Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tis the Season

Since I've been home, I've been focusing on my family and catching up on my sleep. College drains you so much. I'm beginning a time of healing from this past semester, and though my heart and soul still feel like a barren wasteland, I can feel the edges of my bitterness fraying in light of the Christmas spirit. Healing is coming. And I'm definitely ready for it.

My wish for you this Christmas is that you too will find healing for whatever ails you. Whatever life has handed you that has dragged you down, or whatever sorrow tears your heart apart, I hope that this Christmas you will find some comfort in this season of pure happiness.

As I get older, I'm realizing more and more that it's the childlike innocence of my younger family members that heals my battered heart more than anything else in the world. Just seeing the precious smiles on their faces is enough to light a smile on my face as well. My advice this year: Let the wondrous magic of Christmas touch your heart this year.

This is the closest we'll ever come to a real fairy tale, and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest.

I hope your Christmas is merry, and that you will be filled with the joy of the season regardless of whatever troubles in your way.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One More Essay!

Gotta push through one more 8-pager. It's due tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Can I do it? Heck yes!

Here goes nothing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flawed System

Can you count on people? I mean, really count on them?

Right now I'm not so sure. My roommate bailed on me....we're supposed to be guarding the bedroom together (our other housemate is completely psycho) but she left because of a phone call with some unfortunate news. We thought our university would help us with this situation, but hey, guess what? They, like our landlord, like the cops, are doing absolutely nothing.

Let me repeat that. They are doing NOTHING.

This wouldn't be a problem if my housemate wasn't a passive-aggressive OCD freakshow who has threatened physical violence and tried to get us arrested for keeping the house temperature below seventy-eight degrees.

I really wish that justice would be served here. But it won't be. I am more and more convinced that the bad guys win most of the time. That's so just...wrong.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting

The most agonizing thing to be doing is waiting for something to happen. Either you want it to happen, are dreading it, or aren't sure what's going to happen, but the anticipation just kills you.

It's the waiting that I don't like. I'm waiting to go to a meeting right now, a meeting that could affect my future in a pretty big way. I'm unbelievably nervous. But I know that once I'm in there it won't seem so bad, and that after it's over I'll be glad I went.

And so I wait, as impatiently as ever. Just...waiting for what is to come.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why You Should Be Nice to English Majors

When this semester is over,I will have written over sixty pages worth of type. Oh my lanta.

My to-do list for the next week and a half:
Finish 8 page essay (Shakespeare-Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V)
Write 10-page essay (Little Women combo with The Blithedale Romance)
Write 8 page essay (Worldview of Dreiser-Sister Carrie)
Write 4 page essay (Latino Lit-The Fringe World)
Write 8 page essay (Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice)

I will be feeling very triumphant once this is all over.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

My family is loud.

Ridiculously so.

My sleep is deprived, my work is unwritten, and my nerves are frazzled. Piano banging (for it can't be called music) is crashing against my ears amidst the off-tune singing of a two-year-old. My brother blaring his guitar amp. My sister exclaiming in glee at the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade. My mom baking her Sweet Potato Casserole.

But even though I have been highly unproductive, my work is way behind, and I'm not going to sleep for the next two nights, there is no where else I'd rather be than here. Even though I get annoyed with my family sometimes, this is where I belong. This is where I am loved and understood.

I love my family and I'm thankful for them every day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

PRO-crastination

I'm a horrible procrastinator. I should be writing a 20-page paper right now. I really, really should be.

But at least the good thing about procrastinating is that I usually do fun things instead of the thing I'm dreading. Lots of happiness followed by a period of heightened stress.

It all works out in the end....right?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I Get Nothing Accomplished

"I've got a really short attention span."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. It's bad 'cause...

..... ..... ..... ..... .....

Hey, look, a bus!"



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hiatus-y Again

It's been over a week and I haven't posted. Dang it.

The funny thing is that I've had so much I wanted to write about, but every time I tried, I was always pulled away by life's responsibilities. I'll get to my backlogged drafts later, I suppose.

I promise, I will tell you about the two-tiered field where I watched two events at once, the NC state fair, and the randomness of my life. But it will have to wait until I am not swamped in schoolwork. Sadness.

I swear, I get so frustrated with the sheer amount of work I have to do. I write so much for so many people, I barely have time to write for myself.

Oh, well. Not much I can do about it. For now, just know that goodness is coming, and that I haven't forgotten about this blog.

Monday, October 18, 2010

High School Daze

If you were to look up my old high school on Google, there would be three things that would pop up in the search bar.

Those would be:
W___ B_____ shooting
W___ B_____ football
W___ B_____ riot

Yessir, those are the three things my alma mater is known for. I graduated in '07. The riot happened two years ago. The shooting happened last year. The football has always been awful, so...uh yeah, no real improvements there. Though they are winning games now. Maybe other schools are scared we're going to shoot them. I heard that one of the girl's teams were at an away game and their opposing team refused to high-five them at the end of the game. I heard that was because the other team was afraid of our girls. Our girls.

