30 August 2010

e2 = ama

Allow me to ellaborate.

I've spent the last year "finding" myself. But I think, in reality, the saying goes true and I was actually creating myself. I found bits of who I used to be, but I burried most of them. With beautiful little ceremonies. Then I opened myself to the universe and it let itself in. One unrequited love, one travel, one new friend, one conquered fear, one written page, one phone call home, one email, one hug, one moment at a time.

It began in Peru. I would not be who I am if I had not ((literally)) shoved myself out the door and onto that plane. And I learned so much on those cobbled streets. They molded my feet and, as we all know, once you set the feet straight, the rest will follow ((The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - incase you didn't know)). Peru, Ecuador, Maple Valley, New York City, Washington DC, Barcelona, Italy, Oregon, Vermont - these places changed my life. They changed me. I am finally being actualized, becoming who I was meant to be. And it feels good. It feels healthy. It feels real.

But it wasn't the places that brought me to where I am. It wasn't the train tickets or the plane tickets, the trekking or the hitch hiking, the jobs or the volunteerwork. It was the people. It was Wendee on the swingset before I left for Peru. It was Christian, Mariana, Rolf, Raul, Fernand, Magaly, Lizb, Mel, Kelsey, Will, Coco, Frank, Anka, Matt, Drew, Emily, Casey, Ella. It was Jesus, Tao, Geoff, Jaz, Cody, Elle, Jorge, Cristin, Pepe, Gabriel. It was Bob, Gosia, Ziiad, Han June, Topher, Mateo, Diego, Paul. It was Javena, Eda, Serena, Dario, Marcello, Consuela, Altea, Giorggio, Stefania, all the rowing moms, Maryanne, Lorenzo, Oto, Toby, Carolina, Meme, Edoardo. It was Pelle, Norm, Max, Jesse, Fabian. It was Gma Sue, Gpa Paul, Kelly, Anna, Paul, Mike, Jenny, Jacob, Nolan. It was Boppy, PopPops, Melynda, Carlene, Kara, Stetchy, Scooter, Jessica, Jason, Harrison, Jackson, Carter, Diane, Tom, Louise, Pascal, Rory, Maddy, Pammy, Derek, Bubba, Frank, Laura, Martin. It was all the people I didn't mention. It was my brothers. It was my parents. But most of all?

e2 = ama

e2 ((e-squared)) is Enzo and Eliza. Ama means love, but also stands for Amedeo, Marcello, Antonio. This family brought me back to life. Enzo wanted to adopt me just 2 months into knowing me. Eliza became a best and most wonderful friend whom I spent every minute of every day with, you gotta have a pretty good relationship for that. And the boysies? Oh. The boysies. They became the air I breathed, the reasons for every emotion, the lights that lit even the darkest and coldest days of winter. I became... no, I'll stop there. I just became. I was. I am. I became.

Today? Today I watched them pull out of a driveway in a car I had not double checked. With bags I didn't know the exact contents of. I don't know when they plan eat or what they plan to eat. I don't know if there are three sets of everything and extra three sets of everything. I watched my adopted dad, my best friend, and the 3 little lights of my life drive away without knowing what time the plane lands in Italy or exactly who will be waiting for them in San Miniato. I lost 5 ridiculous chunks of myself. My heart is still trying to recover, like "What the! - ohmygracious! - can't breath! - I am missing a good 5/10 of myself! That's a whole half! Not just a piece or a hole - MORON!" I'm breathing slowly.

I don't know what is next for me. Have I ever? But I do know, I am going back to Italy. Those people, that family - are my people, my family. They are a part of me. Whether I make it until this evening or next year is the real question, but I will be going home to them. Home.

I can't... express what I want to. So I'll just say, thank you.

Thank you so, so desperately much. I couldn't have done any of this without you. Thank you.

25 August 2010

The Neverland

I wish I had a superhero cape, then I would never get sick. Ever see a Marvel character take a sick day? I should think not! - I rest my case.

