Monday, August 30, 2010

Because Of You: Asking Guys Out

When I was in high school, I would hear things about guys being interested in me. I always figured that if the guy really was interested and if he thought enough of me, he would do something about it, he would ask me out or something.

I would have some guy friends who would stay close to me which caused people to think that I was dating someone. Yeah, apparently I had a lot of “boyfriends” in high school that I didn’t know about.

When Dimples asked me out, I thought well enough of him to say yes; I liked that he came up to me and asked.

One time, he told me that he thought I had been dating his friend Bond or my friend Stinky, two of the guy friends with whom I would spend some amount of time. I asked Dimples why he had asked me out anyway if he thought I was dating someone.

Dimples said it was because he’d rather know than to not ask and keep wondering what my answer would have been.

When I’m interested enough in a guy, I think about Dimples’ answer and I’ll ask the guy to hangout or something in order to get to know him better.

If I never ask, I’ll never know.

A time that I put this into practice was in getting to know Handsome. Handsome and I met while taking the same art class at the U. I thought he was, well, handsome, or more precisely, that Handsome was out of my league. Not only was he good looking, but I thought the projects he produced for class were good, so he was also talented. Nothing really happened between us in that class; we’re both on the quiet-shy side.

The next semester, I ran into Handsome again. We were both taking Spanish. Though we were in separate classes, they were at the same time and across the hall from each other. The classroom door would usually stay open; sometimes I would look across the hall and see Handsome and he’d smile back at me. On a rather regular basis, we would talk in the hallway while waiting for our classes to start, or meet up while walking out after class.

One day, as we were walking out of class, I decided I wanted to know and asked Handsome if he’d like to have lunch together. If I never asked….

Well, Handsome said yes! And we hung out many times after that.

Because of Dimples, I’ll go for it; I’ll ask a guy out.

The end.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Really Wouldn’t?

Years ago, I was working out at the gym with Crusty. She noticed a huge bruise on my thigh and asked about it. In my not funny way, I said that my imaginary boyfriend beat me up [No disrespect intended to those who’ve been abused, nor to those with imaginary boyfriends].

Crusty laughed. I asked her why she laughed. She said that she knew I would never be with someone who abuses me.

So I’ve been wondering, is that true? Can someone be immune to trapping oneself in an unhealthy relationship?

I’d like to think that I’m an intelligent, independent, stable woman. Okay, well, maybe not so much the stable part, just that I tend not to make relationship decisions based on emotions. I have a good relationship with my dad and my parents are still married to each other in a mostly healthy marriage. My former boyfriends have been good guys… but I’ve also dated some not so good guys.

Is that enough to be safe? I don’t know.

I kept seeing the video for “Love the Way You Lie” featured on YouTube. Someone posted it on their FB so I finally watched it. It’s quite a visually intriguing video.

Then recently, Friend was driving when the song came on the radio. Friend wondered if the song is really what it’s like for someone in an abusive relationship.

I won’t comment.

Dad has several sisters. Imagine my confusion the first time I heard my little cousin’s voice over the phone, asking if I knew where her mom was [Dad's baby sister], and Dad telling me to say that I didn’t know. I’m older and have heard a few stories of my aunties in abusive relationships. A few of them married the guys. It’s not easy to think of my uncles… that way.

Intelligence and independence won’t guarantee my safety. It’s not something that runs in the family or that I’m fated to follow my aunties’ examples.

I’m not so concerned about falling into a physically abusive relationship. My dad got upset with me when I wanted to call out Classmate, which I would've done because I’d rather have him come after me than harm Hatchet. I know, I can be recklessly protective of people. My thinking was that I have a group of guy friends who would be more protective of me, and they have a lot more muscle. They’ve been protecting me since junior high… or at least have been trying to.

It’s the emotionally abusive kind that I think could be… dangerous for me. It’s so sneaky. And with all the over-thinking I do, I could probably find a reasonable explanation for allowing myself to love the lies. Honestly, I’m not even sure that my last relationship was completely free from abuse. I don’t know.

Anyways, I don’t know how to end this. … Oh, I’m not sure how I got that huge bruise on my thigh. Every so often I wake up with a bruise on my legs somewhere, having no recollection of bumping into something. No one’s told me that I sleepwalk. *shrugs.

The end.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So That’s Why They Call It “Happy Hour!”

Apple’s visiting and so she and I met up with Nurse at Indigo’s for happy hour. This is the first time I’ve gone anywhere for happy hour. Apple and Nurse had both been to Indigo’s before. The $4 martinis were the kickers.

I tried the Lychee, Mandarin Blossom, and the Italian Lemondrop Martinis. They were DE-licious! Apple and Nurse liked the John Daly. For the last round, Apple braved the En Fuego, complete with chili peppers!

BUT… the other half of the great happiness at Indigo’s is that they serve free pupus. Yup, I said FREE! They put out dishes and then they’re free until they’re all gone. It’s not soybeans and peanuts either; we’re talkin’ rice, potatoes, green beans, thai noodles, regular noodles with egg, tofu, broccoli… etc. This lady said that the food is organic and locally grown. She also said that some of the food would be about $16 if ordered for lunch. Wow. And when I say that it was broccoli and all that, it was not boring at all. All the vegetables were cooked to perfection, the mushrooms tasted like they might have been cooked with sherry, oh, and they had a spicy melon salad. I didn’t eat that much but I was SATISFIED.

The atmosphere is great. They have several different areas, which I always like about a place. The d├ęcor is beautiful. The place is tucked away in town. From the bar, I could still people-watch those on the street from relative seclusion. Also, I need to note, they have good, clean, well-stocked restrooms- very important.

The bartender was cool too. She was telling us how she used to be a regular customer there for the martinis especially, so her co-workers kinda tease her about how she’s working there now. The Lychee is the most popular, but she was telling us about the En Fuego which led to Apple trying it.

Nurse and I, who live locally, plan on making it to Indigo’s again sometime!

