NPR Magical Experience

I have nevaaaaaaaa…..speechless!

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In Which…What???

I just….I don’t know whose worse anymore: Emerson or Shakespeare.

Waldo…Ralph…Buddy….What….what the heck do you mean!?!?

In Which the Wave Ends

I knew the wave of mania would end at some point. It stuck around for a good while, which was fortunate. But I’ve been expecting it for days, and the end finally arrived today, riding in with a cloud of rain as opposed to the cloud of fire that accompanied Moses and the Israelites. During these times I tend to have a lot to say and absolutely no words to say them with.  It’s when you’re restless, but you’re struggling with idleness. Your hands search for anything and everything as a means of occupation. You clean the bathroom. You sweep the hall, the kitchen, the laundry-room. You wash the dishes three times. Four times. You wipe the stove top and the counter down. You open the window, close the window, open the window again.  You pick at the strings on your guitar, but your fingers and your mind are too disconnected at the moment. It’s not music. It’s noise. And you finally force yourself to sit down and accept that you don’t really know what to do anymore.  You’re itching for some sign of life. A roll of thunder. A burst of laughter. Something. Anything. But the weight of silence, which first came crashing down, seeps into your skin and you slowly accept that there’s nothing. Nothing but the sound of the fan whirring on medium and your shallow breathing to fill the void. It’s these times that I take a deep breath and tell myself, “all you’ve got to do is survive. Just keep surviving. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do anything productive at all. Eat cookies, drink water, watch television, read, don’t read, daydream, toss, turn, settle down or don’t.  Just don’t give in.”

In Which the Point is not Arrival

I think I can talk about tattoos all day. All day, everyday. Tattoos are awesome to me. Some tell stories, some don’t. Some look like an one-eyed inmate with cataracts did them and other’s look like they cost thousands of dollars for a celebrity artist to complete.  But ultimately, regardless of meaning or appearance, all tattoos go through the stages of itching and swelling.  Which is one reason why you probably want to make sure it looks the way and means what you want it to because you’ve got to do some suffering in the process of it retaining it’s permanency. I’ve currently just got two tattoos, a fact I’ve stated before so I apologize for my insistent redundancy. I want more, but I’m trying to save money right now so ink is currently at the bottom of my list of necessities.  Since mine are visible, as they are on my forearm and wrist, I get a couple of ink admirers who will compliment them. And most often I hear, “I want one! But I don’t want to go through the pain.” I usually try to calm their nerves and assure them that if their pain tolerance is high that they should be okay, but most often I think, “if you can’t endure the process, you can’t get the results.”And that’s true for most things in life.

We are a very destination oriented people. My pastor calls us the microwave generation. We’re in a hurry to get what we want, with less work. So instead of throwing those frozen chicken pot pies in the oven to cook, we’ll put them in the microwave though we acknowledge that they taste better fresh from the oven.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing because our generation is continuously creating systems and inventing technology which does things faster and more efficiently. I remember dial-up internet with AOL. God, that was a dark period in history….Ma used to fuss at us everyday during the summer because she would be calling the house to check on us and couldn’t get through because we were on the internet. Doing what? God only knows. I can’t even think of any useful or entertaining things that we had on the computer back then. But other times, faster and easier isn’t always better. Yet and still, no one likes a journey. NO ONE. You. Yea, you right there. NOT EVEN YOU! I can think of a thousand things I would like to do which require patience and practice, and it’s the patience and practice part that gets me every time. I’m currently trying to learn to play guitar and chord transitioning is eating me alive. My fingers start fumbling, my chords are distorted, I can’t move fast enough. It’s even more frustrating than when I took piano.  But I also realize that if I want to play guitar like Lianne La Havas then I need to continue to practice. God didn’t see fit that I should be a musical prodigy (thanks for nothing 4-C Jesus!) thus I have to hang in there and keep practicing.

