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Archive for April, 2011

Helpless.

There are two ways that I go about my days:

One, in ignorance. I simply refuse to recognize all of the messiness in my own life and in the lives of others. more specifically, I don’t care enough to see it, let alone do something about. It’s simple, and it’s the way I expected or wanted to live not too long ago. Nowadays, it seems more shameful than anything else, but that doesn’t stop me from falling into it like an old lump of dog poo on the grass.

Two, in truth. It is, to save lengthy explanation, the exact opposite of the prior and, I guess I could say, the sort of life that Jesus called me into from the start (and I mean well before last January) — to listen to and serve people.

The past weeks, or maybe it’s been months at this point (Is it a bad sign that I’ve lost track?), have been more the prior. Though, in more recent memory, the latter has started to poke its head out of the hole in the ground.

Today (well, yesterday), was Easter. The day when people who believe in Jesus celebrate his resurrection. It’s supposed to be very moving to think that the Son of God died a sickeningly violent death on a cross for us, the multitude of brokenness.

I woke up, threw on my “I don’t feel like obeying any socially acceptable ideas of hygiene right now” sweater and sat down to bury my head in academic literature. What a glorious way to celebrate that Christ rose from the dead. (Since sarcasm is difficult to note in textual form, I will here proclaim that the previous comment was intended as sarcastically as possible.)

I thought about why Jesus would even die for me for what I will estimated was 2.17 minutes and concluded that it was a ludicrous move on His part — a waste of martyrdom that I can at least be thankful does not apply only to me.

I think that makes me an idiot.

Later, while thinking about people — friends — I realized that what little I knew about their lives at present was relegated to ambiguous blog posts (aren’t I the hypocrite) and glimpses at their weaker moments, which I had (and still have) no idea how to approach. The lives of my friends that I’ve been perceiving is, I’m more than sure, far different than reality. When we face each other in the public spectrum, we (even me, the one who wears her heart on her sleeve) are all smiles and laughs and “I’m good/alright/fine,” followed by “How are you?” The eternal method of avoiding talking about our own grievances by turning the question around, which, 99% of the time, won’t be answered completely honestly.

I’m not stupid. Or at least, I don’t think. And neither are you, reader/friend/crazed stalker/whoever you are. We are capable of reading each other, some better than others, and even when we don’t or don’t have the opportunity to, it sometimes comes around by word of mouth a sliver of how poorly we’re actually doing.

I’m positive that no one knows exactly how I am these days, neither do I expect them to. But what is frustrating on my own part is that I don’t think any one person could put together even ten percent of the picture, if emotional and spiritual life could be surmounted quantitatively. When did I become such a pansy?

Better, more universal question: am I the only one pulling my limbs into a turtle shell? Possibly. Hopefully not. That would definitely make me an epic failure. I’ve put great consideration into the possibility that it really is that simple — that I alone have become so disconnected from community that I don’t tell anyone anything and they don’t tell me. As if I weren’t already a black sheep in every other social situation. (Awkward turtle!)

But if that’s not the case, and I reiterate that I hope it’s not, what the (excuse the strong language that I predict will follow) hell are we doing? We study the idea of community in large and small groups, choose to live in it, say that it’s a unifying idea of love and service — then what?

Please tell me that we’re not lying to ourselves as a whole. Please tell me that I’m the only one keeping everything to myself because I managed to mess everything up on my own, because I’d rather have that than to think that, as a community centered around Christ, we SUCK.

We, for the most part, look to the community portrayed in Acts to model ourselves after. And by all means, that community can be considered nearly ideal with individual shortcomings that were resolved or swiftly dispatched by the Lord on high. But the word ideal bothers me because sometimes I think that as people in pursuit of that, we become so idealistic that we attempt to bury the “bad” to make the “good” stand at the forefront of everything. However, I hardly think (and I hope you agree) that this was the goal that the Apostles had in mind for us. Rather, I would hope that they intended for us to be realistic, and, well, real with each other.

Realistic in the idea that we are human. We have needs, are driven by certain desires, and in our context, have obligations to more than just living here and now to serve each other, but as university students, to think about what God’s plans are for us in the future and how we can move towards that today. Realistic in that we make mistakes, that we project the blame for those mistakes on ourselves or each other or sometimes even on God, and that we will continue to make mistakes for the foreseeable future. For that, we suffer and cry and have days that just feel like shit and sometimes think about how easy life would be not lived.

That’s where the “real” portion comes in. We can’t be a community if we’re lying to ourselves and to everyone else. On a given day, I’ll tell someone, “I’m good,” in response to the proverbial question, and on that day, I’ll be an outright liar. On another day, I’ll not say anything about how much misery I feel, and I’m still a liar, just not outright, because I’ll probably be smiling and attempting to find or feign some sort of happiness. Here’s also where I know I’m not alone: everyone does it. For some reason, it seems the noble thing to do to martyr ourselves into internal suffering that others don’t need to bear for us.

I’ve come to realize in the past fifteen hours, which haven’t been spent in anything particularly special like spiritual reflection — rather, it’s been one of my more mundane and ritual days — that I’ve spent my entire life in the pursuit of love. For that, I’ve been a social nomad, but fifteen months ago, I thought I’d finally found a place to call home.

At that point, I guess you could say that I was an idealist. But as with all things, I’ve become more realistic about my perceptions and expectations over time. Where I used to see hope and joy, I look beneath now just to find pain hidden under layers of brick laid to give the image of off-white painted homes in the suburbs with picket fences. The line separating realism and pessimism remains ever thin.

