November 29, 2012

An Excerpt

Within my application into the creative writing track, I had to submit an essay for the non-fiction portion of my portfolio. I thought I might share an excerpt of this essay, one that I hope to kick-start writing down my own life story, and the theme that I hope to incorporate as I do so; that it's not the big events that have shaped my life, but the small, almost transparent moments that at times generally go unrecognized. 

This is not the entire essay in itself; those that know me pretty well may understand this, while those that don't may be scratching their heads. I don't want to share this piece in it's entirety because I'd like to get it published someday, in a form where handfuls and handfuls of people can read it. 

Here is a small section of what I've titled A Little Piece of Sunshine

I sat in the water, letting my forearms rest against the concrete and trying to ignore the stinging combination of sunburn and chemicals on my back. I sat up in an attempt to try and relieve myself of the pain, when I noticed that the sun was going down, transforming the sky into an array of pinks, oranges, and yellows. I shivered in awe, despite the fact that it was eighty degrees. I had witnessed a fair amount of sunsets back home, but there was something about this particular one that deeply imprinted itself into my poignant photographic memory.

I considered myself a spiritual woman, attending Church on Sundays and proclaiming that I had a relationship with God. Yet, this was one of the first moments where I truly sensed His presence; the palm trees danced in an easy sway, while laughter and conversation almost transformed into a kind of music. For the first time in months, I was genuinely happy; my family was all together in one place, where we weren’t fighting or worrying about money. Personally, I had paradise at my fingertips. It was one of my first experiences of truly living in the moment; of somehow capturing a piece of time and savoring it with all that I have.

  That following morning, I sat down on the back patio and sipped my ice-cold Frappuccino, because it was difficult to drink hot coffee there, even at nine o’clock in the morning. I wrote in my journal, Dear God, thank you for these blessings; thank you for my family, and all the little things that I tend to take for granted. And thank you for being in my life.

 Seven years have passed, many of which were filled with haze, tears, and confusion. In those years, I have managed to carry that experience with me, particularly in the way someone would carry a lucky trinket or a special piece of jewelry. I’ve learned to take note of the smallest of details, allowing me to recall what would be deemed unimportant by our fast-paced, media saturated culture. I collect memories the way some collect seashells; beautiful artifacts to be stored or displays in special places. But instead of a bag or a bucket, they’re stored in the deep crevices of my mind and heart. And instead of a jar or some kind of table or surface, they display themselves over and over again in my mind’s eye, or in the content of my writing.

I realize that the ending appears rather abrupt; because this is only a small portion, I didn't know what exactly to put without having to include the entire ending. 

As I said, this is the beginning of my writing down my life story, in a way that I don't usually do on my blog. I want to write a series of essays concerning various aspects of my life, from relationships to dealing with Cerebral Palsy in various stages. I don't know which essays I'll choose to publish since they'll most likely be very personal. For now, I'm praying that God will give me the courage to write what I feel the need to write, and direction on what should be shared. 

God gave me this gift, and I want to make a difference. I just wonder what that impact will or what it does look like.

November 26, 2012

Stream Of Consciousness: The Two C's

These last couple of weeks have been stressful, yet amazing.

I've had a ton of school work to do; since the beginning of October, it has usually been multiple exams and papers almost every week. Add in required reading, and you've got what some of my friends have called a "disgusting" workload. It felt absolutely draining, because I'm not one that can plow through an entire paper or a pile of homework. I have to give myself breaks, and that's partially why I didn't blog for a week and a half; my thoughts were all incredibly disorganized and jumbled, and that explains some of my "current thoughts" posts that may not make a lot of sense.

But a great deal of that stress was eliminated when I found out (the day after the Presidential Election) that I had been accepted into my school's creative writing track. One of the top programs in the nation. And a program no less that is very difficult to get into.

I felt a burden fall from my shoulders when a friend of mine looked me in the eye and told me to let other people love me; I could go more in depth about what those words meant to me, but I'd like to write a separate post about that another time. 

And while I'm not looking forward to preparing for finals, I do want to make the most of what's left of this semester. A few of my friends won't be back for second semester; some are graduating and one is studying abroad. I want to make sure I spend enough time with them and make the most out of the upcoming weeks. The Christmas season is also a definite plus!

Speaking of December, I am really looking forward to Reverb12 this year! It is always such a gratifying time of reflection, and right now I'm finally at a place where I'm completely comfortable with openly talking about certain things that I dealt with over the past year. I just pray that it will be well-received, and that at least one person will get something out of my vulnerability. 

Right now, if I were to pick two words to describe my current state of being, they would be content and comfortable. That's perfectly all right by me!

