Friday, November 27, 2015

Being More

"I am more than the anxiety." I repeated to myself as my ride to the church happened a tad too late and the clock swayed too close to 10:30am. "Please," I asked, "give me enough strength that I wake up early enough to catch the bus and bring myself to church."

"I am more than a crush." I repeated to myself as I walked up the steps leading to the narthex of the church. "I am more than a broken dream and unfulfilled promises." I swung the door open, an elder greeted me with a huge smile. "Please," I asked, "lead me not into temptation and save me from evil."

"I am more than the tiredness from working too long on weekends." I glided across the carpet all the way to the front; one, two, three. My predestined seat is in the third row, north side of the sanctuary. The announcements linger a note too long. The piano or the organ, or both, and the spirit begin to infuse the room. Not a minute too late or too soon. The right beginning to the day. All in God's time.

And I learned from the hymns I sang. And I wished my church family the peace and grace of Christ. And I read from the Bible. And I sat quiet enough to hear the sermon. And I felt my head lean back, staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling. And my gaze shifted to the choir, sitting in the front left side. And I looked at that woman, the one I've attached heartache to because she spoke quietly and strongly one day: We don't need your help.

And I am more than heartache because she's not my entire church family. And I just wanted to help. But I'm so afraid of her, of the hurt she represented to me and others. But I am more than collateral. God closed my eyes and my head fell forward.

"Didn't you forget me when you forgot you were my son [Sopphey Vance]?"

Yes? I was blinded by pain, my excuse of the century. I wanted to make it go away. Fully knowing, you could help me, I told you I didn't need your help. And I need your help. Please. I'm so tired.

And my heart opened, like an ulcer it bled unhappiness and hurt. And my eyes watered. And I felt so tired so I stayed sitting down. And I mumbled the response hymn. And I whispered the apostles creed, traditional version. And my mouth moved, to pray. And I prayed the prayers our pastor led.

"What, why am I crying?" My head fell forward and down more. "Why are there tears? Am I sad? Why is the pastor crying? Is he okay? Is someone someone dying? Is his family okay? No way, he can't be crying."

I opened my eyes. The pastor dried his eyes.

Maybe I should have stayed home and slept. Or have eaten more to have enough energy to last me through worship. But I am more than excuses to skip church. I'm more than my troubles and decisions. Yet, at the same time, I'm not anything if not clueless about faith and what it truly means to believe. And I definitely don't know enough of what it means to be a child of God. But I know that sound, that stillness in the room when He talks. And that voice is always there.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Thing

Lately, I find myself over thinking about my great love of 2015. Somehow almost every new year brings a new love. And somehow these new loves don’t pan out so well, at least thus far.

Everything that was wonderful about our relationship was wonderful. If I was tired from a crappy day at work, we didn’t have to endlessly talk about our days. We could just snuggle or lay in bed with his arms wrapped around my shoulders. My thoughts falling in and out of sleep, but always comforted and in love.

But even then, and I will quote this forever, love does not conquer all. We’re all such imperfect persons so accustomed to details, or having our way, that we hold certain things to high importance. In past experiences, it could have been ‘not being called enough’... little things that amount to big hurts.

Something like that happened between us. Something small that happened every day. Every week. Until I just became so heartbroken for keeping my disappointment in that I did what I always do. I retreated, I hid, and I told him to go away.

In retrospect, all relationships are built on trust, friendship, love, and everything in between. I stayed away so well and hid away my sadness so well. Finally, I asked him out for coffee because I really missed my friend. It had been so long since I saw him, and I think it went okay. He’s doing wonderful things with his life, and I am so proud of him. And he’s moving on with his love life, and I am so proud of him for taking risks. I am so happy for him

Thursday, November 19, 2015

People Expect Equilibrium

I have a smile on my face when the day is good and the stars align. I also have a fluttering heart, roving around the city with cheer. But when the day is gloomy and it’s cloudy, I’m nothing. No smile. I possess a heartless heart roving around the town not thinking, not caring, not being. These two personalities are extreme, they’re mostly categorized as bipolar, or manic depression. But I have neither, for I never truly go into mania.

Regardless, the world does not revolve around me. It is completely unfair to ask people to care for the two extremes. I’ve tried it. Perhaps I wasn’t consistent enough, but it is very difficult to be one way or another. Especially when moods changed in a day, an hour. Two moods in an instant, that’s a lot.

It’s not fair. So I stay away when the mood changes. I hide under a rock (my blanket), but always behind close doors of my home where no one comes by. No one has been invited, and no one will be. It is my place of refuge from myself until I can see the sun again.

And then I’ll come out of my shell. Laughter will announce the presence of my smile. Only then, will I feel comfortable being myself. The one people expect.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stubborn and a Bullfighter

But, no. I exclaimed slightly raising my voice. I was not going to receive anything to teach a class. It wasn’t going to happen. I’m quite selfish and do things for my own reasons, just like any other selfish person. But to really win my argument I finished with, “I’m stubborn and I’m a bullfighter.” Really, no, no. I had to have my way.