"I'm not young enough to know everything."

If you knew, without the use of the internet, who said those words - I shall make you cookies. If not, well I might make you cookies anyhow for looking it up. I have spent the past several days attempting to find the words to express how I have been feeling. Instead, I found myself lying sick in bed all day - no fun. I don't know about you, but for me being sick makes all things tedious. I can't read for too long or watch films or listen to music or even sleep without it seeming to take large quantities of effort and patience. What came from that was this: childhood.

As I lay obscure on my bed, I ignored the novels I had been reading and picked up my beaten copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I read it, while sipping a cup of tea with a large spoonful of honey idling in it, as I remembered it being read to me. I took no deeper meaning, but instead just enjoyed the way the words played in my mind. My own imagery bursting forth from my imagination, I read some bits aloud to myself, giggled when characters made witty remarks, and actually pulled the covers up around me like I was in a tent. I found myself very much in Narnia with the Pevensie children. From there I picked up the entire collection of Winne the Pooh Tales and tromped through the Hundred Acre Woods with Christopher Robin and his silly old bear. Then I got myself another cup of tea, honey still left on my spoon, and watched the 2003 Peter Pan ((brilliant film)). My little childhood soul soared far above and between into spaces I had forgotten. It was good to refind my perpetual 6 year old self. "Let go, Malia, let go." It called, "There is grass out here, waiting to stain your knees whenever you stop feeling like crumbs in a dustbin." Oh the joys! of being a child.


You know when you take a Polaroid picture and it prints itself out and you have to wait a minute ((or shake it shake it shake it like a...)) and the photo slowly becomes clearer and clearer? And sometimes you can see part of the image so you, very informed like, tell someone what the blurry item is - only to give yourself a mental punch in the throat two seconds later because it wasn't that at all? Sometimes I feel that way about my life. I'm looking at a Polaroid I took and I say to people, "Hey, that's the whateverwhatever there in the corner!" And everyone says "Oooh, lovely." Then I give the photo another good shake and look again only to find the whateverwhatever is actually a somethingsomething. Dope! That Malia character has done it again!

Just be. Just BE. JUST be. just be. JUST BE... What do I mean by "just be?" Ah, well! I! Err. Uhm. Well. Let's see here... what do I mean? I think I mean acceptance. Some mushball of acceptance and love. Not just of good or bad people, but of experiences, good or bad. And of emotions, good or bad. Of all things, good and bad. And acceptance doesn't mean passive acceptance, but rather a forward acceptance. Stepping forth before anyone asks and showing you accept this or that. And loving not in a passive or even passionate way, but an unconditional way. The kind of love that says and means "No Matter What." And you have to learn to just be. You have to practice. You're rolling your eyes, aren't you? Mental punch in the throat to you. It is a weird concept, to practice existing. But you have to start by accepting and loving yourself where you are. Wherever you are. Life gives you difficulties so you can appreciate the good things. "When the sky is darkest, you can see the stars" kinda thing. My Polaroid picture may need to be shaken again, so you can see the clearer picture, but I hope you get the meaning behind what I am trying to tell you. You don't need to be anything or anyone other than exactly who you are. Size, shape, color, belief - don't compare who you are to anyone else because you can't. There isn't anyone like you so how could they possibly be compared? It's like taking a peach and a Macbook and asking "I wonder which is better?" Well, better in what sense? Better at playing music - Macbook. Better tasting - peach ((well, I don't know that for a fact but I am going to assume a Macbook does not taste very pleasant)). Just be - whatever that mean, Malia.

