Tag

Heart and mind

Let’s Talk About God!

“Let’s talk about God!”

*uncomfortable silence*

*random cough from the back of the room*

I want to believe in God. I SO want to believe. The thought is comforting; soothing. The logic is: though the decisions I make have their consequences, it is all a part of a greater plan; His plan. And since I’m a (relatively) nice person, everything- in the end- should turn out okay, right? RIGHT???

The image of a giant man with a long, white beard, sitting upon his throne behind the pearly gates in the clouds just doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t seem to force my brain to give credence to this outlook. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong— just not for me.
[Post-composition edit: As my plane just hit turbulence, I was praying to EXACTLY that guy. I’m a walking contradiction.]

Comedian Chris D’Elia said, “You can believe what you want to believe, just don’t act like it’s not creepy.” We all have our own thoughts, but I hate when people think that theirs is the only normal one out there. Not true. They’re all pretty unorthodox (no pun intended… fine, a little bit intended). Embrace it, because life is pretty weird (and- let’s face it- creepy, too), and that’s okay.

That’s not to say that I don’t have faith in something greater than myself. It seems rather ridiculous to think that I’m IT; their must be something more. I NEED there to be something more.

Hippie-dippie as it may sound, I truly believe that to get good energy out of the universe, you need to put good into it. Not necessarily through grand gestures, but by doing simple things- smiling at strangers, helping a friend move, truly trusting a person’s word. My daughter likes to leave pennies on the ground for others to find. You don’t need to anonymously donate 7 million dollars to a children’s charity to release good energy (though if you do, it’s not a bad thing).

Often this “positive energy” is perceived as “naivety,” and the person (namely, me) is walked, stomped, and at times even marched upon. Of course I’ve done my share of marching, but I digress.

Why, then, do I choose to raise my children in the church?

This is a question that I’ve battled internally since their birth. Eugene Mirman once said “It’s the specificity of religion that’s a little silly.” Though I don’t have ALL the same beliefs as my fellow Catholics (it’s just TOO specific!), something about the lifestyle just feels right to me. It’s probably due to the fact that my own childhood was spent going to mass each Sunday, saying grace before dinner, and considering the consequences of sin. These traditions, along with the values that can be instilled through Catholicism, are not necessarily a bad thing for my kids.

And, organized religion makes the world seem a bit smaller and a bit safer.

That said, it’s important for them to understand the significance of acceptance. Acceptance for people of ALL religions, cultures, and lifestyles. If you hate someone, like, TRULY hate, it should be because of his sucky personality, not because he’s Jewish or Irish or gay or collects Beanie Babies.

In the end, it’s important to understand that nobody actually knows, and no one WILL know until the time comes.

It’s actually a strange, unifying feeling that- regardless of what we believe- we will all find out the truth within a few minutes of dying. It’ll be the end. Lights out. Or, perhaps, lights on, depending on what you believe.

 

****This post would not have been possible without listening to the thoughtful musings of my friend Pete Holmes (he doesn’t know that we’re friends yet) and his guests on the podcast “You Made it Weird,” that I highly recommend. Simply click on the link or listen on your favorite podcast app. You’re welcome.

Had me thinking about God

Good Enough

The years after college were my most confident.
I was praised at work. I was enthusiastic about trying new things. At the age of 21, I was confident and blissfully happy.
I felt good enough.

When I turned 24, I took on a new teaching job that was a bit out of my element, so I studied. I studied my ass off, and presented to the class what I had learned. It was not easy (especially being amongst the hormonal teens), but I was given confidence by all the people who surrounded me.

I felt good enough.

Around that time, my boyfriend and I moved in together. I felt like I could be myself: silly, quirky, sarcastic. It was like the ultimate sleep-over with my best friend.

I felt good enough.

When I went to graduate school in the evenings, I raised my hand to participate in discussions. I worked hard to get high marks. My work ethic was good, especially when I was 9 months pregnant and couldn’t fit in the attached desks anymore.

I felt good enough.

I had my baby. She had the most perfect ears; I remember staring at the tiny swirl, the bluffs and the miniature valleys that formed an impeccable archetype. She was a good baby, but no matter how many books I poured over, I had no idea what I was doing, and neither did my husband.

I was stay-at-home-mom, wasn’t I supposed to know? Wasn’t that motherly instinct shit supposed to kick in by now?

Her pediatrician assured us that she was thriving: hitting her milestones when she was supposed to, but I still had so many doubts.

I felt just barely good enough.

My new position in life was strange because I hadn’t anticipated it. I wasn’t really sure what to do. Should I vacuum everyday? Make a roast? My mom always worked outside the home, so I didn’t have a model. None of my friends stayed home- they didn’t even have kids yet- so I couldn’t commiserate or ask questions. I was alone.