Ha! I’ve been stubborn and a bullfighter all my life except for when it really mattered. Times like when I didn’t fight my grandmother enough to allow me to be a part of a dance team. Or that one time when I stubbornly let myself go over to my father’s home and let my father’s romantic interest call my mother. Or that one time when I wanted to say no. Yet over committed myself to a million things and just about lost it completely. (This last one happened a lot.)

Obviously, given my new stubborn track record, I declined a ride from a friend after dinner. Which led to the admission that the last time I declined a ride she FOLLOWED me in her car to make sure I arrived safely at home. Ah! Being followed that should have irritated me, and it did slightly, so stubbornly I continued to decline a ride. I left the restaurant. Sped walked to the bus stop and sat down to write a crochet pattern.

And a young man approached me asking me when the next bus would drive by. I gave him an answer and felt validated in my actions. For real, had I not left the restaurant at the time I did, I would have not helped an innocent bus rider. I busily finished my crochet pattern; my friend hurriedly asked for my whereabouts. And I responded, I’m at so and so place waiting for the bus.

And that’s when it happened. Little honks pierced through my intense concentration. The innocent bus rider asked me if I knew that car. Yes, I knew that car. I apologized and explained I was being stubborn. Honk! Honk! Honk! Embarrassed for I knew that honking wouldn’t cease and my friend wouldn’t leave. I got into the car.

Apparently, I say no to things I shouldn’t say no to. Things like the kindness of people who care about me. So I apologized. I thanked God for being so kind because sometimes I’m some kind of stupid. And the next opportunity I got to not be stubborn I took it. Okay, it was only because I was too tired to fight. But, next time!

Maybe I’ll learn my lesson next time. What about you? Have you ever gotten a second chance to say yes to kindness?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giving and Giving

In the old world, things were cut and dry. Good and Evil divided life, moral and immoral described actions, and relationships were broken down by the phase give or take. In the new world, things are so much brighter. They’re not as dry, as they have flourished by some bout of confidence. In this new world, I'm focusing my relationships in a different matter. I'm prioritizing friends who follow the practice of "giving and giving."

These are people who give back to their community with their time. For example the wonderful people I've met at the Lamb's Loom. They give so much of their time in running the store, creating scarves, hats, shawls, and comfort dolls for people in need. And the Prayer Quilt Ministry, week after week, these ladies create lap size quilts for people going through difficult times. If that isn’t giving, well, it is so there’s no room for argument. I prioritize my time with those two groups of women.

And it feels so good to be around giving people. It doesn’t feel like I’m a clever person always getting what I want through manipulation and subtle guiding of people. I’m not that clever person, but my background in self-destruction makes me believe so. Being friends where I give and they give, and neither of us really takes because we’re both giving. That keeps the self destructive thoughts away.

And that’s nice. Do you see yourself in any giving and giving relationships?
*I’m taking an approach from Caitlyn Jenner in the sense that Caitlyn references her life after coming out as “Caitlyn” while everything done before coming out is “Bruce.” Yet, I’m not changing any names, I’m quite happy with Sopphey Vance, my before coming out time is “the old world,” versus the “new world.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When He Doesn’t Respond

I’m blessed with having a lot of wonderful people in my life. Some are seasonal, only coming around once in awhile. Some are recurring moments, only coming into my life for a split second before vanishing into the world again. But some seem like they are forever. Or at least more than five years.

One of my friends, let’s name him Z in honor of his masked presence in my life, comes and goes every few days or weeks. But never any longer than a month. I think we’d both get too lonely without each others company. Z and I met through a mutual friend (we’ll talk more about A later). I think her and I were so fascinated and enamored with him for various reasons. But due to the nature of the online world, we are all still strangers to each other. Only knowing bits and pieces about each other’s names, lives, and maybe even profession.

We know enough to care about each other. Right now I’m really missing Z. We message each other, he watches TV at times or reads articles while I crochet. He reminds me that I don’t read enough of the up and coming writers. Which I don’t. He chides me for not going to the library more often enough. It’s only a five minute walk. He makes a list of books for me to explore. Some I read, some I ignore.

In all fairness, he’s a wonderful mentor. Always reminding me to write. Always reminding me of writing opportunities I need to latch on to. Always there until he’s having a bad day or he’s off to visit family. Or heaven forbid his family visits him; we don’t get much time to talk those days. He’s wonderful.

I tell A now and then that everyone needs a Z in their life. I need a Z in my life. But when the messages are quiet. And I’m busy, as I’m sure he is. I wonder. Is he okay? Will he miss me as much as I miss him. Maybe I should listen to him more often. He’s so patient. I’d punch me already if I were mentoring myself. Then I stop wondering and message the shit out of him. Maybe send a few exclamation points for good measure.

Do you have a Z in your life?