Today I actually had a just-be-slap-in-the-face, believe it or not. You see, some time ago I made this list of "rules" for my life. They are things like "Squidge sand between your toes whenever possible," "tell people you love them," "live out of one bag," etc etc... in theory, sounds kind of cool, right? Well, in actuality it is epically cool - except one thing! I created these rules in order to break from the everyday rules written all around us and I forgot the pureness behind the idea. I started using my "rules" to fence off things I thought to be unhealthy or whatever, just as society has done it's "rules," and that made it less fun. The number one "rule" should be to not live by rules at all, merely guidelines and ideas. Take that, Ms Malialani. The world isn't polarized. It isn't blacks and whites or even greys. It is a multitude of colors, some of which we can't even catagorize and we shouldn't try. It isn't our place. We should, I should, just live in a way that makes us happiest and doesn't burden the happiness of others. Well, hullo new Polaroid.

Joy comes to all who seek it
with an open heart, open mind, open life
but misery shows the true nature, beauty
of that joy, through strife.
Light burns darkness, scalds pure
but would you have known
how lovely light were
had it not been for that dark?
There is no understanding
of how great! life is
for any of us still living.
For we know not death
nor it's equal
to show us the truth
of it's wonder!

G'night, dearlings, goodnight.

20 August 2010

Dirty Little Secret

"Eughhh. What's your secret, anyway??" The question was a half exasperated half admiring one, posed to me by one of the several youngsters I have adopted as siblings. At this point in the conversation I had a mouth full of California burger ((something I would have shuddered at even a year and a half ago)) and I am fairly sure I cocked my head to the right like a dog does when you say something it doesn't understand. And I didn't understand. What was what secret? I don't have secrets anymore. Nothing that isn't open for public speculation ((and, often, ridicule)). My new little sister, asked again. Laughing in a happy sort of frustration with me, "How do you do it? You're so calm and confident and, like, nothing phases you. You're beautiful. You don't even try and you're, like, perfect. I wish I had even half of your personality." I do believe I actually snorted avacado, bun, burger, and melted swiss cheese into my nose from the back of my throat at this point. Not a pretty spectacle - let me tell you.

Let us rewind.

I'm not going to go into the rollercoaster that was my life or even give you a summary, I might have even 6 months ago, but I'm not that person anymore. If you want details you will have to ask me about them in person at a later date. Who I was, what I went through, it doesn't define me anymore. Not even close. But I can tell you that the words "calm," "confident," and "perfect" were not in my vocabulary. I was like every other teenage girl. I was insecure with poor self image and self esteem, a constantly diminishing self-worth, second guessing every move I made and every move anyone else made. I masked most of these things by being loud. I shot for the position of "little sister" or "the cute one" because the standards were lower and I didn't think I would ever live up to all the people telling me I had "unlimited potential" or that I was "so intelligent" or "beautiful." I didn't want to be left out or left behind, and I certainly didn't want anyone to know I didn't want to be left out or left behind.

Back to the future.

It came as a shock, not so much to hear those words from her, but to realize that for the first time in my life? I believed them too. I was finally someone worth looking up to, I had earned my label as a Big Sister. Now now, I am not perfect. And I hope to never be. Perfect would be boring. But I am probably what I would call calm and confident. Life doesn't phase me. I am beautiful and I don't try ((in the way that my little sister meant)). So, you're all probably wondering, what did I say in response?

Two ((or something)) days later.

I am sitting an arm chair in a living room that is not my own, conversing far too late in the evening with two more young ladies I have adopted as little sisters. One says she thinks they need to take a page out of the book that is Malia in returning to High School this year. I laugh. It's funny to think I am now a book. It's even funnier because I am actually picturing myself as a thick, leatherbound book - you know, like in The Pagemaster! Anyhow, they continue to sing my praises in the same manner my other little sister had several days earlier and I can feel my head cocking every so slightly to the right again. What is it with these kids? I will go ahead and be self promoting enough to say I'm a pretty darn awesome human being, but so are these girls in front of me. The are certainly more put together than I was at their age. Indeed, they are more put together that I was probably a year ago ((I would say even 3 months ago, but the truth is I was putting the pieces together then and I don't think these two are there yet)).

