Sunday, October 30, 2011

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun

Today I have been totally lazy and I am not afraid to admit it. I am still in my pajamas from last night. I have only left my room to eat. Since my bathroom in in the master suite I have so lovely bestowed upon the name of the Courtney Cave, I didn't even have to leave for that. Even the USA network promoted my day of slothy behaviour by airing an all day "scare-a-thon" marathon of the best episodes of Law and Order SVU. So any hope of actually accomplishing anything was lost on me today. Especially when all of these factors were coupled with the fact that the cooler weather has made it much harder for me to get out from underneath my oasty toasty fresh laundry scented blankets. Hey, even the Lord deems Sunday as "the day of rest." So who am I to argue with that?

So while I was enjoying my day of absolute waste, I also was encountered by boundless time to think, which is I suppose is the trade off to being an absolute bum. I just began to think. And think. And think about every little possible thing that could possibly be thought about until I was suddenly lost in the recesses of my mind. I thought about silly things. Like why my favorite color is red. Because when I was younger every other little girl's favorite color was pink. Or purple. Or if they were like the anti little girl that hated pink then they liked black. But I was neither. I knew that I liked lady bugs. And cardinals. And roses. And Orchids that were such a dark purple they were almost red. So I decided that my favorite color was red and I stuck with it ever since. But I also thought about the important things. The things that I bury myself in work so that I don't have to think about them. About the tough times my family has been going through. About the things I am seeing now that I am older. About the things that I am now having to realize now that I'm a "grown up". About the lies that I've told. About the lies I have been told. About how selfishness runs this world, and not love like I thought it did. That no relationship is perfect, because how could it be when the people that comprise the relationship have no home of even seeing that kind of purity. That life, just like everyone always says is not easy and not fair. But it's one thing to say that, and an entirely different thing to actually accept it.

While I was lost in the vortex of these thoughts a commercial came on for a run of the mill cable drama that is trying to procure viewers for the upcoming season. A line that was used to draw in ratings in this commercials caught my attention, because it asked a question of all of the questions that seemed to be berating me. The sexy spy character of the thrilling CSI drama said to her superior, " I would just like to know how dirty I am going to get." Well life, I ask the same question of you. How dirty am I going to get?

If I have learned anything over the last few months it is that I am much too much of an eternal optimist. I see the potential in people, not what they are actually scheming of at the moment. I see the happy in relationships, because that's what I want to see. I see the best of every situation, because if I don't then there is the potential that I will fall apart, and if I fall apart, who will help me put myself back together again? I mean if all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't fix Humpty Dumpty, then what hope do I have for myself? So I just saw what I chose to see. Until what I was choosing to see wasn't even there anymore. Selfish nature and hurtful intentions are all that was left, and while I may be a cock-eyed optimist I am no fool. If you splay disgust in front of me then that's exactly the same kind of filth that I am going to see. And you bet your bottom dollar that I will walk away from that.

Everyone has secrets. Everyone. I don't care who you are. Even the saints of this world have something hiding in the shadows. I have my secrets. So do you. The question is, will they change you? Will they turn you into this negative, horrible, selfish person in the end?. I have my secrets. And I plan to keep them, purely by the standard that I need to keep some portion of this life for myself and for the ones that are truly involved, not for the well meaning morons. Everyone also lies. All the time. About little things and about the most important things in the world. We lie about whether or not someone looks pretty in a dress or about whether or not we mean what we say when it comes to the moments when we aren't just talking face to face, but heart to heart. I will not throw the first stone because I know that I am not blameless. I have lied. But I hope that I have never lied so fiercely and without remorse that it has forever damaged the life of another. I want to know how dirty I am, and how much more dirty this life is going to get. I want to know if my rose colored glasses will ever have the same vibrant hughe they once had. Blatant viciousness is not uncommon. Silent viciousness is commonplace. Secrets are no fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Sing Because I'm Free

