WOMAN/WOMEN

Traffic signs should change. The go should be red, not green. Green makes me think of a forest or an open plain. It is there that I want to linger. Red makes me think of blood, of flowing, of moving, of…going.

It makes me think of being woman. Maybe this is why all of my best thoughts start in the car. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Right now red means stop. So let’s stop for a moment. Let’s be, red.

To be red, to be woman. What does it mean?

Is it found over $5 martinis with a best friendship created behind a register, cultivated on an island?

Is it found galloping down the highway, well over the speed limit, with the reckless notion that the masculinity that is the police force couldn’t. possibly. touch. you. Not in this sphere. Not in this place.

Is it found in heartbreak? In stillness? In meekness? No. It is found in Going. The grand Going. The capital g, Going.

The essence of womanhood is change. Change means birth, yes. But it also means death. Because to live is to die is to live is to die again and again. (And I wonder why I love fall.) The essence of womanhood is the entire body from the head down. It is the feet that compel you to wander, the legs that hold you steady when the world shakes, the pelvis that ushers cycles of birth and not birth, the hips that bear the weight of the world, the heart that keeps a thousand secrets, the throat that exclaims gratitude and anger and love and hope in one breath, the neck—oh the neck—that supports it “all.” All: the head.

Spoiler alert: it’s not really all there is. To live in the head is to live at the expense of the entire body. A body filled with everything that it is to be human. The varying levels of emotions that we all experience. The differences, the desires.

This is why, I’m convinced this is why, society has feared women for as long as it has been allowed to get away with fearing women. We are wild creatures, wild things, that are at our most beautiful when we are unkempt, unbroken. We go when the world says stop, we stop when the world says go.

There is a depth of emotion within all of us, flowing through all of our blood, our Womanhood, that is beyond what most of us care to experience. We have birthed nations and we have started wars but we have also ended nations and ended wars. We are at the beginning and the end of everything. Because we are women.

Fear us, love us, revere us, demean us but you cannot take away the power that is Woman. Because to be Woman is to be in the dark woods, under a naked sky, staring up at Creation, counting the stars and beckoning them closer to you. To be Woman is to barrel down the highway, until the light pollution ceases, to be in community with God. To be Woman, is to seek, to hunt, to connect, to birth, to destroy, to allow Life to flow through you and with you without trying to control it or yield it. To be Woman, is to Be.

It was at this revelation that I laughed at the sky and said, “Of course. Of course to me, You would be a Woman.” I am a woman and I am Womanhood and I am here. For you. Amen.

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THOUGHTS ONE HAS WHILE DRIVING TO THE HAMPTONS

SPEEDING, COPS, BAD SANTA

83 on the dash feels delicious–I’m clocking one lusty MPH over for every (impending) year of life. But I pull it back because I distrust authority, and because my instinct for self-preservation is too strong, and because I’m a law-abiding citizen (apparently).

LANA, LOVE, LOST

I’m singing out loud, not my words but hers, and I find myself both lost in thought and thoughtfully lost. Rerouting.

HORSES, MARRIAGE, COMMITMENTS

You can’t own a wild thing unless you break its will and bend it to your own. I do not want to be owned, broken or made by anyone but myself (and God, of course God). And so I trot and gallop and run like hell away from anything that feels like captivity.

IT’S ALL GOOD

I let you open the door for me. You think you have me more than you do. I play it violently sweet; I play nothing at all.

But you think things.

I got a hangover from your cheap whine. But okay baby, tell me how it is. Tell me all about the day you spent building a castle in the clouds. All about the games you do not play. All about the she’s that came before me. All about the he’s you can’t wait to be. All about the worlds that divide your brain in two so you can sleep at night.

You memorized a pattern of freckles on my arm and you know what it means when I bite my lip. But you will not know me.  You saw my body in that dress and you know what I like to do on a Saturday. But you do not have me. You order me a drink I like and you can tell a stranger my story. But you can not love me.

Because I am not yours. I never was. Capital m-Mine; capital f-Fine.

