“Upon your face, you may think you’re alone but you may think again”

The last three nights in a row I have had terrible nightmares. So bad that I have refrained from repeating some of the details. I have such vivid and imaginative dreams, that I rarely consider them to be only dreams until after the fact. I was convinced one of my friends was on death row, with me right behind him  as we headed toward a deep pool of murky water in which those before us had taken minutes to surface . Another night I was sure there was danger of a jellyfish attack. Yet another, I was certain I was told to go to my mother’s house to confirm she had died in her sleep. Each morning I have been woken up by the alarm’s annoying buzz, and have welcomed the interruption. In the moments between sleep and that startling noise I feel like I’ve had to fight to wake up from the horror. 

Dreams deeply affect me and sometimes even for several days following the dream. I go throughout the rest of my day in a seemingly slightly altered state of mind. You can only imagine the kind of damage three in a row could do. As I wake up I feel the urge to run to someone else in order to calm down. I want a hug and the reassurance that it was all a dream while they wipe the hair away from my face. 

When I was younger that person was my mom. America is such an interesting place though. Now, there is no one to do that for me. I’m not going to run into my roommate’s bed and expect her to not so much as flinch. No, that’d be an odd thing to do. All of my roommates are great, but I’m not about to run to them after a bad dream. 

I understand the importance of learning to do things for yourself…sorta. We shouldn’t always rely on others to accomplish things or in order to learn to grow into the people that we are. Yet at the same time, is being a part of an individualistic society all that it’s made out to be? If we are taught to cover all the bases in order to be independent, then how are we to understand our roles (within a relationship, friendship, job, or organization)? If we become so focused on being self-sufficient then we lose out on community.

I wonder if this causes problems in marriages. How are we supposed transition from being independent to co-dependent? Suddenly you are allowed to revert back to accepting help from another person? So they are allowed to soothe me after a bad dream? But what if by then I am so used to fighting the dream that I refuse all help they might be willing or able to give? 

Recently, I had a friend tell me about certain stresses in her life. She had been raised to cope with these things on her own, and is quite determined really. But then she said her boyfriend came over to her house and said, “Listen, you don’t have to do this all alone. I’m here.” While she was grateful, it was not something she had considered before then. Even before marriage, she found herself having to revert back to previous mode of thinking in order to function in her relationship with her boyfriend. 

 This friend’s story was not the only account of this sort of scenario that I’ve heard. I guess I feel there should be a better middle ground. While there are definite pros to discovering who you are, which is often done through independence, there also is probably a reason why America is one of the few cultures that are so individualistically driven. Perhaps it is something we should reconsider as a society. 

Lyrics from If She Wants Me by Belle and Sebastian.

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“Don’t make a good thing bad”

“So, do you read the newspaper much?”  
“Nope, I don’t really like them.”

As a journalism major this is an odd response, which was met with an alarmed expression. Why I chose that major is irrelevant, but essentially I was interested in the classes and the communication department at Iowa State isn’t worth entering, unlike my last school. 

Perhaps I am too old-fashioned for the times, but I just want to be a mom. Am I fully capable of that? Probably not. Have I any idea of what that entails? Hardly. I do however deeply want my future kids to be brought up in a home, not a day care. What other people do is their own decision, but this is mine. In a sense, it’s my purpose. 

Now before you jump into assumptions and start accusing me of a double major, with the other being in MRS, chill. I am an intelligent and capable woman with the potential to be many things. There are numerous skills that I can bring to the table. I can easily manage a job as well as other various responsibilities. Among my close friends, I have probably worked more and longer throughout my life. For someone my age I consider myself to be fairly independent….and will file my taxes as such.

I want to be treated as an equal. This week there will be performances of the Vagina Monologues at Iowa State, which means all of those in Women’s Studies seem to surface out of nowhere. There are definite instances of mistreatment of women, and I do not think those should be ignored. But sometimes while striving for power and equality, women begin to lose sight of what they’re doing. Just because we should be treated as equals, does not mean we as women have the same strengths and weaknesses. We are different than men and instead of fighting to be the best at everything should embrace these differences. 

No, I am not approaching life in a career-minded manner. I don’t think I should have to, or have to defend myself for feeling that way. It just isn’t my goal in life. I am going to school, and I have full confidence that I will use some of the skills I learn here (emphasis on some…there are a certain number of stupid classes we all have to take for absolutely no reason – i.e. Library)  in some sort of job or responsibility. By no means do I plan on being a show mom that in reality has a nanny and housekeeper to take care of responsibilities and instead does lunch in order to keep up on the neighborhood social scene. Nor do I plan on being a housewife as soon as I get married and never have a stable job. There’s a lot to me, and I think I can accomplish many things. 

