Friday, June 28, 2013

Expectations Can Hurt

I remember a line from Anne of Green Gables in which Marilla tells Anne that maybe if she didn't get her hopes up so high over things all the time, then she wouldn't be disappointed so often.  There is perhaps wisdom and common sense in that.  If you don't expect things to be wonderful, then they won't make you sad when they aren't.

But, like Anne, I could never internalize that. I wouldn't know how to go about life without having high expectations for what the world, and the people in it, have to offer.  But, like Anne, going about life that way gives you wonderful highs and debilitating lows.  Because expectations can hurt.

My biggest struggle is that the reality just doesn't always match up with the scenarios I build up in my head. For OH do I have a tendency to create scenarios in my head.  I know situations are going to happen... so I think about them and plan them out.  and I have lines, and the other people have lines (that I of course don't tell them about), and these lines always make me seem so smart and witty!  And then... the actual situation happens and it just doesn't go the way I thought it would in my head.

Expectations can hurt. But, I've found that not having expectations can hurt, too. When you don't trust someone enough to have high expectations of them, that knowledge can hurt, too.

And so... I have no conclusions.  High expectations, low expectations, they can all lead your heart somewhere you wish they wouldn't.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Tales: Watching Her Sleep



I watched her sleep.

I know that sounds creepy and stalkerish. Maybe you're right. Maybe it is creepy and stalkerish.  Maybe I am.

But, I couldn't help it. I watched her sleep, clutching the rose I had given her over dinner before I'd walked her home.

Sometimes I wished that I wasn't what I am, or that she wasn't what she was. I wished I could tell her the truth and I wished that there were some middle ground where we could co-exist. Together.

But, there wasn't.  She was who she was and I was who I was, and there was no helping either one. Loving her was dangerous.  Dangerous for her, dangerous for me. But can you help the one you fall in love with? Can you just tell yourself "No" and have your heart follow your directions?

If you know how, I'd love to know the secret.  But, also... I wouldn't. For, as much as it hurts and as much as I know it isn't wise, loving her is an exquisite pain and one I would not wish to lose.

And so I simply watch her sleep.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Smashing The Glass

It was a day of Deliberate Emotional Catharsis.

The situation was complicated.  Someone I knew and had supported had gone slightly (read: a lot) crazy and I was angry.  Hurt, confused, and angry. He was an artist and I had purchased a couple things from his website's merchandise, so on the day I decided that enough was enough, I marched out to the greenbelt behind our house, with a trademarked coffee mug in hand.  I let myself out of the backyard through the gate, carefully took aim at a nearby tree, and hurled it as hard as I could.

And then ducked. That coffee mug bounced RIGHT off of the tree and nearly took out my head!!

Not to be deterred, I ran after the cup, picked it up, and threw it at another tree.  And ducked again.  What the heck was this cup made of?  Steel??  I followed its path rolling across the dirt, picked it up again, threw it, and darted out of its return path.  Eight trees later, I was laughing at myself.  How hard could it be to smash a coffee mug?

The mug didn't fare as well once I got out the sledge hammer.  It didn't really fix anything, but it made me feel better... at least for awhile.

Sometimes you just have to smash things and let the emotions out.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Courage, love

Things I'm Afraid Of
-- That I won't see things I should
-- That the writing will stay hard
-- That junior high will eat my children
-- That I will lose my focus
-- That the relationships aren't real
-- That I'm not enough

Here's the thing about having things you're afraid of.  It's okay to be afraid of them. It's okay to have things you're worried about. It's okay to have things you're unsure of. It's okay for your faith in yourself to be shaken.

I always used to hear the phrase, "Fear is not of God," and it was a phrase intended to give hope and strength in the face of the fears that gripped our hearts. It was intended to help you set the fears aside, and that was a good thing. But, sometimes it was also a phrase that communicated an idea that if you were afraid of something, you were somehow out of God's good favor...  And I don't think that's true, either.

It is okay to have worries. It is okay to have fears. I think this is a part of life.  Courage isn't about not being afraid of anything. But courage is about pushing through and doing what must be done, despite the things you are afraid of. It means being bigger than the fears. It means not letting the fears debilitate you.

And they can be debilitating.

I am always reminded of the scene in Return of the King where Aragorn gives his battle speech... "But it is not this day!" When the fears crowd in and I want to curl up in a little ball and hope that they just don't notice me, this is what I say.

"There may come a time that you best me.  But it is not this day."

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" -- A Recommendation

So, there's this book I want to tell you about. I first stumbled onto Jenny Lawson, not as a book author, but as a blogger.  Specifically, it was a story about a big metal chicken. I thought it was hilarious.  More so, because my mom not-collects chickens (it's a long story), and it sent me into convulsive laughter.  And when I sent the link to my mom, her only response was "Don't even think about it."

I was at Target a few months ago, wandering down the book aisle when I passed this book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. I'm not really sure what made me pick it up, to be honest. The picture of the mouse in costume? The description of a "mostly true" memoir?  I don't really know.  But, when I turned it over to read the back cover, I recognized the author's picture and threw it in my basket.

This is probably one of the funniest books I've read in recent memory.  Or in memory, period. There were many times that I was laughing so hard, I was crying. Jenny is kickass funny.  Like, serious.

But, I didn't want to just recommend this book without caveat.  I can think of friends who probably wouldn't enjoy it for various reasons, so I was going to say that if you are easily offended by... anything, you might not enjoy it. There's a lot of swearing.  And use of the word "vagina." And references to reviews of porn. And PETA enthusiasts might not be the book's target audience?  I mean, not in a bad way, just... So, that was going to be my caveat.  "If you are easily offended, this may not be for you."