Wanna join us?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Testimonies and Dilemmas

This past Sunday and Monday were pretty good. Sunday, I sat with a small group of friends and talked about whatever. We all got to know one a little better as he shared some stuff about his life and what God is doing. I love hearing testimonies and seeing the joy in peoples’ faces- it helps keep God real and fresh to me, besides what God is doing in my own life.

Monday, I had a good talk with another friend. He asked some pretty good questions. I’m still thinking about what my answers might be. I asked him about his testimony and he was willing to share.

I’ve been wondering what the purpose of the local church is. Base responsibility, what must the church do? One might say that the church is to teach the Bible. I think that’s a good thing to do, it might be a responsibility of the pastor, but are all these Sunday classes absolutely necessary? I’m not discounting the importance of teaching or that which this church is doing; I’m saying that it’s not absolutely necessary beyond the duty of the pastor, in my opinion.

I was telling Friend how I question the necessity of teaching from the local church because I received my teaching from outside of the church. Once I became a Christian in high school, the church hasn’t taught me much. Maybe I’m a rare exception. Friend said that he too received a lot of teaching by looking elsewhere, like broadcasts, books, conferences, etc.

It was reassuring to find that I’m not the only anomaly in church.

We both still believe it’s important to be a participant in the local church; I think community has to be a part of the purpose of the local church. What the means exactly isn’t concrete yet. The local church is not about the best pastor(s), the best programs, or the best worship. For me, it’s not even about my friends or family history there.

Back to being an anomaly, even our testimonies of how we came to choose Christ are quite different from how most testimonies seem to go. There are a lot of I-accepted-Christ-when-I-was-very-young or the I-was-completely-destitute-when-God-called-me testimonies. Don’t get me wrong, I love testimonies of all kinds, and the destitute ones can be most moving.

We’re both thinking up ways to start something good going on in the church where we’re currently stationed. One of the questions he proposed was, “if there was one thing at the church I wanted to see happen/ change, what would it be?” We both had very similar answers to this.

Anyways, I’m excited! Of course, it all still amounts to nothing if we just talk and not do anything, so we prayed about this also.

Quite possibly, the devil is trying to steal my joy.

The thing I wrote yesterday, about people thinking I’m an ass, I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve forgiven these people along with forgiving a great many things and other people.

However, this particular thing is not something they’re going to tell me to my face. It’s not something that will be an isolated incident; it’s going to happen again where it will help solidify their false perception of me. Since they didn’t tell me themselves, I can’t use the information.

It also bugs me because they have the same perception of someone else. The whole mess is helped on by others in the group who probably don’t realize this is the case because even within the group, people don’t tell each other the truth. I don’t think they mean to be deceptive, just that they’d rather keep the “peace.” The false perception thing smacks of their uncaring positions.

So this tugs at my wanting to personally be more open and honest with others. I could bring it up if they were my friends, but not all of them are, perhaps. Can I be in true community with people who are not being honest with me? Some are asking me to trust the group. This isn’t the only incident where they have gossiped about me. How much can I trust them now? I trusted them before and they lost it. I’m not saying they need to value my trust, I’m just saying that there was a time when I did and now I don’t so much.

I believe that if members of a Christian group cannot genuinely care for each other, then the service we do for others will not mean much. It will hurt our testimony of glorifying God. People might be grateful for being fed or clothed or whatever service we provide, but once they get a hint of disunity, nothing else will really matter.

I’m not angry about this new information. I am a bit irritated but understand why they didn’t tell me themselves. I’m just trying to figure out if it can be resolved without dusting up more mess.

That is the dilemma.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Laugh It Up and Other Deals

I went to a comedy show a few nights ago with some friends. It was pretty good! There were stand up comedians and then an improv group. I’ve seen better improv, but they were good. For the comedians, the first one was… eh. I’m not some kind of prude when it comes to comedy, but too much of his repertoire that night involved penis and masturbation, and it wasn’t all that funny on its own. Yup, I said the p- and m- words, that’s right.

The rest were pretty good, the host comedian was funny! I’m fascinated by people who can just go off while switching between accents- I would have to think too much to do this.

One of the comedians was a friend of a friend. He was good. Well, I thought he was funny but then again, I happen to think stalker jokes are funny. The 300 bit was good too.

My classmate’s husband was a part of the improv group.

When I went to the gym the other time, I got on the elliptical and started going, as usual. Then I noticed that the girl on the next machine was on her phone. Talking loudly. She was sort of leaning on the machine. I thought the two ladies in front were looking back at her in annoyance for the phone thing- no, they were her friends. So that caused phone girl to start saying “Shut up!” and stuff to the two friends. Then she almost fell off the machine.

I came into a bit of information that I cannot use. Basically, some people think I’m an ass for something I did not do.

I love people talking behind my back. Reminds me of high school. And people wonder why I don’t want to be around them? Why I think others won’t want to be around them?

I don’t know what to do about this. Well, I can’t do anything about it right now.

Except to continue including them in my prayers.

Just because things are the way they are and always have been doesn’t mean it’s the best way to be.

Didn’t think I could start an entry mentioning a specific body part and end with prayer, huh?

Thanks for reading and go have a laugh!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Visiting With Xairo: The Full Release

The other night I attended Xairo: The Full Release held at Leeward Community Church. It was a good energizing time of full-out worship and other performances in the Christ-Community.

I drove into the parking lot and was guided by a police officer and church volunteers. Parking was on the lawn. They had it pretty well organized, having marked off lanes with cones and such.

Inside, to open, Third String Redemption warmed up the crowd with some worship. Then an area up front was cleared for the performance by the All Nations dance crew. More worship with David Tamaoka & Band.

One of the songs, “One Way,” was a song that I’ve sung many times but something caught my thoughts this night. In the lyrics are the words, “We live by faith and not by sight for you.” Previously, I’ve connected these words with how Christians believe even in these days when we haven’t seen the physical Christ or even when we can’t point out and say, “Look, there is God!” This night, I also connected the words with how Christians have to live, being distracted by what other people say and do, being discouraged by this reality and with what we see in the world, feeling hopeless because of what we see in ourselves. As a Christian, one does live by faith, faith that God is here, that he is in control, that he loves us, that he redeemed us.

