Venetian Blinds and Progress
I have learned a lot by my family. That seems obvious, we all do. But seriously, my family has taught me a lot.
The most important thing I think living through a lot of really tentative and fragile situations has given us is a sense that it could all be gone in five minutes. I don’t recommend keeping that over a long time, but even if it doesn’t help immediately, it certainly puts things in perspective.
As me and my sister grow into adulthood, its weird watching the fallout in our parents, on either side. It’s like insecurity is a shared burden as we step forward. It’s strange, but that’s what families do.
I had a conversation with my cousin on Facebook that could have turned bad the other day. She is such a smart young woman, and she cares very much about what she believes in. I know she will do great things someday, but not everyone is going to agree with how you feel, and we certainly didn’t agree about the mechanism to solve a problem that we both believe is important to the fabric of society and the world. Even in disagreement, I knew that if anyone tried to talk shit on my cousin, I would be on her side no matter what happened, because that is just what families do. And if you haven’t lived through a lot of trying times, then you have no idea how big the mama grizzly (or insert animal here that has offspring) instinct can be in someone who cares about you. It’s the same thing with me and my sister on the playground: I can say whatever I want about my sister, but if you hurt her or (in my case) make her cry, the first words are gonna be “Who did it” and “Where are they” rather than words that make it all better. Now, I’m not going to pretend we were all that fearsome as second graders, but we were born to be each other’s watchdogs in a lot of senses. If anything ever happened to Lauren, I think I would self-destruct for a while, but I trust God; he’s got it regardless and he helped us all survive so much so far, I’m not second guessing that.
It is hard for me to explain that sometimes to people that don’t understand all of it. It is hard to explain how mad I can be and still care pretty infinitely. It can be hard to inforce boundaries for the sake of everyone, knowing there is going to be some hurt feelings that I will just have to deal with. It can be hard to be patient and trust that it is all growth that is on its way, regardless of my actions. It takes the pressure off to know that God has all of it regardless of what I do, because it can be frustrating to make necessary changes if you’ve done something for a long time, even if that thing is helpful.
Before that boy though, I never thought any of it was possible. It’s nice to know that loving him helps me keep my sanity even if he is being a complete boob. Eventually if it works out, he will be able to know that that never changed. But even if not, it has given me a lot of endurance over the course of coming home and confronting a lot of demons. Isn’t that what people dream of in these situations, to be able to be free to move forward? I used to think my speed was all I was, but if you are fast and resilient in anything, there are actually two different speeds. One is the velocity of your faith, one is the velocity of your doubt. The difference in any two speeds over a point of time is your velocity. And funny thing, it’s also the name of my church. Lol. Thanks Jesus.
But thank God for all of it, if it has already paid off. Honestly as a child, I never thought I’d survive to be this happy. And that is enough to make me cry of happiness no matter what day of the year it is, let alone 2 days til Christmas. Whoever knew? Certainly not me. Thank God.
The doubt and insecurity will always be there if you let it be, but being fearless is a fine wine that you have to guard very carefully. It’s terrifyingly treacherous; this growing up business, one misstep and it can all burn away into darkness. I can’t impress upon anyone how great it of a risk it can be to accept your limitations. Believing that they don’t define you and that “you are more than the sum of your parts” (in the voice of 7th grade Haley) is the worst part. You have to accept every little thing and know that there was something bigger behind all of it to be able to heal; it’s a perspective thing. Will you believe that the love was greater than all of it, even if you don’t call it God? I hope so. I wish for you the greatest of blessings, just as I prayed for them for myself as a child. The thing about it is that every time I prayed for it to be worth it when I was heartbroken, when I was sure I couldn’t keep going, when I felt like my worth was dependent on my fear, the strange calm feeling that nudged me forward, saying “Keep going” never left. I want to share that, because it is something you have to live to appreciate and live to pass on. It doesn’t leave if you listen to it, it grows. And even if it only came to a screeching halt in order to love a person who is still off growing and learning, who cares? It came. It was enough to catalyze all of this, and every time I prayed to God to heal all of the things I was too afraid to deal with alone, he sent a love so great that I could only understand it through fighting all of the insecurities I’ve ever had in the space of a few months. What the hell? Well, that’s been this semester.
