Friday, May 27, 2011

Snapping into Place

So I was just sitting on my bed (I now have two, since my roommate moved out, quite exciting) scrolling through Tumblr (if you want to follow me, my Tubmlr page is: and it's pretty sweet). And I randomly started singing. Nothing in particular, not even a real song. I'm not even sure why I was singing the words I was singing. Maybe a mashup of a bunch of songs, who knows? So I was randomly singing, and then wondering why I was singing in the first place. I don't really do that a lot. I mean I sing songs that I know that are stuck in my head, and I love rolling the windows down, blasting a car, and singing to a favorite CD. But then I remembered that I used to sing all the time. It was like something had just snapped into place. Like something or someone I used to be was finally back. 

Maybe it has taken me this long to be totally myself again, or even know who that is. Maybe not, maybe i was just randomly singing and it is nothing. But in the past few days I've felt pretty free. I've been super stressed with school recently, finals and all. Today I finished my last paper, and I only have two tests left for next Tuesday. The weather is spectacular and I've gotten so much closer to people recently. This past month people that I was just friends with have become true friends, people I consider close friends. That is so special and wonderful. Knowing that I have people who are there for me and love me for who I am, marvelous. 

As I've said before, I can be a super self-conscious, insecure individual. And in the past few years I haven't had many friends. I've lost a lot of friends. I've had a lot of people who I just thought were my friends. That does nothing for someone's already-low self-esteem. That has been a struggle in this first year of college. Sometimes it felt like I only had one or two friends, and in the grand scheme of things that isn't very many. If I was already having a bad day then thoughts like that had a snowball effect. I would end up wondering what was wrong with me, why no one liked me, why so many people have stopped caring about me, and what I needed to do to change so I became more personable and likeable. Not the happiest of times or thoughts. And I do wonder those things from time to time. When I look at my friends of the past, many of them are no longer friends. Most of them I can't pinpoint a reason for our falling out of friendship, they just left, decided I wasn't cool anymore, or started spending all their time with a significant other and no longer wanted or needed my friendship. 

But I'm choosing not to dwell on those things. Those are friendships of the past. Instead of being bitter, it's better to move on. I'll remember the times I had and memories I shared with those people with smiles. They were good times, even if they are over now, they were still good. And now I have people here. I have wonderful, loving, fun, beautiful friends. And they're truly my friends. They love me for me. Sometimes I worry or wonder how long they will be around. I fear to put too much into the friendship because if it ends, it hurts all the more. But I think it's better just to live in the here and now. At this point in time, we are dear friends, and so I won't worry about tomorrow, next week, or year. This is the time to be, this is the time to live, and this is the time to sing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Greens and Greys and Pancakes

The clouds outside of Driscoll are incredible. Framing the law school clock tower, they're dark and powerful. Puffed-up and huge, their layers of different shades of grey fill the sky. A storm is brewing, and these clouds tell it. It looks like a big storm, mighty and powerful. Maybe some thunder and lightning. But it isn't a scary storm. Even though it's big and strong, it's one of those almost peaceful ones. You know that feeling, when you're sitting inside during a huge storm? There's thunder and lightning, the rain pounding against the windows and roof. It's surrounding you, enveloping you in its power. But it's also comforting. You know you are safe inside, and you can sense how great nature is. You know it could potentially be dangerous, but right now it isn't. And it is peaceful in its disquiet and strength.

And you know, it kinda reminds me of God. A lot of the time I get caught in a trap of not revering God enough. I write and think often about how great and good, loving and merciful, kind and compassionate He is. I talk about how wonderful it is to hold His hand, or sit in His lap and be comforted. I consider Him to be my best friend, my father, my confidant, my comforter. He's kind and loving, caring and good. But He's not all fluffy and soft. He's also God. He's King. He's Lord. He's great, mighty, jealous, powerful, angry, just, and strong. Too often I focus only on the personal part of God, and I don't show Him the honor and glory and respect He not only deserves, but requires.

