For Laughs

“Don’t Even Get Me Started”

This phrase – don’t even get me started – is a very well known and well-used member of my vocabulary. Call it the veteran if you will.

Now the reason behind this is pretty self-explanatory.  You see when you first meet me it’s pretty easy to mistake me for a shy person. I’m an introvert, and as such, I hate meeting new people. My biggest thought when it comes to meeting new people is usually, “But wait. I already know people. My people capacity has been reached.” Unfortunately, the universe has consistently seen fit to ignore my people capacity.

So if you’re persistent enough to actually get to know me, you’ll come to understand a few things.

  1. I’m really not shy. Like…at all.
  2. I actually have quite a bit to say about life in general.
  3. And as a general rule, it’s best not to ask me what any of those things are because I will tell you. And it will be rather emphatic.

So here’s how it normally goes: some kind of topic will somehow come up in the natural flow of a conversation. And I will immediately say, “Don’t even get me started.” Now the fact that I have developed this self-regulating mechanism is actually a source of pride for me. Truly.

However.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where it continues to be self-regulating. Let me explain: after I say this phrase it is totally up to whoever I am talking to to decide whether or not I actually get started.

Those closest to me generally respond in one of two ways:

  1. They think it’s hilarious when I “get started” so they sit there very patiently in silence, waiting for the topic to begin bubbling under my skin so as to drive me crazy until I explode. And therefore “get started” anyway.
  2. They change the subject as quickly as they can, saving themselves from the very passionate rant that will surely follow if they don’t act immediately.

I’m telling you all of this because today I’ve got the blogging itch. I’ve got this itch to blog and it’s been driving me nuts ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had at least 47 topics all vying for attention in my head today. If I were a better writer, I’d think of some very clever way to connect all of these topics into a glorious blog post that would existential your mind to pieces.

But that’s not going to happen because I’ve gotten started and this is where it ends people.

  1. I have a friend who pushes herself too hard. Plain and simple, she pushes herself too hard. She holds herself to an impossibly high standard because in her head if she isn’t working so hard that she nearly dies then she isn’t doing her best. If she isn’t working so hard that she can’t see straight then she’s a failure. If she doesn’t spend at least 10 hours studying for the test that we both have to take this week then she’s not doing all she can do. And as much as I love her, and I do with all my heart, I can’t tell her enough times how absolutely absurd this is. Nobody can live life on 150% all the time. Nobody can and nobody should. We have to give ourselves some grace and decide what is and is not worth our time. And not be so hard on ourselves.
  2. Do you ever have those days when you are just drowning in memories? Every now and again this happens to me, and it usually isn’t the same memories or the same times. Some days I feel like I’m reliving my religious mission all over again. Other times it is memories from my time at my previous university. And no matter how hard I try I just can’t escape them. I spend the entire day in a memory field. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often. But I’m not the only one this happens to, right?
  3. The Prince in Snow White. OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are very, very, very few things on this earth that I have such passionate negative feelings about. But this character is one of them. And I’ll tell you why: he is the most WORTHLESS character that was EVER created in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD. He shows up for five minutes, sings a song, leaves, and then at the end, he shows up and is all, “Oh, I sorta remember her. She looks dead. Maybe I’ll kiss her and see what happens.” Then he gets the girl – because he did absolutely nothing except smooch her – like he is the hero of the day. He is worthless and stupid and stupid. He got way better than he deserved. He is worthless and stupid. The dwarves were totally the heroes of that story. The prince is worthless and stupid.

So I know that I said there were about 47 topics in my head, and that – though a slight exaggeration – was quite true. Has been true, in fact, all day. But now that I’ve written this out, I think those were the most important.

As far as all the other ones go, though, don’t even get me started.

Just Writing

Say It In Writing

biggerWhen I blog, what I’m really doing is writing down all of the things I wish I could say out loud. I think it’s probably like this for most of us. Especially the writers. Writing is the way that we say the things of our soul. The things that we are thinking, feeling, and knowing, but can’t actually say.

I’m not sure what it is about our world, but none of us ever say what we really think. It’s much too raw. It’s much too real. And when we look back on it we have a tendency to be embarrassed. We have a tendency to wonder what we were thinking when we were so unabashedly ourselves. Or at least that’s what happens to me.

Honesty has been hard for me lately. Not because I’ve been lying like crazy, but because the truth has been very painful. I have let fear get in the way of my life for the past several weeks. And when I made one tiny move to try and let go of this fear, it proved to be a little anticlimactic. Even stupid. Go figure.