Talking to my friend and boss earlier today, actually, I was discussing my disbelief that these girls were so adament in being what they thought they needed to be. I mentioned that in all the "Self Help" books for teenagers in the world, not one of them says "Oi! Just freaking BE!" My boss laughed and said "You know, this Spring I was looking for one of those books for you." I had to laugh and thought to myself, "Yah, Malia. Don't get too cocky in telling people to just be. It's difficult! Remember what a hard time you yourself had with it!"

So what is my dirty little secret? I'll tell you.

I don't have one.

I had to suffer and flounder and groan and moan and fall for all the tricks of this world just like everyone else. How did I get to be here then? What adversity did I finally conquer and how did I accomplish that? What success brought me to this point? Was it money, sex, or the right color lipgloss? When did I become this calm, confident, beautiful, intelligent, nearly perfect ((HA)) human being? Err... your guess is as good as mine. But I can tell you I didn't do it in "5 Easy Steps!" or even 100 - and it sure as rain wasn't easy. You're probably thinking, "BS, she's just holding out so the rest of us will suffer! Beauty equals pain or whatever." The latter is true, the former is not. But I can tell you my guestimate.

Firstly, I started to stop caring about what I looked like. And ohmygracious that was a long and tedious process. It's not that I stopped taking showers or caring about my appearance. It's just that I stopped comparing what I looked like to a magazine or a model or a movie star. I stopped looking like anyone else because I suddenly looked like me. I took off all the makeup, I wore what I thought was comfortable instead of what was trendy, and I stopped caring about the attentions of men. Ladies, if a guy buys a drink in a bar? It is not because he likes your personality. And I know your excuse "Catch him with your looks then win him with your heart" ??? Please do not dumb yourself down to actually believing that. A guy who is actually worth it is one you feel comfortable leaving the house in slippers, sweatpants, his jacket, without makeup, and without a shower. - but that is an entirely different rant.

Secondly, although I suppose it should be first, I reprioritized. I took my life and shoved it into one bag, which happened long before the looks thing, but I'm labeling it Two of my "5-Easy Steps." And you don't have to shove your life into a bag, but the concept is pure. Get rid of your CRAP. I have this rule, I have to throw something out for everything I purchase. Sure, I liked that TShirt, but I just bought this one and I like it better. If only a molecule better. You do not need 25 pairs of shoes, 18 pairs of jeans, 94 tshirts, and so much lingerie from Victoria's Secret you need two drawers. I don't care who you are - you don't. But reprioritizing is more complex than throwing out the v-neck you never wear. Me? I cut off all my hair. Two feet of beautiful flowing brunette locks, gone in 60 seconds. You don't have to cut your hair, for me it was about vainity. My hair was something I cherished to an unhealthy degree. Get rid of your pride, your vainity, and your crap. That's step two.

Next, I forced myself to do little things for me. I started taking care of the person in the mirror. Saying things like "Oh hi, self. You look beautiful today." Or giving myself a mental punch in the throat whenever I passed a mirror or looked at a picture and thought I was fat or awkward or just plain ugly. I still do it. Mental punches in the throat are useful. Telling yourself you are worth it? Also useful, despite the cliche and tackiness of it. You're laughing, aren't you? I'm sending you a mental punch in the throat for that, just so you know. Little things, are what make the bigger things. Appreciate the grass beneath your feet. The sky is awfully blue, isn't it? And hey, check that sunset! It sounds dopey, and it is. But the truth is, you probably don't appreciate yourself or the world around you. What do you like to do? Go do it. Once a day, once a week, once a month - just do it, Nike! Me? I like to write ((and annoy you people with new blog posts)). I also like to play the piano, so I touch piano keys whenever I remember to. I love to read, so I am reading ((like 9 books a week, frightening)). Mostly, it is a practice thing. You have to practice taking time for you. As Americans and citizens of developed countries? We suck at this. Royally. We work and we party and then we capitalize on both. We hate our jobs but work relentless hours and ridiculous overtime to make a buck that we can spend on drinking until we black out or travelling to places we can drop large sums of cash on to see the way the "other half" lives - gee, fun. And if you're not doing either of those things, you're saving the money in a high interest rate account to use when you turn 55 and social security doles out ((if SS is still around)), so you can finally relax. Dude, what is wrong with that picture? Everything.

