August 15, 2013

It has been hard to write.

It’s always hard for me to create anything in the summer…laziness, I think. But also, my thoughts have seemed less cohesive and more self-centered lately.

The other night, I had a dream (the non-narrative type… even worse than a nightmare) that my body was a word document. I work a lot with word documents at my new job… I have to highlight certain sections in different colors, copy and paste, substitute numbers in. So, when I was the word document, different parts of my body corresponded to different parts of the document, and the parts that I change at work were tingling. And in my dream, I knew if I could just copy & paste the right part to my body, it would stop tingling.

I am frustrated with words. I’ve been much happier with visual expression lately (I’ve been posting a few pictures here), but that’s frustrating too. I can’t seem to capture anything in any medium. It all feels skimpy.

I like the idea of charts, and so I’ve made a small one below. I would say what it is about, but I don’t really know, and that’s why it’s a chart and not a paragraph. I do know that I have been hyper-conscious of my age, and this chart is about things I have seen & done the past few weeks, and what age I have associated them with.

Madeleine L’Engle said once, “I am still every age that I have been.” This has felt most true to me this summer. (Also, I sometimes feel that I am still certain ages I haven’t been yet…i.e. middle age).Image

Lasts

May 14, 2013

 

Torrey groupIMG_4799

Last Tuesday, my group had our last Torrey session. We discussed the book of Revelation, and it was one of those sessions with lots of questions and few answers. Our professor pointed out that that’s a fitting way to end. I’m glad we still have graduation though (Torrey has its own graduation ceremony)…I don’t really feel like it’s over.

I just had my last class at Biola ever: bowling! My partner and I successfully advanced from last place to second-to-last place, and I couldn’t be happier.

Christian left for Europe this morning. I already miss him. (I’ve been watching a lot of Full House episodes since he left… for some reason, that helps.) I’m thankful we got to spend a lot of time together the past few weeks, though. We went to San Diego for our 3-year anniversary at the beginning of the month, and we’ve squeezed in a few mini-adventures since then too.

Cayucas played their first headlining show last week in LA, and I got to hang out backstage with them for a few hours before they went on. I’m so glad I got to do that, because now I have a much better picture of what Christian’s day-to-day life will be like over the next couple months. (In short, it will be long and loud and sweaty…but fun too, I hope.)

We spent his last night in California on his roof, skyping with his mom and step-dad…it was wonderful.

IMG_4878

 

May 2, 2013

IMG_4238

Yesterday I had my first day of training for my new job as an admin/proofreading assistant at a marketing firm. It was scary (I drove on the LA freeways by myself for the first time!) and overwhelming (I don’t know any marketing jargon!) and exciting (my own cubicle!).

Though I know I am extremely lucky to have skipped the post-grad-desperately-seeking-a-job phase that seems like a rite of passage these days, I am VERY nervous about jumping right into the 9-5 lifestyle (nervous that I will stop making things, nervous that I will watch TV every night, nervous that I will start living for the weekend). But, from the what I can tell, the people am I going to be working with might be just what I need in this transition: people who can teach me how to do excellent work, and then go home each day and live life in other ways.

Last night Christian took me out to dinner to celebrate my new job, and we talked about how fast everything is happening, and how we are both in places we never expected to be a few months ago. I say “both” because Christian just found out he is going to be on tour nearly all summer with the band he is in. There is a different type of nervousness that comes with that, but a similar “how the heck did I get here?” feeling.

Sometimes I get sad or scared when I think of how different our summers (and maybe our next year) will be—how unable I will be to relate to Christian’s stories of road-tripping and crowds and sound checks, and how unable he will be able to relate to mine of adjusting to the Mon-Fri routine. But one thing he reminded me last night: tomorrow is not mine to be sad or scared (or nervous) about. I keep forgetting.

Today, and for three more glorious weeks, I am still a student. I turned in my thesis (my creative nonfiction piece about Rookie magazine) this Monday, and even though it felt great to hand it in, I was also more than a little bit sad to be done… I learned so much from writing it. I still have one project left—a self-designed one about gender and faith—and two more Torrey sessions. Unfortunately, I seem to be immune to the whole “it was fun while it lasted, but I’m ready to be done” sentiment….

IMG_4657

March 30, 2013

IMG_2515

“The force behind the movement of time is a mourning that will not be comforted. That is why the first event is known to have been an expulsion, and the last is hoped to be a reconciliation and return.” –Marilyn Robinson, Housekeeping

I shared this quote a few months ago, and I have been thinking about it lately—particularly about this “hope of reconciliation,” and what that means for my those in my church who are grieving.

