People always say that we need conflict in order to remain entertained... That without problems our lives would be boring grey puddles reflecting the grey sky above them. And usually I agree with these people. But not today. Today I am wearing a retainer because one of my prosthetic teeth fell off while on vacation. Today I am driving my sister's car (which I'll add is STUFFED to the seams full of her possessions and recently went through repairs because of a bad engine) and I don't have a key to get back into my house with me. Today I am writing this blog post at a Starbucks because I needed to stall for an hour before I go into work. Today hasn't been easy thus far and that has made me feel attacked. Because yesterday wasn't easy either. I pride myself on the fact that most of the time I'm pretty good at dealing with conflict. But then I am presented with days and weeks like the one I just described and I start feeling overwhelmed. I start feeling tired. Exhausted. I just want to stop and lay in my bed and watch netflix and pet my cat.
Granted, life isn't always so hectic and frustrating for me, but when it is I am so astonished by my inability to "tough it out". In the big scheme of things these events are so incredibly trivial. But in the moment, today, as I write this, I am disgruntled. Because if I'm honest, I'd rather not spend 7 hours today scrubbing apartments and another hour and a half running around a track. These are not fun activities. I find it hard to be grateful for a beating heart when I am out of breath and my muscles are trembling. What I really want to do is stop, to give up, to never set another foot on this stupid track. And I find it silly when people pretend that they are having fun, when they pretend to not be feeling angry at the fact that they have to do six more sets of the running pattern, or they have to deal with their agitated manager again today, or they have to drive all the way to a dunkin donuts before they can gratify their appetite. I don't think ignoring or simply "pushing through" is a healthy mindset in these scenarios. I also think it's silly when people overreact and let events like these rule their lives. For the next week I could lament the all of the minor details of the foolishness that is my life right now. Or I could firmly believe that it is hard and my emotions are justified while making a conscious decision to do it anyway-- regardless of whether I'll enjoy it or not.
I believe that I learned this skill from my time playing soccer. Some people learn it by pushing themselves to try new things. Sometimes others simply go through a ton of challenging stuff in their lives and they come to appreciate the things like the fact that they do have a car, or a job, or a tall iced chai in front of them. Others go through hard things and come out of them with a long-term, deep-seated resentment for the world and everyone in it. I honestly can't give you the difference between the two other than the fact that those who isolate themselves while going through conflict will inevitably end up on the bitter of the deal.
So today, in all its ridiculousness, I will make a decision to interact with people well, to be kind and patient, because it is likely that they are more similar to me than they will admit. They have all undoubtedly had something happen to them recently that was less than pleasant, and though its not always my job to be their crying shoulder, it is my job to be a decent human being and to love others.
And I don't even have
Last year, I came to a small epiphany while watching Grey's Anatomy with my sister. In this particular episode, an elderly woman was dying, and her family had come to be with her as she passed. However, this woman had been severely ill several times before, and each time she would pull through and live. Because of this, her family resented the fact that they had to travel so far and spend so much money to visit her each time when she would inevitably be okay anyway. One of her doctors, not knowing this, approached the old woman to ask why she even allowed her family to come if she knew that they would treat her in this horrible way. To this, she simply replied, "People are better than no people." Even with their snide remarks and insensitivity to her emotions and esteem, the woman preferred their company to her own independence of them, and the ensuing relief.
So this was my epiphany, and it may seem strange that I hadn't realized this before: that people are better than no people. Partly because of my introverted disposition, and perhaps partly because of other less noble qualities, somewhere in my youth I came under the impression that I needed to isolate myself from people because all they would do is inevitably hurt me. And this is true. People hurt people, and that's not going to change.
Today was my last day of high school. It was the end of my childhood. And that is terrifying. But I have 15 family/friend members coming over this weekend to celebrate graduation with me, and somehow that makes the whole thing exciting. It's not the ceremony or the achievements that fulfill me and make me feel happy; it's the people showing their love to me by traveling here from Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Seattle to be with me. And that's crazy.
