Dear Catie, I’m writing again and here’s a shameless plug.

Sorry I’ve been scarce. A lot has happened, and I’m thankful for our phone calls as of late to keep me from drowning. It’s all good things, and eventually, even better things. In the mean while, I’ve still been writing, and in addition to that, my fellow-author-to-be cousin and I have created a website called WHAT THE PROMPT? in order to spark out writing style. For me, it’s great. I get to create on an outlet that is not my main novel, but I don’t have to stand around for hours for roleplay chances – which used to be my old outlet. Anyway, check it out. Love you, and here’s my first response to the very first prompt:

 

“Let’s pretend the year is currently 1995, and you’re still the current age you are now. You’ve fallen asleep, and you didn’t wake up until 20 years later. It’s now 2015. You’ve missed everything in your 20-year-slumber. Write what happens next.”

-WHAT THE PROMPT?

There are three certain ways to wake up from a good nap. The first one is waking up with an acute awareness, alert as if someone just blew a bugle to remind you your work shift started twenty minutes ago and you missed the alarm. The second is not as panicked. It’s relaxed, but not to the point that you feel you can’t manage to move a limb. You twist as you pop this joint and stretch that muscle. A smile creeps on your lips, a kiss from the sun peeking through your window shades. It’s time to get up, but take your time. Today is a gift.

The third way is so crippling that it’s almost as if you never fell asleep at all. You wake up with more exhaustion tugging at your shoulders. Your eyelids protest the signals from your brain, concerned that you haven’t opened them yet to find that, in fact, your nap lasted much longer than it needed to, and it wasn’t for the better.

This time is the third, and it wasn’t hours late that I woke up.

After what feels like five minutes, i split the shade over my eyes and find myself in the closet I had fallen asleep in. For some reason, I cannot remember why it was that I went to the closet in the first place, or why I had decided it’s floor would be any aid to fatigue I must have felt; the worsened condition I felt now.

I lift my hand, a finger digging at the crust that formed in the corners of my eyelids. Out of habit, I lick the tip of my index finger and begin rubbing underneath my eyes, just in case mascara has made a smudgy home there as it’s want to do. My eyes begin to focus and I can see wrinkles on the back of my hands that weren’t there before. Good lord, I’ve become my mother – not over night – but in a matter of a nap.

I push this thought from my head and rise from the ground on wobbly knees and uneasy ankles, parts of my body that aren’t sure if they can bear the weight of the rest of me so quickly after their rest. My hand clutches the pole that holds empty hangers, all white. There are no clothes on them, nor on the floor where I am certain to keep my dirty laundry despite the overpriced woven basket hamper from Home Goods. The floor beneath my bare toes feels damp, as if recently shampooed. How hadn’t I noticed that before?

I open the door slowly, disgruntled as the light showers me from the darkness of the small, dark room. There are no blinds, no curtains. There is no furniture in what should be my well-worn bedroom. The walls are no longer adorned by painted sunflowers on a dull green backdrop from Lowes. My eyes scan the corner for the stain of coffee that fell from my bed years ago and wasn’t retrieved until last month, when I remembered it had happened at all. The carpet? It was the same color, the same texture, but the stain was gone.

I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath until I’d opened three more doors: my bathroom, the hallway, and the room to my littlest sister. All remarkably cleaned and remodeled. All notably… empty.

Adrenaline met with the panic that filled my throat, disabling my subconscious ability to breathe. Where had everyone gone? My lungs pumped with oxygen at such a quick rate, I forgot to exhale. I was a balloon, expanding until my head began to ring dizzy. I opened my mouth to call out but only a whisper escaped, “Is anyone there?”

No reply.

I fought the urge to buckle at the knees, to cry out. There was an explanation for this, there had to be. Seek it out. Keep your shit together. It’s just a puzzle. More than likely, a dream. With this newfound determination, I descended the stairs. The banister had been replaced and what had once been carpet covering were now fresh planks of wood stained in a red color that reminded me of bitter wine. More empty rooms. The kitchen to my right was hardly recognizable and had been walled up where an open bar once stood. I don’t bother searching any more rooms on my way to the front door. My assumption is that they are all as empty as I felt. The front door is locked from the inside, and I struggle to pull the deadbolt in the other direction before I hear a successful ‘click’.

