Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Drama and Friends

I am taking a break from my thesis right now, and thought I would write, because there is always a lot on my mind. I'm guessing that a lot of my readers (those who also are Facebook friends and therefore also see my posts) don't understand why sometimes I make such a big deal over friendship - I mean, everyone should appreciate their friends, but I'm guessing someone thinks I dramatize it.... well, I don't dramatize anything intentionally; it's just how I see the world.

I am an emotional person, and I used to be ashamed of that, but that shame is quickly fading. I am emotional, which means, yes, sometimes I cry - more-so around friends, whom I trust.... but it also means I feel, and I feel strongly, and I love that. To me, the world as God designed it, and the potential he created in it, are vastly good- overwhelmingly, even, and that is a good feeling... and friendship, well, that is probably the most beautiful gift.... and more-so when you've gone so long with out it.

I did have friends in spurts, growing up- for the most part, they were the "hang-out-when-you-run-into-each-other" type friends- as opposed to the "come-over-to-my-house-later" type friends. To me, true friendship is the latter... or when you, like me, often don't have a place to invite friends (my home is full of people already), then some sort of equivalent occurs: lets meet up, lets chat on the phone; at least lets message each other- when it feels like that's not enough (Maybe I'm not the best of friends to my own friends)....but to be real friends, there needs to be some expressed desire and effort to interact.... that, I mostly never had, growing up (with a few short-term exceptions); I moved around too much, and my medication slowed me down too much, and I never learned how to build those kind of friendships.

So now, having friends- friends who sometimes say, "Hey, you wanna come to....," or who take me up on my invitations, because they actively want to spend time with me- it means the world to me, and I end up making a big ol' dramatic deal about it when I write, and no, I'm not going to apologize.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Mountain

I don't know what my friends think of me, really. Maybe they think I'm odd. Maybe they think I'm weak. Maybe.... but they are still here.

There is a mountain up ahead. A formidable looking mountain that towers above, as I push through the scrub of the foothills. I am hoping I don't have to climb that mountain. It seems isolated and lonely, dark and dead.... A fire must have swept through; the trees are black and bare. I can see that much from here, but not much else.

What I know, though, is I must get to my master who awaits me on the other side. Whether that means going around or over, I do not know yet. To get there, I must learn to hear his voice, which echos like the wind through the mountains. I must also be loyal; he must become my only destination, as any distractions might prevent my success.

So I walk, listening for his voice, looking for any signs of which route to take, heading in the general direction of where I intend to go- but also, taking the flattest path I can find, hoping it will stay this way, and that I can travel around this one. Of course, even this is a challenge, but it's not "The Mountain."

It is my understanding that at the height of this mountain, there are no friendships. If I must climb to the top, I leave them behind and climb solo- the way it used to be, listening intently for the voice of my master as his voice echos each step to take. I fear it may be the only way to get me to the other side where he awaits. Where I am affirmed by him, as a true apprentice.

Among the foothills, I have my friends' encouragement. My friends do want to see me get there. My friends often have the knowledge to advise me. "My friends"- a phrase that still feels new to me. The concern, however, is two-fold. First, my master wants me to learn to hear his voice personally. If I listen too intently to my friends, I may not hear him when he whispers to me. Additionally, though I think I'm stronger than this, I fear that I may hesitate too long, wishing to keep pace with my friends and take the route they take, which may differ from the one I've been given. I must put my master first; I must be willing to leave if he calls me to do so. I must be able to move on if he calls them away from me, or they turn away on their own. My fear, then, is that my master may decide that the best route for me is the lonely, barren route; the route which will prove my loyalty most solidly, but at such a high cost.

I know that if this is ever the route I must take, it will be worth it. It will strengthen me immensely as his apprentice. Yet I hope there is another way. I hope that I can learn how to put my master first in mind as well as action, to seek only his approval, and still keep my friendships- to take the low trail. My master is understanding and merciful. I know that if I can learn it this way, he will guide me through these hills. Yet my master is loving and he desires for me to grow; to be everything I have potential to be, and to have a perfect relationship with him. Therefore, if I can't attain this otherwise, he will guide me through the challenges. Either way, I am willing. He will get me there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


So I'm about to step out of my comfort level, and talk about something that does not define me because if it defines me, maybe it will contradict other definitions....

Maybe I've mentioned this before, or maybe not. When I was in first grade, my friends and I had a discussion about gender. Several of us were informed by one all-knowing friend on our street, that "There are two kinds of girls. Tomboys and girlie-girls. Tomboys like Legos... girlie girls like barbie dolls and make-up and..."

Barbies frustrated me because I couldn't get them to walk and carry dishes at the same time. I either had to make them hold the dish and hop, or move the dish to the doll table and manipulate their legs. Seriously! Mom always said she preferred regular dolls over the ones with special abilities... such as potty-training. She said it allowed us to use our imagination. But with Barbies, I NEEDED them to at least cup the plates between their hands so that I could "walk them"... besides, Ken was kinda ugly with his plastic hair, so I wanted Barbie to have a different boyfriend.

