Monthly Archives: September 2010

And Then the Preacher Said, “God…Make It Do Wat It Do.”

Wilma Rudolph at the finish line during 50 yar...

Image via Wikipedia

Among my many personal crises, I am going through one that will affect you too: the neighbor who so graciously let me pirate off his Internet has taken it down or moved or something, and so I am stuck snatching at what little Wi-Fi faintly penetrates the walls of my brick apartment.

Basically, I might not be blogging as much.

But anyway,

OK. Let me tell you all a little something about me. I like outrageous. I heart absurd. I laugh out loud at random. I cackle at irony. The more lewd it is, the less sense it makes, the more I love it.

(This could explain why my relationships tend to go the way they go, but I promise this post is not about that)

So imagine my sheer delight when I found myself in church this Sunday listening to a pastor who somehow managed to combine the outrageous, the absurd, the ironic and the downright bawdy into a sermon that uplifted my spirits to the point where I found myself reexamining my whole outlook on my life thusfar, and coming out of it feeling like Ricky Bobby–a winner.

It was college day at my church, and the congregation gathered in their college gear, hooting and woofing for their schools and booing rivals within the sanctuary.

We had a guest preacher, a classmate of the current youth and young adult pastor; they’re both working toward their master’s in theology I guess. I was sitting in the choir pews–for the first time in my life, I had been persuaded to face the congregation from the other side of the altar (basically, I’d been asked if I wanted to participate in the college choir).

I knew it would be an interesting sermon when he bowed his head and led the church in a prayer that said, with all the solemnty of a practiced pastor, “Lord, make it do wat it do. Amen.”

…and moved on.

This man did not acknowledge the joke. Just dove headlong into his sermon.

I laughed–I have a knack for bursting into laughter in uncomfortable situations. Everyone looked around, half-laughing, half amazed.

But after that laugh, I was rapt. You have to give a guy who doesn’t pause for the outrageous stuff he says your full attention–or else you’ll be wondering why everyone else is shaking their head in disbelief.

What he talked about though was even more amazing than his raucous delivery though–the message that just because you’re wounded doesn’t mean you won’t end up a winner. Or, as he put it, after preaching about “Mep”, the crippled son of the slain Saul and Johnathan who was restored to honor by King David,

“Just because you lost yo’ stride don’t mean you lost yo swag.”

He talked about how people sometimes get bitter after going through things that weren’t their fault, that they don’t understand, that they have no foreseeable way of fixing or changing. He talked about how it makes people hard inside to be inflicted with these wounds, how it makes them want to quit. How it makes them know nothing better than to bitterly wallow in a dysfunction that happened so early on that it seems normal to them–and he talked about the ways God will fix it, if you just don’t quit or become bitter.

Easier said than done and I’m way oversimplifying it here, but it was amazing. He talked about how, if people could just first open up and understand that they have wounds, and then after if they could show themselves to be trustworthy people when they received their second chance, then their woundedness would prove to be, like everything else in life, just a season–just the long, hard winter that precedes a mild and blooming spring.

It made me think about my life, about how sometimes I sit and get to thinkin bout all the if-thens that I could let make me really angry, sulky, jealous, discouraged, bitter, unmotivated.

Everybody has these ifs that linger, and they range in severity of deed and consequence but they’re all in their own way maddening. But something about how the way this pastor got up in front of the church and pointed out how this crippled man still had some parts workin cuz he got a son,

and then the way he tied that into the real-life story of Wilma Rudolph, a woman who overcame polio to become the first woman to win three gold metals running track in the Olympics (and the last one with a sprained ankle, at that!),

just had me shaking my head, like man. I gotta blog this.

Advertisements

The Perversion of the Compulsive Confessor


Janis Joplin. Killin it. 

I have this urge to confess, like, everything. It’s bordering on compulsion. Really, I could never get away with murder–it would be like The TellTale Heart. The secret would drive me mad.  

Which, OK. Confession is no alien concept in our society, especially among Christians. It’s been drilled into our heads that confession leads to redemption, confession wipes away the slate, confession leaves us clean. Confession, to either a priest or God (depending on your sect) is generally regarded as a good thing. 

Leave it to me to make it weird. 

My problem is that I am an inappropriate confessor. I confess things, like, out of nowhere to people who don’t really care and really are probably the most inappropriate people to confess things to. 

Compulsion. 