I’m tired though of this new modern trend, a world where suddenly I am a complete failure if I want to do “nothing more” than being a mom. I’m expected to hold down a full-time job, raise well-behaved and well-rounded children, put dinner on the table, and maintain my sanity? Really? Thanks feminist movement. Forget the glass ceiling, now we’re facing a glass floor.

I don’t need more woman power, just please give me respect, dignity, and love.

 

Lyrics from Sundress by Ben Kweller.

“And I believe in miracles, in miracles today”

I’ve touched on my feelings on the matter before, but I would like to say loud and clear that sometimes I hate the word “Christian” or at least the association that goes with it. Christ-follower is the new church jargon for the same thing, but it is only a matter of time before the term is also ridiculed for the hypocrisy and judgment it lavishes to all around them.

There are crazy people (and I am going to stick by that description, even if you disagree) that came to Missouri State every so often with bullhorns or signs condemning all the sinners. Last spring, as I was walking to class I saw a man who had a large crowd gathered around listening to him calling them all whores. Apparently, every girl on the campus is one because we were ALL having sex. News to me. His next topic was the flaming homosexuals. A girl next to me turned and said, “So if all the girls are whores but all the guys are gay, who is having sex?”

The whole time he kept yelling and pointing and telling people they were going to hell. Whilst doing so he waved his Bible around above his head. That’s the Bible I read and believe in. It makes me sick to my stomach. We somehow carry the same title of “Christian” yet I wanted to scream and shout saying, “This is not love! It’s about love!”

Today there was a very significant editorial published, and this time it wasn’t written by me. This blog might not seem to fit the editorial, but I assure you they relate. God is love. My faith is about love. Evangelism is love. I just want to love.

Lyrics from Miracles by James Laugerman.

“Yes, we speak of things that matter, with words that must be said”

Professional behavior. Please define this in a complete sentence: Acting in a manner that exhibits company ideals and best represents the company. No dictionary gave this definition; I suppose a company handbook would have to be the real place to look for professional behavior. It most likely varies from place to place but consists of a bunch of adjectives that exemplify someone of great character.

I have nothing against professional behavior, in fact, I’m rather fond of it in many cases. The problem is that sometimes professional behavior or professionalism have you, is rather vague in nature. Suddenly, you have customers, employees, and supervisors throwing out this phrase that is not specified. Or maybe, they don’t even throw out the phrase, just expect it of you.

For instance, yesterday, I sent an e-mail to my editor at The Daily saying I was too busy to take on any assignments this semester. The reasons I sent an e-mail are numerous. For starters, my main form of contact with my editors have been through e-mail. I had been given an assignment online. If I recall correctly, scheduling an interview and a job offer were both sent through e-mail. All information  ever sent to me about taking photos there were in the form of e-mail. However, within an hour, I was sent an e-mail saying she understood, but my behavior was unprofessional. I should have called at least.

Now, the point of this blog is not really to prove that I was right and she was wrong. My point is merely the irony behind it all. In this particular case, e-mail was the primary form of contact. Why am I suddenly expected to pick up the phone or go into the office? If my behavior was unprofessional, wasn’t hers? In order to tell me I was being unprofessional by e-mailing, she e-mailed me.

Perhaps I was in the wrong. In reality, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I rarely had many assignments last semester so I was hardly a loss to the staff. I have absolutely  no hard feelings toward anyone working there, I just didn’t have enough time. It was just so interesting to me how it played out.

Now that there is such an  overdependence on technology, people are losing face-to-face contact more and more in their daily lives. This gap in between personal and digital relations is becoming increasingly less by the day. Before we know it, corporations will be announcing that they are laying off hundreds of people through a blog. Oh wait. Maybe by turning down assignments via e-mail I was just keeping up with society. I was being trendy.

Lyrics from The Dangling Conversation by Simon & Garfunkel.

“The threat of your love in the headlights”

It’s time to confess – my most recent guilty pleasure has been watching The Bachelor. I caught up on the latest episode online tonight. My mom and sisters apparently have really gotten into it too, which is surprising to me. My mom will get on the phone with me and start chatting about his rose decisions. I have never seen a season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette before now, but this one has been impressive from some reason. Naturally, he’s pretty cute (honest sidenote: I had a crush on a guy once that has a striking resemblance to him, weird), but the girls are equally intriguing. They all have their own strategies and fears and outstanding qualities. This episode he eliminated one more girl than he needed to, which added a dramatic twist.

