Friday, January 7, 2011

It takes courage to grow up...

And become who you truly are. -E. E. Cummings

I've always been one of those people who is unhappy with who I am as a person. I am a shape shifter, always trying to fit what I think people are expecting of me. When they asked me what my life goals were as a senior, I should have listed "make sure that anyone who has ever had any inkling of my existence, ever, likes me." as number one.

Problem is, no matter how hard I work at that, not everyone is going to be thrilled with me. Especially not all the time.

I think we all go through phases where we shift who we are to fit where we are; the music we're listening to, who our friends are, even the area we live in. However, I think I do it more than normal people.

When I first moved to Cullowhee, I wanted so badly to impress everyone... And so I shifted to what I thought they liked.

I think it was subconscious, but it happened. And the girl I was shifting to be like noticed. And called me on it.

I think she actually said, "Have an original thought or idea or SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T COME FROM ME FIRST."

I was hurt. And shocked. No one had ever called me on it before. I didn't know how to deal with it.

We worked it out, long story short. I think I'm doing better. I'm discovering who I am aside from everyone else.

But I think I still shape-shift a little. This evening, Kans and I went on a walk. (I'm embarrassed now because I know she'll probably read this, but... I'm over it. Kind of.)

I was super excited. When I moved in here, I wanted to get to know her, and it just hasn't happened... Everyone is busy and when we're home we all kind of just collapse. It's only in these last couple of weeks, really, that I feel like Kans and I have started having some semblance of a friendship, instead of merely coexisting.

As we were walking through the snowy, icy campus tonight and talking, I noticed myself watching what I said and did very carefully. I was again concerned with "She won't like me unless I critique everything I say to her first. I have to be careful."

I quickly snapped out of it, and we had (what I thought was, anyway) a pleasant walk.

But it made me wonder... How many of my relationships have I done that in?

Where have I shifted to try and get people to like me, and, in turn, pushed them away?

It kind of bummed me out. I've lost a lot of relationships, potentially awesome friendships, because I've been too scared of what people think of me.

I'm at that phase in my life right now where I either give up or where I fight it out. Where my life becomes what I make it, instead of where my parents guide me or any of that.

It sucks. I'd like to lay down and die, but something within me makes me slug through it.

I guess I know something better is waiting on the other side... It's just the fighting through to figure out what.

Preppy phase

"I love my family, but my friends hate theirs, so I have to pretend to hate mine" phase

"I hate the world outside of my computer" phase

"I hate everything in the whole entire world in general" phase

Current- I hate being dirty (notice glaring at dirt on hand), classy but not quite average, pretty sometimes but most of the time just want to wear what I want, hanging out with friends and going with the flow, no matter what that means phase.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So often we do things that make sense to us...

And then ask God to come alongside our plans, rather than looking at the things God promises to bless and acting alongside of them. We know that God's blessing will follow if we are with the poor, the merciful, the hungry, the persecuted, the peacemakers. But sometimes we'd rather have a God who conforms with our logic than conform our logic to the God whose wisdom is a stumbling block to the world of smart bombs and military intelligence. -Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President

I've never been someone who stays up late. I actually used to sleep about 14 hours a day, only being awake for school and to eat dinner and do homework in the evenings. Since moving to the House O' Bricks, however, I have become quite the night owl- either because that's when I see my roommates, or just because I have discovered how productive I am in the dark hours when normal people are sleeping.

So, when New Year's Eve rolled around this year, I knew that it would be one of the first years when it would not be a struggle to stay awake and welcome in the new year. (Last year, my family and I were traveling to Texas and were staying in a hotel in Houston on New Year's Eve... We all went to bed about 10 PM.) I was kind of looking forward to it, even though we didn't have any big plans.

We ended up having absolutely no plans, actually. hannaHRose went for a drive, and Swah and I watched Treasure Planet. Then Kans joined the party, and we all went out in the driveway and threw dinky little fireworks and got scared that hannaHRose was going to light herself on fire.

hannaHRose and Sarah had plans on new year's day, and I wasn't invited. Which is fine, because it wasn't with my friends, but my automatic feeling is rejection. It's actually kind of retarded. People do something, and instead of finding something to do, I default to feeling rejected and left out, which puts me in a bad mood and then makes everyone miserable.

So, I was going to sit at the house and pout all day, knowing that it was a horrible start to my new year, but hey... I felt validated.

I was sitting in the living room, feeling kind of pathetic about my life and having no motivation to do anything. I hadn't done my chore for the week yet, the living room was filthy, and my computer had stopped working. I hadn't showered in a few days, my laundry needed done, my room needed cleaned... And I just wanted to mope and hope that someone would do it for me.

hannaHRose (an enthusiastic ball of energy on this particular morning, much to my dismay) and Sarah left to go hang out with their friends, and I curled up on the couch... Only to have the realization that I had to get out of the house. I could not continue to be a brat about this. I have a life, and it is separate from my roommates, even if they do exist in it.

It had been raining for several hours at this point, and I thought I'd go down to the river and watch it rush past and listen to the rain and have a chat with God. I grabbed a notebook and my pens and markers and got in the car.

Well, Mrs. Cleaver is kind of a gas sucker. Which meant that after I got about 5 minutes down the road and and hadn't found the river yet, and wasn't sure how much further it was, I decided that this was dumb and I should just go home.

As I turned onto campus though, I realized... I hadn't dealt with what was going on inside of me yet. And it wasn't going to happen at home.

I pulled into a parking lot, turned the car off, and watched as the rain pounded the windshield. And I cried. For the first time in several months. And it was ugly.

Now, when I cry, it isn't just a few tears and a one tissue blow my nose and throw it away kind of deal. It is a red rimmed eyes that are all puffy the next morning, whole box of tissues next to me but it's coming too fast to even deal with that and so I just use my sleeves and then gross myself out, disgusting, horrifying, rare event. And I had one of those.

As I talked to God, all of the things about me that drive me crazy started coming to mind. And so I thought, Well, instead of resolutions, I'll make a list of life changes.

And so I did.

I didn't want it to be a list of things that I thought about for a little while and then forgot, feeling bad about the whole situation later. And I definitely didn't want to put a cap on it.

And so "The Top ___ of 2011 (an open-ended list)" was born. It contains things such as:
4.: Learn to do something new once a month. This does not mean perfecting or even enjoying it, but at least giving something out of the ordinary a try.
14.: Have an opinion.
2.: Believe the things God has promised me will come to be.

Etc. After writing for a while, I started feeling better and was able to come back to the house. I wasn't really glad that it had happened, but it had, and I came home and was able to be productive.

Around 5:00, I was changing a load of laundry over to the dryer and noticed that the neighbors were standing on their back porch. I was intrigued and walked out on our driveway.

I have never been one to just get in the car and drive. It just seems dumb. It's a waste of gas, a waste of time, a waste of money, and, it's pointless. But I hopped in Mrs. Cleaver (I didn't even grab my cell phone, which was super weird) and I drove. Kans had given me a general heading for the airport, and the GPS found it right as I had to turn.

I drove up these insane twisty roads that you have to go like, 5 MPH on, and the higher I got into the mountains, the more I remembered how much God loved and cared for me.

I eventually stopped at an overlook from which I could see campus, our house, and, well, most of Cullowhee. As the sun set, I started crying again (twice in one day. Whew. That's more than that happens in a month, normally!).

I got home, then the roommates did, and then our friends came over. And honestly, it was one of the best nights of socialization I've had in a long time. Instead of being constantly worried about what everyone else was thinking of me, I felt free to actually be who me was.

I've realized that God did not intend for me to feel rejected; and that the things that God doesn't intend for me are not things that I should accept.

The list is posted next to my bed, and it still kind of pisses me off every time I see it. I don't like the things that I'm asking myself to do, but I'm trusting that it'll help me out in the end.

Also, I'm praying that my life gets less serious soon, because I'm tired of only writing about Jesus things. And because it's stressful. And kind of dull.

I thought maybe if I made it colorful I'd hate it less.