Here’s what I can’t get past: hope does not cover over the visions of the swerve on a snowy road that means my friend’s marriage will only ever be 9 months long.

If I had one wish for her right now besides getting her husband back, it would be that she would never have to think of that moment, and its violence. I’m sure I will think of better wishes for her later—and maybe even have the courage to pray them—but for now that’s it.

Yesterday, I wondered what it means to remember the violence of Jesus’ crucifixion. Not just the injustice, or the sadness, or the ridiculousness of it all, but the ordinary violence. I didn’t try to; the thought has never seemed so ugly to me as now.

And yet I know remembering must somehow be good for my soul. I know that to hear Christ say to us each week at Communion, “This is my body, which is given for you,” implies a violence. And Christ showing Peter his scars means that this violence is not be undone or unremembered, but somehow healed.

Still, this doesn’t help me reconcile violence with goodness, or snowy roads with the end of a life. Things don’t seem to fit, and maybe that’s what “mourning that will not be comforted” means.

March 28, 2013

IMG_4056

I have been home in Wheaton for about a week now, writing a lot but not much to share.

Two very sudden, too-soon deaths in our church community have left most of us heart-sore and tired.

There will be a funeral on Good Friday, and a funeral on Easter Sunday.

I know there is a lot to say about this time of year–about death being conquered and the hope of Resurrection–but I also know it is okay to not say these things right this minute.

Now, it’s okay to wonder if we should send flowers, to order pizza with sad friends, to pray sloppily over the phone, to ask for some kind of grace for the families who just want their boys back.

It’s been a rich few days, full of communion and truth and vulnerability, but of course, not at all worth the cost.

March 12, 2013

IMG_3529

Here are some photos from two weekends ago, when Christian and I drove up to Monterrey to camp with my sister, Kelsey, and brother-in-law, Tim. By the time we arrived at the campsite on Friday night, tents were magically set up, food was out, and Tim was chopping wood for the fire…  a pretty accurate picture of how the rest of the weekend went (we were so spoiled).

My favorite part of the trip was eating and talking by the fire each night, and then going to sleep to the sound of the 10pm trumpet-song from the camp (?) nearby. A close second was Toby, Tim and Kelsey’s dog, running furious circles around our tents sporadically and with no warning (a phenomenon which T & K have dubbed “Toby time”).

IMG_3600

IMG_3602

IMG_3579

IMG_3597

IMG_3606

IMG_3492

IMG_3404

IMG_3601

IMG_3596

IMG_3572

IMG_3598

IMG_3615

IMG_3356

February 26, 2013

RADS

This past Friday, I had my final simulation for a Rape & Aggression Defense Systems class I’ve been taking at Biola… easily the most anxiety-inducing thing I’ve ever had to do for a class. Each of us girls in the class was led into a room alone with our eyes closed while 7 men (RADS experts that come in for the day) jeered at cackled at us. We were allowed to open our eyes and start fighting when we felt the first person attack us… and let me tell you, waiting for that first move was AWFUL. When I went, my first guy bear-hugged me from behind and pulled me to the floor with him, which happens to be the only move we didn’t practice in class. But I head-butted him a few times (we were both wearing padding) and it was all a blur from there. I think I only had to face two more men after that, and I mostly knee-ed them in the groin. My teacher (also the Campus Safety chief at Biola) was waiting at the door to give me a high-5, and I vaguely remember barreling into him a little too enthusiastically.

Even though it was terrifying and I’d been having stress-dreams about it for days beforehand, it was very, as they say, “empowering.” None of us girls wanted to go into that room, but we were all so glad that we did. The whole experience fits weirdly into my Rookie project (I am continuing my piece into this semester as my Torrey Senior Thesis), because it was one of those rare moments where I was extremely aware of, and proud of, my female-ness.

Also, all the days I spent watching Alias over interterm finally paid off…I just pretended I was Sidnay Bristow, and that made screaming “No!” over and over at the top of my lungs seem way cooler. Plus, for real, some of the moves we did I definitely recognize from the show.

Which brings me to the other topic of this post…I gave up TV for Lent. And life is worse without TV. TV is my primary de-stresser, one of the only times where I feel like I can actually STOP THINKING (which also means I watch it to fall asleep each night), and I MISS TV. I especially missed it the night before my RADS simulation.

