Right here, right now

There isn’t another place in the entire world  I would rather be than wrapped in your arms, while you snore into my ear, as I watch Netflix and deal with insomnia.

Advertisements

Mi Sei Mancata

Airports have always been a place that I feel comfortable. It’s just full of people and energy and movement.  It’s always busy.  People are coming and going; some running, some half asleep and barely walking.  It’s like it’s so chaotic that it’s intimate.  If it wasn’t so busy, more people would notice the other people.  But they rarely do in airports.  Everyone has somewhere to be by a certain time and the chaos provides an amazing mask over the intimacy that occurs at every airport.  If you ever want to witness a real hug, go to an airport.  I doubt there are very many other places whom’s walls have witnessed much more pure showings of love and reunions; goodbyes and don’t go’s; endings and beginnings.

When I used to get really homesick back when I first moved to Florida, I would drive from the beach all the way to the airport.  I’d pick a spot depending on my mood.  Downstairs in the baggage claim or upstairs at the security check point, and set up to people watch.  I guess it was kind of weird, but oh well.  I liked the pure signs of emotion people display there.  Mostly, I liked the reunions. The embraces that followed the lighting up of each party’s face when they saw each other for the first time.  I loved hearing the “I missed you”‘s and watching the guy swing the girl around in his arms.

One day I was sitting in one of the rocking chairs by the security gate, when an old lady sat next to me.  She asked me who I was waiting for and I told her no one, just liked watching people come back together.  She told me she was waiting on her husband who had been gone for a week to go on a trip she couldn’t go on.  The woman told me that they had been married 43 years and that this was their first separation for an entire week.  In slight disbelief I inquired if she meant since they were younger.  She quickly replied that she meant since the night they were married.  She added in that they had not gotten married to spend nights alone and that they had agreed not to do that throughout their life together.  She told me that she had never missed someone so much.  She added in that my generation has gotten very accustomed to missing people who we supposedly love and it was a foolish trait; that you should only miss people when there is nothing you can do about being without them, like in death.  She told me we had it all wrong, that we miss the people we’ve left, instead of just staying with them.  When her husband came through the gate he exclaimed “Mi sei mancata!” very loudly and again and again and again.  It’s Italian for I missed you, which I knew from my family.  They had one of the most genuine hugs I am sure that I will ever see and probably that those airport walls had ever seen.  They walked away together with her arm around his waist and his over her shoulders, totally defying their old age by replacing it with their youthful love.

Lately this whole exchange has been flashing in my mind.  I’d like to say I’m not sure why, but I know.  For some reason in the last few months, I’ve gotten contacted by a lot of my x-boyfriends.  Some of them texts, a few emails, a couple drunk dial calls, and a few sober ones too.  I’m not sure what alert went out to all of them that made them decide to all try the “see how you’re doing” convo or whatever, but the attempts have been fairly close together, so maybe it’s the way the planets are aligned or something.  All of the relationships ended in different ways, and I used to just think that I needed to take more responsibility for their endings, because I have repeatedly looked back and been like.. wow.. I did nothing wrong.  But breakups and ghostings kept happening and I started to think that maybe it was something I was doing wrong.  Some of the guys that have contacted me lately were quick little short stories, some longer chapters, and two of them I thought I loved.  All contact came out of no where, at different times, in different forms.  They all had one thing in common though. At some point in the conversation, they told me they missed me.  Some of them made me want to laugh, a few made me want to cry, and for a couple there was no reaction.  After the third conversation with an x and the same line being repeated, I decided to try and figure out how I felt. After the basic “yeah of course you miss me, I’m the shit, I told you you’d miss me” attitude wore off, I was left with a more realistic 28 year old reaction.. When do I get the one guy who doesn’t leave?  I am currently not dead, and although I may have wished it upon a few of the guys who reached out, here they are, still alive!  So.. why now do they miss me?  Is it because they’re lonely? Did I post a super fierce selfie or something? Just.. why now? For some, years later and for others, months later.  I became angry almost when I was woken up at 230am by another x the next week and then when a text from an x came through a few days later.  Why are they missing me I kept thinking in my head and I was getting angry.  I wanted to ask all of them, so I did.  The responses didn’t satisfy or put out the pissed-offness that was gently yanking on my insides.  They all told me similar things, none of it helped.  Then I realized it’s because I wasn’t asking the right question.  I didn’t want to know why they missed me all of a sudden, honestly I could careless, I had moved on.  What I guess I wanted to know was why did they ever leave in the first place.  A question which I refused to ask any of them because I don’t think I’m ready for those answers yet.  I’ve fielded one or two since the big epiphany, luckily one was a text and one was an email.  Both I just responded with mi hai lasciato.

