“Just rest.” He said tucking me in. Assuring me that I did not have to people anymore. Though my mind swirled with too much. Too much from the work day had happened. Too many different projects suddenly became fires. Too many fires became too much crunch time. Too much crunch time became too much for me. Too many people came in and out of my office looking for results from me, and I delivered, but at a cost.

I came home feeling like I was hung over. A common trait that happens when I desperately need to introvert. My husband knew the moment he saw me laying in the middle of the yard on a blanket that I had peopled enough. He ran to DQ, let me eat, and then ushered me inside the house and put me in bed.

“No more peopling today baby.”

Of course he retreated to his man cave to watch a particularly loud war film of some sort, and I laid in bed. Sun pouring through the window, head aching, and noise upon noise pouring out of the basement directly beneath our bedroom.

Did I want to rest? Yes and no. Yes, because I was exhausted. No because I had so much I could be doing. Like digging the hole for the fire pit we were going to build, or sanding and staining the cabinets in the bathroom before my father changed the floor and toilet for us. I could stand to vacuum the whole house and clean the bathroom too. I could go through my closet and see what I could stand to get rid of. I could dig up my garden.

None of it was getting done though. Not until I was able to people again. Or at least after a nap…a nap that probably wouldn’t come.

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Loving the Toxic and a Personal Failure 

If only I could disappear. 
I happened to have vented near the wrong person yesterday. Nothing I thought was a big deal, but of course it was about a friend of mine and the facts were left out and things got tainted in the retelling. So word got back to her, and she was pretty upset. When I found out I called her immediately and let her yell her feelings at me for a while. She had a right to be angry. I had a moment of disapproval that I shot off to someone who had no right to know it. I told her I was sorry and she was right. I took responsibility for my actions. 

I spent a good long time afterward on the phone with my boyfriend. He listened, like a Saint. Assured me I did all I could. Reminded me I was not a bad person, I just slipped up for a moment and it got out of control. My mother told me the same when I called her. Told me I wasn’t an aweful human being, even though my heart told me I was worthless. I wounded a hurting person. In turn I wounded myself. 

I felt terrible…feel terrible. Of all the people to hurt in the world, I hurt the one who’s wounds run deepest. Who’s morals were shaky. Who’s mind was easily swayed by the emotions of how something is presented, and not the actual words of what is said. In turn she decided to tell me everything that’s wrong with me. How I’m “cocky” (confident) and how I’m “judgmental” (ironic how one has to be judging in order to say someone is judging them). I told her that I’d consider those views thoughtfully. Perhaps she was right? Perhaps she was just too hurt to think and evaluate clearly. All I knew was she had thought those things of me, and probably talked to people about me behind my back. All the accusations she has made to me, I knew she herself had committed. I said nothing though. What would saying something have done to help? What would it justify? It wouldn’t. I remained silent. I silently forgave her. 

Part of me feels the trust is too far gone from our friendship for her criticisms to bother me too much. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever trusted her. She fears depth. She is gossipy. Her lifestyle is different than mine. She isn’t going to understand how I live. I know I don’t understand how she does. I don’t have her struggles and I don’t have her desires and emotions. I can’t know her fully. So yes, I disapprove of her lifestyle out of a combination of ignorance and having watched her choices destroy herself. If that bothers her, only she can choose if she wants me to stay in her life. In turn only I can choose to have her stay in mine. I care very much for her, but perhaps she will always choose what is toxic over what is right. In turn I have to decide what place that puts me in, and if I can live with her making those choices. 
Can I love someone who is toxic nearby? Or do I choose to love her from a distance? 

I still feel very badly about it. It’s unresolved and broken. Part of my faith in God leads me to believe that I am responsible to Him for how I made her feel. I’ve asked to be forgiven. I’ve asked for her heart to be healed. I’ve asked for mine to be healed, because heaven knows that I struggle to forgive myself for things. I failed, but I cannot sit and dwell on my failure. I’m trying to move forward. 
Pray for me. 

The Problem with People

The image was of several young children, obviously African, with their ribs showing their plight of hunger. The caption was “How can people see this image, and believe that God is good?” A gentleman put it very eloquently explaining that because humans were created with free will and chose the knowledge of good an evil, we choose to ignore the hungry population for the desires of our own. “The world has the resources, we choose not to share them.”

That summed it up. Weather or not you believe in God, poverty is a human problem. Humans decided to create money. Humans decided to take ownership of food and make it corporate. Humans decided to create hierarchies and social status to organize their own thoughts and lives, and even to excommunicate each other. We exploited and capitalized on every ounce of anything we could get our hands on, and for what?

A bunch of pieces of paper that we put value on.

God gave us a world with all we needed to survive. We were the ones who ruined it. Poisoned it. Raped it. By no means do I consider myself an environmentalist. I don’t recycle much. I burn my garbage or send it to the landfill. I give when I can to charities that help create sustainable change for those who are impoverished and I donate my clothes to places like Salvation Army and other second hand stores that focus on the needs of others. But the worst part are those who focus so much on hunger far away they don’t even realize that hunger is right here. Drugs are right here. Homelessness is right here. Sex trafficking is right here too. I don’t doubt some of my friends long since gone and still here have been and continue to be part of one if not all of these issues. They directly touch my life through their struggles.

I suppose what I am saying is that much of what is wrong with the world is a problem of people, but so is the solution.

Strange Dreams

They were weird dreams. One involving people I hadn’t thought about for a long time and places I hadn’t been in ages. Why suddenly now? Why have these dreams about people I hadn’t talked to or seen in so long? It was strange. It was odd.

