Friday, January 29, 2010

Because of the wonderful things he does! Ladededumdededum

I feel as though I should update this here blog. My head is spinning so fast and and and and and I've somehow managed to forget how to talk lately.
So... it looks like Andrew will be here the 3rd or the 4th, most likely. I had a few minutes on Facebook chat with him on Wednesday, and he said that after a few days at Kandahar AFB, he and his gal pal White will fly into Germany for a few days, and then -- gasp -- he'll be on his way here.
Here. Wow. He'll be here. I've got that marvelous rummaging shiver deep in my stomach, usually felt as a kid during the week before Christmas. I feel like at every instant, there's some part of my body or heart or psyche that is trembling with anticipation. I told God the other night that I wanted to be quite miserable with anxiety and excitement until the day arrives, and He's obliged me quite charitably.
In just a day or two, Andrew will be safe, finally. He'll be out of the Middle East, and, as Da said last night, "He'll leave behind the 7th century, and go hang out in the 18th century for a while, before he comes to the 21st century next week."
- gasp -
I can't say anymore. I'm too excited. Just enjoy the fun fun pictures I've included in this fun fun post, and I'll try to collect myself later. (Note to self: write about Ranger weekend! Love! Romance! Scandal! Drama! Demolitions!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

t.s. i love you redux

I went to see a nice movie on Saturday with my mum. It was called "Leap Year." It was about nice Bostonian woman with nice shoes named Anna who went to Ireland to nicely propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, because for some nice reason, she can. Of course, all sorts of nice disasters ensue. Flights are cancelled, some rain happens, then she's forced on a nice adventure with an Irish pubkeeper named Declan, who was not very nice at all.

Very nice, of course. I can safely say I'm offering no spoilers when I say that Anna and Declan sorta fall for each other accidentally, and there is great personal conflict in Anna's heart, because her boyfriend is pretty nice and she likes him an awful alot, and he is a cardiologist, after all. Cardiologists are romantic, you see, because they are well versed in all matters of the heart.

The point of my discussion of this nice movie is not exactly because of the movie itself. It was a shallow romp, with nice music, and nice scenery, and it made me want to visit Ireland but probably never want to live there. Anna really did have nice shoes, but they got dirty. ("Tro' 'em in te wash; they'd be grand").
The point is, Declan's character made me finally understand what Caitlin means when she talks about Irish humor. She's always said that she belongs in Ireland because her humor is dry and rude just like the humor of the Irish. I always thought to myself, "eh yey sarcasm is awesome," in a negligent and undedicated fashion.

But here comes Declan, and gadzooks. He's downright frickin' mean. He never shows her an ounce of sympathy, and openly declares time and again that she's a bloody idjit. He ridicules her job, ridicules her clothes, her outlook on life, her determination, everything. I found myself thinking in a strangely deep manner at one point, about something he says to Anna. Because of zany chance, he was required to pick her up, and commented with a huff, "Oh, you're quite a lump." Cue chuckling from the audience.

Now obviously, I'm the last person in the world to care about people's feelings for the sake of caring. And obviously, I'm not challenging Declan's manner. But this movie made me realize--the humor of the Irish is not dry and rude, per se. It simply is honest, with no concept of sugarcoating. Honest to a fault, but honest. I think it comes down to a cultural consciousness, almost entirely unknown to Americans, that to speak with any kind of hidden intention is a waste of everyone's time, and a builder of walls and false, unnecessary sensibilities. Even if that hidden intention is to save your own hide, and save her "feelings," when your friend asks if that dress makes her look fat.

People aren't so breakable as we've been convinced we are. As much as I've learned and benefitted from the psychologists in my life, all this delving into minds/personalities/emotions has us all believing that the human psyche is something to be pampered and catered to, and that each person's individual "self" should be maintained, and ultimately, bowed down to. Frankly, this thinking encourages outward self-improvement, but condemns any denial of your "unique nature". If you're a sensitive person, by no means should you seek to toughen up, because by Jove, everyone's self is important (but yours is a little more important, hush... keep it quiet and subconscious)

The fact is, it's pretty hard to screw up a person. Rather, it should be hard. I'm gonna say something now that probably will be unpopular but here goes:
Unless you've suffered some violent offense, witnessed horrific trauma, or recently lost a loved one, you don't need to be protected emotionally.

