Books and Movies, Musings

More Than Just Books

“I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. Don’t cry. You won’t be able to stop. Don’t start.”

It seems like lately I’ve walked into many places thinking this. I get anxious before tests and decision making, two things I have been doing quite a bit lately. But I don’t often leave a place with this running through my head. There was no crushing medical diagnosis. No loss of a much needed job. No one died. You may laugh, but I was leaving the library. I’ve been volunteering there for over a year now, and this afternoon was probably my last day. I’m starting college next week.

When I told the children’s librarian that this was my last day she smiled and said “Well, I guess I knew you would get a life some day.” But I didn’t work at the library because I didn’t have a life. I worked there because I loved it,library and it was part of my life. It was a hard year for me. I was figuring out life. Who I am. I was hard on myself, even cruel at times. My future went from set and definite to this current state of flux and uncertainty I’m in now. But no matter how rough of a week I was having, or how tired I was, every week I would have the library. Two hours when it didn’t matter what else I did with my life. All that mattered was that J comes before K and 4 comes before 5. It reminds me of in A Wrinkle in Time how Meg goes through the multiplication tables to calm down, because it is steady and unchanging. Alphabetizing and shelving books is the same for me. There’s nothing trivial about it, Bab goes before Bac, and when it feels like your world is doing backflips, that is a very comforting thought.

When the branch manager heard that I was going to school she said “Isn’t this enough education for you?” We all laughed, but I learned so much in those two hours a week. I’ve never really kept any kind of job that wasn’t super flexible for a very long time. Even though I could tell them I couldn’t come one week or that I needed to change from Friday to Thursday, I was still expected on a certain day, at a certain time, unless otherwise specified. I took debate and bible quiz, but those were both things that I did in school and I couldn’t change the time that classes and meetings were. Volunteering was the first thing I did where I was in charge of deciding I was going to do something, and then do it. It sounds weird, but I kind of learned how to adult. I was expected to be grown up. I was expected to not make a mistake. I was expected to straighten up other people’s mistakes when I noticed them. I learned that I can be liked by people who don’t have to like me. Maybe these are both odd things to learn from working for free at a library, but that’s where I learned them.

I can’t believe I’m starting school on Monday. It will be an adventure unlike any I’ve ever taken. I’ve traveled alone all over the country. I’ve witnessed firsthand the birth of 3 of my siblings. I’ve been pseudo-mom to around 20 girls. Getting up in the morning, driving, sitting through classes of more than 10 people, studying, and interacting with people I’m not related to on a daily basis. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this, but I bet I’ll end up back at the library.

Actions in Activities, Camp, Musings

Staying Home After Highschool

Yes, I’m back from camp, and yes, a post about that is forthcoming. But for now, something is on my mind.

I graduated highschool last spring. Instead of going straight to college as per the popular course, I stayed home. While this isn’t unheard of, it still isn’t common. Most people I knew started at least taking courses at a community college, and a lot of them were moving away. I’ve had a  lot of people tell me it’s a good idea to stay home, or that they wish they had taken a break.

When I was technically “in school” I never really did a ton of book work. I learned from reading and by osmosis for the most part (we call it hippieschool). You would think, being that laid back to begin witfireworksh, it wouldn’t be a big deal to not do school at all. But, I had activities. I did Debate and Bible Quiz. Most of my time was spent in fly-on-the-wall mode, but I saw people and did things. Even though I was never much of a part of the action, this past year has been the loneliest one of my life.

But my loneliness hasn’t been solely because of lack of activities. We also changed churches last summer. I left friends behind there. A few times I tried getting together with them outside of church, but I ran into a problem. I’ve changed. I’m not the same person that they hung out with last year. I’ve tried getting involved with our new church, but I just don’t exactly fit in.

It probably sounds like I’ve had a fairly miserable year. Right and wrong. I probably have cried more in this past year than the rest of my previous years combined. But I learned so much about myself, and about my writing, and about the world, and about God that I wouldn’t trade that year for anything. It was the year I learned to Let It Go. I have figured out what I want to do, at least for the next few years, and it is totally different from what I had planned before (even though, in retrospect, it is something I’ve wanted to do since I was about 9 years old).

I don’t regret staying home, but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. So, if you are considering taking the year off, go for it. But, don’t just not do school. Write. Create. Think. Do things. Learn what you want to learn. It isn’t easy. You won’t  be the same person you were when you graduated. You will be much more of a person though. I’m a lot happier one.

Musings

What’s In A Name?

Names are beautiful things.

