Monday, September 25, 2017

Jesus and loneliness and a little bit of cussing.

I woke up this morning feeling extra lonely, and since I had some free time, I decided to check in with Jesus for a bit.

{Oh. Great. Here goes this girl who drinks too much and cusses too much and falls way too hard for the wrong kind of people and she's about to start preaching. What's she know about God? Scrolling on, now.}

Wait, though. Hear me out. Please?

Chances are, if you're anything at all like me, you spend way too much of your life feeling like you're unworthy of God's grace. Even if you're nothing like me, you probably felt lonely at some point, too. Or maybe you feel like God is a character who was made up to make people like me feel better. If you're a really put-together Christian or a really messed up Christian or even you're not a Christian at all, that's okay. You don't have to believe that Christ was the Son of God, that he was sent by some holy presence to save us from our sinful ways, that he was crucified to redeem humanity. Forget all of that, and just read what I'm about to tell you like it's a regular old story in a regular old book about a regular old guy who experienced some really shitty things in his life. Sound familiar? K, good.

Back to waking up. I was lonely. So I looked up verses about loneliness, and I ended up in the book of Matthew (chapters 26 and 27 if you wanna follow along).

Little background story for you: There's a guy named Jesus and he's a teacher. But he's kind of radical and some people are down with his ideas but a LOT of people aren't. He hangs out with raunchy, sick, ugly, and poor people and says that they're cool. He does all kinds of magic tricks to convince people to like him. He challenges people in power and people who don't share. He says hippy things like Love your neighbor as you want to be loved. And he likes wine. You can see why the weirdos love him and everybody else is looking for a way to bring him down a notch. He has friends though, and this group of twelve students who follow him around all the time. And one night they have this big dinner and he drops some heavy truth bombs on them. He's gonna die in two days. And he's gonna die because one of them is going to turn him in to the government. AND HE CALLS THAT DUDE OUT, YALL. (According to the book, everyone just keeps on eating and drinking like he didn't just say "Hey, Judas. You're gonna get me killed in a couple days, bruh.")

Anyway. Fast forward and here we are in the book of Matthew, chapter 26. Jesus and his bros are hanging around outside and it hits him. This is it. He's about to die. And it's gonna hurt. And his friends are gonna ditch him and betray him. And there's nothing he can do about any of it. So he's like... yall. Can you come take a walk with me? And I know it's late but can you just stay awake and pray with me and comfort me? Because I'm getting a little scared. So they go for a walk and when Jesus turns around to say something, his dudes are passed the hell out. They literally just like quit walking with him and fell asleep. So Jesus wakes their asses up and he's like YOU HAD ONE JOB, FRIENDS.

Now we've come to the verse I didn't even know I was searching for this morning:

He said to them, "My soul is OVERWHELMED with sorrow to the point of DEATH. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Then he literally lays face down on the ground, crying out to God, BEGGING Him to reroute his path and change his fate. Jesus is so terrified and lonely and desperate, he wants to die before they can kill him. Or he wants God to change what the prophets have predicted. He wants ANYTHING but to be betrayed by his best friends and beaten by soldiers and crucified by strangers.

SPOILER ALERT: God doesn't answer his cries for mercy. They catch Jesus and strip him naked and humiliate him and beat him up and murder him. But the book goes on to show how Jesus rose above all of that (no, literally, like he came back to life and rose up into the heavens and lived happily ever after). 

I think the moral I'm taking from this story today is that there is LIFE after LONELY. And we ALL feel lonely. (Which, ironically enough, makes me feel... less lonely?) We all have moments where we feel terrified of what's coming next. Moments when someone we love betrays us in an unimaginable way. Moments where the hurt is so deep, actually DYING seems a better option than actually LIVING in that depth of pain. But if we can accept that sometimes life is shitty and there are going to be those unbearable moments that leave us crying out for some kind of mercy but we really will feel relief again one day some day... if we can just get through those awful, horrible times, we will RISE again. 


That's all I got for yall today. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hole in the wall paradise.

the first time we visited our favorite bar
we climbed up on a stool
and took turns signing one of the pillars
that held the whole place together.
when the bar closed
we slid into booths and stood up on tables
and signed the walls that would soon be torn down and plowed over.
our little hole in the wall paradise
was literally being paved into a parking lot.
they'd build a new bar down the road
bigger location, and more tvs
but it still seemed sad.
when i left our apartment for the last time
as empty as the day we turned the key and started our lives together
it felt the same as signing that wall
the end of an era.
better things coming but still a little
brokenheartish
because we couldnt make it last.

Summer left us like an angry lover.

summer left us like an angry lover
in a fit of rage that lasted all night
she tore through the trees
and flooded the roadways
like a woman scorned
crying tears of fury
she screamed
and howled
and shook the house

somehow, this morning
the sun managed to rise in her absence
but we all noticed a chill in the air

she's gone.

If you want to forget about her forever.

If you want to forget about her forever,
don't drink alone,
and don't listen to songs
about blue eyed girls who love to dance.
And definitely don't drive down a two lane road
past open fields
with your windows down.
Go to bed early
and fall asleep right away
and don't think about the way she laughs in the dark
or the way her shampoo makes her hair smell like mint
or the way you opened up like a book
and told her all your secrets
while her fingers ran up and down your arm.
Keep yourself busy
and someday if you find one of her earrings behind the bedpost
you won't even need to remind yourself to breathe anymore
because she will have become a silhouette
with blurry edges,
a faded shadow of someone
you never even really knew.