I'm not saying that everyone has to be a hard ass all the time. But damn it, you do need to learn what matters and what doesn't. This whole modern mentality of taking everything personally is so destructive to the honest relationships between human beings.

Point being, at first I thought Declan was mean. But well, Anna was being an idiot. Her $600 shoes were still just shoes. And when he picked her up, she was a heavy object. She didn't need sympathy, because she stuck herself in her own situation, and what good does coddling sympathy do? All it does is keep you from cutting through the BS and dealing with what matters, because you're so often encouraging to swim about in your feelings of how bad things are.

Of course, I'm a hypocrite in all this, too. When I'm in my depressive moods, I'm incredibly sensitive and the smallest thing will send me up to cry myself to sleep. But does that mean I need coddling all the time? Heck no! It means I need kindness, but then I need a kick in the bum to make me choose to change. It's not always easy. Mostly, it's pretty impossible. The times that my mum has been hard on me, well, they hurt pretty badly, but she was right. Maybe a little unpleasantness was entirely good for me.

That's one thing I really appreciate about Andrew, even when it bothers me in the moment. He's so straightforward with me, and he really truly doesn't care about silly sensibilities. About a month ago, when I was IMing with him, home alone, and I was hearing noises outside the house (and I'm prettttttty sure it was a bear when I looked out the window), I told him about it and I kept being nervous and talking about it (deep down, I was trying to get a sweet, sympathetic response from him) and all he said was, "what do you want me to say? 'go hide in a closet with a baseball bat because it's probably gonna try and eat you?' It's outside, babe, it's not coming in, and you don't need me to play to your fears." Of course, that made me a little mad, but then I said (in honesty, with no 'intentions'), "I just want you to be gentle with me for a minute, because I'm scared, even if it's irrational," and with no pretense, he did just that, and he didn't mind at all. Even though we didn't say a word about it, we both knew subconsciously that the only time we don't communicate well is when we're not being naked-hearted, no-excuses, no-intentions, no-pretensions, truthful with each other. It's a delicate difference. I wasn't lying about being scared--but I had motives for how I told him about it, and even through instant messaging, he could tell. Good lad.

People talk alot about getting out of your comfort zone. But the biggest, most invisible comfort zone of all is the zone where you're surrounded by people who are nice to you. Maybe we should all take a trip to Ireland and get called a idjit and a great lump, so we can start to see the nonsense in our lives.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An amusing moment

I've not much to say, at this very instant. I've been thinking about books, and eyeballing my bookshelf, and longing for the day to end so I can go to Barnes & Noble and buy Voyager, and I came across this lolcelebrity, and I had to share it. Here's to you, Heroes/Twilight/sexy dudes fans. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Shining

God is good. Maybe you haven't noticed lately, but I certainly have. That statement seems to fit into the triteness catagory along with "prayer is powerful," and "God's angels are surrounding you," and other such--but darn it, when it comes down to it, every one of those statements (that we all hear all to often from well meaning relations) is completely true.

Short history: for the last week or two, I've been having night terrors. To call them nightmares is far too tame. Night terrors, in which I spend a few hours when I first sleep; unsure of my consciousness and in terrible, wrenching fear; unsure of whether I'm dreaming or if there are spirits of evil physically manifesting around me; afraid to close my eyes yet afraid to keep them open--night terrors that have left anxiety and fear seeping into my waking hours. I've been too afraid to even sleep alone, they've been so horrific. But I've had my sister and my two roommates available for me to run to, and the trustest folk around me have started praying. My dear Josiah called me on Sunday night, a few moments after he left my house, and talked to me for 15 straight minutes, telling me that I belong to a God who is far greater than any evil, and that I am NOT alone by any means.

