She Keeps Her Butt Round and Her Lips Red

If she likes you, she’ll tell you.
If she’s hungry, she’ll eat.
No sugar-coated words or fake smiles from her teeth.
When her body craves motion, she’s quick on the move.
You know she’ll be dancing; You hope it’s with you.
American sweetheart with some spice to her sweet.
Apple pie on a Sunday where the fallen saints meet.

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On Meeting my Future Husband

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On Sunday, October 26, I was mildly uncomfortable at the sight of the man who will soon be my husband. We were separated by a crowd of church-goers milling about in the Student Union Building. He had asked me out the week prior and our first date was in a couple of days. Although we had known of each other for years, I had only had a couple of brief conversations with him. From a ways off I could surmise a few things. He was hairy. So hairy. And tall. His face looked stern and his eyes were so large and dark it was, at least at that exact second, intimidating.

I insisted to myself that it was no big deal if he was interesting or boring, tall or short, hairy or bald. After all we were just grabbing coffee. I was confidant that I could spend an hour of my time with just about anyone on the planet. This boy would be no exception. But then I had the shocking realization that sometimes coffee dates lead to more coffee dates… which can lead to “dating” which can lead to having a boyfriend which can lead to having a husband?!

“Oh-no!…” I thought as I dared glance again at the sullen looking stranger.

A tightness grew in my chest that tends to grip me just before it becomes difficult to breath. I wanted to cry. What a dreadful realization to think you’ll have to marry someone who is nothing more to you than an acquaintance with very thick eyebrows!

Then I realized this was completely ridiculous. Obviously. So the feeling faded as quickly as it came.

“Perfect,” my mind nodded in response to its own voice of reason, “I will have a nice conversation with a nice boy and won’t even have to think about marrying anyone for a very long time. Just coffee…. I like that. Just coffee.”

Suddenly, I felt completely at ease.

I’m glad that who I was in that moment had no idea she would be engaged by February. I’m even more glad that who I am now knows that getting engaged to that big-eyed hairy man is the best earthly decision I’ve ever made.

However, if I had found out amid my pre-panic-attack that I would marry him, here’s what present me would have told October me:

20150318-115344.jpgFirst off, we both know those unreasonably large brown eyes are awesome. Don’t even pretend you don’t like them.

And yeah, he’s hairy, but you’ll learn to love that big mop on his head. Even after he finally cuts it off, you wouldn’t mind if he grew it back all over again.

It’s actually a good thing that he seems to be the size of a tree to you. That means you can climb him like a koala bear at any given moment. It’s pretty fun and he won’t even think you’re strange.

Don’t be tricked into thinking he’s all that serious. He’s actually a goof. He will laugh with you about anything from silly and sweet to blatantly crass. Which reminds me, he’s not a legalistic bore and thinks all the things you used to get scolded for are cute. You know… “naughty” words, tight skirts, passionate outbursts. They’re his favorite when it comes to you.

Don’t think he’s stern. He has the warmest heart of anyone you’ve ever met. When you are selfish and unreasonable, he will be patient and kind. When you are rigid towards him, he will be soft towards you. More often than not, he’ll be the one teaching you how to be more sensitive.

20150318-164316.jpgTurns out, you were right the first time you met him when you were sixteen. Remember? You thought he was cute. You noticed his kind heart. You liked that he was nerdy. You hoped, almost expected, that someday, a ways down the road, you’d marry him. Even when you dutifully brushed the thought aside, it didn’t frighten you. It felt like your own little secret, knowing that the two of you would be perfect together.

Right now, you’re too frightened by life to notice, but that’s okay. It’s his little secret now and he knows it better than you ever did. He’ll patiently adore you until you figure it out:

The two of you will be perfect together. 

Daily Blessings

First came the glorious pack of discount colored pens. Felt tip. Vibrant by nature. Mmmm satisfaction.
I was blending and swirling ink as soon as I got the chance.