I've been reading in Isaiah recently. Actually, I've been reading it for awhile, because it is much harder to get through than the gospels. The gospels are so full of stories and miracles and then of course Jesus' sacrifice. Isaiah has a lot more suffering and it's quite as interesting to read (initially at least). But I figured I should get through it because the entire Bible is important, not just the parts that specifically interest me at this point in time.

Many of the verses talk about destruction. God says how He can build, and He can destroy. He can create, and He can end. He talks about how He is God and He has the right to do these things. Reading it I was confused, questioning. I don't believe that God orchestrates bad things. I believe that He allows them at times, because if He didn't then life would just be one great puppet show, but I don't believe that He is the evil puppeteer master who burns down sets and strangles puppet dolls in their strings. So I couldn't understand these verses.

But then, I think I got it. Or this is my understanding at least. God isn't saying "I will destroy and kill everything." He's saying "I can destroy, I have the power, because I am God." It's not that God wants suffering or bad things. He's reminding us that as God, He can do whatever. Who am I to think I have rights? Who am I to scream and yell at God and tell Him He can't do something? Who am I to think I am so great I get to have a say in any matter? God is GOD. He created this world. He has the power, He decides. Those verses reminded me that the God who is my father and best friend and comforter is also the master of the universe, creator of the world. He does not only ask for glory and praise, He demands it, because He is all-powerful, all-mighty, but also all-good. He can do whatever He pleases, it doesn't mean He will, the point is simply that He can.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lucidly Free in a Bit of Chlorine

I find swimming to be one of the most wonderful activities in which I can partake. I know for some running is their release, but I've never fallen in love with running the way I have with swimming. It's so freeing and light, gliding through the cool water. It softly embraces you, surrounding you in peace and quiet. Underwater is still. Light reflects through its blue waves, dancing patterns on the floor. They're ever-changing, moving with the pace of the water. As you speed up, they dance all the more furiously.

Peace is not only found in the reflections playing beneath you. The repetition of laps, back and forth, over and over, one side to the other, is methodical and almost meditative. Right arm over, left arm over, right arm over, breath, left arm, right arm, left arm, breath, right, left, right, breath. Over, and over, and over. It isn't something you have to think about, your arms just move, your head turning to gulp in a bit of air before it's back in the water. In the moments your head comes up, you are surrounded by sudden sounds. The music playing, chatter of patrons or lifeguards, whatever other sounds are around, and then it's back into the water. The sounds are muted, peace and tranquility again.

The water is so freeing, so forgiving, so non-judgmental. You feel powerful as your arms pull through the water, legs kicking to propel you forward. And the water doesn't care. It doesn't care how you look, sound, speak. It doesn't care what you know or don't know. Your interests and passions and likes and dislikes are unimportant to the cool blue enveloping you. Goggles obscure your face, no one can see the impurities or imperfections. The water doesn't care who you are or where you've been. Through the water everything is a distortion, no one can see the scars or your imperfect body. And the water, the water doesn't care. You're free. Your thoughts can roam with no inhibitions. Worries about what people think of you can be lost for at least a few moments, because no one can see you clearly, and the water won't judge.

Everything is quiet and still. It's almost meditative. You settle into your stroke, it begins to feel like second nature. You could go on forever, swimming peacefully, back and forth, in the cool, dancing, loving water. Back and forth, back and forth, right, left, right, breath.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Life's Just a Roller Coaster Ride

I have literally been a roller coaster the past few weeks. It's ridiculous. One day I'm flying high, in a fabulous mood, looking forward to summer, and optimistic about completing my homework...the next day I'm on the verge of tears at every turn, dreading the remaining three weeks of school, overwhelmed with mountains of homework, and an absolute basket case. Definitely not okay.