I wish I could explain to you all of the times I’ve prayed and gotten amazing answers. One of my friends told me today that God has been spoiling me recently, and I couldn’t agree more. It really is true. He has been. I’ve never been this close to Him in my entire life. Which is actually really good because I’m carrying a lot of crap around inside of my heart right now. And it isn’t very fun.

But what I really wanted to do tonight is say a few things to the most important people inchapter my life. I want to say what’s in my heart, and let them know what I’m actually thinking. And when I come back and read this blog post I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be proud of myself for being this brave. I want to be okay with being vulnerable again. I want to be okay with saying what’s in my heart. Even if it hurts. So here it goes:

A: How could I ever explain to you how amazing you are? Seriously I’ve known you for such a long time and you never ever cease to blow my mind. I just want to be a fraction of your type of cool. You have so much strength in your heart and it honestly leaves me in so much awe. I hope that when you look in the mirror you see the woman that I see. We both know that I have a gift for seeing people as they really are, so don’t try and fight with me on this. I’m right. You absolutely shine. Thank you so much.

M: Thank you for teaching me how to be a dreamer. I wish you would stop dreaming and live your dreams now. Don’t be afraid anymore. It’s time to live. Just do it. Please.

perfect goodD: Thank you for teaching me to be a doer. I love you very much. Please don’t forget that sometimes your heart’s more important than your mind. In fact, I honestly think that that’s where all of our truth is. I wish you could see that.

H: Please never stop laughing. But also please remember that it’s okay to be sad. You don’t have to be perfect, and in fact you never will be. We’re all here to help each other. That’s the point. Thank you for holding me while I ugly cried, and smoothing my hair. And buying me Jimmy Fallon ice cream. And loving me through every disaster. You help me believe in the redeeming power of love, and that as long as we trust each other we can do anything.

S: You’re probably so tired of all that I have to say. And I wouldn’t blame you. So here’s all that I have to say this time: if God tells me to be patient with you one more time I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I’ll either have to actually do it or just be in open rebellion, harderwhich I don’t see ending well. Actually I tried that angle for a while, the angle of “oh my gosh I am so done because this bloody hurts” and suffice it to say… it didn’t end well. I laughed, but I’m pretty sure He was serious. I’ll tell you that story some day.

K: You’ve gotta trust yourself more than you do, girl. I wish you could see how incredibly bright your eyes are. There is so much there it kills me. Don’t let fear run your life anymore.

J: I love you so much. You teach me so much as our lives continue to unfold. But I wish you would stop treating me like an innocent child. I wish you could see that I have scars, too. The other day you told me that you kind of gloried in my pain, and that hurt more than I can ever say. I’ve experienced a lot of hurt, and a lot of things that have changed logicme. I’m not who I was in those days. And there were things about that person I was that you’ll never know or understand. She spent so much of her time being angry about love, but in her heart that’s all she really wanted. She wanted to believe in it. She wanted it to be real. It was all she really, really wanted. She prayed for it every day. That’s who she really was underneath everything you saw. I hope that someday you can trust me with every vulnerable part of you. That someday you’ll stop thinking that you have to change what you think because you’re with me. But dude, you’re a freaking rock star. Thank you for that.

homeJ: Just don’t be scared. Live your life as brilliantly as we all know you’re going to. And don’t you dare think for one minute that you have to prove us wrong or prove us right or prove anything. Do what makes you happy. Just let your awesomeness shine. And don’t you dare give up.

C: Where would I be without you???? I just have absolutely no clue. You are the greatest human. The greatest. The purest of cinnamon rolls. Thank you for being an amazing friend and an incredible woman. Seriously, you are the big sister in our friendship. It doesn’t even matter that I’m older than you. You have so much in you and it is dazzling.

certain thingQ: You make me believe in the goodness of humanity. You are the human that I’ve always wanted to be, but will probably never be great enough to be. But I’m so grateful for you in my life. You are #goals. Thank you.

Love,

Jordan

I'm Just Saying

Grateful Snippets

starsTonight I am grateful. For so many things. I’m grateful for cool summer nights and lots of stars. I’m grateful for so many good friends. I could write novels filled with what they teach me about unconditional love.

I got to see a friend today who I haven’t seen in over two years. We served our religious missions together, and spent about three months together during that time. We were best friends. And as life as worked out we just haven’t been able to see one another again until now. It was incredible, though, because in many ways it was as though we’d never been apart. We laughed about the craziness that our lives have been recently, the good and the bad. We talked and laughed through the time that had separated us.

