Religion, Macklemore, & Wine

Today I did something completely insane.

I scrolled all the way to the end of my blog. All the way to the very first post. Published on November 12, 2013, and titled “Fear No More” this post was about how it’s okay to love Shakespeare. To embrace the wonderful things he gave us and not shy away from his work, even in this day and age.

shakespeare loveWhy did I do this, you may ask?

Because I have been thinking about this blog incessantly lately. If I posted for the very first time in November of 2013, that means that we hit our five year anniversary this year.

What?

And I’ll be the very first to say it: this blog has been through SO many ups and downs. One of the great things about reaching my very first post, which took a lot longer than I’ll here record, is that I got to see how I’ve evolved in my writing in the last four and a half years. I got to see the things that I used to blog about. The things that used to excite me.

I used to be a very exuberant writer.

The number of exclamation marks. The language. Oh, glory. What a ride we’ve been through to develop the writing style that I know pose on this blog of mine. If you think it’s a little crazy now, scroll back a few years. I dare you.

My blog has been struggling recently.

I won’t deny that. In fact, I’ll be even more honest and admit that my blog has been dead for about a year now. I have blogging friends that I haven’t heard from in a million years. Do you suppose they’re still alive? hello neon

The reasons behind the death of the vitality of my blog are probably many and various, and to be honest I’m not sure if this post is the correct way to go about fixing it. I’ve admitted before how dead this blog has been for a while, and none of that seemed to do much.

Not that I’m complaining.

I love blogging and I always have. My blog has often been a great place for me to go to in order to create and express myself. It’s been invaluable to me for so many reasons.

When I first started blogging, one thing that I loved to do was write posts about specific things about myself. I’d tell people fun facts about me, or overall just try to be funny, in order to attract more followers and feel a little bit more validated.

So I thought I’d do that again today. Just for old time’s sake.

  1. I love God. I love Him so much. It’s not enough to say that my religion is important to me. It’s everything to me. It influences most of my decisions, if not all. My relationship with God is central to my life. I’d be completely lost without it. I love it that I know He is always there. That He loves me unconditionally and knows me perfectly. There is no greater comfort than that. I know that He has a plan for my life. And when I am following Him and doing the things I know I need to be doing to very best of my abilities, there is such a safety and comfort to life. God is so good. He is so, so good.
  2. I am a huge Macklemore fan. I am. Most people would never, ever guess that about geminime in a million years. But Macklemore is one of my most favorite people who has ever lived on this planet. I not only love his music, but I think he’s a great person. If you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should. It’s a treat. I love Macklemore.
  3. I love wine. I have never had wine. In fact, I’ve never drunk at all. No joke. Not a lie. 100% honesty. For religious reasons, I have never drank and I never will. It’s a belief that I hold very close to me, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to the outside world. But all of that being said, you will have a very hard time finding anybody in this world who loves wine more than me. I’m absolutely fascinated by it. If it were in any way possible, I’d be a key figure in the wine industry. I’m fairly certain it’s impossible to do that and also keep my religious standards, so that will have to remain a dream. But I think wine is totally amazing and incredible. I study it whenever I can. I have books about wine that I’ve read a million times. I study every wine menu I ever come in contact with. I love wine. I think it’s beautiful.
Advertisements

Forever is Stronger

Have you ever had an experience where the darkness seems so much stronger than the light?

I have had this thought on my mind quite a bit lately.

candleThis post is a hard one for me to write. It is one of those posts where I have the thoughts and feelings rolling around in my head for a very long time. And for whatever reason, I then decide that it is okay for me to pour out my soul to whatever human decides to stumble upon my internet space.

When I write these posts, there is usually one thought that ends up pulling it all together. One thing that brings it home and helps me make sense of it all. And maybe that’s the real point of posts like these. That I somehow make sense of it all.

