didn’t take orders and that he’d have to go to the website.  Every time I went in to pick up he continued to pester me.  I told him it would be pointless for me to deliver to him because he is already in the restaurant, to which he said that I didn’t have a good sense of humor.  I told him I had a great sense of humor, but that I was from California and I tried to leave it at that.  Then he said he could tell I wasn’t from around here.  I really just didn’t think he was funny.

And I’m sure that there are men just like him where I’m from, but maybe I haven’t encountered enough of them.  Or maybe they know to quit when the receiver obviously doesn’t like their banter.  I wish I could wear a sign around my neck that says, “Don’t talk to me” whenever I’m not in the mood.

This seems to happen more and more though.  They seem to assume that because you exist in their vicinity, that you are fair game.  I’m not fair game.  I don’t understand the point of making jokes about my job or anything else about me just because you don’t know how to start a real conversation.  Especially if you’re not even there alone.  In this latest instance, his wife (I’m assuming) was sitting right next to him.

Just because a female exists, doesn’t mean you have a right to her.  Her thoughts belong to her, her conversation belongs to her, unless she wants to share it.  And that goes both ways.  It’s the same for men, it just doesn’t seem worth mentioning.

I wish I was more terrifying.

Honestly, what am I supposed to do?  Fake a laugh?  Hahahahahaha.  Shut up.

White Carnations

I need to write.  I’ve been meaning to write.  I’ve been meaning to set time aside.  I’ve been meaning to.  I’ve been meaning to.  But there are so many things that have almost lost the words.  Or maybe just one thing.  Because I’ve felt a little numb.  Or maybe I’ve felt as though something was missing and it’s not a space I can fill.  And I haven’t even been trying to fill it.

I’ve missed my mother lately.  I always thought that we never learned to love each other right.  I thought we were too different to understand each other, but I have realized that we were almost too much alike.  She raised me to be strong and independent.  She raised me to value intelligence and adventure.  She raised me to never say no to the possibilities.  She raised me to value my own opinion, but to learn the opinions of others.  I am who I am because of who she raised me to be.

I find that I talk about her more now than I ever did before.  She was always a fixture in my life, even when I moved thousands of miles away from her.  She wasn’t everything that I thought a mother was supposed to be, but she was a thousand times better than her mother could have ever hoped to have been.  She was everything she knew how to be.

And maybe I’m just angry.  Maybe I’m angry that I never got to show her my new home.  I’m angry that I can’t ask her questions about living on my own that a daughter should get to ask her mom.  I’m angry that I’ll never get to introduce her to Bobby and ask her how she likes him.  I’m angry that I can’t travel with her anymore, even though she’s who put the love of travel in me.  I’m angry that life goes on, even when it doesn’t.

And I think I’m allowed to be angry.  And I’m allowed to not talk about it, because there’s nothing for anyone to say.

On Sunday, while I worked, Bobby spent mother’s day with his family.  He told me that his dad had gotten me a white carnation, because that’s a southern tradition.  You get someone a white carnation if they don’t have a mother on mother’s day.  It was my first mother’s day without her.  It was my first carnation.

Life in the Slow Lane

I talk fast.  I think fast.  I drive fast.  I make decisions fast.  I move fast.  Everything is fast.  But I think it might be time to slow down.  Welcome to the South.  Where even the state troopers don’t drive the speed limit.  Where people have a drawl, even when they’re hyped up on caffeine.

I never quite learned to rest.  I wrote a while back about staying put.  About how it might be time for me to be present where I’m at.  But I think it’s more than that.  I wonder if I’ll settle here.  Although I may never settle. My heart is learning to beat for the land.  And this land ambles.  It does not run.  It does not race.  It does not scream at you to speed up.  If anything, it whispers to slow down.  It calls you to rest.  It asks you to wait and see what might be around the next bend,  because if you take it too fast, you might miss it, you might hit it, you might kill what could have been an opportunity.  Life in the slow lane means not jumping to conclusions.

I think my heart has been so miserable because it is always racing, and I won’t listen to the beat.  I followed it here, and then I forced it to keep me awake so that I could do far too much again.  I’m not going to do far too much anymore though.  I am going to breathe for a little while.  I’m going to take things in stride.  I’m not going to worry, I’m going to listen to the constant streams of consciousness that might be telling me that everything is okay, that good things do happen.  I think I’ll live here, in the slow lane, for a while.  And for anyone who tells me that it’s time to speed up, they can exit the vehicle.  Because this is my life, and I’m going to claim it.

Blogging Everyday in July|Connections, Choices, and Everything in Between

Something I think about a lot, and that I was definitely thinking about yesterday, is how everything is connected, and how if one choice was made differently, than not only would my life be changed, but so would the lives of so many other people.  One of the biggest things that makes me think this is when I get snapchats from one of my friends that I’ve known since I was in high school, who is now very close with my best friend, who I met in college.  She posted one the other day that had friend that I knew in elementary/middle school, and have seen from time to time since then.  And my college bestie was in the snap too.  My mind was suddenly blown at that random connection.

