Happy Birthday

You would have turned 60 today and I would have been trying to convince you that you’re not old. You would have loved the rain today. You’d wear your big coat and your pretty teal scarf. We’d go to Marie Calendar’s for dinner and we’d both order the soup and salad bar and perhaps some hot tea. We’d eat at least two of those little white bowls of potato cheese soup after finishing our mountains of lettuce and vegetables. We’d have chocolate cake that I’d make from boxed cake mix and it would be decorated poorly, but you’d love it anyway.

I’m not sure where I’d be if you were still here. I’m not sure who I’d be. You shaped and changed me in life and I changed when you died.

I’m not sure how different things would be and I don’t think I should dwell on it. What I do know is that you are still loved, still missed, still remembered. I’ll never get over you.

Happy birthday, Mom. I hope it’s a good one.

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Counting My Blessings

I couldn’t sleep a couple nights ago and it started to rain and I was enjoying the sound. And since Thanksgiving was fast approaching and the sound of the rain always makes me want to write, I decided to jot a few things down in a list of things I’m thankful for this year. Just thought I’d share that list with you here as my Thanksgiving Day post:

What am I thankful for?

The rain outside my window.

The feeling I get when I start writing.
The fact that no matter how much I mess up, the Lord still saves me and blesses me beyond belief.
Being a student again.
Being with a man who is the smartest, kindest, most interesting man I know who makes me feel valued and smart and so so loved and points me to the truth when my head is filled with lies. And for how well we fit together.
My family and how it grows and re-shapes over time in such wonderful ways.
People in all their sameness and differentness and complexity.
Books and words and knowledge.
Communication and how it fixes so many things.
The ability to talk.
The ability to walk.
Being loved by so many people, even ones who hardly know me.
Sad stories and how much we can learn from them.
The ability to listen.
The ability to feel emotion.
The wonderful woman who was my mother and the wonderful women who can never replace her but sure make it easier to keep going.
My father and what a wonderful man he is and what a good friend he has become to me and how much he has always loved me.
My stepmom and how she complements my dad so well and how supportive and loving and empathetic she is.
The fact that there are so many amazing people in my life and so many I still haven’t met.
A God who knows me intimately and is committed to my sanctification.

The pain that makes us stronger.

Having so many blessings that when I try to count them, I barely scratch the surface.

Home is Where I Think it Is

Home is not a place. Home is a feeling.

I’ve heard the phrase, “home is where the heart is” all my life, but I didn’t really internalize it until I went through a series of changes that forced me to adjust to new normals and new places of living, over and over again. I always thought of home as just the place where my stuff was, where I slept, where I showered. Home was just the place I left from and returned to more often than anywhere else. When that physical place of home became more and more inconsistent, I had to revisit and reconstruct my idea of what ‘home’ really means.

It’s weird to hear other students living on campus talking about “going home for the weekend.” It throws me off because this is home for me. This is where I live right now; this is the only place I live right now. There is no ‘home’ for me to go back to over the weekend or over winter break. There is no bedroom with my furniture set up, waiting for my return. If I’m not staying here, I am a guest in someone else’s home. I can see that my life is made up of frequent adjustments to my ever-changing normal. My ever-changing sense of home. And I’ve gotten good at it. Adjusting. Making a place feel like home instantly because I need it to be home for me. Holding loosely to things and to my station, knowing it can be easily lost or changed at any moment. I never thought my life would be like this and I certainly never imagined I’d like it so much.

The more unstable my physical place of residence is, the more I see that home is something I can take with me. Something I must take with me – must create for myself – if I want to stay sane. Home is wherever I choose for it to be. Home is that feeling of belonging, that comfort and security of knowing where you are and not ever needing to ask or answer the question of why you are there. That feeling of home can be in a number of physical spaces. When I visit those little places I used to go with my mom, I’m home. When I’m having dinner at my Dad and Stepmom’s house, enjoying the sounds of my wonderfully woven-together family, I’m home. When I am curled up next to my boyfriend, watching documentaries or silly comedies, I’m home. When I’m outside and the sky is covered in clouds, but the birds are still chirping, I’m home. When I’m sitting in my dorm room, in this most temporary of living spaces, remembering how far I’ve come, how far the Lord has taken me, I’m home. Home is everywhere and nowhere. Home is where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. Home is where I think it is.

I don’t know what this is…

I keep thinking about things I should write about but, by the time I actually sit down and try to write them, I don’t really care enough to write anything worth reading. When I abandon those thoughts altogether and try to just write something else entirely, I feel that nearly-crippling fear of the blank page and that impatiently blinking vertical line. I’m having one of those terrible moments in which my mind is swarmed with thoughts like, “this is it. I’m done. I have written all I will ever write,” and, “I was never really a writer to begin with. I should really just stop this nonsense and focus on things I can actually do…” and so on and so forth. I know that these thoughts aren’t necessarily true and I know that they will eventually pass but I still have no idea what on earth I’m even doing with my fingers on these keys. I’ve been reading too many different things and I don’t know where my voice is at the moment. I’m feeling very pretentious right now, or rather, I’m judging myself to be pretentious. Or I’m imagining other people to be judging me as pretentious. Is there a difference, really?

