Sunday, July 7, 2013

Picking Up Dead Weeds

It's been a year and a half since I've last written, and so some much things has  have changed.

This morning, I woke up before sunrise to my dog, Rosie, climbing into bed with me.  She does this every morning, and I usually let her outside, crawl myself back into bed, and then fall fast asleep for a few more hours.
This morning, I couldn't fall back to sleep at all.

I've been so anxious and cranky lately. I suppose I'm in that place that most 20-somethings find themselves: wondering what exactly it is they're going to do with their lives.
I look around myself and feel so behind the curve. Most of my best friends have graduated and have full time jobs now, or are working on Master's degrees, and I'm still stuck in this undergraduate faze, puzzling about whether or not it's ever going to amount to anything... wishing I would grow up... feeling inferior because I haven't yet.

So, I got out of bed at sunrise this morning and did some thinking and some praying.

I keep panicking that I'm going to miss my "calling." I've imagined that my "calling" is something huge and exciting and world changing and dangerous and awe-inspiring, and that someone's going to write a book about it someday -a book that may even inspire a film! Maybe I'm going to write the book... and star in the film! (On that note, I better start writing more, and take acting lessons, and learn to juggle saws, because if I don't I'm going to miss my calling.)


So, this morning when I got out of bed at sunrise and did some thinking and some praying, it dawned on me that maybe my calling is really much more difficult (read much more simple) than all of that. Maybe my calling is to do all of the little things I'm doing right now whole-heartedly, to discover the excitement that is in the day-to-day. All of that excitement that I've been ignoring because I'm too busy looking out for the next big thing, the day my life truly begins.

Upon reaching this new level of awareness, I did something drastic.

I stood up, stretched, put on some shorts, and finally picked up the dead weeds from the front yard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I did something really crazy today

And I'm still adjusting.
Okay... here go's....

I changed my major to Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music.
I'm a Bluegrass major.
I'm going to be in school for the rest of my life.

I don't know how I feel about this. I just felt like I needed to do it. Now, that I have though... I'm FREAKING out. I think I'm scared. Horrified.
I think, I don't want to be in school forever... but this is probably what I should have been doing the whole time.
So... please send some prayers my way if you think about it, although, there are much more important things to pray for... than myself... and my Blugrass dilemma.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ideas for staying young

I've decided to make a list of things that I think would make the world a better place. Maybe not the world... but they are things that make me happy, and they're things that I wish I did more often, and they're things that I think everyone should do more often, just because they're healthy things (I think)... but mostly they're things that I wish I did more often, so I'm writing them down. This is just my list. My silly fun list. My occasionally serious list. My list that may or may not make someone else happy, but I just felt like putting it here.
Enjoy =)

Joy's possibly senseless tips for staying young at heart:

1) Meditate.
     For me, this means pray. Lately, I've taken to writing 3 pages a day. 3 "morning pages," they're called. (This concept comes from The Artist's Way, a book on creativity by Julia Cameron.) Set aside a half hour a day for yourself. Use the time to reflect, pray, think, draw, breath, say what you need to say... whatever. And take time to recognize that there are at least some things worth reading. Search for truth, and search for wisdom every day.

2) Drink 64 ounces of water.
    This is recommended by actual people who know actual things... not just me! And... my, it feels good to drink that much water in a day. Really it does. (Just not all at once... that hurts.)

3) Turn on the radio... or turn it off.
     I used to listen to too much music, I think. It was more like a habit than a conscious activity. Now, I don't listen to enough. Maybe this is more about balance for me. Find balance. Take time to enjoy things... and then maybe think about why you enjoy them. 

4) When you turn on the radio, dance around your room like a crazy person.
     You know you've done it, and you know it's fun, and you know you should do it more often... and if you haven't done it (that's a really big if) then just start doing it because you're missing out.  

5) Make that really tough choice that you know is the right choice.
    The peace that comes afterwards is much greater than the pain/struggle that is around while you're in the midst of your choice-making... really. It's so worth it to know you've done the right thing.

6) Ask for help, advice, whatever. Tell your friends and family about your goals.
     You're not in it alone, even if you think you are. Stop believing in solitude. Stop saying, "no one understands me... wahhhh." It's time to get over the teenage angst.

7) Read a Proverb a day.
     In the Bible, the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters. 1 book for every month. This wonderful, life-changing, soul-grabbing fact was introduced to me by my pastor, Tootie Wright. Honestly... read something wise every day.

8) Wear a bright color.
    I hide in my clothes. It's true. I was looking at my closet the other day, and I thought... "everything's gray." I don't like to be the center of attention and for some reason, I guess I've always feared that bright colors, or a really cute outfit would do that. Well, I don't think it does. Take a risk. Wear the bright shirt. Dress up on a Thursday. Curl your hair. Who cares! Let yourself feel beautiful, or edgy, or whatever. 

9) Care more about others.
    This probably should have been No. 2, but oh well. Seriously, care about others. Our lives are so deeply connected. I'm astonished at how much we affect each other, just by living. So, think about others. Think about how your life affects their lives and think about what's best for everyone. I think this, above all else, motivates me to live better: the fact that what I do can make a difference to others.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Next year's words await another voice.

Goodness, I've been away for quite a while. I'm sorry for this, but I'm not going to go on about it. I have something else to go on about.
*Warning* As it is New Year's Day, I had very little sleep last night, so I'm a little loopy, and possibly running on Coffee alone (Caffeine + very little sleep = Chatter-box Joy). But really that doesn't matter, and has nothing to do with what I have to say, but I'm telling you that anyway. Well, I told you that anyway.