 

 

F*CK YOU AND YOUR IVORY TOWER

I refuse to apologize for this post to anyone except my mother, for whom the title may be too offensive. But as I’ve enlightened even her as to her cushy seat up in the Ivory Tower of White Privilege, I give zero f*cks. Except for maybe my language but that’s what happens when you’ve absolutely had it with society.

I work in customer service and that generally means two things: 1) It’s my job to be helpful and 2) It’s my job to be polite. Unfortunately both requirements apply to everyone, even the openly bigoted ones. And boy have they been having a field day lately, all out in the open frolicking hand-in-hand as they make literally all. of. us. uncomfortable. #CheckYourselfBeforeYouWreckYourself

A “field day” event happened today and it blew the cap off of the lid I’ve been trying to keep on my emotions post-November 8, 2016. A customer, flanked by her bougie daughters and aloof husband, had been steadily getting on my last nerve ordering me around and talking to me as if I were beneath her. But then this happened as she was attempting to describe the sales associate that was helping her before I was:

Customer: She had dark hair. It was kind of long.

Me: Was she young?

Customer: Yes…and she looked not-American.

Me: …you mean Latina?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s my job to be polite and my job was not worth losing due to this woman’s disgusting display of bigotry. So I held my tongue and refrained from giving her a piece of my mind. And I swallowed hard when she later scrunched up her nose at a fellow human and walked away from them because they were—God forbid—scratching their head and presumably of a lower socio-economic status than her (she who was obsessed with sales and discounts, riddle me that). And I tried to not lash out when another associate, who happens to be an immigrant from a European country, said this woman had refused her assistance before she found me at my register. But I had it when she inferred that not-American is synonymous with Latina. And now we’re here.

Last time I checked, Americans come in all shapes, sizes, and skin colors. But the problem lies when well-meaning white people open their mouths in an attempt to be our allies after situations like the above happen. Confused? Let’s back track.

If you, in your odd curiosity, have ever asked me, “Are you adopted?” as if my lily white mother would never willingly have a baby with my deep bronze father; or “Are your parents still together?” as if a black man is incapable of willingly showing up as a husband and father; or “Are you and your sisters all the same skin color?” as if you’re hoping I break out some on-trend ombre family photo that’ll make you feel cultured; or even “What race do you identify with?” as if I choose who I am in the same reductive way you choose your socks in the morning, I’ve got news for you: you’re part of the us vs. them problem. If you seek reassurance that age-old tropes and stereotypes about my race don’t apply to me and my family because we’re on your List of Good and Okay Minorities to Associate With, you’re perpetuating said stereotypes. Sorry (not sorry).

If you, after saying something uncouth, have ever had the words, “I’m not racist, my (insert personal relation here) is (insert minority here),” come out of your mouth, I’ve got news for you: you’re racist. If you have to associate a race with a person in your life that you’re fond of in order to justify your feelings for other members of that race instead of just seeing said race as part of the larger collective of humans in general and treating them kindly, then you’re racist. Sorry (not sorry).

You can’t fix a system that you (unconsciously?) perpetuate. So, allies, if you’re still with me, I have a charge for you. But…before you get too fussy about what I’ve written so far, you must know and accept what we’ve come to know and accept: you can’t fix the behavior or mindset of Mrs. Cold Spring Harbor up there (yes that’s the town she lives in #OnBlast #NoShame). She and the many people like her are too far gone. But you can fix the small ways in which people like you go about their business in the world. If you boldly change your line of thinking and acting—and you’re a white man or woman—then other white men and women have a higher likelihood of following suit. Because sadly, that’s how it seems to work.

But before you ask for help in changing your ways, here’s me (all of us?) saying, “Nah, b. We’re tired. Figure it out yourself.”

Sound harsh? Tough.

Sincerely,
That Fly on the Wall You Didn’t Realize Was Biracial

PAPER BAG, BREATHING

I always forget that I have an anxiety disorder. Bet that’s something you never thought you’d read. But it’s true. Ask my therapist for my file and it’ll tell ya one main thing—Generalized Anxiety Disorder—and a few other small things but I don’t like you that much so stop prying. But I’ll throw you a bone: one small thing is that I don’t like being told I have a disorder—because I’m fine and good as is, obviously—but I also desperately want an answer to what’s up with my brain.