My old high school has a really bad reputation right now. It's not that the school is bad, or that the kids are bad. It's not that the teachers aren't good. I swear to you, that school is full of good people. You want to know what I think the deal is? I think that there are a few misguided kids who fell in with the wrong crowd. A few "bad apples" if you will. Gang activity has been rising in the area for the last decade or so. They are very territorial, and are divided into about three main sections of our half of the county. By "our half," I mean the half that attend my old high school. For some reason, the Board of Education decided that it was a good idea to shove all the high schoolers into two high schools. So, whereas there was a high school for each gang's territory before the merger, now there is only one for all of them. Sounds like a bad idea, right? I think so too.

So, what does this mean for the good kids? Well if they keep their noses clean, then they don't have anything to worry about. I was never afraid to go to school. I was never afraid to walk the halls, and I'm not afraid to go back and walk them again if I ever have a reason to return. My brother attends there now. He isn't afraid to go to school there, and I'm not afraid for him either. He's a good kid. He'll be fine. There are way more good kids than bad ones at that school. Let's not forget about them.

They recently hired a no-nonsense principal who is doing his best to clean up the school. It's true that not everyone is happy about his "improvements," but no matter what you do there will be people who disapprove. What I disapprove of is all the Facebook status updates and comments saying how they're scared to send their kids to W___ B_____, and how the kids are scared, and how everyone's just this quivering ball of terror. False. I know loads of people who attend/have recently attended who are not afraid. I know parents who are not afraid. Fear will not solve anything.

Do me a favor? Quit being scared and start teaching your kids to stay out of trouble. Tell them to avoid the kids always doing something stupid. Here's the thing. If your kid gets in with the gang bangers, there's going to be trouble.

Yes, I'm concerned just like everyone else. But I am not afraid, nor will I ever be. Fear will not solve anything. Action will.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In which I am back only a few hours and trouble brews already.

Question of the day: Does an apology alone solve problems?

I just received an apology from someone, one that didn't sound heartfelt at all. Said person then turned around and implied that I apologize on the spot, which is a problem since I don't think I have anything to apologize for. I'm not in the habit of putting my personal issues out there on the interwebz, so I won't go into detail. But I have to ask. Should I apologize for things that aren't my fault? This new development of non-heartfelt apology is disturbing to me. I feel like I -should- apologize, for convention's sake. But I don't think I've done wrong. And I've only been back five hours. Great.

Anyway, the drive back was rather uneventful and filled with the mindless chatter that girls so often fall into. I'm realizing more and more that my views on religion and Christianity are sort of radical, as I tend to challenge typical viewpoints and think outside of the box. Here's an example: I want to keep my "bad" emotions when I get to heaven. That's right. I want to keep my anger and sadness. Why? Because I feel that if you took those emotions away, you're left with hollow, shallow, chipper people. I want to have the capacity for those emotions. Maybe God will prove me otherwise when I get to heaven. But...I don't want to be shallow or hollow, not ever.

On the other hand, if we're unable to hold grudges, then maybe my housemate and I will get along in heaven. Because I've let mine go, but...

I'm tired. This weekend took a lot out of me. Back to the grind tomorrow. I'll miss the sweet fellowship of the LU girls and the Guthrie family. I'll miss the harmony we shared. I hate the tension here. So much. Maybe next year will be different.

Until then, I've got to hold strong. Got to. Because I can't let myself be walked over. I've done nothing wrong.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Good Work Ethic

Random fact: I just vacuumed out over thirty stink bugs, fifteen or so flies, and one ridiculously huge, hairy spider out of the attic bedroom I'm staying in. Uggggggggh.

Anyway, today was the fall festival, and it was amazing! The festival featured some local bluegrass talent with lots of shows on their two stages. (There was also a quartet that sang under an oak tree.) Some mimes showed up, and I was amazed that a mime group could perform. I imagined the lot of them trapped in soundless boxes on stage. They did some interpretations of songs (that featured a little sign language), and some skit-type dramas to music. Regardless of how impressed I was with them, they still freaked me out. Mimes are in the same category as clowns for me-fun to watch, but they need to stay the heck out of my bubble.

I worked games at the festival, so I didn't have much time to goof off and have fun. I worked the Bean Bag Toss, the Egg Ball Maze, and Chicken in the Pot. Fun names, mostly aggravating games. I was a good sport, though, for the kids' sake. After all, it is fun for them. The festival featured an auction, and was closed out with a group of cloggers. The cloggers were actually from the area, and their practice room is located on the premises. It was so much fun to watch the big head lady get up there and clog with the rest of them!

