Blogging Everyday in July|A Poem about Someone’s American Dream

I had a friend who really got crushed before I met him.  It seems I tend to meet people in the aftermath.  Maybe because I’m constantly living in the aftermath.
Anyway, he came to mind after he told me his story about losing his American dream that snuck up on him.  He was ready for it, and it suddenly got pulled out from under him, and he’s still reeling in pain, he just hasn’t been able to accept it yet.
But maybe that was a long time ago.  I just felt like today was the time to share this.

Brick house
Picket fence
American dream

Had it all
Crushed in your palm
Can’t find it anymore

In your searching
It won’t be found
Your heart is still drowning

Time to dive into deep waters
Find yourself
Though this all is terrifying

Pull out your heart
Resurrection
What was lost will find you

It is far too easy
To be swallowed by anger
Especially with reason

You can’t just go back
To the way things were
The future lays ahead

Pride destroyed
Soul exposed
Let time heal you

It’s not fair in the moment
But someday you’ll look back
And smile

With your brick house
Picket fence
More than just a dream

Blogging Everyday in July|I Can’t Remember My Agenda Anyway

I keep telling myself  to write.  Right now, pen words, there are things that need to be written.  You promised didn’t you?  You promised the world, you promised yourself.  You keep calling yourself a writer.  But right now, right now I just want to sit.  I just want to be.  Be still.

I can feel my life catching up with my writing, with all the words I have written before.  And I wonder when it will catch up again.  I have a possibly amazing opportunity waiting for me; I knocked on the door and it is opening, I’m just not sure if they will let me in.  But I keep imagining what it would be like if they let me in.  I imagine it so much that I’m not taking the time to prepare my heart to be crushed.  I don’t have the experience or the degree that they are asking for.  I don’t think I am who they are asking for.  But I want to be more than that.  Because I know I can do all that they ask and more.  I’m just afraid.  I’m always afraid.  I live in fear, I swim in fear, I breathe fear.  But trying shouldn’t be scary.  Trying could change things.  If I don’t try, that’s where the real failure is.  And if I’m not chosen, if they shut the door in my face, that’s really okay.  I’m not losing anything anyway, I just didn’t gain what I wanted.  So I’m trying to train myself to be okay with whatever outcome.  Because I’m always okay.  There is always a bigger plan.  Always a better plan.  Always something happening.  Life churns on around me.

This inner dialogue probably isn’t something anyone wants to read.  Maybe I should have skipped today.  I just can’t quite create what has been asked of me to create.  I have beginning lines of everything, and although the beginning is a hook to draw people in, if there’s no substance behind it, it falls flat.  I often feel that I am falling flat.  And I don’t want to fall flat anymore.  I don’t want to be on my face anymore.  I want to fly.  It’s time to use these wings of mine.

Blogging Everyday in July|About Breathing

About breathing, take a breath.

Tonight we talked about breathing.  We talked about fear.  And we talked about courage.  And if you’ve followed me at all, you know that I talk about the air in our lungs, the breaths we take, probably far too much.  I reference breathing and suffocating and drowning in my poetry far too often.  Because when I am stuck in anxiety it’s almost too hard to breathe.  And I like breathing.  I like air.  I like life.
So here’s a couple more little unnamed poems about breathing etc.

Fear, have no fear
Suffocation, you can breathe
Pounding heart, settle
You were made for this

Wings of doves overhead
Promises fulfilled
Home.  Here.
Enhancing the blend

Community
Satisfying cravings
Whole, unbroken
Anxiety reconciled

 

Breathe every breath with intention
Your thoughts fill your lungs
And you can rest here
On your father’s breast

Every moment is not fleeting
Be aware of your reality
It’s not always easy, not always hard
But it is always real

Welcome to emotion
Holding back, letting go
Drowning in vulnerability
You are safe here

Life is not an accident
Live it on purpose
Take a breath of courage
Take a step in bravery

 

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?