Maybe our issue is that we can easily see the success of our peers on social media. We look at their Mercedes or their budding careers and can only see their achievement or their “arrival.” But rarely do they allow us to see their journey.  Some of them struggled in school and failed a class two or three times.  Some worked low-rung jobs to pay for school. Some may have dropped out and then re-enrolled without anyone knowing.  These are things that we often do not witness. And quite honestly, we ensure that no one knows that we might be scraping along in our journey, too.  I’ve never posted a job update or school update on Facebook. I rarely talk about my personal struggles on other outlets because you always have someone who comes along with a shady post saying that people should stop crying on Facebook about their problems. Or worse, once they hear about someone’s struggle they use it to demean or berate them. So we internalize the feeling that not arriving is shameful. While I’m not advising anyone go out there and start stripping to pay for college, I tip my hat off to women who do.  I don’t have the stamina, flexibility, or upper body strength for that so I probably wouldn’t make enough money to buy a 6-piece nugget from McDonalds. But they work a legal job, save their money, and use it for their books, rent, daycare funds, tuition, whatever it is they have to pay for. And I can’t look down on their arrival because their journey did not fit my idea of what I thought a journey should look like. I very much look at common illegal activities such as drug dealing the same way. Yes it’s illegal and no I wouldn’t advise it. But some people are doing what they can to get what they need. They just want to keep their lights on or help their parents with the mortgage, and they don’t have access to a job for whatever reason (because note that the largest portion of drug dealers who are busted come from lower income neighborhoods with poor school districts) But sidenote: if you deal with drugs and you get a certain amount of money, take a portion and invest in stocks or a business. This way you can let your money make money without you being involved in a dangerous illegal activity.  So there’s that. But the issue also stems from our society being so focused on the goal. We see all sorts of wealth and riches flashing before our eyes on television or on the internet. Yet, the same society that exposes us to the “American Dream” doesn’t provide everyone with the proper, legal avenues (journeys) to possibly attain it. So you end up with crime for survival. That’s my sociology tidbit for the day.

All in all, we all have to start somewhere to end somewhere. It would be nice to start at the finish line, but it’s impossible. And yes, some people are fortunate to start closer to the finish line than you, but it doesn’t make them better than you. And if they arrive earlier it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate.  We should accept that much of life is a process. Very little in life doesn’t require waiting. So instead of yelling at the cashier working the register or the CSR who picks up after you’ve been on hold for thirty minutes (mostly because it’s not their faults. And if it is, still be kind. Don’t make people’s life hard just because you’ve got your panties in a knot) understand not everything is immediate. And don’t judge someone else’s story or journey. If they’re still working their way through the muck and mire that is adulthood, then strap on your rubber boots and help dig them out. Or encourage them. Pray for them. Share your journey with them. Let people know they are not alone and that they have nothing to be ashamed of.  And don’t be shady about it either. Don’t get on social media talking about your new car and how you worked harder than everybody and they’re still struggling and “hahaha look at me now!” Don’t be flashy about your arrival. As much as I think Black Youngsta is the funniest person on the planet, I think he needs to watch himself carefully. It’s okay to relish in your success, or even reveal the extent of your achievement so that your peers who had similar struggles will know they can make it too. But don’t use it to down others (especially women. I dislike when they use “bitches and hos” so much. We understand you don’t mean all women. But this misogynistic culture has got to stop). And please…PLEASE….if someone shares their journey with you, intentionally or unintentionally, don’t be the nosy neighbor who has to find out every detail. If you see scars on someone’s arm which probably means they used to self-harm don’t ask them a thousand questions or stare at them. It makes people self conscious. And don’t think you’re entitled to every detail in their lives if they do share a bit with you. It’s weird. Stop it.

So that’s all for today.  I’m off to do literature and algebra before I watch my cartoons.

 

In Which I Keep it Light

I really wanted to get on here and go into full blown political rant mode. The temptation is strong, but I shall maintain a calm countenance for now. So all I have to say is why is it that every time I see a picture of Donald Trump his lips are whiter than the rest of his face? Someone get this man some carmax, please…..Somebody….ANYBODY…..

In Which I Got a Second Chance

I’m trying to ride this wave of positivity as far as it’ll take me. So this post is another fairly optimistic one.

Yesterday, after I typed that post about forgiveness, restoration, and the like, I closed down my computer and told a lie.  Well, to be honest it was at least four hours later, but here’s the deal. What had happened was….My stepsister got a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze about two and a half years ago. Ever since she drove it off the lot, in all its silver and shiny chrome glory, it’s been giving her all sorts of trouble.  Not even six months after she became it’s official owner the engine light came on and stayed on no matter how many times she took it back to the dealership for them to fix. Last week my stepdad noticed a puddle in the driveway where she usually parked her car.  Upon investigation,he realized that her car was leaking something, but he couldn’t pinpoint the source. Assuming it was the antifreeze leaking, especially since later that week the car began running hot everyday, he took it to a mechanic that he knew personally to have it fixed.  Lo and behold,  the guy delivers worse news: the water pump needs to be completely replaced. In his opinion the car needs to be fixed as well as it can be and immediately traded, as he feels it’s going to end up being a money guzzler.  As a result, my stepsister has been bumming rides to work with her friend in the mornings, and I have been picking her up in the evenings.  Yesterday she messaged me asking could I take her to work this morning at 7:30 AM.  Well, my exams are at 8:00 so I honestly have time to take her to work and still be on time for the exam appointment. Except I like to be at least 35 minutes early since the parking lot fills up and traffic gets congested since a middle school is right down the road from the college. Guess what this girl did? *hangs head in shame* I lied and told her I had to be at school by 7:25 AM. She readily accepted my excuse and said she would try to find another ride. The reality is I could have easily said yes and dropped her off, but I was being selfish and going according to my personal comforts. I wanted to be at the school by 7:25 but I didn’t need to be. I wanted to be super early so I could sit in the car and cram, but I didn’t need to be.  So I told a useless, selfish lie.