After the festival was over, we went to work tearing down everything we had put up this morning before the festival started. There are piles of pumpkins and mums everywhere. We finished everything on the agenda for the day, then preceded to veg out and eat pizza to our heart's content. Mmm, Dominos. There was a bonfire in the fire pit, complete with marshmallows, and then we all got ready for bed. (This is when I vacuumed up the bugs.)

The best part of the day for me was probably discovering that the tire swings could indeed hold my weight without breaking. There were a bunch of cracks in the hooks holding it up, and I was worried. But it was, without a doubt, the best part of the day. What can I say? I'm pretty easy to please.

Tomorrow we're sleeping in, then heading back to the 'burg, where I'll head back into the college routine. I'm really excited, because I get to see my Victoria soon! Maybe the day after tomorrow! I can't wait to see you, love!

As for me, it's been a great few days, and I'm exhausted. Sleeping in sounds wonderful. Wake me when the pancakes are done, okay?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Country Living and Manual Labor

Today, the other volunteers and I-along with the Guthrie family-were in major festival set-up mode. We painted carnival-style games, along with various signs and bits of furniture. We scattered pumpkins and mums everywhere. We set out sixty hay bales. I've only moved a few bales of hay, ever. But I remembered enough to look semi-decent at it today. And let me tell you, I sure know how to move a hay bale now.

I felt like such a country bumpkin. I mean, I'm a country girl, but this was my first real taste of farm living. I rode in the back of a trailer, stood on the back of a tractor, fed some chickens, made baaing noises at sheep, shoved hay around (and climbed up into the hayloft), and loved on a Labrador Retriever named Angel. It was a very good day. I would love to live on a farm. It's manual labor, but it's fun! At least it is for animal lovers like me.

Anyway, the countdown to the festival has begun. Tomorrow I will be getting up at six-fifteen so that I can get ready and get breakfast before seven. I'll be running some games and just enjoying the day. But for now, I'm exhausted. I'll sleep good tonight, for sure.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joshua's Hands

I didn't really think I'd be able to blog on this trip. I don't know why I thought that-most people do have the internet these days-but I did. When I got to the house I'll be staying in until Sunday, I thought for sure the 200+ year old plantation-style 5 bedroom house wouldn't have such a modern convenience as wireless. But it does. And I sit here in my attic bedroom on my laptop rapping away at the keys. This is bliss. If only I had a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte right about now, then it would be absolute perfection.

This morning I left my college town on a weekday to head off into the farmlands of Northern VA to do some good in the world. I'm volunteering my time for the next four days to support the organization Joshua's Hands. It's an amazing organization that's run by the Guthrie family in honor of Joshua Guthrie, who was killed in a car accident. The driver was a drunken police officer. That's rough, man. Anyway, it's a great cause, and I get school CSER credit for my work here. (CSER=school mandated community service: aka "free labor").

Aside from the excitement of staying in a farmhouse on a working farm, today I helped get some things ready for the fall festival on Saturday. If you're in the area, be sure to drop by. Everything's free, and I mean that literally. You want lunch on Saturday? That's totally on us. No worries, man. I hope you like hot dogs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's contagious, oh no!!

Yeah. So my life's been crazy lately. I said I was an English major, yeah? I thought so. Anyway, that means that about halfway through the semester my life gets taken over by papers, quizzes, and exams. If I'm really unlucky, I'll have the dreaded "mid-terms."

For those of you that don't know, the "mid-terms" is a viral disease inflicted upon you by certain professors infected with the "2-tests-per-year" infection. Once infected, you will lose the ability to sleep, feel tense 24/7, and feel compelled to consume horrendous quantities of caffeine. The good news? The symptoms only persist a few weeks.

My time is really limited at the moment. Mid-terms and exams are almost over for me, and I'll be posting regularly again soon. Until then, be sure not to expose yourself to the "mid-terms" virus!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What are they teaching us in school these days? Chapter 2-Moby Dick!

So, according to blogger's blog stats, apparently people are peeking at this blog. Interesting. If you've got something you'd like me to write about, just drop a comment and let me know. :)

Okaaay! So I was sitting in one of my many English classes (I'll talk about my insane course load sometime later), and the prof was talking about Moby Dick. For those of you who don't know,Moby Dick is a novel by Herman Melville about a big giant white whale named (you guessed it) Moby Dick. The captain of this vessel, Capt. Ahab, is psycho and winds up selling his soul to the devil to gain the power to take down the beast. Or at least he thinks he does.

So, right before Ahab goes after Moby, he baptizes his harpoons in his crew members' blood and says this latin phrase: "Ego non baptizmo te in nomine patris, sed in diaboli."

Translated, it means "I baptize thee not in the name of the father, but in the name of the devil."

