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The ramblings of an erratic woman

Monday, October 27th, 2014

I’m becoming exceedingly private these days – at least when it comes to the bare-my-soul stuff. Even in the face-to-face presence of the people I trust the most, I find myself holding back – because just because I think/feel/act a certain way today doesn’t mean I’m going to think/feel/act the same way tomorrow, and how would I explain that?

In short, my emotions are drunk. (I am not.)

I guess I just don’t trust myself these days. I am convinced – convinced – that something is true (like, I WANT TO MOVE FAR, FAR AWAY) (MY LIFE IS HORRIBLE) (I HATE EVERYTHING), and then one day, like today, things feel different. Better. Calm. Until maybe it will all change again – which, it totally will. I am a fickle, persnickety nutcase.

There are a lot of factors contributing to my erraticism – things outside of my control that are pressing in and weighing heavy and making me feel unsure about the way my future might unfold – so you can understand why I am craving certainty. I love certainty. I want to marry it and have its for sure, locked in, done deal of a baby. (That was weird. Forget I said it.)

But in the midst of the uncertainty, there are some things I know for sure.

Savory breakfasts will always be better than sweet, and breakfast at home will always be better than breakfast out. Laughter is jumper cables for the soul. Also, puppies. Lori McKenna’s “The Luxury of Knowing” is the best song in the world. No one – not a single one – can have a thick, glamorous side braid like Princess Elsa. Food looks most appetizing when on a white plate. One should never buy a car brand new. It’s better to have done things you might regret than to have always just played it safe. If tempted to buy something pricey, sleep on it. Being impressive will get you far, but being liked will get you further. The best things in life are not things – unless, again, those “things” are puppies.

And though I’m not fully there yet, and HARDLY an authority, here is what I suspect:

We should work for 8 hours, play for 8 hours, and sleep for 8 hours.
We are not defined by what we do, but by who we are.
It’s all going to be okay.

l

Writing as light

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The darkness of this world has been weighing me down and sucking me under, cinderblocks tied to my ankles. You know what I’m talking about; all the news is bad. Every day is full of incessant sound bites, ISIS and Syria and Ebola and child abuse and gunmen hiding in the woods. It’s enough to give even the most stalwart a panic attack.

My heart has been beating more rapidly these days, and my fingers have been twitching. It’s not that I’m necessarily afraid for myself (although perhaps I should be). But at a very physical level, this world is not a safe place – and yet here we are, living complicated lives that slap against others’ complicated lives like BBs in a pinball machine. Life should come with a warning: Brace yourself – this is gonna hurt.

Which is why this weekend meant so much to me.

I was invited to attend a workshop called the Art of Songwriting hosted by the Nashville Treehouse. It was fairly last minute, and I had to rearrange some pre-existing travel (to Seattle – which is a trip I’ll need to make up soon). But the writer in me has been in need of some TLC (not this) (or this), and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m so glad I didn’t.

Fifteen women gathered for two days, and we had a chance to share songs, share stories, co-write, and learn from each other. It could so easily have turned into a competitive game of comparison – because shoot, these ladies could WRITE – but somehow, everyone seemed to bring their most authentic self and check any ego at the door. I was shocked. It was beautiful.

As I drove to the Treehouse, I made a conscious decision to shut the door on all of the darkness and stress and jam it with a folding chair.

And sometime during those two days, full of freedom and light and encouragement, it occurred to me that jamming the door is nothing new for me. I’ve been a professional door slammer since I was 14 (just ask my parents) – but in the last couple of years, I’ve been jamming it in the wrong direction. I’ve been doing it to my writing. I’ve blocked it out, said no, curled up in the dark closet where it’s “safe,” hoping that the boogeyman doesn’t find me.

But the only way to scare off the monsters is to bathe them in LIGHT. And that’s what writing is for me: pure luminosity.

I had forgotten. But this weekend reminded me, and I’m grateful. Kim and Paulette, thank you for hosting us – and Abby for this beautiful video!

The Art of Songwriting Sneak Peek from Nashville Treehouse on Vimeo.

Evergreen

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Major changes at work. The tragic death of a guy from my hometown. The Austin Sigg sentencing. Stress and uncertainty. Too many work dinners, not enough exercise. Men being straight-up disappointing. A puppy that barks from 4-7am. And a high of 20-freaking-degrees yesterday.

This week wasn’t my favorite.

Next week, the holiday season begins – which, in the past few years especially, has felt so horrendously sad. Who can celebrate when so much is wrong? How disingenuous can we be? Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a cuss word. The weather outside is frightful, and I’m feeling rather spiteful. Follow me in merry measure, while the world kills all our pleasure. Faithful friends who are dear to us disappear to us once more. And will someone bring me some damn figgy pudding already?

