Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the one where I'm a foreigner in a foreign land

I've always been slightly socially awkward. And by slightly, I mean that it's bad. I cling to the few others who I can speak freely in front of, make horrible jokes, words come out of my mouth that I can't control, and OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS? 

When I was younger, my Mom liked to dress me to the nines. Which at times included a beret. Now, a lot of kids would see a beret as a fashion challenge. But for me, my beret collection was my armor. 

When forced to interact with kids I didn't know, I would shut down. I'd sit a little to myself, not saying a word but taking it all in. And maybe it's a kid thing. Or maybe it's just the lack of culture in Arkansas in the early 1990s, but if I was wearing a beret, the other kids would assume I was French.

They'd look me over, point, and say loudly, "Excuuuuuse me, little girl. Are you French?" Knowing that at this point it'd be a total disappointment if I busted out my Springdale accent, I'd usually respond, "Oui! Parlez-vous fran├žais?"

And after they got wide-eyed and walked away, I'd secretly say a thank you prayer for the hours of Madeline I had watched over the years and my trusty beret.

Friday, October 18, 2013

the one where I can't figure it all out

I've always sort have been an odd duck. I'm sure that you're able to categorize me to fit into this box or into that one, but I've never figured it out. I'm not really sure who I am.

I mean, all of the obvious groupings I get; I overlap the insanely gorgeous/incredibly hilarious/unbelievably intelligent circles easily. And humble. Obviously. But after that, I'm at a loss.

It's always been this way. While other kids might have been playing their organized sports, I was in the front yard playing with my ribbon dancer. Friends were listening to KidBopz while I sang Simon and Garfunkel hits. While other girls were cheerleaders for Halloween, I was Tippi Hedren from The Birds. 

I'd like to present myself as an enigma. But really, I think that it's way more than that. I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a sai...well, you get the idea.

We've been working through "telling ourselves the truth" at Vintage in my exco for the past few weeks. And you guys, it's getting deep. It's ugly crying and affirmation. It's understanding and compassion. 

I'm coming to the conclusion that it's okay to not know who I am. I'm constantly evolving, changing who I am while keeping my core values steady. I  think Jesus would approve.

And Meredith Brooks.

the one where I realize I'm aging

My ten year high school reunion was last weekend. I wasn't too panicked about it; I mean, I didn't try to impress my classmates while I was in high school, so why would I try to do that now? But while we were making small talk waiting for the football game to start, all of these little kids were walking around.

And then I realized that they were high school students and OH MY GOD, ONE CALLED ME MA'AM.

I've apparently always had an issue with aging. On my 20th birthday, I met up with some of my childhood friends to celebrate. They asked me if I planned on "going through with it", and I just stared at them blankly, clueless. They reminded me how I had promised that I ever made it to 20 that I was just going to off myself because that was ANCIENT.

When asked how old I am, I usually have to pause and think before I respond. My gut-instinct is to tell them that I'm 26, but after catching myself I manage to get it right most of the time. And with my birthday coming up in less than 2 weeks, it's going to be a whole process of coping BECAUSE OMG I'LL BE 29.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a blow if I hadn't started feeling old. Things are sagging. I can't hear for shit. My eyesight is going down the crapper. My body aches in ways that make a tube of anti-inflammation ointment sound like an aphrodisiac. 

In other words, I'm a sexy, sexy almost middle-aged lady. Bring it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

the one where i don't go to the Olympics

When I was little, Shannon Miller was an icon. Gravity defying flips, incredible balance, and a killer floor routine totally proved why she was a multiple-medal Olympian. After watching her get yet another gold medal, I realized I had found my calling.

I was going to be an Olympic gymnast.

After hours of watching athlete after athlete compete, I felt fairly confident in my ability to rock this. I was destined for greatness, and crafting a floor routine to Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" was going to make it a reality. There was just one hiccup.

I couldn't do a cartwheel, let alone some crazy combination of flips, jumps, and tucks. I got motion sickness from swinging a little to high, so the uneven bars were going to be difficult. But what I lacked in actual skill or coordination I fully compensated for with my charisma. 

Because it's not talent that wins medals. Charisma goes for the gold.

And so I practiced. I practiced at home. I practiced in the front yard. But my very favorite place to practice was the grocery store. 

I'd purposely linger in empty aisles, and when the coast was clear I'd get on my tip toes, run as hard as I could down the aisle, flailing my arms around to mimick how AWESOME  my flips would be, and then the big finish. I'd always stick my landing, making sure to present my outstretched V arms to the imaginary judges.