So, what we have here is satanism. Yiiiiikes. This is scary stuff. Now it is important to note that Capt. Ahab's quest to kill Moby Dick backfires pretty badly. But still! Satanism in Moby Dick? Who knew! I sure didn't.

And they call this "fine literature."

Perhaps we ought to take Melville's own advice. When asked by a lady whether or not his book was appropriate for her to read, he said that "it is by no means the sort of book for you...warn all gentle, fastidious people from so much as peeping into the book."

If even the author knows that he's written an "evil book," then that's definitely saying something.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life in so many words.

So, this week was pretty crazy for me. I, by the grace of God, somehow managed to pull two allnighters while going to most of my classes. Now, the root problem here is the issue of my procrastination, but the fact that I know about that problem doesn't help me fix it. Though maybe it should.

Anyway, during the course of the past week, I worked the Writer's Conference (which was amazing), went to my CSER (Christian Service, yay for college forcing me to do things) orientation, Lindsay (my roommate, and also the third occupant of our apartment) moved in, I completed two 8-page papers (one of them a research paper), and I did various bits of reading homework (though I must admit I didn't do most of it). Busy week.

And after pulling two nights of no sleep, what do I have to say for myself? Nothing, really. I can't say I'd like to repeat the experience, but I also can't say I learned anything from it. Which is really funny, because you'd think I'd have learned my lesson.

Anyway, today I've made the discovery that, on average, my hunches are usually correct. This is both a good thing, and a bad thing, I think. On the one hand, I'm not surprised when things happen. On the other, what if I don't want to be right? I've got these hunches, and I call things like I see them, but I don't want to be right most of the time. For example, today I found out that one of my hunches concerning a friend of mine was spot-on. That friend is beginning a new relationship, and I am happy for them. New relationships are amazing. But....I sort of....ah....I liked them, too. So now, even though I'm happy for him, I'm a tad blue.

Not that I'm surprised. 'Cause I'm not. I don't get boyfriends, because I'm afraid of relationships and men in general. Men have too much power to devastate me emotionally. I don't like that. Girls I can handle. Girls are witchy, catty, half-crazy, and big sacks of drama. I know how they think, because I'm also a girl. I know how to shrug off their stupid, envy-filled put downs and vicious words. But men....men I don't understand. They are different, and for that very difference I am attracted to them. But I take what they say too literally, and I let it affect me on an emotional level. I assume they are only out to hurt me, because most of the men who have come through my life have hurt me.

And the fun thing is that they don't even know.

The guys in my life have crushed me emotionally by either verbally putting me down or ignoring me completely. I feel like they just put up with me, that they don't really like me or care to know me as a person. I'm not sure why they don't want to get to know me, but they don't. Maybe I'm not attractive enough, or maybe I'm too tall, or maybe they're intimidated 'cause I'm bright and know lots of generally useless information. Or maybe I'm a stick in the mud who can't tell funny jokes without getting the punch line wrong. God did not give me the gift of comedy. I'm unintentionally funny-I'm hilarious when I'm trying to be serious and it irks me sometimes.
But regardless of the reason behind it, one thing is for sure: I do not attract the kind of man I would like to one day marry. I don't know why this is. I do attract off-kilter, questionable men. I attract men I'm not interested in. I attract men I'm weirded out by. For some reason, I do not attract the proverbial "good guy" that apparently exists out there in the universe. He isn't interested in me.

So I've decided. I don't need him. If I am unable to attract a mate, then who cares. It only means giving up my dreams for my life, but really, what price is that to pay? Sure, I've dreamed of getting married, settling down, and having kids. What girl doesn't? But I don't need that lifestyle. I'll make myself a new dream. So, from now on I will try to give up my picket-fence dreams. I will replace them with the dream of independence and freedom, with the idea of living on my own in a nice place that I pay for myself. The dream of a powerful young woman with big ideas and enough gumption to change the world itself. The dream of a woman without a man at her side. Because honestly? If you men don't like me, then that's your loss. I am an amazing woman who is filled to the brim with creativity, laughter, and passion.

I will not be the damsel in distress, spending my whole life waiting for you to come rescue me from the drudgery of singleness. I refuse.

I don't need you. And I'll prove it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I wasn't expecting that...

So I've realized something about myself. I apparently crush on gay people. Now, this is obviously a problem. I'm up to 3/5 crushes (counting back from high school) that turned out to be gay. Now, I'm not counting crushes that led to relationships. And I clearly don't crush on people often. But seriously, what is this?! Are there no funny, eclectic, awesome guys out there who are also STRAIGHT? Grrrr. I know, I'm just doomed to be single forever. That's got to be what it is. Because, really, this is getting ridiculous.