Anyway, I have a little note on my phone with a few abandoned ideas that I’ll probably get around to caring about and writing about within the next couple of months, but it’s just not going to happen for this month’s post. I just needed to fulfill my personal goal of at least one post per month so I can feel a little less…terrible. Or whatever.

Okay, I shouldn’t let this post go on much longer.
I’m thinking about the people who will probably read this and I feel a little sorry for them – for you. But not sorry enough to delete this post or refrain from posting links to it on my various social media pages 😉 I’m just going to type away and create some drivel and you’ll probably waste a bit of your time letting your eyes fall on every word until you’ve – blessedly – reached the end. You may now breathe a sigh of relief, because here it is. The end.

Grieving State of Being

Missing someone who has died is a weird phenomenon. Not only is it different for everyone while also kind of being the same, but it’s different each moment, each month, each year. There is progress but there isn’t. It improves but it doesn’t. There have been some years when holidays or my mom’s birthday or the anniversary of her death were easy and I didn’t cry and it didn’t hurt that much. And there are some times, like this past holiday season and like today, when it hurts just about as bad is it did the day she died. It’s true that it has gotten easier as time has passed, I think… but when I have such hard days I wonder if I’ve made any progress at all in terms of feeling better or coping or getting through the grieving process…whatever that means. I’m starting to wonder whether grieving is actually a process or if it’s just a state of being that comes and goes or gets stronger and weaker. It’s never going to be over as long as I am still on this earth. I am stronger than I was before except for when I’m not. And sometimes it makes sense. It makes sense that this past Christmas was harder because it was also the first Christmas after my grandpa (my mom’s dad) passed away and it was the first Christmas that I didn’t spend with the people I usually spend the holidays with. It makes sense that today (her birthday) is harder than last January 5th because my brother is getting married at the end of the month and she won’t be there to see it. And this year is going to bring about big changes in my life and the knowledge that she is going to miss it all hurts like the week I went back to school after she had just passed away and I knew she would miss my high school graduation the following month. But there are other times when it comes out of nowhere. I think I’m fine and I’m not feeling particularly sad and then it just hits me. And there’s nothing observable that seems to have caused it, it just is. It’s just there. It just hurts.

Anyway, I’m not really sure how to wrap this up because my thoughts don’t really feel conclusive or tidy to me, so I will end with this:

If you are grieving over someone, whether they died years ago or just yesterday or anytime in between, your feelings are valid. I have had many times where I beat myself up about grieving thinking I should be better now, I should be stronger. I have so much to be thankful for, I shouldn’t be sad. But I am. And it’s okay. It’s human. It’s love. It’s okay to remember and it’s okay to talk about it and cry in front of other people even if they don’t know what to do with you. I often feel the desire to share and be vulnerable about these things but I’m always afraid of seeming like I’m begging for pity and I think I need to apologize… but opening up and being vulnerable is so worth the risk of being seen in an unfavorable light. It connects us. It gives people the opening to be vulnerable right alongside us. Getting those feelings that feel so personal out there feels so good especially when you find people who can relate. So feel that grief if you are feeling it. And talk about it if you want to talk about it. And if you can’t find someone who will listen, I’m right here.

Happy birthday to my mother who was my closest friend and confidant. I learned so much from her and am so thankful to have had her for nearly 18 years. Remembering her warmth and love today.

Happy birthday to my mother who was my closest friend and confidant. I learned so much from her and am so thankful to have had her for nearly 18 years. Remembering her warmth and love today.

The Cliché “What I’m Thankful For” Thanksgiving Post

Happy Thanksgiving! I just felt like taking a couple minutes to write some of the things I’m thankful for. Thinking of all the reasons I have to be grateful has been a powerful tool for me in battling anxiety and depression… I guess that’s one of the things I’m thankful for 🙂

I’m thankful that every time I think I have nothing, no one, nowhere to turn, no hope, no one who loves me, I’m wrong.

I’m thankful for God’s grace, unmerited favor, steadfast love, strength, goodness, and sovereignty.

I’m thankful for all the people who love me and all the people whom I love and the fact that the Venn diagram of those two groups overlaps quite a bit.

I’m thankful for strangers.

I’m thankful for those whom I love and have lost.

I’m thankful for those friendships that I never expected to blossom, but did.

I’m thankful for vulnerability and how it connects us all.

I’m thankful for stories whether true or fiction.

I’m thankful for the difficult things in life that God uses to make us grow.

I’m thankful for the ability to write.

I’m thankful for the ability to read.

I’m thankful for language.

I’m thankful for music and how many different kinds of music exist and will exist in the future.

I’m thankful for food and the fact that I don’t have to eat the same thing every day.

I’m thankful for empathy.

I’m thankful for colors.

I’m thankful for art and those who make it.

I’m thankful for emotions and the fact that I can feel them after periods of feeling nothing.

I’m thankful that I live in a place full of diversity.