I also did something today that I have always wanted to do. Seriously. On this, a perfectly normal Friday filled with a friend lunch and a shift at work, I crossed off a bucket list item.

I sat in Barnes and Noble in the Starbucks and wrote a poem.

Intellectualism was so heavy in the air it was almost touchable. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t order a drink or a muffin. That’s for next time. This time I simply at at one of the tables and wrote. I threw my inhibitions out the window, everything that usually stops me as I write. The things that say I shouldn’t write this or that. And I just wrote whatever came to me.

Whether or not the poem is any good, or even what I really wanted to say, I don’t really know. But it was something. And I’m grateful for it. flow

I’m grateful for snippets of happy that string themselves together. I’m grateful for newfound loves and discoveries. I’m grateful for pizza. Always pizza. I’m grateful to understand more of what it means to love others and be loyal to them. I’m grateful that I’m not perfect, but that I can continue to try every day. I’m grateful for friends who understand my sarcasm, as it gets out of hand pretty quickly at times. I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, who never ever stop teaching me the meaning of acceptance and love.

Even in the hard moments. The dark ones. Always love.

I’m grateful for that.

I'm Just Saying

Connections & Coincidences

Two years ago I was hired at my job, along with a group of others. I remember being nervous, and hoping that I would get along with everybody.

In this group of people I was hired with, there were two girls named Haley and Adele. To be totally honest, we didn’t all get along at first. But now, two years later, these girls are my best friends. Even more than this, they have become my sisters.

I don’t even know how to explain how incredible these two ladies are. They have been there for me through thick and thin. They have picked up the pieces of my broken heart on several occasions throughout the years, and I’ve been lucky enough to do the same for them. They teach me so much every day. I honestly can’t believe how blessed I am to have them in my life.

Recently, all three of us have really been through a lot. We’ve all had different struggles, and have had to be there for one another.

Yesterday, we all came together and went to a support group meeting on campus that deals with some of the things we’ve all been exposed to lately. Overall, the experience was both scary and gratifying. It wasn’t the correct fit for all three of us, but we were grateful to all go together and have the experience. As experiences like that tend to do, it brought up a lot of emotions.

After the meeting, we sat in my car and talked for two more hours. There was a lot of laughter, as there usually is, but there were also a lot of tears. We got a lot of things out in the open that we hadn’t realized we were keeping from each other. There was a lot of wiping each other’s tears, holding hands, and smoothing out hair.

We were open and honest. We told about our insecurities and our fears. We talked about the things we are currently struggling with, and our hopes and desires.

Quite honestly, it was beautiful.

It was beautiful to have a moment like that with these incredible women. It was beautiful to realize that we are all human, trying our best to be there for one another in our struggles. It was a blessing to share a moment like that with them.

Their friendship means the world to me, and has saved me in countless situations. There is no way I could ever accurately explain it. But there is a bond between us that can’t be broken, and that is an incredible thing to have in this life. It is a wonderful blessing.

There are people in this life that we have connections with. They come into our lives almost by accident, but then they end up being so, so important. These relationships that end up being so important and enriching our lives could seem like coincidences.

But I don’t believe in coincidences.

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 4

My broken heart has been a funny thing.

Actually, in case you didn’t get this, it hasn’t been funny at all. Like…at all. After one month, I expected to be better. I expected it to not hurt any more. I thought that by now I’d have moved on. I’d have forgotten. I’d be okay.

Well, that isn’t really the case. It still hurts so badly sometimes that I have to wonder how I made it this far. I still feel so confused about so many things. I’d still give anything to have it be different.

But God is teaching me things.

I’ve always been the type of person who could look ahead and see myself in the future. I’ve always been able to just see ahead. That hasn’t been the case for me recently. Every time I try and look ahead past the next hour, all I see is darkness. So I’ve been praying about this very sudden shift in my vision. And what do you suppose He said in response?

“Be patient.” God said. “I have a plan. I need you to trust me.” God has been pretty adamant about teaching me patience and trust in the last year and a half. Don’t even get me started. He keeps telling me things like, “I have everything under control. You work on you. Fix you. Leave the rest to me.”

You’d think that this would be easy.

