Saturday, January 25, 2014

Being free

My mother pulls at my self-constructed outfit with a tight-lipped smile stretching the cheeks she passed down to me. Says that my colors aren't in season or that I have no waist here or that my skirt is too short and I cannot take it, yet I stomp away to follow orders and change.
My sister, four years my junior, rolls her eyes at my raucous laughter, my animation and admiration by the fault of ideas embodied on projected screens. Tells me they're just stories and you're so weird and calm down and I will not stand for this! Yet shame rolls in me once the elation has ebbed and poison tugs at my brainstem when the boy from Spanish catches my eye--but he'll think I'm weird!
My father grumbles and switches stations before the reporter can say the second syllable of "gay rights," gripes with my mother about Colorado's newly legal "potheads" with the "dude" thrown in for extra spite. Says that this movie may not be appropriate and you're not going to New York and why do you keep sabotaging yourself? and I hold my tongue.
My little conservative Christian family portrait. Parents from small towns, perfect church attendance records, with at least one daughter determined to carry on the family legacy. That daughter who wearies her mother with acidic judgements passed in secret, that daughter who knows exactly what she believes and what she wants and will get it no matter the cost. The daughter I want to learn from, but instead lock myself away from and back away from being glared upon. My little conservative Christian family portrait--except in it I have but half a face, the other cut away from the lens's short sight because I need to be free. Free from the hate that tumbles unwittingly from their lips, free from the loving eyes that endanger my open range, free from the shelter they have provided for me. There are wings beating madly against my teeth and half-formed passions threaten to slip out and make them angry but at least I will be free!
But not yet. Not all the way, because some things out there are wrong, I do agree. But because I am not you and I am me I have known what you refuse to and that is: there is no way that one can speak walls of hate around themselves and be free.

Nobody is equal

Nobody is equal.
You nod and clap and mumble your amens as I stand, washed out by the lone white light and my own fear, but you do not understand. The sands of time have whittled the human heart a cage of bones far more rigid than the ones of our origins. It's evolution, you see--when the world becomes larger we must become hard, carry the quivering deeper and deeper inside to keep our stone-ground weapon steady. The human race has fought so far that there are no sharpened rocks left, no, now our first line of offense is lightning accusations and green cloth-paper promises.
I have never known a world without push-button philosophy, without digital exposure and innocence lost long before thirteen, fourteen. In a way I was never clean, only quiet about what I had heard and seen, passed along secondhand from the mouths of my schoolmates into my caged heart with forming wings. I learned in a way I knew was never meant to be. "A victim of the digital age!" The wrinkles fall into frowns which fall into stern disapproval of all that is rapidly moving yet never seems to change.
But this is nothing all that strange. The world has made us hard and it has become heredity, children born from serenity into a decaying carcass filled past its limits, forever asking questions and there are only wrong answers. Wrong answers, wrong actions, wrong skin wrong face wrong sex wrong faith wrong existence. And the right answers flicker and change like visions.
Tell me that nobody is equal and I will shout "YES!" because we all know it deep within our unbreakable ribcages that there is no louder truth. Tell me who is not equal and I will fall silent. Because my answer is wrong.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm glad you can't hear my stutter

Writing is one of the only ways I can sort out my thoughts completely. Dad reminds me when I tell him that I spoke up in class, "Did you use your filter?" And one of my friends told me ever so kindly that my "I guess I'm trying to say, it's like, I don't really know"s make my point seem less valid than it is. I wish I could help it but I can't. I already stress myself out trying to gather the right thoughts to make my point to worry about how confidently and concisely I am making said point.

Take tonight, for example. We had no class, just songs and quick little scripture readings interspersed. People shared some that they liked or were reminded of this week (or found at the last minute in the bibles provided) and all said little snippets of wisdom that I didn't really hear. I was Elsewhere, in my mind palace, brooding over a seedling of a thought planted at the beginning of the evening.

In my youth group, we talk about how a lot of the time we aren't "where we need to be" with God, and for some reason this got under my skin tonight. "Where we need to be" makes it sound like we're going somewhere or trying to find something. And God isn't a place or a state of mind to me. There have been times where we're singing, or I see something inspiring, or I've finally transferred that burning thought in me onto paper or this blog, where I feel right with Him. But time passes, and the feeling with it. Life continues on as it has before. Time, so temporary a thing, ticks on, one moment after the next and none together at once, and we age another second and another. So we, being temporal things, treat all things the same way. Sure, we make plans, but usually none too far in the future to account for the changes time will bring. We take moments to ourselves and spend them on others, money bartered for memories, wasted on unimportant matters.

God is not constrained by such a limited thing, however. He Is the Was and Will Be the I Am and holds no regard for petty verb tenses. Here we are, seeking the sense that we are right with Him, treating God as sand that slips between our fingers and must be scooped up again. We think that we are missing His exit on the freeway and need to make some turns to get back where we needed to be this whole time. But God is EveryWhere and EveryWhen. We needn't go back to find Him, He was there the whole time and will be forever and always.
I'm not certain of the exact verse I wanted to say then--had I not been so flustered, I probably would have said it was in Isaiah somewhere--but it's about how he it eternal. He won't leave us, He is a fortress and our strongest protector, etc.. It didn't really matter, I suppose. I embarrass myself so much over nothing...