I need to set some things straight. I have no idea what I am doing. Like really. No idea. Not even a clue. Or a hint of a clue for that matter. I have been trying to flaunt some sense of self assuredness that bread a stylized and youthful train of knowledge to the world and hoping that no one calls me out on the fact that I am talking out of both sides of my mouth. Well since no one will call me out, I'm going to do it. I don't have any answers, much less all of the answers that I wish I had. Instead I am a growing inventory of questions, most of which start with why, what if, and how come. This world is swiftly growing more and more confusing and I certainly am not able to keep up. I still haven't decided whether it's actually becoming more confusing or if it's just that when you grow up your pretty little rose colored glasses loose their hugh bit by bit, but like I said, I don't have any answers. However, just because I don't have them does not mean that I am going to ever stop searching for them.

My favorite story bar none, Christian or otherwise is the story of queen Esther. Not only is she beautiful, she is so terribly self assured in every life changing action she takes it makes me want to strive to be someone like her. Even if I turn out to only have a glimmer of that kind of power of preciseness, I will count my life as something worth talking about. In one of the many movie portrayals of this story, one of my favorite quotes and possibly one of my life's mantras is born. "Maybe we are not meant to ask questions of our trials. Instead, maybe our trials are to answer questions of us." I don't have any answers, but maybe that is because I am not the one that is supposed to be asking the questions. Instead, perhaps I should be living my life the way I know I am destined to live it, and allow my circumstances to ask the questions in this life of me. At that moment I should be able to allow this life I have been given to answer these questions for me. If I am truly on the right path, my life should be able to speak for me. The light in my heart that I so hope that I shine should be able to pinpoint that I have been spoken for, and that the questions of this world are so petty and time wasted. That I am a soul that is engineered for a higher purpose, and unfortunately I have completely lost sight of that.

In honor of setting things straight, I feel that I need to be extremely transparent right now. Honestly as much as I want to say that it's for your benefit, I know deep down in the hidden shadows of my heart that I'm really the one that needs to see these things in black and white. That I am the one that has disconnected my mind from my heart in search of self-preservation but in actuality have only cause further demise to myself. But my mind needs to remind my heart of a few things. So here goes. I know that I am not the best example of the faith that I so strongly proclaim on these pages. I know that I am not the best witness for the Christ that I love so much. I know that I need to get back into church and really ignite that fire for the Lord that hasn't quite gone dim, but honestly maybe isn't in the right spot in the list of priorities. And if this weren't bad enough, I know that this is the very reason that my heart is breaking. My mind knows all of this. But since I severed the umbilical cord connecting mind and heart a long time ago, I have been unwilling and too headstrong to admit this. My mind knows that the bible says to "above all things, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." but my heart as jumped out of my chest and into the hands of anyone who even looks like they would want to just say hi to me. And of course when they turn out to not be the person God has made for me and is a poor caretaker of the most precious thing I own, of the very essence of who I am, I am the one that is left in shambles, not them. And the worst part is that I cannot blame them for the tears that soak my pillow. Because I know that I know better. My head also know that "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future." Yet my heart lusts after what I see right now. Being the impatient little girl I so often allow myself to resort back to, I eat all the cookies in the cookie jar even though mom told me not to because it would spoil the wonderful and healthy meal she has prepared for me. And while the cookies tasted amazing at the time, and they were all I could think about until there were consumed, in time they began to turn on me. They made me sick, and in the end it takes me more time to recover from that than it would have to have just waited on the healthy meal that was planned for me. I have refused to wait for the feast that God has for me. Instead I find myself doubled over in the corner reeling from the pain of eating the cookies of life that were there right that instant. I need to learn how to wait for the substance that God has for me, not the ever-fleeting sugar that the world tells me I should have.

My life hasn't ever been easy, but then again whose has? We have all seen things before we should have; we have all grown up too fast. We are all defined by the scares life has left with us. We are even farther defined by whether we see these scares as ugly flaws, or as the flaws that make us the beautiful creatures that we so long to be. I have fought so hard for life. And life hasn't really ever fought hard back for me. I have loved life, but life has never really loved me back. It's like the women that look at themselves in the mirror to try and find some satisfaction there, but they are met by a reflection that will never love them back, no matter how many hours they stand in front of it. I have loved the wrong things. I have put my hope on that something less that the hymns I grew up with so fervently warn against. I have trusted the sweetest frame and have not leaned on Jesus' name. I have put everything thing on the sinking sand that never yields anything prosperous. Yet I know that the solid rock is where I so desperately need to be.