When I was fifteen years old, my older sister Jamie had her first baby boy: Barrett. He wasn’t the first grandchild, and so obviously being an aunt wasn’t new to me. But for some reason, it was different. Maybe it was because it was my sister’s baby this time instead of my brothers’. I’m not really sure. But from the moment he came into the world my nephew Barrett has been one of my best friends. He used to call me when I was in my first year of college and say things like, “Hey, Jordan. Where’s you at?” or, “When you coming to see me?”

But today I remembered something that I had forgotten about. A memory with Barrett that was actually one of the most precious moments in my life.

One day, only a few months after Barrett was born, I got to rock him to sleep. I was sitting in a chair in my bedroom. It was slightly cloudy outside, a light rain falling against the window. I remember looking down at him: so tiny, and so completely perfect. And I suddenly felt the most overwhelming peace and love. A feeling unlike anything I’d ever felt in my life. And I was struck with the powerful realization that this baby, this little life, was the most sacred, precious thing in the world.

It didn’t take long for tears to start streaming down my face. door

I wish I could say that this moment turned a dark night into a bright day. That it changed everything and that nothing was ever the same again. But this wasn’t the case. It was, however, a moment that lit a candle in a dark room and gave me hope for the day when the drapes would be cast aside to let the sunlight stream in.

Let me explain: for as long as I can remember, physical touch has been very hard for me. I’ve never been an overly touchy person. It takes me quite a while to be comfortable with touching people, even just hugs. Even with my family, many of whom are very touchy, I sometimes have to put up some physical barriers. What is hard about this quirk of mine is that as far as love languages go, physical touch is probably my first language for both giving and receiving love. So you see the paradox I’ve lived in my whole life.

It was never really an issue until I got older, and started thinking about boys and relationships. I had a lot of guy friends, but when it came to the thought of anything romantic I never felt good about it. Not with anyone. To make a long story short, I eventually had to face the reality that the thought of holding hands with somebody or kissing somebody actually made me physically ill. It made me shaky and scared. I couldn’t do it.

What followed all of this was an extremely long process that took years.

All spelled out like this, it really isn’t surprising that it was eventually revealed that I experienced sexual abuse in my past. I say “revealed” because it wasn’t something that I remembered. It took some extensive therapy and a lot of really hard moments. And believe me, coming to the discovery wasn’t easy. You see, it happened when I was very young. Probably about the age of 6, which is why I don’t really remember anything.

What makes this hard is that I still had to live with the consequences of the experience. That years later I was still haunted by it. That it kept me from living my life and doing things that normal people are excited to do.

tunnelAnd it wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair that as a child I experienced something that horrific. And it wasn’t fair that it made something that’s supposed to be exciting and good horrible and terrifying. When I came home from my very first date I went into my room and cried. And the worst part is that it was a lovely date with one of my best friends. He was a perfect gentleman the entire time. Nothing bad happened at all. But the very thought that I’d been on a date, that I’d been in a setting where romance could’ve been possible completely sent me over the edge.

And that wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair that I was stuck with these fears. It wasn’t fair that I had had this thing happen to me and I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t have protected myself. I couldn’t have stopped it. I was the victim of something absolutely horrendous. And not even just as a child, but for the rest of my life after that.

That wasn’t fair.

And it was so overwhelming, so horrific, so terrible, that for years I just convinced myself that I was better off alone. That I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ever even try to be in a relationship. I wasn’t capable of breaking down walls that dark. And for years I was content with that understanding. I simply accepted the fact that this was my lot in life. It wasn’t fair, but it was the way it had to be. Because I couldn’t be anything else.

Obviously, this is no longer how I feel. And there is an even longer story mountainwrapped up in that. I can’t say that I’m 100% cured of every fear and insecurity that comes with having this in my life. To this day, there are moments that it overwhelms me. Where it brings me to tears. Where I am struck once again with just how horrible it is. And that it isn’t fair.

But back to this moment with my nephew Barrett: it was the beginning of the healing process for me. Because I was able to see, for the first time, how a physical relationship between two people created the most precious thing in the world. And I understood, even just a little, how sacred it is that a man and a woman can love each other that much. That they can literally create life. The beauty in that is indescribable.