Bringin’ It Back

So, I have a huge confession.  After I moved to Asheville, I started a tinder.  I wasnt meeting any guys before that because I think I’m too old to be trolling the bars for dudes and how else do you actually meet people these days!?

Well, I have reconfirmed what I already knew about tinder- it just isn’t for me. I just cannot do it. I have decided to delete my account and here are the reasons why:

  1. I automatically think you’re talking to other girls. It’s like even if you’re on tinder for good intentions.. which I don’t think you really can be, it’s not for friends, you literally swipe yes or no to if you would sleep with someone.. I will probably just assume that every time you are on your phone, it’s with another tinder chick.  Maybe that’s just me and I’m crazy, but it is what it is.  It puts a strong level of distrust on anything from the jump. On both sides. Even if you don’t want to admit it, if you have ever gotten semi-serious with someone from tinder, in the back of your mind you are wondering how many other semi-serious partners there are or have been or will be.  It’s natural. And that little voice in the back of your head builds a little wall, and that little wall turns into a blockade from fully trusting their intentions for you.  Which leads to this whole “are they a good person” vs “are they a shady person” thing and that just kills it.
  2. I’m not trying to hook up with you. But meeting someone from tinder has this amazing way of putting this invisible expectation on it that it’s supposed to end in sex.  And lets face it, we’re all on tinder because we’re kinda lonely. Then you usually meet people out at a social event or bar.  Social events and bars have alcohol.  Alcohol + people who know they are attracted to each other + people who are kinda lonely = a drunken hookup.  It’s simple math.  Simple math that just isn’t me.  It’s really not, and I kinda hate the one time I allowed this to go down.  Even though the guy is- well I think is- a nice, decent, attractive, respectful, small town dude.  I just hate knowing I let a complete stranger get to know such an intimate piece of me before anything else.  It’s just that, unlike many others in my age range, my number is very low and now I feel like I wasted a valuable slot to someone who may or may not decide to actually ever be valuable enough to my life to actually deserve that spot. Kinda let myself down more than anything.
  3. I don’t know what to say when people ask how we met.  Guess what, even if it does work out, I’ll have to say we met on tinder.  Everything about that statement makes my stomach turn.  Maybe because it’s not my style. Mostly because tinder is a disgusting hookup app and I’d be embarrassed to tell my family and friends that I was even on it, let alone actually meeting strangers off of it.
  4. I really find it kind of hard to be nice to anyone who has physically judged me. Which is hypocritical because I was also obviously physically judging people.  This alone hurts my soul because it’s so not me.  Now, I’m not saying that I’m like some saint who dates people I’m not attracted to if they have a good personalty, blah blah blah.  I do only date people that I am physically attracted to in person, we all do.  Tinder is different though.  I do not line up an age range of men and then approve of some and discard the rest like they’re nothing, in person.  What I think people are forgetting is that is essentially what a left swipe is, just discarding a person based on physical appearance and knowing nothing about them.  I hate judging. I hate being judged. I hate deciding on someone’s worth based on a few pictures and a few funny taglines to describe them and their interests.  It just isn’t me.
  5. I really suck at receiving compliments.  Now this was originally an argument that my friends used to convince me to get tinder.  They said it’d help me realize how beautiful I am and how many guys really think that.  Apparently I am kind of oblivious to my own level of attractiveness and it surprises a lot of people I know and meet.  Which, honestly, I really don’t think I’m attractive.  I feel like a big, goofy, awkward tomboy about 90% of the time.  Blame it growing up with all guys and them trying to keep my ego small or something.  So when the initial conversation on tinder starts with a guy telling me I’m hot or some other physical thing, I automatically get awkward and kind of roll my eyes and never respond.
  6. I want to go on a real date, where the guy picks me up at my house.  But umm… I’m not going to tell you where I live before I ever meet you in person, I really like being alive and un-murdered.  So this just automatically kills one of the things I know I need from a potential boyfriend because I am traditional. I want you to plan a date, knock on my door, wait like 5 minutes awkwardly inside as I look for my misplaced keys and phone, then we leave to go where ever you have planned out, and I judge you from you opening the car door for me or not.  Then, after the date, you drop me off and either do or don’t try for an awkward first kiss on the porch.  Sorry, I really do not believe chivalry is dead, I just think tinder is kidnapping, gagging, and tying it up in its’ basement.  Guess I really am an 80s baby: traditional and a slight romantic.. Sweet.
  7. I want a guy to approach me in person.  Messaging someone is easy. It takes no effort and if they don’t respond? Who cares.  I want the guy to have to build up enough courage, make an effort to walk over to me, and start a conversation.  The whole copy and paste the same cheesy pick-up line to a million girls just isn’t my thing.  Risk rejection in person.  You don’t get a bio about me to use as a conversation starter.  Walk up to me, stick out your hand, introduce yourself. Then we go from there.  Ask me how old I am, what I do for fun, if I have pets. Don’t read it and then use it as a conversation starter.
  8. I kind of hate smart phones and the way almost everyone I know is addicted to theirs.  I want my friends and guy I’m dating to be present.  I am tired of going out to the bar and seeing everyone constantly on their phones.  I want to start enjoying the time I have here and now with the people I choose to surround myself with.  Yes, snaps and posts will happen, but I’m almost kind of sick of that too. I just want to have real conversations with real people who are present where they are. It’s pretty simple.