Which brings me also to a song I heard for the first time, “How He Loves” written by John Mark Mcmillan. David Tamaoka told us how he connected this song with the words of John 15:9 which says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” It was a good reminder that God loves his son so much, and that the son, Jesus, loves us with the same passion and intensity.

Next, the youth pastors of two of the hosting churches came up to talk about “The Full Release.” The main idea was that we may say we love Jesus 100%, but most of the time we don’t live 100%. We may be singing for Him 100%, then go home and be 20% with our family, 30% with our friends, 10% at our workplace or school, etc. How would it be to live 100%?! Imagine that!

Personally, I think that’s where I’m headed, allowing Christ in me invade all areas of my life so that no matter who I meet or what I face, people might recognize that there’s that something different about me. They might get curious enough to ask and I’ll get the honor of telling them, it’s all Christ’s doing. I couldn’t be a tenth of a good/ loving/ faithful/ ___ person on my own. Hopefully they’ll get curious enough to meet Jesus themselves.

The testimony of David Fong was next. I thought it was good and genuine. And I hope that it touched someone to become curious enough to find out for themselves. That’s another thing too, that we don’t really know what our lives are saying/ have said to someone else about faith.

Third String Redemption closed with more good worship. I mean, the place was rockin’! TSR pumped up the crowd, the crowd pumped up TSR- it was wonderful!

Afterwards, I hung around and got caught up with a few people I hadn’t seen in a while. I saw a pastor and wife that had been considered for our own church; they’re now at Leeward and say things are going well. It’s not like me to go and talk to people like that, people who don’t really know me and I don’t really know them, but they were pleasant and thanked me for saying hi.

Then I was listening to two friends talk about their ministry goings-ons. One of them asked me if I was the only one from my church there that night. My thoughts: Haha, pretty much! But I guess that’s just how I am. I see value in “crossing church lines,” in seeing what else is going on, (in general) in meeting people who are different, etc., and am willing to seek it out on my own if I have to.

That night was just, I wanted to see some people in the worship team that I hadn’t seen in a while and refresh those connections a little; I wanted to have a release in this joy that I’ve been experiencing and do so with all-out worship with others; I wanted to see what was possible. I think it came at a good time. I’m energized to keep on with what I need to do no matter the cost and imagine something possible! I’m not thinking of having a group to put on a worship/ message night ourselves, it’s a possibility, if we have such gifts and talents and such, but my friends also mentioned other outreach things going on, so I’m just thinking about what’s possible if I/we would try and thinking about how to get there, how to do it.

Oh, I forgot about the video they showed! It was the story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. Rick is a “spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy.” He cannot walk or speak of his own accord, but can communicate assisted by an interactive computer. He wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run. His father, Dick, helped make that happen. This is what I love about their story: Dick didn’t just run the race for his son or dedicate the finish to his son; he took his son along! Find more of their story here .

In a way, it’s kinda the role I’d like to provide for others, spiritually speaking. I know what it’s like to not recognize that there’s something more, to feel absolute hopelessness while wanting there to be more; I’d like to help guide others past such times to be open to the possibilities when we start getting behind Jesus, and hopefully they’ll start being able to see the possibilities on their own. It’s not an exact analogy, but close.

The Hoyt story is, however, a pretty good analogy for what God does for us; we get in the carrier and God runs the race with us- we run the race on his power, and we have to want it, to want to run the race.

Ahh, so much to take in! And now, to see about doing something…!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change, With a Side of True Hope

Change is scary. Change is unsettling, unfamiliar, uncomforting. Even good change can be so. One might think that by now, I’ve become friends with Change. I suppose I have, but Change still surprises me.

I have not changed location. I have not changed occupation. I have not changed certain habits.

Though lately, something has been changed in me and so far, it has been good. ALL GOOD.

I was hesitant to share anything, because it might have been just a high off of I-have-no-idea-what. I felt great one day- what if the feeling leaves in a minute as it often has? Well, this goodness has been sustained for about a week now. With. No. Break.

I feel… JOY. At least, that’s what I think it is. I’ve never been a whole, healthy, healed person and I don’t know that I am one right now. I don’t know that I will ever be a whole person on this earth. I probably wouldn’t recognize if I was. I think that I’m headed in the right direction though, a good step closer to being a whole person. And I’ll take it.

Something is changing physically as well. My stomach or tastebuds or I-don’t-know-what has decided to reject certain junk foods. I was eating something fast and unholy, something that I have become used to eating, when I just simply couldn’t eat it anymore. I don’t like throwing food away, but I had to throw half of it with the rubbish. I felt sick- not guilty, just sick. It wasn’t a conscious decision. The next day, I tried eating something else, and it was the same thing.

Don’t get me wrong, yesterday, I ate some chicken mcnuggets. So it’s not all junk food, yet. I’m eating less. I am glad that whatever this is, I am not relegated to eating vegetarian food. Nothing against vegetarians, but I would be depressed to not eat meat!

And I have gone to the gym three times in the last week. Going to the gym has been different as well. I’ve noticed that I walk in without fear of who I might see or who might see me. I mean, of having strangers look at me. I get on the elliptical and go. I didn’t have to drag myself to the gym. I was enjoying the workout! I felt great, like I never have before!


I don’t know for sure, but I have to wonder if this is God. I wonder if this is some answer to a forgotten or a subconscious prayer. I don’t know yet. I don’t think I did anything right to deserve this goodness. I didn’t decide to be joyful. I didn’t choose this, so I know it’s not me. This isn’t my doing.

Isn't it the Holy Spirit who changes people? For goodness?

I even feel less afraid. It’s not that the crying and the depressions are over completely or that I’ll never feel… grrrrrr again. I just know that I’m okay. I know that I’m going to be okay.

