All posts by toujourskari

About toujourskari

Although I physically reside in Dover, Delaware, I live inside of my head most of the time. It is a land of dreams, inspiration, raw emotion, and faith sprinkled with fairy dust, ink, and Steampunk. While I am a French and English teacher by trade, I construct objets d'art from anything that strikes my fancy, and I write as much as possible. I have two grown children, three sisters, and a fabulous mother and father- all spread around Texas, Tennessee, and Delaware. It is my dream to support myself through my art. Money means nothing to me except that it pays the rent. The pain and beauty of life is the energy on which I feed and the portrait that I hope to capture in my writing. I am currently working on a novel, book of poetry, graphic novel, and an ambiguous sci-fi piece that is avoiding being labeled. Please feel free to visit the land within my head-it may be frightening or strange, but it is never dull and always authentic.

The Top 6 Hipster Protagonists from Classic Literature (because Top 10 is so mainstream)

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Soooo, if you haven’t been lucky enough to come in contact with a Hipster or a group of Hipsters (often called a Stache of Hipsters), then let me enlighten you about their characteristics in two sentences or less. Hipsters generally distinguish themselves by only liking non-mainstream or societally accepted fashion, art, music, enterprise, politics, or literature. If you see someone with really huge glasses, shaggy hair, skinny jeans or thrift-shop garb who is trying to be vegan or start a knitting group dedicated to human trafficking, Voila! You have probably found a Hipster. (Wait, I think that was 3 sentences.) Anyway, as a lover of the classics, I started thinking about which protagonists might be considered a Hipster if they were around today. I set up a bit of an evolutionary scale of literary Hipsters because Hipsters don’t dig organized religion, and I thought it would be apropos. So let’s get started on the Top 6 Hipster protagonists from the classics.

Number 6: Ethan Frome from Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

We’ll call Mr. Frome a Hipster in the making. Sort of a pre-hip Hipster. A little tiny baby Hipster if you will. You may totally disagree with me and say that Ethan is really just a slave to convention when he meets the love of his life while still married to the dreadful hypochondriacal Zeena and can not seem to make the decision to leave. Meh, I say Potato/Potahto. He wears suspenders and flannel shirts, people! He also displays Hipster qualities like wanting to go learn about Chemistry and new engineering technologies. When that dream dies, he tries to work the land become all ecological and whatnot. The only problem is that the universe does not cooperate with Ethan Frome- she is a cold and callous nemesis. Ethan never makes it to full Hipster status despite having all the right stuff.  If I had my way, the ending would be different and Ethan would finally be happy in his adorably retro Hipster home with his Hipster sweetheart, Mattie Silver, wearing an awesome flower crown. Zeena would be left with her imaginary diseases, bottles of medicine, and firmly established social conventions as so many of today’s unenlightened masses live.

 

Number 5: Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Heathcliffe (swoon!) is the next step up in the literary Hipster evolutionary ladder. Choosing Heathcliff as number 5 totally validates the theory that 90% of Hipsterness is made up of appearance and just being really really passionate about stuff. Ok, so by the end of the book, he isn’t all idealistic and environmentally conscious. He isn’t even compassionate towards charitable causes. Through circumstances beyond his control (sort of), he turns into a sick and twisted, sadistic fiend bent on revenge. Whatever, he has awesome unruly Hipster hair, dark brooding eyes, and a passionate connection with Catherine Earnshaw that even the grave can not sever. If Cathy’s lust for socially appropriate relationships didn’t drive Heathcliff to violence, they would have been living off the grid and raising little vegan baby Hipsters in crocheted beanies somewhere on the moors. Darn that Cathy!

  

Number 4.Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

First of all, there is whole bunch of debating going on over the issue of whether or not Nick Carraway is gay. Let that be his first Hipster trait. Hipsters are commonly more androgynous and generally disregard stereotypical gender roles. Someone’s sexual preference has no validity whatsoever in Hipsterdom. I can see the validity of both sides of the Nick Carraway argument and choose not to partake in either side (very Hipster of me, yes?). Nick detests Gatsby’s money and power, but not the man. Gatsby “represented everything for which I (Carraway) have an unaffected scorn.” Like every Hipster worth his  Bamboo Leaf Sea Salt, Nick is caring, concerned, and eschews the trappings of “The Man”. He does get lost in the glamorous world of Gatsby et al.for a time(It happens, man. Cut him some slack!). However he is never completely lost. In the end, he makes the very Hipster decision to move back out West and pursue a simpler, more focused life away from the moral depravity and power driven East. An evolutionary Hipster step up from Heathcliff, yes?  

