For Laughs · I'm Just Saying

Imma Be Honest

Imma be honest with all of you:

Sometimes I get so ridiculously tired of blogging.

But I have this thing where I’ve been writing this blog for almost…four (?) years now and thinking of blog posts is just a part of who I am now.

However.

bad decisionsI don’t really know what’s going on inside my head, or what the cause is, but for whatever reason the last couple of days I have just been so, so, so mad. Just mad.

Have you ever woken up absolutely furious?

I still can’t decide if I would recommend the experience or not, but I’ll get back to you assuming that at some point in the near future I don’t wake up furious. One of the objects of this anger has been my blog.

I guess that for some reason I always thought it meant something, but I’m not sure it does. I guess I always wanted to write these posts that rattle everything inside of me while also putting it all into place, and somehow everything in my life causing the rattling would just fix itself. It would be like the universe saying, “Yo. I read your blog. And all those things you’re working towards and waiting for? Here they are. Stay golden.”

Actually, that’s never happened. Maybe the universe isn’t following this blog.

I’m fairly certain that I’m trying to be funny in this post. And that the fact that I’ve been absolutely furious for three days straight is also quite funny. Not sure. Nothing really feels funny right now, but the part of me that usually finds most things funny is assuring me that it’ll all be funny soon.

When I feel this way, I just constantly have to remind myself to remain focused on what I know. Just remain focused on the answers I received, do my best to avoid falling into sadness (which is so easy when life feels uncertain), and just continue doing good things and doing what I know makes me content.level of hell

I will say with complete confidence that I’ve been doing this remarkably well in recent months. I’m actually proud of myself for all I’ve been able to do.

But the last three days I’m just mad.

I think it’s an experience I only recommend if it doesn’t last too long. Sometimes you just have to drive through town wearing your sunglasses and mean face. With the bass turned way up and your rap music blaring. Actually, I’d recommend that experience on any day, but on days like this, it is an entirely new level of satisfying.

Stay golden.

 

Just Writing

The Leaf

The Leaf

somewhere deep in the forest
a leaf grew on the high branches

one day she changed
to vibrant red and gold

she merely thought it was her time
the time she’d waited for

she didn’t know
she was about to die

in hues of majesty
she held onto her branch

overlooked the forest
and understood contentment

she watched her change
and was happy

she didn’t know
she was about to die

a wind came from the south
carrying black clouds

but she didn’t have strength
to hold on

it had been sapped
the colors had weakened her

she knew
she was about to die

somewhere deep in the forest
a leaf grew on high branches

one day the red and gold betrayed her
and she fell to the ground

and shattered on the forest floor
nothing to catch her

she hadn’t known
what it felt like to die

and there, upon the ground
the leaf stayed forever

ever slowly falling apart
blending into the brokenness

she watched the long life of others
saw their contentment

she watched as they knew
that they would never die

 

 

I'm Just Saying

The Way It Is

I have a secret love in my heart for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I wish I didn’t sound like such a typical woman admitting that, but I suppose that’s just the way it has to be.

balconyThe sad thing about Romeo and Juliet is how overdone it is. Pure and simple, everything about that play is overdone. The play is overperformed, there have been far too many movie adaptations, and the discussions surrounding it are also over much. Simply put, everything coming out of this play is just a little bit extra.

Which shouldn’t be surprising considering the fact that it’s about two people who would rather die than be without one another.

If you’re a human alive in this world, you know the story of Romeo and Juliet. And you also know everything that has been said about it. I believe that the most popular thing to say about this is: that’s just hormones.

Well. Okay then.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never bought this argument and I never will. I don’t really care how old Romeo or Juliet are supposed to be. Never have. Never will. Call me crazy, but I’ve just always looked at the play as a rather tragic love story. Kind of how Shakespeare wrote it. Shocker.

You can also attribute the reconciliation of a terrible feud to hormones, too. Probably.

A few years I ago I saw this play again, and even though I’ve always loved it, for some reason this particular time it really struck me. I mean, it really, really struck me. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I couldn’t fathom it, really.

Love.

