Friday, November 30, 2012

Here We Are

Some things to think about this Friday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking Time to Pause

This morning has been filled with writing...lots and lots of writing.
Ok that's an exaggeration.
I have indeed been writing since 9:30 this morning, but it has not yielded a plethora of results. No bountiful word harvest here.
I'm just writing judicial letters. Five today.
Why? Because I procrastinate and today is the deadline so here I am, working on "I don't work on Friday" Friday.
But I'm ok with that. This week I have sacrificed my office writing time for chats with my marvelous staff and hilarious students.
So this morning I woke up, put on a sweatshirt and my computer glasses, and tromped the 50 feet from my front door to my office, tuned into my classical piano pandora station, sat down, and began my task.
I'm sure it is no surprise I was thwarted by numerous distractions: e-mails, my candy bowl, an acute lack of coffee but eyes too tired for the public to see, and blogs.
Blogs are the worst. And by the worst I of course mean THE BEST. They are marvelous distractions of beauty and practicality.
I decided I should do a reward system: 1 page per completed letter. Ha. Before I began I knew that would never work. But just to say I gave it my best I attempted this nearly impossible feat.
And then it hit me.
When I read blogs, or other similar forms of art, my eyes take it in too quickly. I don't take the time to truly appreciate how much time and effort went into the creation of this outlet. [If you haven't made the connection, when I put  myself in a situation where I could only read one full page at a time, I slowed down.]
I'm only a little angry, and mostly thankful that I realized this. Thankful because now I am more and aware and can take the time to appreciate my internet musings and wonderings. I have spent a fair amount of time curating a list of wonderful blogs and I fear they have been misused and under appreciated.
I want to learn. Constantly. So why am I scanning and not pondering?
I think that's a life lesson right there. I even feel like (and this might be a stretch) it's a Carrie statement.
Maybe I should move to New York and start a column.
Or perhaps I should blog more than once every few months, and include more content than just angry rants.

Life updates:
-Alaska is great. Cold, but great.
-I'm constantly surprised by the disequilibrium and dissonance that sneaks up on my calm facade
-I am on a mission to read all the Twilight books before next Friday. One down, three to go.

Monday, October 29, 2012


A few provisions:
1.     This came from a Simpson’s comic.
2.     Originally I was going to ban talking about this topic, but I won’t completely. But depending on the context I might (i.e. you want to chastise me)…which I think is my right because:
3.     This is incredibly personal. I read the comic, opened up a word document and began to type. I wasn’t planning on sharing but I can only hope other people can relate to this.
4.     If you are here to judge (which is a right), please do so silently. Respect is what I ask.
5.     Know I am writing from my experience, and do not harbor anger or resentment against how I grew up. I am incredibly thankful for my life and how it has been lived, and those who have contributed to it.
6.     I am not, and I cannot stress this enough, looking for controversy. This is just an expression of my current inner mind.

The Nature of Love

Definitions of romantic love have been floating around me my whole life. Because I have never been in a romantic relationship I do not have first hand experience.

I think in the past I thought it would just happen. You would enjoy the company of another and decide to spend the rest of your life together.

I see those around me. I see those who have taken on the characteristics of their significant other. This is difficult for me. I think because I have seen less patience, less satisfaction, and more cynicism.

I see the couples that sit in restaurants not speaking to each other. In the past I think I would have seen this as an unfortunate incident but now I’m not sure. How much is there to talk about before you run out of things to say?

Is it the moments, those at the beginning, that are the happiest?

What makes a good relationship last and withstand time?

People change constantly—what is to say that it will not be for the worst? How can one person hope to commit to another for eternity?

Should relationships be based on interests and or core beliefs? Studies would say core beliefs, but I for sure do not want to spend my life with someone who is not interested in the same things I am.

I need interaction. I need a partner in crime. I also need someone who has the same core beliefs, but to what extent?

There are certain topics and areas I will refuse to budge on because they are moral issues. I cannot accept that someone can believe the treatment of others is cavalier and contained.

