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Monday, March 27, 2017

Best Bits of Christmas Songs.

Some Christmas songs are so joyful and hopeful that I want to keep them with me all the time. These are two of my favorite lyrics.

"Tidings of comfort and joy." I feel I could wrap these words around me like a fleecy coat. Do I pay attention to such tidings? Do I let myself rest in comfort and joy? Often, I don't. I don't accept comfort when people or circumstances offer it. I back away from joy, perhaps because I'm afraid of losing it. But these lyrics are so hopeful that they remind me to let comfort and joy wash over me.

"All is calm; all is bright." I gave this to one of my journals as a title. I have loved these words for so long. I waited too long to buy a Pottery Barn pillow with these words in chalkboard style on the cover. Calm and bright are so perfect. That's how I want to be. That's how I want to see the world--not just safe but thriving. That's how I want to see myself. Not knowing these were favorite lyrics, Bruce gave me a black box with these words in gold letters and gold polka dots. It's on my nightstand where I see it night and day.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Favorite Objects.

Of course, this is a just a sampling, and it's in no particular order.
  • A pouch my mom made for me. It's purple with a pale pink zipper and tiny fairies! I use it for the pens I'm using in my journal. Right now, it's full of blue, gold, and purple.
  • My blanket. I don't know where it came from, but I've had it since I was a baby. I'm still attached to it, and I sleep with it under my head.
  • My current journal. I form an attachment to the journal I'm using. It's full of my thoughts, serious and trivial. It travels with me.
  • A beautiful charm necklace my mother made for me. My favorite things seem to have come to protect or encourage me--snowflakes, seahorses, fairies, words themselves.
  • My past journals. In a way, these are my life's work. I worry about what will happen to them when I die. They are starting to grow past their boundaries on my shelf. My encapsulate whole seasons and such details of my life.
  • A rhinestone Tinkerbell necklace. Josh bought it for me on one of the darkest days of my life. Now, it reassures me that I can be okay.
  • My fountain pens. They are beautiful, amazing. I wanted one so much as a child. To satisfy that child, I have a white pen and a hot pink one. 
  • My music on Spotify. It helps me when I do chores and get ready.
  • My makeup. It gives me something to play with every day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Exceptional Friends.

I've not had a great many close friends in my life, but many of them have been amazing and still are.

The Tennessee girls (Keely, Kendall, Leah, Tracy) and I share so many precious and ridiculous memories. "Murder in the dark" and a winking card game come to mind. We have so many laugh-until-you-hurt slumber parties. We went to church camp together. They often embraced my obsessions and let me direct wild plays. We all cried the last night I saw them before moving out of state.

Harmony was older than us, but boy did she and I have fun. Riding a Wave Runner, jumping into the lake, crawling around in various forts in the attic, under the stairs, and under the house. We played hide and seek in the dark. She always made me feel loved.

Keely specifically was so clearly my best friend from birth that it seemed predestined. She was there, in person or on the phone, for most of my growing-up experiences. She (along with my mother) was my original definition of beauty.

Melissa and I met when we were 14. We became friends immediately. So many notes, letters, chicken sandwiches, shopping trips, and shared secrets. We have walked through such terrible things together. And we've shared so much laughter and outrageous gift giving. We often kept each other going.

And I'm so blessed now to have a relatively new friend who lives in the complex next door. Bruce and I met at work, and we carpooled for a long time. He has read books about my illness to help him understand and know what to do. We've read books together--a tiny book club. He has helped me sand down the edges of my most painful memories. We laugh so much that Josh says we'll get kicked out of stores. Bruce takes an interest in all I do. I know I could trust him with the worst.

I've been so lucky to have these precious friends.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Delight: February and March.

Delight is my word of the year. Am I seeking it enough? Creating it enough? Giving it to others enough? Absorbing it and celebrating it enough? I hope so, but I'm sure I can do more. Here are some tastes of delight from the past month.
  • Gold pens that are expensive but write forever.
  • Using trendy planner stickers in my journal.
  • Only need 5 out of my 20 Amazon subscriptions.
  • Looking at an entire magazine. More than one!
  • A new "how to be French" book--my guilty pleasure. Some are wonderful; some are terrible.
  • Drinking iced mocha in the evening.
  • Getting Oliver to eat broccoli (he loves it!).
  • So many sticky flags that are characters from books (Thanks, Bruce).
  • Watching Oliver dance.
  • Oliver's singing Tears for Fears in the bathtub.
  • Buying a birthday gift for my mom.
  • Josh found vanilla Dippin Dots at the nearby gas station. He came home with 5 pouches.
  • Finding Rags and Bones (fairy tale retellings) for $2.50.
  • Looking at books with Bruce.
  • Taking photos of Josh and Oliver cuddling in their sleep.
  • Putting stickers in a teal journal that says, "She leaves a little sparkle everywhere she goes."
  • Thinking about what Josh and I will do during his spring break. which will give us time alone at home while Oliver is at school.
  • Asking for a love note and getting one.
  • Not being too lay to go to the gym with Josh.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Joy and Hope.

Where joy is, hope is nearby.

I remember being 9 or 10 years old and feeling scared and guilty about the fact that I was not joyful. I was shy and sullen without my team of friends and sometimes even with them. I decorated a binder with the theme of joy. I wrote down scriptures, hymn lyrics, and sermon notes related to joy. I meditated on these, and I prayed.