I strived to feel good enough.

I was blessed with another pregnancy a couple of years later, but without the distraction of work, I could really concentrate on how awful I felt. I was nauseated by every smell, tired in the middle of the day, depressed and more alone-feeling than ever. I withdrew, trying to hide myself behind my belly. I went to doctor’s appointments, my toddler by my side, my husband working extraneous hours to be able to afford another child. Or maybe it was to avoid me. Can’t say I’d blame him.

I didn’t feel good enough.

After my son was born, I felt slightly better, but still something was slightly “off.” I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. When the doctors asked me questions, everything seemed jumbled in my head. I couldn’t recall memories correctly. I was frustrated and never felt more dumb. I tripped over my own feet and couldn’t walk in a straight line: My body wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. My new baby was difficult. He screamed while my toddler ran in circles around me, holding her hands up to her ears to block out the noise. I had failed her. I was failing him. I was a failure.

I wasn’t good enough.

My husband left me.

I wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t good enough.

 

Secret Pleasure

Alone at last…

The embarrassing things that I file away in my personal shame folder are numerous, and I don’t think I have the courage to share them all, but I will say that I have an extraordinary love for 30-minute sitcoms with simple, somewhat fatuous plot lines, reading insignificant “articles” (and I use that term loosely) on the internet, and checking the time-suck that is Facebook every 7 seconds.

Another thing that I’m ashamed to admit is that I LOVE being alone. Like, I’m crazy about it. I’m wild for it.

If alone-time and I were bobbing along in the frigid waters after the crash of the Titanic, I’d probably make some room so it could float along beside me on a broken off piece of door. Just sayin’.

One of the main reasons that I like to keep this pleasure of mine a secret are the many judgements– some of them true- that could be thrown my way upon hearing this truth.

“How selfish- you have children after all!”
“You’ll come to regret that desire to be alone when you really ARE alone!”
“You must take issue with the social norms and customs that should be celebrated, not defied!”

To that I say… well, you got me.

Yes, I am a little selfish. Not always, but I’m a round character, a person who has many aspects of her personality. I am self-centered at times, but I am also warm and giving (or so I’d like to think). I can extend myself to others- especially my kids- because I’ve gotten the chance to be refreshed in my alone times. Think of me as a rechargeable battery.

I am convinced I’ll come to lament about the times I should have cherished in the past. The lack of privacy that comes hand-in-hand with parenting small children, the tiny voices that trail behind you, asking “But, why?” about everything, the enthusiastic morning wake-ups before sunrise. But don’t we always feel a sense of grief about times gone by and pasts that happened far too quickly? Regret is always going to be a definite, even among the happiest of people, so loving my “me time” should come sans guilt.

I’ve found myself with more alone time than ever since my separation, and I think it’s honestly made me a better (and more patient) mom. I went from being “Mommy” all day, every day to having a couple of weekends each month to myself.

I enjoy going to the movies alone; not sharing my popcorn and not compromising on what I’d like to see.
Dining out with only the company of my kindle is a treat, as I can leave whenever the mood strikes me and eat wherever I want.
I take long baths.
I go to cooking class.
I walk around the library.
I attend yoga.
I lay in my bed and watch 30-minute sitcoms with simple, somewhat fatuous plot lines.
I do whatever I want.

I consider this a secret pleasure, because our society makes it seem as though people who desire to be alone should feel ashamed. It is true, however, that being alone- even lonely- at times allows us to appreciate and grow to love the chaos that comes with being together.

Fear: Does Writing Scare Me?

Fear, that coward; that bully who frightens his victim into resignation.
Defeat this oppressor with action, simple as it may be, for it is in the stagnation that he performs best.

I haven’t sat down to write like I used to. This presents a considerable problem (not to the outside world necessarily) but to my own psyche that thrives on the outpouring of my soul onto paper.

There are a slew of reasons why: excuses, some of the legitimate, some of them not so much. Time being one of these justifications: who has the time? There just isn’t enough time. Maybe tomorrow, next week, when things slow down, someday…

It becomes scary when “too much” time has gone by. All of a sudden, the blank page faces me and I find myself in the grungy hands of fear. I need to make a change.

In my spiritual quest as of late, I’ve been reflecting on time, specifically “time dysfunction” as Deepak Chopra describes it. I consider what is most important to me, in the now:

  • Spending meaningful moments with my family
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Writing

I ask: How can I arrange my now, my present life, to care for and nourish those things that are most important?

Faced fearI think of those things that I’m already doing, and I give myself a gold star before moving on. Then, I begin to-politely- ask fear to leave, as he is no longer welcome. My behaviors require constant reinforcement:
You’re doing great, Kirsten!
Keep up the good work!
This is for yourself, and you’ll be a better person for it. Promise. Swear. Girl Scout’s honor.