I woke up trying to ignore it, but part of me wasn’t able to let it go. Even as I began replying to e-mails and getting ready for work, my mind was back in the dream. Wondering what it all meant. Perhaps it meant nothing at all. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of things to come. Perhaps I was just subconsciously aware of how long it had been since I saw them, and how much I missed them. I couldn’t tell. I was too distracted by other things. All I knew is it was odd to think of them after so long.

God Given Metal Heart

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When I was in high school, I was not really an outcast, but a kind of loner. That kid who was smart, unique, nobody loved or hated me. I wore too many earrings in the same hole until I could fit size 8g in my ears by the time I hit college. Wore weird outfits from ugly man sweaters to Japanese traditional wear, just because I could. I had a small group of individuals that were smart like me, and excellent conversationalists. We all ended up graduating in the top 10 of our class.

Outcast really isn’t the word for it. We were…isolationists. People who thought differently from our fellow students. We ignored pop music for alternative rock, punk, and metal bands. We had youth group and after school runs to the local Chocolate shop. We would hang out occasionally, see each other at school. Isolate ourselves from the world or one another when we got home. We never called each other at home. Plans were made at school. Only at school. We were okay with that. The kind of friends you invite over for community nap time, chill and jam, and video games. Low maintenance. Too tired for anything else really. No sex and drugs for us….but we would certainly take the rock n roll. And we did. We were pretty metal like that. Straight edge to the end….but we never called it that. We were too depressed to know what to label things.

I tell you this because I still hold those feelings today. I am still one who considered myself an introverted isolationist. I choose very carefully the kind of people I associate myself with. I choose authentic people. Authentic experiences. Authentic music. Authentic literature. I don’t care how messy those people are. I don’t care how loud or often those singers and authors swear and scream. I appreciated the reality. The emotion. The truth behind it all. I create islands of safe people. A place where we can all love and trust one another. No drama. No fear. Just the truth.

Recently I found myself returning to the genre of music I had forsaken for happier sounding pop music. I had gone to a Christian school, so screaming music with lots of swearing wasn’t really accepted. Now I find myself attracted to it. To it’s poetry and fast paced melodies. It has been so long since I listened to anything even close to metal that I found myself searching iTunes for new artists.going beyond the classics of System of a Down, Nightwish (older stuff of course), Alice Cooper, Dragon Force, Black Sabbath, and Nine Inch Nails. I discovered Lord of the Lost, Five Finger Death Punch, Abandon All Ships, Hammerfall, and Eluveitie. All poetic, and fascinating musicians with compelling and authentic lyrics. Honesty. Brutal honesty.

There is the Christian in me. It is that honesty that I crave. The world is so full of liars and people pleasers. So full of shallow people. I crave that authenticity so deeply and desperately that I will listen to the lives of people pouring out of their mouths from such a distance as princes to paupers. I understand them, though they are often convinced they are not understood. Though they look scary and people often believe they are Satan worshipers, they are humans too. People just as caught up in the lies of pleasure culture and painful experiences. They are seeking as I have sought. They are searching as I have searched. Some have given up as I have wished to give up. Some kept me from giving up. Some held onto me without knowing they did. God used metal to help keep me going. To give me words to emotions I had no words for. To give me a heart for metal heads.

I do not often listen to Christian Metal. I just haven’t found a band I really like, and to be honest, I never really liked Skillet as most Christians do. If you have any suggestions I am more than open to them, so feel free to comment below.

Work Friends: It’s Complicated

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“Victoria Secret has these cute tank tops with the Brewers logo on them. It’s enough to make me a Brewers fan!”

I looked at the image on her phone and nodded. But something in the back of my mind was doubtful. I blurted out the moment I realized the source of my doubt, “Those exact style tank tops are at Fleet Farm about $10 bucks!” The look on her face was almost enough to make me fear my life. Why do I ever open my mouth? She responded with a tinge of attitude in her voice. “I just prefer Victoria Secret.” I nodded “Fair enough,” and let the rest of the girls around me banter as they usually do, with the full knowledge that they were talking over and around me, like I was that pillar in the middle of the room. I continued to roll my silverware and soak in what little intelligence the conversation had.

I had realized long ago I wasn’t going to make friends at work. I was too different. I never went out to drink and party. I don’t do drugs. I hardly smoked and if I did smoke it was from my wood pipe, which is much harder to let people bum a smoke off you. I didn’t enjoy shopping name brands, but the design experience I had, made me proficient on the trends of each company, so I could at the very least keep up with small pieces of conversation. Pinterest helped me survive too. But what it came down to, was either I wasn’t shallow enough, or they weren’t allowing themselves to show me their depth.

People are so guarded here.

I wasn’t sure it was even a good idea in the first place to try to make friends at work. I have people there I know I can talk to seriously. I know who I can have intelligent conversation, though usually brief with the fast pace of the work environment. I know who I can get and give hugs to if my day or their day isn’t going well. I know who to avoid too.

Work isn’t the place for friendship. As desperate as I feel to have people in my life in closer proximity, instead of hundreds of miles away, it isn’t worth becoming someone I am not. It isn’t worth altering my lifestyle to something more comfortable for them, nor is it worth becoming a destructive person. At the very least, friendship cannot happen in this environment. Restaurant work isn’t conducive for empathy, or even sympathy. Neither is commission retail. Not that I didn’t make friends in retail, but the environment is so stressful sometimes it’s hard to maintain those relationships.

I suppose I will just have to wait and see.