I want to give that boy his freedom though, if that’s what he wants. It a pass it on sort of thing. The love doesn’t die, but wanting what is best for him is also so real it stings. He needs to be able to move forward. If that means doing so alone, I would gladly let that happen. When I write poems about just wanting him to smile more, I truly mean it. I just want this blessing to be his as well, for him to be able to appreciate what freedom feels like completely. Now, I may not be perfect (like everyone else), but I know for a fact that if it meant he could move forward, I would gladly throw away all of it that never was meant to be. I trust God to facilitate all of it, and I mean it. If you love something, you let it go. That is no different in this, but it is much much harder. But knowing that my family sees this goodness and can use it in a way that I can’t control to heal? Priceless. I just smile more. I’m happier. It means something. My dogs are even happier, and I thank God for that every day.
It’s a weirdly timeless thing, this falling in love business; I will be the first to admit that. It makes you a little crazy, but I’m okay with that now, because I know it’s not my fault. Shit happens. If it’s meant to explode, it will, regardless of if you try to stop it. I know for a fact that some people may have thought that I had mental issues this semester, but fuck it, I kinda did too.
Still, there was never anything wrong with me, given all of that. That knowledge alone: that the good parts of you will stay while the shitty things pass away; that knowledge heals. It should. It is good, after all.
It’s nice to be able to trust God like this, seriously. It’s nice to not be afraid. It’s nice to move forward, and use all of this collective knowledge to bless others and shine a light that wasn’t there before, or at least, wasn’t strong enough to do much. All of that came in faith. All of that came in loss. And most of all, if anything, all of that came in weakness.
But I am so happy now, and it is such a gift, especially in the world we all live in. It’s nice to be okay and able to move on if you’re crying in like, three minutes because you knew you just needed to get it out of your system, and you’re ability to survive was still there, even in the waterworks. I don’t cry all that much, or at least, not all that much that I’m ashamed of. Actually, I’m not ashamed of my tears. They burn off more inequities than this passion fire business ever did. Weakness is freedom.
It’s nice to be able to just sit on my couch with my dogs and not feel like I need to do much of anything. It’s nice to trust that the sequence of what I need to do in order to fix these things will unravel as it will and I can just sit on my couch. I’m not slow, but I trust God to take care of it. My car? Yeah, I don’t want to replace it. Car accidents aside, I’m glad I could learn to drive well and learn enough car maintenance skills to be able to fix a tire, pay a ticket down at the courthouse and at KU, and do a bunch of other real life adulthood things. At the end of the day though, I’m happier as a minimalist. Keep it simple and happy. I don’t want it all that much, truly.
And this is the new cycle I’ve stepped into: enjoying my freaking life as a habit. It’s been there all along, sure, but now there’s not really any fear to get in the way. I make jokes about zombies and all that, but I never mean them. I know that my health, my relationships, my people, my dogs, et. al is all dependent on God’s grace. And at the end of the day, isn’t that who you’d want to turn to; somebody bigger and more awesome than all of your problems? I thought so.
Happiness is no longer a burden and no longer a fairytale, seriously, Hallelujah. I looked at someone talking about it being Christmas soon, and I nearly laughed. Back in the days of being miserable, I used to muster up all my happiness for Christmas and then be disappointed when it didn’t meet my expectations. Nah man, I’m living every day like it’s Christmas, and fuck, who knew?! Like, who knew it could be this awesome? I didn’t, but I’ll take it!
At the end of the day, we all just want for none of the failure to matter nearly as much as it does to our broken lenses. We don’t do things perfectly, but we’d like to believe that it is okay, because we know that the standards we have set up mean that nobody really wins. We either make more of ourselves, trying to reach them, or we run the opposite direction on a narrower, scarier path and hope for the best. If Edgar Allen Poe was talking about Salvation when he was talking about the path less travelled, he was spot on. It just sucks sometimes. Remembering that that doesn’t define you? Priceless.
Anyways, I’m going to go back to enjoying my life right now and doing nothing. This semester ended like it started; a lot of sitting and listening and just being at rest. Peace was totaaaally worth all of that. It just was. And just like before, with the venetian blinds back in the first blog post of August: the thoughts will still be there.