One of my closest friends told me that they were gay recently. I have no clue what to make of that. No clue whatsoever. I'm confused....mainly because I've assumed something about them for years that turned out to be false. I'm also sadly uninformed about the gay community. I don't have many friends who are gay, and I distance myself from those who are. I don't understand their choice (or, as they call it, "sexual preference"). I just don't know how they think, or why they think that way. I don't understand. Most Christians don't understand either. We're afraid to get involved, because that would get our hands dirty. It's a tough thing to love on homosexuals. It's a sexual sin that most of us find repulsive. It's hard to get past the "EWWWW" feeling we get. It's also hard because they insist that their lifestyle isn't a choice, meaning that God created them that way. Which leads to tons of moral dilemmas. If God created them that way, then did God intentionally create them to sin? If so, then how can God be absolute good if he created them that way? Or, to take another route...What if homosexuality isn't a sin? I mean, if God is good, and He made them that way, and they can't help it....

Fortunately, the Bible is clear enough about homosexuality that we know it's a sin. God doesn't like it, or He wouldn't have condemned it in the first place. (Check out Leviticus 18 and 20-there are more references, but I like those two chapters best. And honestly, that's what the internet is for-find it yourself.) Which leads me to think that homosexuality is a choice. There's just no other way to fit all the pieces together. Like other sins, we have a choice to act on our temptations or not. Many times, what I want to do isn't what I should be doing, or what I need to be doing. I've wanted to yell at people for being dumb and irritating. But that would have been a sin. I've been tempted to have premarital sex. But giving in to that temptation would have been a sin. I think homosexuality is like that. A temptation that you've got to resist, because it has disastrous consequences.

Fact: Monogamous, committed relationships are rare in the gay community. So, if you're looking for a committed relationship (which at the core, we all are), then you might want to look elsewhere.

Fact: The HIV/AIDS virus is like a wildfire in the gay community. But don't tell them, because they'll get mad at you if you do. And yes, I know that if you're promiscuous anywhere you can catch it. But I've read research that states that it is still more common in the gay community.

Why is that?

Well, because most sexual encounters in the gay community are one-time trysts, at random places like gay clubs and bars. (Going back to the no-commitment thing.)

Now, where am I getting this information from? Former homosexuals. Quite a few have spoken at Liberty, and I've listened to what they said. They talk of it like those days were the darkest of their lives. It worries me. I worry for my friends who are gay. I worry that they will feel the brutality of it all...and that on top of the pain and sadness they will find from within the gay community itself, half of society will shun them. Worse of all is that the half that will shun them is the Christian half.

We let alcoholics in church, right? We say they need to be there, so that God can turn their lives around. Why should we exile homosexuals? Don't they need God's love just as much as the alcoholics do? Let's face it. We can't get over the "EWW" factor. But if we don't get over that, then how do we expect them to turn to (or back to) God?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hmmph.

I really love how I go out of my way to find an isolated couch in the Library just to have someone come and sit down within five feet of me. *sigh*

Sometimes I just need to be alone, yeah? With earbuds in, I shut out the world and fade away to a world of music and pure emotion. Right now I'm listening to the iTunes free single of the week on repeat. If you're not taking advantage of the weekly free track, then you're really missing out. Seriously. Free, (usually) good music. It's one of my favorite things. Anyway, this week's track is "Live it Up" by Group 1 Crew. Group 1 Crew is a Christian/Alternative band with a very versatile style. They're a combination of rap, pop, and sometimes techno. Eclectic , just like me.

Anyway, the song is amazing. Full of celebration of life and not letting yourself be held back, with a driving beat and techno underscores. Yes, please. This song is a perfect example of something I've been saying for years. We don't have to be boring just because we're Christian. Let me be honest with you. If Christianity is boring, filled with rules, restrictions, traditions, and stiffness....then no wonder people don't want anything to do with it. Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. That means we're to get out there and LIVE, people! So, if you're out at a concert, then why not have fun and wave your arms and jump around? Why not dance like there's no tomorrow? (Because, you know, there might not be.) We trap ourselves with self-righteous dignity because we're afraid to have fun. What will the unbelievers think of us? I'll tell you what they'll think. They'll think we're real people instead of mindless zombie robot followers. They'll see that we've got a contagious passion for life.

And maybe they'll wonder what it is that lets us live without fear.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why do I do this?

My mantra for the day: Stop comparing yourself to others!

I always do that! I'm forever comparing myself to everyone around me, and I always, always think I come up short. It's destructive, ridiculous, and just plain unnecessary. I'm not here to compare myself to everyone else in the world. There will always be someone better at ______ than I am. But so what? Why should that matter so much? Why can't I just be happy with my talent level and skills? ARRRGH. I get so frustrated with myself because I know that I'm on a downward spiral, and that it's not healthy. Most days I'm okay. Most days I can catch myself before I get all self-pitying and sad. But the fact that my thoughts drift that way is just one indicator of how much I let sin mess me up.