I’m thankful for inspiring teachers who actually give a crap.

I’m thankful for education.

I’m thankful that there is always more to learn and I can keep learning for the rest of my life.

I’m thankful that we don’t have to be grammatically correct to be understood.

I’m thankful for how language evolves.

I’m thankful for the many ways people express themselves.

…I’m thankful that if I had more time to write this, it could be much much longer than this because the number of things I have to be thankful for is uncountable.

And, also, I’m thankful that people actually read my blog. Thank you 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Killing Off Characters

People often get really upset when one of their favorite characters in a book, show, or movie gets “killed off.” They often get angry at the writers as though the writer sadistically decided to murder the character. I understand the frustration – I can get pretty emotionally invested in stories too – but really I think people need to chill out.

First of all, having beloved characters die is realistic. People die. We don’t get to decide who or how or when. Sometimes the people we love the most die. Sometimes many people that we love die all around the same time. It happens. And fiction should, at least somewhat, mirror reality.

Secondly, though I still sometimes use the phrase, I think we should stop accusing writers of “killing off characters” unless it is pretty obvious that the death of said character was written purely for shock factor (I’m looking at you, season 3 of Downton Abbey…I don’t know, that all felt really cheap to me…). One time John Green was talking about this (I think someone may have asked him why he decided to kill a certain character) and he said something to the effect of “Authors don’t kill characters; Characters die.” (This is not an exact quote). And I really liked that. I know this sounds kind of mystical, but whatever: The stories and characters that we write, while they are technically our creations and come from our own minds, are separate entities that already exist before we put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as the case may be). The story is already there and it’s our job to write it accurately. The characters already exist and it’s up to us to make sure the actions and dialogue we write for them are consistent with who they are. So, when I write about a character who dies, I’m not sadistically “killing him off,” I’m relaying to my readers the facts of his life. If I feel that a character is supposed to die in the next scene and I don’t write that death, the story is instantly cheapened.

It is perfectly okay to grieve a bit when a character dies, but please stop getting angry at storytellers for writing the deaths of characters. If you only want to experience unrealistic stories in which nothing tragic ever happens…maybe stay in the children’s section? Well… you may even be in danger there…

Quick Update Thingy…..

Sorry readers, I’ve been away from my blog the last couple of months, so I’ve broken my one-post-per-month streak. I have been quite preoccupied, beginning the journey of continuing my education. (I got an A in my Stats class, by the way! Woohoo! No more math classes for me!). I have a few blog ideas that I would like to flesh out, so hopefully I can post two or three before August is over! I’m about to post a quick one right after putting this one up so…………

Nothing Left Unsaid

\\ Just a forewarning: this month’s post is going to be a bit emotional. I had told myself before that I was going to stop writing blog posts about losing my mother, but I just really wanted to this month. And anyway, it’s my blog, so I’m going to write what’s on my mind. This post might also be a bit scatter-brained, or “stream of consciousness” if you will, because I can’t be bothered to organize my thoughts. So if this isn’t your cup of tea, go pour yourself some coffee 😛 I’m not sure what I mean by that. \\

The month of May is probably always going to be difficult for me. May 6th is the anniversary of my mom’s death and Mother’s Day always arrives a painfully short amount of time after that. There have been a couple of years when May 6th didn’t really get to me, but don’t worry, Mother’s Day tends to bring out the grief that the anniversary couldn’t manage. But this year it hurt on both days and even some days surrounding. I think it had something to do with the fact that this was the first year that May 6th has fallen on a Tuesday (same as the year she died) and I was really thinking about each day that she was in the hospital, etc. This is also the first May that I don’t live in a place where she once lived and my father is married to someone else. These changes aren’t bad changes at all, it’s just that sometimes the new things make me feel like I’m losing her even more. I remember the first year or so after she died, I became increasingly more afraid of big life changes because I didn’t want things to be too far from what they were when she was here. This kind of freaked me out because a month after she went, I graduated from high school, turned 18, got my license, and a month after that, got my first job and then later that year decided to switch churches. These changes were all normal changes. They were good changes. But they hurt. I hate realizing how many things she will not be here for. I hate noticing all the things she has already missed in these six years. I think that’s what hurt the most this year. I’ve become hyper-aware of all the things that are different and all the things that will likely change. I realized that the me that she knew is not the me that I am now. And it’s good that I’m different. There would be a huge problem if 23-year-old me wasn’t much different from 17-year-old me. But it hurts. It hurts to think that my mother didn’t know who I would become. It hurts that my mother can’t currently know me. 

On this most recent May 6th, I stayed home from work because I was not doing so well emotionally, and I have a nice boss who didn’t mind. After a long while of trying to distract myself, failing to do so, and then just full-on grieving, I pulled out my notebook and wrote something that I think might explain a bit better what I’m trying to say here:

 

It was Tuesday, May 6th. Just like today. I remember coming home without you. It was annoyingly sunny outside and there were children playing in their yards as we drove past. It made me so angry. 

The weather is more fitting today. It is finally raining after so much sun. It is quiet but for the cars on the street. 

