First Aid

Thats who I am listening to right now. And loving it.

I did everything in my power to change my situation.  I guess now all thats left is to change my attitude.  Maybe I’d forgotten how much work it takes to be okay.  Because I wanted to believe it comes naturally.  But it doesn’t.  It takes constant vigilance, so to speak.  At least for me.  

My strength is something cultivated.  Like herbs, vegetables, or flowers.  I have to watch myself, constantly.  Make sure I’m focusing on the right things.  Make sure I’m emulating the right people.  Make sure I’m on my own team.  

I think I can make it.  I hope I can.  I just want to be who I know I am.  This blog has seen me through a lot.  And I’m no closer to finding answers than I was five years ago, a quiet freshman with her Bible and her baggage.  I always want to know.  And all you keep asking is for trust.

I’m game.  Today I’m telling myself I can do anything.  



Today I put on my cooking clothes (my mom’s old tee shirt from her days of working at The Fjord) and made some vegan potato soup.  And some asparagus.  Not as good as grilled asparagus with Kipp at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market, but still pretty amazing.  Threw some chia seeds into the potato soup to make it even healthier and its sitting in my fridge waiting to be eaten for work lunches and dinners this week.   I also took care of my FAFSA today, made it to church (only a few minutes late), and drove 3 hours to see my bestie from Cali.  I’d call today a win.  And I’m going to reward that win by not spending the next two hours studying for my midterm tomorrow.  


This post sponsored by my sister and Terrence my life coach for keeping me sane the last two days. 


I’ve been thinking about family a lot lately.  Mine is widespread and I miss them.  But I’m lucky.  I have parents I can always fall back on, who support and love me.  A brother who is always there to listen to me whine about work and who asks me fashion advice.  I have a sister I know I can always call with anything and know she’ll take hours to listen to me cry and she gives the best advice.  I have adorable nieces who I would give anything to be able to babysit more often.

And I’ve been thinking lately how people become family.  Because some are born your family, some people become family who used to be strangers, and sometimes people become strangers when they used to be family.  I think thats why best friends and partners are so important, and are so different from other more casual friendships and dating.  Because they become family.  Sometimes they become family with a legally binding document, sometimes you just gradually slide into each other’s routine.  Sometimes friends overcome some great obstacle together, sometimes they just understand a part of one another that few other people get.

But however it happens, family matters.  Your friends who become family, your lovers who become family, your family who stay your family.  These are the people you can call at 1 am when you’re scared about tomorrow.  These are the people you can be away from for months, but as soon as you see each other again the distance and the time melt away.  These are the people you need to get through life.  You can’t and shouldn’t do it alone.


It sounds harsh. But when it comes down to it, I think its Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  Or rather…You vs. the World.  It has nothing to do with Scott Pilgrim.  Michael Cera? Maybe…but thats another discussion.

Its you against the world.  The world isn’t going to mollycoddle you or give you a leg up.  Mother Earth gave you all your handouts at birth when she decided your race, gender, and socio-economic status of your household.  Of course, that can give you a huge advantage, but really…from there on, you’re on your own.  Now, I don’t think she’s being harsh about this. Its just more of the “you burn your hand on the hot stove and you’ll learn not to do it again” parenting method.  She’s essentially letting us run our own lives.  She’s less a benevolent, protective parent, and more a playmate, an equal, a reckless child in need of our protection and friendship as much as we are in need of hers.  Less a Grandmother Willow and more a Robin Goodfellow, by no means mean-spirited, but certainly in no position to play nanny to all of creation.

Benevolent parent-God aside, the world and its creator are two-distinct issues. Personally, I think God leaves a lot up to us, as well. But regardless of your feelings on the issues of prayer, answered prayer, and God’s responsiveness to our petitions, I think God’s deepest, and most important, gift is Love.  God loves us, yes, but also shows us that love is possible and teaches, implores, and commands us to love one another.  In deed and in truth.  God is love.  So love drives our world.

So, yet again, I ramble back to the point.  You’re alone in the world.  How depressing.  But also how freeing.  Its not up to anyone else to decide who you are.  To say what really matters in your life.  To say how you should feel or what you should love.  And we give up that right to name ourselves frequently.  We want someone else, anyone else to take the responsibility for us, take the weight of that burden off our shoulders.  But its ours to carry.  And life just gets confusing when give that up.  Either no one steps in to fill that void and we’re left in deeper loneliness and confusion or the wrong persons steps in and we’re left broken and abused.  It’s no one else’s right to name us.  And it’s not our right to name anyone else.  All we’re given is the responsibility to know ourselves and love one another.  You don’t have the right to define anyone, just to love them.  We shape each other, without a doubt, that is a matter of course.  Like a river rolling over stones until they are smooth.  But the river and the stones are existing without thinking of changing one another.  Simply the nature of their being makes that happen.  The stones by their nature of being, solid and unmoving, shape the river’s course.  The river, by its nature of running, moving, smooths the stones.  But never has a rock said to a river, “your rapids are wrong.  can’t you just stand still?”