I doubt I'll ever be able to rid myself of these comparisons. They catch me by surprise, but that's no excuse. I do have faith that by the grace of God I'll be able to shrug off those negative ideas. I hope that one day I'll be able to see myself like He sees me, as His creation-a masterpiece in progress.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Time and Consequence

This time two years ago, I was thinking of applying to work a summer camp in SC. Due to my terrible habit of procrastination, and God's intervention, I didn't get the job. At the time, I raged against the decision. I realized that I am most emotional about the things I fail at. But honestly, for an Avoidant personality type, that's to be expected. Yeah, that's right, I have a personality disorder. At least I think I do. At the very least, I exhibit many tendencies of someone with Avoidant personality disorder, such as avoiding new situations where I might be uncomfortable, and always feeling insecure about my decisions and actions. At least I have a name for it now.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk about. Two years ago I was ridiculously bummed out when I didn't get a job. I wondered if God really did want to use me, and if so, then why wouldn't He let me go to a place where I could do the most for Him? I resigned myself to the water park that summer, and literally hated my job. But I realized something this summer. All that perseverance I learned at the water park helped me out when working camp this past summer. I'm pretty sure that the FUGE staff works harder and longer than any other camp out there. (Though this might be debatable, I know it felt like we worked our tails off.) But I almost never wanted to quit. Why was this? Because I had learned how to suck it up and keep going. In fact, the only time I wanted to just go home was Week 3, when I had a very difficult time keeping my kids in order...just ask some of the other staffers.

Most of the time I can keep my kids focused and on task. Which is miraculous, really, because I couldn't do anything to stop them from misbehaving if they chose to. I never realized how precarious it is for a teacher to keep order. Some just have the natural gift of being intimidating. I don't have that, so for the kids to listen to me at all indicates that I had really good kids most of the time.

Anyway, the point of this scatterbrained rant is that God used what I perceived as a negative experience to prepare me for an awesome one the next summer. God really does know what He's doing, even when to us it looks like our lives are a mess.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What do they teach us in school these days? Act 1-Macbeth!

So, I've decided to compile a list of things that I have been asked to read by LU professors that might be considered "controversial" to those of delicate constitutions. Just, you know, for future reference. And to shamelessly retain my point of view that one can read writings of controversial nature without becoming corrupted. And sort of to justify my love of supernatural novels. But I digress.


Anyway, my list starts off with Shakespeare's notable play, Macbeth. It features three witches that are called "The Weird Sisters" (sound familiar, my fellow Potter nerds?). Here's a notable quote from them:


Round about the cauldron go,

In the poisoned entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Sweltered venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i' th' charm├Ęd pot.


Also, my personal favorite:


Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.


So, clearly, very obviously, we are dealing with witchcraft of the blacker sort. Yet I am not filled with the sudden desire to fetch a poisonous toad, rip out its entrails, and toss them into a charmed cauldron. Why is this? The jury's out on the answer. I'm leaning towards the idea that since I know that Macbeth is only a story, albeit a remarkable one, I have no desire to imitate it. It's not real. Real magic would probably scare me half to death. I know this, but the idea of the supernatural continues to fascinate me. I think this is because, at our heart, we all want to believe in something stronger than us. I mean, God Himself is supernatural. By trusting in Him, we are placing our trust in a supernatural "Higher power."


In the Bible, there are people raised from the dead. The blind can suddenly see. The scientifically unexplainable happens. Supernatural. Something far greater than we are. The reason, I think, that witchcraft is a sin is because it is, in effect, a mere mortal attempting to gain the powers of the divine. Naturally, these powers are perversions. And the rest of humanity flinches away at the not-rightness of it all. So, on this level, I agree. The idea of real-life witchcraft scares the bejeepers out of me.


But literature exists on a completely different and separate realm of consciousness. People write from their desires, and the supernatural in these stories stems from the human desire to be unique, separate, different from the rest of the sea of unnamed human faces. Have you ever had a flying dream? I have. So when I read about a fictional person who can fly through magical means (such as Tinkerbell), my heart can soar along with them through their fictional landscape.


What I'm saying is that, in the alternate dimension of writing, anything is possible.


And as for me, reading about impossible things inspires and intrigues me. Unicorns, faeries, princes, damsels in distress...even wizards. (Can you say Merlin?!) And I'm not the only one who reads these things. It isn't that I think they're real. It isn't that I have a fascination with the occult. It is just that my mind loathes the reality it lives in, the day-to-day constraints that dictate what is and isn't possible. Fantasy authors break the mold, presenting extraordinary circumstances that happen to seemingly ordinary, human people. I can live vicariously through these characters, can experience what they do, through the pages of a book.