But somehow I have gotten to this point where I seem to be alright with compromising my Christian beliefs. I think I have written it off as a personal choice—one having nothing to do with me.

But why is it different? I think it is because I feel distanced from it. Perhaps a lack of experience and discussion? But I went to a private, religious, liberal arts institution.

Two years and some months after graduation, having acquired a master’s degree in between that time, I have managed to be more confused.

Going back to the lack of discussion, I think that is a significant contributor to my apathy. The core values that I will not only refuse to budge on, but will also judge those who differ in opinion, are being talked about always. They are in the news, in the lives of those around me, and being written about in books. These topics are often scientific, with manipulations and statistical analyses. These are tangible.

My faith however is not.

I grew up in a Lutheran church, and then we transferred to a non-denominational when I was about 12, and now my parents attend an Assembly of God church. I attended and worked at a Lutheran Brethren camp, and a reformed school. When I went to college I attended a reformed service, and in grad school an Episcopal Church while attending an evangelical university.

With all of the religious diversity I have experienced I am surprised I do not have a better degree of stability.

My mind is fairly academic in nature. I like complicated and detailed information, backed up by science.

Some of these church services provided this, most exclusively did not.

The Bible is so incredibly complicated and misused. Is it outdated? Does that thought damn me to Hell?

What is Hell?

Sometimes I feel the presence of something other. Something I have been taught is God. I find great comfort in this, comfort that my life has not been spent believing a lie. I do not feel comfort in the knowledge that I know so little. I have virtually nothing to stand on, other than a feeling.

Is my head knowledge enough, or do I need more than a reassuring thought?

I often think about the passage where Jesus talks about the faith of children, and how difficult it is for adults to believe. How true this is. At the same time, though, I have never felt particularly close and affirmed in my faith.

In college I though I faked it in high school. Now I cannot guarantee I have been faking it this whole time. Who is to say what a healthy relationship with the savior of the world looks like?

I feel so dissatisfied.

I have explained away my doubts many times. One of the more recent is an explanation of my personality and using that to dismiss the lack of relationship with my creator.

I hardly communicate with those I am not in the immediate presence of, or at least near in proximity. You can ask my friends and family—they will vouch for this. Therefore, I thought it was normal for me not to have a lot of communication and time with my spiritual life, since there is no physical representation.

But there is never a physical/visual representation.

My parents are incredibly devoted. Like I said, I’ve been raised in the church and attended Bible camp forever. We also went to a few conferences. During those times I saw and heard pastors use the power of Jesus to heal.

The Christian community is all around…defensive? My parents have high criticisms against my beliefs, and some of the Christian communities I have been apart of have high criticisms against the beliefs my parents cling to.

It is all very confusing to me. The Christian community is a place where nose rings can be damning and female pastors are banned.

This is not to say all places of worship are this way. Some churches accept those rejected by society, welcome the beggars and the weak.

I understand no place is perfect. I understand that there are a plethora of religions because the bible is interpreted in a multitude of ways and everyone thinks their way is right.

I do not understand why more people do not understand this.

The stubbornness. The hatred. The closed-mindedness. Is this what being a Christian is? I think not. But then I wonder if I have completely missed the mark and should be holding to more traditional beliefs in this broken world.

But sometimes I wonder why hatred of the world is so encouraged? There are obvious flaws, believe me I know. But I want to enjoy my life. I have a strong drive to feel fulfilled.

I take into account that some have not been filled with the doubts I have. They have not traveled and seen with a mind that is constantly questioning and full of doubts.

This is not to imply I do not respect these people. In many ways I envy them because of the felt security.

But I have had many opportunities, and have been blessed with an inquisitive mind. Not only that, but I have grown up in a generation that has access to the internet—a database filled with controversial thoughts and ideas.—thoughts and ideas that stimulate the mind.

Womp womp. I think I’ve hit my limit.