Last night, after a scrumptious dinner with Laura C. (that cheesecake...the blackberries...zomg...) and then a stop by the Jer/Cait/Cael house, I decided that even though I was fighting the fear, I was still admitting that it had some power, because I wouldn't sleep alone in my own room. I was feeling pretty solid yesterday, because I had an hour-long chat with Andrew on Facebook (and he sounded... like himself. Just like himself. Not Andrew in a warzone, or Andrew in the stages of grief, or Andrew who has lost so many friends. We laughed and teased and flirted and I flatly fell in love with him all over again).

When I went to my room, before I even put my purse down, I prayed for blessing for the house, claiming it in Christ's name. Before I went to bed (before I even wrote my nightly letter), I read the boldest verses I could find, and when I found Psalm 4:8, I wrote it down in big preschooler letters and taped it above where I would rest my head to sleep--

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

And I slept well. More than well--I spent all night feeling awake (just as I do during the night terrors)-- but instead of darkness and evil swarming around me, I opened my eyes and saw light, and people; faces of creatures I knew were angels. For some reason, each angel was leaning over me, and offering me a shining platter.

So, God is good. Prayer is powerful. His angels are surrounding me.

And I'm not afraid.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A new self-concept personal growth experiment

My dad, being the strange and reflective creature that he is, posited an idea to the family last night, after our nice winding conversation of existentialism, the sexual revolution, quotations on morality by Joni Mitchell (who is slowly becoming a new hero of mine), brilliant methods of Rick-rolling (Never gonna GIVE YOU UP), the futures of Colin Meloy, Conor Oberst, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Brad Pit, and occasional intrusive comments from me bemoaning my lame problems.
It being still the first week of the year, Dad suggests that we all write down and seal in an envelope until next year, three things we hope for in 2010, and two things we hope won't happen in 2010.
My thoughts are quite provoked. Even though Ben made strong attempts to turn it into a contest and see who had the most correct predictions (I admit, I rather supported the idea at first), we all left the gathering that night with our brains a-churning.

What do I want this year? What do I want to avoid? There are the obvious things, like uhhh I want Andrew to come home safely. I'm not gonna say "I want to go to grad school," because I'm not sure that's what I want yet. I want to... not get hit by a train (Lots of respectable people have been hit by trains. Judge Hobbie over in Cookville was hit by a train.)
So my hopes have to be deeper than that-- it can't just be plans or desires or even resolutions. I think I'm very much at a crossroads in my life, and, as Amy says in Little Women, "we'll all grow up some day. We might as well know what we want."
But I don't know what I want. Ben asked the question to Mum and dad last night- "when you were our age, what did you expect or want your lives to be by now?" My parents' answers made me rather jealous. Mum said, "Well, I wanted to make pottery and have a bunch of kids one day, and I have exactly that." Then Ben asked Dad, "Are us kids what you expected?" and Dad said, "No, it's so much better. This is every parent's dream--to sit and talk and have real relationships with their kids once they're grown."
I just don't know what I want. I know some basic things--I want to write, I want to travel before I have children, and I want to share every moment of my life with Andrew. But where do I start? I feel like I'm waiting for something, a sign, a great opportunity, a change, and I don't know what it is.
Maybe in answer to Dad's experiment, I should say "I hope I find my path in 2010."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rings of Glory, Sands of Silver

It's strange to think that I've not written in this blog in almost three months. I suppose I've had alot going on, what with graduating, and ... yeah, that's about all the excitement. Let's attempt to recap, in a decorative and highly charming manner.

Worldviews brought me to an amazing place in my life. By the end of the semester, I felt so close to those previous dumbasses in my class, and on my final exam, when I was asked the question "what impacted you the most about this class?"-- my answer was the dude who actually annoyed me most. We'll call him Jimmy-Jimmy. He was super conservative, and I disagreed with him every class, and once or twice, he got frustrated and told me that I was exhausting. But I was SO challenged by him, and, in the end, when I looked past his worldview, and really tried to understand him, I realized what a solid, good man he is. It was such a revelation. The final paper for that class ended up being nigh on... 36 pages, I believe, and I cracked through so many of my heady, rational, fix-it-smartly-and-handle-it-without-emotion tendencies. I realized that, as my dad has told me a thousand times before, I shouldn't doubt in the dark what God showed me in the light. What is human intelligence and wisdom compared to the wisdom of God? Is that in the Bible? Don't even bother looking for it, you won't find it anywhere.

