Life, Being Saved, and Whatever Else. . . .

So, I’ve been busy (which is normal because the school year does that), but I’ve realized so many things that I knew already. . .they’re just more obvious now. Those few things would be that:

  1. I can’t study in my room if my bed exists in there. . .it just can’t happen
  2. Being in an apartment means living with people. . .that has it’s problems
  3. Being in a new place means being alone . . .that’s not that much of a problem
  4. Being alone means (as a Christian) that I’m realizing the importance of my relationship with Christ. . kind of a really cool and intimate experience
  5. a 15 minute break can turn into a two hour break . . .just like an hour nap can turn into a five hour nap. . .
  6. Conviction is real. . .and it’s something that’s not meant to make you feel bad, it’s just a mental fist palm to the mind.
  7. Not being prepared will bite you . . .and after it’s done biting you, it will realize you’re delicious and eat you . . .

That’s pretty much a synapses of the last month and a half of my life. In terms of school, those 7 are the summary of what my relationship with school has been so far. In terms of projects, I’ve realized that I have to fund the money myself (not a problem since the promotion portion kind of took the longest stand still in existence), but I’m still very much into making the art book a reality. I really don’t want to give up on it just because I and a few other close friends are the only ones who really believe in it. If anything, that just gives me a drive to want to do it more.

Recently, in terms of my faith, (and by recently I mean 20 minutes ago) I was at a meeting for a group that wants to help young pregnant teens and share the gospel with them. At first, I didn’t really want to go because I was being extremely lazy and didn’t want to bike all the way to school. For some foreign reason after church, I ran so fast back to my apartment to get dressed, get my bike and my backpack to head to campus that by the time I got there, I didn’t quite understand what had just happened. All I knew was that I was 15 minutes late and covered in sweat hoping and praying that I could still be apart of the meeting despite my extremely unfashionable late-ness. They welcomed me with warm smiles and greeted me like I was on time (which was a relief and a blessing in itself). They talked about the program and gave a brief synapses on mentor training and understanding the relationship that should be had between the young mothers and the mentor. Briefly, they discussed how we should really make sure this is something we should be doing and that it should be on our hearts to pray about whether God is calling out for us to do this. They also mentioned taking time think about how we came into Christ and sharing that the next time we meet.

The second I heard the comment about whether God really wanted us to do this or not, I kind of mentally cringed because, although I had come all that way to get there, I was suddenly extremely unsure. I have so much to work on as a person and I’m not the healthiest person emotionally or mentally at times. Although I am a believer, it was hard for me in that moment to properly validate whether it was something I should be doing or not. It also made me think about my personal relationship with God and realizing that, sure, I’m not perfect in this moment, but imagining where I was several years ago with Him is a different story entirely.

Just to give a short version of how I came into Christ, I’ve always felt that I knew Him in terms of His presence being something I couldn’t ignore. From the time I was young ’til now, I haven’t had a doubt that God exists and that Christ was this extremely wonderful and awesome thing. Granted, you can believe that and still not be completely 100% with Christ. I went through a period where I had a super dynamic thing happen to me that reoccurred between the ages of 5 and 12. I was a kid, so I can’t say that I was conscious of what I was doing as a whole, I just knew that it gave me the attention that I wanted at the time. When it ended, religiously I questioned a lot of things, this being the few:

-Am I still a virgin? What does that mean?

-Does God hate me? Did I do something wrong?

-How do I move forward? How do I fix this part of myself?

-How do I fulfill this need?

I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it with and, despite knowing who God was in terms of the dictionary definition, I didn’t quite understand how He felt about me at the time. All I could assume was that He hated me as much I hate myself. My parents never taught me that God didn’t condemn. Actually, as I write this, I realize that they may have unintentionally taught me the opposite. As I got older, I had issues in school because I was emotionally confused and I wanted the same feeling I was getting, but in a way that was socially acceptable. Either way, for some reason, I sought comfort in people that hated me. I’d like to think that it was because we shared a mutual hate of the same person, but I couldn’t really understand half of the reason why I was incredibly needy for attention. This was also a portion of my life where I had to take responsibility for my five siblings more than usual, so my childhood was shut down pretty quickly, and I had to learn to think about someone other than myself, which is hard for a kid. Within all this, I was angry at God. I wasn’t making friends well, I couldn’t look at myself without hating the person I saw, I was upset constantly by the past, I was trying to take care of five little people and deal with school, my parents were so involved with themselves, and I didn’t really feel like I mattered. It was easy for me to blame God because I wasn’t understanding how He worked. I had this very genie-bottle-esque picture of Him when that is the complete opposite of who and what He is. High school was better because I was coming to terms with myself and trying to understand my problems, but I still wasn’t getting rid of them. I had more patience with God because I knew that He was there with me, but I didn’t know how much of Him was there (still trying to grasp the concept of his being was difficult because I was holding myself by my own standard in a lot of ways). Not until I got to my first year of college, away from the negativity of my father, away from the responsibility of five amazing children, away from an environment that I didn’t realize affected me as much until I left it, was I finally able to see the beauty of God and the amazing things He has to offer me. I knew He was there, but it always seemed conditional. I always felt like because I had reserve for certain aspects of myself, that God was looking at me in the same way, but He’s not. Even now, it’ll take months for me to realize that my mentality is getting in the way of me receiving  how God feels about me and what He wants for me. So, although I’ve walked with Him  for awhile, I don’t think I was truly saved until my senior year of high school. That year leading into my freshmen year of college showed more things than I ever expected. Although I still struggle with so many things spiritually, it’s amazing to know I have someone who loves me and someone that is there for me consistently so I don’t have to go through this alone.