You may be a rock, you may be a river, you may be a hundred million different things, all at once.  But the point is, you are you.  And no one else has the right to change that.  And very few people want to.  We’re all too caught up in ourselves.  In proving ourselves to a world that, frankly, doesn’t care your occupation or your pant size.  So love.  Love yourself and love the world.  Love whatever you can today whether its the weather or a cup of coffee. The world isn’t against you.  And when it is?  Well, there are a limited number of fucks that can be given, so don’t waste one.

Guardian Geese

My life is full of learning.  Journeying.  Trying.  Failing.   Trying again.  Lots of gerunds.  At least I think they are gerunds.  Could just be verbs. But not finished verbs.  I’ve yet to have an “ed” in my life.  Always “ing”.  And today I was doing some more crying, thinking, praying, reading, and ultimately, living.

Today I was living by the lagoon.  Gross name for essentially Lake Laverne without the swans.  First, actually, I tried gerund-ing by the river, but I sat in a weed that my skin didn’t like, ended up with a rash.  Popped some benadryl and found a new locale for my routine existentialist break down.  I settled on the lagoon, the east side.  There is a broken old bench there, the back has rotted away but the seat boards are still there.  I sat there, under the cloudy sky, cried a little, wrote a little, read a little.  I was probably there for an hour or two and the whole time, this pair of geese stayed right by the shore near me. They stayed in the water, but as close to me as possible, and every time I looked up, one or the other would be staring at me.  Seemingly, just checking in.  Maybe my life has gotten that pathetic that even geese can sense it, or maybe the Lord works in mysterious ways and out of the beaks of geese honks his comfort?    They even took on some of the other geese for me.  One particularly threatening guy tried to chase them away, but they came right back on post.  They stayed until I eventually got too chilly, packed up my book, and walked back home.  I know they were just geese, but I was grateful.  I am grateful.

I let the world tell a single story too much.  I have all the control in the world and I give it away.  I give it away to past memories and to future fears.  What could I accomplish if I stopped standing in my own way?  If I stopped inventing barriers and walls in my path?  Maybe there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all, recipe for life in our world.  And maybe no one would notice if I stopped trying to be like all the rest of them.  Geese have no good reason to guard a girl.  Maybe I should start doing the things I have no good reason for.


I want my life to be together.  I want all the things to work out.  I want to be confident and full of myself and I want to eat a ton of fruit and asparagus.  G-d grilled asparagus.  I want the sun to come out and I want to lay in its rays with a good book and a glass of iced tea.  I want to wear sunglasses that aren’t chipping.  I want to laugh the way the woman I just met last night laughs.  I want to hang out with kids that lisp.  I want to create something. I want to not be settling.  I want to let life come as it will and give up on these plans and lists that just aren’t getting me anywhere.  I want to drink cheap wine on a porch in the oppressive summer heat with a paper fan as my only form of air conditioning.  I want to climb up in a tree and I want to kiss my boyfriend there.  I want to spend days and days with the girlfriends that I’ve missed.  I want to let go of the resumes and resume-builders.  Put away my pant-suit (for the most part, its fun from time to time) or at least get one with a more tightly fitted jacket.  I want to put down the textbooks and pick up Annie.  I want to do more than go to the Des Moines farmer’s market, I want to work there.  I want to stop putting myself in a box that says only under conditions A, B, and X could I ever possibly be happy.  And I want people to trust me that it will all work out just fine.  I want to trust that myself.   I want perpetual summer.  Or hell, I’ll take the seasons, even the bitter raging cold and snow of the winters of our lives, just let me actually feel it.  Let me out of the climate-controlled office and my de-iced care so that I can actually freeze a little and enjoy spring more when it comes.  I want to be sad so that I can really be happy again.

A. A. Milne

I’ve been reading a lot of Winnie the Pooh lately.  Which makes me think about Eastern religions.  Particularly, of course, Taoism. 

Never in my life has this been more applicable, and never have I been so keen to ignore it. Life is a stream and these rocks aren’t going anywhere.  I am.

I have a lot more control than I thought I did.  And also a lot less.



I’ve got this first-world rain cloud that I keep standing under.  I feel like there is some sort of metaphorical infection living in my body and my immune system just can’t quite shake it. I want to be fine.  I really do.  But it seems like I just can’t get ahead.  So I keep treading water when I should be swimming the English channel.  And I don’t know who to blame.  Myself for not training or the channel for being so damn wide. 

And I don’t know why it bothers me that these words of mine are tripping and unwieldy where they should be witty and dancing.  I should be funny, self-sufficient, and confident.  I should be beautiful and compassionate and lofty.  I should be so many things.  But I never take the helm.  And then I wonder why life leaves me the first mate. 

Maybe I should work harder.  Maybe I should care less.  Maybe its all up to me.  Or maybe nothing is.  Maybe I could run away from it all, lose everything, and find myself.  Maybe.