So I ask myself, and to a certain extent, God: What’s the point? If we, if I don’t even believe that this community that we’ve become a part of is genuine and actively seeking to become the embodiment of love in each others’ and in others’ lives in the way that we share our burdens — then what was the damn point?

In that same breath, I realized that I was beyond the point of no return. I find that as an adult who made the decision to follow Jesus, I just can’t go back to the way things were. It would be like breaking a promise or giving up on something that I’d dedicated my life to. Actually, it’s exactly like that.

I’m caught in a vicious cycle of being frustrated and emotionally drained and being too tired and busy to do anything about any of it. I’m helpless in what I feel is the worst of ways, being unable to help myself or the people who I care about because I’m assured by my own fears that anything I do or say will only make things worse. I can’t just forget about it and move on, I can’t bring myself to ask for the help that I so desperately need, and I can’t even summon five minutes of brain power to pray to the God of love that I can hardly remember anymore and so deeply yearn for.

Helpless and alone, I will push the “Publish” button and go back to reading for the test that I have in twelve hours, keeping these thoughts in the back of my mind, from which they will likely eventually fade until another late night when all of it overloads into immense textual format.

Good night.

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Phlegm.

Seeing your own phlegm in a cup really makes you want to vomit.

Yes, I am at work, of all places, staring in a paper cup that I spit my putrid lung-juice-plasma-thing into.

I find a suspiciously high correlation between my being in LA and being sick all the time.

It’s gross. The city itself is gross — it glows freakishly orange at the peak hours of traffic and gathers visible layers of dust and muck and crap from construction and cars and whatever and I do, oh, I do love this city, but…

LA, you’re just really gross sometimes. Actually, all the time.

Clean up your act.

Geez.

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DTE.

In a time when my head is swimming with ambiguous-ness, I feel it is important for me to bring myself “DTE,” or down to earth. It’s an acronym that I often times think to myself and never use verbally. But yes, I want to be more… anecdotal with what I write. I realize, thinking back on this blog, that, well, the writing is much better anecdotal, for one; and second, I keep writing this vague stuff about how crummy I feel, and it doesn’t help me or help anyone understand me. And I may get fanciful with my words — anecdotes may end up equally as indecipherable as thoughts poured into typing, but admit it, it sounds cooler that way. But all this hubbub aside…

It was sunset, which is an odd way to describe it, because at the time, I hadn’t even noticed. But in my mind’s eye, I see the deep blue of space and the crimson peeking over the horizon, and it’s as beautiful as any other day. I wasn’t drawn to it, though; I wasn’t my usual self, being sucked into the serenity of a sunset and thinking about how the small moments make everything worth it. No, I was peering down at my phone, making an effort not to think about anything because there was simply too much to think about.

I sometimes think I’m better that way: alone and hollow. Because regardless of the negative connotation those words hold, they’re coupled with tons of others — calm, carefree, etc, etc.

And there they were, as I had put it, “six of my favorite people in the world.” I saw them, said hello, and waved, with the worse of my two legs (I took a tumble down Charles E. Young today) propped up on the ledge, snug inside of a knee brace. I knew where they were going, I knew that they probably wanted to be there sooner rather than later, and I knew that I half-wanted to be going there at that moment, too. But instead of just passing, they came and commented on my injuries and showed concern (some a bit more passionately than others. Hah.) and were… friends.

And I thought to myself, “Damn, I’m lucky.” And I smiled sincerely, giggled wholeheartedly, and waved goodbye longingly — in three minutes, I remembered something that I was afraid of forgetting.

Love. Whoever created this word has a lot to answer for. Seriously. It’s about as much of a double-edged sword as anyone can get — it will make you and break you, cause you to think of some fondly and others with disdain, draw a line between crime and crimes of passion. I, and just about every other person on this planet, could go on for eons about love.

So I watched them walk away and thought to myself, I don’t care how much my legs hurt; I’m going to make sure I get there to see them later.

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Damage control.

I’m messing up, and it’s hurting the people that I care about.

I’m not a big fan of me right now.

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Slippery slope.

Today, I admit to myself that I’m falling to pieces.
Again.
It’s 2AM, I’m on my phone, writing.
Watching over a friend.
And I’m sad for him,
That he’s so distraught,
That he needed to take it this far.
I know this damage.
Self-destruction.
I’ve done it to myself,
And still, I do it sometimes.
Lessons not learned.
Quite yet, anyway.
We break ourselves down,
Try to forget,
Try to wash sins away with
Alcohol.
Drugs.
Sex.
And we fail every time.
Then wonder.
Why?
Why do I need to torture myself?
Why do I need to keep my distance?
Why do I need…
This?
I’ve asked myself time and time again.
And I look at my friend.
Searching for answers.
Serenity in sleep.
Sleep lies in inebriation.
After some time spent hung over a toilet,
That is.
It was supposed to be me, you know.
Knocked out on the bed.
Which isn’t mine.
But I’m here,
Playing my part.
Because I know
It should’ve been me.
Damage control.
Controlling damage.
Maybe that’s all it adds up to.
Maybe that’s all life is.
Today, I admit to myself that I’m in
Desperate need,
A hopeless state,
A slippery slope.
Knowing that I’d throw everything I cherish away for…
I don’t even know what.

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