I’m not going to ask that people believe that I’ve changed. I’m just going to be and do and hopefully they’ll see it one day. I’m still me, but a better me and I hope this lasts!

And so, I had felt a strong need to tell Joker that I’m okay. I don’t know why. I didn’t know that he was concerned about me or anything; I didn’t know why I should tell him I’m okay. I don’t know that it meant anything to him. We have been… estranged, in a way, but it didn’t seem like that was the reason to say that I’m okay. I don’t know. It seemed like it couldn’t hurt, that it was a part of this joy that’s started to flow through me.

So, we hung out and had a talk and I think it was good. I am hopeful for our friendship. Things don’t ever go back to the way they used to be in any situation, but we can be better than we ever have been! I had missed my friend, so we’ll see how things go.

The end.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What We Don’t Know

This past Sunday, the family of a former pastor of our church came to visit. Each shared a little of what’s been going on, how they were blessed by this church and how it is to be back, etc. It was amazing to listen to them attribute all the goodness to God and all the experiences to their father’s obedience to God when he had been called to serve at KUC.

Jonathan (I think his name was) got up to speak. He talked about how grateful he was that this church has been so generous, that this church had sent money to support him when he was a missionary in A___ during a trying time for that country. Then he went into his testimony.

Jonathan told of how he was the least likely (of the pastor’s kids) to become a pastor. Pastors have to stand up in front of people, something he was not comfortable doing. Pastors have to stand up in front of people and speak. Well, Jonathan had a stutter. Pastors not only have to speak, but they have to speak on God’s behalf. Who is he to speak for God?! Still, he obeyed God’s calling on him and became a pastor.

He closed with singing, in a strong voice that reached clear to the street, “Be Still My Soul.” Three full courses of the beautiful hymn sung in a sweet voice by someone who used to be afraid and stuttered in front of crowds. I would say there were at least 200 people in the crowd that morning.

To follow that, an elder came up to lead us in a family prayer. Whose turn was it to give the prayer? None other than Mr. Lee, one who stutters in front of large crowds; when face-to-face, Mr. Lee doesn’t stutter. And he stuttered this day, giving the family prayer, but I only heard his strength in obedience to God.

I sometimes wonder what is the purpose of going to church service, and then God tells me, “Just you wait and see.”

What amazing testimonies of God’s providence, that of Jonathan and of Mr. Lee.

What we don’t know is the mind of God. He can instill our hearts with his heart for others, when we’ve spent time with God and seek out his will and determine to trust and obey him. Yet we cannot know the mind of God.

What we don’t know is why he uses one broken and weak person to be his advocate, his ambassador to other broken and weak people. God Almighty could speak to us individually on his own behalf and make no mistakes about it, but instead he chooses to minister through fallen restored people.

What we don’t know is what God has done/is doing in others. Like the first generation Christians who heard that Saul was now Paul and they were skeptical, believing that the change in Paul’s life was a trick, a trap. We have a difficult time believing that someone can change, and maybe that’s because we haven’t changed ourselves.

What we don’t know is what God is doing in us when he is doing it. Oh, we might have heard his call and we might be following him, but we doubt because we can’t see the plan ahead of us. We hear his call and we think, “You’ve got to be kidding! You want me to do what?! I’m not equipped for that!” We hit bumps in the road and fall aside in the ditch and get back up and look at the road ahead of us to think, “God, are you sure? It’s not going so well.”

God has been doing something in me. He’s doing more in me as I write this. I don’t know what he’s doing exactly, but I’m open to his possibilities.

I have a notion that one day, I’m going to stand in front of a crowd and tell them that I was the least likely to ______ [become God’s representative]. And then I will them that I was able to do it anyway by God’s divine power/ knowledge/ presence/ love, and that God wants to do something mighty through them as well.

I’m looking forward to that day.

Is God doing a work in you? Would you like him to?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

INTROVERTED iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving

I Am Who: is an experiment on tools people use in order to "know" someone. I am looking at things that people might use in order to understand me better and considering how well or not such a tool describes me. The larger picture is that yes, you may know that I'm a Chinese Libra, INTP, etc., but you will never know me until you have spent time with me.

On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, I am an INTP; I’ll get to the entire thing at another time. For now, let’s take one thing at a time and start with introversion.

What the Myers Briggs Foundation website says about introverts:
The following statements generally apply to me:
o I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
o I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
o I prefer to know just a few people well.
o I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
o I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.

This generally sounds like me, although I don’t know that people would use the words “reflective” and “reserved” to describe me; I’ve heard the words “cold-hearted” and “ice queen” used instead. I am more comfortable being alone or with one or two other people, rather than in a large group, but I am able to be comfortable with a large group as well.

I question the part about not moving into action quickly enough, on account of other factors, such as I may not have acted because I thought things through and decided that action was not necessary, a process which can be either a matter of seconds or much longer, or that I tend to choose actions which are carried out solely by myself or are private, and so to the outside world, I seem to not be a person of action when in fact I am an active person. I understand the MB general statement, I’m just pointing out that I am more active than people would think; there is, of course, a spectrum of these characteristics among introverts.

I think Pawlik-Kienlen says it better, that “an introvert’s personality traits aren’t necessarily tentative or hesitant, but introverts do prefer to think before they act. When introverts are ready they take action!” I certainly take action when I’m ready!

Now, I do not know who Pawlik-Kienlen is, or what his/her credentials are, but he/she has a few articles on the introvert that give some insight that I think are rather helpful to understanding an introvert. I would also recommend trying the tips on communicating with introverts here.

Recently I came across an entry on Xanga about “Understanding Your Introvert,” here. I thought that this was the best assessment of introverts that I have read in a while, written in a matter-of-fact, to-the-point, yet easily relatable way. In other words, I read this and immediately felt like the author was writing about me and that other people might benefit from reading it. I even linked it on my FB, and if you know me on FB, I don’t link things very often at all.