They loved each other so much. They really, truly did. So much that everything they had always been taught or told didn’t matter because they had found their other half. And they were willing to throw everything away for that. Both of them had very bright futures within their families and sphere of influence.

I remember getting to the end and just crying.infinite love

And in my prayers later that I night, I was talking to God about it. And, bless His heart, I just sat there and cried some more. I remember praying about this story, about these characters. Even though it isn’t real. The lessons are incredibly powerful. I remember praying and asking that one day I’d be able to know what it was like to love that way.

A bold choice of words, coming from somebody who already feels things very deeply.

(Like super deeply. You guys don’t even know. It’s exhausting most days. There are so many times when I just want to look myself in the eye and be like, “Okay. If you could not feel so many feelings ALL. THE. TIME at this insane intensity that’d be great.” Unfortunately, I have a red hot don’t-tell-me-what-to-do streak and it also applies to myself. I’m working on that, though.) Looking back on it now I’m not altogether sure I really thought that one through. But hey, that’s life sometimes.

But I digress.

This last week I’ve had two very powerful moments that keep resurfacing in my thoughts. Both of them are just statements that really touched my heart. And I think the point of this whole post is to make sense of them. So bear with me.

The first was a statement from a book I finished reading this week. Now I have read this book at least 800 times. In fact, I’ve read this book so much that I can skip around and find all my favorite parts. I’ve read this book so much that I know the story as well as if I’d written it myself. I’ve read this book a lot. That’s all I’m saying.

But as I was rereading it this week, a phrase I had never noticed before hit me in the face.

second balconyThe main character is talking about the man that she loves. They have a very unique bond. One that surpasses your typical love story. Because all of the forces in the universe try and pull them apart. Literally, everything is working against them and both of them know that no matter what, even if they were to never see one another again, they belong to one another. That they were made for one another.

It is suggested to the main character several times that she ought to move on and forget him, to find somebody else and try and live as happily as she can. And in the course of these conversations she finally says something like:

Once you give your heart, you never get it back. Once given, it is gone forever.

The other phrase was something that my older sister said to me. I’ve been staying with her, her husband, and their two toddlers this week, helping out with the wheat harvest. Now my sister and her husband are an interesting story because on paper they shouldn’t work. But they do. Good grief, they are so perfect for each other it can be a little painful. Honestly. She was talking to me about it the other day as we drove through town, and she said,

We were just supposed to be together. We were meant for one another. That’s just the way it is.

And that is the truth. A lot of things were combining against them, and somehow they still pulled through. There was a moment when it got hard and they ended things. I don’t know the full story but I remember my brother-in-law said something like, “I just don’t know if I can be the man you deserve.” His past was haunting him, and he didn’t know if he could do it.

Obviously, things worked out because they are married now and have two beautiful boys. I think after a while he finally came back to her and said, “I know what kind of man you deserve and I know that with your help I can be that man. I’m a better me when I’m with you.” So they got back together and pushed through the unknowns and the past hurts as a team. And today they are the best example of a beautiful marriage that I’ve ever seen.

It’s so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

The reason I began this post with all my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet is that I think it never did run smoothillustrates these two ideas. They knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they belonged together. They were meant for one another. Once they had truly given their heart they weren’t going to get it back. But then again Shakespeare also wrote, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the course of true love never did run smooth.

The tragedy of their love story lies in the fact that it took their death for love to win. I think it illustrates an absolutely beautiful point and was probably written to do so. It shouldn’t have taken that much for love to heal.

But at the same time, love like that isn’t easily found or given or maintained. Just like my brother-in-law realized, it can be really hard. And far too often a lot of painful factors get in the way and it can seem hopeless. But as he also realized, that type of love is also worth it.

That’s just the way it is.

 

I'm Just Saying

Ed Sheeran & Harry Styles

music heartbeatI am definitely one of those people who have so many feelings that sometimes I just have to be like: just this song. This song. Listen to this song and feel what I’m feeling, please. Listen to this song and you will understand.

Actually, I can pretty accurately break my life into musical phases.

If I had to name the musical phases I’ve been through this year, well, considering the title of this post it shouldn’t really come as a shock.