Such is the result of the last few weeks of school, especially in the quarter system. With our school year we pretty much have three sets of finals, and nearly six sets of "midterms." In all my classes I have three big tests, upon which nearly the entire grade rides. No pressure or anything! So after getting through the first couple of weeks you have midterms. Stress there. Then a week later tons of papers are due, then you're all of the sudden preparing for the second set of midterms. More big papers to turn in, oral exams in language classes to study for, then suddenly everything is due and it's finals time. No rest for the weary, my friends.

Ow. I just burnt my tongue on scalding raspberry tea. And back to my musings...

So yeah. That's been the quarter so far. Summer is so close, and yet three weeks feels like an eternity! Currently I'm feeling moderately optimistic. The weather was FABULOUS today. Now it isn't, as tomorrow is supposed to drop back down to a high of 45 with clouds and rain and grossness. But today was a perfect 70-80 degrees, sunny, and mildly breezy. Perfect skirt weather.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with my writing class paper, however. It's a qualitative study on something. I chose longboarding on DU's campus. Nothing too complicated, but the paper involves tons of observations and interpretations of the observations. Plus it is around 8-10 pages long. After looking extensively through the assignment sheet and talking with the teacher, I feel like it might be manageable though. I'll just have to take it one chunk at a time.

That class, my writ one, has been super interesting. I mean it's hard, and I don't like writing for teachers or assignments, but I do love the teacher. We read very interesting material as well. We're currently reading a book called The Comfort of Thing. Sounds kinda materialistic, huh? It would seem that way, but it isn't really. I mean it does delve into the things that people own, but not so much what they own, as how they own it. That doesn't really make sense, does it? I just mean it's more about the way in which they own things, what is valued, what is not appreciated, what is so valued it is practically revered. What things people choose to collect or keep or remember, and what things are of no importance to them. And it talks about how the things define people, and how the people define the things. It's really a very interesting study that the authors did. They just picked one street and spent around a year (I think) visiting people, getting to know them, their quirks, and their things. It's fun, too, because it sparks interesting discussions in class and reminds me of forgotten memories. One story was about a woman who would always buy her kids Happy Meals at McDonald's. The goal was to collect all the toys from each collection. She wanted to make up for her parent's bad parenting by being a fun, good, loving mom to her kids.

It made me think of when I was little and we'd go to McDonald's. With a family of 8, going out to eat anywhere, whether fast-food or more fancy, was a rare and special occurrence...Happy Meals were even more of a rarity. I don't recall exactly how many times my parents actually bought us Happy Meals, but I'm sure I could count it on one hand. It's not like my parents were mean and deprived us of toys or something, but Happy Meals weren't cheap when you added them up for five or six kids, and it was simply better to save the money to buy one bigger, nicer toy. We understood that. And it made the times when we did get to go out to eat, or get a toy at McDonald's, even more special. More often our grandparents would take us to McDonald's, my grandpa always seems to love going there (though now I would really rather not). And sometimes they would get us Happy Meals. I just remember how exciting it was to get that toy. The food was usually quickly forgotten in the excitement of digging through the cardboard boxes, feeling the plastic wrapping, and pulling out the toy. After a few moments of struggle with the packaging, a new friend would emerge. I remember a Minnie/Mickey Mouse series that we all played with for months, or longer. The Madame Alexander series that appeared at McDonalds a few times was especially enjoyable. The dolls were just so cute! My siblings and I would spend hours playing with our new toys. We were always very imaginative kids. Towns and cities emerged in my sister and I's huge attic room. It wasn't just playing, we created whole worlds. Everyone had personalities and background stories. So much fun.

It's good to reminisce. I feel like I do that a lot now that I'm away from home. Someone will be telling a story or I'll see or read something and remember something I used to do back at home when I was a kid. It's suddenly so fun to think and talk and write about old family traditions or memories. Lots of people say when they go to college they realize how much they love and miss their family. I already knew I loved my family dearly when I left, but I was so ready to leave I barely missed them the first quarter away. Now I realize just how right everyone was! You really do appreciate things more when they aren't as accessible, just like our appreciation and love for the rare treat of a McDonald's toy.