So, tinder it’s been real. It’s been fun. But it hasn’t been real fun.  If you need me, I’ll be out with my friends waiting for my real life match because he’ll be approaching me in person.

Got Privilege? : A Response to What People Aren’t Saying About Black Opinions on White Privilege

FB_IMG_1469198408304

 

My friend posted an article on his facebook. Now I know right now is a very sensitive time for racial issues and I’ve tried to completely avoid all post and statuses about them up until this point. After reading this article this morning via my bed with my morning jar of spicy lemonade (I’m doing a cleanse, themastercleanse.org check it out), I have decided it’s time for there to be another side voiced about the points made in this extremely one-sided, bias blog:

The Article Under Scrutiny

First, please read the article. Second, please understand in no way, shape , or form am I discrediting this woman’s experiences with racism and/or sexism.  I feel for her pain and the times that she was treated lesser because of her external appearance. Matter of fact, I feel for her so much because I can relate to every single numbered point that she made. “What?”, You may find yourself asking, “I thought I was reading a blog written by a Caucasian, Blonde Female.” Yep, you are. And that is the exact attitude I am trying to dismiss with this response. So, please read her article, then continue below.

“The white privilege in this situation is being able to move into a “nice” neighborhood and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of vandalism and hostility.” When I was younger, my parents got divorced. My mother was left with full custody of myself, a 3 year old, and my sister, a four year old, with a biological father who didn’t believe in paying child support.  As a single mom, she did what she could to provide for us.  I remember living in less than desirable apartments once we were too old to share rooms and my mom was probably sick of sleeping on a pull out couch in the living room after a few years.  In order to live somewhere we could all have our own bedroom in a place she could afford, we moved to a neighborhood mostly made up of other singles mothers and lower class families.  Due to whatever factor or conspiracy or other bullshit reasoning behind it, that made us a minority.  I remember fearing the bus stop because of how the other girls that we didn’t look like would pick on my sister and I.  My actual first fight happened at one of these bus stops, when we were beat up by a group of about 4 or 5, all while they said things like “You’re too rich to live here” and other ridiculous comments based on our caucasian appearance and the stereo-types that comes with it. We were in fourth and fifth grade, like are you kidding me!? After that, my mom left her day shift and took an overnight shift where she worked from 8 pm til 3 am, so she could drive us to and from school, all so we didn’t have to take the bus.  So.. Is black privilege in this situation being able to live in a neighborhood that is all you can afford, and be accepted not harassed, made to feel unwelcome, or prone to acts of <VIOLENCE> and hostility?