Ed Sheeran kicked off the year for me. 2017 held so many promises for me, and Ed edSheeran seemed to be the only one who truly understood what all of those promises were. My days were filled with his songs. His songs accurately portraying everything I felt, somehow touching the deepest things I was experiencing.

I think I died and got reborn all at once when his new album entered my life. I will say with absolutely no shame that I listened to “Perfect” on repeat for probably two weeks. (Though “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” and “How Would You Feel” snuck in for several days during this time.) I’d never had an experience like that before. It was like Ed just knew. He knew everything that was going on in my life and decided to contribute to my newest discoveries.

As 2017 ages, I don’t want to say that Ed lied.

perfect lyricsBecause I honestly don’t think Ed Sheeran is capable of lying.

(In fact, on a completely nonrelated note, I’ve decided that someday I need to write some sort of official essay on the cultural phrase “cinnamon roll”. For those of you who don’t know what this phrase refers to, quite simply it refers to a person who is a cinnamon roll to the human world. Very pure, very good. Genuine hearted. In this official essay, or maybe even a dissertation who knows, I will use three examples of the human cinnamon roll: Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.)

I heard once that if you are doing the right thing, your path will always be harder. If perfect lyrics 2you’re doing the right thing, it will always be uphill. I guess there is comfort in that, but still. Why do you suppose it has to be that way? Actually, don’t answer that. I know the answer. I’m just complaining.

The next phase of 2017 was, you guessed it, Harry Styles.

Now I could probably write a very lengthy post about all of the things that I used to think about Harry Styles. Back when I was doing my “I can’t do what everybody else is doing just because they are all doing it” thing. (I’m still working on that, by the way, and getting better.) In fact, earlier in the summer my roommate and I were driving around. I distinctly remember driving through Wendy’s to get a chocolate frosty, and she tried to turn on a Harry Styles song.

I distinctly remember saying, “Is this Harry Styles? Bleh. Turn it off, please.”

Karma, ladies and gentlemen, has been a close companion of mine this year. And it hasn’t always been fun.

HarryNevertheless, Harry Styles and I are on good terms now. I’ll avoid the specifics of my enamored feelings there because this post is actually supposed to be about music. So let’s continue.

“Sign of the Times” broke my heart wide open. Thanks, Harry. I honestly think I just cried when I first heard it. And then another time, my roommate and I went for another drive, and she played “Ever Since New York”.

I seriously doubt that she expected me to burst into tears and wail, “Who did this?? Who hurt him?? Why would you ever, ever, ever hurt Harry Styles??!!”

I’m not sure what it is about that particular British gentleman, but literally everybody I know has the fiercest urge in the world to protect him at all costs. Like, if I could protect Harry Styles from all of the bad things in the world then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything ever again.

Oh, right. This post is about music.

Anyway, after Ed was no more, Harry Styles swooped in to two hearts lyricsave the day. Harry’s new album is quite honestly just gold. Don’t even get me started on “Sweet Creature”. It is too pure for words.

Because my emotions are so intense, I have to find periodic times when I can give myself an allotment of feeling. “Two Ghosts” is usually the song I listen to. You may think I’m kidding but I’m not. I sit in my car, turn on that song, and say to myself, “Self, you may have all the feelings you want for the next three minutes and forty-nine seconds.” About…5.5 times out of ten it does the trick.

two ghostsOkay, but am I the only one who hears “Two Ghosts” and just dies a little bit for Harry???? I just want to be like, “Bro! Go after this woman! Go after her! You’ll remember how to have a heartbeat, I promise! Go get her!”

Alright, if this post has taught me anything it is that I obviously need to write a separate post detailing all of my feelings about particular songs by Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Maybe that’ll be coming your way soon.

I have been writing my novel fiercely the last few weeks. And if I keep at it, I’ll be finished with it very soon. That’s both exhilarating and frightening. But I can’t wait. Someday you’ll have to remind me to tell you what music I listened to the majority of the time that I wrote this book. It will blow you away.

And now I’ve come to the end of this post. Go listen to some Ed and Harry.

I'm Just Saying

Palace Views

14375342_1898733117020628_440956483_oA year ago today, I set foot in London, England for the first time. And realized I was home.