20150209-143550.jpgNext came a gift from my favorite person:
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THE DAILY SKETCH JOURNAL. I like journals… and sketches. I like them daily.
Needless to say, I kissed my favorite person a lot that day. Then again, I kiss him a lot everyday.
And now here I am, pen in hand, sketching away. I love lines that are bold. Thick. Black. Unflinching. I also like cute owls and girly designs…. So here’s day 1 & 2:
20150209-143537.jpgIt’s amazing what a blessing it is to add ink to paper. My mother used to tell me to count my blessing when I was sad, or homesick, or simply needed something nice to think about as I fell asleep. Pretty much, I was encouraged to always count my blessings.  There are far too many to count, but for now, I’ll name just a few:

Paper, pens, love and a boy who encourages me to take hold of these blessings daily.

Grade Me

I am the best student at that which is not in the classroom. If puddle jumping were graded, I’d never miss an assignment, although the best part about puddle jumping is that it isn’t graded at all.
Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 1.09.37 PMIf there were tests on how to adore another human, I’d already have my degree. If homework were kisses and laughter and love, I’d be a straight “A” student. My studies would be textbooks pushed off the table that we only use to entangle. Human anatomy learned by my own hands, eyes, lips, legs. Graded papers stacked only to be used as stands for coffee mugs, leaving circular stains as perfect picture frames.

Use your red pen to critique how I sing lullabies and never miss the sadness behind a fake smile. Give me a grade point average for diligence or dedication, patience or passion. Crunch the numbers. Put it on a transcript. Measure my worth if that is what you insist on doing.

But when you find it doesn’t fit on a transcript, that the numbers don’t add up, define me by my score in the classroom, because that is the way things are done.

 

Show Your Blue

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid,
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by–
And never knew.
💙Shel Silverstein💙

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Show your blue.
The sad, the strange,
the unbroken unchained,
the playful, the wild,
that zealous inner place.

It’s not a blue made only for you, so love it and share it in all that you do.

They won’t like it, you see.
Most of the others.
Too much blue makes you strange.
Amidst the beige covers.
You’re thinking too much to stay still like the rest,
And loving too deeply
All this blue in your chest.

And for every day embracing your blue,
The others uncertain and wary of you,
You only grow stranger and more like yourself.
Blue bounces off cupboards and ceilings and shelfs.

There’s too much blue to hide anymore,
So you scramble for shards of masks on the floor,
But another soul that’s been there all the while,
Shows his blue too and two blue just smile.

Seeing Gold

~~

This is Chloe.
An ever-dramatic soul. Lover of theatre.
She has more passion than she knows what to do with, is always in motion, and is always ten steps ahead in her mind.
Also, she likes Star Wars.
And dance shoes.
When I asked what color she wanted to represent her eyes, she said “Gold” instantly.
Perfect.
She always is seeing shining lights… Stay gold, Chloe. ❤

~~

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~~

Ladies, Love Your Abusers

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Fellow women.
Anyone who’s been mistreated.
This is important for you to know:
Bitterness can’t save you.
It’s not just that bitterness can’t save you; it’s that it can’t save you from anything.

Nothing at all.

Broken heart?
Weakness?
Physical harm?
Being manipulated?

Bitterness can’t rescue you from a single one of those things.
I see this far too often: girls who have been abused, cheated on, taken advantage of emotionally or physically, abandoned (which leads me to throw in a little side note- boys who make “girls with daddy issues” jokes: You’re not funny.)… And what’s the defense these girls choose to guard themselves with in the future? Bitterness.
Not only do they choose bitterness, but they are consistently encouraged to be bitter. Girls love a good bitch-fest when it comes to boys. It’s somehow viewed as having a higher level of girl-power than the meek if you can seethe enough poison and plights of victimhood.

In a way this philosophy almost makes sense.
If a boy has broken your heart, surely hating him will ensure that he never does it again, right? Right? Better yet, be cold-hearted and aloof enough due to former pains that no one ever can break your heart again.
Well it doesn’t work that way. A frozen heart will eventually shatter. It pretends to be strong in its hardness but truthfully it is brittle and prone to cracks.
And to be bitter towards a boy who has broken you does not keep him from breaking you again. It allows him to break you every single day, over and over.
Only broken hearts hate. Hearts that are whole and healthy love without ceasing.
So love him. Or her. Or whoever it is that harmed you in the first place.