But then, there was the day that I shared an excerpt on my Facebook.  It was a story about how her dad once told her and her sister to pick out a movie to go to, and it was this big long thing, and when they got all done picking out the perfect movie, they found out that they weren't really going...  and then she started talking about how they were going to call their dad in the nursing home and tell him they were going to pick him up for Christmas and not show up.  I laughed and laughed.

Understand that the thread that is weaved through my entire childhood was my dad taking us places and calling out "Who wants a milkshake??" as Dairy Queen loomed in the distance.  And when my sisters and I all screeched in excitement that we soooo did, my dad's answer would be, "Just checking..." as we drove right by.  I knew my sisters would appreciate this story, so I posted it as a Facebook status and was mildly amused at the responses from some of my friends about what an awful story it was, on both sides.  (My sisters both cracked up.)

(Before you get on your high horse, Mother, let's just remember who took us on picnics in the snow and hurriedly shooed us all back in the car while the hunters were shooting at us. I told you "Pin the Antlers on the Doe" was a terrible game to play in October. Also, I guess does don't have antlers.)

So, my conclusion on caveats is this: If you are easily offended, you might not like this book.  If you had a normal upbringing, you might also not like this book.  If your childhood was totally warped, get thee to a bookstore STAT.  You will LAUGH.

And then, please come back and talk to me about it because it is tragic that I am the only person I know who's read this book.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not Where I Planned

This isn't the story I would have written. If you had handed me a pen at age 20, 25, 30, and you had said, 'Here... use this to write your life. Write what happens to you. Write what you do and what you say. Write what is said and done to you. Write your choices, write your path..." This isn't the story I would have written.

In reality, I have found myself meandering down paths that I didn't even know existed. Sometimes they were paths that I probably shouldn't have taken. And sometimes they led me places that I never intended to go. I said and did things that I never would have planned. Things were said and done to me that I never would have chosen.

and yet... this is where I am. And though where I am is perhaps not where I planned to be, where I am is also a beautiful place. It has been arrived at through joy and through sorrow, through pain and through triumph. I have learned lessons that I didn't even know I needed to learn.  And sometimes the only story I had to tell, at the end of the path, was that I survived. There were no pretty lessons all tied up in bows and easy morals, but just that I survived.

This isn't the story I would have written.  But, it is the story I am living.  Perhaps that story is far more important than anything else I could have done.



Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm Still Here

So, here it is.

I've hardly written anything for over a week, and I'm not entirely sure why that is. I've opened up this writing space several times. I've looked at the subjects I had planned. I even got as far as almost getting a sense of what I wanted to say -- enough of a sense which is usually enough for me to put fingers to keyboard and create something.

But, that's as far as I can get.  Thoughts just below the surface, fingers ready to dig those thoughts up... and yet somehow lacking the emotional and mental energy to make it all happen.

And maybe there are a lot of reasons for that. I've been writing 6 days a week for a long time, maybe my head just needs a break. It's the end of the school year, and maybe I need to rest from thinking just as much as my kids do. Maybe I need to take a little bit to think about who I am now, who is different from the person I was when I started this blog, and what my passion is now.  I don't know.  What worries me is that part of depression symptoms that says you start losing interest in the things you enjoy.  That part worries me, nags at me, and sits at the back of my mind with a sardonic, knowing stare.

Maybe this is just me saying I'm still here.  and I didn't drop off the face of the earth. And I'm trying.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's About the Journey

Sometimes I look at where I am, and then I look at where I want to be. The gulf between those two places is so wide that I'm filled with disappointment in myself. Disappointment that I seem to have made so little progress, disappointment that I'm not yet a victor, disappointment that others around me seem to have gotten there and I'm still floundering, trying to find my way.

It is here that I am reminded that life is a journey.  Maturity and success are not where we start, but end goals and something we attain by going through the fire.  Sometimes life isn't so much about attaining the flag at the end of the level, but about the paths we take to get to it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What do you remember?

I wonder what you remember.

I wonder what you remember, and if it's the same things that I remember.  But then, I think, how could they be?

Because I remember the things you said and the things you did. And I remember the way your laughter made me want to laugh, too. And I remember how you made me want to be better. Better at life and just better at... being a better me.

So, how could your things be the same as my things?

and then I wonder, what do you remember? What were the things about me that were worth remembering for you? And I wonder if they're good things or if they're things that I wish you didn't remember.

Whatever they are, those things you remember, I hope that you smile when you think of me in the same way that I smile when I think of you.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

No One is Perfect

Can I tell you a secret?  I'm not perfect.

I'm not perfect and you're not perfect and he's not perfect and she's not perfect. None of us are. We're all  imperfect people, doing our best to balance the things we desire most with the people we aspire to be. Some of the time, we do a pretty job at being those people.  And sometimes the pursuit of the things we desire wins out and we're not so good at being who we want to be.

And in those moments, we need to have compassion.  We need to have compassion for ourselves and forgiveness for when we screw up. But, we equally need to have compassion for others and be willing and able to forgive them when they fall short of who they want to be. Most of us aren't bad or evil or trying to hurt people. Most of us are just broken and imperfect and trying.  And sometimes when we try, we fail.

A couple years ago, I wrote a short series about change. Specifically, it was about having the courage to change your faults even when the people around you don't believe that you can. It was written at a time when I was trying to change myself, but kept coming up against expectations I had created, and I felt very defeated. Sometimes I realize that I'm the person that I wrote about in frustration. Sometimes, when I've been hurt by someone, I put them in a "don't ever trust this person again" box and I'm unwilling to see that maybe they've changed too.

Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only one that isn't perfect.
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