“If you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.”  In grade school I played lacrosse. I was really into it and pretty good. I remember going to UCDavis in Sacramento, California one year for a Nike Lacrosse camp.  While we were there, we stayed in the dorms for a month and had 3 a day practices, 7 days a week. It was amazing and really helped me develop my skills in a thing I was passionate about.  About a week into camp, we were divided and picked by captains, who were from the UCDavis college lacrosse team, and we began scrimmaging every Friday. I was pretty good, and became  leading scorer of my squad. The second Friday round of scrimmages, I remember the girl I was guarding and throughout camp we had developed somewhat of a rivalry.. I’m not sure why really. We were both really good and I’m a very humble person, but she just didn’t like me, on or off the field.  So anyways, it came down to a tied game and we had the face off which would probably be either teams last opportunity to score. I won it, passed it to my second hole, who then passed it back up to me, and I scored using a behind the back, between the legs trick shot (which I had just learned and was super stoked about it).  When we lined up to clap hands and I got to her, she slapped my hand down and called me a “cracker ass bitch”.  just out of no where. Nothing about my skill level was to do with race; me being better that one face off and having good communication with my teammate  had nothing to do with race. For the rest of the month, her and her friends called me Barbie or some other appearance and race based nickname. So.. If you’ve NEVER had a defining moment in your childhood or your life, where you realize your skin <AND HAIR> color alone makes other people hate you, do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation – you have white privilege.”  I used to work as an ESOL tutor in Jacksonville when I lived there.  I helped students who didn’t have parents who spoke English very well, or sometimes at all, because they had no support at home.  This obviously involved more in-depth relationships with them and their families, and I often made home visits on the weekends to help with projects and homework.  I grew a lot of respect while working there with their communities. But at first? Oh hell no. They hated me, their families hated me, and they called me more spanish, racial slurs I can even remember or spell.  That isn’t even the point of this though, after they dropped their pre-conceived notions and stereo-types based on my outward appearance and race, I was pretty accepted into their community, homes, and church.  One day, I went to church at their local community church.  The Pastor actually called me out to thank me for all the help and time I spent educating their children and going beyond just what I was paid for.  I felt honored… except how I was called out. He said, “Is Miss Cam, here? I heard she was here. Does anybody see the only white, blonde woman here?” Not even lying. I brushed it off, because he meant nothing by it and then praised me. Also, I was the only white, blonde woman there. So.. If you’ve never been ‘the only one’ of your race in a class, at a party, on a job, etc. and/or it’s been pointed out in a “playful” fashion by the authority figure in said situation- do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a white person who “deserved it”that is white privilege.” I remember my senior year in high school entering a school-wide essay contest that the prize was a $1000 grant to use for college. It said to write an essay of your choice, gave us the requirements and format guidelines, and then we were left to our own to participate.  I remember working really, really hard on that essay. I needed the money for my transition from Maine to Florida to attend college, and out-of-state tuition was killing me. Long story short, I won the essay contest. They announced second and third place, although I don’t think there were any grants or prizes.  The day it was announced, I got guilted by some of my friends and a lot of the rest of the school, because the girl who got second place needed the money more.  Now, how did anybody in my high school know who needed and didn’t need the money? I don’t think any of them knew my financial situation, my mom’s, or the cost of the college I was attending. And I don’t think anybody knew hers either.  It was decided I won the essay contest and shouldn’t have because I was a star lacrosse player who was white and blonde, so my family must have money right?  Also I was selected out of favoritism, not out of my own hard work.  Which I spent weeks on that essay and revisions.  Then, it was also factlessly decided that because she wasn’t white and blonde, that her family must need the support more. So.. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of the assumption that when you’ve achieved something it’s only because it was taken away from a <other race> person who “deserved it” – is that black privilege?

“If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin color, that is white privilege.”  I’m not going to spend much time on this because I have a thousand different experiences throughout my life questioning my intelligence.. why? Because I am a fairly good-looking, white, blonde female.  Now I do not think anybody can accurately say that there is one stereo-type in the entire world of different appearances that is more commonly written off as unintelligent and ditsy, than pretty, white, blonde females.  I remember being at the top of my Latin IV class and the results of our midterms being hung outside the teacher’s office.  We all stood around waiting for him to post them because they were released that afternoon and that weekend most of us were traveling home for the holidays.  I scored the highest. Every single person gave me a surprised look, and a few made comments asking “how did you cheat” or “smarter than she looks”. This is one of thousands of experiences throughout my entire life as an honor student, a girl who graduated at 16, and scored higher than you (most likely) on my SATs.  So.. If no one has ever questioned your intellectual capabilities or attendance at an elite institution based solely on your skin <or hair> color, is that non-blonde privilege? 