My parents first moved to Bishop in order to go to Church on the Mountain in Crowley Lake, CA.  They attended that church until my brother was small, because it was quite a drive from their house.  They started attending the foursquare church in Bishop, which is the church that I grew up in.  The pastors of that church were an influence in my life from birth.  They both attended Life Pacific College when Pacific was still Bible and the location was still Echo Park, CA.  So I grew up hearing about this school.  And because we attended this church, I attended Old Oak Ranch, a camp I grew up in love with.  Because of loving camp, my first job out of high school was at that camp, which has led me to work at 2 more camps.  That camp also always had reps from Life Pacific, so that was another influence on my college, besides God telling me to go, which happened at a convention that I went to with the youth group from the church I grew up in.  But I only went to the convention because one of my friends who also attended the camp, but was from a different city, was also going to be there and I wanted to see him.

Anyway, I often think about what it would have meant if I had waited to go to college, or if I had chosen a different college, because I often wish I had my degree in English, or literature, or creative writing.  However, although I have always been a writer, I didn’t realize that that was what I wanted to do with my life until I was already in college.  And I may have never figured it out, had I not attended Life Pacific.  Also, it is because of my friend, Aaron, and his Yarning in the Round parties that I realized my love for story, especially other people’s stories.  That was where I realized how much hearing other people’s stories can build community.  If I had chosen a different school, I never would have met Aaron.

Another person who I never would have met, or who would have never met me, is my best friend Michelle, had I never attended Life.  If I had chosen a different school, I never would have met my best friend.
If I had moved to Portland when I graduated from college, I probably never would have moved to Mammoth.  Had I never moved home to Mammoth, Michelle would never have been compelled to visit me, thus, she would have never moved to Mammoth and found her happiness and home there.
Also, if I hadn’t moved to Mammoth or started working at The Station, I never would have done the School of Supernatural Ministry, which would have meant that I never would have seen a blind woman healed in Costa Rica, nor would I have met Ray Hughes, so I never would have gone to Ireland.  If I hadn’t gone to Ireland, I never would have moved to Alabama, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.

If I had chosen to move to Alabama right when I got back from Ireland, I never would have made a lot of choices that I made leading up to my move.  But my brother probably wouldn’t have gotten his first house as quickly as he did.  However, if I had stayed longer, my brother wouldn’t be constantly looking for a roommate, and I probably wouldn’t have moved into a 2 bedroom apartment because there probably would have been a one bedroom available somewhere.

If I hadn’t started working for the resort, I wouldn’t have the confidence that I can find a job no matter where I move, because there are hotels everywhere.  But if I hadn’t worked for the resort, I wouldn’t be convinced that I like working in hospitality, which I have learned that in the South, I don’t, because I am not Southern, and Southern Hospitality is a whole different game.  However, if I hadn’t gotten the job at the hotel, I wouldn’t have known about another opportunity for a very fun job, which I interviewed for, and am really hoping that I get.
I also never would have met two of my favorite people in Alabama outside of my Ireland pals, had I taken a job somewhere else.

I could go on and on about connections and choices.  Because they blow my mind a lot.  If even one thing in my life had been different, I fully believe that nearly everything in my life would be different.  And maybe that’s a conversation for another day.  So I’m both miserable and happy.  I am thankful for my choices because of their connections.  And I’m disappointed, because choices sometimes bring hardship.  But life is a journey, and it’s a learning experience.  It’s nice to see how far I’ve come.  And it’s nice to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned.  There’s no point in dwelling on how things could have been different, because really, do I want them to be different, or do I just like to have something to complain about?

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.

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.

The Difference

I have lived in different parts of California my whole life.  I’ve visited a lot of different places over the years as well, but if there’s any place I know, it’s California.  Until a few weeks ago, I had never been to the south, except Florida, but that doesn’t count.  I hadn’t even really been to any other eastern states.  Yet, here I am.  And I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Here, people talk in church.  Which happens in some churches in California, but I am used to attention not being put on me, and I like it that way.  However, I also really like hanging out with the people I’ve met in church.  I was expecting a bunch of conservative people, because in California, everyone told me that it would be too conservative here for me.  It certainly is not.
I had Mexican food for dinner.  It’s not California Mexican food.  The beef was ground, not shredded.  There were veggies in the rice.  But it doesn’t make me not love my life.

I don’t know many people here yet.  I haven’t started working yet, so I’m bored a lot.  But I know all of this will change.  I’m lonely, but content.  I know that I am where I’m supposed to be.

People look at me funny when I fill my car up with diesel.  And until I took the Thule box off, I got questions about it far too often.  But here, people aren’t afraid to ask questions.  Maybe some would say “nosy,”  but I like it.  I like how kind people are, how caring they seem.  I like that I have been invited into a community, a family, instantly.  I don’t feel like I don’t belong.

My anxiety makes me feel like everyone is staring at me all the time.  I haven’t yet found “my spot.”  But I have begun to make a home.  I know it’s all in my head, and no one is watching me take my trash out.

Before I moved, I thought southern hospitality meant that when I moved in neighbors would bring me food.  They didn’t.  I’m kind of glad about it though.  I’m glad that people aren’t trying to force their way into my life.

I’m rambling.  But I love it here.  I’m unsure still, but I can feel my heart filling.  And yes, I will definitely need to adjust to the heat and the bugs.  Good Lord.
Hello Alabama.  Sweet home Alabama.  Haha.