I pull the door towards me and open Pandora’s box.

Advertisements

Dear Catie, Hippy Jesus and Hamptons Jesus.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about religion lately – whether I’m for it, against it, in the middle of figuring out what the fuck about it.

I’m a hot mess about religion, let me tell you – except I don’t need to tell you because you already know (as does anyone else who’s reading this blog.)

(I’m pretty sure God reads our blog.)

So, what threw me off of religion this time was yet another argument I had with my cousin about religion. My cousin grew up with religion in her life. I did not. She has been going to church since she was born. I started (consentually) going in my teenage years (because I wanted to hang out with the cute boys) and then seriously when I was about twenty-years-old. This was during my ‘I want to find Jesus to save my marriage, because I heard you can’t have a marriage without Jesus in it’ phase. When that fell through – and didn’t ‘fix’ my marriage, I gave up again. Then when my marriage fell apart (I am not blaming this on religion at all, by the way, readers), I went back to church to try again.

As you recall, it. was. fantastic. I found people who believed in the same kind of Jesus as I did. This is a direct quote from myself when I was speaking with our mutual friend Melisha / Lareia.

“Shit has been so damn difficult lately, and it’s made me think about religion a lot.

I am torn between Religion and God. I believe God exists, but I just wish I found a group of people who felt the same about him as me – and that’s hard to find. Even more so, I feel like it’s about the relationship between myself and God. Not the relationship between Religion and I. But just like a new friend you’ve met and think is totally awesome and great and all that, you want to introduce them to your friends and you want your friends to like them too because you like your friends and you like this new friend and it would just be so much simpler if you had more than just the two of you to hang out with.

That’s what kills me. I don’t have friends who know my ‘friend’ / God the way I do, or don’t see Him the way I do, or whatever. Now, this isn’t just a ‘I have friends who are atheists’ cry, this is a ‘I have friends who have a different kind of friend named God that they think have rules and regulations on how to be friends and etiquette and blah blah. Like, their God (in my metaphor) is from the Hamptons and there are rules of being that classy and that great. Don’t air dirty laundry. Don’t talk filthy. Don’t wear certain clothing. People can see you, so be on your best behavior 100% of the time.

Meanwhile, me and the God I know and love are kickin’ it back in our sweatpants watching Netflix marathons. We talk about all kind of things – things I’m proud of and things I’m not. And when it’s just us I feel so great and fantastic. I’m relaxed. I feel like I’ve got my shit together – even if the laundry’s not done.

But I still have friends who don’t know him, or they think he belongs in the Hamptons, and I just.. It’s hard. It’s like, not only does believing in him narrow the field of people who I could potentially get along with / date, but even further still, the Him that I believe him narrows the field even more to impossible percentages.

So then, with it being so small a number of people that I’ve met that feel the same, I’ve begun to think in the back of my mind: What if I am in the wrong? What if it’s MEANT to have all the damn rules and Hamptons shit? I mean, he’s GOD, shouldn’t he be treated like royalty like the Hamptons kids?

Or what if my God is an imaginary friend? What if he doesn’t actually exist and I’ve made him up because I seriously cannot deal with life sometimes and rather than feeling like my misery and existence is all for nothing and why not just die today, I made up a story about a creator who gives it purpose, suddenly?

Shit is hard. But no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot shake the feeling that he’s real. So, I’m back to the scenario of my God being too chill and loving like a hippy than like the Hamptom kids want.

Ugh. I hope all of that made sense to you. I have the Hampton kids analogy because I wasn’t born in to religion. I wasn’t forced to go to church or anything. I didn’t know about God until I was a teenager, and then I only went because it was the ‘cool thing to do’ in my circle of friends. Then when Elijah was born, I tried discovering more about it, but was shunned because of my circumstance by the Southern Baptist churches and like minded churches.

Then I started looking for nondenominational churches, and I always remember thinking that big churchs that have fancy shit in them must be Hampton like — but the one I found “IBC – Irving Bible Church” is huge, and has a lot of people. So much people that I feel like not everyone in the room is watching me as an outsider, but also that there’s so many people that they split in to study groups for those of even more like-minds… So people like me can find each other, but also more specifically, people like me in my age group, or people like me with kids as a SINGLE parent… That’s one I’d never seen before.”