Number 3: Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter

OK, forget the fact that poor Hester was deemed a fallen woman for her adulterous affair and illegitimate child in Puritan Boston. Hester is the only woman on this list, and she stands as the preeminent 17th century Puritan Hipster fashion icon, nonconformist, and amazeballs textile artist. She embraces a very simple garb. She wears a dress of somber hues. I bet you could have totally found it at ye olde thrift shop.However, like all great Hipster girls, she has an item of personal flair- her very fancy, elaborately embroidered scarlet letter A. She refuses to give the name of her baby’s father, even though she’s put through the wringer by all of the most powerful men in Boston’s government and religious community (which are, of course, one in the same), but she refuses to be bullied. She is the epitome of female power and self-possession. As time went on, Hester had to make a living. She was an outsider living on the outskirts of town (Hipsterness…hello!), but made her living sewing and embroidering garments for others. All the Puritans were like, “Dude! I need Hester to make me that lace shawl and pair of gloves!” They just didn’t want her to sew stuff for weddings…go figure. Hester lived a non-conformist Hipster lifestyle fighting the Puritan current. I’m pretty sure all the ladies at her trial that wanted to stone her really were jealous of her Hipster chutzpah and swag. Sorry, biddies, we can’t all be Hipsters.

  

Number 2: Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman is arguably one of the most famous American poets, and simply by being a poet he is already Hipster approved. He is a protagonist (in my book), because he is the main character of many of his poems. Song of Myself  is totally himself, yet totally ourselves. He is known as the father of free verse, so he totally circumvented the mainstream of poetry and invented something new. Also, have you ever seen his beard? Most hipsters would die for those whiskers that go on for days. He also is often pictured wearing a very jaunty hat, and he loved nature. Mr. Whitman embodies all of the independent spirit of not buying in to the establishment and forging his own way. Hipsters would be proud to be friends with the Good Gray Poet. They would probably fight over who got to borrow his hat and get some facial hair advice.

 

Number 1: Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Our number one Hipster literary protagonist has got to be Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In a world where firemen don’t put out fires, but burn down houses with books inside them, Montag is a fireman with a nagging desire. He wants to read those banned books! He gets in all sorts of trouble because of his nerdiness, and eventually has to go on the lam. His intellectual hunger is the primary component of his Hipsterness or Hipsterocity. Most Hipsters want to be perceived as being well-read, and Guy Montag (while he has to keep it a secret) has a burning zeal for literature (no pun intended). Ray Bradbury doesn’t give a really definite physical description of Guy, but I’m pretty sure he wears skinny pants and some sort of cardigan (with patches on the elbows) when he’s not in his fireman uniform. He ends up going to a camp where others like him memorize whole books to keep them alive and subvert the system. I figure this is probably just a Hipster hangout where they drink Pabst Blue Ribbon, jam on some ukuleles and djembe drums, and help each other memorize books like The Bell Jar and The Catcher in the Rye. Yeah, Guy Montag is pretty much the king of the literary Hipsters…just sayin’.

You may find some protagonists that belong on this list, and to tell you the truth a whole bunch more came to my mind as well. I just tend to be long winded. So, let me know if you come across any literary Hipsters in your reading. Just remember that a Hipster will never tell you that they are a Hipster, so you just have to read between the lines.

Time Travel is Confusing

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I am confused when it comes to time travel. I admit it. I mean, I can pretty much follow a story line, but then all of these questions and scenarios pop into my head. Then, somehow, it’s like I’m the one who’s lost in a time vortex or something. I get really confused. It’s almost as if Scotty has beamed me up (or down), and my molecules were slightly rearranged upon re-configuration. My mind just sort of stops and goes, “Uuuuuuuh, what?” Does this ever happen to you?

The reason that I bring this up is because I just finished watching the movie About Time with Rachel McAdams and the coolest British guy everrrrrrr, Bill Nighy. If you really really want to see it and don’t want to know any details, you should stop reading. There may be some spoilers about to come to the surface. So, this movie is a very sweet British romantic comedy where a guy finds out that he can time travel by hiding in a closet and squeezing his fists real tight. It is very helpful in his romantic life, because he can redo a date that didn’t quite go the way he had planned. No harm done, right? Then, as all time travel movies seem to develop towards, there are moments of dire consequence that force the chrononaut to travel back and change things. This always brings about changes in the future of the lives involved. It’s like in The Butterfly Effect when Ashton Kutcher keeps going back to change one teeny tiny thing and the present gets so jacked up that either his best friend is paralyzed or he himself wakes up as a frat boy complete with pink and green clothes. I get this whole part of time travel. What I don’t understand is when someone dies, and you can go back to still talk to that person. That just seems like a broken law of nature. Also, in the movie, Bill Nighy’s character is the one who tells his son, Tim, he can time travel, so when his son comes back in time they talk about it. Is that possible? Can a person be completely aware in the past that he is actually in the past? 

One of the things I like about this movie was that one of the caveats of time travel is that you can’t go back before the birth of a child, otherwise you may end up with a different child. This happens in the movie, and it is very interesting. The only problem is that Tim does this but reverses the effect by re-travelling to the actual day of the birth of his child. I mean, it was kind of glossed over, but after he came back from that trip, his little red headed daughter was back and no longer replaced by a random brown-haired boy. Those little details just stop me in my tracks. It doesn’t make sense to me. 

Sometimes I think that time travel would be great. I would love to go back and do things differently with all of the wisdom that I have gained over these 46 years. Then I think about my kids. If I hadn’t met their dad, then they would not have existed. I suppose all of the painful things that happen to us are worth it because of the joys we experience. I would never trade my kids for any amount of comfort or riches. 

So to sum up a pretty wander-y and rambling post, time travel confuses me, and I don’t think that I would benefit from going back in time. I think I would get so confused that I would end up in an institution. That would make an interesting story, but I’ll keep my regular old life, thank you.

Coffee and Steampunk

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What do coffee and Steampunk have in common? I have no earthly idea except that it surely was a winning combination today! I started the day off at church where they always serve some lovely yummy coffee and snacks. I forwent (is that a word?) the snacks for the sake of my annoying cholesterol that I have 6 months to lower, and I had a beautiful cup of joe. Then, I came home and made a pot of the stuff. Was it wise? I’m not really sure, because it’s 10:15 and I’m wide awake. 5:30 is going to not only kick my butt in the morning, it is going to probably commit homicide as well. But I digress…

The point of the coffee was to make sure that I didn’t fall prey to any lurking naps that like to hide in the cracks and crevices of my house. I am going to a Steampunk event next month, and I am trying to un-procrastinate (if that is possible) making my clothes and accoutrements. The concepts are swimming about in my head full of gears, cogs, and brass fairy wings. I thought that the coffee might lure some of the ideas out into the light. And guess what, folks? It worked. I sipped three cups of fuel, and I made some ruffles for the bottom of my dress, part of a cell phone-holding arm piece for a friend, two lovely butterfly cameos for my shoes, and I learned how to make a Steampunk bubble tube. Wow! That is actually a pretty productive day considering that the ruffles were all hand sewn.

I still have so much more to do, so I’m thinking about being coffee’s new BFF for awhile. I am trying to create a backpack/box that will hold my lovely concoction called “Lady Astrid’s Anti-disequilibrium Elixir” for those of you who may suffer the pesky ill effects of time traveling. One sip of this serum will stave off any vertigo, lightheadedness, or physical discomfort that might result from a chrononaut’s voyage. So, I must create the backpack, the elixir itself, and Victorian outfit complete with bustle, Steampunk shoes, and other fancy accessories. 

I have only one question for all of you javamancers……how do you turn it off? I can’t quite find the power down button. Now it’s 10:40 and there’s no relief in sight. I’m pretty sure if I had the right materials right now, I could build a real T.A.R.D.I.S. with all of this energy I seem to have. I guess it’s a lesson learned: tomorrow I shall only drink 2 cups of the stuff. 

Back to the Blog: saying good-bye to non-blogging

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So, according to my blog stats, it has been 5 1/2 months since the last time I wrote anything. What in the world have I been doing? I write that as if you are asking the question, but I am the one who is actually asking it. What HAVE I been doing? That’s a bunch of time to be non-blogging.

Sometimes I just stop doing things with no definite reason. Am I the only one? It’s like when I was little and taking tap dance. One day, I announced to my mother that I no longer wanted to take it. The End. There was no real explanation, I even remember that I liked tap dance class! I loved wearing the little pink matching tights and leotard; I liked the sound the shoes made on the floor when I walked up the stairs to class; I liked watching myself in the tall mirrors; and I liked getting to do dance recitals an being a star. So, why did I do it?Your guess is as good as mine-I could have been on Broadway by now. Then, there was the time that I got on board the latest fitness craze…..hahaha! Wait, that’s hilarious. That happens all the time, and I’m just lazy. There, that’s a credible reason, but sometimes it’s not as cut and dried.

I try to analyze my motivation all of the time. So these are the “maybes” that I’ve come up with concerning my season of non-blogging. Maybe I didn’t think there was enough response. Maybe I thought that it should propel me into the literary world with a bang. Maybe I didn’t write as consistently as others and my unconventional approach means that I’m not a good writer. Maybe I wasn’t organized enough. Maybe my content wasn’t timely and gut-wrenching enough to garner enough followers. Maybe I was lazy. Maybe I got bored. Maybe I’m just a poser (that’s always an option, remember?). Maybe I couldn’t concentrate while my son was raiding everyday with his guild online. Maybe my seasonal affective disorder got the best of me.

Maybe there is no reason.

Regardless of my motivation or lack thereof, I am back to blogging. I decided to give myself assignments, because I’m really just a student at heart. I love assignments. So, I’ll be blogging on my days off to begin with. I’m off on Wednesdays and Sundays. I haven’t come up with any content assignments, so for now I’ll just go with whatever is brewing in this chaotic noggin of mine. Feel free to throw some assignments at me. Random thoughts are the best!

Right now, I’m participating in the Poem A Day (PAD) challenge, so I thought that I would leave you with my first  poem about beginnings. (Please understand that this is a first draft!) If you’re a poet, I’d like to encourage you to participate as well. You can find it on the Writersdigest.com website.

In the Beginning

 

Chaos, formlessness awaiting the spark

Cold, barren, void of life

I hold my not-yet-breathing breath

Waiting to receive

Waiting to conceive

Waiting for the spark to ignite an inferno

 

My raw senses sound the alarm

Anticipation of first contact

Your touch lights the match

Spreading wildfire through my being

My skin, my flesh, my bones

Being consumed, wanting to consume

As the flames melt the years of desolation

the years of nothingness

the years of sorrow

into tiny innocuous puddles

reflecting nothing

 

We blaze until we’re reduced to ashes

Until we burn each other to the ground

Fertilizing the fallow soil

Bringing life to my once empty land

The smoldering embers quietly testify

To the creation of my world

And the genesis of my heart

 

The dawn of my soul begins

 

 

I Am Not A Poser!

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        I have always thought that I was a poser. If you’re my friend, you’ve heard me say it. I often question myself as to whether I really like something or if I am just pretending to like it (I know, it sounds a little crazy). Take the avocado, for instance. I first starting eating it on sandwiches and salads. I thought that I liked it, but was wondering if maybe it was the “mystique” of the avocado that was drawing me in. Then, one day, I just scooped some out of the shell and ate it plain! I kept thinking, “Do I really like this?” as I ate it. I’m still not completely convinced that I’m not just drawn in by the coolness of it or if I really like the taste. You may think that this is some kind of crazy talk, but I am always questioning my motivations about everything. I don’t want to be a poser. I want to be authentic in everything that I do, create, and promote. 