Lastly, personally, I talk to God and encourage everyone else to do the same. Grace is an amazing thing. But what you believe is between you and Him. I'm always here to hash it out with believers and nonbelievers alike, but I can't tell the general public why God is amazing. It's something that comes on an individual level. Just know, he is. Amazing, that is.

Other than that? I did nothing. So I guess, it's really only 4-Easy Steps. Maybe I should write that book. What it boils down to is this: Just be. You don't need materialism to define you. You don't need vainity to define you. You don't need others to define you. Just be. Let yourself be. And if you don't understand that, you're not ready to. But I can tell you, you're in for a long and hard run. You don't need to travel the world. You don't need to pray or give a million different ways. You don't need to seek answers from the rest of the world. I'm sure all those things helped, the first certainly helped me. But the truth is that it's you. You know how to just be you. Maybe not on the surface because it's so clouded by all the other crap, but you do know. You are you. So just be you.

My dirty little secret, is just to be.

18 August 2010


So, I have this disease.

"Gee, what kind of disease, Malia?"

Well, it's kind of embarassing really. And it's rather hard for me to fess up to, especially in this modern world where everyone is constantly abusing, changing, and reshaping this disease. But, I've decided it's time to come clean about it.

"Okay, M. Well, what is it?"


"... Love?"

Yah, love. And let me tell you why.

I have a tendency to fall in love. All the time. And I am not just talking romantic love - I fall in love everyday with everyone. There are very few people in this world I wouldn't take a bullet for. I walk around loving on clouds and green grass. I love people who wear neat clothes, like genuinely love them. I compliment strangers and admire passerbys. I love people because they laugh loudly or break into dance randomly. I love people because they enjoyed a movie or novel I did. Because we both ordered the same coffee or even because we ordered different coffees! I just love them - all of them.

Romantically? I am a sucker. I see every guy for their full potential and love them unconditionally. Not inspite of their flaws, but because of them. I get butterflies easily. I love all the typical forehead kisses, hair brushing, random smiling nonsense and I eat it up. Now, I'm not constantly in a relationship and I take bs from no man - but it takes little to no time for me to go from "like" to "love." I believe wholeheartedly in soulmates, true love, and even happily ever after and I don't mind being a little heart broken. I know it's part of the proccess of life. I am overly devoted and loyal to whomever I happen to be seeing and I fight for that person. I enjoy every little thing and love them all the more because of it.

Friendship? I am, again, a sucker. I have a tendency to give more than I get. I'm pretty naive and like to see the best in everyone. I want them to know their loved and I will ((and have)) literally cross oceans for people. I can't stand to see unhappiness in anyone at all and befriend even the most suspicious and peculiar characters. After befriending a rather sketch guy outside of Madison Square Garden who introduced himself by asking if I had any dope ((whether he meant Marijuana or something stronger, I'll never know)), I was swept away by a friend who had been looking for me and asked ((with his arm firmly wrapped around my shoulders like you might do with a small child)) "Does it ever occur to you that some people shouldn't be made friends with?" My immediate response - "No." And yah, I realize that there are bad people in this world but I don't think that means you should neccessarily write them off completely. I had a lovely conversation with the kid who asked me for dope, he called himself "Gatsby" after his favorite book ((The Great Gatsby)) - so he can't have been a complete tosser.

Now, it's true that in earlier years I could have done better. Much better. Not only in loving but in showing the love I did feel. But this is now and I have laid to rest the ghost of who I once was. Love is my disease. It has infected every cell, every molecule of who I am. It courses through my veins more freely than blood. It consumes me. I love everything from sand between my toes to the sky above my head. I love the broken man as much as I love the Dalai Lama. I love Hawaii to Pakistan. Every worm and each whale. Each and every inbetween there ever was, is, or will be - I love. And oh! how I love it all!

i love

I love when I am exhausted and when I am broken. I love when I am bright and new. I love when I am sleepy. When I am awake, when I am reading or conversing. I love when I am distracted or angry. I love when I am happy and silly. I love when I am full. I love when I am empty.