My name means Graceful Seamstress. For a long time I resisted this title. I’m finally figuring out how to move without running into walls and open doors, but I’m still not exactly what you would call graceful. And I can’t sew anything but a fairly straight line. But I learned to take it deeper. What is grace? Forgiveness. Do-overs. Looking for the best. What does a seamstress do? She creates clothes. What do clothes do? They cover you and can either make you feel beautiful or make you feel ugly. Words can do this too. So what does my name mean? I am a Gracious Creator. I make things that can either make you feel good or feel bad, but I am Gracious. I also see God’s Grace everywhere. Disney movies are my favorite parables. The forest is my favorite chapel. The night sky is my favorite quiet time.

Mom and Dad didn’t know any of this about me when they gave me my label. It’s not only a description of who I am, they didn’t know me yet, but also an endowment and foretelling of who I would be. It is also a reminder. When I don’t know what to do, I remember that I am a Storyteller, and that I need to create. Grace is a constant reminder that I am covered by grace, that I must give grace, and that I must look for Grace.whatsinaname

I have a friend whose name means Sea Princess. I absolutely love this. On the surface it reminds you of Ariel, but it goes so much deeper than that. What is a sea, other than a body of water? It is beautiful. It is also powerful and strong. Did you know that most of our oxygen comes from the ocean? So not only is the sea teeming with life, it also gives us land dwellers life. A Sea Princess isn’t just a little mermaid, it is a powerful ruler of life and beauty.

Sorry Shakespeare, but I think you’re wrong on that one. Names aren’t just labels for people, they are part of who we are. Part of the reason we are given names is so we can figure out what they mean. It’s like a puzzle of love and joy that you can never fully figure out.

Dig deep. What does your name mean? What does it remind you?

 

Books and Movies, Musings

Read It And Weep

I talk about books all the time. We know this by now, I hope. Honestly though, if you think it is bad online, you should see me in person. Sometimes, if there is a really awkward silence, I will just randomly ask someone if they have read A Wrinkle In Time. But I haven’t always had this relationship with words.

I’ve never been tested, but I’m positive I have some sort of learning disability, and possibly a bit of dyslexia. I didn’t read independently until I was about 9 or 10 years old. Mom did everything “right”. We had books everywhere. She read to me. I knew my alphabet. Heck, in college she majored in journalism and Dad majored in history. There was no lack of joanofarcexposure to books of all kinds. Mom started working with me when I was about 6, but it just frustrated me. We played the phonics game, read the Bob books, and all kinds of variations of the two. I remember her writing out the words of a Bob book on 4×6 index cards one word at a time because those three words were too overwhelming.

She was incredibly patient. Eventually, she just left me alone. The books were still there. She would still read to my younger sisters, but didn’t force me to join. Every once in a while we’d work on it again, but for the most part, Mom just let me be. And that is when it clicked. I remember distinctly. One day I opened up the Dorling Kindersley reader version of Joan of Arc, and I just read it. I was kind of surprised, but I just read. Soon after that I started writing poetry, and jumped straight to thick chapter books (A Wrinkle In Time being my first favorite.)

This is how school always was for me. Mom would sweat over it for a little while, try to teach me, but in the end, I learned on my own, on my own time. Not during a set school time. Not with a set school book. Not with a set teaching tool or lesson plan. She figured this out, and pretty much left me alone. We were talking about it a few weeks ago after I got back some test scores, and I really only did about 3 years worth of actual schoolwork in those 12 years I was “in school”. And yet, I’ve never really gotten what you would call “bad marks” when I’ve tested.

So, to the moms who are stressing out over their kid’s academics, don’t. Sometimes they don’t need a different curriculum or a more strict lesson plan. Sometimes they just need space. Your child is learning about life, maybe they need that more than multiplication right now. Keep the books around, but don’t push them. And for all that is good and decent, do not take away the fun. Let them play. Playing is learning how to live. Books will come later. You are doing a great job. Just keep loving your child and getting to know them.

Musings

Fear

Another pair of weeks went by without a post. You know, this time though, I did write. I actually wrote several full posts, but I didn’t put them up. I was scared. Scared for a bunch of reasons. Scared that my thoughts wouldn’t be well articulated. Scared that they would be inflammatory. Scared that they wouldn’t be.pinkdotsquote

I do that a lot. I’m scared of the future. Really scared actually. I want to pursue a certain field of work, but I’m not sure how good I’ll be at it, even though I’ve wanted to do it since I was little. I want to study for a certain degree, but I’m scared I won’t be able to pay tuition, even though I know I’ll work something out. I’m scared I’ll fail, so I don’t even take the test. I’m scared I’ll succeed and then be expected to replicate that success.