Speaking of hymns, my life has been guided by the lyrics that fill any generic hymnal that can be found in any church worldwide. Songs are the language of my heart, and lyrics are the translation of my thoughts. For years I have identified with the concise way that lyrics decode the feelings of my spirit, and often use them to convey what I can't seem to fashion together on my own. One of these hymns has shaped my life in more ways than I ever thought one could. It has been my strength in times of need, and my encouragement to keep going in lighter times. It's the song that my mom sings to me when I need to know I am never alone, and the same song I sing when I have just received the happiest news possible. When I was going through a very very rough time with my health in high school and beyond I remember writing this down in one of the hospitals I was being cycled through. " I may not always "sing because I'm happy" because I know this life won't always bring me the happiness that I think I require. But this I know. I know that I will always "sing because I am free." Because no matter what tries to hold me captive, I have been offered freedom, and by this freedom I will live."

I found this scribbled in one of my old notebooks yesterday and just started to cry. It immediately took me back to that time in my life where I had no idea if things would ever improve. A light at the end of the tunnel wasn't even a hope of mine, yet I had the strength to write these words. It's as if a sixteen-year-old version of myself knew that one day and older but not wiser version of myself would need this. Well I did. I do. I am tearing myself away from the idea that I know anything about this life that I live, much less have any control over it. Instead I am going to place my life and more importantly my heart into the most capable hands there is, and live my life through him. No matter what tries to hold me captive, I have been offered freedom, and by this freedom I will live. I sing, now and forever more, because I am FREE

Sunday, October 9, 2011

If It Seems Too Good To Be True...

I hate pessimists. I hate the glass half empty. I hate what ifs. I hate I wonder why's. I hate why me's. I hate black and white. And it seems to be that this is what the world has been reduced to. To cynicism. To negativity. To entitlement. Things are never good enough. The grass is always greener on the other side. We always have to keep up with the Jones'. We always want what's bigger, better, faster and stronger. And when we achieve what we thought was going to bring us that contentment that only these goals can bring, we already have our eyes fixed on something better.

I like to call this shinny ball syndrome. You are living your life with your head hung low wishing your life away, and then you see the pretty silver ball. So you go for that. And you run and run until your little feet can't run anymore. You keep your head down to the grind and finally one day you get your silver ball. But when you see it up close you start to notice that it's just the outside that's so pretty. The silver is cheap and flakey, and starting to peel away. Suddenly it has lost its luster. And just as fate would have it, at the precise moment you are seeing your silver ball, something that was once the object of your total affection, the reason for existence, as something cheap and pitiful, you spot a golden egg. And the cycle continues and continues and so on and so forth. Sure it's important to chase after things, but these things shouldn't be actual metaphysical things. We should be chasing after intentions. Not the end result. We shouldn't chase after that really hot guy, we should chase after finding the one that your soul was made to match, and then the Mr. Right will be given to you, as opposed to Mr. Right Now. We shouldn't be chasing after money; we should be chasing after the career that fills you with joy each day because you know that you are making a small difference in the world. You are being the change you want to see in this life. When you chase after that the money will follow.

Sadly however, we have been conditioned to believe that these intensions that breed our fairytale results in point of fact do not exist. We are told that Mr. Right only exists in Jane Austin novels; he only inhabits the fairytales we are told and implored to believe by our mothers as children, then are told to un-believe when we grow up. Our Mister has joined the leagues of Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. One day your mom has to pull you aside and tell you that in fact these were just stories, something happy to believe in for a time, but they don't exist in the "real world." As is the idea of happiness. When we are kids we dream that we can be the President of the United States, or an astronaut, or a movie star. But when we get older we realize that we hate politics, are terrible at psychics, and just aren't pretty or skinny enough to grace the silver screen. So we begin to settle for the 9 to 5 routine, and some of us live our lives there. From their rut they seethe with resentment and marindae in feelings of entitlement and pessimism. Because when we were told that "happily ever after" was to stay confined in the pages of our books, we lost faith in the entirety of the tale.