I remember the three of us walking into that house that you made a home. We said nothing. I cried and they held me. I could not be comforted as I saw all the spaces you would never occupy again. 

Now I sit in a home you’ve never lived in, at a table you’ve never eaten at, living a life you cannot be a part of other than in my own heart and mind. I know you are much better off where you are now, but it still kills me to know what you will miss. You won’t hold me when I’m crying. You won’t give me advice when I’m lost. You won’t go anywhere with me. You won’t bake or cook with me. You won’t see who I’m becoming or the new interests I’ve developed. You won’t know my new dreams and ambitions. You won’t cry at my wedding or hold my hand while my children come into the world. Your chair will always be empty.
You left so early. 

There is so much I want you to see. So much I want to tell you. 
I am blessed that when you died, there was peace between us and I had no regrets – nothing left unsaid. But the trouble is that life keeps going. There are new things to be said. I can’t say that they are left unsaid because there was never an opportunity. 
You left so early.

…anyway, I don’t really know how to end this. I’m sorry if that was depressing or anything, I just felt like sharing and I know that there are many who can relate. When I learn about other people’s grief it makes me feel less alone and more connected with others, so I try not to hold back too much. If you powered through my ramblings… well, thanks ^_^

 

Here’s a picture of my mom and me because of reasons:

Image

Too Old

I’ve recently realized that I have – on some level – been making decisions based on the belief that I am “too old.” I know, I know… I can just see your eyes rolling. At the age of 23 I do understand that I am still very young. I most likely have many years of life ahead of me and I still have a lot of opportunities. But, somewhere, on my way to this stage in my life, I picked up these ideas about which opportunities I have passed up (never to encounter again) and where I “should” be in life by now. Two of the biggest examples of this (the ones that have affected me the most) are these:

  • I’m supposed to get married in my  early-to-mid-20’s and therefore should already be in a serious relationship that is heading in that direction.
  • Continuing my education, other than just getting some kind of certification, is out of the question because I’m too old. Most of my peers already have their Bachelor’s Degree or beyond at my age. All I can do now is work.

I didn’t really realize for a long time that I had been actually thinking those things. And, honestly, typing those thoughts out, knowing that people will read them is kind of embarrassing. But, I feel like this kind of thinking is quite common. We have these ideas of where we should be and what we should be doing once we’ve reached certain ages and when we pass those ages, we think we’ve missed something. We think it’s too late.

This wrong thinking (along with a few other things) greatly contributed to a sort of “waiting around,” kind of lifestyle that I’ve found myself in during the last couple of years. I lived believing that the next step in my life was to become a wife and mother and I was just trying to “sit tight” until the right guy came along. I lived a life forbidding myself to have any ambition or dreams as a single woman, thinking that my every step should be toward being a good wife and I should aim to rid myself of this “single” status [Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that fulfilling the roles of wife and mother would be a tremendous blessing and those roles are such high callings from God. These are roles that I wish were more valued and appreciated in our society. But there is something very wrong with putting time limits (or age limits) on these things. And there is something even more wrong with living a life solely focused on those roles]. I had set my vision of the future on this rigid path and would not allow myself to look around at other paths that might actually be a better way for me. And so I stifled those desires, that drive to do something more, without looking to see if pursuing those things might actually be the best road for my life. It made me much more willing to settle, which is almost never a good thing.

I’ve found that we operate on these arbitrary standards based (most likely) on the “average” or what we see most around us. I think we forget that reality is more complicated than that. Life doesn’t happen the same way for everyone and I don’t really understand why that would be considered a bad thing. Can we really say that Person A has a better life or better life circumstances than Person B, because Person A got married at 25, while person B got married at 45? Or because Person A finished school at 22 while Person B finished at 29? I think that most people would acknowledge the absurdity of that thinking, but we still often live with that kind of mindset. There is no magic number. There isn’t even a magic formula (you can live a content and happy life without a degree or a spouse, too!). Everyone’s life story is different and I think there is something astoundingly beautiful and interesting about that.

[Life update for those who are interested: due to this and a few other “revelations” so-to-speak and after much thought and prayer, I have come to the decision to go back to school to get my Bachelor’s Degree. It’s very scary for me, but I’m pretty excited about it! It’s going to take a while, but I think I am at a good place in my life to do this. I have much more ambition than I had before. I’m hoping to major in Linguistics – though, I might have to start out majoring in English due to some complications – and minor in Asian Studies with a focus in Korean 🙂 There are so many possibilities for the future and I am excited to get started!]

On Liking Things, Pt. 2: Playing the Part

Have you ever heard someone say “you don’t look like you would listen to that kind of music,” or something to that effect? I have. Many times. I used to think that way too – if a person likes a certain thing, they will probably dress a certain way, act a certain way, style their hair a certain way, and so on. But having gone through many different “phases” throughout my teen years and my current early adult years I’ve realized just how strange that is. This applies to all kinds of things, but I’m going to mostly talk about music here, because music has always been a huge deal to me and my taste in music has undergone more changes than my taste in just about anything else.

