May Resolutions Review

Hey B.

Let’s see… a little check up on my resolutions and how they’re going… ?

 

Week One Jan 3-9 : No more sodas. (I feel like this is super reasonable. I love tea and everything else just as much if not more.)

HAH. I think I succeeded on this one, but it didn’t last long. *sips her Dr. Pepper*  Maybe I should get back to work on this one.

 

Week Two Jan 10-16: No more candy. (This will be so difficult at work.)

You know, this one stuck. I don’t eat candy, really. I am chewing gum lately to trick my brain when I get anxiety, but that’s about it.

 

Week Three Jan 17-23: 6 of 7 days, cut out fast food. (This includes breakfast. Oh, that will be so difficult. I am going to practice Week One and Two.)

HAHAHAHAHAHA…. I really need to fix this. I mean, to be fair, since I bought my lunchbox, I have been having mainly sandwiches and water. But, for breakfast, ugh. I still swing by Chikfila and throw away my money. Not only is it not good for me, but it kills my bank account. (More on Finances later.)

 

Week Four Jane 24-30: Pescetarian again. (Only Fish and Poultry for the meats.)

For the most part, I have done this, though I admit to having Black Forest Ham on my sandwiches. RIP.

 

 

 

New goals for this month? Let’s see.

For the first time, ever, Matthew and I are trying Envelopes as a way to manage money. It’s been pretty great so far because we physically see the money we have and don’t have before we make financial decisions. This is only week one, but it’s already made me that much more conscious, so I’m hoping this one sticks.

gave up gaming, though this wasn’t a goal of mine. It’s a cycle, I know. I play the games for a bit and then I get off them and back to the world for a bit. This is also not out of any ‘games are bad, mmkay’ rant at all. I love games. Just like I love movies and books. Granted, the ones I play have stories that keep me interested as opposed to shooters and stuff, but oh well. It’s worked out, though. I’ve been watching movies again, tv shows I enjoy, and reading. When doing the hobby of roleplaying, I never feel like I have time to do those things, so it’s nice. It was most horrible when I lead the guild. I felt I had to live and breathe the guild, work, sleep, repeat. Thankfully, I had enough sense to still spend time with Matthew and Elijah outside of it, so nothing was truly damaged as far as my life goes. I am proud I had a handle on that and felt I was responsible. Emotionally, eventually, it took a toll but that’s neither here nor there related to time. In any case, I’m writing now. So that’s cool. 

I have been going to bed around 8-10pm more often than not during the week and in turn, been getting up earlier and feeling more energetic and just at peace. While at first, I panicked thinking OH NO MIRANDA, YOU ARE NOT BEING PRODUCTIVE WITH YOUR ONLY ‘YOU TIME’, but I was. I was choosing health. I was choosing to be well rested so I could effectively kick ass at work and stuff. I was choosing to shower in the morning before work and wake myself up proper. I was choosing to stick to a schedule. It’s fan-fucking-tastic.

In addition, I want to continue my discovery of faith. I swear, every month that goes by has felt so good. I have never felt so peaceful and healthy. I have stopped feeling like I’m a royal fuck up that’s going to die and end up in the wrong place because I didn’t dot my i’s and cross my t’s. I don’t feel like by doing things I have always done, that I am being ‘wrong’ or ‘sinning’ or not ‘good enough’. I just… Ahh. It’s so nice. I don’t like to shit on things in order to make myself feel better. (Don’t get me wrong. I’m imperfect. I still do it. But I am trying not to.) So any Christians reading this, I speak purely and truly to my own experience and life – and nothing of you and your particular stories. I hope they are wonderful, and they are what you need and breathe. You do you, boo. I’m doin’ me.

The last but not least thing is, I am evaluating my relationships. In that mean, I have a lot of codependency issues I am clearing up with myself, and they have with or without my knowledge affected my friendships in some way, be it minor or major. I don’t know who will stick around afterward, who will come closer, or who will have no clue what I am talking about. I am learning about boundaries, and limits, and self-help, and not putting up with shit I don’t care about. At this point, if people who have seen me in my best, in my worst, and in my struggles of sweet ecstasy don’t want to be around … Fare thee well, Felicia. 🙂  

Relationships go two ways. For me, things that are the most important are Communication. Honesty. Forgiveness. If you can’t meet me on at least two of these, then we’re gonna have a bad time.

 

 

Anyhow. That’s me.

-M

Here, have some music.

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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.

Dear Catie, I’m between a rock and hard place.

On the one hand, I really want to focus very much on my book this year. I want to begin writing /it/. Researching /it/. I don’t want to just do my little writing exercises. I want to make progress! Go, go, go!