The halcyon years are over. We know too much. And whenever the saccharine feels like overkill, I tend to overcompensate in the other direction – choosing the bitter over the sweet.

But, you know, I bought a pumpkin. And it’s still sitting in the middle of my dining room table, reminding me that this life is marked by seasons. While “autumn” makes me think of blazing colors, crisp air, and Anthropologie sweaters, “fall” feels like the beginning of deadness – the literal falling of what used to be so alive. And as I watch the world around me expire, trees stripped bare and everything left shivering, I remember that something has to die in order for something new to live.

So I’m trading in my pumpkin for my very first tiny Christmas tree. I have no tinsel, no lights. But I’m placing it on my mantle as a reminder of what is unchanging – an evergreen in the midst of transition – a sign that even when everything around is dying, some things are constant. And if we stick around long enough, something new is sure to begin.

After Thanksgiving, maybe I’ll start by hanging an ornament.

Barns and such

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Well.  My mom said that yesterday’s post made her want to throw herself off a building.

So there’s that.

But on another note, I got some emails from people who were saying that they’ve been there, felt that, got the t-shirt.  Go figure – it seems that loneliness runs in the culture these days.

Thank you, friends (W, C, M, L, H, and G), for your words of solidarity.  We should have a club.  It can be called the Walking Wounded.  Our mascot can be Toad the 3-legged dog.

Greta once heard a sermon in which the pastor (Richard Dahlstrom – holler) compared life to a barn.  You can keep your barn empty, and therefore, very clean and orderly – but that’s not what a barn is meant for.  A barn is made to house LIFE.  And if you invite life into the barn, then you’re bound to have to shovel some shit.

Except I think that Pastor Richard probably didn’t said “shit.”

Guys, I don’t even really say “shit.”  Sometimes the blog flies away from me, and all of a sudden, I’m a cusser.  In real life, I only say cuss words when I stub my toe (often) or Gabe drags the kitchen trash all over the living room (thrice now).

Anyhow, I’ve passed this barn analogy along to a few people, and it seems really pertinent to me all of a sudden.  To invite others in is to welcome the mess.  In a way, it’s what we’re made for.

A few months ago when I was in Nashville, I heard another pastor (Craig Brown – holler again) say that we’re so quick to say that we don’t need Jesus – that is, until we come into contact with other people.  Then, all of a sudden, people are bugging us and letting us down, and we’re failing and disappointing them and becoming the worst versions of ourselves – and without warning, we realize that we need a savior.

I tend to like the idea of being self-sufficient.  I don’t like to need anyone or anything – because what if the needing is met with… nothing?

But luckily, my needing isn’t met with nothing.  There’s grace enough for you, and – miracle of miracles – grace enough for me.

Different

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Oh, sigh.  Le blog.

Sometimes (a lot of times), I come to this space and watch the curser blink – blink – blink, just not knowing what to say.  These posts provide such a tiny glimpse into my reality, it’s hard to attempt to paint an accurate picture of what’s going on.  What you see here is a small window – what I don’t communicate far outweighs what I do.

I’m in a strange season right now.  One might argue that I’ve been in a “strange season” for almost 2 years – or almost 30.  I’ve been waiting for a change in the tides, a shift in the forecast – but it’s nowhere to be seen.  And so I walk and wait, and listen and ask, and hope to God that I feel some wind on my face soon.

But last Friday, I cried for the first time in a long time.  I was there on Greta’s couch, telling her honest words that have been stuffed down inside, finally feeling it so necessary, so vital, to just lay my fears bare.  She listened (something she is so good at), and asked questions (another skill of hers).  And then, she compared my life to a big room, and said that it seems I’ve relegated myself to a very, very small corner – that, having ruled out all other areas as “unsafe,” I’ve retreated to the perimeter.

And it’s true.  My back is to the wall – but at least it can’t get stabbed, right?

I’ve recently found myself stiff-arming friends and community in the name of self-protection.  I didn’t used to be this way – I’ve always been ultra-connected and involved with the people around me – but lately, it just hasn’t felt all that safe to let the walls down.

So I’m safe.  But I’m lonely.

In some ways, my life here in Denver looks very, very different than what I had hoped for.  But I don’t know that that’s anybody’s fault but mine.

“What is Voldamert’s purpose in life?”

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Forgive me, friends – but these days, it feels next to impossible to string sentences together.  I am walking through a hard time – one of the hardest – and sometimes, it’s like a cinder block tied to my ankles, pulling me down, down, down.