I'm seriously looking forward to the next chapter of life, but sometimes I need to remember to be grateful and humbled by the relationships that will span the entire novel.
Today I went to my last creative writing class of the year. In loving memory of the class I thought I'd share with you one of my more recent "micro fiction" works that I, in all my magnanimous wisdom, wrote the morning it was due- thank you procrastination. Enjoy.
The Play Date
Luann was finishing the dishes when she heard a commotion in the living room. The city of Chicago was burning to the ground. The evil Doctor Alexander had invented a growth hormone so strong that he was the size of Godzilla. His feet were streetcars, and his head an inflated blimp in the sky. Alexander had snuck some leftover medicine into Stuart's coffee that morning, and the mayor had rapidly grown to be the same size. He was now being challenged to a duel by the gargantuan professor; a fight to the death. Stuart glanced around nervously for an escape but his legs were still wobbly from their change in size. He slowly stood to face his competitor. The living room went strangely silent, and Luann paused in her cleaning for a moment.
The villain Alexander was not about to fight fair. Even though they weren't supposed to be using weapons of any kind, he picked up a nearby skyscraper and smashed it over Stuart's head. The metal cut the mayor's scalp and he roared so loudly that the ground shook. He pushed Alexander hard and they both toppled into Missouri. At the moment they hit the ground, they both knew that they had crossed some invisible, unforgivable line. The heavens opened, and they heard the voice of god scolding them, "Enough!" Both sat shivering, frozen to the carpet-like grass beneath them. Luann picked up Alexander and took him to the kitchen table. "Both of you are in a timeout!" She screamed, just as the water in the sink began to overflow.
There is something that I've been wanting to write about for quite some time but I'm not exactly sure where I stand with it which is why I have taken so long in authoring a post about it. It can be tiring to write about big issues. I could spend years researching many of the things I've written about and still not have all of the answers. Part of me thinks that it's childish to impose my views on you when they aren't even clear to me. It's the classical American mindset: "I have an opinion, and I'm going to share it because I am a free human being!" I think that this freedom is valuable, but what is far more valuable is a clear and thoughtful opinion rather than just a skew of ideas. But despite your clamorous objections and my reservations, I'm going to try my best to address it anyway. Sorry.
There has never been a time in my life when I have been called or have felt inherently "fat" (other than a normal dose of period bloating woes). I've never attempted to lose weight by eating less even for a day and certainly have never had an eating disorder (thank God). I'm actually quite thin naturally and generally don't have problems with carrying too much weight. That being said, I-like every other woman on this planet- struggle with feelings of inadequacy, not only in terms of physical appearance but in many other ways. I'm either "too much" of something, whether it's shyness or outspokenness. Or I'm "not enough". I'm not funny enough, not good enough at my respective hobbies, and yes, not thin enough.
Although I believe that every woman has a unique, broad and deeply personal story regarding her pains and insecurities, I want to focus specifically on the issue of body image because I'm absolutely certain that it is something every woman struggles with to some degree or another (and many men as well) . I also believe that the reason we struggle so much is due in part to unrealistic expectations and representations that we compare ourselves to and are compared to by others.
For example, today I read this article: http://www.dailyhiit.com/hiit-blog/hiit-life/kendall-jenners-cellulite/
Kendall Jenners is Kim Kardashian's half sister. Kim Kardashian, as in the accepted model of what women should strive to look like. Kendall is my age, and I'm sure, about 30 pounds lighter than I am. She is a model. And people viciously strike out at her because she has an ounce of cellulite. Literally, an ounce.
I have cellulite. I know that most of my friends do as well. It's common for women to have some cellulite around their upper thighs and buttocks. You can be a perfectly healthy, thin individual and still have cellulite.