On the other hand, I really really really want to lose 50 lbs. Just fifty. That’s all I want. But the extra time I would find to use to write, I could be using to work out and plan my meals and all of the B.S. it takes to lose weight.

I cannot do both and still breathe because you know me. Narrow-sighted and driven, but only on ONE thing at a time.

What do I dooooo?!

 

Miranda

Response to this like a Dear Abbey! Go, go, go! (Inari, if you’re reading this, you can respond too! your advice is stellar!)

Dear Catie, I found the ‘Summary: What a Hot Mess’ of my memoir. Wanna read it?

Of course you do.

 

What a Hot Mess

It’s a total bitch to have forgotten the past. My entire childhood is scattered in bits and pieces that I attempt every now and again to shove in to place. Sometimes, I get so frustrated that it’s like when you’re at the end of the 1000 piece puzzle and all you really desire in the entire world at that moment is to finish the damn thing, so you almost try to force the holes to be perfect fits for each appendage of the cardboard cut out pieces.

I’ve done that a lot in my life, shoving all of the pieces where I think they need to fit because all I’ve cared about was completing the puzzle and ending the game. It’s the most frustrating feeling when you squint your eyes and try to imagine how the image will look when everything is finally in it’s place, but life happens and the next thing you know, your son has knocked a few pieces out of place and on the floor and then your cat eats the corner piece as if you hadn’t just fed it an entire oversized bowl of Friskies. Thanks a lot, Lily.

However, has anyone ever stopped to wonder to themselves, What the hell am I even going to do with the thing once I’ve finished it? Do I become one of those people who glues it together and mounts it on the wall like some great achievement because buying a twenty dollar puzzle of Thomas Kenkade’s artwork was cheaper than buying a replica to frame and hang over the fireplace like the fancy folk? Or, do you scatter it all over again to see if you can beat your last time. Seventeen days: personal best!

If I continue to use the metaphor of a puzzle to explain how I continuously, royally fuck up my life time and time again, then I guess I’m between hanging everything that I’ve accomplished on facebook to show people I’m not some worthless, perfectly symmetrical piece in Jesus and Satan’s chess match and I actually have my shit together… Or, you know, taking it in strides that once I finish this particular thing, there will just be another one to pick up right after. Dealing with life’s punches again and again to beat my last personal best score?

Where do I even start? Why does my brain continue to ask all of the hard questions at night? To keep me up well past the time I’d like to call ‘my bed time’, which really it’s about two to three hours past the ‘bed time’ I had originally scheduled. They – you know, doctors, therapists, counselors – say that you should record these thoughts, these feelings. It will make it feel better, and it may even open up some clarity to… to what? What’s wrong with me, doc? Can’t you just prescribe me some drug and make it all better? What’s that, this thing is only in the beginning stages of being a diagnosis? You need to see me more? You need to discover drugs that will actually affect it other than substituting it with bipolar medication in hopes that it assists?

I suppose I will write this in the same way that the puzzle pieces (re: memories) come to me. Maybe we’ll both learn something.

Fuck. What a hot mess.

Dear Catie, A Happy Self.

When I woke up this morning at 9:00am, I didn’t really have a ‘plan.’ I knew I was off, I knew I wouldn’t have Elijah until tomorrow, and that I had just me, myself, and I for the next 24 hours. It’s a Thursday, but it’s also New Years Day. Is anything open? I bet not, but I bet the movie theater is. For some reason, they’re always open and it kind of makes me feel bad for the workers, but not bad enough that I didn’t get my ass up for the matinee showing of Wild (Starring Reese Witherspoon) at 10:40am.

So in I walk to the theater, having no idea what this movie is about – not even a trailer of it. Someone I loosely know knew of my situation (‘divorced’) and thought to tell me to go see it, with urgency. They were not mistaken in this suggestion. This is my first text after seeing it, to my mother:

It’s about a woman who’s had it all and lost it all and made a lot of mistakes and so she goes on a journey for herself to find the woman her mother always wanted for her (to be her Happy Self). It was just really therapeutic. I thought to myself, “Maybe I should go on a little thing, too.” And then I realized, “I already am.”

It just gives me hope that this isn’t for nothing and I will come out of it all a Happy Self.

It’s true. I really am already on my own adventure. I live by myself (sometimes with Elijah) in a new city I’ve never lived in that is much bigger than the suburbia I grew up in and the small towns I visited. The dynamic of people, their mannerisms, everything is different. At the mall, once the movie was over, I realized that sitting on the bench drinking my smoothie – no one noticed me. No one spoke to me, no one saw me — I wouldn’t even have to go on a hike across the PCT to feel solitude. Life was happening all around me – yet separate from me.

