Creative Ramblings Processing Life
Balance and Trust
I love contra dancing. It is this amazing type of folk dance (think the first ballroom scene from the new Pride and Prejudice, except even better!) that I got into becuase of my little sister. Many of her friends enjoyed it, and she wanted to try it out, so I went with her as moral support. The first time I went I was full of trepidation. I am not a natural dancer, unless you would consider Elaine from Seinfeld one, and I was afraid of making a fool of myself.
I was amazed by the ethos of the whole place, young people, old people, and everyone in between coming together for the purpose of having fun as a community. I sat out the first dance, but danced the second with an experienced dancer who took the time to teach me the very basics, and was gracious as I stumbled, always guiding me back to where I needed to be. I made a fool of myself, but no one cared. In fact when I managed to mess up the line, everyone laughed as we sorted ourselves out, never stopping the music to try to make the dance perfect. I loved the fact that I was an accepted member of the group from the very first moment, although it took me some time to figure that all out.
I went back the next time, and was pleasantly surprised to find a group of my own friends there, and they would teach me as we danced. Most of it was simple things that once pointed out made so much sense, and made dancing easier and more fun. I felt my skills improve with every dance. I remember the time I learned the buzz step that allowed me to be swung faster with more confidence, until I felt that I was floating instead of dancing, all the time trusting my partner not to let go and to guide me where I needed to be.
The other night I had another memorable dance. It was during a walz, and a very experienced dancer was teaching me some of the more exciting steps that can be done to vary the "One-Two-Three." As we danced I learned to trust his lead, even if I didn't understand how where he wanted me to go played into the overall whole. When I tried to think it through, we would get tangled, and out of tune with the music. If I followed where he led, I would learn, and get to do something new and amazing. Halfway through the dance he dipped me-- which took me rather by surprise, but he did it so skillfully that I didn't have the time to ruin the move, which would have ended with me on the floor. Instead I found myself in a position of absolute dependence on my partner, while still being an intrical part. At the end of the dance he dipped me again, and this time I knew what to expect, and enjoyed the feeling of being able to trust my partner.
I've grown to be a rather good dancer, not because I'm particularly gifted with balance or grace, but because it is something that I enjoy and participate in as often as possible. It would be impossible to not get better, especially when there are other there who are much better dancers to learn from by engaging in the same activities together.
I think that there should be more areas of my life like that, where I learn and grow because I enjoy it. Where I'm accepted at where I'm at, and naturally become better because others further along are willing to associate with me, and conversely help those newer at it to become better by spending time with them. Learning is all too often associated with pain, for pain is a very good teacher, but I wonder if pleasure might not be a better one.
Answer to Random Question
You're trapped in well with a goat and a slinky. Describe how you will get out. Thankfully, the well is one of those really old ones that are made up of large stones, and are no longer filled with water. There is an infestation of earthworms, but all things considered the worst aspect is the fact that the goat gives off a miasma very strong and not very pleasant. But, they are valuable animals, so I use the slinky to attach to goat to myself, and climb up the rocks-- which are like a ladder from Hell. Sadly, the slinky is not quite long enough to stretch until I get to the top, so I wedge it into the side as far up as it goes. I finish climbing out--tired and breathless, and search for the goat's owner. I find him, celebrating that the insurance money from his goat was more than his goat was worth. He was upset that I had found his goat, ruining his get-rich-quick scheme. This makes me angry- so I plot. I get a rope, climb back down to the slinky, attach the rope to the slinky, and pull the goat out. I then throw the heartless owner into the well, with his stupid cash. He cried. I'll check in a couple days to see if he made it out.
I am not a detail person. This is not a shocking revelation to most people in my life, nor to me, but moving has once again thrust it upon my conscience that this is not something that I am naturally gifted at. I can handle details, but I have a hard time seeing them until I trip over them and they become a minor crisis in my life. Which is very exhausting for all those in my life, including myself. My poor friends and family have had to listen to me whine about how stressed I was about moving. I coerced them into helping me move both my stuff, and that of my roommates who were out of the country. (Thanks Mom, Dad, RJ, Michael, and Daniel!) Little things kept catching me off guard, and overwhelming me.
This seems strange to me. Major crisis? Let's all just keep calm and get through it together. Relationship problems? Sure they're not fun, but they don't incapacitate me. Blood and giving first aid? I have to admit I find it all intriguing. Having to transfer utilities? Makes me cry.
Hanging over all of this was the uncertainty of change, and the fear that life was not going to be fun. That we had made a mistake. That my roommates wouldn't like what I had done with the place. That my world was going to implode and it would all be my fault. For two weeks I went about life with a heaviness in my chest, feeling manic-depressive as the weight would occasionally lift causing giddiness, and then come crashing back down.
I moved a week ago today. And a week ago tomorrow I realized that the weight was gone. Everything was okay. Sunday Meagan* came back to the country, and she liked the way the apartment was set up. And Monday we hung out. We've been roommated now for 6 months, and in all that time we had never spent time together in any significant way. And we got to run errands and get coffee together, and talk, and laugh, and realize that it is a crying shame that we hadn't done this before now.
My new apartment which for so long felt like a weight threatening to crush me, now feels like home. What a blessing.