“If you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media – that is white privilege.” I fully am not wasting to much time on this either for a few quick reasons.  All mainstream media “role models” for white, blonde females have been basic AF and viewed as sexual objects.. Seriously. I loved history and cant really recall any super strong influential lessons on strong females really at all- the ones there aren’t, haven’t been blonde. Also, Thoreau, Emerson, Malcolm X, Joseph Conrad, Dreiser, etc- are all males, so this argument is kind of hypocritical to begin with because there aren’t any females represented. A quick example I will use is that I’m Christian, I believe in the bible.  I’ve never been allowed to read that as assigned reading in school because all kinds of people have objected and “disagreed” with it. I quietly accept and respect their opinions, without letting my feelings get hurt or feeling targeted. Last example: every school celebrates black history month. We had to, every year, do multiple projects, essays, and other assignments on a certain race for an entire month. Is there a white history month? Nope. If there was, how many protests do you think there would be?! For the record, I think all months dedicated to specifically one group is ridiculous, learn about it all in chronological order and leave it at that.  But really, a whole month is dedicated in schools to just one race and their accomplishments, and researching that. So.. If you have never experienced or considered how damaging it is/was/could be to grow up without myriad role models and images in school that reflect you in your required reading material or in the mainstream media- is that black privilege?

“If you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful black people must feel to be in their presence – you have white privilege.”  This statement is just ridiculous. I think people need to stop associating money and pretentious people with racism.  I have been a server at a country club and I have also been a guest at one. I have gone to a lot of up-scale events with friends.  I have also served at a bunch. This experience of her’s had nothing to do with race, it had to do with the host’s pretentiousness.  I have been serving and been told I was blessed to be in someone’s presence because they were going to do great things and one day I would be thankful I can tell the story of waiting on them to my children! I have also been a guest and had a host make a comment like that to the people waiting on us, which immediately blindsided me and ruined the meal. It had nothing to do with race- but with money.  Most rich people are ignorant- white, black, brown, yellow – money changes people. And that’s all I will say on this topic. So.. If you’ve never been blindsided when you are just trying to enjoy a meal by a well-paid faculty member’s patronizing and racist assumptions about how grateful white people must feel to be in their presence – do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’s prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your race, you have white privilege.” Umm.. do I even need to re-state this point? I’m a white, blonde, pretty female. Almost every job I’ve ever had has assumed I was an idiot when I first started.  I cannot name one job that I’ve had where my bosses – black, white, male, female- didn’t question my intelligence in the beginning because of their prejudice and uninformed assumption based on my appearance.  I’ve worked hard to prove my intelligence, drive, and usefulness at every position I’ve ever held.  I have always been badmouthed until they like me, which happens because the ideas I question are because I know a better, and more efficient, way to do it.  When they try them, they usually work, so I earn their favor through hard work. So.. If you’ve never been on the receiving end of a boss’ prejudiced, uninformed “how dare she question my ideas” badmouthing based on solely on his ego and your <APPEARANCE>, do you have black privilege?

“If you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.” I’ve dated all kinds of guys. Fully tattooed guys were a big stage of mine for awhile.  I cannot count the times that these big, tatted guys were targeted by police, door guys, and any other authority while we were out on a date. People assumed they were like biker gang thugs or trouble makers I guess.  I’ve also always hung out with people who go to music festivals and have grateful dead stickers and such on their cars.  Most of them are white guys with long hair.  It would be impossible for me to recount every example of when they were targeted by police and pulled over and assumed to have drugs in their care because they were a white kid with a deadhead sticker on their bumper.  It has nothing to do with race, it has to do with stereo-types, and there is one for almost every color and appearance.  Police play off of it, and unfortunately, they are usually right and that’s why it still continues to happen to everyone.  So.. If you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success by not putting one of your favorite band’s stickers on your car so you won’t get harassed by cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), do you have black privilege?