I am not writing this as a depression piece — I actually find this very beautiful. The idea that I can sit in a populated area and simply be beside myself while having the opportunity to reach out and speak to anyone I wanted, it was like a super power.

A lot of my country-living family and relatives have asked me how I can do it, and that all the sirens and noise of the highway must drive me insane. When I began to speak of the ritual at night time when I turn all of the lights out and lay on my bed, stare up at my ceiling and the noise just… enters. Cars on the highway. People in their apartments (speaking softly). The occasional, nightly sirens going off. It’s all a symphony of hyperactive life all around. You will find each of these things – though maybe isolated – in the country. They won’t be as often, and the country leaves a lot of quiet – too much quiet for me. Too much silence for my thoughts to invade where they shouldn’t and cause problems that never were.

But here? Here, it is a symphony. It is music inside of earbuds taped to my head as I drift off to sleep. I am at such peace, yet I am still able to think – and better yet, control where my thoughts linger. I am able to contemplate the last year of my life, where it ‘all went wrong, and then take a deep breath as I release the burden to the sky.

Every day that I am off, I have ventured in to the city – to a location I’ve never been. I’ve been to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or two, a privately owned pharmacy, a coin-laundromat on the other side of town, and even walked a mall I’ve never taken time to bother with. Every day, I put myself out there without going farther than 10 miles from my new home. There’s people of all walks of life here, and I finally feel like I can belong in such a new place without everyone staring at me like I am the new girl. I’m not the new girl in town anymore. I’m the new girl in the city – and that’s exciting. I can walk around with the utmost confidence because no one knows me, no one can snoop up who my family is off a whim of asking ‘granny down the street who’s kin I belong to’ or any of the more ‘comfortable’ details of living in a small town.

And I know this won’t last forever. I know, someday I will find someone up to my level who will sway me to move elsewhere – whether it’s in Texas or not – and my single-living-apartment-adventure will end..

But it’s not about the start or finish. It’s about the journey. It always has been. I have been so focused, the last half year, on reaching the finish line of my grief. I gave up a life I had – a beautiful life that I had with a beautiful family. You will be hard pressed to find more decent and considerate folks than Mr. Donald Dyer and Mrs. Debbie Dyer, my ex-husband’s parents. I will be hard pressed to find a more compassionate man than Matthew was – and remains to be. I am so blessed to call him co-parent to my child, Elijah. That young boy will want for nothing.

As the holidays came upon us, I look on it now like it was all a blur, though at the time it was very much not. Thanksgiving came like a slap to the face. My birthday arrived a week later with news of needing to pack everything up immediately and find a place to live, my dad having hardship that aided this, and then being single for my birthday for the first time in.. at least a decade. Then three weeks blew by as I packed, searched, found, scavenged for the money, and then moved in three days before Christmas. I didn’t even have a tree, let alone the amount of presents I wanted for Elijah – but we’re doing fine. He made out like a bandit. But I was single, once more, for the third anniversary of celebration in a row within a month. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Christmas.

It was a lot of grief, a lot of pain they don’t tell you about. I remember texting my mother the day of Christmas, prepared to beg that I stay home because it was all too much. But instead, I decided it was time to get out of bed. It was time to go see my family – because that’s what it is about and I lost sight of that. I went and had the best time at my stepfather’s parents’ house with the whole family, eating, laughing, playing games. My sister, her best friend, and I went to the movies for a double feature and I didn’t get home until the early morning next day.

I feel like I was prepared for New Years Ever, and then Day. I had made it through the past month with my head above water, and a strong mind. Crying is alright, and grief is a place I went for the holidays, but the important thing to remember is not to live there. This, too, shall pass.

New Years Eve was a blast. New Years Day was a revelation, not because of the first day of a new year but because of the events that happened on it.

It’s time to stop grieving.

It’s time to let it go.

It’s time to be a Happy Me.

Dear Miranda, Here are some Reflections and a NEW set of Resolutions…

My darling Pot, can you believe that we have been at this for a YEAR now? We have sixty someodd posts and I have to say this has been such a good way for us to keep up and stay close despite the miles between us or our never ending hectic schedules. All the ups and downs and twists and turns of life. And life  has changed so much for us both this past year. I have no doubt this coming year will include just as many ups and downs and crazy changes and shenanigans and I look very much forward to living out my thoughts in feelings in letters once more.

 

We Rock.

 

Now. One of the first posts I did last year was a list of resolutions. Some people think that resolutions are stupid. I think those people can stuff it. lol jk I know you are/used to be in this camp. However I do think its silly to hate resolutions just because many people don’t stick to all of them. If you complete even ONE goal you had for yourself its more than the person that chooses to have no goals. And ANY accomplishment should be celebrated. Also I like doing it here because there is some accountability. I have to tell you when I fail and I get to brag when I do something right!