Disorder was a word I’ve always hated (until I broke it down). In my definition, it’s merely a state of being apart or away from (dis) your normal and controlled way of existing (order). Not so bad there, is it? The Generalized Anxiety bit however, means that I can have a wave of panic over anything—or everything—at any given moment for any particular reason. Yikes.

So back to me always forgetting about my anxiety disorder. I’m a very composed individual (to the point that at times it’s slightly unsettling). I’m strategic, my wits are in order, and I am incredibly in-tune with my Self (consciousness, soul, mind, heart, and body included). Lest you think I’m a robot, I’m incredibly empathetic, and also empathic (they’re different, I promise) and keeping the innate harmony of a situation, environment or relationship is very important to me. So, it’s safe to say that I can rationalize myself out of a large majority of uncomfortable situations. Until I can’t. Like, capital-C-Can’t, where the heck is this coming from Can’t, everyone around you is incredibly surprised at your lack of composure since you never—hardly ever—lose it Can’t.

Can’t is when I temporarily forget that it’s not the coffee that’s making me jittery and making my heart leap around, because I only had two sips. Or when I temporarily forget that it’s not the temperature in the room that’s making me feel itchy —because it is freezing—it’s me having hot flashes. And also when I temporarily forget that it’s not my average workplace blues or frustrations that’s making me want to go for the jugular whenever anyone annoys me, it’s that I am losing control of my emotions and I feel restless and defeated like a caged lion.

Can’t happened today. And as usual, it took me by surprise. You should know that I’m (surprisingly) rather hippy-ish and granola, so I abhor unnecessary medications. Worth noting: I deem largely all medications unnecessary, with the notable exception of Excedrin. So even though I know that a tiny little dose of Xanax, et al, would largely do me good, that composure, awareness, and strategic nature of mine keeps me from Saying Yes to the Scrip.

So instead, I have friends who love me (even when I snap at them because their advice is a little too heavy for me at the moment) and safe spaces to go (like ones featuring lapping water against sand, yes it’s called a beach) and unsafe songs to listen to when I’m tempted to just own the semi-not-really comforting feeling of meaninglessness and ride out the wave of anxiety (like Holocene, but it’s my ringtone because I also appreciate irony and de-sensitization to your own personal triggers) and safe songs to listen to when I know I’m in over my head (like Elevate because it makes me feel like I’m in South Africa watching lions run while teasing my hair 1980 style).

And I also make mistakes like sending a flood of anxiety-induced messages to one person—and then the screenshots of those messages to those aforementioned friends who try to not say, “Oh my god, what did you do?!” even though I know they’re thinking, “Oh my god, what did you do?!”. Or like spending a bunch of money on food or clothing or drinks because I didn’t want to deal with anxiety that day. Or even inadvertently distrusting those aforementioned friends by firing off a quick, “I shouldn’t have told you that” or “I can’t deal with this conversation anymore,” and walking away.

You see, I think it’s easy to forget that you have a disorder when you’re so used to that just being your way of life. I know that I battle with anxiety. I know that I talk myself down from tiny situations that could cause it to escalate at any given moment of the day because consciously I know that What it Seems Like to Piglet Brain Me* isn’t always What it Is to Non-Piglet Brain Me (can you tell I was a CBT patient because #CopingMechanisms and #Strategies). But most people don’t know that I have anxiety. So I “forget” along with them until something happens that reminds me—and shows them—a brief glimpse into the minute-by-minute experience that is my life and I desperately want to pull the curtain back over but I just Can’t. So I wear it like a badge of honor for a second or two and then She comes back—the strategic, composed girl who has her wits about her and is aware of her body—and it’s gone

(until next time).

*Piglet is my favorite Winnie the Pooh character. Yes, I use the phrase “Piglet Brain” to describe when I’m having an anxiety attack—small and afraid, am I right?—but Piglet is also one of the bravest characters in the entire series. Why? Because overcoming your many fears and doing the life thing anyway is probably the most wonderful thing ever.

BE, HERE, NOW

I wish I could say that I remember living in Queens, but I don’t. I know that I did certain things like skip home from the public library with a stack of books around the age of 3 and play in snow that nearly came up to my tiny little shoulder around the age of 2. But remember, I do not.