But missing is okay—actually, it’s good, I think, for the purposes of Lent. I feel far from understanding Lent, but one helpful thing my priest said about giving up good things for a season is this: “We are only free to enjoy things from which we are also free to abstain; fasting develops the ability to say no and, thus, the ability to say yes in the right way.”

And here is one thing I am learning: saying no is empowering! Kind of like learning how to best defend yourself is empowering! I promise I am not making that connection just to make this blog post coherent…Maybe I just have too much time to think these days…

23

February 18, 2013

IMG_3088

I turned 23 at In-N-Out, and I think that means this next year will be wonderful.

I was with some of my housemates, on our way home from seeing Christian play in a REAL LIVE SHOW, with tickets and lights and a big audience (including Queen Latifah!). This show was one of Cayucas’ (the band C. plays guitar in) last on a West Coast Tour with Ra Ra Riot. It was fun to see him on stage, and even more fun to see strangers dancing to the songs I have had stuck in my head for months now. He also exaggeratedly blew me a kiss after their last song, which killed me in more ways than one.

The day of my birthday happened to be the one day of the week Christian was in town and not playing a show, so we decided to go on an all-afternoon drive. We followed Mullholland Highway through the Santa Monica mountains, and down to Malibu beach. We stopped a lot along the way to take pictures or climb hills, and it was dreamy.

Somewhere in the mountains Christian asked me what I hoped for for my 23rd year, and I told him I hope for another year of living slowly and being present where I am. I am starting to feel the rush of the future in a lot of ways…people asking me things like when Christian & I are going to get married, or what kind of career I want to have. And even though those are sometimes good questions to ask, I don’t feel like I have enough room in me to be a great student and a great housemate and a great girlfriend if I am day-dreaming about what I might be next.

I worry that people might see me as apathetic, or that my five-years-later self will want to come back and bonk current me upside the head, but those worries feel manageable right now. And worth it too, to stay in this place where I feel like I have room to grow braver and wiser and more loving, I hope.

IMG_2907

IMG_2916

IMG_2934

IMG_2956

IMG_2981

IMG_3015

February 13, 2013

The three-ish weeks I have spent back in California and back in class have felt like months. My days have been long, but in the best way, This wintertime shift back into LA weather feels more dramatic than the others…some days I feel like I am cheating at life by being in a place so sunny (which in turn makes me feel weirdly irresponsible).

Classes are in full swing, and I am leading a session on Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals next week. I have tried to write about him in preparation for session, but I decided a few days ago that my time might be better spent talking to my teachers about him and asking asking asking questions. This semester is already stretching me in good ways…we are reading a lot of smart, smart men who present smart, smart reasons why faith is foolish. I thought this was going to be really draining (mostly because I don’t really like “defending” my faith), but with reading these books also comes a strange sense of relief. I have heard these names thrown around for years—Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud—but I haven’t actually read them myself (well, bits and pieces). It feels so good to finally confront them. Not confront as in “imma prove you wrong” but confront as in, well, actually listen to and grapple with, and let myself be threatened by.

But opening up enough to let myself feel threatened can be hard, and that’s where the California sunshine really really helps. Also, going on adventures. And pictures of my new niece Ainsley. And my roommate letting me bejewel her face.

IMG_2693

IMG_2703

IMG_2708

IMG_2778

IMG_2750

IMG_2773

IMG_2634

IMG_2727

IMG_2615

IMG_2841

Interterm

January 26, 2013

January has been a long, good month. Christian came to Wheaton for a few weeks, and we spent lots of time reading and playing Settlers of Catan and watching Alias. Our good friends Matt & Julia visited from Connecticut, and we road-tripped to Cleveland with our friend Joe to see Jeff Mangum (aka Christian’s Halloween costume this year) play a show.

The last week has been quiet…reading and homework-ing and waiting for my niece to be born (any day now!). I finally finished Anna Karenina, and then it was on to Origin of Species, both for Torrey. (Actually, there was a few days where they overlapped…Anna K was getting too dark to read for long stretches, so Origin provided some “lightness”…ha.) I’m looking forward to the semester…getting back to waking up early (okay, before 11…) and writing more, I hope.

IMG_2014

IMG_2098

IMG_2300

IMG_1974  IMG_2183

IMG_2152  IMG_1707

IMG_1972

 IMG_1554