So, my darling cousin (whom I love enormously, which is why this hurt so much) and I were speaking about a mutual friend we have. This mutual friend has become pregnant outside of wedlock with a guy she fell in love with (at 18/19 years old..sound familiar?) and so now they’re engaged to be wed and are moving to California for it all (where his family lives) and my cousin is.. just not having it.

But that’s besides the point. That just started our little debate, in which Hannah said she couldn’t support anything about any of that, because she’s recently decided that in her ‘faith journey’, she’s going to adopt Admonishment. Admonishment is defined as follows:

“to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner”

“to indicate duties or obligations to”

Now, I understand that this is meant as “gentle and earnest” manners, but to me, it also reads in as a lot of… judging others, disapproving of them, and then suggesting what they ought to do for their own good — which, you know, I just love to hear about. And in addition, there is way too little room between the boundaries of stepping on that line or over it when trying to do this in the most gentle way possible.

Anyway, I don’t believe in getting in other’s business like that, or telling them what they should do or shouldn’t. I don’t feel like it is my job to judge anyone for their sins. That’s God’s job. It’s not my job to see if they’re truly repenting or if they ‘deserve’ Heaven or not. Why would you try? We don’t deserve Heaven, or God’s love. That’s the whole point. We will never be worthy, YET HE LOVES US. How crazy and unconditional is that?

What’s that word I just used? Unconditional? I feel like religion based upon ‘do this or don’t benefit’ or ‘do this and you’re damned’ is kind of against the whole ‘died for our sins’ policy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you ask me for advice, or it’s something life-threatening to you or another, I will probably say, “Hey, think about this before you do it, because it could be a bad time.” But am I going to look down on you? Am I going to judge you, you heathen? No. I am not perfect, and that would make me come off as holier than thou. Which, I personally feel, this Admonishment movement with Hannah is making her come out to be.

We fight all the time over it, and this argument we had the other day.. broke me. I said fuck it. I said if this is how religion is, then why the fuck would I believe in it? It’s so hopeless. I cannot strive with the anxiety every day of wondering if I have been good enough, or if one of my friends is going to fucking judge me because of whatever mistake I made forever. And I love Hannah. I love her so damn much it hurts that we fight like this, over something so vulnerable for me, something so personal to me. To have what I believe, and have struggled so hard to believe shut down as false, to be told I’m doing it wrong, to be told that my God is not the same, not the correct God…

I mean, fuck it, right?

 

So I gave up on Him for a little while. I mean, Hannah has been doing this her entire life, right? So she has all the authority on this over me. I should trust her, believe her. Even if it makes me never want to look towards Him again.

 

And then I had a thought.

 

Miranda. God knows you. He knows you exactly where you are right now in your life, in your past, and in your future – should you choose it. He knows what He’d like, and he knows what you’ll choose. He meets you where you’re at, and he takes you and lifts you up. He is in everything you appreciate, everything you struggle with – guiding you from the straying path. And even in this, even in an argument about Him, He still waits. He knows what hurt it’s causing. He knows that moderation is key. He knows that while mistakes happen, strive for Faith, Hope, and Love. He is forgiving, while condemning – something I believe only he can do, truly and deeply, as he is not human, and he is not prone to these mistakes that humans are – which, again, is why I don’t think we have the right or capacity to do so. Especially those of us without training, education in this specific field, and seminar.

 

So, I still love Him. Thank goodness, He still loves me and I don’t have to worry about how many mistakes I make that will finally make Him leave me. Hannah is going to be how she is, and I can’t change that, but.. I can just not talk to her about God. She just may have to be one of those people who can’t hang with my chill Jesus, and that’s hard – because we’re so close – but it’s also what keeps me sane and I would rather get along with Jesus than with her without him.

 

I hope any of this made sense. I love you, Catie.

 

Miranda

P.S. This gif is hilarious, because as punny as it is, this is literal bible thumping:

 

Dear Catie, Catastrophic Thinking.

I am posting this because it is one of those things that I feel is highly relatable to others in our positions as parents, moms, or anyone who gets weighed down by how big the world can feel when we let our minds run away without us. This story was written for my creative writing class by yours truly.

Enjoy.