...so tell me, how can the innocent joy of thrilling literary tales be so wrong?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Camp Life

So I've been in Glorieta, NM for about a month now. I love it here, with the gorgeous scenery and the low humidity (YEAH, no frizzy hair! WOOT!), but I miss home sometimes too. Camp is rough, with long days and little sleep. But I honestly love what I'm doing. I get to have fun with kids all week, and get paid for it. Amazing? I think so. The camp staff is awesome, by the way. I haven't met anyone that I don't like. But I like most people, so I guess that's not saying much. No, my problem isn't that I dislike the staff. My problem is that I'm not so sure that I'm well-liked.

Why is it that we will tell others how much we like someone, but we won't tell them anything about it? Guys, if that person is like me, they don't know that they are liked. I suppose we assume that they must know, because they are just that awesome. But...I can never tell if I am liked/loved by someone unless it's completely and totally obvious. They have to actually tell me, or drop a few comments that hint at it. Maybe this is because I'm oblivious, but I digress. Anyway, I'm just feeling really insecure in my relationships right now. I never feel like I relate well to others, and I'm hardly ever confident in myself. I do the best I can, and I think I'm liked, but I'm not sure. I'm at the point in these new friendships that I usually start backing off, because I stop getting the words of confirmation that indicate that I am wanted as a friend. Go back a few posts and you'll see my absolute anguish that this happens. So, naturally, I'm starting to get worried. I can see the pattern starting to repeat itself, and though I try, I can't seem to be able to stop it. The fact that I'm writing this right now instead of hanging out with people is testament to that. I should be out with people, laughing and having fun. Instead...I write this alone in Holcomb, listening to Regina Spektor and wishing I were bolder.

Speaking of being bolder, I'm about as brave as a mouse. I know that, and it bugs me. I just wish I were cut from a tougher cloth. I look at some of the older staffers and see their vibrancy and boldness and brashness, and I wonder if I will ever be that open and transparent. I feel like I really just make a fool of myself when I try to be brave. I try to tell funny stories, but I freak out halfway through and botch the job. My whole life, I've wanted to be easy-going, effortlessly entertaining and fun to talk to. And if I'd quit letting my fears interfere, I might be. My family thinks that I'm entertaining. They say that I'm fun to be around. (I asked.) But around my friends/acquaintances, I just can't be that way. I care too much about what they think. Le sigh. Story of my life, for serious! I don't know if God will ever take that from me, or if there's some sort of benefit that my over-analyzing gives me. I guess we'll have to see in time what happens.

But enough about me. Let's talk about camp. My first week at camp was veeeeery interesting. See, a few of us tag-taught because we had a small week. I was paired with someone who is very detail-oriented and organized. Not only that, but they were inclined to take control of everything. Normally, I would have been relieved. But I'm beginning to realize that I am not called to be a follower all of the time. For whatever reasons, God seems to want me to lead on occasion. And I'm capable of leading. But...I'm much more inclined to follow. It's easier. I'm not responsible for big decisions that way. But there comes a time in life where everyone has to step up. My time is now. So, during the first week I struggled to lead. Tag-teaching is rough when there's a bit of a teaching-style difference.

The second week was a bit better, because I was on my own. But my kids weren't as attentive...and they honestly seemed bored a lot of the time. I guess I'm just not interesting? Who knows. Anyway, so, due to a few different situations happening and just the way I wasn't receiving positive confirmation from my students, I'm feeling a bit uncertain about my ability to present the material in an engaging way. Time to rely on God even more, methinks.

Oh! Oh! Some kids got baptized in the lake this past week! SO EXCITING! God is doing absolutely amazing things in these kids' lives! I don't know how (or if) He is using me to do this, but I can see Him using the other staffers to accomplish things for His glory. I think that is my favorite part of camp. Seeing how God uses the staff/worship leader/pastor to reach the campers. Worship is just so powerful here. Some of it is just emotional highs, but some of it is true life change, and I am just so excited to be a part of that.

About my track times...

Soccer is pretty awesome. The kids have varying levels of talent. Some have never played before, and some are can run circles around everyone (even me). The beauty of soccer is that the power of the team isn't found in a single individual. Everyone has to work together for a common goal. There are just so many ways to relate that to God and the body of Christ.

Sign Language is going very well. Many of my kids don't know that it's a performance track, so when I tell them, they get all nervous in a cutely adorable way. I know that they'll do great, and that they will be well prepared by the end, though. The past two weeks have been phenomenal with them. I love seeing them grow in their ability, and I love seeing the proud expressions on their face after they get off the stage. I'm ridiculously proud of them as well. My closest bonds are (usually) with my signers. I was really nervous about teaching this track, but now I don't think I would trade it for anything else.

I get the feeling that God wants to really grow me this summer. I'm excited, but also a little nervous. I've had a few spiritual "growing pains" in the past, and so I'm a bit antsy. But I know that life is better on the other side of trials, and that God has this wonderful way of bringing so much good out of hard places.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bravery

Someone once told me that they wanted to do the things that they were most afraid of, not because they were crazy, but because they wanted to master their fear.

