I tried to think... that morning, that afternoon. I tried to think of the word, the word for the weight. The word that supported it.
The only word is tragic.
I walked outside and was greeted by a surprising tickle from the swift breeze. Juxtaposition in full form, I looked up. Staring at the rabbit tail clouds and the flavored-ice summer sky. This was Indiana. This was life. The baffling antonymy of the every day.
I was late. Not late in the sense that I cared or that it mattered, I made a choice. That morning I chose not to concern myself with the dictators of time. Realizing that I would soon be my own, I decided to savor my last passive act of rebellion.
Breathy steps were taken as I settled into the weather's temperament. "A fine day", I thought while I opened my perpetually unlocked car door. As I reached for my keys, I heard the click. People talk about their hearts dropping but my stomach went up my throat.
A first reaction was too look away, quickly turning back as I screamed. Six years lie on the pavement. I wanted to sit down, Indian style right there forever. I felt the need to lie down beside it and cry. Maybe if I don't move it won't really have happened. But that isn't the way these things work. I didn't have any time to sit down. I couldn't lie still next to it and breathe the grief in and out fully. I was late.
I grabbed the pieces. Necessity demanded that I drive the car despite it.
It's always surprising when i have an unexpectedly strong response to words with no malice behind them.
My eye twitches and my body tenses up. A few days ago this reaction was triggered. In an attempt to understand my initial reaction (with a lack of tact, I might add) I've been trying to sort it out. Seeing a side of my friend I had never seen before, seeing something broken that I can't fix. Not being able to protect or fight loss of control. I don't like to be out of control. And while this is a reasonable justification for uncomfort, it seems a bit daft for that to be sending a bolt through my chest, doesn't it?
If every feeling really comes from a choice... What was the choice that I had made?
"Anger is inexplicably linked to morality."
With further investigation, this is the patch-worked offering of my logic.
I feel as if inequality is an explicit injustice. And that is a fact in my mind. A universal truth. That equality is a mandate from Christ and that exclusivity is in direct opposition to this. Even the mention of it wrenches my stomach. Maybe it's from everything I've learned about our recent history. The Civil Rights Movement, Mother Teresa with the untouchables, The Holocaust, Ghandi fighting against Britain imperialism, Rwandan Genocide, Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma, the list goes on and on. These events of inequality are accepted to be morally deplorable acts in the secular world. So even if I didn't follow Christ, I would already conclude that exclusivity is a characteristic that lends itself acts of inequality.
I am no theologian. I do not sit here and claim to know anything. To know the Bible or understand in the least bit. I wouldn't say that I believe every word should be taken literally. But what I do believe is that I should have an opinion. I should have an opinion and not be a reed blowing in the wind. I should not be a Universalist. And if I am a Universalist I should have thoughts about why I'm taking the easy way out. I can choose something that I believe. I can have many theories, if I'd like. And those theories can change if I learn something new or different. I can continue to grow. And I can have thoughts.
I can have thoughts. And those thoughts can matter.
Today I could look through the Bible seeking evidence to back up my theory. Spouting off verses and books and stories about what God said or what happened and how it all points to the fact that I am right. But this would be doctoring what God made to satisfy my own need to try and understand the mystery.
So instead I am inviting myself to sit down. To sit and look at God's Word and see what He says. His Story has both Exclusivity and Inclusivity in it. The Jews and The Gentiles, just for starters. So it can't be all bad.
He has a chosen people. And then He adopted us. So there's already both. It's both. And maybe exclusivity isn't forever linked to inequality. Maybe they can be separate. I don't have to know it all today. I don't think I can read all of the verses and books and ideas and theories and formulate my own opinion tonight anyway. But I do think it's good that I sit and ask. I sit and look. Or even that I just sit with Him.