     So, when I started calling myself a “writer” or an “artist”, it felt very poser-y. I forced myself to do it though. I knew that if I didn’t speak what I felt in my heart, then I would never actually become that very thing. Even though I felt it in my heart, I still had that little devil on my shoulder telling me that it was pretentious and that I didn’t have the right credentials for either title. Even as I am writing this, I am cringing at my audacity. How dare I think that I am a writer? What have I created that validates calling myself an artist? Then, I remember what inspires me and what drives me.

      Tonight I was catching up on some reality shows that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I love anything where people compete in a creative way. Project Runway and Face Off are my two favorites. I was watching Face Off, and they had to design a character that showed a certain art movement like impressionism, surrealism etc. I was so inspired by this! I was excited about the paintings and how the creature makeup artists translated that into a character. The energy that I got from that inspiration made me want to go into my kitchen/work room and start making something. I started thinking about this awesome octopus eating a clock light fixture that I have 1/4 of the way done. It revved me up to make something. As for writing, when I read a poem or a novel that resonates with my soul, it fuels me to create perfectly crafted sentences that would do that for someone else. I’m drawn to emotions like sadness, joy, frustration, longing, and emptiness, and I want to translate them into some sort of art form. 

      Because these inspirations and drives have always been present in my life for as long as I can remember, I feel pretty confident when I say I’m a writer and artist, even though that little devil never completely disappears. I think I would be a poser if I didn’t acknowledge my authentic self. I’ve spent my life trying to be good and trying to do what was acceptable. It’s impossible for me. I was very strict with myself when it came to church and religion in my 20’s and 30’s because I thought that it would make me good. I’ve finally figured out that God wired me a certain way to be able to express all of the emotions that he gave us. Anything I could do to stifle those or lock them out was the true sin. I know some people wouldn’t agree with that, but I believe it with my whole heart. 

        So, what is your passion? What makes your soul sing? What have you denied about yourself? Have you ever felt like a poser? Because I have gone through this semi-transformation (I believe it isn’t over yet), I am so interested to know these things about everyone. Customers come in to the grocery store, and I often find myself pulling out of them what they always wished they had done. They tell me their dreams and desires while they are buying deodorant and tampons. I’ve always been a champion of other peoples’ dreams- I want so much for them to get what they want. So now, I must keep telling myself that my dreams are valid and I am not a poser. Repeat after me: I am not a poser! I am a (fill in the blank)! We are our own worst enemy, but we are also our biggest supporter. Support yourself and let’s see what great things will happen. 

When Dairy Makes You Cry

       I never in a million years would have thought that a grocery cart full of dairy products (well, actually 2 carts) could break my heart, but today it happened. I work in a grocery store, and since I resigned from teaching to spend more time on writing, I took a different position in order to have more convenient hours. I’m not really sure if it is a promotion, but I got a raise and I’m out of there by 3 o’clock every day with weekends off. So, I was fairly excited about that prospect. I went from running the front end, cashiering, customer service, balancing and reconciling money to working in that back receiving all of the product that comes into the store. With this duty comes the task of dealing with reclaim – damaged or out of date merchandise that is sent back to the warehouse. I don’t really know what happens to that product, but I fill up boxes and ship it back according to “standard practice”. There is a different “standard practice” for anything that is perishable like frozen food or dairy items, and I realize that I have a huge philosophical and ethical problem with what i am required to do with perishable product.

       People usually say that I’m a hippie. I’m cool with that. I want everyone to love everyone, and I don’t believe in violence or shows of force. I am an anti-materialist, and I really do hate money (I wish I didn’t have to deal with it at all). Big business always makes me mad, and I would feel much better if I didn’t have to be a part of this system that I feel is greedy and corrupt. Why can’t we all just run barefoot through a field and sing songs around a campfire while sharing our s’mores? I really don’t understand this drive for money and power. Really, I’m not making it up. Anyway, my students know that I always want to stick it to the man if I feel that there is anything unfair or corrupt about something. I’m sure that people think that I’m exaggerating about my beliefs, but I’m not. 

