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Archive for January, 2009

Purple Violets

I watched a movie this weekend called Purple Violets. In it a women (played by Selma Blair) finds herself in her thirties in an unhappy marriage, doing a job she doesn’t love, and not doing the thing she wanted to do in the first place: write. When her old love from college asked her why she stopped writing, confessing, he was always jealous of her writing skills, she responds, “I guess I loss my confidence.”

Hm.

I love to write. I used to write all the time. I would find myself taking notes in class, and in the margins, squeezing in poems or starting short stories. When I was in high school, instead of writing notes to one of my best friends, Mollie, I’d just write her short stories. And Olivia and I would spend hours on the phone making up stories and telling them to each other. All on the fly.

And now, I just…I get this anxious feeling whenever I try to write for real. My creativity feels blocked. And it feels too hard to do the unblocking. To write about the things I haven’t been writing about until it’s all out there. Anymore, my own stories, my own voice, has lost its confidence.

But, no more excuses. This is the year of living slow enough to hear the whispers. That voice of mine may be choked, but it ain’t dead.

I have a plan. And it will start tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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I’m a Calendar Girl

It’s been an odd week.

I’m not sure if it is from slowing down and listening to my body, my heart, my spirit. What I need, what I want, what’s good for me, what’s bad for me, but it’s been a quiet week. I find myself just sitting and thinking. Walking and thinking. I find myself feeling odd and awkward at human interaction. I feel fragile and vulnerable. I feel at the beginning of life, or a new season. I feel my old skin, my winter skin, dry and heavy at my feet. I feel tired from the wintry depression I so often find myself in. And yet, there are quiet strings of hope and faith. I find them in odd places as I stand by my old shed skin. I find them in the prayers I have written on scraps of paper and stuck in jars and boxes all over my room. I find them in the smile of a friend when they greet me. I find it in the 70 degree January day. And I find it those deep, still waters that haven’t left me yet.

I feel like Jo, in Little Women (which to date, is still one of my all-time favorite movies) when she refuses Laurie and finds out that Amy is going to Europe with Aunt March instead of her.* She knows she’s made the right decision, but where to go from there? And what to do when being on the right path feels so odd. So, I’ll sit wrapped up in Marmee’s arms, but then, it’s off you go. “Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You’re ready to go out and – and find a good use for your talent. Tho’ I don’t know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it.” And, we’ll see what comes of it.

And it’s like a red bird in winter. If you haven’t, read the poem “Red Bird” by Mary Oliver. In fact, there is a red bird who often finds himself resting in the bare branches in my backyard in moments where I find myself overwhelmed with anger, sadness, or general discontentment. And he reminds me that even though it’s winter, the red bird will still come. At that, I’m always undone.

I don’t mean to sound to somber. It’s not like that entirely. I have joy and love and hope that is real. I find myself taken, though, by the shadows of fear, for what these next few months might contain, and insecurities. But, just because you’re standing in shadows, doesn’t mean the light is gone. Just readjust. I’m learning to trade hiding in shadows for resting in shade, but sometimes I forget.

Nothing gives my strings of hope and faith more strength than the reminder that though I feel lost, I’m still found. That I can be both a little bit lost, and a little bit found.

Well, until next time.

P.S. The soundtrack to this post is “Calendar Girl” by Stars. Beautiful.

*I’m not saying that I recently refused any sort of marriage proposals. Hell, I’m not saying I refused a date. That’s plot point is moot, in my case.

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Let me just say this, I hate being sick. I’m not sure that there is one redeemingly glamorous thing about it. Mucus, red nose, dry lips, unmade up face, and that, “I feel worse than I look” look in your vacant eyes. However, I have prided myself over the past few years as having a remarkable immune system. I got sick, sure, but give me one day, two doses of cough syrup, a ton of sleep, and I was golden. Back in action the next day.

I must recant.

It started Tuesday. I felt stuffy. I’d been fighting it for a while. In my head, I convinced myself that my nose ring was preventing my slight cold from healing. But, suddenly, on Tuesday, I thought that new levels of mucus had arrived. Then, Wednesday, it got worse. I sounded sick and was exhausted. I went to work at my first job, but was exhausted, and called in to my second job. I laid on the couch and watched a lifetime movie with Kristen Stewart. I took a nap, watched American Idol, ate rice, dragged myself to the McNellie’s to celebrate Lauren’s birthday, albeit lacklusterly on my part, and then went right back to bed. Thursday, I drug myself to class, but after 3 hours of only being able to breathe out of my mouth, I called my mom, who instructed me to, “Go home, take nyquil, and sleep as long as you can.” So I did. I got an email from my grandma instructing me of appropriate medicinces, and slept for 4 hours, woke up, ate some soup and watched the Office and went to sleep again. Friday, I started feeling better, but got tired quickly, and kept remembering my mom’s admonishments to, “Take it easy,” and “Don’t over do it,” I skipped out on my first job, and went to the second, and then babysat. Finally, Saturday, I was just plain mad about still being sick. I called mom and afforded her of every single home remedy she knew, and I did them all. I took cough syrup with expectorant, I vick vapor rubbed feet and chest, I took cold medicine, I slept, I sprayed warm salt water up my nose, I drank hot lemon salt water, I took vitamin C out the wazoo, and I slept some more.