I have begun to realize that I am most afraid of truly being myself.

Now, let me put a qualifier on that. I am myself wherever I go. If you talk to me, if you are around me at any time, I will treat you just the same as I would anywhere else. I will be up front with you, and not double cross you, or try to be two different people. However, my true, inner self stays always locked away. The part of me that wants to dance under the stars, sing off-key to the radio, and tell you that you really shouldn't wear red and green plaid, ever.

The flaw that keeps me caged is my desire to be a people-pleaser.

It's not that I quit being myself. It's that when someone doesn't like me, or I feel like I am a disappointment, or if I fail (or feel like i failed), I don't handle it well at all. I over analyze my life, scrutinizing myself for my imperfections. I used to be my worst critic, but I'm working on that.

Someone told me recently that because I remembered bad events from my past, that meant I hadn't gotten over them. I disagree. If I only remembered the bad, that would be one thing. But I remember loads of good things too. I think that it is good that I remember what happened. I have come to a place where I can acknowledge the hurts of the past without giving them hold over my future. I also think that my over-analyzing may be a blessing in disguise. Why? Because I have thought through what happened in the past and I have seen how I could avoid those situations in the future. And guess what? I have been in similar situations and they have turned out far better than the time before.

Take my 8th grade year. It was a time of great pain for me, simply because I hadn't learned to tolerate teasing. Sometimes, though, the friendly jabs weren't so friendly. As an insecure 12-year old dealing with the confusing feelings of becoming an "adult," I withdrew into myself. Now, looking back on it, I realize that I have learned to shrug off the negative things people say about me. I've learned to stick up for myself so that I don't get trampled on. And though it took a while for me to come out of my shell initially, I have learned that the world is a much more fun place to be in if I'm not trapped behind walls of shyness and insecurity.

Something I'm always going to have to try to remember is that I'm not a finished product. I'm a work-in-progress...and so is everyone else. Listen, people will fail you. They will disappoint you and hurt your feelings. You will be let down. Including me. I can't exempt myself from that. I can't be perfect...and I've realized I can't keep bashing myself for being flawed!

Monday, March 15, 2010

To No-one, because no-one reads this.

I have come to the conclusion that no one reads this. That no one will ever see these words, or if they do, it will be completely by accident. So...I can write my heart here, because no one will ever find it.

I read a post today from a friend, someone who implored their readers to stop hiding from others. At one point in my life I had managed to quit hiding. The happiest days of my life were during the second semester of my sophomore year. If my friends ever read this...well, they know who they are. But now, because of circumstances, and because of me, we have grown apart.

This always happens.

I recently read "The Five Love Languages: Singles Edition" by Gary Chapman. I discovered that my primary love language is words of affirmation...which I already knew. The confirmation devastated me, because I feel weak for depending on others to feel valued. I wage an internal war against myself, craving and needing confirming positive affirmations from my friends and family, and loathing myself for needing to be told over and over that I am needed, valued, and loved. In my relationships (which include friendships), failure is inevitable. At first, there is always loads of affirmation, as we are just starting to get to know each other. We share stories, secrets, and are constantly showing affection in the form of compliments and niceties. But then, just as everything seems perfect, the affirmation stops. I'm not sure why it does, as I keep giving it (I'm always trying to stay positive, or have something good to say about someone else. It's a throwback to my need for affirmation), but it stops on the part of the other person.

Then I start drawing away, because I feel like the relationship isn't what it used to be, or I'm unsure about what my place is, or what is wanted from me. Ultimately, I let my friends drift away from me because I manage to convince myself that I am no longer wanted.

And I don't know how to fix it.

I don't know what to do, or if I should do anything differently. I blame myself, wishing I could force myself to feel a different way. I would do anything to trade my neediness for words of affirmation for something like quality time. But...I can't. I'm stuck with it, and though my family tries to reassure me and tell me that it's okay, I don't feel like it is. I feel alone. I feel like I have destroyed all the relationships that I have had. I have alienated the people I love the most, simply because I am too afraid to try to relate to them!

I have developed the belief that people drift in and out of my life, and there's nothing I can do to change it. I am oh-so-jealous of those who have lifelong friends! That is something I just haven't been able to grasp. I am afraid to be myself, afraid to show my vulnerability...and I come across as cold and uncaring when I'm really not. I care about most everything, even when I try to pretend like I don't.

I'm continuing a friendship that cuts me to the bone because I know that my friend won't leave me. Though they hurt me with their cruel sarcasm and put-downs, I put up with it because
they won't leave. I refuse to believe that I am unlovable, and I refuse to believe that I am unworthy of lifelong friendships.

I just wish I knew what to do to stop myself from screwing up my relationships. I wish I knew how to change.