Here are my thoughts on how well the author’s points relate or not to me:

1. I do need time to be alone. If I happen to walk away from someone or a group, it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong; I may just need some quiet, in which case one may follow me, but do not expect me to say anything but rather, be with me in quiet. I don’t mind the company, and if someone can be with me in quiet, not awkward quiet but companionable quiet, I will attach to that person more. I don’t like the idea of someone needing me to entertain them.

I personally will not shrivel up and die if left alone at a party. I do think it is general bad form to invite someone as one’s special guest and then ignore them that night, or ignore any guest whom is not familiar with the rest of the general party, but I will often make a go of any situation I find myself in. I will however, wonder what I’m doing there and will probably walk away.

For example, Hatchet had invited me to her church’s summer camp. I knew no one else there but her and another classmate, but I was not particularly close with the other classmate. At camp, Hatchet attached herself to a certain group of people who were considered “cool” or “popular” with no regard for me, for the entire week. I, on the other hand, went around getting to know whoever came my way, including the cool kids. At the end of camp, I had many asking to sign my camp book and for me to sign theirs. When we were again alone, Hatchet pouted, complaining that I knew more people at her church than she did. I had no pity for her for this occurrence and made no reply.

2. I am more reserved than others. It has been reported to me on many occasions that I seem aloof and uncaring, or worse yet, hateful and judging, all mostly due to things like how I don’t react to things much (I will hardly smile if I don’t think a joke is funny) or how I am more silent than outspoken. I wouldn’t say that I am timid, these days, so much as that

A point that I really relate to is that I do not like small talk! I think small talk can be useful, but I would rather ask questions to which I am genuinely interested in the answer. This is why I am more likely to ask pointed, personal questions which would seem rude or gossipy to others, but it is more that I would rather not waste your time, or mine, in asking something general or trite like “how are you?,” especially if I don’t really want to know how you are.

On the flip side, asking me a question is a great way to open me up. The more genuine you seem in wanting the answer to your question, the more likely I am to answer it and to answer with expanded commentary. I’m very much a don’t-beat-around-the-bush and get-to-the-point kind of person, but I don’t know that this is attributed to introversion entirely.

3 & 4. Good points, give me time to think and then to respond. If you speak and then I speak and then you speak right away again and so on, I will feel unheard or unconsidered and therefore will think you don’t care about what I said and will eventually say no more.

And be certain, I am doing my best to hear you.

5. This is true. I may be having an inner conversation with my imaginary boyfriend, but I am also aware that in real life you just drank from my water glass. I just didn’t want to embarrass you by saying something when I can just drink my juice instead. Also, I may not notice that you got your braces off, but I will notice if you are suddenly snapping at people, that is, if snapping at people is unusual for your character. In other words, your inner life is more important to me than your outer life.

6. Good point. It’s a good rule in general to accept people for who they are.

All in all, YES, I am an INTROVERT.

How about you? Introvert or Extrovert?

Going Greek!

I’ve been hearing good things about Greek yogurt. It came on sale so I decided to try it. I have tried two different brands; I had the same results from both. [Diet and exercise; I went to the gym and for a while now, I’ve been eating better as well].

Greek yogurt against the regular yogurt I usually have:
- Less calories
- Non-fat
- "all natural"
- Less sugars
- More protein

Also: costs about twice as much. Though this isn’t quite so bad, as the Greek yogurt I bought has 50% more ounces.

Verdict: the taste is slightly tangier yet good. The texture is slightly thicker and okay. It was a more satisfying snack; I felt fuller than I usually do after having yogurt, and it wasn't the extra 2 ounces. Less sugar, the better for me, in general.

I would recommend making a switch to Greek yogurt; I like it!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Putting the Stars Back In the Sky

I live across the street from a neighborhood park. Whenever I had friends over, I would take them to the park at night [if the conditions were good], lay out a blanket, and we’d lie down and look up at the stars. Sometimes we would talk and laugh softly or try to point out a constellation. Other times we might have softly sung a song. Most times, however, we were silent; it was just enough to be together in the awe.

I have slept under the stars before. There was no roof and no ceiling to block the view. The first time that I remember came out of a crazy night of concern and forgotten keys. Two friends and I slept on the beach at Waikiki, and I mean ON the beach. It’s a long story. The second time happened years later. I had an opportunity to visit the island of Kaho‘olawe. On the last night, we slept under the stars in our sleeping bags. Not only was there no construction in the way, there were no artificial lighting nearby. It was amazing! It was brilliant.

A starry sky has such a calming effect, doesn’t it? If only safety wasn’t such a concern these nights, I would sleep under the stars more often.

For many years, I had glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and walls of my room. Even though they pale in comparison to the real stars, they were enough to quiet me at the end of a long day. I always thought it a shame that they stopped glowing before I fell asleep.

Well, last year or the year before, in a dark moment one night, I suddenly wanted no light in my room. I turned out all the lights. I turned off the light of the clock. I let the shades down in front of the windows to block out as much outside light as possible. But there was the glow of the stars.

I took down the stars as well and hid them out of sight.

I have missed them.

When the stars were still up, I had put up shelves on one wall. I didn’t bother to move the stars that were there; I just left them to hide behind the books on the shelves. After the stars came down, one could move a book or box from the shelf and find a remnant of Draco peek out. It’s a sad reminder of that frightful night their friends were put away. I think I’ve been afraid to put up the stars again.

[Parts of Draco and Hercules]

NOT ANYMORE! Something’s different. I don’t know what and I don’t know how ‘cause nothing seems different. Whatever it is, it is good. I don’t know how long it will last but I’ll take it.

[My sky so far]

So I am putting the stars back in my sky. I might even buy more stars! Well, I might need more; I’m doing my best to make constellations first and then there are a lot of extra small stars that will fill the spaces later but I think I’m running out of stars for the constellations. I know, I’m “too old” for glow-in-the-dark stars, I don’t care. They make me think about ever-present goodness.

[Pegasus and part of Andromeda]

Thank you for reading. The end.