So far - this exploration into my intense reaction has provided some good contemplating. God has given me a sore spot for injustice. I didn't ask for it but it's here and it stings. So I guess there's more to learn about that. Always more to learn.
i starred at a wall.
while everyone was looking straight, i looked left.
to try to hold it together.
to try to keep a grip on all of the edges of my life.
if i stay quiet maybe they won't notice me.
maybe i'll disappear.
maybe this will end
two feet tall.
staring at the patterns in the wood.
while the grown ups talk
i hate them.
every time i spill a glass, they yell.
so i try not to move or touch anything.
they don't care.
and i'm right here.
they want me to play with crayons.
but I'm right here.
i'm okay. i'm okay.
maybe they're almost done talking.
i wish i could sink underneath the seat.
crawl under the table
and make a run for it.
but they notice me.
because i'm sitting there breathing.
they notice me.
because i'm not small.
they notice me.
forced to hug reluctantly.
it's all a lie,
this whole thing.
but i'm quiet.
it's a lie.
i'm quietly lying.
say "thank you."
say "i love you."
leave quickly before you lie again.
I'll eat all of the words. The right words. Have them embossed into my aorta. Stitched into my left ventricle. Holding six different reems of paper. I devour these. Some of them are good enough to be printed on my arteries. With these words, they can graffiti my pulmonary vein. ______________________________________________________
I want to tell you all the things. All of the things that make me feel alive...
Lately I feel more alive.
It's finally sandal weather. My favorite time of year, Spring. Where
new breath and new life are found every moment if you look for them.
And the sandals. The sandals are the easiest shoe in life.
Maybe they make us feel closer to Jesus or the rest of humanity,
with so little between our soles and the Earth. It just feels right.
But I have high arches - and my ankles swell when I wear them.
It's painful and unattractive due to my dainty ankles becoming kankles.
I have decided that the pain is worth it. The sandals.
And the dirt. And the Earth. And the pain... makes me feel alive.
Music makes things make sense for small amounts of time.
And I've realized that I need to be inspired frequently.
I need to be inspired and reminded of the fact that
there are things bigger than myself.
Reminded that we aren't alone and that we are capable of being
more. Reminded that we aren't limited. The options are endless.
And creativity, just like life, has no rules. I need to be reminded
that there are no rules. That God made us to be different
and have different thoughts, preferences, needs, and
aesthetics. Also - I will see Twentyone Pilots every time I am
near them until either they or i die, whichever comes first.
I've never been good at climbing anything. There is evidence of this
on the shelf in the music room at my grandparent's house
on one of those family VHS tapes.
i distinctly remember this because of my short blonde bob and
overalls hanging on upside down to the lowest tree limb for dear life.
while all of my cousins were all the way up in the tree already.
i just swang there upside down trying to figure it out. and this
is how my relationship with climbing trees has forever been.
but it's time to change things up. while the trees may have thought
that they would forever elude me, theyre only half way right.
i was alone walking in the cemetery
and this came over me - go to that tree and try to climb it.
and i did. well, i tried. i realized that one reason i can't climb is due to
my lack of problem solving and critical thinking skills. where does
my hand go?! how do i get my foot up there? damn that hurts my
knee. so i struggled. and climbed up about four feet. i stood there
in that tree. and i didn't take pictures. i didn't call anyone.
i didn't instagram or tweet. i just breathed it in. the fact that i am
alive and alone. and the fact that four feet is a completely different
perspective. from four feet away life seems a little more doable.
I can be alone. I can climb a tree. I can climb a tree alone.
At least four feet. One of my objectives is to become a proficient tree
climber this year.
It is terrifying to do something so scary. I know that sounds dumb.
But it's just a fact. For the last three years I have wanted
to do Krav Maga. A collection of circumstances that have led me to
-I used to watch UFC with my cousins sometimes.
-No one has ever fought for me.
-I've never fought for me.
-I've always been a feminist.
-I have this strange urge to inflict pain
on other people but I really cant take it.
-Although theologically I consider myself a pascifict
and follow the teachings of Bonhoeffer, MLK, Gandhi
-If a man ever hits me I want to be able to hit him back
- I want to protect other people with my life.
-The movie Enough with JLo made me want to be prepared
to marry a psychotic liar who wants to kill me
-I want to be as badass as I think I might be
-My goal is to be able to take a punch and not cry.
- Also to learn self defense.
So i started Krav. Full of fear. And I still am.
I HATE DOING THINGS IM BAD AT. One of the things I'm bad at
right now is not being a fatty who hates sit ups and running.