The last thing I want to say is I have justified my way of life with a concept. A concept of love with a God and savior that loves and wants his/her children to be loved. Micah 6:8 is my favorite verse, and I cling to it with white knuckles, fighting for my life.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
 and what does the Lord require of you
 but to do justly,
 to love mercy,
 and to walk humbly with your God?

So I go on. Living my life. Being judged by Christians and non-Christians alike. Trying to find my place in this fucked up, yet somehow beautiful, life, clinging to a God I can only do my best to follow.

I so wish I had more answers but for now I can only carry on, living a life of forgiveness, mercy, and most of all, love.

Monday, September 3, 2012

No Denim Please

Exactly one week ago the doors of on-campus residences were opened to both first time and returning students. The weeks before were filled with countless hours of preparation for this one day, and all the hype inevitably led to an eager and energetic staff. I most certainly was a part of this group of excited students and professional staff, and that Sunday morning I was ready in my rain jacket with Starbucks in hand.
Within minutes I set down my Venti Iced Coffee and neglected it and all other forms of sustenance until a staff member so kindly gathered myself and my teammates cookies for snacking (which fell on the ground soon after, but were still gladly eaten).
That last Sunday seems so real, but so far away. Already I have learned so much more than I can even begin to grasp, and met what seems like an unfathomable number of students.
Not only does opening seem like it happened weeks ago, but my time in Fairbanks is also difficult to comprehend. I have been here just 6 weeks, but it feels like months. I am constantly in awe of how at home I feel here. The people, surroundings, and position feel incredibly natural. I keep waiting to feel overwhelmed or unsatisfied, but then I remember I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, precisely where I want to be doing it.
I am grateful and so blessed.
I am also very cold. A few concerned individuals are questioning my ability to survive the winters. Yesterday the female RDs explored downtown and (with the help of Jess) I purchased some warm layers.
Oh, and you may be questioning the title--the catalyst for this post.
As I was cleaning my apartment I opened a wedding invitation from Lisa, a dear friend in California. I had my first minor bout of yearning for familiar when I read her invitation and read "no denim please" printed under the reception details. I smiled and was not at all surprised she would write this...and then remembered I would not be attending this joyous celebration with those I cherish so much. Sadness of course ensued and therefore I had to have an outlet....which led to this post...which ended up being about happy moments because that is what I am experiencing. Joy and passion and drive.
I still feel all this is surreal but at the same time incredibly natural.
Again, I am so blessed and resoundingly grateful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unfamiliar Territory

As many of you know, I have recently re-located to Fairbanks, Alaska. What you may not know is my process in getting to this location. This post is about the bulldozer of feelings that has recently demolished my falsely perceived strength.
Timeline: Job accepted at UAF (April), Graduation (May), leave California (June), leave Minnesota (July).
Through all of these transitions I have not felt significantly nervous, sad, or lost. I was actually confused about the void of emotion because while I love new adventures, I also become very attached to the people and places I reside (even for short periods). But I figured, eh, I must be more grown up and mature about big transitions.
That is false.
My first warning came when I was said goodbye to a good friend on the 4th and went to see another friend for the last time. When I got into my car to drive the few hours to my next location and they all traveled to the local firework show I felt deeply troubled-- not only because I was prematuraly leaving the events of the evening, but also because of a foreboding presence that I now clearly recognize as mourning.
A few days later my sister and I started our drive through Canada to Alaska. It was a fantastic trip and I could not have asked for a better companion. We arrived in Fairbanks without any issues and began to settle into my new home.
Three days post-arrival I began training (last Wednesday). I am fully enjoying my time with the staff, meeting many people, and soaking information into my brain. In fact, as a side note, I have found my replacement for school in the busy work of filling out forms. This has kept me entertained and productive during the day, and having Hannah as a guest has kept me busy in the evenings.
A few hours ago I realized her time in Fairbanks was over. All of a sudden I was a mess, so much so that I filled out paperwork and took online safety trainings for hours to occupy my cognition and distract me from the impending doom of her departure.
In reflection (since it's only been 30 minutes since she left, these are only hypotheses, not theories...don't get too attached), her departure was my last connection to familiarity. I no longer have someone here who I find comfort in knowing they truly know me. This is not to say I don't have support, but for me forming relationships and being vulnerable takes a substantial amount of time. Losing my transitionary person, the one who is there as support is difficult. In my life there have been very few times where I leapt into a situation without knowing even one person.
So I'm sitting here, writing a sad little diary entry that was meant to be so much more (when I pre-write in my head the words are much more beautiful and grandiose, as is the flow...[sheepish] sorry).
So I sit here, for the first time a lone resident in such a big and empty space, grasping at the words to convey my current swirling and messy thoughts.
On a positive note, I get to pick out paint colors and have already made plans to condition each RA through variable-interval training.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Put IT in a File Folder Until IT Jumps You