Immediately after telling the lie I was convicted. I knew the Holy Spirit was jabbing me in the heart going, “You could have taken her to work. You’d want someone to give you a ride if you needed one!” And that’s true. If I were ever in a situation where I needed a ride to campus or somewhere and my car was on the putz, I’d want someone to be there to help me out. Yes yes, I know. THE SHAME!!!  While dropping her off at her apartment following her night class (I did let her use my car to go to school so don’t judge me too harshly) she told me that the friend who had been taking her lived across town and would probably have her an hour late today. And the Holy Spirit started jabbing me even harder. I think he upgraded from jabbing to stabbing at this point. Gawd, I was getting shanked by Jesus. “Tell her you’ll take her. TELL HER YOU’LL TAKE HER!” And yet I maintained my resistance, thinking to myself that I was justified to stick to my schedule without her interruptions.  But once I pulled into the driveway back home I knew I couldn’t keep up my selfish charade. I sent her a text letting her know that I could take her to work. I didn’t tell her I lied because….well….I don’t have a legitimate reason but you would have done it too!!! She messaged me back letting me know her coworker was going to pick her up and thanked me anyway. I sent a reply letting her know that if the ride didn’t work out to just hit me up. And that was the end of that conversation.

Later that night I asked the Lord to forgive me for lying and being self-serving.  Even though I knew he forgave me I still was disappointed in myself for not being a blessing to someone. Which is ironic because every morning when I say my prayer I ask God to let me be a blessing to someone. And when he gave me the chance I blew it. *shaking my head* The guilt ate me alive all night. I mean, ALL NIGHT. I got up to use the restroom at 2:00 AM and the guilt greeted me in the bathroom, along with the realization that there was no toilet paper on the roll.  WHY MUST YOU PUNISH ME, JESUS! I tried to soothe my remorse by reminding myself that while I didn’t admit to my lie, I did extend the invitation for a ride.  But it didn’t work. The whole situation didn’t sit well with me at all.

Well this morning, I get a message asking me to pick her up so that she could use our shower at the house since the one in her apartment always clogs.  Five minutes after I told her I could, I get another message telling me that her coworker’s tire went flat and she wouldn’t be able to pick her up. And that was funny….even though it wasn’t funny. Immediately I realized that God was giving me another chance to be the blessing I blew the chance of being yesterday.  I’m not going to say he put the poor girl’s tire on flat because if you have never been to Jackson….well, let me tell you. The roads down here are terrible. Pot holes everywhere you turn. I wouldn’t drive a brand new car down here if ever I got one. But he used the present circumstances to extend the invitation of redemption. Like, “Okay, you said you’re sorry and I forgave you. But now I’m giving you another chance to do the right thing.”  So I took her to work and guess what? My usual parking space at school was still empty (even though I missed my parking lot buddy this morning. I have no idea who he is but every morning he parks on the opposite side of me bumping Gucci Mane) and the school traffic completely cleared out. Of course, I did have to ride through some congested traffic on the interstate but it was hardly a hindrance to me being on time for my exam. And I also got there at 7:50, ten minutes before I actually needed to be.

So I was grateful that God allowed me to correct my mistake since many times we are unable to go back to fix a flub of ours. Am I going to tell her I lied? OF COURSE NOT! So she can kill me?!?! Well she probably wouldn’t kill me; she would have done that when I backed her car into a brick post two years ago. But instead of murdering me in the yard, she pitied me. Most likely because by then she already started hating the car.  Now she likely would curse me out or strangle me. But I’d live. And I’m still gonna live….with that lie cleverly hidden on this blog where she’ll never ever ever ever see it. That’s right, I’m taking it to the grave guys. Sue me! (please don’t. I’m a college student…..)