I love.

It is something I have fought for a long while. Something I have had difficulty dealing with and understanding. It's hard to be the woman who loves everything. Especially because, not everything will love me back. Indeed, most things do not - will not - love me back. But holding that love back, letting it merely sit inside me with no outlet, is far more painful than loving.

It is, in fact, heart wrenching and devestating to watch that love just wander aimlessly inside me until it dies a slow and horrid death with no one or nothing to be sent onto. You cannot collect love. You cannot save it inside of yourself to keep. Love must be given away and it must be given freely and often. Sometimes you will find that you have given every ounce of love you have without recieving any and still people demand it from you, and you must obey. You must give love unreservedly and without question. You must allow it to not only consume you, but to infect others. You must let it spread like wildfire among all those around you. Because this is a disease that kills only when you are selfish with it. When you claim it as your own and refuse to let it run wild.

The death is a brutal one. First the love withers into bitterness and anger, because you have refused to share it. Next it sends you a feverish hatred, not only of you for your selfishness but also for the love others are spreading. Jealousy and hate addle your mind until you no longer recognize truth or hope. It is slow, sneaking, and deadly. And the only cure, is more love.

Love is my disease. And I am choosing to let it take me. All of me. And I will let you in on a little something, I have every intention of infecting each and every one of you. Better hope you've all had your shots, kids.


17 August 2010

Autumn Days

The leaves are changing in the trees. Being here in Vermont (aside from Maine, possibly the most deciduous region in America - you've all seen postcards or Earth or something)), I can see it happening slowly but surely. Much earlier than it begins in Washington ((it doesn't at all in Hawaii, go figure)). Change is seeping in through the cracks, regardless of what we might do or want, it comes.

And the leaves aren't the only thing moving towards something new, I am.

"Putamadre, where is the third?!" This phrase has lived with me these last 9 months and I realized just last night that I will only get a chance to curse sets of twos ((or, Lord forbid, singles)) for a mere two weeks more. The triplets will return to Italy on the 30th while I will head West, in the opposite direction. I've taken to cuddling and smelling and eskimo kissing more than ever. Just taking them in as much as I can. I will see them again, that much I know, but they have become a part of me and to lose that part is going to be difficult...

Apparently, some change has made me completely child accessible. But not just children ages 0-10, no no no no no. Ages 0-99. I am suddenly this person who stops on the street to admire children playing and then strike up a conversation with their parents only to have one of said children climb into my lap. I am now this person who goes on day dates or gives love advice to 14 and 15 year old girls. I am the person that a 14 year old boy who I have known less than a week will crawl into the lap of while watching a movie. I make better small talk. I laugh an play freely. I goof around just to goof around instead of wondering whether or not people are looking at me. I try to be an example instead of the insistently rebellious little teenager I once was. I am simply accessible. When did this happen? I don't really know. Because even when I first arrived in Vermont, I wasn't this way. Whatever moment or not moment it was, I am glad of it. Glad to be accessible to everyone, because in that I am more accessible to God.

There was a quote I heard once, something about wanting to be so alone with God you don't even realize you're alone. I liked it immediately, but didn't really appreciate it until today when I was driving along by myself thinking "When was the last time I felt lonely?" Now, it wasn't all that long ago, granted. But I usually feel lonely at the end of a long day or even a short one. I feel the desire and want to be desired and wanted ((and no, not sexually)). Just my attentions. With babies, you feel loved but it is a different kind of love. They need you. And that can be exhausting. Sometimes it is nice to just be wanted by another human being. I typically thrive on human attentions and being lonely can sneak up on me and then smack me in the side of the head with a brick - no exaggeration! But lately, I've just been... content. I've been chatting with God about somethings and nothings and everythings. It's been - unlonely - if there is such a word. If not, I am invoking it now, you will see it in next years edition of the Oxford Dictionary. I am unlonely. So alone with Him that I don't even realize I am alone at all.