Last night, I was laying in my bed after taking some Non-Drowsy Robotussen DM and a (couple) shot(s) of brandy (I figured it was the absence of alcohol that made the DM non drowsy, so I could just supplement it by adding my own alcohol when I needed it to be drowsy, thereby making my Robotussen DM much more versatile. Even though, in hindsight, this is really not something I’d recommend as I had a series of dreams that were really just weird and gory, and I’d blame them on my love of zombie/Wives of King Henry VIII books and True blood, but for the fact that I’d self-medicated and that is most likely the source and the cause)… 

…when I was seized by the compulsion to confess. 

Last night, after I’d taken my cold medicine cocktail, as I was floating serenely to sleep, as I was awash in a haze of half-details from memories that would combine in my subconscious to form the basis of the night’s dreams…I was gripped with an urge to confess. 

I was in the middle of my nightly prayers, my mind was wandering, and as I was thanking God for my wonderful life, thoughts of events from the past few years that I’m not too proud of began to creep into my unguarded mind (yes I guard my mind from negative thoughts, call me a hippie then!). 

And the thing with me is that in my mind, there is no “lessening with time.” My cheeks still burn with the memory of the time I fell in front of everyone in 8th-grade Gym. 

I have this ideal of myself that I continually fall short of because the person who I’d like to be uses perfect grammar, can diagram a sentence, knows every word you throw at her, is always calm, demure, graceful, organized, beautiful, well-maintained, impeccably dressed, has a killer career, can walk in 5-inch heels, can accessorize her ass off, can drive a pickup, refurbishes furniture, knows her way under the hood of a car, gardens, cooks everything from scratch, never loses her temper, is always patient, has super soft skin, has great hair and nails, smells good, is in shape, is the perfect daughter, never hurts anyone’s feelings, remembers people’s’ birthdays, loves to help people and, above all else, can get any man she wants and never experiences rejection. 

It is critical that I embody all of these qualities at all times for me to experience a positive self-image. 

And in any situation where I fail to embody all of these qualities (namely, like, every situation ever in life) I feel the need to confess and explain my imperfections in hopes that my explanation will lead to redemption, thereby achieving perfection in a roundabout sort of way. 

In a way, 

I’m doing it now. 

This blog is sort of my confession. With every entry, I experiment with sharing a part of myself that I’ve tried to keep hidden, be it the bitter, the fearful, the unsure or the–er–compulsive confessor. 

Anyway. 

So last night, 

I was floating/praying, when the urge to confess gripped my chest as I thought of this dude who, in my mind, I was totally weird to. 

I sort of met him while I was going through my 2007-2008 annual breakdown and I sort of transferred that onto him, and since I’m sort of coming off my 2010 annual breakdown I just feel the need to compulsively confess why, two years ago, I was a little weird (not that I’m ever really “normal” per say or sei or whatever). 

Yep. 

That’s me. 

Compulsive confessor. 

No real life lesson, just…savin a little money on therapy by writin it out. Even though now, I have a full-time job! I start Monday (a total freakin miracle, and one I will definitely be blogging about soon)! Here’s hoping I don’t abandon this blog now that I can afford psychoanalysis =) 

Jk–I need writing like I need confession. 

Related Articles

Single By Choice…and Circumstance

This morning I was making myself a PB & J sandwich and thinking about my life, and I came to the conclusion that I am a very bitter young woman.

Dun dun dunnnn.

Don’t worry–I’m not trying to blow your hump day (hehe blow your hump day). I realize we all have two more days of the workweek to look forward to after this; I’m not tryin to bring anyone down. But I’ve had a few experiences lately that have shown me that it has grown to the point now where I think I’m being funny–but I’m actually being bitter. And this makes great blog fodder, so I’m going to share with you guys just a couple scenarios from my recent life that have brought to my attention my level of bitterness (and we can laugh together).

Scenario 1: Whilst at an art show this weekend with some of my good girl friends, I chanced upon two interesting young men. One was this dude who I sorta used to go out with but it fizzled and the other was some dude who I smiled at while I was cramming my face full of free sandwiches and chicken-fil-a chicken nuggets.

So the dude I used to see, I said hi to him and everything, and in my mind I felt like he didn’t greet me warmly enough (even though he was his same old jokey/flirty self), and so I resolved to avoid him the rest of the night while stalking him out the corner of my eye.

And I did do just that, so well that one of my girl friends noticed the shadow that crossed my face when I saw him talking to another girl out of my periphery and asked me about it.

To prove to everyone in life (namely my friend, the dude and myself) that I’m NOT bitter I resolved that I would interrupt his conversation with that young lady and compliment her shoes.

