Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quoting Myself

Blue Too Soon

I felt Blue too soon
Because I wanted it to be you
I felt Blue too soon
Because your eyes lit up like moons
I felt Blue too soon
Without really looking at you
I felt Blue too soon
Even through our trip was doomed
I felt Blue too soon
Because I thought I believed in you
I felt Blue too soon
When the flowers hadn't bloomed
I felt Blue too soon
But it was too good to be true
I felt Blue too soon
And it wasn't ever really for you

Making Yourself Your Priority

    Recently, it has become apparent in my life that people around me are too preoccupied with what others want, and not genuinely concerned about the one person that truly matters...themselves.

    In a relationship, you cannot expect someone else to make you happy. That is not the function of a significant other, a best friend, or any relationship you form. The one person who knows exactly what to do to make you happy is you. You are the expert on you. Because of this, you need to pay attention to what you want in everything you do. You cannot control the situations you encounter, but you control the manner in which you respond to them.

    I have a friend who inspired me to post this. She is struggling with a dilemma involving her future with a guy who works with her; her dilemma being that she does not see a future with him. I have listened to her fuss over hurting this guy's feelings for about a week now, and she decided today to be up front and tell him that she doesn't see a future with him. When she was leaving, she was antsy and nervous, more worried about how he is going to feel than how she has been feeling for the last week. So I reminded her that her first priority is making herself happy, and I said to her what I quoted above, "You are not responsible for anyone's happiness but your own. You should be making yourself happy. And he should be making himself happy. And if it works out, then you can both make yourselves happy, together."

    My friend didn't even realize how selfless she was being, honestly. And although there is a selfless aspect to a relationship, but there is also a selfish aspect. You are allowed to be selfish when it comes to who you choose to spend your time with and develop a relationship with. If you aren't happy with something in your relationship, you have to communicate it to grow from it. And although doing this may hurt someone else now, it is kinder than forcing yourself to stay somewhere you feel less than completely comfortable. You deserve to be happy and respected and comfortable.

    Listen to yourself, and realize that discomfort is a sign that there is an issue.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Miracle Worth Mentioning

I didn’t know her well. I could hardly say I knew her at all.

When I was twelve, we heard news of my great grandmother falling ill. This shocking news took my family, especially my mother and grandfather, into shock. And I genuinely felt bad for not feeling a thing at the time, and justified that with the idea that I’d only seen her as a small child.

The hospital where she now laid, was where she’d been her whole life. In her youth, she’d gone up and down the hallways singing hymns as she aged from a nurse to an elderly volunteer. Everything I heard about her, I believed, but it seemed unreal. I was told about this beautiful, soulful woman with faith like a rock, and doubted this description’s reality in the back of my mind. I had never been religious, I had never discussed it, and I never wanted to.

But I was in a bad place, emotionally and mentally. Looking back, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t depressed, but going through my days stagnate and dulled was typical of me. I don’t think I felt back then. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I’ll never forget how she happened to me.

Granny was not doing well, to say the least. This was not a hospital visit where any visiting really occurred- this was more of a stare-at-what-used-to-be-your-great-grandmother-laying-there-with-her-mouth-wide-open-like-a-corpse-in-some-horror-film. Needless to say, not a pretty picture, and quite a brutal one to see at twelve. Alas, we sat. And sometimes we stood. And restlessly, we’d return to our seats eventually. Not much was said, because there wasn’t much to say. The doctor would come in with the same emotionless look on his ancient face, and he’d sigh and pet her head for a moment, but promptly leave. At first, my grandpa asked questions about his mother, but when the news remained the same, even he gave up asking.

I recall wishing I could go home, not knowing why I had to be there to literally watch my great grandmother on her deathbed when I didn’t remember her. And when we left the hospital that night to head to our hotel, I didn’t realize it then, but God responded directly to my ignorant questioning of the situation.

When we left the hospital, the awkward almost goodbyes extended were disheartening, and I hated to see my family in so much pain, but even more than that I questioned how heartless I was for not being affected. The doctor had been good friends with my grandmother for years, and the only statement he uttered while fighting back tears was “She won’t make it through the night,” and I could feel the shivering of the wrinkles on his face. So we trudged to the cramped hotel for the last night we’d spend there, and not much was said between my mother and me. I couldn’t imagine how she must have felt to be losing her grandmother, a woman I didn’t know the first thing about. I didn’t come up with anything to say to her, and we fell asleep slowly.