Now. . .for something short, that was a lot. . .but it was just a thought that  made me feel like I wasn’t properly equipped for this and that, being very fragile myself, it was the last thing I should go about doing. I’m still not sure though.. . . .hopefully prayer can help that.  . . .

Life Update: Moving in and project update

I’ve been through the moving/adjusting process, so I haven’t posted much. Moving in was definitely new and semi exciting. I’ve never lived in an apartment before, but it’s not bad. My roommates are nice and the bus stop isn’t incredibly far away, which I appreciate very much so. I did attempt to walk to campus, and it gave me new perspective on the meaning of hurt and tired. . .and the meaning of regular exercise that I should be doing. The new campus I’m on is already gigantic, so I just feel like I’m crossing an entire planet to get where I need to be (makes me miss my other university already. . .)

In terms of projects, the art book was halted because of lack of editing equipment (a laptop) and lack of any money at all to publish it. I will be getting a lap top soon, curtousy of my dad (thank you, dad :)) and I’ve created a 60 day indiegogo campaign for it to try and raise money. If anyone on here is interested in donating even the smallest chunk of money at all, it’s appreciated. I’m still trying to figure out a perk to give for those that donate more than a dollar. It will most likely be a mini artist care package that I would put together myself with a sketch book and some tools I suggest in my book. I obviously don’t have money to give everyone prisma colored pencils, as much as I’d love to, but I’m hoping most of the kit at least acts a starter for those who don’t really draw a ton to begin with.

Also, if you do decide to donate, the goal says $500, but that’s because indiegogo will not let me ask for less. . .so if I, for whatever reason, get to $500 or even $200,  the rest will be given to Marwen, the organization that will be receiving half the profit from the project.

For those who haven’t seen anything about my artbook project:

 https://rescloset22.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/summer-project-1-art-book/?preview=true

For those want to donate:

 https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/artbook-project/x/11907037#/

For those who want to know more about or donate to Marwen:

 https://marwen.org/students/learn-at-marwen/faq

And at the bottom of this will be my lovely face as well as some new drawings and photos for the art book.  . . .do the pictures make you want to donate more???? O.O (the drawings, not my face. . .and I was joking. . .)

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Life Update: Brief Absence

My posting hasn’t been extremely frequent, but it’s because of an extreme lack of motivation. Have you ever been so close to finishing something that the thought of its finality kind of hangs over you and makes you want to delay it being finished?: yeah, I’m going through a lot of that. My art book project is nearly finished and my story was halted by a fear of finishing the letter I started (I’ll be posting that after this). I also just wasn’t sure what else to write about beside my projects and things. I didn’t even feel like my life was worth writing about, but I finally got some energy and will be posting a bunch of things tonight (by a bunch, I mean two or three more posts after this). At the end of this post is my sun shiny face while drawing and drinking coffee. The shot was not purposeful, I just felt like taking a selfie. . . . .it happens sometimes. . . .

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Rigged Optimism

I’ve learned a lot about this and I didn’t realize it was a thing until I witnessed the man that helped birth me do it. (I could have easily just said ‘dad’, but the long one sounds so much better). Here’s what happened:

My dad put my brother in basketball a few months ago. His reason for putting my brother in basketball wasn’t because my brother had an intense interest or because it seemed to ‘fit’ or anything like that. It was just one sentence uttered from the coach’s mouth: ‘the boy’s got wing span.’ What that means for basketball, I have no idea. I don’t play it, I just watch people try to do it sometimes.