If he spoke unkindly,
Love him.
If he made you feel small and worthless,
Love him.
If he hit you,
Love him.
If he used you once, then twice, then a third time,
Love him.
This is called forgiveness.

Without forgiveness in this world, there is no Life. There is no gospel. No grace from God. No Salvation.
Without forgiveness there is only death brought by the sins that were never washed away.
So forgive.

To be clear, forgiveness does not mean you have to let someone back into your life.
If a knucklehead shows up at your door begging for forgiveness, you would be fully justified to say with all sincerity, “You’ve already been forgiven. Now go away.”

It is not that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself. It’s just that love provides stronger ground to stand on than bitterness ever will.
With love you will embrace how immensely valuable people are (including yourself and including those who have harmed you) and therefore you will know how people ought to be treated. You will not settle for anything less.

I have a friend who is an excellent example of this kind of strength in grace. She is tall and elegant, a fashionable and artistic girl who has always dreamed of being a writer. As she’s grown she’s become demure in a way I have not, consistently clean in both diet and vocabulary, refraining from penis jokes (although she’s never been above laughing when I make them), and is such an image of sobriety she could probably get drunk off of a thimble of strawberry daiquiri.

There was a boy who she had been involved with who did not value her as he should have. As a result, he hurt her ever-caring heart.
One drizzling afternoon at a coffee shop downtown, I brought him up in conversation. My friend softly yet pointedly placed her coffee cup down in front of her, looked me in eye, un-shifting in her slender blue dress, and said in the most matter-of-fact tone, “Kira, he is an asshole.”

I laughed, first because she so rarely swears and second because she said it in a way that was completely void of any hatred or angst. It was just an honest observation. Nothing personal.
Because of this observation she will never again let him kiss her or wrap his arms around her as she sleeps. She is free from him, resistant to any head-games or second-guessing about being away from him.

But she loves him.

Not romantically. She’s too wise for that. Besides, this kind of love is stronger than butterflies in your stomach.
It is a love that I would never doubt is there. Something too strong to fade by circumstance.
It’s not because he’s anything extraordinary that she loves him (Rumor has it, assholes are very commonplace). It is because she is extraordinary. She loves people not based on what they give her in return, but based on love itself. That is not only rare, it is strong.
One day she will be with someone who loves her as he should, selflessly and irrevocably. But even as she waits, she will not be weakened by the seeds of bitterness that others so often plant in their lungs. Seeds which sprout poison roots that choke out fullness of breath and fill voices with hateful ramblings.
This boy may have harmed her before but because she has forgiven him, that harm does not keep on harming.

I realize some situations are more severe than hurt feelings. Trust me, I know.
I’ve been close to those who carried abuse to its fullest: a grave for one and a prison-sentence for the other.
I’ve seen tears and bruises, blood and scars.
I’ve held a dear friend as she cried because a world where the boy she trusted the most is the same boy who raped her is not a world she wants to live in anymore.
And I have told her again and again to hold on for just one more night. And then one more night. And then one more night again.

Believe me when I say I do not want anyone to be unsafe. Do what you have to defend yourself. Really, do what you have to.

But do not be bitter.

Bitterness is not a defense. It is a handicapped. A constant grief. A darkness that spreads in tangles like ivy on forgotten sheds and broken window panes.

Forgive. Love.

If someone tells you that it doesn’t make sense to love someone who has abused you, they are probably correct. But there is a certain joy that comes from being what the world calls nonsensical.

This is a joy I will choose again and again ’til there is nothing left of me because forgiveness itself always has been and always will be nonsensical. It requires unfairness. It requires someone not getting what they deserve.

Anyone can stay tied to the past, breeding hate.

But to love one must be bold and to forgive one must be radical.

So love radically.

It will make you stronger than any abuser you could ever face.

..disfunction..

20141018-150805.jpgSitting in bed, beer in hand, wishing away the time.

The beer would be better out of the bed,

And the bed would be better with a boy.

Sitting in bed, guitar in hand, wanting a little more time.

The song would be better on a stage instead,

And the bed would be better at night.