Still stalking them out of my periphery, I waited, plotting for the perfect moment to shoot my non-bitter compliment right through his heart, piercing it through so all his love for me could run out.

I chose the end of the night as my moment to strike. In my mind, it would be perfectly diabolical–punctuating my already-flippant goodbye with a compliment to the girl’s shoes would say, nay SHOUT, “I’M NOT BITTER AND I DON’T CARE THAT YOU SPENT THE WHOLE NIGHT TALKING TO THAT GIRL!”

….of course, when I actually did go to say goodbye, he kind of brushed it off like “Yeah bye” and I really couldn’t even see the girl’s shoes because she was, like, standing behind something, but I still was determined to compliment this damn girl’s damn shoes and so I did but I think it just came across as kind of odd, so overall I don’t think that had the effect I was going for.

The other young man at the art show who was kind of interesting is the dude I met while stuffing my face. And I honestly don’t even know why he talked to me for so long–I have this defense mechanism that flies up whenever I talk to any dude I find even remotely interesting wherein I say a series of things that are either rude, weird, rude in a weird way, weird in a rude way, or downright hostile.

Sexy, I know.

Like, one of my girl friends said she overheard me saying something to him along the lines of “That’s not rude, I just met you!!”

That probably wouldn’t be worth commenting on if it weren’t something I find myself saying constantly to dudes as I meet them, text them, and eventually wonder why they’re no longer texting me.

It doesn’t really matter, because I’m single by choice anyway, and I’m really enjoying life as just me, you know? Seeing what I do and say and think when I’m not doing and talking/thinking about some dude.

…but it has occurred to me that at this point, if it weren’t my choice to be single…I’d probably still be single.

I don’t know–here’s hoping that bitterness thing will fade with enough time and blogging. As the second interesting young man from the art show said, “Wow you’re pretty and interesting–I can’t believe you’re single.”

…and all I could do was laugh it off and shrug.

Some Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 24 Years Pt. 3

The Glory of Bleach

I may not always have gas in my car, and I may not always know what a dude means when he calls a girl his “friend”, but there is one thing in this life that I can always count on and that’s bleach.

Bleach never fails me.

Few know this about me because the overall state of affairs in my apartment is disarray, but I am an anally precisely clean person.

This is why I would like to write today on the wonders of bleach, the wonderdrug that allows me to most convincingly argue about the difference between dirt–and harmless ol’ mess.

Ah, bleach.

Let us pause for a moment in revire.

Let me ask you something: when have you ever smelled bleach and thought, “Gosh, this place is so trifelingly dirty”?

Exactly.

It’s a mathematical theorum:

Bleach > trifelin mess.

To put it in geometric terms,

If bleach is smelled then the person who cleans this house is thorough and meticulous and would pass a white glove test.

Bleach, you see, is not just for laundry.

In fact, in laundry, I feel bleach is sometimes misused. We have all been taught to bleach our whites, but in my research (i.e. talking to my grandmother), I have uncovered a much more effective way of keeping my whites white.

Traditionally, I have known people to wash their whites with bleach and hot water, but even before I talked to Mama Olivia (yeah that’s what I call my grandma) I’d noticed that my whites seemed to yellow over time using this method. In cross-referencing my hypothesis with Mama Olivia, she confirmed my theory: hot water + bleach (with whites) = yellowing and sometimes shrinkage.

Mama Olivia proffered this solution: Wash whites in COLD water to keep them crisp, and if you really want to go hard add a few drops of blue dye (note: she did not actually say “go hard”). Now, I’m a major advocate of washing all laundry (except bed linens and towels) in cold water anyway, so I took that as confirmation of my intuitive laundry genius.  I’m not gonna lie though–I haven’t tried the blue dye because…I don’t know…it’s just not in my brain as something to search out and purchase, but Mama Olivia knows everything, especially everything about housekeeping and she has kept her clothes looking really good for like 20 years (you know how grandparents can keep everything forever).

Whites, then, are a misuse of the glory of bleach in laundry.

One load I will use bleach while washing, however, is that of my bed linens and towels. Multiple uses = the need for disinfectant.

Imagine the crazy look I got from my mother the first time I came home with my laundry like “wait wait what are you doing I don’t use bleach for my whites! Bring it over here to this load full of colorful cloths that will show bleach stains!”

Through trial, error and countless white spots on old sheets and towels, however, I have perfected my method of using bleach while not bleaching my stuff.

This is what you do, and really, it is vital that you follow these instructions to the T.