Blogging Everyday in July|Songwriting and Other Thoughts

I’m not an amazing songwriter.  But I can make up lyrics.   That’s just a thing that I do, and I’m pretty sure anyone else can do it.  However, I was asked to write on songwriting.  I had this idea to film a time lapse of my songwriting process, but I’m too tired and I don’t have good enough technology to do something so neat and elaborate.  So I’ll just write about it.  I’m always writing.
On a side note, I am more than halfway through this thing.  I have 11 days left.  This is the 20th day that I have blogged in a row.  Unfortunately, I feel that my writing is starting to get worse, as my eyes grow ever tired.

I very rarely sit down to write a song.  Songs just come to me.  Last night my heart was bleeding into my soul and I was aching, ever aching, so I picked up my guitar with the goal of playing through some songs.  I hoped maybe the music could heal me.  Instead, lyrics came to me instantly and I wrote a song.  A link to that song is here: From the Outside.  Possibly a five minute process.  Not every song takes five or ten minutes, but I don’t like to leave things unfinished, so every song is written in one sitting.  Sometimes I’ll add a bridge or fix the timing or something later, but the product as a whole is usually one sitting.  Editing doesn’t often happen on anything I do, in case you haven’t noticed.
But none of this makes me amazing.  I’m not bragging.  Because not every song I write is amazing.  I’m fully aware that I write a lot of shitty things.  I just need everyone else to know that I recognize my imperfections.
I once had a conversation with Kim Walker-Smith (yes, that one) about songwriting.  She was telling my friend that no one can write a song in one sitting, in a couple minutes.  That when that does happen for anyone, it’s very rare.  That was when I learned of my rarity.  Because I write every song like that.  I write every poem like that.  I write every blog like that.  I’m an impatient person, so I need to get it all out as quickly as I can.
Since moving to the south, I’m suddenly surrounded by musicians and songwriters.  Some of them have tried to tell me what I’m doing wrong.  They’ve tried to get technical with music.  But I rarely call myself a musician.  That’s not what I am.  I don’t care if the chords sound good.  I don’t fix things.  I don’t write music for other people.  But if a musician wanted to take my music and my lyrics and add something amazing, I’d be down.  That’s just not what I’m searching for.  I can play piano.  I dabble in guitar.  I can hold a beat.  That’s all I need for what I do at the moment.  It’s really hard to make people understand that.
So I do everything wrong.  I’m just wrong.  Thank you, and good night.

But really, though.  I started to say that I don’t write songs with the intention of writing songs.  They just come to me.  I think that’s where the best music comes from.  I think maybe people who struggle with songwriting might struggle because they’re trying to write a song, they’re trying to find the perfect lyric to fit.  If it’s right, it doesn’t have to fit, or maybe it fits already, you just can’t see it.
A lot my songs come when I’m already playing music.  I’ll be in between songs, just messing around with chords, and something new will suddenly appear.  That’s my favorite.

So I don’t really have a songwriting process.  I don’t really have a writing process.  I just write.  I just am.  I simply exist.  I’m a writer, not by vocation, but in biology.  My genetics force me to pour the words out.
But lately I feel that I’m not allowed to say the things I want to say.  People are getting too close to me, and my rough edges, my blunt honesty, my liberal Theology, makes them get too offended.  I am just too much.  When my friends start reading my blog, I almost can’t handle it anymore, because they assume everything is about them.  I don’t mean all of my friends, just the sensitive ones.
Have you ever heard the song “You’re so Vain?”

You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

I understand why that song was written.  Because I know those people.  “You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you.”  And maybe it is.  But assuming doesn’t make it so.

I’m in a place.  My heart is in a place.  And I just want to go home.  But I probably want to go home, not because I don’t belong here, or because I feel unaccepted, but because I feel trapped.  I was so mad at God because when I got back from Ireland I wanted to move, but I felt trapped in Mammoth.  Now I feel trapped here.  I can’t go home.  Really, we always want what we can’t have.  Until I can be satisfied, I’ll always want to be somewhere else.  And the only way I’ll ever be satisfied is if I allow myself to just be still.  Just be still.  Just be still.  My heart is never still.  Still.