*When I ran spell check Meagan was not found in the dictionary. They suggested to make her name "magma" or "muezzin". And for some reason I found that inordinately funny.
God is amazing. Just thought that I would throw that out there because I am continually in awe of what he does for me and through me. This past week I have had two interactions with people that have made me stop and say, "God, thank you, but what was that?"
Sunday afternoon I had some extra time between lunch with my family and watermark, so I went with my bible and journal to Lake Ella. Started an informal word study on "majesty", and was having some really neat God Time. A lady sat down next to me, and I could tell that she was lonely and wanted to talk. I thought about being annoyed, and then decided against it. We chatted, and as she was getting ready to leave she told me that she had been blessed by me, and that I had been her angel for the day. She gave me a hug, and promised to keep me in her prayers. I don't think that I’ll see her again, but I was humbled that God would use me to encourage someone.
Wednesday I was sitting at a park, eating lunch, and reading a book I have been striving to get through for about two months now, when a lady drives up, gets out and comes up to me. She asked me if we knew each other, which we did not. She then said that as she had been driving by the park she felt God tell her to turn around and come talk to me. And she told me that God said that it would all be all right. That he was in control. And that he loved me. She then got in her car and drove away. I was somewhat stunned. My life is bordering on chaotic, which always puts me on edge, and as she said that God was in control, I felt peace.
There are few things worse for me than to be ridiculous, and not being able to do anything about it. I am being ridiculous right now. My Mom's side of the family is enormous, and historically not very close. In the past few years there has been great effort to remedy this, and thus this summer we will have the first family reunion in roughly 8 or so years. And I can't decide how I feel about it. Part of me is excited to meet cousins I haven't met, see cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents that I haven't seen in years. Part of me has a completely unholy "Screw them, why bother?" attitude. But mostly, I have the ridiculous feeling of inadequacy and inferiority. I am roughly in the middle of the cousin spectrum of 25(? I have to think about that) and I feel like everything that I've done with my life has been done before, and better. All my older cousins are at elite schools (damn my pride), or doing awesome things with their lives, and the younger ones are all proving their giftedness and being cute and adorable and incorrigible.
I think the part that hurts is that I am not certain of their love. My dad's side of the family loves me, accepts me, and I don't feel a need to perform or to justify myself. My ridiculousness is a symptom of the brokenness in the family, as much as I would like to deny it. It doesn't make it right on my part-- I am just as broken as my family, and it is too easy to blame my stuff on my family. And that is not fair to them or to me. I can't assume that my family is judging me-- I'm the one judging them without any justification for it. I think I just have to get over it, go, and allow myself to be surprised by how cool my family really is.
Good Sister Days
Yesterday was a good sister day. There are four stipulations to measure a good sister day: 1) We laugh. A lot. 2) We have fun. 3) Someone looks at us like we are crazy. 4) We don't care.
Elizabeth and I most certainly met all the criteria. It all started with apartment hunting, that event of universal delight. We were discussing different options, and wanted to see where they were in Tallahassee. Mapquest is amazing. I signed onto my AIM, and then forgot that I had iniated a conversation. Elizabeth sat down a few minutes later and decided to continue the conversation wit the friend who had then responded. The word "snugglemuffin" was mentioned, to my great embarrassment, though it made me laugh. I decided that Emma (my iBook) was necessary, and I kicked Elizabeth off my account by getting on it through iChat. We were both laughing by this point. And things went downhill, and we began to duel-chat with her boyfriend, with each other, and everything was immensely funny.
Our roommate walked into our room, with a sleepy, quizzical look on her face. (She had been trying to nap.) She asked what was so funny, because she had never heard of a joke that made people laugh for so long or so loud.
Fast forward a few hours:
We had just attended Angela's spring concert, and she was in her very hot black chorus dress that Meagan told her makes her look like Death. (Think Ophelia in Hamlet) We all decide to go to TCBY with my mom, and we laugh. As always. And we met up with some friends. And we laughed at and with them. Again, as always. The other patrons of the before mentioned establishment would shoot covert looks at us. I can imagining them wondering what we were high one. (Nothing!) I was wearing a skirt that makes a full circle, and is very fun to twirl in. Yes, I am still a little girl sometimes. The skirt inspired the end to the evening: impresions of figure skaters as we waltzed out the door. Highly satisfactory.
Time is a tricky thing
I have the unhealthy tendency to do too much of too little, in that I will let the two or three most urgent, but not necessarily the most important, things overshadow all the rest of my life. Take last semester. I worked full time. I went to school full time. I slept. (I am not a nice person when tired. My roommates have learned to send me to bed when I begin to chatter, a sure sign that I am tired.) And in between these important things I attempted to squeeze family, friends, and church, more or less unsuccessfully. And I was tired, emotionally, physically, and at times spiritually. It wasn't until I began to care more about hanging out with people than an extra hour of study that my study time was more effective, and life in general was more enjoyable.
This past week I have been reveling in the freedom that has come with the end of the semester by spending a lot of time with friends. I have loved being spontaneous and doing all sorts of things that I had previously to decline. And I have discovered a very strange fact of life: there are only 24 hours in a day, whether or not school is in session. It has saddened my heart considerably that I have to remember to go to bed at a decent time, work comes whether or not I have stayed out late. And by late I mean 11. I have become an old person before hitting 20.