      So, I realized today that I am actually part of this huge machine whose bottom line is the almighty dollar, and it broke my heart. The “standard practice” for perishable items is that I am to scan them as reclaim and then throw them away in the dumpster. This means that if something is damaged or out of date, it gets thrown away. Today, there were two FULL shopping carts of dairy items that were going out of date and could no longer be on the shelf. They included at least 12 packages of cookie dough, about 7 half gallons of chocolate milk, several quarts of buttermilk, half gallons of regular milk, at least 8 half gallons of orange and other juices, 7 or 8 half gallons of iced coffee, and tons and tons of yogurt, biscuits, and butter. I scanned every last item and put them in shopping carts so that I could take them out to the dumpster later in the day. They sat by the door and looked at me for about 2 hours until I could get to them. Every time I looked at them, I felt a lump in my stomach. Later, as I was walked them out to the dumpster, I started questioning what caused this whole “standard practice” to exist. I’m sure that the grocery store didn’t want anyone to sue them for having out of date product on the shelf. So it was protecting itself. I wonder though, why we have to have so much of it on the shelf. Managers are always upset if there are “holes” in the wall of product because it looks bad to customers. Are we, as Americans, contributing to this wastefulness because we want things to be aesthetically pleasing? So, it is basically corporations trying to protect themselves from losing money and our own shallowness that has bred this situation.

            I couldn’t contain my emotion as I neared the dumpster. i was by myself, so I just let the tears fall. There I was throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of dairy items that someone could be eating and blubbering the whole time. God forbid that we give it away to someone who is hungry. We actually lock up the dumpster so that no one can get the food that we throw away. My heart broke for the wastefulness of our country. My heart also broke because I cannot afford to just buy whatever food I want, whenever I want it. I am on a tight budget, yet I just threw away a whole bunch of food that I could have used. Talk about sad.  We can’t even give it to food banks because they won’t accept food that is close to expiration dates (We do give bread and bakery items to food banks, thank goodness).

       How do you feel about this? Does it bother you? I wonder if anything can be done. I felt so shameful as I threw all of those items away. I wanted to post a sign on the dumpster that said, “Free food inside”. I’m pretty sure I would get in trouble. I also wanted to take pictures of the shopping carts, but I was worried that I would be crossing the line. I do need my job, and I’m learning that no matter what the job. we often have to make compromises of principle. I don’t know how long I can keep this up though. Don’t even get me started about the expiration date conspiracy! Hopefully the tears that I shed over the dairy will not be in vain. Perhaps the world will wake up and we can all live in peace, sharing with each other. until then, I will try to think of ways to counteract the world’s “standard practice”.   

LONELINESS: a confession of sorts

     I am sitting in a California king bed alone. I woke up this morning alone. I went to church alone. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details of my life alone. It is the one thing I avoid talking about. People generally do not want to hear how lonely someone is, because perhaps it makes them confront their own loneliness. I try to hide the fact that I feel all alone and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it makes me feel vulnerable. Maybe it’s that people immediately invite you to have dinner with their families. Maybe it’s simply because saying it  doesn’t take it away, and that is all I want.

       I was married once. I liked being married regardless of all the issues we had. I loved the feeling of taking care of someone and knowing that he was there for me. I would have stayed married forever if it weren’t for the issues that put my children in danger. I won’t lie and say that he was the love of my life, but I sometimes wonder if he is the only chance that I will have. I have been single (if you count from our separation) for over 14 years. I wonder when my sentence will be up. I wonder how much time I have to serve before I get out on parole. Sometimes It feels like a prison that is more suffocating than you can imagine.

        Sometimes I get really bold and I tell people how lonely I am. Then, I am immediately sorry for sharing. I have had people tell me that I should feel lucky that I am single. I know that they are speaking out of their own misery, but couldn’t they just put that aside and try to understand my pain just for a moment? When they tell me stories about how sad their husbands or wives make them, I listen and encourage. I never say, “Well, at least you’re married and get to wake up with someone in the morning. Being single sucks!” Why do we do this to each other? The other end of the spectrum when I share how lonely I am is when people immediately try to fix it. “You can call me whenever you want and we’ll hang out.” “Have you tried online dating?” “Maybe God is giving you time to work out all of your issues before he sends you someone.” All of these are very nice and come from a place of concern, but I have to tell you that I’m sick of hearing them. 