The sad part of all of this is that we don't even realize that this is what happened to us. We as a generation have for the most part lost the courage to dream big. We have become lazy. We would rather turn down work so that we can still get our unemployment checks and qualify for food stamps. And the majority of us are not only ok with living this way; they don't see anything wrong with it. Because after all, happily ever after doesn’t exist. This is reality. Well I simply refuse to accept that. I deserve everything. Yes. I do feel entitled, but rightly so. Because I'm not just wishing on the North Star every night and then yelling and cursing at it when I don't hold up my end of the bargain. And what is my end of the bargain you ask? Action. I am taking every single action that I can to make my happy ending not just my happy ending, but also my happy existence.

What sparked all of this you ask? Well tonight I broke my mother AND my father's heart and hopped on the back of a motorcycle for a ride. A friend of mine has been incredibly gracious during a rough spot for my family and me and has been driving me to and from the hospital. My superman Poppy is there and I have been going up to see him as much as I can. This was the first time he brought his bike, and I was terrified. Why? Because my mom conditioned me from birth to believe that as soon as I got on one I would be killed before I ever left the driveway. Of course just like anything your parents tell you you can't do, as soon as you do it you love it. Even when the the skies opened and poured down on us leaving us soaked and freezing, I simply had one of the best times I had had in a very long time.

The ride home however was the absolute best. I could see the stars. Like actually look up into the midnight black sky and see the little dots of glitter wink at me as we rode back to my apartment. I had so much on my mind that I am shocked I was even able to take a minute to appreciate something so simple as the stars at night. I think I was probably looking up to the heavens in defeat and instead was met with awe. I am facing the loss of someone who has not only loved me with every fiber of his being, but has understood me without question. He is too good to be true. My Poppy has never once failed me. Never. Not once. He has helped mold me into the person I am, and I can only hope that he is proud of me. So as I sat there riding home I could only thing of what his parting words were to me. "Baby you will survive as long as you keep being Courtney." As I choked back the tears I couldn't help thinking that I hope I am good enough to keep up the bar he has so lovingly set up for me. And then I also thought of the other people who have also set that same bar for me. The important people will want to pound into my heart that I am worth it, that I am beautiful. That what they have to offer me isn't too good to be true. That not only do I deserve happy ever after, but to also know that it exists. And that is something I hope I never forget.

So as I am sitting on the back of this bike, letting the breeze tickle my back and watch the stars wink at me in that knowing way, I knew that I am going to be ok. More than ok. I am going to have my fairy tale. Even Nicholas sparks himself couldn't write it better. I already have my silver ball. My golden egg. It's not the things of this life that make the journey. And it's also not simply the intentions that you have towards the path that you are on. You must couple that with the intensions others have concerning you. The intension of sharing their life with you, and bettering you in the process. Whether it is my family, my dear sweet beautiful friends, or someday a modern day white knight, I know without a doubt that it won't be too good to be true.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Without You

Perspective is a funny thing. It's like magical fairy dust. Or the touch of King Midas. With one slight adjustment it changes everything. Kind of like a 3D movie. Without the magical 3D glasses, it looks like a big technologically advance hodge podge of pixels. But when you put on the flimsy glasses everything is crystal clear. Beautiful. Out of this world. Magical. You would never know that what you are seeing is the same mess that you were looking at only seconds before. The glasses change everything. They may not be the most expensive things ever, but in the context of you're viewing pleasure, they are the most important. Such is perspective. It's the absolute difference between a mess, and feeling like you can reach out and touch the stars you are so longing to land upon.