“Not having to rewrite stories, headlines or swap photos while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promote positivity and share stories of hope and achievement and justice – that is white privilege.”  Ok so this one time I had a website called Good White News and I was shocked at how many racist people trolled it.  No just kidding, but seriously, with that title every other race besides the one that is being reflected is going to have people troll it and make stupid racial comments.  My instagram used to be public and I put a Lil Wayne quote under a selfie once, and hashtagged his name. I got repeated black women calling me a cracker and telling me I can’t listen to hip hop and know nothing about it.  All of which I deleted. And on a side note, I lived at the beach so I believe I can relate to “Life is a beach, I’m just playing in the sand” way more than some chick from Chicago.  But seriously, since when didn’t the internet have trolls offering their expertise on everything and being racist and ignorant? So.. Is not having to rewrite statuses, captions, or swap lyrics on a selfie while being trolled by racists when all you’re trying to do on a daily basis is promoting positivity and share selfies of happiness- is that black privilege?

So ok, Ms Lori Laken Hutcherson of good black news, I’m exhausted. I am sorry for your experiences of being singled out by your appearance.  I am also sorry for mine. And his. And hers. And theirs.  So let me just re-iterate what I think it’s time we all realize in 2016:

Stereo-types, prejudice, and privilege are things that happen to every race, religion, skin type, hair color, etc.  APPEARANCE BASED JUDGMENTS ARE NOT SOLELY HAPPENING TO ONE SPECIFIC TYPE AND ITS TIME WE ALL OPEN OUR EYES. We can all be victims and capitalize on that divide, or we can all shut up and stop making it about us.  Because guess what- it isn’t all about us.  Once we start pointing out injustices based on them happening because of race, we are incorrect.  Everybody has it hard, everybody has been singled out, and everybody has been judged.  That’s society.

I’m not downplaying one instance for another, I’m just strictly not playing.  It’s all what you make it, be a target or don’t be. Just stop trying to influence people to see your suffering more than anyone else’s.

Asheville

IMAG0066.jpg

I’m not sure if this longing in my heart will be answered by a person or a place, but I am sure that I will not sit around stagnant wondering what will cure it.

Asheville, North Carolina is now the place where my dogs, cat, and I rest our heads. The mountains are beautiful, the lakes are fun, and the people are different..

I can’t tell if I’m homesick for the beach or all the memories that I created there. I do know I miss salt water therapy, my church, and the way that I could sit by the ocean and it would make all of my “problems” actually feel so small and insignificant.

I have decided that its time to make better friends with myself. One thing that I have realized in Florida was that I took better care of me; i worked out, i ate healthy, i laughed a lot, i had no drama and if it developed- i kicked the people who brought it out of my life asap, and i spent a lot of time with Him. I think a lot of these things can be accomplished where I am as well and I recognize that. It may have been easier there, but I’ve never been one to shy away from working hard. It’s time to step it up here.

Every Time You Find Humor In a Difficult Situation, You Win.

Sometimes it’s funny where life takes you and how you can’t quite seem to calculate how you ended up in your present location with your very present realities. Things happen and, at least for me, I very rarely seem able to predict or even backtrack why or how.

I was making my ever-common commute to Jax the other day.  Lately things have been hell. I made a terrible choice yet again in the dating world and it’s ended with a situation that will have a lifelong effect. I live in Waycross, Georgia. I haven’t found a church here and I feel further from my faith than I have since becoming a believer. I started a new job here which is now partnered up with a job in Jax as well and balancing both and some emotional stuff just isn’t as easy as I assumed it would be.

I was listening to spotify, although I can’t remember exactly what song. I was texting some people, although nobody special. I was headed to my parent’s house, which is much more of a downer than an upper for me. Usually- and I’m not afraid to admit it- my car rides have been mostly filled with really heavy thoughts and some tears. This one was different though. I had just finished up work, was heading to Jax to start more work, and was staying at my parents which was going to be filled with 500 other awkward conversations about things that I couldn’t change or prevent.