FIRST, while the washer is empty, you add your detergent. CAREFULLY, you add no more than a capful of bleach to the washer, taking special care that it lands only at the bottom and none of it drops onto that big spin thingie in the middle. THEN, you fill your load with ONLY HOT WATER (still taking care to NOT put any items into the washer). Once the washer is full, then and only then are you cleared for loading.

I realize this post is getting quite long, so I will briefly touch on the other ways I use bleach. 1) For getting burnt-on crust off the bottom of pans–just pour a little bleach and soak it for like an hour and that crust will scrape right off (not that I’m so bad a cook that I have to have a method for salvaging pots…) 2) For washing dishes that have been sitting in the sink for, you know, a day or two (not that I’m so lazy of a housekeeper that I have dishes sitting in my sink for a day or two) 3) As a quick-fix to unclog drains 4) For regular household cleaning (vinegar is good for this as well but it’s really, REALLY important that you don’t mix bleach with any other cleaner if you do this because you will most likely get high and that’s illegal unless it’s prescription drugs in which case it’s neither illegal nor dangerous, apparently).

***EDIT: OMG OMG In my search for an image for this post, I came across one more use for bleach though I warn you it is not for the feint of heart or easily offended. Good to know there are options for combating aging though.

Sometimes the Only Way to Do It…Is to Do It

 

This bike may have saved my life

This post-college-rest-of-your-life transition has been rough for me because all I ever really wanted out of life was to graduate from college. I grew up with a single mother who had two kids before she was 21–the one thing she drilled in my head above all else was to graduate from college (childless).

OK. So I went to college, still with no real concept of what that would actually be like (to graduate and be childless), but, you know, I tried working and I didn’t like it so I said what the hey. And eventually, I hit my senior year and it really started to dawn on me that, even if I did get pregnant, there was still a really good chance that I would be waddling my butt across that stage (though, of course, that would be far from the ideal).

But I still really couldn’t grasp it. People would ask me things like “how’s it feel to be so close to graduation?” and I would reply, “I’m just really focusing on not getting knocked up.”

I didn’t understand it.

 …and then I graduated. One day, I looked at my school’s degree progress tool and it listed my degree progress as 100%. I was graduated.

And I freaked out. I mean, literally, my world broke up into a million little spaces and cracks a la I ❤ Huckabees.

So anyway.

I found out I didn’t get this really good job I was up for on Friday. They said they liked me and I’d put together an impressive package–but they wanted someone with more experience.

…after I finished crying about it, I took a deep breath and I could feel my soul sighing with relief.  It would have been a great job with a great company full of great people…but I think they made the right decision.

Which is terrifying.

To not get a job that you just knew you’d cinched is disappointing, but you have the comfort of knowing that you made it through and so you’ll make it through again. But to not get a position you thought you’d cinched and realize that your spirit is relieved is like…OK spirit…that’s cool and all…but I got loans kickin in in November. Not to mention our mama is expecting us to pay the cable bill while we’re staying there….

I never felt so lost.

Saturday, I hopped on my bike and rode to church. I wanted to just go and sit and be silent and still and smell the church smells and see if I could connect with God enough to get some sort of message about where to go from here.

Ironically, the church was not only closed but locked (something I think really speaks to our times), so I was just kind of sitting on the steps people watching and trying to meditate.

…and then I got on my bike. And just started pedalling.

And I kid you not, it was like Forrest Gump–like, I just started going. I felt kind of like my heart would burst from all of the feeling lost and not knowing where to go, so I just started going. I rode through neighborhoods I’d never gone in, I rode up side streets and through back streets, and for the most part I had no clue where I was or where I was going. I just knew I couldn’t even think about stopping until my heart didn’t feel like bursting anymore.

…and after a while, I’d say about mile 7 or 8, I started singing. I realized how much fun I was having being out on a gorgeous day, being kind of lost, going places I’d always wanted to explore in my city. I went the opposite direction of one-ways; I entered where it said “do not enter.” I still had no clue where I was, but I was confident that the general direction I was headed toward would eventually lead me where I needed to be.

It really made me think about life, you know? We really don’t know where we’re going, we just have a vague sense of a general direction we’re heading toward, and we kind of just have to trust our inner compass.

The life I want for myself isn’t so much a set of words or titles or job descriptions as it is flashes of feelings and scenes involving me gardening and eating foreign foods and going all over the world.

I don’t know quite how to get there, but I have a vague sense of the direction, and that bike ride has shown me I have more endurance than I think–I rode like 15 miles and wasn’t even that tired or winded (at least not beyond what a hot bath and a popsicle could cure).