With the best of intentions, I crawl in to bed at precisely 8:46 in the evening. This is after I have brushed my teeth, gone to the bathroom, taken a shower, cleansed my face from the day, and taken a glass of water with me to the bedroom. I am quite certain that if I get in to bed at 8:46 in the evening, I will have estimated the correct amount of time to fall asleep by 9:00PM.

I want to fall asleep by 9:00PM because I have set out an endeavor to awake by my alarm clock at 7:00AM. This grants me an allowance of ten hours in which I may rest which is honestly more than enough. In all likelihood I will wake up earlier than that if I am truly to fall asleep by 9:00PM.

However, as insomnia would have it, by 9:13PM my heart is racing as the ideas gallop across my brain and in to words. I hear my voice reading a bedtime story to me. I’m intrigued and delighted so much that I surrender any attempts to fall asleep and spring from the bed. There will be no sleep until this idea is placed on a memo and tucked away for when I have more time.

I don’t get back into bed until 10:57PM. By now, I know that if I can force myself into slumber, I will not even get eight hours of sleep, which is commonly known as the correct amount of sleep required for good health. If I don’t have good health, then I am not going to be very good at anything I have to do tomorrow. So, I really need to fall asleep. Like, now.

I sigh and open one eye to sneak the time reading on my alarm clock. Somehow, my alarm clock has malfunctioned. It now reads 11:21PM. How can this be? Did I doze off into a nap? I don’t feel like I did, but then again, it could have been one of those cat naps where time jolts forward and you feel energized and ready for the day. The only problem is that I don’t want to feel ready for the day. I want to feel exhausted. Maybe I’ve just been thinking too long and time trickled with each rabbit hole I jump through. I look at the clock again and realize I’ve lost another twenty minutes.

At this rate, I am not going to get a healthy amount of sleep. This means I won’t want to wake up at 7:00AM. If I don’t get up at 7:00AM, then I am not going to want to work out. If I don’t work out, then I am not going to lose weight and build muscles and boost my metabolism and get more endorphins. If I don’t get all of that, I will fall into a rut of exhaustion and depression first thing when I wake up.

I check the clock again. I’ve lost an hour thinking about all the weight I need to lose and in all the places I wish I could thin out. My hips. My thighs. My stomach. My arms.

Now, I am beginning to ponder if it will be worth it to go to class in the morning at all. Perhaps, I should sacrifice class and regrettably my grade for what really matters in life: my job. My job is needed to make money. I need money to take care of my son, my husband, and my obsession with organic food which is ridiculously over priced. But wait, I don’t want to forget school or I’ll have wasted all this time working so hard to stick with it and get good grades. I’ll have wasted every morning I didn’t sleep in when I desperately wanted to, but I can’t fall asleep and it’s — I sneak another look at the clock — already 2:00AM.

I might as well call in to work. I can stay home and keep my son in my arms all day. We can have an impromptu Mother-Son date at the park. We have look like all of those ads about having a family where everyone is smiling and laughing at the funniest thing in the world.

Wait, how am I going to do that? My son is three years old. My son is testing his boundaries every fifteen minutes and driving me up the wall. If I don’t get any sleep, my son will have to face off with my grumpy attitude and then I’ll be the worst mother in the world because I can’t fall asleep to take care of my son.

I can’t fall asleep for my son. I can’t fall asleep for my job. I can’t fall asleep for my school work and classes. I can’t fall asleep for my happiness. I can’t fall asleep.

It’s 3:00AM and I start to feel very small against this mountain of regret for things not yet to pass. The future seems to miserable and the past only proves the pattern waiting for me. If I am destined to fail, why bother trying at all?

I’ve started to cry about not being able to get to sleep and how it’s going to ruin my life at 3:13AM. I give in to the miserable acceptance that I will never get my life together on a schedule that so many other people seem to run the pace of. I begin to curl into a ball beneath the covers when the door cracks open to my bedroom.

In comes my husband with a blanket bundle in his arms. My son peaks out from beneath the blankets with sleepy eyes and mumbles, “Hi Mama.” My thoughts stop. My heart races in their place.

“Someone couldn’t get to sleep,” My husband explains of our son. I thought he had spoken of me. He brings the bundle to my side of the bed and I wrap my arms around his shoulders. He is warm and comforting. My husband slips into bed on the other side, wrapping his arms around me.