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

So I will not be, as Mr. Emerson says, a timid adventurer, and write I shall.
The time is now!

I am resolute; I will not fear.

I Smelled Fire

I smelled fire.
The moment I walked into the house from the garage, its pungent odor invaded my nostrils, but I couldn’t see the source.

To my right I saw him sleeping on the couch with the TV blaring ‘Lethal Weapon 3’ on TBS, the ingredients for the dinner he had promised to make while I was at class sat on the kitchen counter. I wondered how long that pork had been out.

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Soulmate

soulmate
I could write a book about all the ways I love you…

I’ve finally found someone with whom I share myriad interests and passions.
We enjoy the same kinds of movies (horror and comedies- nothing that makes either one of us feel emotions).
We have the same taste in music (all over the place; much like my mindset).
Figuring out our food options is never an issue (sushi again? Sounds great!).
I think I’ve found my soulmate.

Continue Reading…

The Lies We Tell (2)

(1)

At 16, I obviously knew everything.

The lies that I told were usually to intentionally create the kind of Beverly-Hills-90210-Dawson’s-Creek-esque drama that I kept vigil over each school night instead of studying for world history. I became this theatrically foolish teenager as my relationship with my very first long-term boyfriend, Brad, progressed.

Lucky him.

Thankfully this phase only lasted about a year, but there were plenty of characters whom I involved in my web during that time. Good people. Innocent people. When I think of my behavior during that time in my life, I get sick to my stomach.

I cheated.

When I tried to lie my way out of it, a web of deceit began to grow. Before I knew it this web had entangled me, got twisted in my hair, and caught in my mouth.

spider web

It tasted like tinfoil, and the flavor was that of treachery. When I allow the synapse of my brain to meander through these recollections from my teenage years, I taste the cold aluminum and feel as though I’m being zapped in a shamefully purgatory-like episode.

Unfortunately, the web ensnared others as well, Brad of course being a large fraction.

Normalcy came with time, with realization of my own worth, with amazing friends, with supportive family.

I can only speak from my perspective, because I never asked, but it seemed that everyone was okay. Quite a bit more okay than me, but I’ll never know for sure. Because I never asked.

In his yearbook just before graduation, I quoted Janice Joplin:

“I’d trade all of my tomorrows/ For one single yesterday…”

When Brad read it, he looked at me quizzically, like a sudden deformity had developed on my head. “Why? That doesn’t make any sense.” Then he closed the book and walked away.

His reaction was well deserved.

*untitled*

Sometimes I need to meander along the shoreline:

Feel the wet sand underfoot

To hear the tide pull pebbles up into its grasp

And lay them down again on the shore with a beautifully intricate whirl,

To visit with myself

Shore

Ladies, Behaviors of a Man that you Deserve

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Ladies, find a man who you deserve.

Find one who notices the goosebumps on your thighs, rubs his hands together and blows his hot breath on his palms, then rubs his warm extremities on your legs.

Find a man who is dependent on you in some respects, yet invaluable in others. You should both better the other.

… opens his eyes on a lazy Sunday morning, smiles sleepily, and kisses your elbow, because it’s the first skin he can get to, and he needs to touch his lips to you immediately.

… who makes you laugh uncontrollably and genuinely.

… who appreciates YOU: your sense of humor, your quirks, your un-made up face.

… who doesn’t even flinch when you storm in the morning, angry and ugly; pissed at everyone, pissed at life, pissed at the morning sun. He just simply says “Coffee?” (Bonus points for making it himself)

… who doesn’t lie.

… who doesn’t judge.

… who hopes that you’ll talk back, then truly LISTENS when you do.

Ladies, you deserve the best, as do I, though sometimes it’s hard to realize that. We make excuses, we try to change them.
Love isn’t supposed to be hard.
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P.S.- I compiled this list based on my son’s actions toward me within the past 24 hours.

P.P.S.- Before you all “aww” about his behaviors, please note that on the flip side he outwardly refused to make his bed and/or clean his room, smacked his sister on the arm, and made up a song with the chorus, “Girls are such stupid-faces, with dumb butts.”

“An Absent Detail” Secondo

Scared

(Continued from Introductory)

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“Mommy! I missed you so much!” She came over and hugged my waist, her 7-year-old scared little hands gripping at my sweatshirt.

What had happened in such a short period of time?

Confused, I looked down at Avery, who still had fistfuls of my clothing. Her voice was muffled as she spoke into my stomach. “I’m really scared, Mommy, really scared.”

I looked over at her little brother, who shrugged. “Can I stay up and watch tv?” He was completely oblivious.

“What happened? Why are you scared?” I tried to peel her off of me so I could hold her at arm’s length. She didn’t say a word.

I looked up at Tayler.

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