Each and every one of the girls eventually crack and let some of their emotions out on the table (some sooner than others of course). While I’m sure they each want to appear to be calm and confident, on the inside they are all about ready to crumble. They have to balance between being interested and allowing themselves to fall for this great guy, while at the same time staying at a level that they will be able to bounce back with. Each week a few more go and they never know when it’s going to be them.

This lack of consistency has to be insane. I can’t imagine their relationship can ever truly grow in a healthy manner. Whoever this bachelor does decide to propose to at the end will have a tough time after all of the fireworks and glamour fade away. That woman will most likely always feel like she can never truly give of herself because they had to literally share him as their relationship developed.

Trust is such a crazy thing. It leaves you wondering if you’ll face rejection or deceit. No one wants to be that girl that feels duped because she was too naive to see what was happening all along. But then on the flip side, blocking out all love and emotion leaves you feeling more empty and unhappy, not to mention sends mixed messages to the one you have all of these feelings for. It’s not only the people on this ridiculous show that have to figure out how to maneuver through this, but everyone to a certain extent. Obviously, this show is an exaggerated example, which is why it is on television. Nonetheless, it is a hard thing to learn, and one that I still don’t have figured out.

Lyrics from Closing In by Imogen Heap

“For the first time in such a long, long time”

Last year when I returned from winter break, my RA gathered all 30 girls on the floor and gave us all a number of announcements and who knows what else for several hours. One of the things she had us do was take a crayon and a piece of paper to make a list of goals. I was annoyed at the elementary idea and wrote ridiculous things down like “play piano” (haha – check) and “smoke more cigars” (oh my – not so much but that’s okay).  (In retrospect, I was not happy in Missouri…now that I go to a school I like, it has become very clear)

While I generally hate the idea of declaring resolutions or goals, I always do it. The thing about resolutions though is that no one keeps them, or at least no one really expects you to keep them. One year I resolved to read my Bible every day and was told within a week by someone at church it wasn’t going to happen. (It did. That’s not a resolution I’d make again because it became a habit instead of a one-on-one learning time with God…however, it should be done every day. Basically, the intention and motivation needs to be in the right place. It became almost a chore at that point in my life – yet still substance that was needed. Now, I’d like to read the Bible every day, but because I  want to and need to read it each and every day. I’ve digressed, anyway, that was a resolution I kept.)

This year, unlike many other years, I’m claiming a resolution and sharing it with the public. It’s one that covers the vast number of improvements I’d like to make on my life. 2009 Resolution: GROW. Okay, so it’s broad. Whatever. This year my goal is to grow each day is some way (other than physically maybe – I’ve haven’t grown in height since eighth grade and I’d really rather not grow width-wise).

To some extent this could mean anything, and I really appreciate flexibility. There are rules though. This growing cannot be obligatory (i.e. reading for school does not count). It cannot be repeated more than two days in a row, however can be done three or four days in one week, it just has to be varied. Or, it can be done every day of the week if I want it to, but then something else needs to be done in addition. Ways of growing include but are not limited to: musically, intellectually, athletically, emotionally, socially, personally, da-da-lly,  da-da-lly, da-da-lly……… The list does not particularly include spiritually mainly because that is a all-time goal for everyday and should be the constant. This growing is separate (well, it could be incorporated), it is an addition to spiritual growth.

How is this growth measured? I’d like to hope that it will be exhibited in a way that is noticeable to others, however it is my measurement of growth that needs to be met and no one else’s. At the end of the day, I plan to spend a little bit of time evaluating my day and figuring out how I’ve grown in that day. It might be worth writing down each day, but then I may be less inclined to keep up with that. We’ll see though. It would be really cool to be able to read each day how I’ve grown.

Lyrics from Brand New Day by Joshua Radin.

“I’d like to know about when, when does it all turn around?”

Can knowledge really ever be bestowed upon those younger than yourself? I am not about to claim old age or even wisdom, however, I have learned a few things (at least I hope I have) since junior high. After being with family this past week and watching my cousins and sisters allow themselves  to be consumed by such ridiculous things I wanted to sit them down and explain all that I’ve been able to learn.

Maybe some things do have to be learned by experience. I’m sure people warned me things then that I brushed aside (heck, I’m sure people shake their heads and want to teach me things now…it’s probably something you don’t really grow out of doing). At the same time, if only I could spare them some of those hard-learned lessons.

Let me go broad – is all humanity destined to make the same mistakes and never learn? Because I would love to stop the cycle. I’m not even entirely sure what that would entail, but to begin with, there needs to be more role models. More prayer. More teaching. More examples. More love.

Lyrics from Typical by Mute Math.