In less than 48 hours I will have completed all of the coursework for my master's program. After a colloquium presentation a week from Tuesday I will be officially done.
I cannot believe it.
Truly...really truly I cannot.
I keep TRYING to comprehend.
I keep FAILING at this task.
A well known fact about me is I love school. So while I am happy to be done for this season, I find little joy in the fact that I have no "next beginning" planned. No looking forward to classes filled with interesting information, sometimes boredom, and always interesting people.
All week I kept thinking, "I am forcing my classmates to eat in Heritage one last time together this week. That will be my ending. That is my next step."
I realized today we already ate our last meal there, and I missed it. I did not pay attention to all the details, taking the time to snap pictures in my brain that would remain forever. Instead I am left with fragmented pieces of reminiscing and rushed eating.
Tomorrow I have an 8 page research paper due. I am going to write about feminism in higher education during the 60's/70's from the point of view of a female student. At the beginning of this quarter I was really excited to write this paper. I still am. But instead of beginning the journey I want to remain in the excitement. I want to continue to hold onto this feeling of joy in relation to homework because once I start this paper, I am sprinting the last quarter mile of this marathon. And as much as I want to reach that finish line, to feel the relief, to rest, I do not want to let go of the time put into training, the sweat, tears, accomplishment.
I am a planner. Last night I laid in bed for an hour with thoughts spinning in my head. After acknowledging I was not going to sleep I grabbed my computer and put research to those ideas--shipping cars, realizing that was too expensive, researching cars on location, researching furniture on location, reading a design book, designing my imaginary apartment.
With planning comes the undeniable terribleness of endings. Move-out dates, changing roommates, goodbyes, transitions.
I hate saying goodbye. As much as I tried to keep fragmented relationships to protect myself, I have found deep, meaningful, true, loving, caring, difficult, honest, growing, beautiful friends.
I know for this paper I am going to have to separate myself from the deeper meaning in order to print something worthy of graduate school. I have come to terms with this reality. What I have not come to terms with is the inevitable ending. I am so RESISTANT to this ending. I know it is coming. I do. But I think I'll face it like I did in undergrad: take it as it comes. I know it will be hard. People tell me to prepare. But I cannot. I cannot willingly subject myself to this. Instead I know it will force itself upon me mercilessly. Then is when I will experience the pain. But not now. Now I have a paper to write.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Few Pages to Think On, Courtesy of Orson Scott Card

I recently started the book, "Shadow of the Hegemon," by Orson Scott Card. It's book 2 of a 4 book series (Bean), which parallels another 4 book series (Ender). I recommend all of these books if you want great writing, philosophy, sci-fi, and other deep questions while still being entertained.
 That being said, I just read these last few pages, and think the dialogue is definitely worth sharing.

[I would give context...but true understanding only comes through actual reading. So know that Bean is a child genius (military and otherwise), the world is on the brink of chaos, and Bean is in hiding with Sister Carlotta (who discovered him on the streets before the war in space).