 

So last year I did not do so well on keeping up with my healthy lifestyle, drinking enough water, and I did only a so/so job on making more time. BUT.

 

This is what I accomplished: I put $500 in an IRA account and $2000 in a growth based stock account for Emily separate from her college account. This account will be used for stuff like when she needs a car/prom dress/big school trip/ect. I took a two week trip to Scotland and Ireland. I lived life more fully, learning how to express myself as ME and have a good time. Just last weekend my coworkers were cracking up because I was blasting music for the kids and dancing around the house like a crazy person. I made new friends at work and I found a balance between my own needs in romantic relationships. Which is a pretty big deal considering at one point I was thinking of swearing off men totally. Dating is tricky. I made some mistakes and there are some things that I wish hadn’t turned out quite the way they did however I wouldn’t change a thing and I’m extremely happy with my progress and with the relationship I have now. I can honestly say I am a more positive person this year then last year.

 

That is a big deal. And I am proud of myself I also spent a fair amount of time exploring my faith so the “make more time” wasn’t a totally lost resolution.

 

And now its a new year and it’s time for new resolutions. Here’s to 2015 and to making good choices.

 

1. Make better health choices.

-This one is obvious considering I did so poorly last year. I’m going to make it a pretty broad goal this year as well so that it includes not just eating right and exercising but also drinking more water, cutting back on caffeine, and taking vitamins.  The good news is that I did so bad last year that it wont be to hard to improve this year!

 

2. Utilize the time I have in the best way possible.

-I feel like this is a little better goal then “make more time” for one thing because when you are working 40 hours a week at weird hours, the time you have available is limited and inconvenient. So this year I’m going to try and just utilize the free time I DO have in an effective way. Maybe I will workout in the weird morning hours between taking Emily to school and work. Maybe I will do a bible study. Maybe I with write on here or bake a healthy snack. And when I have time off with Emily I want to take her to the park and dance around with her, ect. I cant make more time where there is none, but I CAN take advantage of the time I have.

 

3. Pamper myself.

-This one is going to be hard for me. Over the years I have gotten to the point where I don’t care what anyone thinks and as such I hardly ever do my makeup, paint my nails, or do my hair. Heck, lets be real, half the time I forget to shave my legs until they are way past the point of stubble. But this past year I realized something. I like when I do those things and it genuinely has nothing to do with anyone else. I like when my nails are painted because I like it. These little things make me feel good about myself. Like I have my shit together and more importantly like I care about myself! I spend a lot of time caring for others. It’s about damn time I love on myself a little!

 

4. Learn to keep a consistent savings account.

– This past year is the first time in my life I have ever had any significant amount of money in a savings account. And honestly it takes a big weight off your shoulders when you know you have a cushion or something to fall back on. I don’t want that to be an occasional thing. I want it to be a lifelong thing. I like having money in savings.

 

5. Make a Quilt/Keep Stitching

-I picked up on embroidery this year and I made everyone Christmas Ornaments and Wall Hangings. I LOVE this hobby and I REALLY want to make Emily a Quilt. It’s a big goal but I think I can do it.

 

6. Figure out my faith.

– This I think is a lifelong process but what I mean is that I want to continue spending time exploring what my faith means to ME and to become closer to God when I’m not at church. I feel like to strengthen a faith you have found you have to do a lot of it alone. It’s what you have to wrestle with and read about and pray for and meditate on… not JUST what comes easily in a crowd of worshipers. (I’m not down on church at all. I think its a great staple but I want to BUILD on that. I am an individual.)

 

7. Keep a Gratitude log.

– I want to start logging the little things I am thankful for. This doesn’t have to be an every day thing but I also don’t want it to be a once a year thing. I’ve found thinking about it REGULARLY and writing down the things I’m grateful for makes me a more happy individual.

 

8. Get rid of the Guilt and other Nonproductive Negativity.

– I’ve noticed some habits of mine that breed guilt, anger, frustration, and a whole myriad of other negative feelings. For example I constantly read the Facebook posts of one of “those” moms. I know you know which one I’m talking about because I have been bitching about how much she gets under my skin for ages. And you know… I can remedy this so easily. I could list a few other examples off the top of my head but I will save those so that I can tell you what I’ve done to fix it! (I’m starting on this one early)

 

9. Be the Love.

-I want to be the love I want to see. This means doing small acts of kindness, being loving to those around me, and most difficultly… learning to be kind when it’s the opposite of what I want to do.

 

10. Keep Blogging.

– BECAUSE I LOVE YOUR FACE AND OUR BLOG IS AWESOME!

 

Love you and can’t wait to see what you have to say about this new year!

-Kettle

 

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: