This Woman’s Work

This song (Maxwell) always reminds me of Love & Basketball. I love Sanaa Lathan.

So Ive reached that moment where the whirlwind of settling in has come to an expected lull and now I get to evaluate my self and my life now that I finally have a second. Its weird – that high of moving here has ended. Today, when I went to church (second time this year – yay me!) I was like man Im on a subway and im going places – weird! Which I havent thought about in a few months. Its just become routine – trying to figure out which subway to take to get to my work (there are way too many choices) and then often defaulting to a cab. Sometimes I take the bus. In the evenings, I often walk home from Park Ave through Central Park to go to my new gym, which I love and has a rock climbing wall! The point is that now this is my life. My life is doing random assignments at work, watching many of my friends decide if they are staying at our company (some moving on) and trying to decide if my life is where I expected it to be. Its been almost a year since I abruptly ended my life in Utah after 9 years and moved on to who knows what.

So I made friends. All sorts of friends. I mean not a ton, but enough to have people to call and text when the mood strikes. Ive even gone to the movies again! Its weird that I havent gone to many this year, but I guess I do other cool things. I went to a taping of The Daily Show on Tuesday – Kevin Spacey was the guest in honor of season two of House of Cards. Its just those little things that are helping me figure out what I might do in this new life.

So, the thought Ive had most recently is around living fully, feeling fully. I spend a lot of time making myself obey and preventing myself from having any feelings because they are “wrong” or “wont work out” or a myriad of other reasons. But the truth is that my feelings are just me. I get to choose what I do with them, but if I dont even feel them of course I am going to spend most of my time being anxious because I constantly I have to monitor myself to make sure I stay “right.” Its exhausting, depressing and makes me feel like Im not connecting with the world. I just end up curled in a ball inside myself, because the world is too dangerous to trust myself in it. Or maybe Im too dangerous to allow myself out into the world. Either way, sucky. So the new thought is to just put more stuff out there. Even its just me that knows it. So if I think this married guy I know is hot, then guess what I shouldnt stop that thought before it gets to live! He is hot, and I can trust myself to do what I think is right in the situation, which is not to jump on him or anything else less appropriate. Plus he lives like 2000 miles away. I think Im safe. And it includes more innocuous things like being confident at work and not second-guessing myself just in case someone else might have a different opinion. It includes not being ashamed of the fact that when my knee hurts – I do not go to the gym. I go home! I live up 4 flights of stairs! We don’t jeopardize that!

So heres to feeling the lows and the weird and the sad, because it means that I can really enjoy the pride and the random and the happy. So Im hoping this kicks off the new stage of the new life. Cause man – the last part sucked and I could use the break. Here’s hoping I write more often too!

Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight

Amos Lee – Title same as lyric.

Do you ever feel like the world is slowly melting into an unrecognizable sludge? There is nothing particularly wrong, but sometimes there just isnt enough right to make it worth getting up. Although even as I write this, I feel like Im just being depressing and not recognizing all the awesome stuff in my life. I mean I got free tickets to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Who can be sad when that is happening? Its not that Im sad – I think Im just running on fumes. This is the first real vacation Im taking from work. Ive had a few sick days now and then but Ive always checked in, and we are just coming off all the business of end-of-year stuff. My friend and I have been talking about this – we used to feel motivated even when things were hard. Now, things are just drab, the world is just gray. Maybe its just winter blues. Maybe its just that work isnt that interesting and sometimes, things just have to be gotten through. But its really really really not fun. Plus Im sick and just tired and while going to the gym is fantastic – truly fantastic, every time I go I feel super run down and get sick. Since last week all I want is to sleep.

Sometimes I get these flashes where Im whole. When instead of feeling like Im cowering inside my body looking out, I fully occupy my space and connect through my fingertips and eyes and heart to the rest of the world like re-engaging the power source. Like I touched a live wire that energized me again instead of the battery inside slowly grinding to a halt. I realize I just make the choices I can make. And maybe even though I can recognize what the choice I should make is – the highest good, its ok that I cant make it all the time. The color returns. Its sad that I live without color – I love it so much. My favorite color is green – its the one color I can see and immediately feel connected to the life around me. Its about not being so trapped by prisons of my own making. Its about living outloud without fear and hopelessness dictating the possibilities. If there is a God, which I know there is, then He is more powerful than this, even though I often relegate Him to the same limitations as myself. I mean if I cant do it, how can He? Its arrogant, but isnt that what fear and lack of hope is? Pure arrogance that we know better than the mysteries of the universe that never bend to our common sense. There is no way that there is a logic that makes sense to the path where most of us have ended up. And even if it did, the beauty in the connections and moments are more than can be created by our limited imaginations. It takes humanity, real people, with all of their complexity and transcendence to give life to the shadows we create. I dont want to live in the shadows. Its grey and cold and scary and lonely. The real world – the one we all can’t make sense of without His help – that only functions by His rules, well that one has got to be better than this one I made up with my own feebleness?

I know Ive jumped a bit and gotten a bit more existential than I started, but the thoughts and half-feelings are more important to me right now than perfect explanation. Thats what I want – I want to play in the stream not just stand by and observe it. Thats how you lose color and hope. Things just seem like they are going by and reaching out turns into the hardest thing you’ve ever done and there exists only reasons not to. Only in the other world is reaching out the more natural gesture. I pray that half-thought and powerful feeling of connection is not forgotten again for too long. Its too hard in the cold; Id rather not return.

‘Cause I Gotta Have Faith

I started this post this summer, and since it is still a relevant topic 6+ months later – Im going to leave what I initially wrote and then weave in where I am now. Its prob a weird idea, but im too lazy to start it up from scratch.

BEFORE – An easy pick given the topic: George Michael.

This post is inspired both by the difficulties Im going through in life in general and this blog post I found on my facebook feed. Im not going through anything more difficult than the regular up and downs of life. The anticipation of something new, moving back home after being out of my country for 3 months now, being bored, stressed and dealing with relationships. Nothing new, but sometimes they all combine together to make you lose hope and faith in yourself, others and the possibility of a better world.

Ive been greatly irritated by the stupidity of men in general this week. Nothing new – but most of the program Im helping run out here is male interns this year and the conversations are gross, the commentary banal, the actions disgusting and Im seriously wondering if this is my fate for eternity, to be surrounded by the immature, or if it ever gets better. Therefore I got upset at the Best Friend who is often the number one propagator of such grossness and his sidekick, who thinks he’s hilarious, and kicked them out of room. I was told I was over-reacting, controlling, think Im better than others and a downer. All of these things are likely true.

Combine this continued annoyance, with being sick from foreign food, sinus headaches, the lack of connection with the place, dealing with finding housing with a roommate from 6000 miles away and trying to help the BF get his shiz together for school – I may need to go home and cry for a while. Instead, I am obsessively watching Vampire Diaries from season 1, which is definitely easing the pain.

AFTER – Now im obsessively watching other shows – all hail Netflix! –  but the anxiety has been extreme. It may have been connected to my mother’s visit – it does tend to be somewhat distressing, given how long she was here. But work has been stressful as well. And the shear uncertainty has been exhausting. I met with my bishop last week. I told him the reason I havent been coming to church is because I have no idea how to be Mormon anymore; I dont know how to fit in and not feel awful about myself everyday. I dont think its exactly the church’s fault, but I still havent exactly figured out how to make it work. He gave me a blessing that I would have the courage and confidence to do what I needed and make the connections to come back.

In many ways, I am not the girl who started this blog. Although I dont always feel a lot has happened, I guess a lot really has. Its been 6 months at my first job, its a large adjustment to the corporate world. Its been a long time without my friends near by and the process of making new ones is just a drawn out one, even though I have met some really great people. I still love this city, but the anxiety has taken control and its hard to enjoy anything. I had this moment the other day where I saw who I needed to be. And it was beautiful. This girl who was quietly confident, serene and sure of her place in the world and not running around like a nutso trying to gather up enough pieces of love to get by in the next few mins, hours, days. I saw children and how much I would love them and how important they would be to me – which is a very different feeling than I had before, when I did not know how I would feel or what I would want. I saw this future for myself that was more than all the things I wanted for myself, and I felt some peace that there was still a path forward for me. I wasnt sure what was left – I didnt have any specific goals for myself recently other than to be good. Not just a good person, but really good at stuff. But I havent been able to think past the feeling of being terrible at everything, which no facts seem to support, but my brain keeps wandering back to.

Theres a way through this and that was a glimpse at what was beyond, but until then there is a curtain of solid anxiety between me and there. There is going to be a way through to that other life, but lots ahead for me. So Im not the same – I was bold before, now I feel timid. I was full of sharp edges about what I believed, now Im softer less aggressive. Im slowing down and trying to figure out whats going on in my life, so I can get to the other side of the curtain.