When I was in high school, my taste in music dictated the way that I dressed, the way that I talked (subtly), the guys I was attracted to, and the way that I saw (and judged) other people in general. Sometimes it would even dictate what I didn’t like (or would pretend not to like). I never really thought about why that was, it just sort of happened that way and I didn’t question it. I even sort of had this idea in my head that I had to like one genre of music more than any other genre of music – I couldn’t like two or more genres equally. My favorite genre was a huge part of my identity, or rather, how I viewed my own identity. When I was into 60’s and 70’s rock, I dressed sort of like a hippie and became somewhat obsessed with those eras. When I was really into 80’s metal I wore torn-up jeans, lots of bracelets and started wearing eye make-up. When I was into death metal and metalcore I wore those same torn-up jeans and black band t-shirts, and started hating most things that were girly. When I was into indie rock and indie folk, I  started wearing artsy-ish t-shirts and became a lot more judgmental and hipster-y (although, I never quite got hipster style down because I wasn’t cool enough). In each of these phases, I would pretend not to like things that would seem “contradictory” to whatever my main genre was at the time. Like, in my death metal/metalcore phase, I would never admit to liking any softer music; when I was in my indie phase, I would never admit to liking something that was on the radio. I would like what I was “supposed” to like and dislike what I wasn’t “supposed” to like. It was exhausting, really.

My first few years after high school, I was still sort of in my indie phase, but I had started to realize that I still kind of liked all the things from my previous phases. I still wanted to listen to a good ol’ Metallica song sometimes. I still liked singing along to Jimi Hendrix and headbanging to War of Ages. But I also really liked listening to Tchaikovsky or chilling out to some ambient tunes by Album Leaf. And, you know, I really liked some of those bands that were on the radio like Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay. And that’s when I started to get a bit confused. How was I supposed to be labeled, then? What was I going to say when people asked what kind of music I liked? How should I be dressing? Sometimes when people would find out that I liked Megadeth and Metallica they would look at me strangely and tell me that they would never have suspected that. That’s when I saw it. I saw the ridiculousness of the notion that you could tell what a person liked by looking at them. Saying that someone doesn’t look like they like a particular band or type of music is almost as weird as saying “You look like you hate tomatoes.” And yes, there are many cases where people do dress in a similar way to others who like the same things as them, but what I’m saying is that it’s all very arbitrary and relative and it can be limiting.

Currently, I am in a place where I don’t even have one favorite genre of music. I have a few genres that I like the most, but I like them equally. I do have a favorite band, though one of the reasons they are my favorite is that they experiment with different sounds and their style varies between albums and I actually don’t even really know what genre to consider them. Because my taste is sort of all over the place, the concept of identifying myself by any one thing that I like just doesn’t make sense. And I’m beginning to wonder why anyone does that. Aren’t we more than any one taste we have? Can’t we like something without having to look or act the part? I find that I enjoy life more and connect with more people if I like all kinds of things and don’t worry so much about trying to “seem” a certain way 🙂

On Liking Things – Pt. 1: Like What You Like

Recently there have been certain things that I’ve been getting into that seem totally cool when I’m by myself, but when I’m around other people, I feel a little embarrassed about it and even feel like maybe I should hide the fact that I like these things. This, of course, is not the first time in my life that I have had this sort of feeling about something and I can pretty much guarantee that anyone who is reading this has also felt this way at some point. It’s like that time when I find a band that I really like and I listen to them over and over and over again while I’m by myself, going about my daily life, but then when I have a friend in my car – listening to the same music that I’ve been practically addicted to for the past few weeks – I hear it differently. I start to listen to the music with their ears. I hear it as I think they will hear it and I notice all the little things about the songs that I assume they will not like. And I don’t know whether to apologize for having such uncool tastes or start laying out my reasons for thinking the band is great. Sometimes it doesn’t even come to that decision because I avoid playing the band altogether and choose a band that I’m pretty sure my friend will think is super cool. Something that will make me seem hip and impressive. And I’m like this with lots of things: movies, books, clothes, makeup, shows, and so on and so forth.

There is always a self-consiousness when I show someone something that I like. Sometimes when I like something that I know most of my peers think is lame, I feel this strange urge to confess to them that I like this thing just to get rid of the dread that they will find out on their own in some unexpected way. That’s my get-it-out-there-as-soon-as-possible-so-we-can-all-just-get-over-it approach. Then there’s the make-sure-everyone-knows-how-much-I-know-that-this-thing-is-lame-but-I’m-going-to-like-it-anyway approach, which is dangerously close to the, currently popular, I-like-this-thing-ironically-I’m-so-cool approach. Like, what is that? Why can’t we just call it what it is? It’s a guilty pleasure. But why are we even feeling guilty about it? What’s with this pressure to only like things that are considered cool by the people around us? It’s especially absurd because a lot of the time, everyone around you has their own set of guilty pleasures and some of them might even be the SAME ones that you are trying to hide from them! It should be okay for us to like what we like and not have to pretend otherwise. Right? And why is “cool” even the goal? Maybe we should be thinking about our likes and dislikes a bit more complexly than that. Can’t I think something is kind of dumb but also kind of see the merits in it and like it just the same? And can’t I dislike something while also appreciating it and understanding why other people like it? I’m learning to respect the preferences of others even when they are so different from my own and it’s actually helping me to respect and relate to other people.