I don’t remember moving from Queens to Suffolk County, Long Island with my family around the age of 3-and-a-half! nor do I remember painting my new, all-to-myself room a shade of purply-pink. But what I do remember is a constant, pervasive feeling of Not Quite Liking Where I Was.

I’m one of those people who is always reaching for what’s beyond me; always seeking something better or grander and always thinking it can’t be found where I am. I don’t know why but I’ve never really liked Long Island. Well, that’s not true. I like the geography, and some of the towns, but the people—sorry to say it—embarrass me a bit. The rough and tumbled accents; the crassness and propensity for strong language; the general lack of grace and gentility; the culture of god only knows what that’s always felt very much Their’s and not at all Mine—even though a peek through a few of my family’s photo albums would tell a different story. But let’s just say that’s because I was an eccentric teenager trying, for a minute, to fit in to a place where I never fully could.

That’s the problem I guess, Long Island never felt like mine. It wasn’t a place that I could lay claim to, so when a dear friend recently said to me that there was something “so Long Island about you,” I felt my blood boil because to me, there isn’t. Worth noting: she isn’t from here.

You see, my closest friends growing up weren’t in my school district, one wasn’t even in the same state as me. My earliest boyfriends were also from different school districts, most weren’t in my grade either. My own family is mostly from the city, if not different states all together. For college, I shirked convention and hightailed it to a private school in North Carolina, much to the surprise of what felt like everyone and their mother’s who attended in-state public universities or ones within a few hours’ drive of home.

So when I came back to Long Island after college, I did so with my tail between my legs with all intentions of at least working in the city. But that was a thing that very much didn’t happen as I worked for the town I grew up in for 2 years—literally, I was in Town Hall. All the while scratching that itch of mine to leave (again). So I dated someone who lived in Brooklyn. When I finally moved to Brooklyn myself for school, it was largely a disaster and I found myself back in Long Island sooner than I ever wished to return (which at that time was never, mostly never, with the exception of birthdays and holidays and the occasional trip to the Hamptons).

So I was back here. Living in Long Island, at least working in New Jersey (words I never thought I’d say). But when that commute just got to be way. too. much., I was fully here once more—goodbye Brooklyn Boy—dating here, working here, living here. All the while scratching that itch of mine to leave (again). So I dated someone else who lived in Brooklyn; and then someone who lived further east in Long Island but had an apartment in the city; and then that one who lived in Harlem that was so good until it wasn’t good at all. And then I was fully here once again.

But not quite! Because I was still hoping for something better/different/farther away to come my way somehow. Until, quite literally last night, when a very important person in my life—mind you, this is a person I never thought I’d see again (life, you’re funny)—stopped me in the middle of yet another one of my “Why am I here? I can’t stand it here,” diatribes and looked directly at me as he said, “There’s nothing wrong with being here.”

Here.

It has literally cost me so much trying to not be here. I’ve chased down every possible avenue to have an excuse to not be here—religion, education, romance, work—and all of them have ended with an exasperated, financially-strapped, heartbroken me looking up at the sky saying, “Really? Here? Again?”

But yes. Here: apparently where I’m supposed to be now (thanks for nothing Ram Dass). My parents moved my siblings and I here, as in Long Island, for a “better life” and my stubbornness has left me trying to leave this “idyllic suburb” every chance I’ve gotten. Yet my Parent—capitalization necessary as I’m talking about God y’all—has kept bringing me back, saying all the while, “Child, will you just be Here.”

So I shall be here; and not reluctantly this time. Because maybe there’s nothing wrong with being in a place that doesn’t quite feel like Mine. Because maybe it’s not supposed to, and maybe it can’t feel like Mine yet if I am to truly make my mark on it. And maybe, just maybe, this is the biggest test of all: being fully here, in this place and in this moment, even though it’s a here I never really wanted, and finding its light and all the ways I can love it.

Aha.

P.S. Necessary listening…

 

SAY YOU WON’T LET GO

I fell in love with you in a second.