Anyhow, back to the important stuff.

He won't slip by us. We don't have to look too hard to find Him because of His omnipresence. And it may not feel like we're doing what we need to be in how we grow in Him. But in the journey of growing to meet someone, it won't be instant. You don't set goals in becoming friends (at least, I hope you don't...), you just spend time with them and let time run its course. Patience and an open ear are all that's required to learn a good deal about a person. You build confidence and trust, ask more, do more with them. And before you realize it, they are a big part of your life and you can't imagine it without them. So it is with friendships, so it must be with God.

Maybe this is just me blowing things out of proportion as usual, but whenever I hear somebody tell me what I should be doing, I think they mean for me to do it right now, as soon as possible. Watch this show, draw this picture, start doing this, do this with me, I'll love you forev--GIVE ME A MOMENT TO BREATHe and tell myself that I don't need to and cannot possibly do it all!

(That is how it feels in my head. It's a confusing and frightening place. Don't come visit.)

It's the same thing with spiritual matters, sad to say. Except I'm even sadder when I cannot fulfill the request as soon as possible, because I worry that the state of my soul is in jeopardy and I'm being a bad example, bad preacher's daughter, bad person, all the rest. It's unrealistic and silly and totally unfair to myself, but hey, somebody's gotta do it, may as well be me. Tell me that I should maybe try to reach out more and tell people what I believe or invite them to church and I will quite literally worry myself sick and tearfully beg Him for forgiveness. So many thoughts bound about in my head and many of them are about the things I am not doing well enough. That I'm not where I need to be with school, my family, my friends, my God.

So I am glad that if all else fails, I have that constancy. I'll have protection and comfort no matter what, and grace for when I really do fail. I may not be perfect, but I am tied to perfection itself. And I am not always in that state of mind or feeling that warmth bubbling in my chest, but He is there regardless and He loves me. I may not always openly tell Him that I love Him back, nor He me, but we do. I am not the most devout. Even if I were to denounce all but myself and move to an abbey, I would still think myself inadequate in all likelihood. But this isn't about adequacy, something I struggle to understand even after accepting grace. This is about hearts and the desire to love the light. And that much, I can do. I just need to give myself some time.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I can't believe what I just said online

It's about one in the morning, and I've been working for around three hours on a Tumblr post, my 4,500th one.
If you want to read that monstrosity, here's the link:

But it's a little bit amazing to me. Even a few months ago, saying something like that would have been unthinkable. I'm worn out, but not shaky or nervous about who may see it or anything. Is this what they call courage? Or is it confidence? It feels a little more like peace. Even if nobody reads it, this certainly helped me because I had the chance to face some tough questions and put some of Dad's sermons into real life.

I feel...awesome.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Musings at 10,000 feet

Written on my iPod.

Airplanes are amazing.
When I'm flying in one, I always try for a window seat so I can watch the plane leave the ground. Even when I'm not by the window, often I feel carefully to determine exactly when the roaring engines overcome gravity and the wheels lift from the pavement. And as the smudged window reveals more and more of the town below, whether small or large, smoggy and sprawling or shrouded in the shadow of the mountains behind it. As suspended billows of water take place of ant-like cars and minuscule steeples of churches, I am struck by the fervency of the human race. We are constantly seeking something in everything we do. Tenacity is an inherited trait of God's, I suppose. There is an intensity to everything, in the bigness of small things and the smallness of big things. And we are never totally satisfied with it all, craving something more substantial. It's like a part of us knows that we are mere ghosts.
It 's black outside and I know not where we are or if we're landing soon. But I know that I am doing something previously impossible not too long ago, and that I am still able to forget that I am ten thousand feet above the ground. Yet the plane lurches on the wind, and I am gripped by a primal terror that itches for solid earth and not the lurching carpet below my heels.
Hold on, there's a brilliant sunset out there. All that darkness was worth it!
My camera isn't very good. Psh. Oh well. I can see the city lights below. Thousands of people are out in the neon cacophony, having reckless fun and trying to get home and sleeping alone when they ought not be. They are seeking something and some of them will never find it. I may never find it. But I will get glimpses of it, reminders of what I was created to be. What we all were created to be. And I will hold onto those moments that awe me. The sunsets above the horizon, the faces of strangers meeting my eyes with that terrifying curiosity, an excellent story that moves me to tears and clutches my throat from within. I am both hugely tiny and minutely massive because of the goodness in me, but I am nothing more than a girl with a spotty face and wind blown hair because of the bad. I am between world much of the time, but I am going home to people who love me and show me parts of themselves that not everyone can see. And I am thankful.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

TED Talks should come in threes

It's a long one, and there's many jokes inserted, and there's a long ramble or two, but he's very interesting and intelligent. I want to read one of these books.

I would like to meet this lady

So she's a little unusual. That's ok. She is highly insightful in the creative industry which I may want to enter if the Fates allow. Take her, and her idea, with a grain of salt.