And today, I woke up feeling better. Good enough to meet a friend for lunch and laugh about the twist up emotionality of men and women these days. Still, I remember my mom’s words, and I remember my own desire to live slow. So, I am trying. It’s not easy. It feels natural to fill up every second of my day and mind with activity. But, sometimes, it’s nice, to just sit. To just be.

That, and I’m really excited for my birthday which is in just under 3 weeks.

This post was largely pointless, and I’ll try to say something more entertaining soon.

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Books and tears

They seem to go hand in hand for me.

I cry when they’re over, because that story is finished. I cry in the middle, because something the characters have it so hard, and even fiction life can be unfair. I cry sometimes because I know it’s not just fiction life that is unfair, but real life too. Actually, just generally, since last year, I cry more than I used to, but, in all honesty, those tears need to be cried, so we should wear them proudly.

That being said, I still find myself saying quietly to myself that I need to read more nonfiction. These tears are still foreign to me.

One of these days, I’ll learn. That sometimes, crying is better than laughing. Sometimes hard is better than easy. Sometimes quiet is better than noise. And sometimes you get it wrong before you get it right.

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A Good Sign

That I am already updating again.

Today and yesterday have just been one of those days where I honestly wonder if any one else has the laughable life that I do. I feel like I’ve just say back in my blue chair, called Olivia, and had to laugh at how ridiculous my life is, sometimes.

First, yesterday, I decided to go running. I have always wanted to be a runner. But, let’s face it, I’m more of a Sunday barefoot stroller. Still, for whatever reason, that desire has been inside of me, and recently, it was reawakened. So, yesterday, I decided to go with it. I put on some black leggings and then some black cut off sweats over it, my I heart NY shirt, and a grey hoodie, my orange and grey sneakers, and was off. Well, almost. Until I went outside and realized how drat cold it was, went back inside, put my hood up and added a brown, orange, and green scarf to the mix, then I was off. I started down the street I live on at a brisk walk, muttering under my breath about the fact that Oklahoma could no sooner decide what season it was than I could go a day without checking facebook, but after a few blocks I started to run. Well, you know, sort of jog, is probably a fairer description. I made it about a block before whispering a profanity and slowing back to a walk, and cursing lungs, which were certainitly breathing fire. I walked a while longer, pondering the possibility of having an asthma attack if I didn’t have asthma, and then ran another block. I had planned to do this for a fair distance. But, after that round of running, where I tried to look really cute as I ran by the boy who was fixing his car, but was sure I looked ridiculous, I muttered something about being sadistic and walked the rest of the way home. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.

In other news, my dear little car, Fern, is in the shop. Apparently, I must have said something offensive to her, because my dear hippie alter ego is not being very gracious to me. But, it’s really great to have guys who will look at your car for you. It’s really great until they wash it, get the spark plugs wet, and cost you another $50, not to mention the hassle of now having to tow it to the shop because it won’t start. Still, it’s really great that they feel super bad and buy you champagne to make up for it.

That’s just my luck.

There aren’t many things that truely drive me crazy and irritate me, I dislike them so much. But, the city of Wichita in Kansas is one of them.

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Old year, New year

Well, it would seem I have let almost a whole year pass before updating this again. I do apologize. However, this time I am not going to make any empty promises of continuing to update, I’m just going to quietly hope my blogging bug keeps up. And, I must admit that comments sure help the inspiration factor.

So, now that my blog has been officially resurrected, what is there to say?

2008 was a crazy year. I rememeber vividly lying on my bed but a few days into the year, crying my eyes out and pouring my heart out to God, and feeling like this year was so important and would be good, but hard. And so it seemed that my whole year was that indeed. Good, but hard. And yet, looking back into this year, I just feel a smile in my soul. I came face to face with all sorts of situations for the first time. I had to make adult decisions and sometimes I made bad decisions, but no matter it was still good.

There was Practicum. Having to go into the hospital once a week and try desperately to find something to give these people who were sick, sometimes dying, or watching someone die, and feeling so lost and small and all I wanted to do was run out of the hospital at the end of the week and curl into bed and weep for people who had nothing and weep for all the nothings I felt too.

And learning that just showing up meant something.

There was being an RA. There were the rules I thought were any range from pointless to outright ridiculous. There was trying to figure out how you take care of yourself and other people well. There were horrible failures as an RA and friend. There were great successes. And often, there were terrifying messes. There were deep breaths and great sighs, and there was all of us, just going on and trying to live our lives.

And learning that just showing up meant something.

There was a barrage of old friends and new friends and lost friends and found friends. There were crushes and tasty treats and betrayals and unbelievable loyalties. There was learning that relationships are two people, so is one person ever the only one at fault? There was learning that I hadn’t learned anything, and was in the same place, but via different routes. There was picking up and starting all over again.

And learning that just showing up meant something.

There was finding a voice again. Realizing it was ok to stand up and say, “That’s not ok.” There was freaking out and yelling at people and being laughed at. There were encouraging words and finally a place beginning to form that would have me speak and whisper and yell and sometimes say nothing. And trying to remember that if it can’t be said in grace and love, it needn’t be said.

And that’s 2008. Maybe tomorrow or later I’ll post about all the music and books and movies that guided me through the year, but for now, all I can say is 2009, here I come. I’m sure you’ll be full of great change, but I’m ready for you.

All I want to do in 2009 is live slow enough to hear the whispers of the earth and the people in it. Their secret joys and defeats and the ones in my own soul as well too. So, we can learn to take each others hands and plant trees so the people behind us have some shade.

Hope you laugh really hard today,

Whitney

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