You were wearing a black sweater and tweed pants. I can’t remember your shoes. Shocking, as I usually affix on one’s shoes but they were inconsequential at that moment. Your hair was wildly curly but somehow tamed for the environment, like mine, and you wore glasses with black acetate frames. Just like me. Except you weren’t. Just like me, that is.

I remember this acutely because I was enraged just seconds after meeting you. Okay, it might’ve been hours but to me it felt like seconds. I saw you, you who had invaded my previously perfectly professional place with your you-ness, and that was it. K. knew that I had, probably a few days before that, expressed visual interest in a guy whose name I can no longer remember who worked in a different department. As I was shamelessly looking at the back of your head as you situated yourself into your new cubicle she said, “He’s working here to save up money to propose to his girlfriend.” I was immediately outraged. “He’s engaged!?” I fired back. And K. went, “No not him, him!” Except she didn’t say that second him. She said the name of the guy who is apparently inconsequential as I no longer remember his name. Only his dirty blonde mop of hair.

Regardless, back to you. Whom I fell in love with. In a second.

I felt it even though I gave absolutely no indicators that I did. Had you been more acutely attuned to the inner workings of a one Allison Jones, as you came to be over the coming months, you’d have seen right through me and my false sense of bravado. But you didn’t and so the story continues on.

There was just something about you. I remember the first time I made you coffee. It was probably terrible, as it came from a Keurig, but you were a good sport and even took a sip. Poor soul. I was earnest and so you indulged me (as you always did).

Dear God, this is harder to write out than I imagined it’d be.

So I made you that terrible coffee and because I felt a literal spark on my skin when I accidentally grazed your hand when passing it to you, I ignored you a little more. Because I was a Good Christian Girl, and you were too cool, and too confident, and too casual, and too un-Christian for me to indulge in. So I pushed you away. Until I couldn’t any longer.

So then there was sangria.

Wait, your birthday came before the sangria. I made you a card and you became obsessed with my handwriting—you still are—and kept it hanging in your cubicle for months to come. During the times we weren’t speaking (I’ll get to that later), sometimes when I’d pass by your cubicle I’d quickly take a peek at the wall you hung it on to see if you’d written me off forever and taken it down. You never did, that is until we all left and had to take things off the walls. But anyway.

Back to that sangria.

I sat across from you as we shared the pitcher I practically forced us to share and looked at you with a puzzled look on my face like “Really? This guy?” and it was just bizarre to me that I felt myself compelled to love someone I never thought I’d be compelled to love.

You were Jewish. And kind of debaucherous. And you wore sneakers and sweatpants with sincerity. And you collected figurines (not dolls or toys). And you were slightly uptight and regimented in your. own. way. And I liked it. No, loved it. All of it. Truly and sincerely, not just in the way you love something someone you like does or is or likes.

I also liked, no loved, the steady pace with which you, and I, abandoned our respective tweed pants and pencil skirts and loosened up our wardrobes. The steady pace with which you, and I, cared little about our respective “supervisors” and threw stress balls across the room while learning random tidbits about each other. The steady pace with which you, and I, attracted attention to our budding friendship and shot it down with coy looks every chance we could.

And then there was Maureen’s Kitchen.

I was so excited for this. I remember my exact outfit: white t-shirt, navy shorts, tan wedges, that necklace that my ex-boyfriend’s mom gave to me but it’s totally not weird at all that I still wear it because I’m legitimately obsessed with it.

We met in the parking lot and awkwardly hugged each other. This was only the second time we saw each other out of the office. You were wearing basketball shorts and I, in heeled wedges, immediately felt as though I had to have misread the situation and that this was most certainly not the date I wanted it to be.

I don’t really remember what I ordered or really anything minus the cow prints everywhere, the smell of bacon, and my incessant questioning on whether or not this was a date. I ruled that it wasn’t, met my mother at Target afterward, and probably cried myself to sleep out of embarrassment some 12 hours later.

And then there was the Promenade.

The date that almost didn’t happen because it almost happened and then you cancelled on me last minute. But when we eventually made it there, I blew up on the inside because for once in my young “adult” dating life—which we were 8 years into at this point—someone actually knew what would make me swoon. It wasn’t flowers or music or anything conventionally romantic.