I hate cardio. I HATE CARDIO. So Chachi went with me.
The first time with Chachi I was pissed. And thought I was going to die.
But the high afterwards was awesome. And we practice punching together.
The second time- alone...I sat in the parking lot for ten minutes
- trying to tell myself that I never needed to go in.
that no one needed to know that I wasn't going back.
But i forced myself to go in alone. And of course i showed up
to the class of people who had been in Krav for YEARS.
All 15 of them had been in it for years and I was the only new person.
These huge men made of boulders and one small woman made
of iron and steele... then me - chubster in a tyedie shirt with glasses and a nose
ring smiling and saying "hey guys" as i wave. I have not been more
out of place or uncomfortable. but i did it anyways. 40 minutes of
looking like the fatest idiot ever and feeling like death.
I almost got punched in the face by the chick at least 5 times.
She kept apologizing but I knew it was my fault
i went alone. it sucked. and was terrible. but i loved it.
i love the fact that i now know what 360 blocking is!
even if i don't do it right! and I know a bit about a fighting stance!
and a bit about "inside the fences". So there's that. I like to hit things!
And i'm fat. So I'm the fat girl who shows up alone.
I just keep telling myself - you'll have to be alone your whole life
and you have always wanted this. And it's true. It's enough to show up.
Maybe boxing classes after Krav. I need to commit.
I have always loved to sing. I've played guitar, piddled around with
keys, and bought a djembe even though i only played it once.
I am notorious for starting things and never perfecting them.
I just quit and move on to something else - enthusiast, i am.
Playing a song and quitting. I just hate practicing things. I've always
thought I should be naturally good at things. So more Uke for me.
The thing that sucks about ukulele is that it never sounds sad. and
in that respect i wish i hadn't left my guitar in Bolder. but none the less,
I shall learn more Uke songs this year and be comfortable enough
with playing it in front of my friends at least. Play it enough to
have Phil say i'm decent.
People don't know this. And i don't know this. But what I enjoy
is the slow life. The life with feet in mud. hands out windows.
fingers skimming the lip of water in any form. i love the sound
of people running on gravel. squirrels yelling at each other.
and when dogs sigh as if they've gotten bored. i love finding
the only spot of sunshine that hits my mom's steps through
the window and easing into yellow tented rest. i like having
two hours to stretch, dance, and wake up each morning.
the life of siestas. that's the slow life. pure life. sitting outside
in a chair and reading a book, always drifting off. laying
on the ground and drawing until i rip it up and start again.
more of these. and less hurry. less stress. less of less.
more slow. don't get me wrong - i thrive on no sleep,
no time to make good choices, laughing, drinking, being loud,
being more tired than awake, and rushing to the next thing.
but at my best - at my most awake, i am a slow being.
slowly walking up the mountain before jumping off of the cliff.
running my hand through the grass before setting a fire.
and feeling the mud in my hands before throwing it
onto the face of my loved ones. i love the slow life.
I'm more alive lately. Maybe it'll bring me to broken ankles
with busted eardrums stuck in a tree alone in Spain. Either way.
i like it.
i am tripping over over the words. the thoughts. the faces. the feelings. the lists. the failures. the rewards. pain. glory. joy. the everything. the everything.
my brain is on loop and i need to throw up.
onto some page or into some painting.
i'd rather paint and write than sleep but if i don't sleep this won't get better.
if i sleep i know that i'll never want to wake up again.
i'm probably obsessing. i tend to due that in manic whirlwinds. i think i spurred it on by not sleeping much the last three weeks. i've been obsessing a lot lately. about hanging pictures on a wall. it's taking me 8 times as long to hang these pictures as it would any other human. neurotic - that's how i feel.
or water bottles - i went to a store and they had the size water bottle i wanted but not the color. so i drove to another store. they didn't have the size or the color water bottle that i wanted. so i drove back to the other store. this is all in an hour and a half. i bought the smaller color that i wanted - but i still feel sick when thinking that it won't be enough water.