After my dad heard this, he was too excited to push him into trying out. He did, but my brother made it on to the ‘C’ team, which is like the lowest grade, team wise (I sound like I know so much. . .). Anyway, he continued to play on that team and still had many problems. He was and still is working on his dribbling and passing. He still holds his hips and stands in the middle of the court while the team is playing. He still doesn’t hussle fast enough back and forth. He doesn’t practice when he’s home, he holes himself in the loft and plays games and watches anime.

My dad is saddened by the outcome and my brothers lack of attempts to improve himself. Should he be sad though? The only reason he thought my brother would have any potential is because he heard another authority say something about ‘wing span’. His optimism for my brother to be the next Derrick Rose sky rocketed. His expectations were inflated because another adult saw potential and he took that and ran with it. It was rigged. He didn’t come up with that optimism on his own. A man with a hat and a clip board did. . . .

I bring this up because I’m like my dad in many ways. I’m his daughter, so it’s only natural that he gave me some of whatever he has. I assume that if I do it, there’s someone else in the universe that does and maybe after reading this you’ll realize you’re a victim of this as well. I like to think of rigged optimism as both good and bad because I like seeing things from both perspectives. Here’s my examples for the good and bad with my own experiences:

The good one was when I was in middleschool. I drew all the time, but didn’t think much of my drawings. I still don’t, but for a different reason. Back then, it was because I didn’t feel like it offered much. Many people that I went to school with said that I was great and after awhile, it boosted my little 6th or 7th grade self esteem and I thought ‘hey. . .maybe I am better than okay.’ I sat near my dad one day and I told him that I thought I was a good artist. In response, my dad told me that I wasn’t that good because there were artists that were much better than me. Being as young as I was, and with as much respect I had for my dad, I crumbled like a little cookie at those words. I didn’t crumble because of the harsh truth that yes, I wasn’t that good and yes, there were other people better than me. I crumbled because that optimism and confidence wasn’t really mine. It was built up by the support around me and I claimed it because of how great and accomplished it made me feel.

Rigged optimism like this is good. Just because those positive feelings don’t  necessarily originate from the person they’re being given to, doesn’t make them bad. As people, it’s normal to use the optimism of others to uplift ourselves. That’s what support is for: to give the extra confidence and help you can’t give yourself. One thing that good rigged optimism does is develop confidence you have naturally within you, in turn making it your own. The support doesn’t go away, but you have whatever added bonus you find in yourself. My development in that area was snuffed out a little by someone very important to me, and I stopped drawing for a year or so, but if I had let that good rigged optimism ride, I’d probably have at least made more of an effort to make it a career rather than a hobby.

The bad one is a little shorter, but one I’m sure some can relate to. When I was in high school, I had this guy I really liked. I told him I liked him through a note and waited for a magical facebook message to appear. Meanwhile, my friends hyped me up. They told me how great we looked together and how much he liked me. I had so much optimism to the point where I was gushing. My little highschool teenage body could not handle the hormones oozing out of me (that sounds gross, but I promise it wasn’t . . .). We did go on a date, but shortly after, he admitted to me that I was a wonderful person, but he didn’t like me that way and he never really did. The only reason I kept going with it was because of the hype that me friends gave me. Without that, I would have probably been able to tell that he wasn’t into it. I say that now because I realized there were a bunch of signs he was giving me that I refused to go with.

This is a decent example of bad rigged optimism because it happens constantly to me, but I’m more  level headed enough to catch it now rather than run with it. It’s not fair to assume the biggest when you haven’t  started at the beginning. When I gave him that note, I never gave him a chance to give me an answer. In fact, I didn’t wait for him to send me a message. I asked him out because I figured he liked me because he did not say no. My friends did not help that and gave me more reason to pursue him instead of pausing and realizing that I never even asked him what he thought of me or if he even liked me more than that.

This bad rigged optimism has the same things attached to it as good rigged optimism. You have that support well of optimism that you draw from others and that well helps you create your own. It becomes bad when you count on the support alone rather than the confidence that the support creates. You lean on the words of others for reassurance and that makes you invest in their judgement rather than your own. You become enveloped in those thoughts and opinions, which makes you feel comfortable enough to be happy and excited about the upcoming future, despite not really knowing what that is. The reason you don’t know is because you’re basing it off of an inflated optimism created by someone else. . .This example is kind of similar to the one I gave in the beginning. My dad didn’t really give my brother a chance to think about if basketball was a super serious thing he wanted to pursue, he just threw him in it based off  of the sparkling potential a coach saw in his arms or wings or whatever. That potential passed on from the coach to my dad, and thoughts of my brother being a basketball star made his heart skip a beat and he couldn’t resist to seize it. Now he’s slightly deflated because the potential that was there before is fading in his eyes.

