The Answer to the Love in the Question
I think it’s interesting how memory can be such a tricky thing. Most of it came back as some huge chunk sometime around mid-November, but yet, there is so much that is still questionably up there on my internal hard drive that may never come back. I’m at peace with that.
It’s very strange. I feel like my memory is somewhat like a pantry, I can bring just about anything I need up if I really focus and the external stimuli allow. I think a lot of people can do that, honestly. Not everyone. Probably not even most people. But there are a lot of us walking around with happy and painful memories that are just up there in memory soup and for whatever reason, they’re somewhat blocked off. Psychologists and religious gurus and basically everyone including your mom has an opinion about this, but would it be okay to just let things be a mystery for now? No one can know much of everything, there is simply too much. Making myself healthier and trusting God was the only thing that made most of it silently fade away. Eventually that wall came down. Reality is exactly what you make it, but no goodness can ever be forced. How quickly we forget.
It comes back as I live my life, little glimmers that blossom into full-fledged stories if I let them. When I was younger, I read this strange story about a girl who was molested. I was into all sorts of literature, and I was distinctly aware that terrible things happen. I saw it, here and there. Now, if books were the only places I could go to know the truth, don’t you think I would do that? The Lawrence Public Library doesn’t exist for nothing.
So I read. I was the kid that could tell you bits and pieces and weird details about Voltaire but hated doing my math homework more than death itself. I was sick often, I think partially because of that. Once, my senior calculus teacher who has a beautiful soul and was going through life situations of her own at the time that I can empathize with told me that she would be afraid to be in my head. Please, never insult the way someone thinks. That one left scars.
But I love all the people that helped me. That has never change. All the friends I have, whether or not we still talk, I still love them very much. Some wounds come as part of growing up, whether it’s right or wrong, you need a certain amount to build a thick enough skin to survive into adulthood. That’s just the truth. We shouldn’t make it difficult to survive for any one. But that is the way we live.
I didn’t want to leave my house this morning. I have been in this otherworldly little corner of my mind and listening to God and learning about being still and unafraid for the past three weeks since school ended. It has been peace to my soul. Never in my life have I had a break that I have not worked, including last summer in the few weeks directly after I had come home. That was hard. This was not.
I don’t want to run my entire life. I want to cultivate this sense of peace, this awareness of forgiveness, and I want to think a lot less so it can come naturally; whatever “humble” is. I would rather not know. To know, you have to think. Ecclesiastes of the Bible has it right on this; it is better to know goodness and darkness only so much as they do not do substantial damage to your character, psyche, spirit, whatever the part of you that is just and only you is. Sometimes you just have to start over.
What I don’t understand and I think people popularly misconceive is that starting over can be continuous, and it isn’t flakey, and it isn’t bad for you. It is healthy for some things to come to an end if they hurt you. It is healthy to gather enough strength to leave the bad parts behind you. It is not healthy to cling to them, expected different solutions to similar problems. On the one hand, we have people who need new beginnings punished because they are told that their newness is a curse and they should just man or woman up. That is a lie. On the other hand, we have people who are so stuck in their ways that they could never believe that anything good might exist for the enormous amount of crippingly self-blame and internalized anger that they swim through constantly. Just because you can’t see someone is struggling doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Be a friend because you can.
Love is so much simpler than we make it. When I started this blog, I wanted to have a space where I could talk about it, define it for myself somewhat, write and do what I love. I wanted it to be with people. The Internet may be less intimidating for some, but for me it was equal, there were just more folks. I write about a lot, but it doesn’t scare me. It’s a lot like waking up from a dreamless nap. I write about my family history, even though it is not entirely mine and some people are probably currently offended. I do it all intentionally. It isn’t my right, but no one tells me otherwise because they can’t work up enough courage to address it. I know all good things come from love, and I forgive them just the same. I just don’t think they should ever have to feel alone in their screw ups, and if people want to blame me or lie about me or do whatever they choose, I accept that. No one is perfect. We all need forgiveness.
It’s strange to not be afraid of anything. People always insinuate it’s somehow not possible, but it truly is, I swear. It comes down to whether or not you will believe your worries or fears over the goodness that is inside of you and all over the world, inside of others. Things I used to worry about, they simply aren’t there anymore. I think that is due to my faith, and that it is the only real way to really get there. But I also think that having a lot of time when you need it is good for your heart.
I want to be the person that other people admire in me. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to be inhibited or limited by things I can control, can’t understand, and are somewhat fictitious anyways. It is enough for me to believe in things I can’t see. It is enough for me to let some things remain unanswered. It is enough for me to be kind, to not participate in screaming arguments and tangents about rights vs. oppression, and all the extra jargon no one needs. We should just be kind. Love is so much simpler than any extra words, love goes without words. You don’t need to explain it. Let it be.