What was wrong with me? I felt happy when I played and sang to showtunes endlessly. I felt a tremendous energy when I bossed my friends into putting on plays and lip-sync musicals. Nothing really turned off the deep-seated, quiet terror that something was wrong with me, that I was somehow bad or broken.

I learned to cling to joy as I grew up. The fear in me was still present but was not a stomach-crushing boulder. I fell in love with Irish step dance after seeing Riverdance with my friend Kendall. I took lessons and competed for 3 years. I felt joy--using my energy well, discovering a talent.

This gave me hope--joy could exist for me, safe places existed, and safe people existed and could perhaps handle the emotional and mental weight of me. I could be or become okay.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I'm Looking forward To...

  • Giving Mom her birthday gift. I love giving people presents. Mom and I have great fun exchanging gifts.
  • Seeing Beauty and the Beast with Mom and maybe getting McDonald's spicy Coke and DP afterward. Eh, Mama?
  • My next bath.
  • Catching up to my reading goal pace. I will make it happen!
  • Reading more of Tell the Wolves I'm Home.
  • Reading a magazine I got on the evolution of the Beauty and the Beast tale.
  • Seeing The Bodyguard in Durham.
  • Seeing Phantom for the sixth time next year.
  • Spending next week with Josh--he's on spring break, but Oliver will be in school!
  • Having my hair dyed black again.
  • Watching Documentary Now and the recent episodes of Bates Motel.
  • Some kind of traveling.
  • Magic time to read all my magazines.
  • New books from Francesca Lia Block, Marisa de los Santos, Amy Gerstler, Sarah Addison Allen, Jennifer McMahon, and others.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Relationship with Green.

I don't remember much about my relationship with green while I was growing up. Maybe it reminds me of Girl Scouts. I also remember a forest green knit skirt and matching top. It made me feel grown up. From ages 12 to 15, I was a competitive Irish step dancer, so I formed a connection with kelly green especially.

Green didn't really make my list of potential favorite colors. The shift may have happened when I was an older teenager, and my mom bought a gorgeous, silky green button-down top. It was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen. She let me wear it for my public reading for my MFA, and it boosted my confidence. Fairly recently, she gave me the shirt. Amazing. I need to wear it to the theatre.

Anyway, I was a purple girl, Mom was a pink girl, but we both fell in love with green. When I started teaching, I had to figure out what to wear and how to wear it. I had almost nothing that was work-appropriate, so Mom and I often tried on clothes together at Loft. We found this beautiful emerald short-sleeved cardigan and loved it so much that we each bought one.

We also found a gorgeous moss green crushed velvet jacket, which Mom said I deserved. When Mom thinks I deserve something, I take it seriously.

Green makes me feel awake and alive. It empowers me, whether it's a shirt, a pen, or some awesome green eye makeup.

Monday, March 6, 2017

More about Pink.

I wrote about pink recently, but I want to write some more about it.

I can see more of it around the house today. Two finished journals on the ottoman, one with a lollipop tree and one with hearts. The back of my phone case. My baby pink coat on a hook. A pink legal pad with endless to-do lists. The back of an inspirational pillow. A dish towel with a bead-sprinkled cupcake on it. A board book called I Like Myself.

I don't own a lot of pink clothes and such, but they always make me feel pretty. It's a confidence boost, and I feel more serene. I've probably written about the awesome hot pink ombre pants I had as a high school junior.

Actually, our bathroom is all pink and purple polka dots. Josh is such a good sport. However, he says he likes the way I decorate.

Levenger used to make Pinkly, a gorgeous hot pink ink. It shone in a glass bottle. Luckily, I still have some.

Pink reminds me of my mom, who has always loved pink. I think of her roses and of Aurora, her favorite princess, in her magical pink-blue dress.

So far, I have resisted a beautiful pink one piece from Old Navy. I did not, however, resist the Sephora brand Diamond Eyeliner, which is black with pink glitter. Perfect.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Times I've Felt Most Loved Part I.

This is just a small selection.
  • My dad took me to see Phantom when I was 8. I had been obsessed with it. He validated and participated in that Phantom (and theatre in general) obsession.
  • My parents gave me tickets to Phantom (I promise these aren't all about Phantom) for my...22nd birthday. Mom even decorated a gift bag with a still from the show and lots of black and silver ribbons. I have that pinned to the wall by my bed.
  • My dad sent me the song "Comfort You" by Erick Baker. The lyrics show acceptance and validation for a daughter's mental or emotional struggles.
  • My mom told me about Edwin McCain's song "I Want It All," which also made me feel accepted and valuable. I feel better every time I hear it.
  • A high school teacher seemed geniunely sad that I was switching schools. He said, "We haven't hurt you. We've helped you." Now, it makes me wonder what he noticed. He also wrote great recommendations for me. He described me as introspective, a kind word to sum up my personality and some of my flaws. 
  • Bruce told me about Alanis Morisette's song "Guardian." Noticing a pattern? I'll write more about these kinds of songs soon. 
  • When I was 15, I had a terrible break-up aftermath issue, and my friend Jamie stayed up with me as I cried for hours.
  • Josh encourages me all the time. He always seems happy and even surprised to see me, even if I were just right around the corner.