A Different Kind of Reflection

Subtitle: What Photographs Mean to Me

[This is a response to Photos On Display]

It’s been a theme many times in songs and movies, how one ought to do the thing, what is right, that allows one to look at oneself in the mirror and not cringe.

The mirror is… a tricky thing for me. I never really know what I will see in it, and it can have nothing to do with what I’ve done.

The day had gone all right and I was home again. After a few hours, I went into the bathroom for something, probably to wash my hands as I do often. I looked up into the mirror… and didn’t see myself. It was me, but it was a stranger. The sight and confusion started up a panic attack, which led to a depression, as panic attacks often did.

So I keep the mirror in the bathroom. In my room is only a small mirror for when I put on makeup. A full-length mirror would be helpful, to make sure there are no socks clinging to the back of the sweater I’m wearing and such. Maybe someday….

Photographs are a better reflection of who I am. They tell me about my day: what I did, what I saw, who I spent time with, how well the time was spent. They’re more honest and true than the mirror; at least, they are for me. The scenes, the memories of the captured moments, they never change.

So I put my favorite photographs on my walls. They bring back the friends and the laughter of the moment. When darkness comes to confuse my mind and heart, the photographs on my walls say that there is good in my life. To have someone smile when I take their picture is an honor to me. It's kind of like they trust me to take their picture. To have someone want me in the picture with them, to allow this association with me, is even greater.

The only trick here is to keep the photographs up on the walls. No photographs = not good.

But guess what? This moment, there are photographs on my walls. God is good! *wink.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pushing Past Fear and Pain, with a Bionic Finger!

Well, not quite. I never seem to get it quite right. You'll see.

Too much negative energy had surrounded me and had begun to gather inside. I needed to get it out somehow, aggressively. This one was mainly from the heart-brokenness that was written in the prayer on Monday, kind of been building up for months [I know, cryptic. Well]. Something snapped and I headed for the gym. That should read: I got it out in a healthier manner than the ugly alternative which was in my mind, so thank you, God, for this Holy Spirit win! Honestly, it wasn’t on my own.

I hadn’t been to the gym in months, causing some anxiety about going. I think I’m at my heaviest weight ever. I don't know 'cuz I don't have a scale. It's that these are my biggest clothes ever and they were starting to convey signs of tightness. I would like to get new clothes, but smaller ones- no more going up in size, please!

I’ve been exercising in my room, though it’s not enough. I have no jogging/ swimming/ biking friends, and I’d prefer these activities outdoors, but more so prefer to not be alone for such due to safety reasons. I’ve gone/will go alone, but would prefer not to. So the gym is the best option for me right now and I can go at any time of the day.

I hadn’t gone because my toenail is still growing back and is at rather decisive odds with wearing any sort of covered-toe footwear. Also, the family had been limited to one car, of which I am last in usage preference. Then, it’s difficult to motivate myself at times, having no gym partner at the moment; other times, I’ve done well with getting myself to go.

Recently we’ve become again a two-car family, helping in the immediate situation, so I went to the gym. They have a new sign-in process: a fingerprint scanner! On one hand, I’m a little paranoid about what could be done by strangers with access to more of my information. On the other hand, I’m fascinated because I never thought I would be in a position of having to use one! And there you have the Bionic Finger reference that doesn’t quite translate.

Then haha, as casually as I could muster, I asked the guy how long they had the scanners. He said about two weeks now so it's still new, being tried out. I would have felt a little sheepish if he had said they'd had it for X-months!

Oh, another small anxiety about going to this gym: the possibility of running into my former, Wrestler. It's happened on occasion. This time, I saw his friend K but K's not one that was around much to like recognize me or to come up and say Hi. And if he had, or if I had, it'd be rather okay and nice. Most of Wrestler's friends are cool about talking to me and I'm generally always cool about talking to whomever.

The first half of the elliptical run, I felt great! I could feel my toe, but it didn’t bump against the shoe too much [besides, I'm tough!]. Then the toe started to complain. Finally, there was no chance of humoring it [you try having a banged up toe!].

However, the good news is that I went the full time that I aimed for!

Stats: Elliptical machine/ 60 minutes/ 4.25 miles/ 436 calories burned.
[I guesstimated ~155 lbs, XX years old; the machine asks *shrug* I don't care; if people asked me, I'd tell them the numbers]

Not bad, considering how I used to do and how long ago I used to do it.

And I had a Legally Blonde moment pop into mind because I was feeling better. The actual quote is: “I just don't think that Brooke could've done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.”

This inspired the most recent FB status update of: “in an attempt to not kill 'my husband,' I exercised, producing endorphins, which make me happy, and 'happy people just don't kill their husbands.'"

Don’t read too much into it. I wanted to mark the went-to-the-gym-and-feeling-better-afterwards moment. That is all. Nothing more and nothing less.

And I get it, I am not funny.

The end.

Thank you for reading.

The end. I’m sure this time.

Care Instructions

Need to care for a cat? I could give some pointers. Give a self-manicure, I can help with that.

When it comes to caring for people, I am currently at a loss. I used to think I cared well. I do think that expressing one’s care for another is better than not doing anything at all. It’s tricky though, right? How to do so without adding to the hurt? Or how to do it in a way that is received as care?

I’ll air out some mistakes that I learned/still need to learn from.

On a ride home, I was sitting in the backseat of a truck with a… young couple on the rocks. I didn’t know that they were on the rocks, so when I noticed… subtle but growingly unsubtle hints of disagreement between them, it was an awkward surprise. It was also awkward because I adore the individuals, as well as that I am bit of a soft-heart for romance opportunities [that of others usually, romance makes rare appearances in my own life, or if I would recognize it while it was right next to me]. Shorthand: I was hurting for them.

It was the first time I saw these people obviously in pain. I didn’t know what I ought to do. I wanted to ask someone closer to the young man if he would comfort our friend in whatever way he knew to be best, because I couldn’t. Do whatever it is guys do. I just wanted someone actively caring for the young man.