      Could someone please just give me a shoulder to cry on? I haven’t been held while I cried since 2005. I can tell you exactly when it was. I found out that my best friend in high school, Wendy, had died in a plane crash years before. I had lost track of her, and someone told me the news when I asked about her. I was crying all the way home, and when I walked through the door, my mother held me while I cried. So, it has been 8 years since I cried in someone’s arms. When I cry, I cry alone. The problem is that I don’t let anyone know this. I don’t want to be one of the miserable crowd that seems to be everywhere nowadays. People complain so much that it makes me pretend that nothing bothers me. I don’t want to add to the drama of the world. 

      I just feel invisible sometimes, and I feel forgotten. Little things devastate me, and I pretend like they don’t. I have to tell you that I am a really good actress, really good. Last week, one of the managers was ordering lunch and promised to treat me to an egg roll. Needless to say, he forgot to order it. He apologized in front of the whole crew in the lunch room, and I laughed it off. He really felt bad. I knew in my mind that he didn’t mean anything by it. It’s really not that serious, right? Well, not to my heart. I felt forgotten and had to hold back the tears as I went to buy my lunch. The theme of my life seems to be that I never get what I really want. This added to the proof that my heart gives me every time it happens. It’s like when you really want these awesome red boots for Christmas, and somebody gives you really cute blue tennis shoes. It’s nice, but it’s not your heart’s desire. Not that my heart’s desire was an egg roll, but it just added fuel to the fire.

       So, why am I telling you all of this? I had a day filled with tears. I cried about everything today. I took a three hour nap just to get away from my feelings. I begged God to speak to me and give me encouragement. I was so lonely that I thought I would die. All of this, and the only thought in my head was about how I don’t really tell people how I’m truly feeling. I don’t trust anyone with my true feelings. Speaking my feelings out loud feels like I’m going to have an aneurysm, so I figured that writing them out was the first step. I don’t know how I feel about it, but at least I did it.

       Please don’t comment with ways to fix my loneliness or encouraging platitudes. If you comment, make sure that you really read what I wrote and hear my heart. I know that pain and sadness make people feel uncomfortable, but I needed to somehow purge myself. Thank you for listening, and I hope that some of this resonated with you in one way or another. Wishing you no loneliness, only comfort and beauty. 

My Super-Cool New Bike

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       Hi there. I just bought a new bike! Ok, it’s not just a bike. It’s a red adult tricycle! I’m so excited that I can’t stand myself. I have always wanted a three-wheeled bike with a little basket and maybe even a cute little bell. I think it’s pretty amazing that something as simple as a bike can make people uncomfortable though. A few of my friends who knew that I was considering buying this bike to be my main transportation tried to talk me out of it pretty strongly. They said things like, “It will be a lot of exercise. Are you sure you’re up to it?” or “What if it rains?” While I try to understand that they are just worried for me and my safety, I feel like this points to something deeper, and I wonder if it is something with which we all struggle. 

       So, because I love to play the Analyze-Yourself-and-Others game, I rolled the dice and made my first move. Why did this bother my friends even before I bought the bike? I think that they might be afraid of anything unconventional or different. Knowing these friends’ personalities, I know that they like to be in control, like safety, and enjoy knowing what to expect from their days. There is nothing wrong with that. I admire their organization and adult-ness. They buy flood, fire, and tornado insurance. I don’t even have medical insurance (yet…). So I know that my freedom (for lack of a better word) or whimsy (?) drives them a little crazy. They continually try to talk me out of things that I want, but respect me enough to know that I may or may not take their advice. 

         All of this got me wondering about myself – dice roll number 2. Do I feel uncomfortable with some of my friends and family’s decisions because it goes against my own wiring? Yes. I wouldn’t say that I worry about them, but many times I sigh and think, “If they’d only stop looking for jobs that have a certain salary, they’d be happy.” or “Why don’t they just eat the cheeseburger instead of talking about it for 20 minutes while eating bean sprouts?” Because I analyze myself so much, I know that I have weaknesses in dealing with reality, organization, and “the American Dream”. And because I know this and love my friends, I try really hard to be supportive and not critical when they tell me about the vitamins they are taking or the twelfth life insurance policy that they just took out…even though deep down I’m screaming, “Nooooooo!!!!!! buy some cute shoes! Feed the homeless! Start a business that recycles old tires into amazing art!” 