3am, the phone rang.

I could see it in my mom’s face- this was the call. And she didn’t answer right away- no, she took her time, waiting for that last ring, biting her lip with tears welling up in her eyes. And I closed my eyes as she answered, preparing myself for the worst. And as I opened them again, her face had softened. And I was told to get dressed because we were going. I rushed and got a crappy t-shirt and some leggings and house shoes on, and rode the two blocks to the hospital puzzled.

Upon arriving, there was a sound that caught my attention. I was making my way down hallways of linoleum heartbreak and was certain I was listening to the soundtrack of defeat. I remember its eerie growl, and it was almost a tune, maybe a song. I couldn’t decipher it, but it had my attention the whole walk to her room. And as we approached the sound was met by a similar one, coming from her room. They molded together and met in a harmonious eerie quality I wish I could put into words. It was when I saw her that I realized what I’d been hearing.

Did you ever hear that old church hymn? The one that goes “Oh, how I love Jesus?” It probably has some other words, but those weren’t part of this version. I suppose it was all she could remember. But she was awake. Not only awake, she was singing.

Now, in her day, Granny had a beautiful voice I’m sure, but the voice of a woman on her dying bed was not. And that was the irony of it, because at first it had pained my ears to listen to, and three steps later I had determined it was the most beautiful sound my ears had ever heard. And what was so breathtaking was that the only words she had uttered since she woke up were “oh, how I love Jesus” and it had grown into a song, and she hadn’t stopped.

This singing continued through the morning until it was light, until the sun shone through her window on her pale complexion and illuminated her graciousness. We had all joined in, because what else was there to do but be a part of the miracle before our eyes? Some were crying, and slowly they’d reach for someone and smile and hug them or pull them close and say something about how beautiful she was, or how godly she was, or how amazing this all was. And it was. It was the single most powerful experience of my life, and it wasn’t over yet.

The singing came to a slow stop, and although she still mumbled “oh, how I love Jesus” at least once a minute, she began to speak to the family. She called over her sons, and she talked to them about their late father, and how much they’d both loved them. And she called my grandma to her, and held her while she cried. She called my uncles and my mother, and told them how beautiful their children were and how much they’d grown into adults she was proud of. And there was a pause after she’d reached my mom, and she said my name.

Her voice was calm but scratchy, and I was scared, but my mother pulled me to her. She held my hand, and told me how much I looked like my mother, and that she remembered her at my age. And then the unthinkable happened. She asked the rest of the family to leave the room. My cousin, who was slightly autistic, was not happy to have been left out. I remember watching her start to cry because she thought grandma didn’t recognize her. And you couldn’t blame poor Granny. She was 96, and probably wouldn’t have recognized me if I hadn’t been the only blonde in the family besides my mother. But at that time, I realized the weight of this moment.

When they’d left, it was so silent I could taste it. Her bony fingers stroked my hand softly, and I sat there in silence anticipating what she could possibly have to say to me. What came to be still shocks me: she asked me about my relationship with Jesus.

I offered some nonchalant answer you give your grandma to please her. I knew she believed, and would be disappointed if I didn’t say the same. She squeezed my hand, harder than I expected she was capable of in her condition, and asked me to tell the truth.

So I began a serious of statements that went along the lines of: “I don’t know,” “I know I’m supposed to,” “I don’t feel comfortable discussing it,” “I don’t go to church,” “No, not really.”

Expecting a scorning from her, I was surprised to see the smile on her face echoed by the wrinkles covering the rest of its beauty. She didn’t question me. She didn’t scorn me. She loved me, you could see it in her eyes, and it was overwhelming. And she spoke, struggling slowly,

“Jesus loves you, he always has, and he always will. He will love you if you believe in Him or not. But I’ve been around for a while, and I can tell you, I’ve seen things. I’ve seen miracles, Shelby. And these past few days, He’s been with me, and with all of you. He’s here now, and He will be when I’m gone and you’re here on this bed in a hundred years. And He loves you, more than you can imagine, more than even I or your mother can. Just remember that.”

Grandma Brotzman passed away later that night. We were told that she was still singing up until her last breath, “Oh, how I love Jesus.” My grandparents said it was beautiful and peaceful, and that she said she could see him before she went, and that they’d never seen her look so happy as she did staring at the ceiling right then.

That’s how I like to picture her: Smiling up at Him; letting Him know she was ready for Him; knowing whole-heartedly she’d be with Him soon.