What I have to say is that
a Brand. 

I know, I know, I'm not telling you anything you didn't know already, but this is a BIG DEAL. It's a HUGE deal. I am really excited about the fact that it is a Brand. Spanking. New. Bright, Shiny, Clean YEAR!

And, here's what I have to say about it:

     In my heart (and in yours too, I reckon...) there are two voices. One accuses, destructs, insults. Says, "You're not good enough. Your words aren't good enough. Your heart, your spirit -they're not pure enough." This voice says, "You can't."
     Another voice, it whispers love. It whispers, "You're good enough, because I love you. Your words are treasure, because they're your creation, and I created you to create. Your heart, your spirit, -they are beautiful because I gave them to you. (Ez. 36:26)" It says, "You can, because I made you."
I've listened to that first, hateful voice way too much lately.
I say, "lately," -what I really mean is for a very long time.

The result(s)?
A 3.5 year creative block.
A near paralysis of self-expression.
A near complete loss of identity (self-concept).
A feeling of being lost, blind, pointless, powerless, useless... need I continue?
(And even now, that voice says, "Aren't you being a little bit dramatic?" No, voice. I'm not. It's true... jerk.)

   I sealed off my heart -from the inside.
Don't misunderstand: I didn't guard my heart -I let the whole world in...
What I did was refuse to let any of my heart back out.
I've been afraid -stumped by that hateful voice around every corner. I guess I thought, "I don't really have anything worth saying in here." I believed those mean lies -that horrible, awful, deceitful, accusing voice. I let that voice win.

And I guess I'm writing all of this now because... I don't want that voice to win anymore. And because I'm so thankful that I've finally recognized it for what it is. And because it's a Brand. New. Year. and I'm not listening to the doubts anymore. I'm going to say what I think, feel, believe. 
I'm going to create.

 I'm going to create because that's what I was created to do.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

- T.S. Elliot

Friday, September 9, 2011

On being luke warm.

Apathy sneaks up on you, and then jumps out screaming obnoxiously and waving its head and hands back and forth while making some hideous face that's meant to be goofy-scary. Times like these, I find myself in the midst of a situation wondering how on earth I got there, and knowing exactly how, all at the same time.
Maybe it's a questioning thing. A test of faithfulness?
 It's weighing what I want with what I need and deciding I'm tired of making the difficult, right decision.
Then it's the aching to be whole. Whole like I felt when I made the difficult, right decisions.
And then, I'm walking forward, back on track. And apathy is lurking in the shadows, waiting for the next best moment to jump out.

I just want answers. And ease.

I feel like the author of Ecclesiastes. Life is short, so eat, drink, and be merry. Focus on good things.
No, I don't really feel like that always.

I just want to find a balance. I'm always hot or cold, and things I do in one state completely oppose things I do in the other, so it's like I'm constantly climbing fences that my alter-ego has built.
Is this the struggle of the human spiritual condition? Or am I just strange?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Confessions of an introverted photographer

I usually feel incredibly awkward in social situations. I really like my alone time, but then when I have my alone time, I get incredibly lonely.

My photography professor and I had a conversation about content today. Photographic content. What is my content?

It took me a little longer than it probably should have to realize that I photograph the most when I'm somewhere alone, somewhere beautiful or warm or happy or intriguing. All of my favorite photographs are of things that I find incredibly pleasant (or ironic or interesting) and long to share with someone else.

I have often felt like an inferior artist because there's no deep philosophy or planning to my work. I just like to capture things I like -and share them. I like to pause, examine the things that I find beautiful, and somehow make someone else examine them too. Look at that gorgeous sunset, or look at the color of that chair against the color of the brick, or look at the laugh lines on that sweet woman's face. 

I guess the truth is that when I am photographing, I mean really photographing -not just doing some assignment, but really being me and taking pictures because I want to take pictures at that moment- well, it's really just a huge part of me saying, "I wish you were here. Whoever you are, I just really wish you were here."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Be proud of your bananas

I have a confession - I haven't been recycling since school started. I'm only one week in though, and I've mostly used my plastic water bottle/brita filter for drinking... but still... I've definitely tossed a few bottles this week. Gotta step it up.

I did, however, try to shop responsibly, and since I have this obsession with peaches and bananas, I decided to research my bananas. 

For the record, I buy Chiquita, and you can check out their adorable website here. Now, I'm not completely naive (debatable, I know), and I know that this is information from the company, not from any critics or whatever, but I did google-image their plantations and that all seemed legitimate. I still feel like that's a pretty futile research effort, though. Where does one go to find out the truth about these companies? 
We need another journalist like Upton Sinclair. Okay, so there's plenty of journalists out there like Upton Sinclair these days, especially since being socially responsible has become the "hip" thing to do, but I just need to learn how to find them. 

In other news, I went home for the summer, and when I returned to Clarksville I discovered that my church exploded. Not in the literal sense, in the metaphorical sense. Our little choir of 20-some people is now a vast choir of 60-some people, and all the leadership team just seem so happy, and it's not that superficial our church business is finally making a profit kind of annoying happy that you find in "successful" churches these days. It was a legitimate excitement. You know, that moment immediately proceeding an incredibly dry, seemingly stagnant period of life, when you look around and think My goodness, God, You're working and I can see it! It's like that kind of happy. I'm excited to see what happens!