You made me feel as though I was part of something. And you made me feel as though I was incredibly small. It was the most beautiful thing one person could’ve done for another. It’s hard to describe exactly what happened in my heart that night but I knew instinctually that I was forever changed. The lapping water against the rocks, the rumble of the subway above, the smell of your cologne, the feeling of your soul just inches from mine. It was all too much, just enough, and too little all at once.

And then there was Yogurt Crazy.

You’d just taken me on what likely felt like our 170th Most Chaste Date ever. I appreciated your respect for my boundaries and hated that I had them to begin with all in one breath. I hadn’t felt that steady slowness since I was a teenager and it meant more to me than I probably ever expressed that it did. I was bad at expressing my feelings then…not that I’m all that much better now. Our date came to its reluctant end and you walked me back to my car and what followed was the most intimate and passionate first kiss that I’d ever—and still have ever—experienced in my life.

And then there were those times we spent not talking.

The first stint was 6 months. The second lasted just over a year. The third lasted nearly 2 years. Each spent with someone, or something, distracting me. A boyfriend, a new apartment, bed bugs, school, work, the lack thereof, more “boyfriends” with quotation marks very much needed. The first boyfriend made it obvious I wasn’t over you. Not directly, but subconsciously. I only admitted it in the written form, in poems no one would ever see. The subsequent “boyfriends” pushed you further down into a larger pit of general heartbreak. Little did I know they were just piling on top of you, not erasing you as I thought I intended. Oh how I hated you then(s).

And then there was the ultimate breakthrough, though it was later than I had hoped.

I blame those days we spent in our cubicles laughing amongst ourselves. And in the board room. And in our cars. And everywhere else. We were kind of a team, you and I. I think everyone noticed but respected us enough not to ask. Or they were too jaded and oblivious to notice. Or both. I can’t help but think if they had called us out things would be different. But that’s not the point.

And then there’s the realization that this whole ordeal is more beautiful this way.

The way it played out; painful though it has been. Who am I kidding? It still is in some ways. The ways in which old wounds don’t heal quite as soon as you hope they would. Like that scab you want to rip off but know you can’t because it’ll start bleeding again.

Either way this story is getting long now and I only had one singular point to make from the jump and that is this: I fell in love with you in a second on that day when you showed up in those tweed pants. And I have loved you—in some way or other, by comparison or deep-seated wounds, reluctantly or gleefully—ever since.

The (beginning’s) end.

NOON SUN (AKA: MY INNER STRUGGLE WITH LETTING PEOPLE MAKE THEIR OWN MISTAKES)

“Are you sure? You’re sure you didn’t do anything wrong…seriously?” – Me, in a booth in a restaurant after work with friends chatting about life

If you took a quick poll of the people who know me well exactly zero of them would say that I shy away from confrontation. In fact, depending on the situation, I relish it. That sounds harsh. What I relish is the responsibility and high level of concern that I feel to the people I love to keep them honest and living authentically. And we all know that one of the biggest killers of authenticity is lying (to yourself and to others).

So as I was dunking artichoke leaves and sipping rosé in the seat across from my dear friend in that booth and heard her say, “I don’t really think I did anything wrong,” fire crackled behind my eyes and flushed my cheeks. This Leo pulled all of the heat and searing light from the sun and pointed it at her friend until she relented into the truth. Because I viscerally couldn’t tolerate hearing those words because I knew she didn’t believe them.

It’s been days since that confrontation and I still can’t fully explain why I felt so personally offended at my friend’s choices—aside from the fact that she (and others) teasingly call me mom for a reason—but I knew couldn’t break eye contact until I felt her slide out of the defenses she had built around herself. I couldn’t allow any sort of cloud to diffuse the heat of that sun until I knew she faced her truth. And immediately then, when I felt it all slide away and my friend—my real friend and not the facade friend I had been facing just a minute earlier—returned, I softened my harsh noon sun and let it fade like a sunset as I listened, encouraged, and strengthened her post-confessional self alongside our far more earthly friend who is cool and soft like a forest after rain.