Anyway, I know it’s difficult to just stop feeling a little embarrassed when I like something that my peers think is super lame, and I probably won’t be changing in this respect any time soon. But I am going to make an effort to just like what I like without trying to pretend like I don’t or being super sheepish about it and I think you should too 🙂

 

Just a Quick Check-In

Hello readers! I just wanted to say a few things really quick:

1) Thank you so much to everyone who has talked to me about my writing since my last post. You have all been very encouraging and supportive and I really needed that 🙂 [feel free to keep that coming]

2) I know it has been a while since my last post (3 weeks? or something) and I had declared in that post that I will be posting more and writing more in general. I AM writing more, I just haven’t had much to show for it yet 😛

3) I’ve been trying to set a doable goal for how often I will post on here and I think I’ve settled on writing at least 2 posts per month (I know, I’m running out of time in January!). I might change it to once a week or something when I get the hang of it again, but we’ll see.
[EDIT: I’ve been having trouble doing 2 posts per month, so I’m changing this goal to 1 post per month to make it less stressful for me. But I might still have some months where I post more than once!)

4) I’ve been trying really hard to write my next post but nothing has been turning out quite right. I actually have a lot of ideas about what I want to write about. I sat down the other day with the goal of fleshing out a couple of those ideas and turning one of them into something post-able, but it just wasn’t happening. I can’t force these things. However, I have a new topic that I thought of today while I was doing dishes at work (my prime thinking time), and I will try to write that one before the month is over! I’ve got 3 days! To writing! TO VICTORY!

See you soon with something (hopefully) more substantial! ^_^

Why I Stopped Writing

It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post… and even my last one came after quite a long hiatus. I’m not sure I know how to do this anymore…

It used to come so easily. I used to write all the time and would post blogs a few times each month. I wonder at how easy it was back then. [But maybe it was harder than I currently remember; nostalgia often accompanies altered memories.] I don’t really know what happened, but somewhere down the line, writing got harder for me and I was no longer really feeling encouraged to keep at it. It started to seem like this silly dream that I’d been chasing while I was in college and now it’s time for me to grow up and face the world. This world of adulthood where surviving is all that matters and writing isn’t going to take me anywhere because I’ll never be a great writer anyway. Take this line of thinking (part realistic, partly flawed) and add major anxiety issues complete with panic attacks and periods of depression and… well, maybe you can see why I’ve stopped writing.

I think that somewhere in the midst of all that, I forgot that writing is a part of me. Writing is important, even if I won’t ever be able to make a living from it because when I am not writing, there is a hole that grows bigger and bigger inside of me until I no longer know who I am or what I’m doing. If I lose writing, I lose a part of myself.

I think I also forgot that it’s okay for me to be bad at this. Writing has been my “thing” for a while now and I often feel like my friends and family are expecting everything I write to be phenomenal. I live in constant terror that everyone will find out that I’m not that good at writing, that I’m just a poser with her head in the clouds. This is why I often don’t let people read stories I’ve written and have even deleted some of the things that I wrote. And I know it’s so stupid and unproductive, but sometimes my fear gets the better of me.

So anyway… lately it seems that every time I try to write (which is not as often as it should be), I end up writing a lot about how I can’t write anymore (yes, I am aware of the irony). A few people have been asking me about my writing and I’m beginning to realize how weak my excuses are in comparison to how good I feel when I am writing… no matter how hard I have to work at it. And I know that I need to just write and keep writing whether or not I’m feeling it. That’s what writers do. They write. They write because they have to. They write because they love it (and maybe hate it a little too). They write because they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they weren’t writing. I have come to that point where I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. So I’m going to start writing again. And if it sucks, it sucks. I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to try to post blogs more often (I’m not sure if I’m going to make a regular schedule yet, but that is a possibility) and I’m going to start writing stories again… even when I don’t have any ideas. I’m also toying with the idea of creating another blog, separate from this one where I can just post writing prompts and free-writes just to keep the ideas flowing and for accountability (we’ll see). 

So… I guess I’m back to blogging. Some of my next posts might be more rambling about how I can’t write anymore, so I’m sorry in advance. I might need to do that a bit just to get past this terrible case of writer’s block… or whatever it is I’m blaming this all on. 

Oh! And, if you are one of the people who sees me in person on a regular basis: please bug me about my writing. I need to be bugged! (You know what I mean)

See you soon!

[PS – I think it is obvious how rusty I am. Thanks for putting up with the awkward flow and lack of structure that characterizes this post.]

Short Indeed.