It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that there were security cameras in grocery stores. And that all of my classic Olympian moves were most likely captured on film.

Nailed it.

the one where holy water is thrown on me

When I was seven we moved from a street that was full of kids to a street where I was the youngest by years. So when a new family moved in across the cul-de-sac, I was more than estatic to find that not only that they were a family of kids, but of girls my age.

After waiting a couple of days for them to settle, I marched myself over to their house to meet my newest BFF's. Anna Grace and I immediately clicked. We spent the next few days no more than inches apart, laughing and talking the entire time.

We had so much in common! Lisa Frank, Saved By The Bell, coordinating windbreakers, and JTT was just the tip of the iceberg.  I had already mentally started designing our matching BEST FRIEND necklaces when she mentioned that her birthday was coming up on November 1st. 

SHUT UP. Just as I was about to tell her that my birthday was on Halloween she said,

"Yeah, my parents were so relieved I wasn't born on Satan's Day! When is your birthday?"

Suddenly my world came crashing down. Visions of exercisms and witch trials flashed like firecrackers in my brain. And like any terror-filled 8 year old would, I replied, 

"November 2nd! Wow! Is that my mom calling for me?! Bye!"

From that point on, I stayed clear of Anna Grace, memories of what could have been slowly drifting out of my mind.

And pretending to be a rhythmic gymnast in my front yard was pretty cool, anyway.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

the one where I almost amputate a finger

I love fashion. I love style. There's nothing more satisfying than creating the perfect outfit, unless you want to count motherhood. THEN WHATEVER. It's a close second.

There's something about being able to change how others perceive you simply by what you wear. Jorts and an oversized sweater project a carefree, casual image. Skinnies with a killer blouse and heels shows confidence and style. Fitted dresses with high necklines are sexy and slightly playful.

But what really makes any outfit shine are what accessories are paired with it. Simple chains, chunky statement necklaces, great earrings, or an arm of bangles all make different statements. Lately I've been a little more than obessessed with midi rings. 

Midi rings are these tiny little rings that you wear on your first knuckle. Some are incredibly elaborate, but I happen to prefer simple gold or silver bands. 

I have long fingers, and they're on the skinnier side. So I wasn't totally shocked when I was putting on a new midi ring and it just slipped all the way down the length of my finger. It didn't hurt or look too tight, so I decided to just wear it as is.

Flash forward to hours later when I was getting ready for bed. My finger has sort of become swollen, and the little midi ring was now tight. Really tight, actually. Uncomfortably tight to the point that I needed it off, and I needed that to happen now.

I tugged. I twisted. I pulled. I wet my finger. I used my teeth. My finger became fatter and fatter, now red from the pressure of the TINIEST RING IN THE WORLD strangling it. WHAT IDIOT DESIGNED A RING SO TINY THAT IT WOULD WANT TO KILL MY FINGER?

I did my usual, you know, keeping cool. 

After lotioning failed, I found a pair of scissors in the drawer. For a minute I contemplated amputating my finger. I mean, if I can survive the Furry Vest Incident of 2012, surely I can handle one less digit. AMIRIGHT?

In the end, the ring just sort of popped off during a last ditch effort. How anticlimatic, right?

Friday, October 4, 2013

on telling yourself the truth

On Tuesday I'll attend my first exco at Vintage Fellowship, titled "Telling Yourself the Truth". 

Can I tell you how excited I am about this group?! I hate getting all preachy, but God really has this providence thing down. I'm just starting on the upswing of some pretty dark moments, and being forced to recognize, hear, and speak the truth about myself seems like the perfect segue into becoming a healthier, whole person.

I'm a kind person. I try to be kind to those that I love. I try to be kind to those I'm around. I try to be kind when it's the last thing I want to do. I try to be kind when extending grace seems impossible. I've mentioned before that prior to knowing how my world would completely change, I had decided that being the kindest version of myself was my resolution for the year.

And I've failed. Not because I get frustrated or angry with others. Not because I cry. Not because I've thought angry thoughts or said hurtful things. I've failed because I've been so very unkind to myself.

So why am I unable to be kind to myself?

I let myself believe lies. What I see in the mirror is something hideous. Unworthy of love. Unworthy of being desired. Unworthy of grace, mercy, and compassion. I hide behind a smile or a quick joke. I'm practically the Queen of Self-Deprication. 

So on Tuesday I am gathering with others who also lie to themselves. Who can't see how incredible they are. And hopefully we'll all see how wonderfully created we are, because we were created in His image. In His likeness. To be like Him.