Granted there’s nothing wrong with a father seeing potential in his son. I just feel that it should come from him and not the words of someone else. It should also be dependant on what the kid wants. My brother’s a little more pumped about basketball, but I’ve always felt it was because my dad gave him a little more attention than before because of that. For other situations like this, it’s the same. It’s better to draw from rigged optimism when our logic and confidence isn’t in critical condition. When those two important things are wrecked and messed up, we tend to lean on the words and positive opinions of others rather than our own. It’s okay to have rigged optimism when it’s  a situation where it’s boosting your confidence in a certain area or thing in your life, but it’s important to keep in mind that you should be just as confident on your own. The support of others is important, but making a foundation of your own out of that helps for times that you have no one to turn to or count on because that happens in life sometimes. To piggy back off of others optimism makes me sit and wonder why I was doing/starting something. Did I do it because I felt like I could or because my friend thought I could? What happens when my friend’s not there for me anymore or can’t be there and I haven’t drummed up enough confidence to go through with what I started?

I’m not a master on this, nor do I give myself the title of ‘master’. Being a master is too mainstream because you can’t ever stop learning anything. There will always be something new to learn, so are masters really masters if they haven’t learned absolutely everything?. . . .I’m going to stop there and think about that some other time since this has already grown in legnth. I hope this maybe made sense at all and that it raised some questions or made people think.

Also, I did look over this twice, but please don’t feel shy to point out errors. . . .just minor ones, because commas and things get confusing to change. I’m not an English major, I just write stuff. . .on the internet. . .for other people to read. . . .

Alphabet of Life-ing: Exhaustion

I nearly forgot to post this today since I didn’t post it yesterday. . .also because I forgot. My brain gets extremely scattered all over the place, so things happen, but this portion of A.O.L has actual dialogue. A friend of mine that’s editing this said that deep thoughts are great, but in order for the story and the character to develop there needs to be some form of setting and interaction. That’s kind of what I tried to start with this portion, so it’s a very rough attempt that will be cut down and most likely revised into something else. My friend has not read this yet, so it’s not as ‘polished’ (not to say the other portions were perfect, but there was some adding and removing and editing and. . .other things that went into them, despite it still being a work in progress).
Hopefully you enjoy this portion and for anyone that has not read any of the other letters, it’s not extremely necessary to go back and read what I’ve written for the first four letters. It just paints an even picture of the characters thoughts and perspective. Here’s a link to the page that just has posts for the story and nothing else: https://rescloset22.wordpress.com/category/the-alphabet-of-life-ing-project/

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When it comes to the weekend, I find myself shedding what feels like pounds upon pounds of feelings I held during the week. My thoughts and emotions become louder and my brain begs and pleads for silence. My body feels aches and pains that I didn’t know the cause of and I find myself in a state that seems like a mature feet up postion/lay down combo. It’s one of the reasons I hate being left alone with myself. In these moments, I call out for a friend. Unlike most people, I have very few that I can call for moments like this. I actually only have one person for moments like this.

I pick up my cell phone and dial the number without glancing at the keys. The dial tone sounds and I hear a click. I speak without a greeting, naturally.

“Have you ever had a moment where you just felt like you couldn’t be around yourself?”

Laughter bubbles on the other end, “I’m doing fine, how are you?”

“I’m sorry, I just got excited.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. Explain further.”

” I just. . .I just can’t stand being around myself lately. I’m having issues just spending time with myself in a room. My brain won’t shut up and I can’t concentrate.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing.”

“Why?”

“Because those are moments when you realize how much you’re feeling at once. You’re brain’s trying to tell you that you’re holding too much in. You shouldn’t do that.”

“Sometimes I don’t have anyone to talk to.”

“You always have me, Sara.”

“But you’re busy. You have school, your girlfriend, home. . .I don’t want you to have to shut off time just to deal with me.”

“Don’t think about it that way. You’re my best friend, you can always talk to me no matter what. Just because we have seperate crap means nothing. We’ve got long distance on lock by now.”

“I know.”

“Then know that I’m here for whatever you need.”

“Thanks, Rae. Besides my weirdness, how are you?”

“Semi-okay.”

“Why ‘semi’?”

He pauses,
“It’s Lace, she’s kind of . . .wanted more attention lately. It’s taken a lot out of me.”

“Tell her you need some time to rest. I’m sure she’ll get it.”

“I feel like she’s not asking for much, though.”

“She is if you’re exhausted.”

He sighs, “I’ll survive.”

I hear a beep on the other end, “Speak of the angel, she’s calling right now. Could I call you back later?”

“Yeah,” I say, reluctantly.