       It’s so crazy that we are all wired so differently. It’s so interesting to me what makes people uncomfortable about me. I used to try to change so that everyone would be comfortable. Then, I started wondering if I would want my friends to change so that I would be comfortable. No indeed. I would actually be more uncomfortable if they went against their dreams, desires, and hopes. We all just have to lay down our worries and fears in order to let our loved ones truly be themselves. I’m so thankful that I have friends who will let me be myself even though they worry about me. So, when you see me riding to work on my nifty red adult tricycle with a sweet little basket and a fancy bell, just wave to the girl who is ok with being herself and letting others be themselves. (And please don’t worry- I have a raincoat and I can handle the exercise!)

Amish Inception (Minus Leonardo)

     I had a friend over tonight who was telling me a story that happened to her on a back road here in Delaware. This moment in time seemed to speak directly to her soul, and she was sharing how she felt God had used that moment to teach her something very profound. As she was sharing, tears welled up in my eyes as I thought I knew the final lesson that God was teaching her, but in reality, I got her lesson wrong and gained a lesson of my own from her story about her lesson. Did you follow that? It’s almost like the movie inception, but Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t there (sadly). I am always blown away that profound moments in life come from a connection to others in a very unexpected way.

      Let me give you some back story. If you aren’t from Delaware or have never been to Delaware, then you don’t know that we have a pretty decent sized Amish population. It’s not all Amish-y like Lancaster or other parts of Pennsylvania, but out on the back roads, there are a lot of Amish farms which lead to quite a few Amish buggies on the road. You have to be very careful because the buggies move slowly (obviously, there are horses involved and not motors), and the roads are twisty-turny. So, it may be a little while until it is safe to pass them because of visibility issues. This can be frustrating for the motorist who must speed as quickly as possible to get to his or her destination. However, I’ve always found it sweet and beautiful that someone doesn’t care about technology and lives exactly as they want to regardless of the world around them. They are slow, though, and I’m always really hesitant to pass them.

      Ok, so my friend’s story is this. She was driving on a back road with her son, and she was coming up to an intersection. There was a buggy with a father and daughter in it that was going through a stoplight. The light was turning red, and the buggy was turning, but somehow the driver miscalculated the turn. The buggy started tipping, the horse got tangled in its reins and gear and whatnot (forgive my non-horsemanlike vocabulary), and the whole lot got wrapped around a sign but landed upright with no casualties at all (even the horse, so you can breathe easily now). A nearby motorist stopped to pick up debris in the road that might impede other motorists, and my friend got out to make sure that the passengers were ok. She told me that the man and child were fine, but that the man said he was trying to rush through the light in order to not be a burden to the motorists on the road! Whoa. When she said this, I was in tears. The end of the story is that everything was put to right when the Amish father-daughter team checked out their rig and headed for home in safety.

         My friend’s lesson in this was that sometimes rushing impedes the progress that God is trying to help us with in our lives. This is an amazing lesson. In fact, I like that story a lot, but when she told me what the father said, I felt a ring of truth in my deepest soul. This is something that I do on a daily basis and see others that I love doing as well (and you know who you are!). Sometimes we worry so much about getting out of other people’s way as quickly as we can that we lose our balance, veer off the track that we are on, and often have a near-fatal accident. Have you ever felt this way? Do you ever feel like the world is just whizzing by you and you are just in the way? You may feel like you are on some sort of slow track with God, your job, your relationship status, your finances, your health, or your dreams. Or maybe you see others achieving the goals and dreams that you have for yourself faster, easier, and with seemingly less effort. I’m sure that the message of this story for me was not “slow and steady wins the race,” but “don’t be in such a rush to get out of people’s way or your will become disoriented and turned around in your journey.” I certainly don’t want to be rude or self-centered and ignore the courtesy that we should have for one another, but I am slowly realizing that I am not in the way. I am on my way. This is a lesson to anyone who has ever felt this way. I recognize the truth of it myself, and will put it into practice. Does this ring true in your soul? It should, it’s the God’s honest truth. Now, let’s all stop trying to get out of each other’s way and enjoy the ride, people!!!