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|Comment, No Comment

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That is a picture of me.  In case you didn’t notice, I am a pale, white human.  My eyes are green, my hair is red (though it will someday be blonde again), and I freckle almost as much as I tan, which isn’t much.  That’s the way I was born.  I can’t change it.

Because I’m new to the South, there are things that I feel like I can’t write on because I’m still an outsider.  Similarly, I have avoided writing about something else for quite some time, because I feel like an outsider.  I’m not a racist person, but by staying quiet, it’s like I’ve just said “no comment” on the topic entirely.  But I have views, just as we all do.
However, since I’m a pale, white human, the closest I’ve come to racism towards me is being made fun of for saying I have Cherokee in me when all the native kids where I’m from are Paiute.  I don’t even really have enough Cherokee in me to really claim it anyway.

The thing is, I’m proud of my heritage.  My dad is Norwegian, and I’m proud to say that I am too.  Froiland means “happy place” in Norwegian, and when I shorten it to Froi, it simply means “happy.”  That’s what I want to be, happy.  That’s what I wish everyone could settle for.  Everyone should be able to be proud of their heritage.
But growing up in such a small town in California, I wasn’t aware of my privilege.  I guess most white people aren’t aware of their privilege.  And whether or not that’s okay is a completely different topic.  Another thing about growing up in a small town in California, there were very few African Americans in my town.  There were plenty of people with Hispanic heritage, and plenty of Native Americans, and, of course, plenty of white people, but we could count the number of African descended families on our fingers.  Not that we did count them, that was just the way things were.
When I was really young I was concerned that I was racist because I didn’t have any black friends.  But that’s because I went to a private school in a small town, and so I didn’t have the opportunity.  In high school and afterward I realized my concerns were invalid.  The color of someone’s skin has never made me like someone more or less.
Last year someone commented that I didn’t date white guys, which I realize is almost true.  Most of the guys that I have fallen for have been of a different race, but that’s not the reason we were together.  In fact, the person I fell the hardest for was an African American (he still is), but again, that was never important to me.  He was an amazing person inside and out, and the only thing my mother had to say about his looks is that he was very strong, bulky, when I usually like skinny, lanky guys.

I have a tattoo on my collar bone that says “All is Privilege.”  When I got it, it meant, and still means, that everything we have in life, including life itself, is a privilege, a gift.  We shouldn’t take life for granted.  Now that I’m older, here, in the South, and my privilege is being suddenly announced to me in a different way, I think my tattoo means something else too.  I need to recognize my privilege.  I need to try to use it for the betterment of society, because it’s not something that I deserve, purely based on skin color, anyway.

Racism doesn’t make sense to me.  What’s the point in disliking someone because they look different than you?  I think God made us all different because he likes variety.  If anything, our differences should be celebrated.
No one can help the way they were born, and no one should be hated for it.  No one is a lesser person because anything out of their control.  No color is more beautiful than another, because beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder.  Even if the beholder is wrong sometimes.

There are cops that are racist that are killing people based on their skin color because of their privilege.  And there are cops being killed, because someone might have decided that all cops are racist.  And that really is just as bad as hating someone because of their race.  It’s just as bad as hating someone because of their gender or sexual orientation.  It really is just as bad as hating someone for what they believe.  And it needs to stop.  Stop killing each other.  Stop hating each other.  Why isn’t there more love, acceptance, and happiness in this world?  Froi.  Happy.  Literally.

But maybe I should go back to leaving this alone.  Because it scares me.  Because I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to have input because I’m an outsider.  I will never be able to understand what it’s like to be pulled over because of my skin color.  I will never be able to understand being afraid to leave my home alone because someone might not like the way I look.  I will never understand being judged purely on my ethnicity.  Not in a fearful way.  And it’s not fair.  It’s not fair that there are people who do understand this.

This is my comment.  No comment.