So today, after the kind of soul searching that only a stupid amount of physical activity can produce, I registered for some TESOL classes to take while I’m living at home with my mama.

Sometimes the only way to do it…is to do it.

There’s Always Something New to Add to Your Resume

my businesscard rough

resume

I read on one of those career websites that just because you don’t happen to have yet landed a paying gig doesn’t mean you’re unemployed. It said you should treat yourself as a “job search manager” and make yourself get up at 9 a.m. to actively work on your job situation for the majority of your day (except for an hour lunch).

Me?

I’m not looking for a job, I’m looking to break into my career. And since I’m working for myself, I can bestow any fancy title I feel like. So dig this:

Senior Career Coordinator.

Duties: Manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media outlets to promote the brand of BryoneyH Industries as one of precision, technical expertise, insight and humor.
Facilitate personal development by applying best practices for spending time–striking a balance between educating BryoneyH on industry trends and personal interest, creating best habits, and networking with other industry professionals through involvement and leadership in journalism/social media networking groups.
Meeting and exceeding sales quotas set by BryoneyH Industries of application call backs and interviews; creating and drawing upon resources to further expectations set by BryoneyH Industries.
Meet with BryoneyH of BryoneyH Industries throughout career coordination and personal development process to ensure that career goals align with application process.

So you see? There’s always something new to add to your resume.

I wonder what an employer would think if I actually put that up there.

Old People, Shoney’s…and Cell Phones?!

Welcome to the Jungle

 

Yesterday I stepped right out of my car and straight into 1992. 

Yep, that’s right. 

I went to Shoney’s. 

I don’t know what possessed me to go to Shoney’s. I wasn’t even hungry (this, BTW did not stop me from eating 2 plates of fried chicken, smothered pork chops, popcorn shrimp,greens, mac & cheese and mashed potatoes. Thank God I’m young and have a high metabolism). Anyway, I was sitting at a red light waiting to make a left turn and the Shoney’s was across the street. 

Like many of you, my first reaction was “Shoney’s is still open?” 

Then I thought, “I wonder if they have any steak.” 

They didn’t. 

I almost passed it by. I had many reasons to pass it by, the main one being the fact that I wasn’t hungry. Next in like was it was like 8:00 p.m. and I told myself I would stop eating after 7 (much like I told myself I was going to fold and put away all of my laundry as soon as I finished washing it). Finally, I had leftover roast chicken sitting in my fridge anyway, so there was basically absolutely no need for me to go to Shoney’s. 

But the thought of all-you-can-eat buffet steak was pervasive, and at the last minute I turned my car and parked into Shoney’s parking lot. 

I walked in. 

Of course it was empty. 

I sat and began going to work on my plate of really unhealthy food that I had absolutely no excuse or reason to eat, when an elderly couple walked in. 

Please don’t think me some kind of ageist jerk, but they were exactly the old people you would expect to walk into a Shoney’s. Hunched over a little, glasses. The old woman had red lipstick and I imagine she uses hot rollers. 

They both had a sort of northern accent, and they walked in asking about the pork chops. 

“Are they better this week?” the lady asked. “Because last week they were kind of burnt on the bottom.” 

“Well..we’ve heard that they’re really tender tonight,” replied the poor teenage hostess (and in my mind I called b.s. because I imagine I was either the first or second customer there that night, and I certainly had not remarked on the pork chops’ tenderness. Though I could cut them with a butter knife). 

In the entire empty restaurant, the server seats this couple in the booth in front of me, and so I was able to watch them study the menu for whatever reason when it was clear they were there for the buffet and came regularly for the buffet, and overhear their conversation. 

“How much is the sweet tea?” asked the elderly lady. 

“Um…I think $1.49,” replied the hostess. 

“Oh, so the price came down then?” elderly lady replied. 

“Oh..um…I’m not sure…I can check,” hostess answered. 

“It was nearly $2 before,” elderly lady said to her husband as the hostess went to check. 

And then when she came back and told them it was actually $1.89, they both ordered water. 

“Well, you could get a soda or something, they’re a little cheaper,” the hostess suggested. 

“No, they’re the same price,” the elderly lady informed her. 

And I was eating and musing at this delightfully dated display, relaxing and feeling fat but comfortable in the way that only dated furniture and comfort food can make you feel comfortable, when suddenly I was reminded in no uncertain terms that it was 2010. 

The old lady’s cell phone went off. 

And it made me think about my grandparents and their cell phones. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we are definitely in a new millennium.