I went to England for three weeks on a study abroad tour with the English department at my university. We spent the first several days in London, and continued from there. Each Sunday that we were there we attended church. On the last Sunday I remember sitting in the meeting and weeping. I remember silently praying, talking to God about a lot of different things.

I remember praying, “How can I do it? How can I leave here? I’ve never felt such a sense of belonging in my life. How can I leave, Father? How?”

Then I prayed, “And you’re probably so tired of hearing about my problems. You’re probably so done hearing about the same concern over and over again. Even though I’m here in England I’ve still been praying about it and I’m sorry.”

More tears just came pouring out of my eyes. I thought the woman next to me was going to have to pull out her umbrella. “Please,” I finished, “I can’t leave. I don’t know how to leave this behind.”

The thing was, even as I was caught up in this sorrow, I felt a peace I’d never experiencedPhone Pictures 707 before. To be honest, this peace settled over my heart the instant I arrived in England and never left the whole time I was there. But in this moment, I felt so much genuine sadness. I was so grateful to be there. So, so incredibly grateful. I had known that I would feel that way. In fact, much of my life my parents had been reluctant about letting me travel to England because, as my mother once said, “You’ll go there and realize it’s your home. And then you’ll never come back.”

She was right. Because a part of me is still there, and it’s never coming back.

But as I spoke this prayer, and felt this peace, I also heard something. Very distinctly.

“I’ll never get tired of hearing you speak to me about anything. I don’t care if you say the same prayer all day every day if that’s the prayer of your heart. And I know you’re sad. I know it’s hard. And I’m right here with you. Don’t worry. This isn’t the end.”

Phone Pictures 927My time in England was the happiest time of my life up to that point. It was so much more for me than just seeing things I’d always wanted to see. It was so much more than a great thing I got to experience.

It was the very first time in my life where I saw dreams coming true. It was the very first time in my life where I wasn’t just waiting for my turn. (What can I say, I grew up in a big family. Waiting my turn has always been and will always be the story of my life.) It was the very first time when something completely spectacular, something beautiful, something so, so incredibly good that fed my soul, happened to me.

It was the first time that I realized good things could actually happen to me. And not just to everyone else. I think that the combination of me being number 8 of 10 children and also a writer has doomed me to a life of observation. I have always just been a watcher. I’ve watched things happen to other people my whole life, with me just standing on the fringes.

My deepest held desire has always been that one day it would be my turn.

You see, when your time finally comes, it is so much more than just seeing the sights. It is about dreams you’ve had your whole life coming true. It is about prayers you’ve whispered through tears finally being answered. It is about finally inhabiting a place in the universe you’ve only seen others step into. It is about joy so pure and full that you think your heart will burst. Joy you’ve waited your turn for your entire life.

This last year has been a year of it finally being my turn for a lot of things.

And it all started with England. England welcoming my soul home. England teaching mePhone Pictures 843 that it is about so much more than just the surface of what’s happening to you. England teaching me that it is actually about dreams coming true, prayers being answered, long awaited joy bursting your heart. England letting me go in a very painful moment, but whispering that it wouldn’t be for long.

I remember standing in Hampton Court Palace, only a few days into the trip, looking around me in complete awe. My heart was so full, my head buzzing. I couldn’t get enough of the view.

Just Writing

The Truth About Broken Things

The Truth about Broken Things

The Fullston’s lived at No. 9 Chaddick Drive, just around the corner from the recruiting office. In the days following the bold black headlines of the Lusitania lines of men extended well past the front door. Their eyes all held different stories. Frightened or yearning for glory, and always perched above gray coats.

Eventually the gray spread to trousers and boots, and bled into the streets. And soon everything was gray except the signs for bonds.

At first I thought that it wouldn’t find its way past the front door. We kept it out for as long as we could, or at least I did. Mr. Fullston embraced the war, and for his sake Diana did as well. I don’t even think they noticed when the gray touched the marble and mahogany.

In the hallway outside the library was a mostly empty china cabinet. A shelf behind the dull glass held a colorful variety of tea cups. Diana once told me she collected them on her travels. In the years before meeting Mr. Fullston.