November 21, 2012

Small Pieces-Loving and Cherishing Sisterhood

I'm a big believer in surrounding oneself with strong women; not necessarily in the literal sense, but where they build you up and vice versa. I really don't know how I would have navigated these last two and a half years, much less my entire lifetime, without female relationships to hold on to and keep close to my heart.

It's hard to describe the love and gratitude that I feel toward my sisterhood, since those sentiments are frequently echoed throughout much of what I've already written. The majority of them don't all come from the same circle; some are from my hometown and others I met in recent years. Our beliefs and values sometimes differ, but that allows us to talk about a variety of things that I'm not always comfortable discussing with others.

The interesting thing is that I don't see the majority of them every single day; and the only ones I was ever truly inseparable with were those that either lived close to me and it was during my childhood. But I don't view that as a negative thing; in fact, it's quite the opposite.

And it saddens me when I hear other women put each other down, or proclaim that they like hanging out with guys better because girls are "so full of drama." How is it possible to hate your own gender to  where you can't  be around them? And if a female makes that kind of remark, does it mean that they hate themselves as well?

What's even worse is that the power and beauty of a woman to woman support system is so under-appreciated and underestimated. I get that not everybody wants or needs a gigantic pod of girlfriends in order to function; but what irritates me so is the reasons why.

While it's understandable to not want the immaturity and cattiness, it's slightly unfair to automatically write a person off like that just because that's how the majority appear. It's also unrealistic to think that relationships won't experience disagreements or issues at some point. Every kind does, regardless of how hard you try to avoid it.

But from my own experiences, I do know what feels healthy and what doesn't; what is a rough patch and what is simply too much to handle or deal with. The best thing you can do in that situation is to recognize when you should be the bigger person and step away from the circumstances; perhaps for a little while, or for good.

The other half is believing in the notion that a man will (be able to) give you everything. It may appear that way in the very beginning, but in hindsight, that is so far from the truth. Guys will only be able to offer so much emotional support, and you will both need time away from each other in order to stay true to yourself as well.

Some of the greatest memories I have (and will continue to make), whether it be this year, in college, my twenties, or in life, are the ones with those that I call "sisters." While we do have our fun nights of getting dressed up and going out, the moments that have always stuck out to me are the ones where we just sat down and talked openly about what was going on in our lives. No sugarcoating or "I'm fine" jargon; just pure, no filter honest-to-goodness truth. And that's the way it should be. 

This season, I give thanks for the women in my life. Without them, I probably wouldn't be experiencing the kind of healing that I have been in these last couple of weeks. More than likely, I would have allowed myself to become trampled by the hailstorm of curveballs that I've often had to withstand, particularly throughout this year. 

If you're a friend, family member, or someone I've only known for a short time, thank you. Thank you for teaching me so many things and being an incredible blessing. God is good, and I hope and pray that I have been able to do what you have done for me.

November 06, 2012

A Time To Rest

I have written and re-written this entry a few times, trying to come up with the best way to articulate how I currently feel. 

But maybe the "best way" is to just write completely unfiltered. Or maybe there isn't really a best way at all. 

That aside, life has kept me fairly busy, enough to know what the word "busy" genuinely means. Since the beginning of October, I have had multiple exams almost every week, plus papers, as well as assigned reading. While I am an English major, I didn't expect things to pile up and become so overwhelming

It's that time of the semester where college students in general begin that painful, uphill climb toward finals. Normally during this time, I would be stressing out more than I need to and desperately wishing for a break, as many college students usually do. But I've found that I simply can't plow through all of it, at least without losing my mind. 

I'm not going to wait for a break. I'm going to give myself one; a multitude of them, actually. 

Breaks are giving myself at least an hour to decompress after my last class. Writing/Journaling/Praying. Going for a walk. Getting coffee and having a night out with a friend. Simply just getting out of my apartment for a little while is a break in itself. 

Right now I'm trying to balance my focus on academics and dealing with a lot of personal struggles. I do want to write about them and discuss them, but I'm not at a point where I feel like I could do it without only venting, as opposed to encouraging others in the process. In short, I want to take it all to God before I put it on the blog (and yes, the rhyming was intentional). 

On the outside, everything feels totally calm and collected. On the inside, it's often chaos and what can sometimes be a toxic mixture of emotions. 

I am at a point where I'm trying to reconcile my past with my future; of learning what it means to really love myself, and let myself be loved. 

I won't make any promises, but I want to try and blog at least once a week for the rest of this month. School is keeping me on my toes, and the topics that I frequently want to write about tend to be overwhelming and take a long time; or at least more than just two or three days.  I hope that come December there will be another Reverb project, or at least a guide where I can create one myself. That's when I will get into the deep and gritty stuff, because I've always viewed December as a time of authentic reflection. 

There is a verse that has been going around in my head, particularly in the middle of all this crazy academic, personal, and even political stuff. It's in Psalm 46: 10; Be still and know that I am God.