Turns out it isn’t. It turns out that I like to be in control of my life a little bit more than I was aware of. So this moment in my life, when I can literally only see for one hour at a time, is really hard for me. It is really hard for me to simply let go. To trust that God has a plan, that ultimately He is in charge, and that no matter what happens in the near future it will all work out the way that it is supposed to.

I’ve realized that pretty much everything is easier said than done. This last month of my life has been so incredibly hard. There aren’t words for it, actually. I honestly wasn’t aware that a person could feel this kind of emotional pain and live through it.

But somehow my heart is still beating.

I wish I knew what the ending was. As an author, I’m pretty used to knowing the ending of things. I feel very out of my element right now. But God is teaching me things, so I have to trust Him. The truth is that I don’t know what the ending is. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after that. And right now, I know that I’m not supposed to know. I’m just supposed to have faith. Trust God.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my hopes or desires. I was praying about them earlier today, in the middle of a particularly hard moment when I couldn’t believe it still hurt that badly. God let me know very quickly that He understands exactly where I’m at, and He’s got everything under control. I get this feeling that something big is coming in my life. Something wonderful, just around the corner, and I need to be ready for it. God is just asking for a little bit of faith and trust, and something totally amazing is going to happen. I know it. I have literally no idea what this something is. But I know that it’s coming. One of my best friends in the world, Adele, said to me today, “You don’t have to know what it is. You’ve been given all the answers you need. Just move forward, hour by hour.”

She’s right. She’s pretty much always right.

Sometimes the pain is so fresh, like it just happened yesterday. And it feels like I’m drowning in it. And I can’t get to help fast enough before I absolutely lose it and cry so hard I can’t breathe. Sometimes I feel so confused and angry I could scream.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything, though. There have been a ridiculous amount of blessings in my life in the last month. I’ve repaired relationships with siblings, become closer to my friends, spent much needed time with my grandparents, gotten a stronger relationship with my dad, and have had countless moments with God. He and I have talked so much about all of this. And it has been really wonderful. God is good, everyone. He is so, so good.

I’ve realized so many things about life.

I have realized that life is scary. And love is scary. And there are a million things to be unsure about and worried over. And I’ve also realized that there will never be a moment when you feel you are 100% ready. It’s going to be terrifying. There’s going to be things you don’t know. So many of them. But you just have to do it. Just jump. That’s all life is. A lot of jumping off cliffs when you only have the tiniest seed of faith in your pocket.

I have also realized that for too much of my life, my priorities were ridiculously out of wack. There’s a really long backstory as to why that was the case, but I spent so many years being bitter and angry about the things that are the most important. I don’t feel that way anymore. Not in the slightest. Those things I was so angry about, those things I was so scared of, they are all I want now.

God is teaching me so many things.

Tonight was hard. Today was hard. I left work with a very heavy heart. The steering wheel of my car got washed with a lot of tears tonight. My very wonderful roommate got bombarded with a lot of my pain tonight.

Then she suggested we go for a drive. We ended up on top of the hill in our city. We shut the car lights off, unrolled the windows, turned on some music, and sat on the hood of the car looking up at the sky. It was absolutely stunning.

I felt truly happy for the first time since it happened.

We talked about God. About how He has a plan, and ultimately He is in charge, and sometimes we just have to have faith that everything is going to work out. Right as we were saying this, an absolutely stunning shooting star zoomed across the sky right in front of us. It had two tails. I’m taking it as a sign.

We laughed a lot, too. I can’t even remember what about. All I know is that it felt good to laugh again. God has been feeding me constant support and hope recently. He has never left my side. He’s given me numerous answers, and always sent me help in the moments that I needed it most.

I know there is hope.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. And it will probably hurt again tomorrow, because it hasn’t stopped hurting. But tonight I saw a shooting star.

And today God told me He has a plan. He asked for my patience. He asked for my faith. He told me He understood what my hopes, desires, and pain are, and He’s got it under control.

This is what He told me.

And for now that’s all I need.

I'm Just Saying

Farewells

I’m not sure who that was on the phone, but it wasn’t you. I will tell you, though, that I felt you slip away days ago. And I knew it would happen. I saw my worst fears confirmed, I saw it all fall apart. And when we finally talked, it didn’t even sound like you. You were gone. I think I know you well enough to be able to say that.

This will be my last ever post on this blog. There is too much of you here. So I guess you don’t have to worry about it after this. To be honest, I already told you everything I needed you to know. But there are a few more things I’d like to say, because you once told me that if you ever fell out of line I needed to put you back in your place. That’s what friends do.