I was thinking and for the first time in a couple weeks I felt happy. Light. Secure. Like I was doing it right. Then I started thinking, why wouldn’t I be happy?! I had two amazing jobs! And I’m good at BOTH of them. I had the most amazing support system of friends in the entire world.. and it just doubled with a whole new group. The Waycross kids I’ve met here remind me of what real, genuine people are. They’re welcoming, honest, loyal, and fun. Their morals are similar to mine and it’s refreshing. There’s only like 2 bars here- drinking and partying are not the foundations of your friendships. It’s conversation, time, common interests, being active outdoors, and let me say it again- CONVERSATION. I’ve had more deep, sober talks with this group of 8 amazing people than I had the entire 9 years in Jax. I’ve known and worked with these people for about three weeks. They’ve never asked me to hide this from their families or to not mention that, they’re accepting and not judgmental. They grew up in a small town and work hard.  They are not entitled. Most of them here have never heard of tinder (amen) and laughed when the 2 girls [who left for college and moved back] as well as myself tried to explain it to them. “So it’s just girls and guys who can’t just ask people on dates in person?”.  I don’t know if its the naive, outdoorsy nature of all the people here or if it’s just nice to have a group who understands family dinners, movie nights, river trips, golfing, hunting camp outs, hiking, horseback riding and road trips that don’t include drinking or any additional substances that made me decide to give Waycross a real shot, but I’m glad that I did.

Things are going to be great, and they are far better now than how they were a month or two ago.  The past is funny. You can’t change things as much as you wish you could, you can’t make people different or to mean their words, and you can’t stop your heart from stinging or feeling fear when you move forward into very unknown territory.  But you know what you can do? Laugh at it: completely, openly, and wholeheartedly.

Sweet Thursday

Doc thought, Let’s look at this.  Here is a man with work to do.  The girl-what is she? Let’s suppose every good thing should come of a relationship with her.  It would still be no good.  There is no possible way for this girl and me to be successful-no way under the sun.  Not only is she illiterate, but she has a violent temper.  She has all of the convictions of the uninformed.  She is sure of those things she has not investigated, not only sure for herself, but sure for everyone.  In two months she will become a prude.  Then where will freedom go?  Your thinking will be like golf against a bad player.  Let’s stop this nonsense! Forget it! You can’t have it and you don’t want it.

Middle mind hooted, “You can’t not have it too.  Whatever happens, you’ve got her.  Take a feel of your pulse, listen to your pounding heart.  Why?… You haven’t even thought what that means yet, but you’ve got a pain in your gut because of that.”

Low mind said, “Nothing’s bad.  It’s all part of one thing-the good and the bad.  Do you know any man and woman-no matter how close-who don’t have good and bad?  Let me out!  Or by God, I’ll set my claws in you and I’ll tear at you for all your life! Let me out, I say!

I just finished my first book since I decided to begin reading again.  Let me just say, reading is so much more “me” than netflix and apple tv and I really, really miss the years of living on my own when I didn’t own a television.  I used to finish like 5 books a month.  I think that’s better for me, and my brain, so I am going back to that practice.

I picked Steinbeck to start back up with because he’s always been my favorite.  His voice is strong, the scenes he describes are clear, and I’ve always been able to relate to his characters.  Sweet Thursday is the sequel to Cannery Row, one of my top 3 books by him.

The passages above are a monologue in a character’s head towards the end of the book.  He’s fighting with himself about a girl that he has been trying to convince himself he doesn’t love.  I like how Steinbeck portrays the 3 selves.

The first paragraph is earthly, human Doc.  He’s a character that is tightly woven into the community of Monterey and they all care about him deeply.  He also holds a lot of responsibility.  A lot of people offer him opinions about how he shouldn’t get involved with the girl he is clearly in love with.  All their assumptive opinions come from thoughts of his well-being, so his first earthly argument is pretty much Doc arguing with the opinions of his peers that he has convinced himself are correct and that he believes.  He knows that the minor differences that they possess are not all that major; even her most undesirable traits he has to repeatedly re-rationalize as negative in his own mind.  This is because he loves her.

The next argument comes from Doc’s “middle mind”.  I think this is supposed to represent the more logical side of himself, his brain.  I read a few articles about some really cool hidden, ignored subconscious thoughts that turned into different sicknesses until the mind had acknowledged the feelings and consciously healed them.  In the story, Doc had been worried about his health.  They finally suggest in this chapter that it might be because he’s trying to shut down and ignore his love for her.