"So why are you going to such trouble to keep me alive?" asked Bean, thinking he knew the answer.
"You want me to say something that will weaken my case," said Carlotta. "Like telling you that I'm human and so I want to prevent your death right now because I love you. And that's true, I have no children but you're as close as I come to having any, and I would be stricken to the soul if you died at the hands of that twisted boy. But in truth, Juilian Delphiki (Bean), the reason I work so hard to prevent your death is because, if you died today, you would probably go to hell."
To his surprise, Bean was stung by this. He understood enough of what Carlotta believed that he could have predicted this attitude, but the fact that she put it into words still hurt. "I'm not going to repent and get baptized, so I'm bound to go to hell, therefore no matter when I die I'm doomed," he said.
"Nonsense. Our understanding of doctrine is not perfect, and no matter what the popes have said, I don't believe for a moment that God is going to damn for eternity the billions of children to allowed to be born and die without baptism. No, I think you're likely to go to hell because, despite all your brilliance, you are still quite amoral. Sometime before you die, I pray most earnestly that you will learn that there are higher laws that transcend mere survival, and higher causes to serve. When you give yourself to such a great cause, my dear boy, then I will not fear your death, because I know that a just God will forgive you for the oversight of not having recognized the truth of Christianity during your lifetime."
"You really are a heretic," said Bean. "None of those doctrines would pass muster with any priest."
"They don't even pass muster with me," said Carlotta. "But I don't know a soul who doesn't maintain two separate lists of doctrines-- the ones that they believe that they believe; and the ones they actually try to live by. I'm simply one of the rare ones who knows the difference. You, my boy, are not."
"Because I don't believe in any doctrines."
"That," said Carlotta with exaggerated smugness, "is proof positive of my assertion. You are so convinced that you believe only what you believe that you believe, that you remain utterly blind to what you really believe without believing you believe it."
"You were born in the wrong century," said Bean, "You could make Thomas Aquinas tear out his hair. Nietzsche and Derrida would accuse you of obfuscation. Only the Inquisition would know that to do with-- toast you nice and brown."
"Don't tell me you've actually read Nietzsche and Derrida. Or Aquinas, for that matter."
"You don't have to eat the entire turd to know that it's not a crab cake."
"You arrogant impossible boy."
"But Geppetta, I'm not a real boy."
"You're certainly not a puppet, or not my puppet, anyway. God outside and play now, I'm busy."

--Shadow of the Hegemon, pages 89-91

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year/I want 2011 Back

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, filled with love, joy, and interesting stories.
I left California for Christmas break with a sense of freedom; I did not take any school work with me and I was looking forward to a break filled with excitement and adventure. I did indeed experience such a break, but as many of you have probably guessed, the entrance into the new year, and subsequently the school year, was met with dread.
As I look at all I have yet to accomplish before graduation, and after, I experience two clashing, and extremely strong, sentiments: excitement and sadness.
Excitement because I will be done with school. For those who know me well you are probably confused; I have never wanted learning to end. This program has taken a lot out of me and while I have come away with so much knowledge, a lot of it has been accompanied by baggage. I have always been open to a multitude of facets about life directions and other such things, but now they seem heavier, more looming. That is, the struggles and seeming depravity of life are weighing me down. There is so much to do and I am just one person. So yes, I am thrilled to be exiting class and move on to what I will deem as more fulfilling and meaningful work.
On the other side, I am quite sad to be moving out of this phase of life. I have found a sense of place in California. Not only have I found comfort, but that comfort has not come easily. I have worked to invest and find belonging during this time. Leaving that work behind with the knowledge that this chapter is forever closed is sad and disheartening. Leaving my undergraduate institution evoked similar feelings of loss and because the proximity of that time is close, I cannot help but be in a pre-mourning period.
As a result, homework motivation is all but lost. I have entered the new year with a desire to spend all of my time doing activities in community with those I love dearly. I am stuck in a chasm that I need to crawl out of in order to move on. There is only one ladder and it is marked, "find a job." Today I began job-searching with The Placement Exchange (TPE). Through an interest search I narrowed the possibilities to seven institutions-- all small, liberal arts institutions from Portland to Minnesota, Chicago to Rhode Island. For those interested in the position, as of now I am only applying to positions as a hall director. Perhaps in the future I will need to expand that selection, perhaps not.