There are going to be times in your life, many of them, when you won’t be able to see something anymore. There will be times when you lose the vision of a dream. It happens. It’s called life. It’s called temptation. Satan. Whatever. It happens. Okay? But that doesn’t mean that you walk away. It means that you hold on to the answers that you have already received, and you keep fighting. You stand up and fight back. Because it is worth it, and anything worth having is worth fighting for.

I’m not asking you to fight for this. But I am telling you that you’re going to need to fight for something someday. Don’t let goodness slip through your fingers. Don’t run. Stick it out.

I want to say that it was an excuse. The reason you gave me was no reason at all. I don’t understand it. How it changed so fast when I thought I had forever. I know you. I can see you. I understand you. And that wasn’t you.

You were gone, and I couldn’t reach you. I tried. But you were so closed off. Just gone. I wish you hadn’t shut me out. I wish you had remembered that first and foremost we were friends. I wish you’d have let me help.

I hate it that you’re gone, and now I have to figure out how to fill in the empty spaces. I have to figure out how to live without my best friend. Who to talk to when I’m excited or sad. Who I should discuss movies and novels with. But that’s my problem now, not yours.

You don’t have to worry, though, I know how you really feel. There were too many moments that were so precious that I can’t even bear to think about them anymore. But those are the moments when it was really you, and I knew how we both felt.

I meant everything that I said on the phone.

For Laughs

We Are Wesley

My family is pretty amazing. I mean, obviously I’m a little bit biased in that area, but believe me when I say that I’m saying this as objectively as possible: my family is incredible. Not only because we are all hilarious, but because they are all just pretty good humans in general.

good workEverybody in my family is really smart in some way, and all of us are really artistic and creative in different ways. It’s really cool to see all of us working on that as we get older. But besides these things, one of the things that my family does probably better than anything is quote movies.

And no, I’m not kidding.

There really isn’t any way to explain it, you just have to kind of experience it. But we are ridiculously amazing at quoting movies. We have entire conversations in movie quotes, and an eternal game of “name that movie” which will never be won by any single individual. This is actually one of the things that makes everybody in my family really hilarious. We are all fantastic at quoting movies, and not only that, but quoting them at the right moment. Our timing is impeccable.

The reason that I mention this today is because I’ve been thinking about the movie The Princess Bride. If you have never seen this movie, let me know so that I can light a candle for you, but then you must promptly go and watch it. I literally have no clue where my life would be if my siblings and I hadn’t been raised watching this movie. It is not only hilarious and totally classic, but it has the best one-liners in the world. It is very often quoted in our family.

I realized today, however, that besides the fact that we quote this movie all the time, we as you wisreference it even more without even meaning to.

In the beginning of the movie, you meet Wesley and Buttercup, who soon realize that they are deeply in love. One of the things that happens in order for them to realize this is something Wesley says to Buttercup often. He is farm boy, and every time she gives him an order to do something around the farm, he only ever replies with the words, “As you wish.”

Time after time, order after order, that is the only thing Wesley ever says in response. As you wish. Buttercup eventually comes to realize that when Wesley is saying, “As you wish,” what he is really saying is, “I love you.” And the rest is glorious history involving giants, miracles, and really big rats.

In my family, we have this phrase we use all the time. Like…all the time. We say it usually in moments that are hilarious and totally adorable, so inevitably we almost always end up saying it to my mom. We get all emotional and can’t handle life and we just say, “You’re so cute!” As I’ve thought about this phrase that we often say to each other, I’ve had a few thoughts. In the beginning, we kind of meant it as a very endearing insult. Something like, “You’re so adorable and weird and I don’t know how to say that so I’ll just call you cute with this really lovable face and voice and hope you get the message without being too offended.”

But as I’ve thought about this, I’ve had a major break through. Whether we all realize it or not, when we say, “You’re so cute!” what we really mean is, “I love you so much I can’t express it in this moment.” Because it almost always happens in the innocent moments when you’re watching somebody just be and you realize how incredible they are and how lucky you are to have them in your life.

wesleyIt happens in small moments when I watch my mom make a face as she’s thinking, or my little brother eat chili and orange soda, or my little sister blink blankly in annoyance, or my best friends do one of the one million things they do that are just completely them. And then your heart kind of swells in gratitude a little and with a whole lot of love and you just really can’t contain it.

My family has translated this moment into, “You’re so cute!”

But what we really mean is, “I love you.”

We are Wesley.