I'm at a point in my life where I could either choose to wear my 3D glasses or not. For the first time I think ever, I find myself in situations where it is very clearly marked black or white. Yes or no. Do or Don't. And of course, as always is the pattern of my life, this is occurring in every compartment of my little world. No matter how hard I try to put everything in it's own little cubby, it seems that all my books keep wanting to fall out and land all together on the floor at the same time... so that when someone walks by and spills water, it lands on all of them. Not just one. Well water is to my perspective as each subject of my life are to these text books. My world has been sprinkled with the liquid of decision making, and I need to make some choices fast.

As hard as I am trying to keep everything logical, perspective is usually an emotional thing, and that seems to be where I tend to fall short. I would much rather push everything down. To "tough it out" rather than let the tears run down and the pensive rebuilding begin. But sometimes even I need to recognize when it is OK to let down my wall of cynicism. Of defensiveness. Of fear. And make the choice to either allow myself to be happy and a better person because of the outcome of my difficult situation, or continue on with the grind of life and settle for what that may produce. In life what is often most rewarding is usually bred from the hardships we face and eventually overcome. And right now I am facing some hardships.

I am faced with the possibility I may loose some people that I love very very much. Some physically. Some emotionally. And I can't stand that. I can't stand that the candle has burned down to the very bottom of the wick, and it very well may be that the sand in the hourglass has run out. I don't like putting that kind gravity on things. I like to keep everything about the same weight. But just because I make everything equal does not mean everything is in balance. And try as I might I can't seem to make all of that happen for myself. Even I who wears her rose colored glasses every day by choice can see that things have the potential to change, and very fast and very devastatingly so. Which has made me come to realize a few things.

When one is faced with such a circumstance, you are demanded of to put on your 3D glasses and see the world in striking clarity. I used to be afraid of 3D movies because of how in my face they got. Well life is right up in my face and if I take off my glasses I will only be doing myself a disservice. So now that I am seeing life this way, I am seeing that not only are things going to change, that I have no control over how they change or not. The outcomes of these relationships are totally out of my hands. And the only thing that I can do is watch and pray that things go the way my little heart wants them to. The decision does not lie in the outcome of these events, it lies in how I handle them in the aftermath. If I accept and move on. I am also seeing who I can live with, and who I would die without, and the results are shocking. My family has always subscribed to the belief that when it comes to relationships it's quality, not quantity, and while I agreed, I still tried to maintain my volume of relationships. It made me feel more important when lots of people could call me friend and wanted me in their lives. But now that I see how they react when the going gets tough, I am now a firm believer in this idea. And the inventory downsize was much more than I thought it would be. Because in this process of looking at life through such a crisp perspective, I remembered what my eighth grade self had written in a dear friend's year book. "Don't settle for the one you can live with, wait for the one you can't live without."

So as I sit here scared stiff of my life that is reaching out to grab me into some potentially devastating losses, that is what I remember. That while facing these times of hurt, I must walk through it with the one's I can't live without, and just as importantly with the ones who can't live without me. I am here for a reason, and I intend to live out that reason to it's fullest. So as I risk the loss of some physically and some emotionally, I am going to remember that I can't live without them. That I won't live without them. Even if they only exist in my heart, I will still carry them with me forever, because they have left me with their hand print forever. And forever is a very long time to go without you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dreaming Wide Awake

I can't sleep. I have no idea why because I am exhausted. I was even up "early" for a Saturday. And I say "early" because everyone who knows me knows that my version of early doesn't match the world's definition by any stretch of the imagination. But I am trying, and that should count for something. I have to be awake in roughly four hours to go sing at a church in Naples tomorrow. I mean today... I never do seem to get that right. In my world the day ends when I go to sleep and starts when I wake up... but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't gage their time schedule around me. Anyhow. I find myself wide awake exactly when I shouldn't be, and as always these are the times in life where I realize something I would have missed had I been asleep.