I did like legos, particularly building the houses and designing the rooms (something I've since learned, is what girls do tend to enjoy about Legos- while boys like making it an action game- but I didn't know that then). So that settled it, I was a tomboy.

My self-definition meant I never wanted to be a prissy girl who cried over a broken-nail, feared worms and getting dirty, etc. It meant that ideally, I wouldn't cry in general, but that, I couldn't help; it just happened- way too embarrassingly often.

But anyway, tomboys also shouldn't be all that concerned with looks. No make-up, no flirty clothing, and basically, you just grab whatever's clean in your closet, throw it on, and walk out the door.... I did have some preferences. I liked solid, bright colored t-shirts for a long time- trying to represent cheerfulness among the blacks and grays around me, until the random older men cat-calling as I walked by (as I'm sure they did every girl) began to wear on me. Then I started wearing black and walking "tough," to protect myself... and I always liked clothing with animals on them. But other than this, I wasn't concerned with looks. I might consider the question, "Do I like this shirt?", but never the question, "Does this look good on ME?"

Beyond that, I've always been anti-materialism- for as long as I've known what materialism is. So I don't talk about "stuff," because stuff has no meaning. Meaning comes from experience, and belief-structures, and, more recently, relationships.

But anyway, as I said, I'm stepping out of my comfort level: Today I want to talk about clothes.... BUT I HAVE AN EXCUSE! Probably starting in high school, I started thinking of clothing as a form of representation- about the time when black started symbolizing "tough." I continued wearing animal shirts as the exception because animals were a big part of who I was. I planned on becoming a wildlife manager in Africa, working with elephants or rhinos on a reserve, so animals represented me. Into college, when I started playing intramural soccer, biking, surfing, backpacking, and such, I also wanted to wear clothing that represented outdoorsy-ness. But not having money, you wear what you already have and what you can find in the thrift store.

But then I received my B.A., and obtained a job, and was promoted, and had a bit of money coming in, and could actually buy clothes I liked. Well, I was also a young supervisor-manager, and I needed my staff to know I was serious about my job and not some young kid, being a 27 yr. old who looked 21 or 22....so mostly what I bought was business suits. But that is when I had room to develop my style, and what I've found is that I have more than one style. It depends on my mood.

Okay, so I finally got to the rather shallow purpose of this post- clear down at the bottom; Ideally, there would be some way to simultaneously dress outdoorsy/artsy/adventurous, but I haven't figured that out yet, so in lieu of that, I tend to like things that have a bohemian flair- maybe a long skirt- paneled with different coordinating fabrics, with a peasant blouse... or a safari look- nothing too costume-ish though... or casual-feminine-tomboy- flaired jeans with a form-fitting solid gray, green, blue, or purple shirt... and of course (if you know me), various hats and scarves to complete any outfit... alas, I am back to broke, and back to wearing whatever I already have that still fits and isn't too worn- or what I find at Goodwill... and I realize that I have become a bit materialistic, concerning myself with whether what I wear represents me appropriately.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


So much to say, and no language to convey it, in this hour of feeling beyond words, but I'll try....

I've explained that my dad abused me. I have kept in touch, though, because he might hurt himself otherwise. And because he might not be now, who he was then. And because maybe I am the tool for him to change.... because he wants a relationship; Because he relies on me. And because I've been afraid to make the wrong decision. Because I want to do what's right.

But I got an e-mail from him a few weeks ago. A sick and twisted e-mail that while I'm not ashamed, I won't explain here. He sent it for no explainable reason; it really didn't fit his pattern of denial. And for once, I am certain; absolutely positively certain that communication with him is harmful to me and not helpful to him, so I ended communication. And I know that the e-mail is a blessing. I've been freed from a sense of obligation... and while guilt harasses me for now, I know it's the right decision, so I continue to move forward....

My master, my God, has provided me with what I need to move forward. Life sure can be hard, but I am not overwhelmed. I am sad, with this on my heart... but I am also happy- for the good things- for my nieces and nephew and family and friends, and for my dreams for the future, and....

Anyway, my nieces and nephew really are a blessing. Today, after Missy's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, I biked up and down the street with the girls- I raced with Lauren, and Katie learned that she really can ride her bike without falling. Then, I taught Critter, who's 3, how to hold and throw a mini-football- not that he will remember the next time he picks it up... I can't imagine not having them in my life. They'll be moving away in a couple months, but they'll still be in my life. Their being, brings me joy and I am truly blessed.

I am moving forward. I am working on my thesis, and working per diem with kids with disabilities, and volunteering at my church, and spending time with friends....

I think a part of me was shut off for awhile. A part of me couldn't feel the bigger picture; the world around me... and for me, that meant I was kinda lost because I don't know how to be me without being passionately compassionate. I never stopped caring about others, but I started seeing myself more. I and my needs became bigger, leaving less room in my mind for others than I am comfortable with... but I've been growing again, and growing closer in my relationship with God, and I am grateful.
I love comments. It makes me feel like I'm not just talking to a wall, and rids me of the feeling that this time, I said too much, or said something the wrong way.

(I review your comments first, so if you want to say something just to me, just let me know).