In a quick moment, I hear my son begin to snore. His eyes are closed tight. I smile and new thoughts swim in a calm pool of my mind. I am the key to my son getting any sleep tonight. I am the comfort my husband comes home from work to. My arms are the strongest thing in existence because they hold my whole world in their hands.

If I don’t wake tomorrow at 7:00AM, then I will sleep with my son beside me. My husband will wake up an hour or so later, and I will awaken because the bed springs back up without his weight. I will have enough time to shower and drive to class. I will feel so good about getting out of class that I will smile at work today. My smile could be the comfort someone else needs. It most definitely will be the comfort my son reaches for when I return home for the day, and when I get in to bed tomorrow night at 8:46PM, the knowledge that I can reflect the world that I hold in my arms tonight will prepare me for a brighter morning.

I don’t know what time it was when I finally fell asleep, but I do know in whose arms I was in and whose arms were in mine. This is no catastrophe.

Dear Catie, Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

Some people think Valentine’s Day is Hallmark’s way of getting another holiday out of the year to sell cards to, that florists use to up the price in all floral arrangements, and for woman to ultimately guilt men and pin them up against their fellow men on ‘who went out with all the bells and whistles’.

Some people think Valentine’s Day is about celebrating that you’re with so-and-so for x-amount of years, and it’s another occasion in which the pair of you can reap the rewards by giving gifts to each other. An intimate gift exchange, so to speak.

I don’t care what other people think. I am going to tell you what *I* think, Catie.

Now, mind you, this is what I choose to make out of this holiday, and what I choose to celebrate. This has nothing to do with anyone else. This was not taught to me by anyone else. This is just what I chose to do because I want Valentine’s Day to be universal for everyone, whether you’re single or not.

Let’s focus on:

Love.

  • Valentine’s Day will henceforth be celebrated by myself and my own in a way which reflects how much we love everyone around us and others who have walked in to our life, either as new friends or old. 
  • We will celebrate that we are not alone — Not that we aren’t ‘single’ or ‘married’, but that we have people in our lives – friends, family, etc – that love us and value our place on this Earth. 
  • I want to celebrate the human connection. Empathy. I want to make sure to reach out to all that I can on this day to remind them that I think of them often and wish them love on another day that we are living.
I get what the people are saying when they want to celebrate another year with their spouse, and giving a gift to them. That’s fantastic. Celebrate your matrimony! However, that excludes people who are not in a significant relationship like that, and it makes some people of this group angry. Let’s not be angry anymore. It may not be the love you wish you had right now, but it is the love that you’ve got. 
Cherish each other. Cherish your friends. Cherish everyone who has impacted you, for better or worse, because you wouldn’t be where you are without them.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
-Miranda

Dear Catie, Resolutions in Review: Week Two

Miranda’s Resolutions in Review

Apologize only when I regret. 

Same progress as last. Guilt-manipulation is harder to pull on me.

Be positive.

Yes. Yes. Yes.
No more sodas.

I totally had my fifth Dr. Pepper last night. Oh well. Five in 17 days. I’m okay with it. It’s progress.
No more fast food.

Let’s just leave it at ‘I am failing this one’, and call it a day. (:
Plan ahead on school work. 

I am still doing the thing at work where, in down time, I open my books to study! I have read the intro to both my Creative Writing books (two of them) and my Spanish!
Write for 30 minutes, every day.
This. This is still happening, and I am also roleplaying again on GW2. It’s been fun times.
Work out.

Am I taking out time to work out? No. I am not. I realized that my priority to do this has shifted. I am too busy trying to integrate writing my book, my new job schedule, and next week my school schedule in to my life, and trying to integrate work outs on top of that is going to drive me over the edge because if I don’t do it, I will feel like a failure and stop ALL of the things I am trying to do. So, this does on the back burner.

Flesh out one of the many ideas I have for a book, and write a plot line.

This is the same, and I am going to high light it in green from now on and not comment more than ‘it’s coming along’ or something, since I have achieved this.

God, God, God.
I can always do more here, but I am also speaking to Him more than ever.

Work on at least two of these resolutions each week.

I really like that I changed this last one from ‘Complete 2’ because Resolutions don’t end. Mine are life-style changes. And it feels good to know that I am doing way better at my resolutions this year than last. Heck yes.
Love you, B.

Miranda