It's a beautiful thing, this change. Some of it is sad, some is happy, some is just silly nonsense - but it is all beautiful. I hope you see beautiful change in your life as it has graced mine.

10 August 2010

Where I Am

I know what you're thinking - two posts in one week! We have been so starved for blogs, thanks Malia! ... I'm just kidding. But here it is, nonetheless.

When I said I was changing my life back in June, I meant it. And slowly but surely, things are indeed changing. I applied for an internship recently ((I still don't know about the exact status of my application, but I'll let you know when I do)), and in that application I needed to write a short blip about where I am with God. Now, most of you know I dislike the term Christian - not because of any affilation problems, there are zealots in every religion from Christianity to Hindi to Islam to Buddhism - but because of that word, religion. I dislike the word religion and therefore dislike the term Christian. Do I believe in God, sure thing. Jesus, you bet. Do I read my bible and scribble little notes all over it, absolutely. But I know nothing of religion, I think only of God and doing what's right. Do I succeed all the time? No wayyy. But I try, and that is the important part.

Either way, here is the end bit of my application. Just for you folks ((and obviously the people I already sent it to)).

"Where I am: I dropped out of University. That is really the first thing you should know about me because that action not only defines who I am on paper, but has also come to define who I am in actuality. I was good at school, I had a beautiful apartment, great friends, a full time job, and a boyfriend - all the key ingredients to the American Dream, the good life. And I was miserable. To go into depth of what kind of misery might get my point further across, but is inconsequential now. The important part is that I left. I dropped out.
For the first 6 months or so after I dropped out, I felt like a failure. I had failed at the all the things that are supposed to make up a successful life and, furthermore, I had failed at even wanting them. I had the label of "dropout" dancing around me and I avoided it like the plague. I would tell people I had left university and make it sound like it had been me breaking up with college, but no matter what permutation of words I used, I could always feel the word "dropout" at the edge of my mind. I buried myself in working two prestigious office jobs as if to counter the fact that I was already a "disappointment" by society's standards. I spent those 6 months not much less miserable than I had been at University.
Right after the new year I received a text message from a friend in California who was homesick and having a hard time not being surrounded by those of us who already knew, loved, and accepted her - so, like any normal person would do, I dropped everything. Or perhaps that is not so normal. I quit both my jobs, cancelled anything I had planned, got into my car and drove 19 straight hours to California Baptist University in Riverside California. Now, when I was a little girl I had this theory about how God is in the ceiling ((roof, sky, etc)) and the reason so many people don't have a relationship with Him is that we so often forget to look up. Somewhere along that drive, with my broken radio at 2-something-in-the-morning up in the mountains between Oregon and California, I looked up. And for the first time in a long time, I just talked to the stars and God in them. We had long conversations about where I had been, where I was going, and stretches of silent love. I spent an amazing God-filled two weeks all over California and driving home up HWY 101. And most of my time alone with my Savior, just chatting with Him.
To say that since then my walk with Christ has been amazing every step of the way would be a lie. I am constantly lying beaten and broken upon the shores of God. But after having spent the last year and a half here, I am coming to realize that this is where we all are. Every time I imagine myself to be stronger or more independent, God sends me a gentle wave to remind me that I belong on His shores - occasionally it's a tsunami. My walk with God isn't so much a walk as me continually trying to run when I've only learned to crawl. I could tell you I read my bible each day ((which I do)), that I have a strong community in Christ ((which I do)), and that I am constantly involved in various missions whether they are serving one person or hundreds ((which I am)), but those things are not enough. They never have been. What I can tell you is that God knows me. Not only because He knows all things, but because He is the One I reach for all throughout the day. The One I call on in the difficult and the beautiful times.
I have spent the last year and a half on the road. From Washington to California to Canada to Peru to the East Coast to Europe and back to the USA again. And all I can say about any of it is “Thank God!” For all, for everything - good, bad, or in between. He has seen me through all my travels and has been my Rock. Where ever I am, I am with Him. I find Him in the ceiling, stars, music, side streets, and hashbrowns at 1AM. And, more importantly, He finds me - broken, joyful, exhausted, and eating hashbrowns at 1AM. So as to where I am with God - I am everywhere, but so is He."