After that, I was not the same, selfish girl who’d traveled to Denton earlier that week. I contemplated what she’d said for days, for weeks. I went to church, and although I didn’t discuss what happened with anyone, I thought about it the whole time. And I continued to attend, and I sat alone and thought about what it meant to believe, and to be here, and to feel what these people felt for something I didn’t understand. I couldn’t believe how public they could be with such a personal relationship, and I decided that the publicized church life wasn’t going to be for me. But the day that I decided I wasn’t going to continue coming back, they played a hymn that was familiar. And as the ominous words “Oh, how I love Jesus” echoed through the pews, I felt something for the first time in forever- I felt loved, overwhelmingly and undoubtedly.

And I took that feeling with me, out the door when that song ended. And I didn’t return, and I didn’t need to, because there was a reason I’d been there. There was a reason my great grandmother was taken when she was. There was a reason that she’d recognized me that day. And to this day, I am convinced that God took a second to help me when I needed it most- at a pinnacle point in my development as a person. He stepped in, through Granny, and He loved me when I thought no one else did. She was supposed to remind me of that, and of His presence, and maybe that was what she needed to do before she left. Or maybe it was one of many things, but I believe it was the reason he made miracles happen before my eyes. He knew I was lost, and He needed my attention, so something drastic was in order.

I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that some things fall apart so others can fall into place, and that lives end so new ones can begin. I believe in miracles, and I believe every word that beautiful woman said to me that day. Most importantly, I believe in something.


A song to relate to this: Neck Deep- Candour

Finding Someone

I was hoping to find someone
And at first, I found you
And you were beautiful and turbulent
But perpetually untrue

I thought I was left with no one
And maybe I was back then
Being alone just couldn’t compare
To the way that things had been

Then I heard you found someone
And my world turned upside down
Because suddenly I realized
You wouldn’t be coming back around

And so I too searched for someone
To fill the void that once was you
And the memories of your company
Still choked me ‘til I was blue

And I failed to find anyone
Who could make me feel a thing
And when it came right down to it
I didn’t have much to bring

And so I searched for someone
In the depths of all that was me
Looked past the pushing it away
I was surprised with what I could see

And so I became someone
Someone I would want to meet
A girl who was strong but gentle at heart
And who refused to accept defeat

And so I found someone
And my chains and angst were freed
I had tried to make someone else
Fill what all along was me

And so I am someone
Who is proud and all alone
And maybe someone, somewhere
Will make this heart a home


Sunday, May 10, 2015

It's Okay To Be Alone

    I just want to speak to the girls who are feeling alone, and have thrown themselves on the bed in tears because they feel so much. And it may seem like the rest of the world doesn't feel the way you do, and maybe you're right, because being able to feel so deeply is a gift and a curse. It's a gift because you experience so deeply and realistically that they don't even understand. And it's a curse because they can't understand. It's difficult to empathize with the impossible for us.
    Don't settle. Ever. I don't care if it's a 3-week fling before finals or you're looking for the father of your children. If he doesn't make you feel like the most important and beautiful thing in the world, he doesn't know what he has. And if he steps all over you, challenge him. Women can no longer stand by and be coy; we must be vicious and vital and demand what we deserve. If he bailed, call him out. If he cheated, leave. If he doesn't react like he is losing the greatest prize the world has ever seen, he doesn't realize the value of the woman at his feet. If he doesn't deserve your raw, unkempt brand of affection, take it away from him. Take pride in removing yourself from a situation and keeping your head high. Take pride in being worth the wait. And take pride in the nights you spend in your bed alone, because it's better than feeling empty in a bed that is full.
    It's okay to be alone.
    It's okay to be sad about it.
    What's not okay, is devaluing yourself for immediate gratification.
    What's not fair, is allowing anyone to share in the beauty of your youth who doesn't bask in the gratitude that they have you and you alone.

    You're okay.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Angsty College Poem #1

I know I have to move on soon
'Cause it'll be 6 months in June
But I've got paintings in my head
Of you just laying in my bed

I don't regret a single second
With every heartbreak, there's a lesson
A phoenix can't rise without a fire
In this case, when you trust a liar

Scribbling messages in the dirt, of words you said and how they hurt

& I'll spring forward
With every fall back
Let the baggage
Begin to unpack
And scream the words
I know are true
Fuck your friends for telling me
That I could believe in you