Im not upset about going to church tomorrow (its a Saturday here), Im not upset about where I am. Im just frustrated sometimes, but not angry any more. Thats why I think its time. Im trying to get back to where I was before, but better. So things may sound different coming from me now. Im changing, everything is changing. I dont see the topics changing, but who knows where I will come down on it? Ok, most things havent changed that much – but I may just be less angry about it all. 🙂

Hopefully thats still of interest to you reader. Happy New Year! Lets see what 2014 has to offer.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

English: Photo taken of the traditional view o...
English: Photo taken of the traditional view of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, NYC. The iPhone said 28 degrees. It was cold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its Christmas in New York. My mother is visiting, which has driven me up the wall, but holidays – arent they about being annoyed? Ive had the urge occasionally to write something in the past few months, but things have been busy as Ive started work and tried to figure out my new life. Its been interesting. I adopted a dog in July when I moved here. Hes really made a big difference in my ability to handle the stresses of building a new world. He just likes to hang out and then walk in the park, and so do I. Its nice to feel like a living thing is part of your life when you are alone so much of the time.

Religiously, Ive been taken a break from everything. I went to church once in the middle east this summer, which was good in that I felt what church does do for me. That feeling of peace and connection is the most important part of what I continue to believe and wont be changed by any cultural difficulties I continue to have. However, I knew that I needed space if I was ever going to feel comfortable claiming to be LDS in the future. I was bitter and angry and unable to find a way to reconcile what I know with how I felt I was being asked to live. Marriage continues to be a sticking point for me – not because I dont want to get married (I very much do) but because I am someone outside of my ability to get a guy into heaven and pop out some kids for our eternal progeny.

But its been an interesting few weeks. Emotional for a variety of reasons and I think I got my heart beaten into enough submission, that two days ago in the shower I had an epiphany. And with that epiphany came that same peace and love and confidence I havent felt in months, maybe longer. I stopped everything before because I felt I couldnt live up to the promises I felt and exercise the faith necessary to overcome all my doubts and unnatural anxiety to live a life beyond what I could imagine. I suppose thats what is asked of all of us. To believe in the unbelievable. But Im back to trying. I felt Him reach out to me and ask me to trust him. He gave me the time to ease my pains, while never going so far away I didnt know He was still looking out for me. But when He calls, He knew I would answer. I still believe. So this week, Im trying to go to the temple, I read Matthew 1 early early this morning (its Christmas after all!), and Im blogging again. You can only forget who you are for so long.

The point is, Im back. And the world continues to change,  so theres still plenty to say about the topics I started with. Maybe even more now. Polygamy or some version of it legalized in Utah (one marriage certificate but all the living together you want!), I think gay marriage was legalized as well (not exactly sure whats happening there), Duck Dynasty First Amendment nonsense. The world of religion and well the rest of it continue to collide in increasingly more snug ways. Everything around women and race is still sticky. So Ill do my best to keep up with my thoughts on the matter, and continue to talk about my ever evolving commitment to this odd religion that means so much to me. So thanks for listening if you still are. And the newbies, I hope I can say something of value to you so it doesnt feel like you are so alone in the world. I know what that feels like.

Can I Graduate?!

graduation (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I play this song every time I think about graduation. Third Eye Blind. You will be famous among hopeful students forever.

So Im back! Sorry for the prolonged absence, but I was finished up my final semester of school ever. Today was graduation, and even though Im not there to walk across that stage in those ugly blue robes, and get my fake piece of paper, it still feels pretty dang good. Im done. I never thought this day would come. And despite the fact that i dont have grades, and some of my classes may have kicked my butt, Im done. My 30th birthday is next month and Im done. Im sitting in the Middle East, where Ive been for the last 5 weeks, and Im done. Im watching the best of the crappy American movies and Im done. Did I mention that I was finally done with school?!

I dont even know what life will be like after this. Its just starting to sink in that I never have to go to another class. Never have to listen to another lecture, without someone paying me first. Lol. Best. Day. Ever.

Some people in the past have wondered if I will know how to function outside of the contained world of a campus. I dont know. Im assuming that there will definitely be bad days ahead. Waking up at weird hours and worrying if Ive turned something in. And adjusting to the timelines of a work environment will also require the perfectionist in me to sleep it off a bit. But Im no longer living for someday. No longer living for a day where Im not living on fumes and anxiety, and I perhaps learn how to have a life. I mean Im celebrating with sleep and Hancock – which is not one of Will Smith’s best movies. 🙂

So heres to a future. A future I never believed would come, and hopefully despite all the things that happen in the world everyday that make us want to stop believing, will still be one that matters.