So that's me. Where I am. My younger brother gave a mini-sermon to some of the guys at his Summer Camp he works at about how God won't always give you what you want, and that we shouldn't expect him to. About how without suffering there would be no compassion, without darkness there would be no light, etc etc. My mum thought I might enjoy some of the passages from the Bible that he has been reading, but what's funny is that while I did enjoy them - the passages after those were the ones that led me home. I've always liked the idea that you can only know true joy through sorrow, that wasn't new to me. But the repeated verses of "come home! come home! come home!" That was new for me. Good for me.
I thought long and hard about posting this in my blog. Not all of my friends believe anything even remotely close to what I do and many of you read my blog devotedly like the amazing people you are. So, no worries, I understand, this is a whole lot of Godtalk to undertake in one go. Just know I love you no matter what your outlook on this genre is. And always will.

08 August 2010

After The Storm

It's been awhile.

I could use the excuse that I'm busy - but that would only be half true. I mean, I am busy, but I have also been graced with a lot of down time lately. And I could have written. But I didn't. My only explanation for this is that I have spent quite a bit of time studying me. Getting pieces of myself back. After leaving the United States, I kept stumbling upon pieces of myself. They would come up unexpectedly and I would welcome them with open arms, exclaiming "Oh gracious! There you are, self! I have missed you!" Since returning to the US, the pieces of me have remained rather silent. In a good way, calm and peaceful. But silent, nonetheless. So, at some point, I started looking for all those pieces still missing. I picked up books, touched the keys of a piano, drew, ran, made myself laugh. It's not that I haven't been doing all of those things rather casually over the years, but I did them all with the thought "I'm just going to do this thing for me for a bit. Yummy." Yes, yummy. I tend to forget myself in others. I give pieces without ever reclaiming them or asking for something in return. So, I'm welcoming those pieces back that wish to come back. Some, I think, won't ever return. Others have jumped at the chance. Either way, all of this points to a final conclusion to my year abroad.

The prodigal daughter ((me)) is finally coming home.

And I wonder, if it weren't for facebook, skype, telephones etc, would anyone even recognize me? Last night I chatted with a dear friend and he laughed as he said "It's funny, I don't know you anymore. I still love you like it hurts, but I don't know this woman you've become." At first, I was slightly - maybe more than slightly - hurt by this statement. He is one of the people I cherish most in life, how could he possibly not know me? But he just laughed at me again and explained it a bit like this::

"To start with the obvious, M, you left here eyeliner drawn and coverup covered with long straightened hair, skinny jeans, nervously defining "you" with every label you could stick to yourself as if that's what gave you an identity. You've returned barefoot and bare faced with short curls, a bounce in your step, and fierce opposition to those who dare tell you no. Are you still working out the kinks? Sure, but last fall I feared for your life and this fall I fear for those who even think of taking you on. You are a beautiful, fiery, light of a human being - made of stars. No one could possibly know you from the little girl you were. It is said no one reaches their potential until they're with God and I think that's true, but I might beg to argue that point looking at the beautiful fiery woman you've transformed into."

There's a reason he's a favorite. And so, I am coming home. For how long, I can't say. But I no longer fear losing myself to the small town of Maple Valley and am going home to fully appreciate it for what it is. The fall leaves, the hiking, snowboarding, Mt Rainier, all that is soccer, friends, and family. Who knows what comes after this? I know nothing of the future and wouldn't want to. Oh what joy to be here and now!

Enjoy your moments, they are what this life is made of.

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