I am not dealing gently with myself, as I should.  Instead, I am running myself into the ground, demanding a lot, believing harsh words, burning the candle at both ends, and losing sleep.  I feel out of control in just about every arena, and, as I told a trusted confidant last night, I don’t know when I’m going to not feel tired.  I would give anything for a wide open schedule and absolute silence.

I do really well in absolute silence – but currently, and honestly, most of the time, life is a cacophony.

In the meantime, at least I can laugh at these:

Something new

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I told some new friends last night that I’m struggling with some sadness – the death of some hope, the grief of some disappointments.  It’s not depression – because trust me, if anyone knows depression, it’s me – it’s just sadness.  For some legitimate reasons.

Sometimes life is just sad.

Don’t you sometimes wish that your old broken heart could just be made into something new?

(I’ve written about this before – but back then, I was a much better writer.  This girl’s getting rusty.  Thanks for still reading anyway.)

Sooner or later

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I went to the dermatologist yesterday.

I have an age spot.

At least, I’m calling it an age spot.  The doctor called it a “sun freckle,” and I was like, lady, I’LL SHOW YOU A SUN FRECKLE.  This spot is 5mm by 4mm – much larger than I am comfortable chalking up to just a “sun freckle.”

(To be fair, let’s remember that I have a flair for the drama when it comes to physical woes.)

I wanted her to burn it off, but she said no.  (Why does no one ever indulge my desire for the quick fix?  *pout*)  Instead, she gave me some bleaching cream to use twice a day for 3 weeks.  If it doesn’t help, then I’m supposed to stop using it because if I use it for too long, it could cause paradoxical darkening.

“What’s paradoxical darkening?” I asked, doe-eyed and naïve.

Well, Annie, paradoxical darkening turns out to be exactly what it sounds like.  The cream is supposed to fade the spot – but if you use it for too long, it can have the opposite effect and make it worse.  Get it?  Paradoxical darkening?  Get it?

In any case, it made me think of one of my favorite quotes – one that I’ve written about before, but surfaces frequently enough in my thoughts that it’s worth mentioning again:

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
-C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair)

Indulging my feelings is all well and good for a moment or two.  Everyone needs a good cry.  Everyone needs the freedom to acknowledge when they feel left out, or left behind, or unwanted, or unseen, or just tired and sad.  But at some point, it’s time to decide what to do – otherwise, the very thing that was supposed to make you feel better only winds up making you feel worse.

I’m making a plan.

And in the meantime, I am bleaching the devil out of this spot.

“Where?”

Monday, October 5th, 2009

I don’t feel much like writing these days.  I’m tired and sad – and those things don’t make for good fodder.

Sorry that the blog has been pretty lame for a while now.  I don’t even know why I’m apologizing – or who I’m apologizing to.  I guess it just feels like the only thing to do.  Life changes, as do the seasons, as do our hearts – and sometimes we get tired and sad.

I struggle with depression – I always have.

But I’m also a Christian.

I’m a depressed Christian.

I can be both, you know.  They are not mutually exclusive.  I can be both.  What it means is that I’m not the one in the front row singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”  Instead, more often than not, I’m the kid in the back, responding with the bewildered and suspicious echo: “Where?”

But God is bigger than the way that I feel.

Some of you may not believe that.  Sometimes, I don’t believe it either.  But I suppose that this is where Mark 9:24 comes in handy: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”

This is my brain

Friday, August 14th, 2009

fried_egg

No drugs required.

I have 5 different possible directions to take this post, all of which are saved as fragments of Word documents on my desktop.  I have been trying to write for days, but quite frankly, everything that is coming out is baloney.  All I can do is stare at the wall.

Y’all, I am exhausted.  And when I am exhausted, I get super pessimistic and woebegone.  Another car honks at me, and I burst into tears.  I find myself presented with chocolate peanut butter brownies, and immediately eat 4.  And then I eat half a frozen pizza.  And tortilla chips.  And maybe some cream cheese on a spoon.  My mind wanders when it should be focused, and I am serious when I should be playful. When I feel overwhelmed, human interaction is the first thing I cut out.  I criticize my body, my abilities, my decisions.

I do not like who I become when I am exhausted.  And I do not like how other people experience me when I am exhausted.

So I’ve been staying quiet.

I’ve been writing in this open venue long enough to know that there are certain things that I should not share.  There are certain times that I should not write publicly.  There are certain emotions that should not be accessible to just anyone.

I make my insides far too available.

But I’m learning to protect my heart, trusting it only to those who have earned it.

So forgive my silence as a simple act of self-preservation.