What happened next in my story is that One gave a short update to Two about Three, the young man. I started to tell Two, the closer friend I wanted to ask to care for Three, I’d never seen Three like that before. The message was interrupted. One and Two probably thought I just meant to gossip, but that wasn’t my intent. In anyway, I’m sure my care for Three didn’t come across at all.

It was meant to be in the similar vein of when Two had asked me to care for Four, a female friend I was closer to. Two alerted me to an incident that he noticed and stirred concern in him. I failed in my concern for Three. However, for Four, I have an inkling that I helped in some way, but I have no idea how! I didn’t mention Two’s notice, being sensitive that she might not want to talk about it or might mention it if she did. We just hung out and talked about whatever. Well, soon after, I helped her find a mentor because it was required for a trip she was about to take. Mentor said that people usually come to her about relationship stuff. Four told Mentor she didn’t need that kind of advice. Four came back to me and relayed how her conversation went with Mentor, saying something to the effect of, for the first time, she didn’t feel the need to talk about a certain situation and felt better, so didn’t need to tell Mentor about it. Thing is, I’m not completely sure that I helped [she said I had] or how, but it started with Two telling me something was up, so it was his effort that succeeded. Hmm, I wonder if I ever let him know that?

There was a period of time when Hatchet somewhat depended on me. She was always in relationships, long term ones, but always out of one and right into another. This had constantly caused me concern for her because she didn’t seem healthy about it, but I generally stayed out of it.

Hatchet started a new relationship with an old high school classmate. Classmate had a bad reputation in high school: drugs, physical abuse, emotional abuse, etc. High school was a mere 4 years in the past at that time. I was open to the idea that Classmate had changed his bad ways. I was asked and so I advised that she be simply friends with him first, for a time. That lasted about a day.

Then Classmate started to exhibit unhealthy signs of the old habits. I didn’t say anything because I had no solid evidence. I took Hatchet out to dinner for her birthday and Classmate… did not react well. This was the first time I had Hatchet alone since they started dating. Classmate was all she talked about. Then she asked for more advice about their relationship. I gave it, still saying that I would support whatever decisions she made.

About a week later, not hearing from her since dinner, she missed my birthday dinner. So I called with no answer. I wrote. She wrote back. Classmate accused me of giving stink eye and disapproving of him because he wasn’t a Christian and how Christians have always been mean to him, etc. So she took his side and cut ties with me.

Hatchet and I are ex-friends to this day. I’ve even apologized [still believing I acted rightly though I didn’t say this], acknowledging that she had been hurt anyhow, and tried several times to reconcile. No success, very little answer.

Fact: I didn’t mention religion at all when I talked with Hatchet. Fact: I did not purposely give Classmate stink eye, so that was only his perception. Fact: I am sorry that people have been hurt by Christians, knowingly and unknowingly.

However: I recognize that in high school, my reputation was “The Christian” or “The Pure One,” not that I ever “lorded” my religion over anyone. I mean, there was the other camp that thought there was no chance that I was “pure,” so go figure. Or how about how I had friends of all sorts? Or that my reputation wasn't as a controversial person? I dunno.

Later on, I hung out with some mutual friends. Muscles asked if I’d seen Hatchet recently. I said no. He went on to say how can Hatchet be with Classmate? Did she think his [bad] reputation in high school was a joke? He went out with our friend and abused her! Everyone knew about it! Classmate was his boy, but Classmate had not changed his ways.

There’s still a piece of me that would welcome reconciliation with Hatchet. She used me horribly, but I still care about her no matter how I failed in doing so.

So, in my walk, I am seeing more clearly that God works a lot of time through people. God is in relationships, just as he is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in constant relationship, an eternal community.

However, when God’s called us to care for someone else, it isn’t always carried out well, is it? This puzzles me. Is it supposed to carry out well, as in guaranteed success? No mistakes? No bumps in the process? God gives commands, but not often instructions, or does he?

When I started writing this, I had no idea where it would go. I had no intention of bringing God into this entry. I suppose I should have suspected it would happen, as it relates to something I’m going through currently.

I suppose, in respect to caring for a friend, I would rather err greatly in caring, while believing still more greatly, to borrow sentiment from Luther. I might not have the sentiment perfectly, though it is how I understand his words [and not a probably worldly preferred interpretation of “sin as much as one wants because it doesn’t matter”]. Plainly, I would rather make a mistake in caring for someone than to have them not know that I ever cared, while first doing my best to care well.

Errrrr… the end.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It Certainly Feels Like Disaster

I don’t know what this is.

I suppose I have a different idea of friendship than some of the people around me these days. I guess I think that people shouldn’t have to keep saying “we’re friends.” I don’t usually need to hear it or have people profess it in front of a group; I tend to go by acts or gestures of friendship. I think I used to do well in figuring out someone’s “friend language” and then implementing it, but then maybe I was fooling myself into thinking so.

In my past experiences, I’ve never had someone tell me that I need to put in years of time with them before I’m “in.” I’ve never had that happen after I’ve already been around for years. I’ve never met more skeptical people before- actually, that might not be true depending on how I would describe my Berkeley friends. I’ve never been so disrespected or uncared for before.

I’ve never felt so invisible before.

No! I wanted to talk about good things. I wanted to focus on the good in people.
So, stories. Illustrations.

I was not-seriously shopping with Fist last year. While she was trying on a top, I spotted this beautiful yellow blouse. They had it in my size so I tried it on… and it looked good. I finally decided to buy it because it was on sale, I rarely find clothes that I would love wearing, and more so because I’ve been thinking about building up a business wardrobe which this shirt would fit.

Fist stood in front of me to buy her top. Just before she steps up to the register, she slyly takes the shirt out of my hands and bought it for me. “I didn’t get you a [birthday] present,” she says. : ) I don’t think I’ve ever had someone do that for me before. I wear the shirt VERY OFTEN… and it still looks good on me.