It is not so complicated any more. Most people in the United States have the symbolic rights they need, even if they do not fight for them. Currently, people who have immigrated to this country and are just trying to stay with their families and pursue their dreams have it pretty bad. So do people who are denied rights based on significant parts of their character that may or may not have anything to do with sex or sexual orientation. It is not up to us to judge. It is up to us to live kindly. That is it.
If you want justice for your children, your church, or yourself, you have to be kind. You have to support it for all people. God does not make these distinctions, who gives any of us any right to live in prejudice? A lie is a lie, even if it is told well. Don’t give in to that.
The world is so much bigger than the collective sum of one person’s failures. We have 10 billion people by some estimates and growing; at this point no one knows how many people there are because it is simply so large it is almost too big to try to quantify. We will come up with a method eventually, I’m sure. But some things shouldn’t be rushed. If we pretend that we need to have all of these extra numbers for the pissing contest of who can get published or money to do research, we’ve lost the entire point of the pursuit of true science and the truth as from the scientific method that it took millennia to even devise. Thank God we have all these little bits and pieces. Thank God we no longer have to choose.
Your life is exactly what you make it. Over time, these things become habit. Breaking a habit is mostly about allowing weakness into your life. It will make you stronger. How common sense and terribly difficult is that?
I cussed the other day out of habit, not realizing it. Normally when I screw up and am trying to break a habit that I do not like, I feel ashamed of myself. Nothing. Literally nothing. Now, I did know that I knew that God had inspired that change in me from just knowing I could be better and deciding to trust him. But I didn’t feel like he was angry at me in any way. I felt no shame, nothing. I knew that it was wrong and that I had made a commitment to end that part of my verbal lexicon for good. I knew that “too the best of my abilities” is true, but I know it to be implied. I want to hold myself to a higher standard. I know I can. But the hardest part is the trust it takes to change. To trust yourself.
But I felt no shame. I walked out of my house, no shame. A young family whose little daughter loves me to pieces for reasons I can’t explain picked me up and gave me a ride to church. She is shy but she is very much like I was as a young child. I can understand, because I can read her. I can read everyone, but funny thing; the shyest children simply don’t hide so much. It makes them more at danger I think when they choose not to conform. But I also think it gives them much better odds to survive.
I wish the best for all people and all children, and I hope someday if I am lucky enough to have my own, they would feel free to be the absolute best versions of themselves. Not just on Sunday. Not just after church. I want them to be free, yet have enough knowledge and guidance if they need it that we can talk and I can be honest. You don’t have to give 100% R rated answers, but children are smart, they know what you leave out. Tell them the truth at a level they can understand. Lies wound. I still don’t know how I feel about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, mostly because they just seem unnecessary and somewhat dangerous. I want my children to trust me. I don’t want them to feel like that changes when they change, if they lose teeth or we don’t have the means to afford whatever toy they want that Christmas. I want the love to be real and genuine. I never want them to have to second guess that.
Love is so much more complicated than that though. People all have different experiences, and you can’t expect people to be different for you; that isn’t fair. You can meet them where they are at or you can leave, otherwise you do a very poor job at loving them. It isn’t fair. It isn’t okay to leave. It isn’t okay to stick around and make your children miserable. But everything is a mixed bag, and we all come into love with wounds, we probably leave with more. The question is whether they will heal. We have to let them.
So this is where I’m at. I still love that boy; that will never change. I am going to wait, like I decided long ago. I have a happy life, to me this just makes sense. I don’t want to date anyone else; that seems very cruel. I want to just live my life and be happy. People always assume they know what is best for “young people” as a whole: this is what is best for me. Wait. Learn. Love other things. Do what I love so long that I am really truly healthy in most things. Become even more of a class act and continue to intimidate all the boys. And then eventually, if the time ever becomes right, I will get to know him.
The time may never come, folks. It may always remain a question mark. I am utterly okay with that. It could never come again, and I’d still be happy. Always. I know enough people and I love them and I get to hang out with their children that if I was not able to have my own, I would accept that. Sex and all that? It is probably nice, but I believe it has its own context. The knowing isn’t what helps you live, it’s just living. I’d rather just follow God and see what happens, if that makes me a nun then I’ll be the happiest, coolest nun you’ve ever met and still can write lyrics to really bad raps about Jesus. Nothing changed. But I became okay with it.
When I was in Chile, I had this little note on my mirror that my host mama Myriam provided. I bought a tiny packet of sticky notes at the giant, Walmart like store called “Jumbo” outside of my school. You had to ride a horizontal escalator, like an incline, to get upstairs into the giant store. I brought home my little wrapped centimeter think pad of sticky notes. I wrote “Let God open your <3” on one note, and I kept it on my mirror from that day forward to the moment I came home, when it went up on my bulletin board. It is still there. It still gives me peace.
God has opened my heart. He has done great things for me. He has been steadfast, faithful, and kind. I will share that with others. And honestly? I’m going to keep writing here, but I think I’ve already answered my question.