Stream of Unconscious

Often I wake in the middle of the night with thoughts and visions that must be written. A lot of it may seem like mere rambling, but I am a born writer; I need to see what happens to my words once they stare back at me from the pages of my computer screen. Since I am ususally more than half-asleep when this happens, I jokingly entitled the original document: "Stream of Unconscious." Now that I am finally starting to publish in a blog (as so many people have suggested I should do!), I thought the title remained appropriate.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mean Reds. Also, Brownies.

Once upon a time there was a girl who cared a little too much about what people thought of her. This was a double-edged sword, making her deeply introspective and insightful, and yet much too self-conscious to actually publish any of her insightfulness, which just happened to be her dream job. So, life was complicated. Despite her worst fear of winding up a lonely cat lady, she found currently that she was happiest living alone, with a recently acquired kitten. And so goes the story of my life...

Today I felt like little more than a robot at a desk, churning out production with no conceivable end in sight. It was also cold, dark, and rainy, with a chance of recent conversation weighing heavily on my mind; the perfect combination for some hard-core blues. Or, as Holly Golightly would say:

“No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The Mean Reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” (Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Yes, I do. Today was a Mean Reds kind of day.

And so, I had to stop everything, read some scripture, burn some incense, play with my crazy cat and do some writing. These things soothe the soul. Also, brownies.

This past Sunday, we studied the beginning of Hebrews 12:

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God...”

Author and finisher of our faith, huh? I don't envy Him that task. Especially on days like this. I have spent oh, so many of these days wondering what the day was there for. Wondering what I am supposed to be doing. Wondering if I'm somehow screwing everything up. And yet, if God is really the author of the story of faith that is my life, is there really anything I can do to ruin it? That seems extremely unlikely.

So here I am, a complicated mix of desire and emotion, fear and frustration, dreams and doubt. I have no idea where I'm going, only that I am to run with endurance, for the joy of the finish line, Mean Reds or not. It is as complicated and simple as that.

After some reflection, I now think that caring too much about what someone is (or in this case, isn't) thinking of me falls under "laying aside every weight." It is all too easy on this kind of day to forget that the growth of faith is a long, and often difficult journey. Endurance really is key. With that in mind, I'm going to take a deep breath and do some letting go of my need for approval. Lord knows I don't need anything else hindering me.

If you, also, happen to be suffering some haunting despair in the midst of your journey, read Hebrews, bake some brownies, and endure. I have faith that I'll meet you at the finish line someday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cheetos For Breakfast

Well, in classic Jo style, I am light years behind the rest of the world, trying Netflix for the first time this past weekend. It is bittersweet; welcoming the new me and saying goodbye to the old. I know I am a changed woman, and will never make it back to the mere girl I was before...

But seriously though, I feel like a new person! In the midst of a self-induced 30 Rock marathonic coma (I think I finished the entirety of season 2 in one day...oops), I ran out to Walgreens to buy coffee and Cheetos like a true 20-something, semi-professional. I finished half the bag last night, and only saved the rest so I could have breakfast this morning. And then it hit me: I am actually happily single.

It's true. I am finding these days that the only time I'm really that dissatisfied with singleness is when there's something mysteriously wrong with my car, or I can't open a jar by myself, etc. No really, I cannot get that thing open! I've tried the hot water trick, the air bubble upside-down trick, the butter knife, the rubber grippy-things... I think God may have put this unbudging jar of zesty bean dip in my life to remind me that there are some things I still can't do alone...

Okay, maybe that's borderline sacrilegious. But my blue corn chips just aren't the same without bean dip, and it seriously frustrates me!

Anyway, I realized recently that people have been giving me bad advice for quite some time now. I distinctly remember in college all the dreamy-eyed alumni giving my shoulder a knowing little squeeze and telling me those were the best years of my life, and that I should be enjoying them. Those people could not have been more wrong. True happiness, I am finding, is coming to accept yourself wherever you are. I am much happier now than I have ever been.

That's right, I like myself these days. Oh, I know all my faults, still. It's not like I'm delusional. But it seems I've been making peace with the girl in the mirror, and life is becoming a rich, fulfilling, exciting thing.

So what's next? People are always saying that you have to be happy single before you can be happy married. I wonder if that's more terrible advice or if it actually has some truth behind it? I finally opened up this year to the wonderful world of dating, and so far it hasn't been as disastrous as I thought. Though I was hoping to get some funny blog postings out of it. Ah, well.

Although it's bound to be hilarious if I do it, I have fought against the pressure to try online dating for a good long time now. I think deep down the writer in me is still hunting for a good love story, one that doesn't involve blissful hugging on a TV commercial under Neil Clark Warren's smirky gaze. Is that really too much to ask?

But really, if I'm happy there's no rush, right?

(Rabbit trail: I'm no feminist, but someone please explain to me why it is that when men choose to live as singles they are bachelors, and we are stuck with "old maid" or "cat lady"? This makes no sense to me! Then again, I have been seriously considering cat adoption. Hmm.)

Here's to cheese puff stains on my pajama pants, weeknights with Netflix and a glass of wine, and all the other ins and outs of living single! Remember kids, these are the best years of your life... ;)