The next argument comes from Doc’s “low mind” which is clearly his heart.  Seems to be more positive and reassuring that everyone is good and bad, not just one or the other.  If you decide to acknowledge that nobody is all good or all bad and accept your person’s highs with their lows, then you can allow real love to happen.  If not, you can quit, and wonder “what if” all your life-and it’ll probably drive you insane.  Eventually, you’ll realize that everybody has a great side to go with that bad side, that everybody has a few irrational moments of passion to pair with their well-thought articulated moments of logic, and that there is not a single way to appreciate all the flowers in your garden without consistently pulling out the weeds.  When you do realize this, hopefully you didn’t give up on the girl because of what everyone else said; hopefully you realized what you thought, how you felt, and the truths you knew were enough to stand up for the love that you were internally arguing with passing by.

The book never tells you what Doc decided.  That’s why I like Steinbeck.

I also had this whole other thing worked out about how Steinbeck was really using this as a metaphor for Jesus, The Holy Spirit, and God.  He was super religious and all, but I went with this twist to stay true to theme and… just the overwhelming relevance of page 194 in a book, I started a few days ago, and my life.  Coincidences are rationalizations for people ignorant to the fact that they are not steering their own life, but insist on thinking that they are.  When I read things that have such strong parallels with my current situation, I try to be humble enough to acknowledge and understand I’m apparently right on track with my life path and getting a well-deserved sign that I’m heading where I should be. The reassurance that it isn’t just my plan always seems to make things much easier anyways. Especially when I’m often left wanting things that clearly are just not supposed to be for me right now.

Netflix

My roommate and I typically binge on certain television series of Netflix. Maybe it’s because we live in Georgia and don’t really know too many people.  Since we’re both out of college and the service industry, and our town has about 3 bars which seem to be mostly flooded with 21 year olds, the whole friend making process has been slightly slow. Or maybe we binge watch Netflix series because we’re like the rest of America.

We’ll get so into a show that we’ll have our whole after-work night routines planned out for weeks and weeks, season after season of the series.  He’ll get home from work around 6:30-ish, walk into the house, and we’ll discuss what we’re cooking for dinner.  I’m teaching him how to cook, so after we decide, he’ll jump in the shower and I’ll do the basic prep work: pre-heat the oven, pull out the cutting boards, gather all the ingredients and seasonings, and put on Spotify.

Then we’ll cook whatever amazing gourmet meal we have decided on; and I’m not even joking here, I’m actually a really great cook and I’m so happy that I am. Then we turn on our show on whichever episode we left off on, set the table, and settle in for the rest of the evening.  We’ll get so obsessed with a series and we’ll talk about how we’re going to watch all six seasons. We’ll complete this routine day after day and put a serious dent into whichever show we have dedicated our extra time towards.

The series becomes our favorite.  We know all the characters and their quirks, we know the plot line, we recognize the foreshadowing, and the reappearance of characters in season 3 who briefly were introduced in the first episode of season 1.  We know the in’s and out’s of it.  It becomes a part of our daily lives.  We love it so much, we force ourselves to stay awake just to fit in one or two more episodes when we’d normally pass out hours earlier.  We’re committed to finishing it all the way until the season finale.  Judging from the time spent and from the outside looking in, a lot of people would bet for us and the success of our Netflix series.

But something always happens.

It’s like we’ll be going strong and then something comes up that will throw us off course, off our routine, and then it’s like we’ve forgotten about our commitment.  The series that we were so familiar with and that was made a part of our daily lives, just stops.  Unfinished. Slowly forgotten. Time spent becomes time wasted.  The details and remembrance of those details becomes a waste of memory.  Knowing this character’s voice, their habits, their sense of humor, and all their other traits becomes pointless.  Learning all of that stuff from the beginning becomes unimportant and insignificant.  All it does is remind you of future characters in future series of future shows that you’ll make the same commitment to finishing, start off strong, and slowly forget about after something throws you off course and breaks your routine and excitement towards that main character, his jokes, and his traits.

Does anybody ever finish a Netflix series these days?… I highly doubt it.

I guess maybe it’s time to go back to books.  I always was able to finish those.