Even when I worked a lot, I tend to be careful about money, of which I haven’t had much in a while. Still, I try to have enough or extra money when I go out. Polar and Monkey, they treated me to things a lot in the past. Polar is known to be generous; he’s a giver, everyone knows that. Monkey is more subtle in his ways. What I appreciate most about how Monkey would offer to pay for me is that he would do it so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I don’t embarrass easily anyway, but he cared about that. I think I was short of cash twice but with these guys around, no one would know it.

So Squeaks tells me that I cannot leave the group because she won’t have it. I went to an event for her; the first thing out of her mouth when we hugged was to ask after my Dad. I wrote previously that Polar’s telling me not to leave the group and that Broke sought out time with me & Fist. Shades always gives me a genuine hug, especially times when I’m down. Before I took a break, Pineapple requested that I don’t stay away too long; he even called to ask if I’d go to the event for Squeaks because he wanted his friends [of which he includes me] around. Brawl [formerly known as “Marshmallow”] inquired of my return and when we’re playing “Brawl,” he encourages me to play even though I’m terrible at it- he makes the game fun for me and makes me included.

One time, I ended up being the only girl having dinner with the guys. While mostly the guys talked amongst themselves about stuff I don’t understand, Tenor would make small conversation with me here and there. He’s good about acknowledging people’s presence, making them feel like a part of the outing. I don’t feel so invisible when he’s around.

I think I’m writing this to remind myself.

I don’t have an answer for those who’ve said they don’t want me to leave. They’re not the whole group. I usually don’t care if I’m comfortable with people or not; I’ll make a go of whatever situation, sometimes even if I don’t want to. I’d get to know people, try to make friends… but what if it seems like I couldn’t get anywhere with certain people? For now I’m still rather exhausted from previous tries. I’m gun-shy. I’m not used to putting so much effort into friendships. I still feel like I’m on one side and they’re all on the other, or some are trying to straddle the fence but are mostly on the other side for degree of loyalties. I’m concerned because this time it upsets mutual friends and some have been asking me questions about it so I wonder sometimes, am I the problem? They were getting on well before I came along, right? They still do when I’m not there? Or is it that I’m the one who’s willing to be honest with them even if it hurts? What if they don’t want such honesty? Someone who’s gonna say the tough stuff? Lately, I mostly feel like I bring everyone down, that I ruin their good time.

Why is the negative so much easier?

All of their good acts meant something to me. I’ve given so much benefit of the doubt yet I still need to call things as I see them. I feel like I’ve been allowed no benefit of the doubt at all. Someone says I need to trust them. What I wanted to say back: where were they when I needed their trust? I held back a lot.

I feel like the 2+ years I spent with the group as a whole doesn’t mean anything. Well, what did I do for them in that time? Not much, I guess. Maybe they’re justified. At least I provided entertainment for them a few times. I’m Boo Radley. Not that I look down at Boo ‘cause he was my favorite character in the story, but he is quite a lonely character, isn’t he?

2 years and they don’t know me at all.

Am I crazy? Do I just not know what friendship is?

I know, I’m rambling.

I miss a lot of things.

I miss looking over at Monkey and thinking that we’re smiling at the same joke. It’s difficult looking over now and thinking I’m seeing a stranger. I have no guess at what he’s thinking.

I miss my sisters. I think I’ll go visiting very soon.

Another meaningful moment-
The group decided to go out to eat after working an event, as they usually do. I was going because someone was my ride home, though I was having difficulties with others who were going. It looked like I was going to be in a lonesome and uncomfortable situation considering the individuals going but I said I’d be okay, I’m an adult. Still, instead of going home and curing their exhaustion right away, Shades and Squeaks came along for my sake.

I love Shades and Squeaks. I can wholeheartedly, honestly, proudly say that they’re my friends and I am theirs.

Do I have a point to this in some near future? I don’t know. Friend-wise, I remain at a loss at the moment. What to do about that? I have absolutely no idea. I’m not even sure it would matter if I did. I’m trying, but each experience is unique and this one, I have no clue what to do.

All I asked for recently was respect. Not an intimate friendship with each person. Respect, because I believe I have been disrespected for a long time and that is why I pulled away.

I just can’t relax.

It doesn’t feel like any of it was real.

I could go on with good stories about these specific people, yet they seemed to have happened long ago and sometimes with different people. I regret not having so much stories to tell of recent times.

Keenly Experiencing One Art

I came across this poem by way of the movie In Her Shoes. Cameron Diaz's character Maggie May learns the poem and is taught a way of understanding it. She gives her understanding of Elizabeth Bishop's words and I think she summed it up quite well. It's one of the best scenes in the movie.

I am in a continued state of loss. I'm trying to pick up the pieces... I...will leave that for another entry. Let's get to the poem.


One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Untitled [08.02.2010]

Dear God,

All life is in your control. All love is in your control. It constantly amazes me that with all you do, all you care for, you also care for me. You care for each of us, simultaneously, in unique relationship with you. There is nothing that you cannot do. There is no one that you could not love.

Right now I feel like I can barely take care of myself. I am on a rollercoaster, and you know how much I don’t like rollercoasters. I doubt that it will get any easier in the coming days. In fact, I think this particular situation is going to get darker and tougher for me before it ever gets better.

Yet I’m not going to ask that you ease my coming pain and heartache. I know that I chose this and that I need to go through it, not avoid it. I think you mean for it to refine me. Even if I am wrong about your intentions, all I ask is that you remain with me. Please don’t remove your presence from me! No matter how ugly I feel, how stupid and ridiculous and foolish I might be in moments, please return me to you! I don’t want to be lost!

While this continues on, your will for me is to care for others- also not an easy task, especially for who you intend me to care for. Regardless of my will, may your care be my focus, for I think you mean for this to refine me also. May my focus be on your lead, on being increasingly obedient to your guidance. I am afraid though may my trust be in you.

I am unbelievably grateful that in all my mistakes and errors and defiant disobedience, in all my ugliness and unloveliness, you have always been faithful to forgive me and to cleanse me. I don’t want to disappoint you. Let all experiences continue to mold me to your purpose, to the Jennifer that you would will me to become. May you be my All.