It also taught me the incredible nature of the human soul. I looked down at that baby and knew how precious he was. I looked at him and knew how amazing he was. That he was going to move mountains.

It was a moment that taught me that even though I was surrounded in darkness about the most important things in life, love and a family of my own, that one day it wouldn’t be that way.

There are moments in life so dark that light is nothing but a vague concept.

sunThere are moments when darkness is so, so much stronger than light.

But they are just that: moments. Brief shadows.

But that experience with my nephew, that moment, was a glimpse into eternity. A perspective so much wider than the darkness I was facing in the moment. A promise that my forever was so much stronger than the horrible things that I had experienced in a brief shadow.

So I guess the point is this:

Forever is stronger.

 

 

Tacos & Salaries

inspire youIf I had to make a list of my best friends, my older sister Jamie would be very near the top. At the age of 26, she is the mother of five children (the oldest is not yet 6) and has been a wife for 8 years. She is beautiful, ridiculously funny, and an incredible wife, mother, and sister. I spend at least one day a week at her house, playing with her crazy wonderful children and talking about boys. I tell her everything, and she listens attentively while doing the 9 million other things that are on her plate. Besides helping me in innumerable ways, Jamie teaches me things that she doesn’t even know she teaches me.

A few weeks ago when I was at her home, her husband called her during his lunch break. While I was holding because of youtheir six month old baby, I listened to them have an entire conversation about what he was eating for lunch that day. Tacos.

The next week when I was at their house he came home from work that evening, greeted everybody, and then started talking to Jamie about his salary at his new place of work. While they didn’t go into any specifics with me in the room, they still had a very serious conversation.

In the last weeks I’ve been thinking about these two conversations quite a bit, and about how they relate to each other. I’m sure that Jamie and her husband have no idea how much these two instances have impacted me. But they have.

the reasonThese two interactions have taught me that when you find the person with which you can have the conversations that don’t matter, the ones about tacos, and the ones that do matter, about salaries, you’ve hit gold. And eventually the conversations that didn’t matter will be the only ones that do, and the ones that did will be the ones that end up not mattering. If you can find a person who can make you laugh even when you’re angry with them, a person who knows when you’re making fun of them but lets you do it anyway, or a person who will call you on their lunch break to talk about their meal, you should probably never let them go.

 

Paradoxical Purposes

honestToday I want to talk about relationships.

Not necessarily the “I’m so in love with you” kind, but all relationships in general. (Which I realize the love oozing kind does, in fact, fall in that category.)

What do you think the purpose of our relationships is? Why is it so important for us to have friends and family and a significant other? What is the purpose of a work relationship or a school relationship?

What is the point?

Have you ever looked at a specific relationship in your life and realized that the other person is way more important to you than you are to them? Just in case you haven’t, please know that I do not recommend this scenario. It isn’t very fun.

You see, I have this theory about relationships. Any relationship, really, but particularly timeless lovethose with friends and family. Because my view of life is pretty black and white (I either love something or I hate it), if you make it into my life as an important person it means that you are really important. It isn’t in my nature to do anything half-way, and if I happen to do that I get this weird unfinished feeling that I seriously cannot deal with.

It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized I’m really one of the only people left in the world who views all their relationships in this way. I don’t believe in being a convenience only friend, I don’t believe in being a “just during holidays” family member, and if I’ve brought you into my life that means you are incredibly important to me.

You can understand then, how I might be thrown for a loop when one of my relationships turns out to not be what I thought. When I’m the one pouring love and support into a relationship, whatever kind it may be, and the other person is a convenience friend or a genuine“just during holidays” family member or just incredibly self-centered and shallow.

I have had all three of these experiences with different people in different kinds of relationships lately and it has just really gotten me thinking about the way I view the world.