I press and feel a whirlpool of thoughts come to the front of my mind. I surround myself in a bundle of my sheets and comforter, hoping to drown the thoughts with sleep. Praying that my full exhaustion weighs to the point where my resistance caves in and I let my subconcious take over.

Alphabet of Life-ing: Define

This one still needs work, but posting it doesn’t hurt anyone (I hope. . . .).

If you haven’t read A,B, or C, here are the links for them:

A: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-lR
B: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-m5
C: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-ma

Also, here’s an explanation of the project: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-lP

Please enjoy this, if that’s possible 🙂
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Definition is purely based on perspective. Race is a funny and slightly accurate example. Ask someone what their ‘race’ is, and see what you get. Race is specifically fixed on physical characteristics, nothing more, but ask someone their race, and they’ll tell you my raid of things such as: black, white, African American, Hispanic, Asian. Notice there’s not many blatant ‘characteristic’ words in that list besides ‘white’ and ‘black’. An Asian doesn’t have a bubble that says ‘slim build, slightly slanted eyes, and small features’ nor does a Hispanic have ‘widened facial features, stalk build, and slightly pale to tan complexion. Based on what someone looks like, we’ve created customizable boxes that naturally generalize those characteristics with one word. Now, we’re all smart enough to know that no single race contains all the same features. There are many different Asians, Spanish/Hispanic, ‘white’, and ‘black’ people. For instance, not every ‘black’ person is from Africa. Are they still black?: yeah, because they share the same general f.eatures that help them graduate into that category, but whatever else about them is dependant on their culture and origin. Do people argue about this?: yes, because our perspective of races has a tendency to be based off of stigmas we create in society. When a certain person doesn’t fit that stigma, we question their race. Naturally when a black person isn’t ‘acting’ black, we rip the title away from them, completely disregarding the definition clearly written in the dictionary and basing our opinion on our perspective alone.

Should we stop this?: kind of, because it makes some seem ignorant when they use perspective to pin point someone’s race. We forget that people grow up in different places, experience different things, and grow up near different people. A black kid growing up on the south side of Chicago versus a black kid growing up in Zimbabwe are going to have major differences between one another. Does that make either of them less ‘black’ than the other?: no. In fact, they are both just as black, if we’re going by the text book definition that we should be going off of in the first place. Where am I going with this you may ask?: just giving an intro to defining. How I defined things changed over time or. . .more like my perspective changed which changed my definition of things. See what I did there?

When I was in middle school, it was pretty much puberty mode for everybody else, and I felt like school had become Noah’s Ark. Everyone was pairing up as if the world were flooding, and I realized I didn’t really have another platypus to pair up with. Disregarding the fact that I was too young to really be engaging in these things, I pinned it on looks. I felt that I wasn’t pretty enough and that’s why I couldn’t find another platypus to get on the boat with. It was a close friend of mine who lightly curb stomped me and  explained to me that the insides were what mattered. That it all depended on what your personality was like at the end of the day.

That’s when I had my ‘oh shit’ moment and realized that my insides were mere shrapnel in comparison to my looks. I was and am a broken human being who was vapid and dimwitted enough to think that looks were what was keeping me back. I realized my definition of ‘desirable/attractive’ was based on the warped perspective of a 12 year old. I had carried that into my first year of highschool, only to receive a Tekken Law kick to the jaw by a friend that, at the time, said one of the few wisest things I’d ever hear. I realized how ugly and undesirable my insides were. It just made everything look worse by association and I crumbled for awhile. I later realized I had to accept some of those things and remember that my perspective had to change to make my definition more accurate. I had to wake up and see that if my insides weren’t up to par, what really made me attractive or wanted in the first place? Why pine for someone when my internals are the equivalent to dog vomit?

If I feel like my personality is that of human fecal matter, why put that on someone knowing the result? Am I wrong for feeling like it’s pathetic to come to someone in pieces rather than whole? All  I can say is that having this piece of mind has molded me into someone that realizes that the inside shows right through. I’ve never been more grateful to realize at the age of 14 that. . . .I’m broken. It’s not my weight, it’s not my face, it’s not my lazy eye, it’s not my lack of certain parts, it’s me. I just needed to fix my definition to see that. To gain a new perspective.

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Life Update: Sickness . . . .

I was sick all weekend. My allergies slapped me in the face for the last three days, so I was incapacitated for a good couple of days getting absolutely nothing done. I have nothing to show for the project except what I worked on Monday through Wednesday and couldn’t even think of anything for my Friday and Saturday posts. . . .I will do better this week, seeing that more will get done I will not be sick. Hopefully everyone reading this had a good, germ free weekend.