This is why it's infuriating to me when celebrities and models-- the thinnest people around--are chastised for being overweight, or not looking plastic: it's not about their health, it's about their appearance. Never has a critic said "Wow, such-and-such isn't the thinnest, but they sure do look athletic and healthy, good for them!" I recently returned home from a trip to Las Vegas, and you can imagine why I would be prompted to write this post. Not surprisingly, Nevada is the only state in which prostitution is legal. Women are portrayed as bodies to be enjoyed or even dominated.
While I can't do anything to fix the issues there, I can make conscious decisions everyday in my own life to be more careful in the way I portray and view my own body. I can look in the mirror and compliment various aspects of my appearance. I can change my posture and body language to convey confidence and even pride in my body. But more importantly, I can believe that none of it matters. That it doesn't matter if someday in the future I have kids and get stretch marks and fail to fit into my old jeans. That it doesn't matter if my eyebrows are waxed or my eyelashes curled. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his I Have a Dream speech when he stated: "I have a dream that my four little children will
one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
At the certainty of sounding incredibly cheesy, and being okay with it, I have a dream too. I have a dream that one day the women, not only in this country but all over the world, will not be judged by the number on their scale or measure of their waistline but by the kindness, gentleness, perseverance and strength they show to those around them and to themselves.
I'd like to end on a note of encouragement. We still have a long way to go, but there are little sparks of hope and encouragement, and this article is one of them to me:
It's 8:54. I have a midterm at 11:10. It takes me half of an hour to drive to campus and walk to class. But I don't want to feel stressed before the exam. I should leave 10 minutes earlier than usual just to be safe. So 10:30. I already put clothes and makeup on so I don't have to worry about making time to do that, although I should probably leave 5 minutes to use the bathroom before I leave. So 10:25. It's now 8:59, if I started studying right now I'd have an hour and twenty six minutes to go over the material. But I studied for almost 5 hours yesterday, so this is really just to make me feel better, right? Is it really going to help? Or should I go write a blog post instead...?
Somewhere in my brain, there is a very persuasive, very adamant piece of me that really likes it when things are easy. I've named her Procrastination. We argue often. This time she won. And I've spent this post proving that.
This weekend, I heard some tragic news. A young man that I had known throughout middle school and early high school committed suicide. I do not know how, and I do not know why. He used to sit near me during lunch, quiet, but thoughtful. He was the sort of person who had a lot going on beneath the surface; it breaks my heart that he somehow came to believe the lie that he was expendable. I didn't know him well enough then to make assumptions now as to why he came to this breaking point. It's hard to even find words to express how I feel, they all seem too shallow and insincere.
Life is a painful and brutal game, especially when adolescents are involved. I remember the year that I came to the realization that I wasn't going to be a "cool kid". It was fifth grade, and I had gotten a perm without fully understanding what that meant for my status. My breasts were just beginning to grow, but I was still at that stage where I would sometimes forget to wear a bra, not to mention deodorant. I have my share of scars and insecurities budding from that awkward stage in my life. Looking back on it now, one thing is clear to me: young people are not very nice. They are petty, and they are insecure, and they are selfish. This is a pretty universal standard, I think. Once a young person has exited the years of 9 or 10, a battle starts for spots in what I like to call the hierarchy of coolness. This is the time when foundations are made that will last at least until high school. If you're not attractive and well-dressed, you will need an outstanding personality asset like a really good sense of humor in order to make your way to the top. You may be able to redeem yourself into a spot of coolness once you are older and more secure, but it will never be the same as if you had done it when you were younger, your hold onto status won't be as strong. But what if you don't have these traits and never gain them? What if, like me, you were neither good looking nor socially adept in middle school? Luckily for me, I moved during high school, so I had a rare chance to convince a lot of people that I was, in fact, cool, and it wasn't all that hard because they hadn't seen me in middle school. But I remember my old school, where I had known people since kindergarten, and where everyone knew who was "popular", who was "average", and who was "a target".
One such target was a boy in my first grade class. He was often seen wearing Yu-Gi-Oh shirts, and he had what many people call a "rat tail." He was subject to A LOT of bullying, by myself and pretty much everyone else who was different than him. Although I can't recall specific comments or encounters, the general gist of many a playground poke ended with "Well, at least you're not as uncool as Kenji." Thinking back on how cruel we were to him, and reflecting on the news of this past weekend, I wonder if Kenji is doing alright. I wonder if he learned to rise above the people like me who pulled him down and crushed him like a soda can. Like an expendable piece of metal.
The problem with bullying is not only that it is so common, but that it is so personal and hateful. Sometimes people are able to gain wisdom as they grow older and understand that if they were bullied, it shouldn't affect who they are because the people bullying them weren't interested in their good, and were probably just as insecure as they were, and if they were the bullies, to come to terms with the fact that they have caused an immense amount of pain, and to try to grow and be kind in the future. Sometimes bullying goes on for too long, with too much intensity that people start to believe the bullies before they start believing in themselves. At this point, it is often too late. I don't know if Austin took his own life because of bullies or not, but there is no doubt in my mind that he suffered some sort of personal attack in his life that made him doubt who he was and made him lose hope for ever becoming happy because of it.
As for me, I try to make a conscious decision every day to stop judging people on a shallow level. That means EVERYONE, even those who have done a lot of bullying in the past and who continue to do it in the present-day. My job is not to chastise and judge them for their judging of others, it is to extend kindness. If there is something I've learned in my short life it is that every single person on this planet experiences pain at some point in their existence. Yes, some go through a whole lot more than others, but I am done trying to delineate among the menagerie of experiences with pain, and have just made the decision to do my best to be kind to everyone. I do not want to communicate to those that have bullied in the past that it is okay or that they shouldn't feel guilty because "they were young and ignorant," but I don't want to jump to conclusions and reciprocate the pain to them that they have caused to others. I'd rather get to know them first and grow to truly care about who they are--both the good and bad--before I advise them to change their behavior.
I wanted to end on an uplifting note, so here is a video of a man meeting a stranger who once encouraged him that life was worth living.
I have had the same alarm clock for 10 years. That is, until this weekend, when I visited IKEA and my old blue and silver beeper was put to rest. It used to fill the morning with these obnoxious neon lights every time I pressed the snooze button. But it was familiar, and I liked the way that it attempted to wake me up gradually, with softer slower tones leading up to loud manic beeps which made it sound like a bomb was about to go off in my room. It was replaced by a newer, trendier black clock that is styled to be old-fashioned with the two mickey mouse ear bells on either side of its gleaming head. I have used it twice so far. Both times I've woken up in a panic with a racing heart because, despite its cuteness, it makes the most terrifying sound. It just goes off rudely and loudly. It is not considerate to my nerves. I mean it doesn't even have a snooze button. I have to actually pick it up and find the on/off switch. Somewhere deep down my gut tells me that if I keep using it a few years may fall off of my life. It is much too "alarming" for my taste. In fact, I'm considering just using my phone to wake me up now.
Don't worry, I'm not going to spend this entire post talking about my alarm clock attachment issues. But I do want to discuss why it was (and still is) so difficult for me to transition from my childish trinkets to more adult ones. To me the blue alarm clock signifies comfort and familiarity, whereas the black is almost completely foreign and makes me uncomfortable. Why was this miniscule change in my day-to-day routine so hard for me to adopt? Change comes in all different shapes and sizes. This change was small, and really does not affect me as a person all that much. But I have experienced other changes in my life that have been much more impacting, and it makes me believe that no two changes can have the same effect on a person.
It bothers me when people say that all change is good change, or we must simply accept change and try to live with it. In one sense, it is good to learn how to be content with your surroundings and adapt to move forward in life when you are facing adversity. But I firmly believe that change can be both painful and delightful. Often it is a mixture of both. While I don't appreciate my new alarm clock in some ways, it aesthetically fills a role that the other one didn't. It looks so quaint sitting there on my bed-shelf. It may take me some time to transition to its tone, but that does not make it altogether a bad thing.
You were probably saying 'Well no duh' as you read that last paragraph. Delving deeper into this issue, I find that accepting the fact that change can be negative helps me to not marginalize my feelings about it. I often struggle with having guilt when I'm not finding peace in transition. Lately this has been especially apparent. I'm nearing the end of my childhood (as in, high school) and I keep beating myself up about the fact that all I can think about is the future. "You're never going to get this back" I keep telling myself. "You are going to look back and regret not doing such-and-such".
What I kept failing to realize is that my feelings are valid. And maybe the fact that I am discontent at this time in my life points not to ungratefulness or selfishness on my part, but to the reality that this transition is not all butterflies and meadows. It is currently-and will continue to be-quite painful. That's not to say that some parts of it won't be great, but I've got to quit asking myself to "fake it 'till you make it." That's like asking my cat to grow wings and become a bird. Even if she desperately wanted to be a bird it would be an impossible feat. In the same way, maybe the reality is that I am a certain way, and the time and place I'm experiencing right now do not feed into healing me very effectively. In fact, they are probably inflicting more wounds. This makes me look to the future for hope that I will someday experience more healing.
I am not saying that we should depend on future events for all wishes of happiness and fulfillment. I desire to live my life in the moment, and be joyful in the small things. But I realize at the same time that it's important to address my emotions and not push them to the side for the sake of preservation of pseudo peace. I have to keep reminding myself that this is real, it is hard, and it doesn't make me a deeply flawed person to experience sadness.
All of that from an insignificant alarm clock switch.
Today I was planning on writing a post about dogs. Dogs are cute and fluffy, and they pee wherever they want to. They are also extremely and unintentionally honest. Kind of like children, whose minds haven't been asked to filter and become politically correct. Children will laugh when they are amused, cringe when they think something is gross, and ask questions when they don't understand. They don't get irony or subtlety. The differences between children and dogs are many, however, (although children still have problems understanding where to pee as well). Children have civil rights, because they are humans and not animals. And they also have potential. Potential to be molded and shaped and poured into until they are intelligent beings. Dogs do not have this potential. They are not born with it. Because they have doggie genes instead of human genes, they will never have brains that can process and think or dream as we do.
I once heard someone say that a bird is not a bird because it flies, but because
it is a bird, by nature it flies. I would argue that it is the same for people. That although we may be specified as being human because of our superior intelligence, it is not what defines us. A bird is not a bird because it flies, and a human is not a human because it thinks. We are not first thinking machines and then humans, but by nature, because we have the potential to do so, our minds absorb and remember things around us in a superior way to other species on the earth. I say this because I believe that all humans have value outside of their intelligence. If you placed a mentally disabled person alongside a highly intelligent person and measured their worth, in my book, they would come out perfectly equal. A mentally disabled person, while they may not have the cognitive capacity to make scientific breakthroughs or become a doctor, can still inspire the people around them due to the great adversity they face in every day life. Later on, I'll be talking about abortion, and the classic argument goes: "What if so and so had been born and had invented such and such and saved humanity?" or "There was a baby born sixty years ago who today could have been president today, but was aborted". I'll give you the relief of knowing that this is not going to be my approach. This approach to abortion exclusively places value on only the most capable, intelligent humans, and in doing so, completely misses the mark. If we are valuing human life (whoa, do you mean like pro-life or something?) , we must value all, and admit that many of the aborted victims may have in fact grown up to be average or even, gasp, less than that.
Some would argue that if a person does have value it is only because of their IQ, their contribution to society, or their value to others around them whom they call family. In fact, I have argued this before: two people have sat before me trying to dispute that a baby, when born, does not hold special value among any other young in the animal kingdom simply because it is a human being rather than a dog. This affronted me. These people did not believe in ultimate truths like I do. Being a Christian (or as I like to say, "little Christ"), I believe that all human life is precious, as every human being on earth is created in the image of the God that I adore. Even those who choose to harden their hearts and reject Him are His creation, and are greater than gold. All of you reading this are probably Christian, but for the many out there in the world who do not believe in God or ultimate truth, I am saddened. For we are worth so much more than the organ in our skull.
So, you guessed it. Next up on Diana's hot list of topics is: Ding! Ding! Ding! ABORTION. Before I begin I would like to say that I consider myself to be both a feminist and a pro-life opinionist. If this confuses you, go back and read my post on feminism and come back refreshed and rid of all those stinky connotations and judging side glances. Yes. I want equality for women, and I also want babies to be born. It's crazy.
First I want to provide a foundation for my claims by getting to the core issue first, which is whether a fetus is considered to be a living thing. There are many who argue that because this organism is dependent at the time of any legal abortion- that is that it depends on the mother for food, oxygen, and shelter- it cannot be human
. And more so, coming back to what I discussed earlier, it does not yet have the capacity to think. It has no understanding and it cannot dream or hope. See, what the abortion argument really boils down to is what different people consider necessary for the human condition to occur. Is it our ability to dream, or is it our potential future ability to dream that makes us human? For pro-choicers, it must be present now. There cannot be a human among us unless he is showing tangible signs of his humanness. For pro-lifers, the theory is morphed to demand, not present human quality, but potential for future human life. So is it potential or concreteness that makes a human?
Well, you already know what I'm about to argue. I would say that any living thing, in any stage of development, with the potential to later become human should not be aborted, because it will be a human someday if its progress to that destination is uninhibited. Whether it is a fetus now or a grown man now doesn't matter so much to me as much as the fact that when an abortion occurs, there is such a finality in there being no future for that person.
There are several more aspects to the argument, the biggest probably being the woman's right to do what she wants with her own body. Before I discuss this, I would ask politely that those arguing to give women the choice to abort, never bring up rape cases. Women who get abortions due to rape make up a measly 1% of total abortions. Source:
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html. If you want to see my thoughts on rape, you can again go to my feminism post. My point here is that rape should not be an issue brought up in the abortion argument because it narrows down the focus of the debate far too much, and is often just a cop-out. I am incredibly sympathetic to rape victims, but would rather discuss rape abortions as a separate issue.
So if you've been following my train of thought you will notice that I believe human beings have intrinsic rights and value when they are born. I also believe that a fetus, as it will develop into a human being eventually, has these rights. Because of this, it is difficult for me to see abortion as
an issue of women's rights; instead I see it as an issue of the debate centered on whether the woman's or the potential child's rights are more important. Also, you may have noticed that I believe all people posses equal value. Because of this, it would seem that a woman's and child's rights hold equal importance.
Now we have come to an roadblock. If both the woman and the child have rights and both are equal, how can this issue be resolved? Rights aside, the argument has now morphed into an issue of morality. Should the priority be for the woman's peace of mind and comfort, or the child's life? Well, I believe that saving a life surpasses whatever discomfort may follow.
And there you have it.
I'm getting very tired now, and for the sake of my sanity, am resorting to bullet points. Here are a few more insights I have to bestow upon you, and then I must, MUST sleep.
I tried desperately to find a funny picture to lighten the mood. But, in all honesty, this is how I feel after writing a blog post about this subject. Human life is a big deal. It should never be shrugged off or thrown away.
- How could we have men in the world if a fetus was just another part of a woman's body?
- In the Holocaust, 6 million Jews were murdered. From 1973 to 2005, 45 million babies were aborted in America. Source: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2009/jan/22/abortion-can-be-compared-to-the-holocaust/
- I would like to point (haha, bullet point) out that I do think that an abortion is sometimes necessary. Long ago, many women, and many babies died in childbirth. Abortion, although tragic in these situations, can sometimes save a life, and at these times, I deem it necessary. I am pro-life after all.
- I believe that all people should be responsible for their actions. I say this understanding that not everyone has the financial capability or responsibility to raise a child well. I'm also aware that the adoption and foster care system in this country is sub-par, although I admit that I don't know all that much about it. To me, it's cruel and selfish for a child not to get a chance at life because his or her parents had a "whoops" moment, regardless of whether that child is going to sit in the lap of luxury or not.
Before you read, look at this other blog post (url above) that is hilarious and also describes perfectly (and with pictures!) the way that I feel right now. Okay, bye. Go read.
You're back? Already? If you still have the page open from the hyperbole and a half blog I would highly recommend also reading the post titled "The Alot" because it's genius. In fact, spend as much time as you want perusing the archives of that awesome place, I won't be offended I promise. You can come back and read this whenever is most convenient for you.
Those of you still reading must be very committed to hearing my thoughts. I applaud you. All of the phonies who don't care were weeded out paragraphs ago. I feel like we're part of some secret club or something. We'll call ourselves 'TPWRWTRDBPD': "The People Who Really Want To Read Diana's Blog Plus Diana". I'm really good at acronyms. Oh my gosh, stop. It's just one of my many in-born talents okay? There's no need to be so complementary about it.
If you hadn't guessed from the pretty picture at the beginning of this blog that I found on pinterest (how pinteresting!), or the funny blog post that I forced you to read, I've been wallowing in feelings of laziness and guilt lately
Here's how Diana's* winter break has gone thus far:
- Wake up at 9-10 AM every day because even though I'm a morning person, what better way is there to spend my time than sleeping a few extra hours? That's right, NONE.
- Eat some breakfast composed of either cheescake or left over pumkin pie. This morning I spiced it up with a sugary cinnamon roll!
- Pet my cat until she inevitably stalks away. Then pick her up and keep petting her. Then let her go after struggling for several minutes with both my conscience and the idea of the impending scratch to the face.
- Check Dragonvale to see if my evergreen/poison/fire dragon has hatched.
- Watch netflix
- Eat lunch (leftovers)
- Go to my room and spontaneously decide to clean out every single crevice which will take the rest of the day and which I probably will get bored of halfway through doing it.
- Work on my online jogging class. Yes, you heard me. ONLINE JOGGING. I don't have enough freaking P.E. credits to graduate and so I have to resort to such things. I don't want to talk about it.
- Check Dragonvale again
- Read Tina Fey's book Bossypants which was my gift to my sister, but which I read "secretly" when she is away doing real things with her life like working.
- Look at my stained glass and guilt myself into working on it for like 5 minutes and then get frustrated with it and leave.
- Watch some movie with my dad. Last night it was John Wayne.
- Go to bed way too early to be waking up at 9-10 AM
So I resent the pretty picture at the top of this post, "Getting work done". I resent it with every fiber of my being because it is like one of those commercials that I make fun of which attempts to make you want some product. But the difference between those commercials and this picture is that I actually want that. I want to be getting work done! And I want to be cool and suave while doing it. But instead, I'm sitting in front of a screen venting about how I'm not doing it! How pathetic. (That was the guilt spiral I was talking about earlier).
Also, it's not just that I'm not getting work done, but the fact that there may never be another time quite like this in my life where I will have as much time as I want to not get any work done. Partly I feel guilty because I'm not really enjoying all of this time off. I don't like being lazy, but I also feel like I'm obligated to take advantage of my 'lazy time' while I can. So that is how I'm feeling right now.
This post is completely devoid of any wise thoughts or kind words of encouragement, and I apologize for that. But I believe it's my responsibility to be honest. In all seriousness, I'm not enjoying this winter break at all. Tomorrow I leave for Portland and I get to see awesome people and do awesome things, but today I'm in a reflective mood because I am nearing the end of the lazy days. Am I sad about that? No, not really. More like conflicted, because I feel like I should have appreciated them more. They say that people who complain of boredom are boring, or they are unable to create their own fun. I must disagree with these arguments on the cliche premise that it "depends on the situation" and the people. I am not a boring person, nor am I incapable or unwilling to be productive. I have just had too much time off. I am not meant to sit around all of the time. Perhaps this was more of a lesson in patience than it was in finding fun things to do. I am being asked to patiently wait until the future finds me. And I think I'm okay with that. After all, time will go on regardless of whether I'm enjoying it or not.
*I don't know why I keep referring to myself in 3rd person. Let's just go with it.
Once, when I was 6 or 7, I saw Santa Claus. My family was in Texas for the holidays visiting relatives, and I have a vivid memory of waking up in the middle of the night and sneaking into the living room to find a man dressed in red and white bending over presents. Then of course, I gasped and ran away because IT WAS SANTA and I was a little terrified. I also have a memory from that same Christmas of receiving a Barbie unicorn, which pretty much made my life. It had detachable wings and it came with a grooming kit. Now that I am older and wiser I rationalize this memory (of my santa sighting) by saying that it was probably a dream I had or maybe, just maybe, my uncle had dressed up in a santa suit in order to make my evening a little more special. No, a lot more special.
Now that I'm getting ready to leave the nest, Christmas has pretty much lost its charm in all but one department. Jesus, or I suppose I'll call him Christ for this purpose, is the one thing that has remained constant in my life throughout all of the Christmases. Every Christmas Eve my father opens his old leather-bound Bible to the chapter of Luke, and reads the story that many people around the world have heard in one form or another. Usually as I sit there, I'm distracted, and I don't really pay attention. I mean, I've heard the story so many times, and I generally just turn my brain off and think of the new pajamas I know I'm going to get because it's Christmas Eve. What color will they be? Will they be fuzzy? There are so many pajama questions. Then tonight, as I listened to the story, I really thought about it. This young couple was called to do this great and glorious thing, and then they were rejected by both of their families because of it. Completely alone, they traveled to an unwelcoming place, and since no one else was with them, I'm assuming Joseph must have at least helped in the delivery of the baby. I think about the modern-day image that I'm shown of fathers and their role in the delivery room. They are there for moral support, and that's it. Then a bunch of dirty, low class laborers come and are very excited to see the baby. I don't know what having a baby is like, but I'm assuming most mothers wouldn't want to be disturbed hours after giving birth in a dirty cave and would most likely still be in some physical pain. But in the passage, it says that Mary listened to the Sheperds and their praise of Jesus and pondered their words in her heart. I love that phrase. Pondering is generally associate with the mind, and I love how it's used here to signify an action of the heart. Anyhow, it's an incredible story, and what I love most about it is that by being born in a dirty, disgusting place made for animals, Jesus made it clear from the beginning that he was accessible to all human beings on the face of the earth regardless of class, gender, race, or any other characteristic that divides people into groups. This is truly a lesson in humility. The God that I worship came down and lived among those he created. Whoa.
I don't ever think I'll become so separated from God that I won't appreciate the origins of Christmas, but I often worry that this has already happened in many parts of America and many parts of the world. One thing I've never understood is the fact that non-Jewish people don't celebrate Hanukkah, but pretty much everyone, regardless of whether they're Christian or not, celebrates Christmas. I'm sure that people still enjoy and appreciate getting together with family and exchanging gifts, but without Christ, what is the meaning behind this holiday? How is it that people feel justified in spending bucketloads of time and money preparing for this season if it's just for the sake of the season? (Okay, okay, I don't necessarily think God's point in coming to earth was conservation of money, but you get my drift.) That is one thing I'll never understand. And it's not that I feel special or arrogant because I am a "pure" Christmas celebrator, just that I wish I could share this story with everyone, and that they could understand, not just on the face level but in an impacting way. Yes, there was a baby, and a manger and shepherds, but more than that there was a God who was willing to appear in flesh before man, and to sacrifice his life for the good of all. And that's pretty incredible.