Solo hide and seek.

I am done stroking the egos of boys.
The people who really love me,
they keep telling me I'm worthy
and they call me beautiful.
I'm beginning to believe them.
One time I forgot what a badass I am.
But now I remember.
Solo hide and seek,
I'm finding me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cardboard Castle Princesses

cardboard castle princesses
on backyard trampolines
night time hide and seekers
rural backroad queens
new pet every weekend
kitten, turtle, toad
built in best friend red
lives right down the road
vhs on rewind
nintendo controller blisters
chinese food on friday nights
bunk bed bean bag sisters
summer sprinkler ballerinas
catching crickets in the grass
skinned knee bandaid tomboys
with shorts-too-short style sass
caterpillars in the peach tree
mud pies in the ditch
front yard games of softball
someone has to pitch (not it)
go cart dirt track circles
old blue truck on ramps
rusty tilting swing set
lava leaping champs
weekly stuffed toy yard sales
wind blown hair bike riders
front porch lounging secrets
spilled to writing spiders
even though life marches on
funny how time whirls
payne road flash back memories
daddy’s little girls

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

HB2: A letter to my representatives on potty breaks and discrimination...

I emailed this to my HofR and Senate representatives. It was rushed, much like the emergency meeting called at the last minute to vote on HB2, so there are probably several grammatical and technical errors, and I apologize. This letter skims the surface of a terrible piece of legislation that is much more in depth than what I've discussed here, but these parts are important and need to be said. I'm generally "proud to be from the south", but it's becoming harder and harder to find that pride when my sweet, gentle south where neighbors are friendly and kind continues to be overshadowed by a nasty, evil south where hatred and bias are not only acceptable but encouraged by law. With that being said, here's my email...

"Hello,

I was born and raised in Alamance County, and am currently a teacher at South Graham Elementary. I am emailing you to ask that you oppose the sudden bill proposed at this emergency meeting you're having today. And if you choose to support this discriminatory bill, I am writing to ask you who will fund either the additional bathroom my school will require to be built in my classroom or the updates needed to the bathrooms two halls down from me. I will explain this in detail in a moment.

At first glance, HB2 is a disgusting bill because it legislates legal discrimination against my neighbors and friends. Personally, I have never felt threatened by someone in a restroom based on their anatomical parts, and to be honest, I really don't pay much attention to the anatomy of those in the bathroom with me, as I am usually too focused on taking care of my own business quickly before something unfortunate occurs. I do, however, know people who have felt threatened in a restroom before because they WERE threatened. I have LGBT friends who have been discriminated against their entire lives, who have been threatened and assaulted verbally and physically for either being true to who they feel they are, or for "pretending" to be something they aren't. This HB2 proposal seems to say "that's okay" to those who are doing the threatening. If you can't see why that is wrong, I can't see voting for you in the future.

However, this bill goes deeper than the blatant discrimination. As I previously stated, I am a teacher. A public pre-kindergarten teacher, to be specific. I'm sure you know the laws regarding NCPK licensing and sanitation, as well as the current state of our schools and our education budget, so none of the following should come as any surprise to you...

I and another teacher share a large classroom, split into two small rooms by a wall of cabinets and a shared, multi-stall bathroom. All of our prekinder students use that bathroom throughout the day. If HB2 passes, that bathroom would legally need to become a single-gender bathroom. Anytime a student who is not that specified gender needed to use the bathroom or had an accident, they would need to be escorted down two hallways to the next nearest bathroom. Because of NCPK adult/child ratios, this would mean that up to six students would need to be walked down those two hallways to the next nearest bathrooms anytime one student needed to go or had an accident. (And yes, it's as messy as you might think... and yes, that mess would trail us down those hallways to the bathrooms). Also, the class I share my current bathroom with is a self-contained autism classroom, meaning all of their students have diagnoses and several of their students are in diapers. So every single time one of their students needed to have their diaper changed, they would need to be escorted to the nearest same-gender bathroom, as well. On top of all of this, the nearest bathrooms are not "pre-k certified" which would mean they would need to be inspected and updated to NCPK licensing and sanitation standards. I'm sure these bathroom updates are not in the budget considering all of the budget cuts being made to NC education lately, so I am wondering where that money would come from. Keep in mind, this is just one elementary school in the entire county. I'm sure reviews would need to be made to see how many other elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools who educate students with special needs that include toileting, in the state need bathroom updates to comply with the mandates in HB2.

If I sound angry, it's because I am. My anger is not directed at you in particular, but at this bill which seems to cause a lot of hassle for a ridiculous reason. It should be no shock to anyone that teachers in NC already have enough on our plates. "Walking students to the bathroom" seems like something small until you look a little further into it, and realize you would be adding a LOT more to my plate. And if you still don't realize that, I sincerely invite you to come spend a day with me and my wonderful students. You will see that, when taught compassion and love from an early age, it's much easier and more fulfilling to be concerned with the important things in life (such as treating others with respect) than it is to be concerned about whether someone has a penis or a vagina when they pee next to you. I hope this email does not come to you too late*, as I just learned about this bill a couple hours ago. 

Thank you so much for your time in reading this. And I truly mean it - come visit my classroom. We will welcome you with open arms, and you'll be welcome to use our bathroom if you get the urge to "go". 

Have a lovely evening."

*As it turns out, I was too late to reach my House rep. Maybe the Senate will listen. Wake up, North Carolina.