Things lately have been moving really fast for me. Really really fast. And not just in one part of my life. Everywhere I look it's like everything is on fast-forward but for some reason someone forgot to wind me up so I can match the pace. It's certainly not a bad thing though. In a desperate attempt to hold on to this life I'm watching come together that I so splendidly get to call my own, I have seen so many wonderful things I would have missed had I not been trying to soak every little ounce in that I could. I got another promotion at work. And not just an increase in hours and no more work. I got all of the work. I was expecting another cookie from the cookie jar but what I got was all the cookies and the jar to boot. The other woman that worked with me has abruptly moved on, and the schedule I was working towards in two years I was being handed to me today. I am essentially running the place with the owner of the company. I don't think I have ever learned so much so fast and actually retained it all in my whole life. And I love it. I wake up every morning... yes. in the ACTUAL morning time, not just make believe Courtney morning time... and am so excited to go to work. I am being helpful. I have a distinct purpose. I am helping people. I am opening the floodgates to my servants heart. Never have I been on a more rigid schedule, yet somehow I know that I have never felt so free. I am encouraged, and strongly so, to exercise my talents. Even the silly ones. Like talking on the phone. Or writing an eloquent thank you note. It has never been so positive a thing to be myself. Truly myself. Good, bad, OCD, and all. And I didn't even see it coming.

I also didn't see a successful personal life coming my way either. For the first time in a very long time, I can say that I am not partaking of any one way street relationships. Everything is a give and take. Not just a take and take... and take and take and take. With my new work schedule being so demanding and prioritizing my rest as a necessity to keep it that way, I have been able to see the friendships that are worth my time and those that can maybe wait a while to pick back up. God has placed some beautiful snow flake like souls in my life to create this beautiful winter wonderland that my life seems to be right now. Each one different, but all working towards the same cause. To be helpmates for me, and allowing me to be the same for them. Some are more seasoned than others as they have been around longer, but the new ones have their purpose too. Probably to show me the things that I should have believed of myself all along, but never had the courage to look myself in the eyes in the mirror long enough to confirm it. I am so beyond grateful for this. And I so hope that I can keep holding on tight enough to this life that is being lived in fast forward long enough to keep it going.

My fits of insomnia usually always seem to breed some kind of reflection or realization. Mostly because I'm actually allowing myself to process the things I save for later; the things that I "Can't deal with right now". So as I lie awake flipping though mindless infomercials I turned to facebook, hoping it would provide the entertainment I was seeking out. And of course there it was. The thing I needed to see and would have missed had I not been awake to find it. And I so needed to see this. It was the status of someone I went to college with in Cincinnati. We weren't super close friends. Shoot I don't even know if we were real friends. We had a class together. My worst subject actually. And she had always been there to help me out. So in the confines of that classroom we were friends. Anyhow I hadn't heard anything from her in over a year... probably two now that I think about it. And out of no where the facebook gods decided that I should see this one status. Not any others that she had posted in the last two years. Just this one. It read:

‎"We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still, the expected just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives." -Grey's Anatomy

I read it over and over again. I don't watch Grey's Anatomy. I feel that I'm too far behind to catch up now. So I don't really care what the real context is. This is my life. I get so caught up in the to do lists and the perfection that is so unattainable and the expectations that I forget that maybe if I let go, something beautiful could happen. That maybe if I work really hard and only worry about my productivity and no one Else's that someday I will be rewarded for that. That maybe if I go out with a friend when I really don't want to I may meet someone that is going to change everything. That when I have to face the thought of loosing a loved one that maybe it will remind me of just how rich I am. I may not be rich in money. But I am overwhelmingly wealthy in life. In love. That's what we keep missing. It's what I keep missing. No matter what my bank statement looks like, I am rich in life, and that is the most beautiful thing in this world that is so full of darkness and sadness and greed.

These are the things that fill my mind as I am watching my ceiling fan go round and round again and again while my body is being rebellious and keeping me from my hot date with slumber. I often wonder why these things come to me at night. I always wonder why I can't decide when I sleep and that my body does it for me. And then I remember things like this. These little blossoms of hope that I see in the very darkest parts of night. While everyone else is dreaming all snugged in their beds, I sometimes get the rare privilege to dream wide awake. And sometimes, I get to watch it come true.