My thesis turned out to be the most important piece I'd ever written in my life. I didn't mean for it to be so important. I thought I would throw together something, in a decorative and highly charming manner. But on the beach in October, I realized that I wanted to tell one of the stories of my dear grandfather--and I wept as I trod through the waves, and went back and wrote the entire short story in three sittings. That story become an honored shrine of memory to one of the best men I've even known, and I'm unspeakably proud of what I did. The fact that it made a good thesis was immaterial; yay for me, I passed and graduated. But the real accomplishment was the reflection of my grandfather.

So I graduated. Summa Cum Laude. The college president complimented my "bling" as I shook his hand and took my diploma. I'd like to think he was commenting on my decorative and highly charming medals and honors cords and scholarship pins and such--yes, that was a blatant plug for my own awesomeness-- but, in truth--I think he noticed the dogtags I was wearing above everything else. As a retired Navy dude, Dr. Struble rocks the respect.
My family was kinda... really proud of me. I'm kinda...really proud of me. But it still hasn't completely sunken in yet, you know? Everyone tells me that I'll feel it for sure, once school starts in a few weeks and I'm not there. Sniff.

So, yeah. I'm thinkin'...grad school. I'm thinkin'...within the year. I'll give it time and thought and prayer and counsel amongst my lofty few (read: Da, Mum, Cait, Jeremy, and Andrew, pretty much), but I know for certain where God wants me--St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. I'll basically spend two years reading Aristotle and trying to make sense of it. H-AMAZING. But, again, there is much to confer about. Applying, money, timing, moving, work, a place to live, etc. I'm working on my application, but I'm not making any definite plans til I can talk to Andrew. The fact is, yar, I am waiting for him. But the other fact is, I don't have to putter about in the same old job in the same old city whilst I wait. But the third fact is, I don't want to be in the middle of a semester when he gets out of the Army and have to say "Sorry, can't come road trip with you-- gotta discuss Proust."
Another fact: these are still all my mental brain-things inside my head. Andrew tends to have this nifty way of seeing a situation or idea, and finding this occam's razory answer that makes me feel both stupid and relieved. But he's very patient with my little acronym-forgetting peabrain, and that's one of the one-thousand-and-one Arabian reasons that I love him.

Speaking of which, he'll totally be here in about 29 days. I can't believe the first half of the deployment is almost over--so much has happened here, and so much has happened there. His unit has lost so many men. I've watched Andrew, albeit sporadically and from far away, go through the stages of grief. The denial phase was fun, before they lost anyone, and while it was still a bit of an adventure. The anger was hard, because he turned very inward and became annoyingly selfless (as in, he was telling us not to send him stuff or write so much, because it probably was so inconvenient for us...{what a dumbass}), and honestly, he was pretty uncommunicative. That was unbelievably difficult. That was when I found myself crying constantly, and questioning constantly--but thank God--that was also when I wrote my Worldviews paper and discovered (to my chagrin, I managed to weep about it in class) that I was doubting in the dark.

I think Andrew may be in the bargaining stage right now, the whole "just let me live until mid-tour, so I can see Chelsea and my family one more time" thing. Being as resilient as he is, he's pretty optimistic, I think. But also, his unit got pulled back to the big base, and they got to stop dying for awhile over Christmas. He's lost so many friends... I've also been agonizing about how to help him. It's been driving me half mad, because I feel so inadequate to fight against the monumental brutality of the things he's suffering. But as always, Mister God was right there, and in the middle of my agonizing, He said to me oh-so-gently, "Andrew was mine first. I will heal him. I love him more than you do, and I always care for those of My household. I will heal him."
So here I am. Counting down days, filled with plans that can't be settled yet, but still happy. I feel... like I've relearned how to trust, lately. It's a peaceful thing.