The other day, my dad took me up to arrowhead to meet an old high school friend of his. While we were on our way up the mountain we came to some slow-moving traffic. After a little while, we saw that the left lane was closed off and there were many emergency vehicles up ahead. Naturally, we expected to see two damaged automobiles, but what we saw was far from what was expected. As we approached the place where the emergency vehicles were stopped, I could see some twisted metal approaching. My jaw dropped and an involuntary gasp escaped my mouth as I saw what was causing the commotion. A mangled pick-up truck was sticking out of the pavement. It had fallen front-first and collided with the road. It must have hit with quite a bit of force because the truck-bed that stuck out from the ground was bent back and skewed. I looked to my right to see where the truck undoubtedly had fallen from, it was quite a long drop. I’m sorry to say, there is no way the driver could survive such a crash. We drove past the horrible scene and continued up the mountain. We came to a turnout that was occupied by a few emergency vehicles. My dad, being a curious fireman, decided to stop in the turnout as well. We looked over the edge but it was sort of hard to see the road below the cliff as there were plants and rocks in our view. But we could tell that this was the place where the truck had fallen from. My dad told me that there is no way this was an accident. The driver must have done it on purpose because it was quite a large turnout and there would have been plenty of time to hit the breaks before accelerating off the edge. We got back in the car and talked about what we had seen. I couldn’t get over the thought of what it must have been like to be falling off a cliff from such a height. I couldn’t imagine what was going through that person’s mind. The rest of our day went on just fine, I met my dad’s high school friend and his family and all that (lovely people by the way) and while we were out in Arrowhead Village they ran into a man who my dad’s friend knew. He’s a fireman, so he knew a bit about the crash we had seen earlier. Turns out it was a suicide. It was so intense to realize that I had witnessed the aftermath of someone’s decision to end their own life. I thought about that person and what could have possibly driven them to do such a thing. I thought of the shock and pain that those who knew him must have felt when they found out what had happened.
I’ve actually been thinking about death quite a bit recently. I am probably not the only one what with all these recent celebrity deaths. But I have mainly been reflecting on the death of my mother. After a year it is still incredibly strange for me to realize that she died. It seems like it shouldn’t have happened; nobody saw it coming.  I look back and realize that there have been so many deaths close to me in the past year or so (people that I knew personally or people that I knew of). I think because of all this, I am beginning to hold on quite loosely to life and the lives around me. I am almost expecting that everyone is going to die around me. Of course if someone else close to me dies, I will be devastated, but I don’t think I would be all that surprised. The feebleness of human life is more evident to me than it has ever been before. I have always known that everyone has to die sometime, but I never quite grasped it as I have now. So the truth that I’m getting at in this relentless rambling is that life is short. I know, I know, you’ve heard that a million times. But if you really sit and think about it, it can cause you to change your outlook. Thinking about these things has made me realize that there is so much more I want to do. So much more I should be striving for. I haven’t been glorifying God with all this time that He has allotted to me. I’ve been spending so much time on selfish enjoyments and desires instead of fulfilling my true purpose: to point to the King. I hope and pray that others will come to similar realizations and use what little time is left to serve the Lord. Our lives are so short compared to eternity, we only get a few years here on this earth and many of us are using it to make ourselves miserable in the attempt to find happiness. We need to stop thinking so much about ourselves and focus our attentions on the Creator.

Deuteronomy 6:5  (NASB)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Ecclesiastes 12:6  (NASB)
“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

I Need to Practice!

Obviously, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new blog post…I’m not entirely sure why that is. The semester ended about a month ago, so I really could have been more active with my writing and whatnot. But, for some reason I’ve shied away from it. “It” being writing of course. It’s strange because I really love to write, but for quite some time now I have been neglecting, my journal, blog, and novel. I started to write a new blog a few weeks ago, but I saved it as a draft and never finished it for some reason (haha). I only recently started working on my book again, which is good…I really want to get some sort of draft done by the end of the year. Well anyway…I am going to try to write a lot more often, especially now that I have a lot more time on my hands, as school is out and I’m still looking for employment. However, the main reason that I have decided to jump back into writing is because a new opportunity has come about.
I recently went over to a friend’s house to talk and have breakfast. We talked about things we are going through and things the Lord has been showing us. Then we played battleship and between our firings of “E-4” and “A-7” my friend would ask me random questions and we’d go off on little tangents. We somehow came to the subject of my love of writing. I told her a bit about the book I’m working on and whatnot and then she got excited and I could tell that some sort of connection was being made in her mind. She told me about an opportunity in our church. She said that a lady was looking for someone who could write about different events and goings on in the church for missionaries and other brothers and sisters who are not able to be there. This opportunity is right up my alley! I have been wanting to become more involved in this church and I also have always wanted to use my writing for some purpose other than my own personal gain. I talked to the lady today at church and gave her my information, so hopefully, I will be able to serve the church in this way soon. But, for now, I think I need to keep my hands typing and my pen moving. I feel I am a bit rusty with my words and I could use some practice and warming up. So hopefully, I’ll be more frequent in my blogging from now on. If you have any constructive criticism for me, do tell! 🙂