And the more I come upon parts of my personality like this the more I realize that I’m a living, walking paradox.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker…

49487fc21ddcfd65fcabd1cdb4756c9dI fancied myself a matchmaker. I did. In my fifteen year old brain two of my best friends were practically made for each other and it was absolutely my job to make sure that they realized their destinies. What ended up boosting my confidence on the whole subject was that they each individually came up to me and told me that they had feelings for the other person. So, of course, all they needed was a little nudge in the right direction and then I could practically take credit for happily ever after! Right?

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match!

Well, to be perfectly honest and absolutely humble, I pulled it off rather flawlessly. I mean, there was a slight bit of awkwardness and a few, “Hey, why don’t you sit here and I’ll just go away…”s before he finally got up the courage to tell her how he felt. And just like that, bam! Success!

Find me a find!

Oh, my glory was unprecedented! Well, at least that’s how I saw it. If I’d had it my way I 17bd9c4eac8fd08dceb9e21d658088ecwould have had my own personal red carpet and a person to throw petals before my feet. And really, it had been so incredibly easy! A little reassuring here, a nudge there! Oh, I was convinced that I was completely glorious!

Catch me a catch!

And then, well. I don’t exactly know if I thought about this relationship long term or not, but apparently that wasn’t in the picture at all. Because not too long after that she left for college and he still had high school left to do and well…that “happily ever after” kind of went away to not so much.

What makes this whole relationship ordeal so funny is how awesome I thought I was and how happy I was sure I had helped them become only to realize, oh, yeah…this isn’t realistic at all!

Um…matchmaker?

“Hit The Road, Bucky!”

So I have this roommate, whom I have named Shay for the purposes of this blog. (This is not actually close to her real name at all, but for some reason it is part of her email address. So, as Shay she shall be known.) If there is one thing you need to know about Shay before I tell you this story it is this: she is a laugher. She laughs at absolutely everything, even if it might not be funny, and her laugh is contagious to the point where you end up crying from guffawing about something that you honestly don’t recall. That being established, it is time to introduce the boy who is so desperately pursuing her. We’ll name him Terence.

Groove-disneyscreencaps.com-3281It isn’t that Terence isn’t a good kid. In fact, when he’s not being annoying on purpose he is actually quite funny. He is just so, so, so in need of love is all. He met Shay because his roommate is in a relationship with our roommate (so typical, I know…). And the night we met this poor soul he tried holding hands with two of us. Am I putting Terence into perspective now? Anyway, Shay is just way too nice to tell poor Terence, “Hit the road, Bucky!” It isn’t that she’s purposely leading him on, he just doesn’t know when to stop. And part of it is because when they first met he decided to ‘show her this one video’ on Youtube which talked about why guys and girls can’t actually ever be friends….right as Shay was thinking, “Oh, I think we could be friends.” And now we come to the point of all of this.

So one night Shay and Terence are watching a movie. Knowing Shay and the agony this whole thing has caused her, they were not alone. (No, I was not present for this. Though the heavens know I laughed extremely hard when I heard the tale.) In the midst of this movie, Terence made his move. And oh, it was destined for failure. Instead of offering his hand for her to hold or something sensible of that nature, he begins stroking her hand. Seriously, no joke. Stroking her hand. If I’d been narrating this event I would’ve had Shay saying something like, “Oh, thanks but I’m not a cat!”  If this had been a mutual thing, it’s cute and sappy and blah blah blah everything you’ve ever heard before. But in Shay’s words, “I froze and just sat there thinking, ‘Oh, heck no!'” So what did her instincts guide her into doing? What, do you ask?

She laughed! And not just any laugh. She snorted! At which point poor Terence jerked his hand away and began watching this movie with complete attention. What could possibly be worse for poor Terence? I mean, a laugh is one thing, for it is Shay after all. But a snort laugh is an entirely different matter to begin with. A snort laugh clearlye06242a2f70697ada99d8a2497317cbf states your attitude in such a situation. A snort laugh clearly indicated, “Hit the road, Bucky!” And the story doesn’t even end there, because Terence still keeps coming back! If there is one thing I’ll say about him, it’s that he is a pretty determined fellow.