i think i might feel my throat constrict if i don't have a drink. if there isn't one near me - i feel like i will suffocate. like one of those fish lying on a sidewalk. lungs constricting quickly at first but then slower and slower no matter how hard you try. like i'll forget how to breathe. i've been afraid of that since high school. i'd been in cars riding in the passenger seat and then i'd remember i was breathing. this panic would override me as i began to think - keep breathing! keep breathing! how do you do this?! mouth?! nose!? rhythm!?. when i sit here and think about it again i start to make myself freak out.
i've never seen myself as a stressed out person. never looked into the mirror and beheld an anxiety ridden girl. but if i had a mirror right now i bet i'd witness a frantic and terrified young woman who is hyperventilating and pouring water down her throat. it's not even getting into her mouth. and she's choking on it. i'm not okay.
i'm trying to do a million things and be a million things and pick up all of the balls that i dropped and glue all of the pieces back together of this unsightly puzzle back together but... i don't think i'm doing it right. i don't think i'm doing any of this right.
i've been angry. i found out i was so angry i couldn't move. like my heart was stuck in tar. God slowed me down. reminded me i wasn't made for it. reminded me that it could be different. reminded me i could fall down and it would be okay. reminded me that i have a voice. a kind one, if whispered.
something changed. a retraction of bitter thoughts and words. a release of situations and control. it shifted. i don't need to walk around holding it all. carrying all of it with me and sucking it down. so i spoke.
i don't need to play things over and over again in my head. but right now i do.
i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine. i am fine.
I stared at Him. and I didn't want to move.
I never wanted to move again.
I never wanted to breathe again.
I wanted to remain in this moment.
I wanted nothing.
The rumblings began.
And I sat. Believing that if I didn't speak -
somehow it wouldn't change.
That I could remember.
Remember something about Him.
Memorize His face.
Feel it in my chest. Feel His hand on my mouth.
i've been asking
to be spoken to every now and then.
and it happened. Abruptly.
sat me down.
told me all of the things
i never wanted to hear.
everything that I was afraid of.
all of it.
"She would've loved this.
She, the reason for my heart
and my existence,
But She was with Him
now and that's all
she ever wanted.
This was better
This was better",
I told myself.
Better for her.
But there I sat,
the short one
at the table.
Staring into the face
that I'd been shielding
As I sat, I waited
As soon as I stepped in- I knew that there was no place for me there.
That if they asked me to come sit at the table they would have to
pull up a piano bench, a folding chair, or an ottoman that was loud and wobbly.
I'd sit lower than every one else. With every breath the sound of the
chair would be excruciating in the midst of any and all conversation.
I thought nothing could penetrate me anymore.
once a boy told me something i didn't like.
at the time i raged against the notion.
but here i sit
4 years later and i can safely say that one thing is true.
a few years make a difference.
and the hope that those words now bring
is entirely unexpected.
the people, places, and the very things
that once brought me comfort - now bring me none.
and the textures, sounds, and faces that
bring me pleasure today
- will not, this same time next year.
a woman once told me
that our lives are the Gospel being played over and over again.
i sit. here. and it does ring true.
my condensed version of the gospel on loop:
sin. birth. life. death. mourning. resurrection. sin. birth. life. death. mourning. resurrection.
sin. birth. life. death. mourning. resurrection. sin. birth. life. death. mourning. resurrection.
those are seemingly the bullet points.
strange as it may be
each word holds the exact amount of weight that i think it should.
sin - the heavy and thick amount of disgust for myself or anyone else.
birth - the beginning of something new that i crave and long for.
life - the in-between which can be made up of special moments or horrible ones.
death - the moment that assuredly comes, as i fight tooth and nail against it to prolong the inevitable
mourning - i somehow stretch theses three days into years of lamenting
resurrection - the part that i most look forward to and simultaneously hope will never come
i guess God is teaching me something new.
and i'm actually learning it.
where i am today will change
regardless of me
throwing myself into something new,
running away from anything ,
or searching for some infinite adventure.
it will all change.
and that is the biggest comfort of all.
all of my relationships will not be the same or even in tact next year.
i will not be stuck in one place forever, it is not possible.
there is enough for me and there always will be.
a few years make a difference.
it is true.
and while i look forward to what the next few years have to offer
i'll be damned if i keep living for the future like i have been.