The gray touched the cups one by one. Hand painted flowers and bright rims eventually faded. And as I watched it happen I knew it would eventually reach me. It seemed the war would scar every inch of our lives.

When the lines had shortened and the obituaries were much too young, I noticed that two cups near the back of the shelf remained untouched. Behind the faded glass and rows of gray, the weak light reflected off their gold rims. The porcelain was a clean white. It spoke of purer times.

Each day I walked to the cabinet and pressed my fingertips to the glass. Just to look and see. To make sure that it hadn’t touched them. That it wouldn’t touch them. I was never sure what I would do if it had. I just hoped that it wouldn’t. It began to seem as though everything was hung in balance by that single moment each morning.

Diana asked me about it once, right before she left for one of her war effort meetings. I answered without thinking, “It hasn’t touched these two yet.” For a moment I was paralyzed with the notion that she wouldn’t understand.

She put her fur muff to the side, next to the boxes of gray clothes that were to be donated to soldiers. Her eyes were misty with confusion until she saw the cups. And a soft smiled graced her lips then. “I got those two when I was away at school. They were so simple. Ordinary, even. But perfect. Incredibly perfect.” She brushed a graying stand of hair from her eyes. “I usually only collected one cup at a time. But I couldn’t separate them. They were made to be together. I think that is what made them special.”

“They seem so…clean from the world.” My voice came out in a ragged whisper. To my surprise, Diana merely nodded.

“I’ll be back shortly, my dear. We’ll use them for our tea this afternoon.”

Mr. Fullston left soon after her, a telegram in his hand and a cigar jammed in the corner of his mouth. No doubt he was heading downtown to one of the large buildings with marble floors. I was never to know what he actually did there. He left clouds of gray smoke behind him as he closed the door.

I decided to wait until Diana came home from her meeting to get the saucers out. I was both excited and frightened to remove them from behind the glass. I needed the perfection Diana had spoken of to remain. And yet I had a small hope of absorbing their purity.

Perhaps it was this hope that caused the accident. I’ll never be entirely sure.

Diana sat at the table, our tea set before her as I removed the cups. They were dainty, yet somehow strong in their light clinking. I wiped them clean of any gray dust and walked back towards the tea room.

But the cups fell.

They slipped from my hands and shattered into fragments on the gray floor. I screamed. And I could not get to the pieces before the gray began weeping into them.

“No! No, no, no!” My tears splashed onto the tainted porcelain. But they didn’t wash it clean.

“It’s alright, my dear.” Diana’s voice was suddenly beside me. But I couldn’t seem to hear it. I frantically began gathering up the pieces, hardly noticing when one of them cut me. Then I saw that even my blood looked gray. And that was when I realized that there was no escape. There was no remaining untouched.

“We will fix them.” Diana’s voice came piercing through my realizations.

“But we can’t.” My voice was as raw as my new reality. “They are broken. I broke them. They were perfect and now they are tainted.” I was finally able to meet her eyes. “Diana, it’s all broken.”

Diana smiled at me, and then carefully picked up the fragmented cups. At her silent invitation I followed her to the kitchen where she scrubbed the blood from my hands. Then we sat at the large table and I watched her repair the cups. Piece by piece, the porcelain fit back together and the gold rims returned. Though I thought I would be forever haunted by the cracks.

“Everything gets broken from time to time.” Diana finally said, “But you should learn now that brokenness is never final. I told you earlier that I’ve always felt that the perfection we sense here lies in the fact that they were made for one another. Tainted or whole makes no difference.”

One day, the gray was gone. Perhaps it left on its own or perhaps I simply stopped seeing it. For the rest of the war I visited the china cabinet every day. I pressed my fingertips to the glinting glass and peered inside at the two white cups. And I often heard Diana’s voice in my head, teaching me the truth about broken things.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve had this short story floating around in the gray areas of my mind for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, when I had a very wonderful conversation with somebody whom I love dearly, that I was able to put all the pieces together. I felt myself looking for some grand way to express the simplest truth I’ve learned this year. But it wasn’t until I stripped away the thoughts of grandeur that I could really see it before my eyes. Sometimes the grandest way to express our deepest truths is through simple means. It was a joy to write.

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.