AUDACIOUS, FICKLE, AND ALL THE FRIENDS IN BETWEEN

This is one of those posts where a bold title came to me before anything else. I’ve since forgotten the exact event that made me muse on friendships, as this had been a draft for quite some time now, but I’m sure it was an occasion where I read a situation to have way more a precarious nuance that most people would dismiss or not catch alltogether. 

Regardless, I still find value here so let’s chat about those we allow closer to us than most others: our friends.

I don’t know about you but I happen to be an audacious friend. I hold no qualms about calling out those I love, questioning their intentions, and challenging them to grow through their periods of stagnation. I’m not a warm fuzzy blanket of complacency and I’m certainly not the friend cheering on your bad decisions from the sidelines. I dig even deeper when it starts getting messy and I still stay through the inevitable cleanup. I love hard and intensely, and though my delivery is characterized by the flowery languages of love and respect, the intention behind it is strong and fierce.

But even I have fickle friends. The ones that are around because of habit, because of comfort or because you don’t want to be mean or dismissive for “no real reason alltogether.” The ones you can’t help but agree to do things for because they’re lovely but your heart isn’t all there. It feels wrong, surely, but it’s hard to stop something like that. 

The fickle friend offers a levity to the audacious friend. It’s a space where it’s strangely okay to care a little less. But as that’s the nature of the audacious friend, surely it’s damaging to engage in such a relationship. Right?

I don’t know. But as soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

THE WANDERING, WAYWARD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR, OF SORTS

I keep talking about and focusing on how long it had been since I sat proper and did a bible study in my trusty Life Application Study Bible (New Living Translation). Perhaps I am trying to level myself lest my head get too big (which is ridiculous). Or perhaps I am attempting to differentiate myself from others that I deem more godly than I (which is also ridiculous). Either way and for whatever reason, it is something that I do.

I focus on the time I spent separated from the bible version of God’s word and the pursuit of Him in a Christian sense. Which means I ignore all the other ways I’ve found God these past two and a half years in the pursuit of a meditation practice, yoga, healing herbs and teas, the energy in a beautiful crystal, good food and wine, hiking in nature, and the study of the religiously-neutral, spiritual, indescribable yet palpable energy that connects every and any thing.

In those two and a half years, I became a member of the People’s Church of Necessity, a phrase I use to represent God’s uncanny way of placing you in situations that seem so. wrong. amongst people that are too. different. (read: hedonists and nihilists and heathens) in order to heal you. Through the healing, God is dismantling your ego* brick by brick until all you see around you is rubble. Then slowly but surely, God shines Its light upon one brick at a time and you find yourself elbows deep in the dirt building and building. And one day, the rubble is gone and around you is a beautiful Home to dance, sing, play, and rejoice in.

* It is the ego that keeps us separate from God and others. Because it is the ego that drives our desire to be a Special Snowflake and the ego that drives our fear that we are Too Much/Alone/Different/Weird/Needy/etc.

I also came to understand how insignificant our human concept of time is to God. In Psalm 90:4 we read, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” A thousand years is a day. Can you imagine? I sure can’t. And that’s exactly why I take upon my heart the largely inaccurate persona of the Wandering, Wayward Daughter.

When I read or hear the Word—in any text or conversation which was inspired by Divinity— and it rings as Truth, I see my thoughts for what they are: a (needless, unnecessary, ungodly) shame cycle meant to feed my ego and keep me separate from God.

But when I read Psalm 107:2, “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!,” I am reminded of all my conversations with the heathens and nihilists and hedonists in which I would start clapping like a giddy child while pouring out Truth after Truth after Truth of our Grand and Loving Creator of the Universe.

And when I read Jeremiah 31:12, “They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts,” I am reminded of all the times I left yoga, glowing in said radiance, with a desire to only eat foods that would nourish me, and have conversations that uplifted others, and be kind and gracious to my neighbors.

And even when I read, “Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind. […] Moses called it the Promised Land, Buddha called it Nirvana, Jesus called it Heaven, and the Toltecs call it a New Dream,” in Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I smile knowingly because I know that the God of Everything is, and has always been, in everything that truthfully brings us closer to Joy. No matter what you call it.

And just like that, the shame cycle is finished.