Why, Hello Again

I don’t really have a plan for this post. I just feel like I hardly ever post new blogs anymore. I used to put them up at least once a week, but now, I think I’ve either run out of things to say, or I’ve lost confidence in my ability to write. I think it’s mostly the second one. I probably am not so sure of my writing anymore because I spend less time reading than I used to. I don’t have as much free time to do so, and when I do have free time I spend it doing other things. More often than not “other things” includes, wasting a lot of time on YouTube. I used to spend my free time either reading a book, writing, spending time with friends or watching television, but now I spend a considerable amount of my time watching new videos from my favorite YouTube channels. Pathetic. Waste. Of. Time. Don’t get me wrong, there are many brilliant and entertaining things on YouTube, but I just don’t think it is very good for someone, such as myself, to spend such a large amount of time on it. But alas, I’ve become addicted. I sign in to YouTube at least three times a day to check if any of the people I am subscribed to have posted a new video. I currently am subscribed to about 52 different channels and I now join in a collaboration channel with some of my friends (no, I will not give you a link to it because, frankly, I am embraced of my lack of speaking skill, or any ability to be interesting…it’s a wonder anybody reads these blogs). There is, however, an upside to my compulsive YouTube-video-watching, I am learning about people (not just specific people, but people in general). It is interesting to see other people’s points of view and how different they are. It is interesting to see what people outside of America think about certain issues. It’s a bit refreshing to look at things from different perspectives.
          But anyway, I guess now I’ll tell you how school is going. That seems to be one of the first things that people ask me about whenever I talk to them. How’s school? Well, it’s going good. This semester is definitely better than last semester. I find all of the subjects that I’m taking to be very interesting and I am learning a lot. It’s also nice that this semester I actually have friends in my classes; It does really make a difference to have friends there. My only complaint about school right now is the reading. Oh the reading! So very much reading! Now, most people are aware that I love to read, but I love to read novels, not textbooks. It is so hard for me to just sit down and read a textbook. Many times I find myself sitting down to read my textbook then a novel catches my eye. “Andrea…” it seems to whisper, “why waste your time with that boring textbook when you could be reading something entertaining.” Seriously. More often than not, I give in the the novel’s tempting whispers and end up not being prepared for class. Go figure. Maybe I should lock up my novels until the end of the semester. Oh, but then I’d lose my sanity!

                     [That second paragraph seems to somewhat contradict the first one….oh well. You can figure it out.]

         There was another thing I wanted to talk about: spring break. Yes, spring break is coming up next month. That wonderful week where I normally just relax and pretend that it’s summer. This time, I’m going to be going up to northern California to visit with some family. I will be riding on a plane by myself! Well…there will be other passengers of course, but by myself in the sense that nobody I know is traveling with me. I’m not afraid of flying (I’ve flown before) so I’m actually rather excited. Then I will get to stay with my aunt and uncle and visit with my cousins. It’s been so long since I’ve actually gone up there, They are normally the ones to travel down here. So, that’s exciting 🙂

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s all I have to say for now. I just thought I’d type out another blog. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Plus it’s nice to communicate in some way, as my mouth is really numb at the moment (I just got back from the dentist) and I can’t really talk without sounding like I have some sort of speech impediment. I’m so hungry but I can’t eat! AAAAHHHHH!!! Okay, I’m done now. 

Until next time. 🙂

A New Semester and Some Other Ramblings

I started the new semester this week. So far it looks like it will be an interesting semester. Hopefully it won’t be too stressful for me. Two of my classes look like they will be a lot of work and I’ll need to be very disciplined to keep up. I’m taking Cultural Geography, U.S. History, Music Appreciation, and Eastern Philosophy. The two that seem more difficult are the cultural geography and eastern philosophy classes. But luckily both of those class are things that I really want to learn about and am actually quite excited about. The other two classes will be pretty laid back. I think I’ll be extremely busy this semester. I hope I’ll still have time to work on my novel. I need to try not to put that before my school work, though. I hope this semester goes a lot better than last semester did. 

I don’t really have much to say right now. I’m kind of out of it right now because I’ve been doing homework for most of the day. I’m in an extremely quiet, calm mood right now. 

Oh! I don’t think I mentioned on here, I got a new car (well, new to me, it’s used). It’s a 1998 Accord and it’s in really good condition (I named it Captain Accordion). It’s better than my Altima was, so I guess the accident turned out to be a good thing. I actually got the car on my mom’s birthday (Jan. 5) so that’s kind of weird. On that day we just had all the family get together in remembrance of her. We had a cake and sang happy birthday, which seemed odd to me…age no longer exists where she is. After we spent time with the family, my dad and I just hung out together for the rest of the day and I got my car that night. My dad said that she would have liked that I got a car on her birthday. We bought some really colorful flowers to put by her urn. I got a picture of her in a really nice frame for christmas so now that’s up by her urn too, it looks like a little memorial for her. It’s taken me a while, but I am really realizing that God is taking care of me through all of this. I am starting to get a glimpse of how much He loves me. 

So far this year I’m already learning a lot. I think that this year will contain just as much change as last year. And hopefully with less heartache.