The Process of Processing

28 03 2014

I am a TV/movie junkie.  I love these arenas of entertainment.  I love watching movies.  For an hour and a half to two hours, you are immersed completely in another world, the world of the movie.  You get caught up with the characters, feel emotions for someone else, and in the end, when the resolution is finished, and the happily ever after music is cued, you’re satisfied.  The problem has been handled, the situation rectified, and the characters of the movie are better off when they came.  I’m a movie junkie, because for a while, I get to leave my own world, and all my own problems, and enter someone else’s reality, and I get to help them deal with and move forward.  I get to feel someone else’s emotions besides my own, and I get to focus on someone else’s situations and scenarios instead of having to deal with the reality that is my life right now.  It allows me to feel like I’m being selfless for a time, and helping someone else get through their misery, to alleviate my own misery.  In the show, Dawson’s Creek, Dawson says to Joey that he believes that all of the answers to the questions of life lie in the correctly chosen Spielberg movie.  I would like to make the declaration that while I do not believe that Spielburg’s movies can handle all of my questions to life, but the movie genre in general proves to be very helpful.  It’s nice to have a resolution, to see the conflict finished, to derive the lessons the movie characters arrive at without having to go through the experience yourself.  It gives me hope that if this character can survive this trauma, then I too, will one day walk forward from my current situations with a head held high, guarding the lessons learned in my heart, and walking forward proud, to meet the next scenario and situations.  If in Steel Magnolias, I can learn that life goes on despite the death handed to me, and that my life doesn’t end with death, then I have the assurance that this is not the end of my life, that my love will go on and live in the lives of those that I care about, no matter what may come.  If through the Harry Potter franchise, I can remember the true value of friendship and relationships, and I can pull closer, those whom I care about, and lean on them to pull me through, then I know that I can defeat the challenges that lie ahead, no matter if they are dementors or Voldemort himself.  If through Beauty and the Beast, I can learn that love changes people and helps them to grow into the person that they are meant and supposed to be.  If I can learn that even though I may be a little different, I’m still important and I can still challenge people’s first assumptions, I have the courage to move forward, no matter how alone I may feel.  If through Days of Thunder, I can realize that people can rise above the pettiness and can do the right thing for their friend, then I too, will be able to rise above my circumstances and press forward unto victory.  If through Gone with the Wind, I can remember the strength and the courage that the human spirit can have, despite all possibilities, I am encouraged to remain and to persevere despite all obstacles that I face, and know that I am not alone.  

Movies allow me to refocus all of my efforts on trying to make it through this life, unto another person, and taking lessons from another example.   For a moment in time, I am allowed the luxury of getting glimpses into another’s lives, even if it’s only for a few minutes or hours at a time.  For that reason, movies are sorta like those acquaintances that you have for a short time in your life, these people come and go out of your life quietly, but their presence is felt often long after they are gone.  I have this friend that I had my first year of college, and for a short time, she was a wonderful friend, so compassionate and so lovingly helpful.  Then our lives pulled us away from each other.  There’s still good feelings that I send out to her whenever I miss her, or think of her, and I like to think that she does the same to me if she ever thinks of me.  But what she gave me in that short amount of time, I can never give away.  For that short period of time, she was a very good friend, and I’m so grateful to have been able to share my life with her.  I realize that my experience with her is not typical of many people who have people who come and go out of their lives….but I am thankful nonetheless.

But shows are an entirely different experience.  I love television shows, on a deeper level, almost.  TV is different, because it’s almost like you share life with these people.  I feel like I intimately know the television characters that I live life with.  I’m friends with Meredith and Christina.  I adore Izzy.  I’m the female incarnate of Dawson Leery.  I am infatuated with Joey Potter.  I always roll my eyes at JD and Turk, and I understand Elliot’s frantic freak outs.  I make popcorn for the kids while hearing about Barney’s latest escapade.  I bawl my eyes out over the Ross/Rachel issue.  TV shows are like the people you share your life with.  Those people who show up, and they don’t leave, they refuse to leave, because you need them and they need you, you both need someone to share your life with.  You need someone to drink beer with at the usual pub.  You need someone to hold on to your feet when your heart isn’t beating.  You need to fight with someone.  You need someone to be there when someone else you loved dies.  You need someone to help you pick the pieces up of your life and over-analyze your life over the latest movie on TV.  You need to have a discussion about irrelevant things, but they become something special.  You need to have coffee.  Oh, coffee.  I could write a whole ‘nother blog about that.  And the other people that pop in and out of your lives, the people that become known as the “bleach blonde waiter” or the “singing lady” or the “ex-wife”, they become people that you remember together, and stories that you share with each other.  They know all the stories, and all of the people, and they are the people that you can be locked in a bathroom for an hour with, and process all of your recent scenarios. 

By being able to disappear out of my own life for awhile, check out of my situations for awhile and into the reality of someone else, I am able to finally process and understand the circumstances of my own life.  And this makes it easier. 

Reality sucks sometimes.  It really does.  There’s heartache, there’s stress and there’s mold you have to deal with.  But by taking a time out, it just gives me a break, it gives me a rest.  I get to take a hiatus from the struggles that I face.  But when the resolutions of the movies or episodes come, I walk away, just a little more optimistic.  And then, more than ever, do I realize that I am strong enough to survive.  I am capable of growing up and learning from everything.  I am capable of moving on.  If they can do it, then I can too. 

And that is part of the process!  What a joy! 



26 03 2014

As soon as I think that I could not possibly be more grateful and more thankful for friendship and the loves I have in my life, suddenly I am overwhelmed with an attitude of gratefulness with my life!

I am so grateful for those in my life, how they have supported me and are with me all the way.  I’m so grateful to share my life with such beautiful people.  

If there is anything else to be said about my life, at the end of it all is the clear message:  I am loved.

That is all for today.

Trials and Drawing Closer

22 03 2014

If I were to be honest, my life has ebbed and flowed seamlessly through periods and between periods of time where I am struggling and barely scraping by, and almost drowning in the harsh realities of life.  Namely, there are periods of struggle and periods of victory.  I feel like the last year, I’ve been struggling in many different ways.  At first, I did not claim the anchor and rock that has always pulled me through these times of struggle….and then when that new anchor gave away, I then turned back to the rock that I’ve turned to time and time again, and I have re-found a sense of love and security and safety there again, where I couldn’t find in that new anchor.  In the time of struggle, I go back to that rock and anchor more fervently and faithful than I am in times of victory.

That anchor is the love of God.  That rock is the faithfulness of God.  The steadfast of my life is in the love of God. 

I’ve tried to be cool in the past.  I’ve tried to claim casual faithfulness of God, tried to rid myself of the “christian” banner.  In all senses and purposes, I do not claim to be a christian, because when you label something, it becomes associated with something that most of the time, doesn’t even fit the description.  You think “christian” today, and I think Chris Tomlin, churches that are against anything progressive, and you find alot of bitter people against the world.  I’ve tried to distance myself from that label, and in many ways I am both that label and not that label.  But you know what, it doesn’t matter.  Regardless of what I call it or claim it, or how you call it and claim it, what I am is my own personal relationship with God.

Which is weird.  When the contemporary church welcomes people into the fold, they call it a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”  Which honestly, is quite weird because we don’t try to teach them and disciple them into a relationship with God.  We just assume they find their way by joining a church and getting busy in that church.  Don’t get me wrong, I direct the kids’ Christmas program each year and love it, but that busy-ness does not a relationship with God make. 

I think this focus on the personal, individual relationship with God is what makes me different.  I’m not afraid to stick out of the “christian norm” and quite frankly, I find Chris Tomlin’s music to sound all the same, just different words.  Quite frankly, I think our progressing society is a sign of how all things are being made new, and different.  And quite frankly, I have no time for grudges or bitterness, and my relationship with God liberates me from all of that crap that makes your life 10x more difficult. 

But, back to the main point, I find myself coming back to the anchor that has proven me to be stable time and time again.  In the midst of a raging personal storm, I have found quietness and stillness, peace and stability, and I have found myself again.  It’s quite nice and comforting to know that I always have a place I can go, to find that love, support and acceptance, regardless of what the world thinks of me and my situations.  I’ve tried to be so cool and claim that I’m not a believer, but the reality is that I am.  I am so very much a believer, because I have myself and identity wrapped up into something else other than myself and the people I share my life with.  Many of my motives and intentions are not of my own doing, but I find myself doing things and saying things out of a deeply rooted love.  I wish that all people knew what I have found, because it is so valuable.  If you know me at all, I’m sure you know how much it means to me to be able to take a time out from the world and spend time in deep communication and friendship with God. 

So again, the faithfulness of God is a sturdy place to lean upon.  It is a sturdy place to come back to, to find peace and hope and joy.  I know it’s all going to be okay because I have been shown that in the past as well.  Thank goodness. 

Seasonal vs Millennial Relationships pt 2

14 03 2014

In our last entry and encounter with Living Single, we talked about the differences between seasonal and millennial relationships.  In the first part we specifically examined the seasonal relationships in our lives that we encounter, those with an emotional attachment and those without. 

As a recap, seasonal relationships are those that simply exist for a short period of time, and then after that period of time is over, the relationship ceases to exist.  It doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time or a useless pursuit, it just means that the time has come for forward movements.

Personally, the relationships that take up the most of my time and the most of the areas in my heart are those relationships that are what I call, Millennial.  When I think of that word, I think of the word that was thrown around circa 2000, when we talked about how we were going and entering into the new “millennium.”  Which was really weird to think about, and is weird to think about, what with the whole misunderstandings of the Y2K phenomenon and of course, the ever-present “end times” prophecies.  (Additionally, personally I think Jesus is sitting up in heaven laughing at all of these end-times prophets and yelling “psych!” whenever they are, yet again, proven wrong, but that’s just me.)  Anyways, I say all of that to incite the meaning of millennial, as being a really, really long time.  The differences between millennial relationships and seasonal relationships are the type of commitment that is made.  Sometimes, it’s a conscious commitment and sometimes it is a commitment that is just simple fact. 

Obvious Millennial RelationshipsOkay, that’s a lame title, I know, but these are the types of relationships that you keep that you seemingly have no real choice in the matter.  Yup, I’m talking about family.  There was never a time where I felt like I had to choose my family, and it was just obvious that I was going to be committed to them regardless of what happened.  My family, particularly on my father’s side, have been there for me through everything.  And I do mean everything.  To think of not sharing my life with my grandparents, my father or my aunt and uncle…the thought is unfathomable.  These are obvious because these are choices that you haven’t ever had to make, they’ve just already decided on you.  When I was born into my family, I was accepted by my family and taken in as one of their own.  They raised me, cleaned my butt, taught me right and wrong, and still teach me more about growing up.  But they made a commitment to me, to raising me and being there for me, come what may.  Because of that commitment, I also made the likewise commitment to them, to take care of them in their old age, bring them things and help out when needed.  My commitment to them is a response to their obvious commitment to me. 

Now, let me include something here….I recognize accept and affirm those who have sucky families and sucky people who raised them.  I affirm their belief that maybe their family sucks and they’re selfish and whatever.  But, you have to admit, there’s still a part of you that is tied to them.  My mom should not have been a mother.  She really shouldn’t have.  She was mentally sick, (not that this is why you shouldn’t be a parent) but she gave up on trying to fight her disease and instead, took out all of the side-effects of her disease on me and my family.  I did not have the perfect home environment, she abused and eventually disowned me first.  But there is something that tells me one day that when she dies, I will probably go through the motions of closing out her estate and all of that other stuff.  Because I have to.  And there’s a part of me that wishes it were different and I had that biological parent connection, but I know it is better for me that I don’t.  But in the meantime, I have taken on other mothers who became my parent and helped raise me where she did not.  And if your family life was sucky, I am sure that there are other parental figures you have substituted instead of biological connections.

Chosen Millennial CommitmentsThese are my favorite, personally.  There is something to be said for that family connection, but for me, the commitments I have chosen and that someone has made to me, those mean more to me.  So often, the biggest commitment that someone chooses is that of the spouse that they have chosen to spend the rest of their life with.  These are the people that certain people have chosen to love and accept, come what may, despite all of the annoying things that person may do that drives them crazy, or the special circumstances that this person requires…the whole package is accepted, and not just part of it.  I am so fortunate to have found some very special and very rare friends who have committed themselves to our relationship as it continues to grow, no matter what happens. 

This is extremely rare.  And it is extremely unselfish, and grows difficult.  Relationships are hard work, and if you’re not willing to do the hard grunt work occasionally, or think that relationships should be super-easy, you are not the type of person that needs to spend your time with people, particularly in dating people.  I’m not going to apologize for being severe here, I’m being honest.  If you’re not willing to look past the eye boogers, or the bad breath in the morning, or the temper when frustrated, or the art of getting to know how a person communicates, you should not be pursuing a person with the intentions of dating them, because eventually, the relationship will get tough and you may get irritated with them, and what will you do then?  Ignore them?  Drop them?  That’s not fair to them.  Yes, you must be willing to recognize how hard that relationships are and how rare it is to find someone who you can care about in a special way, and you must realize that anything this special does not come with some hard work, some self-sacrifice and some thinking of someone other than yourself.  When you can do that, and when you can commit or are willing to commit to someone throughout all of that, then you’re ready to start thinking about dating.  Woah, that’s a tangent there.  But you get the idea….committed chosen relationships are a choice.  They are a concrete decision that you make to stay regardless of what goes on, so that you can enjoy the benefits of commitment. 

These are the two types of relationships that last.  These are the ones that I would bet money on.  To survive.  To thrive.  And if they fail, it is failure after a lot of difficult, hard work.  And it is heartbreaking failure.  Devastating failure.   Failure you may not survive. 

Anger and Dependability

13 03 2014

I have been hit by a great splashing tidal wave.  And it’s all made me angry.  A very important relationship ended, other relationships are on the rocks, and a lot of the world just seems to be crashing down around me.  It’s very easy to see that I have the right to be angry.  I do.  I have the ability to be angry and it is quite perfectly okay to be angry.  I should not have had to encounter the situations that I’ve encountered.  I did not expect the circumstances that I am facing, rather very alone.  I mean, I was planning on forever, or something like that.  I was planning on long-term compatibility.  And so I’m angry, and it’s okay that I am angry, because anger is an emotion, right?  There’s an emotion there, something that reminds me that I am still feeling and still a human being, and still there, and able to feel and move and breathe as a human being.  That it’s okay that I’m actually feeling something other than….normal.  I don’t know exactly what that means.  But I’m feeling angry, I’m having a feeling, and that’s perfectly okay. 

I am angry because of some of the people I have allowed to invade my space in my heart have turned around and let me down.  They’ve not been what I expected them to be.  I’m angry at them, and I have the every single right to be angry at them.  I have every single right to be frustrated and to scream at them, if I wanted to.  But the thing is, I’m only partially angry at them.  There is a very small spectrum of that moment where I realize that some of my anger is directed at myself.  I’m angry at myself here too. 

In this journey with myself, with being single, and claiming the right I have to be acknowledged as a person, as feelings, as an opinion worth considering….I am growing angry at myself that I ever let people into my life and into my heart who have the audacity to quit assuming that I am such a person.  I am growing angry at the fact that I ever accepted this position of accepting love and space in my heart from those who won’t fight for me and my right to be heard.  I am growing angry that I allowed the love that I accepted from others, who treated me as a secondary person in their life, to be good enough.  I am growing angry with myself that I considered the thoughts and feelings of another person, when that other person didn’t consider my own.  I am growing angry with the fact that I allowed people into my life who put me back into a secondary-class, inferior to their own needs and wants.

And when I walked away, when I made that decision to shut the door on that relationship…when I recognized that these people I have allowed in my life have discarded my needs and interests, I was only partially angry with them, but more so, angry with myself that I allowed them to think that they could get away with them.

I have not only walked away angry, but also wiser.  I am getting to know myself more and more through this single journey.  And I hope it never stops.  I really do.  I am so passionately thankful and grateful for this opportunity, because I am realizing who I am.  I am realizing more of what I want, and I am realizing that it doesn’t take another person for me to figure out what I want and who I want to be.  I am realizing that I am dependable.  I am routine.  You can count on me, and there is great loyalty to be expected.  I am a good person.  I am sound and steady, and independent to a flaw.  My emotions do not rage, and are consistent.  I am faithful and I am someone you can expect to show up, no matter what the situation is.  It might seem boring, living your life like that.  It might be very yawn-worthy to some people, but for me, this is better.  This is best.  I grew up in a situation where I was very emotionally manipulative and used.  Where I was just expected to be the perfect person, expected to put my needs secondary and be a nurse to a parent who refused to do something.  And I allowed people into my life who expect me to do the very same thing, when I vowed I would not ever let someone do that again.  So I am angry, but more angry at myself than anyone else.  It might be boring to other people to live my life.  I wake up, I shower, I have coffee, I go to work.  I sometimes go and take care of a child, I come home, I spend time relaxing or with friends, and I go to bed at a decent hour.  Everyday, day in, day out.  I rarely have fights, I rarely have emotional breakdowns.  I am routine.  It may be boring, but to me, it works.  It works because I have seen faithful, steady and consistent work out more times than emotional breakdown, chaos and lack of definition. 

We see movies glorify crisis.  We hear songs about everything being destroyed and going to pot.  We read in the gossips and tabloids about stars and their relationships not working out, corrupted by drugs, alcohol or sex.  But we never, no we never see a successful story about how things are solid, and steady.  Because that’s not a story, that’s not interesting…it’s quite boring.  But that’s okay.  I don’t need my life to be interesting, crisis after crisis.  I don’t need my life to be about tossing and turning like you do in a storm on a boat.  Because my life isn’t. 

I am a good person.  I treat people, for the most part, with the respect that they deserve and that they give me.  I hold them to a high standard, and I challenge them to grow, not to be better for me, but to be a better person.  I see the person for what they are becoming and the habits they will one day leave behind, and I challenge them to become that.  I have never crossed someone with the interests of their needs being secondary to mine, and I am realizing the importance of living my life with a sense of responsibility to those that I live my life with, and the commitments I have made.  As each day goes by, I am growing more and more thankful for those people who have stood by me, and that I can count on, regardless.  As each day goes by, I am beginning to appreciate the predictable and the ordinary over the exciting and unknown.  There is room for both, little surprises here and there, but I am growing to appreciate how dependable the dependable people in my life are.  There was a time where routine and expected seemed boring, but I have come out of that time and have learned that more than the interestingness of the circumstances, what I need and crave more than anything else in my life, is the security and stability being dependable gives me.  I need and deserve people in my life that I can count on to be there for me.  And this isn’t selfish, because I am also someone whom people can count on to be there for them.  I need and deserve people who remember that their love for me is important to them, because I am someone who always strives to remember that my love for those people are important to me.  I need and deserve people who will challenge me consistently, and who won’t give up on me, and won’t leave, because I am someone who challenges people consistently, I won’t give up on people and I’ve never left first.  I need someone who I can count on to always answer the phone, who can lend support, regardless of the situations in my life, because I can be counted on to always answer the phone, to always lend my support regardless of the situations in my life.  I need someone who is very giving and is very loving, because I give alot and I love alot. 

I should be able to expect the type of love that I deserve and that I give.  For far too long, I have accepted whatever type of love that I have gotten, I’ve written off and made excuses for every type of misdoing against me…because I didn’t realize that I deserve better.  But I do.  I deserve better.  I deserve the best that this life has to offer, and I should expect the best, because I give the best and am capable of giving the best.  And I have accepted less than the best type of love out there, by multiple people.  I am not arrogant, or being self-righteous about it in anyway, I am simply acknowledging the type of person I am, for the first time in my life, and I am realizing that I deserve better than I have taken previously.  And so, my anger is really more about myself, and being mad at myself, for not realizing what a catch I am and how good I deserve.  And how those dependable people I’ve had in my life have been right all along, I do deserve the best that life has to offer, and I am really pretty awesome. 

But I’m not going to beat myself up for it.  I am not going to explain it away.  I am simply acknowledging that I messed up, that I let myself down, but that I am going to seek to do better in the future, and that I am going to start holding people accountable for the type of love they give me, not in a demand, but recognizing that I too, fail.  But I am going to start having higher standards.  Because if I don’t hold those in my life to a high standard, who else is going to be my advocate?  Who else is going to be my rock and stability? 

I think this is the best bout of anger I have ever experienced in my life.