But this doesn’t get me anywhere.

I don’t need to be scared of failing. If I am, I’ll never even try. I need to do everything I can to prepare, but when it comes to it, just do it.

Being scared of success is even worse though. If you do well at something the first time, how will you do the second time? What will people think of you if you fail after that? What if that first one is a fluke, and you aren’t actually any good? This is pointless though! You have to try!

Fear is paralysing. Grace is freeing. If you fail, it’s ok, everyone does. If you succeed, congratulations, now try again. You can’t do anything great without doing something really dumb first. In fact, the dumber you start out, the greater the great thing will be.

I feel deep in bones that I will be good at what I want to do. The fact that I’m pretty unqualified and inexperienced will only make it even more awesome when I succeed.

Books and Movies, Musings

Sci-fi and Jesus

I love stories. I’m not only  a storyteller, I’m also a story collector. I don’t care if the tale is written, acted, or completely non-verbal. Stories are who we are. They are how we communicate our true, subconscious feelings. Anyone who has given me 5 minutes (whether in person or in my writing) knows that I interpret things differently from a lot of people. I’ve been known to use stories I’ve collected to explain ideas, often in ways that make heads spin. Science fiction is one of my favorite things to pull these bewildering pictures from.

170351e2d72bcdad2ade91c6ab0795f3I love it, because Sci-fi opens up the mind to ideas that seem just insane. Truth is ever so much stranger than fiction,  and it can be helpful in wrapping your brain around life. Take Doctor Who, for example. It is so beautifully full of allegories. My favorite is one that my Fairy Godmother told me.

Your heart is a TARDIS. It is bigger on the inside. It is old and new at the same time. Old, because it is also His heart. New, because you are a new creation and you are continually being renewed. It has more rooms than you could ever discover. There is more power in it than could ever be understood.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in this world that we try to fit everything into it. But, we aren’t simply earthly creatures, we are also creatures of a different realm. One with completely different physics. It’s weird. But it’s beautiful. If you can accept some of the crazy ways things work in stories, sometimes it’s easier to grasp concepts like grace. Grace really doesn’t make any sense. When someone has done wrong, you should retaliate or correct them. Grace not only seems foolish, it sounds unjust. But when you have accepted things like the fact that the TARDIS is unfathomably enormous, the idea that maybe our idea of justice isn’t exactly right isn’t as hard to grasp. Nothing is truly as it seems. There is so much we don’t know about our Magnificent and Glorious Life.

I know I’m hardly a nerd. I’ve been told that I really can’t even say that I like sci-fi because I haven’t read or seen certain things. But I don’t think you have to be super well versed in the genre to learn from it. Jesus is literally everywhere. He is so ingrained in the world that you only have to open your eyes. There He is.

Books and Movies, Musings

Own Your Art

When I was about 6 I was in a community production of Annie. I tried out for a lead part, but since I couldn’t read, I was cast as an orphan.

MOSTPHYSICAL

You know how when you are an extra, you are kind of supposed to blend in? I’m guessing I didn’t do this very well, because they gave me this award.

 Later I was more literate and got a lead part in the Operation Christmas Child drama. I was a girl playing a part written for a boy. I guess I’ve never been very good at blending in.

For the past few months, I’ve been slightly preoccupied with the idea of getting back into theatre. I’ve been watching videos about acting and how to pick good audition material. I was practicing singing, until my allergies  made even my speaking voice pretty rough.

When I was trying to sing (trying, I’m not particularly great yet), I heard myself saying something: “No, don’t do that, you can’t sing ‘Stay Awake’ right. You really aren’t going to be able to hit that note like So-n-so, even with hours of practice.” This made me mad. Come on, Annie. For one thing, if you say you can’t, you won’t even try very hard. For another, you don’t need to sing it like someone else, you need to sing like Annie.

thief

As much as I stick out of a crowd, I still try to look like someone else. I love Madeleine L’Engle’s stories. I could never write like that. I love how a certain artist sketches dancers, but I’m rubbish with a pencil. When I crochet, I can’t follow a pattern to save my life. My cosplay of Snow White doesn’t really look exactly the Huntress.

But you know what? That’s ok. My stories are what they are, and I love my characters. I can’t really draw, but I can paint a word picture of anything I wish. I make my own crochet patterns. Yeah, my costume isn’t exactly Snow White, but it’s awesome, so I’m making my own character.

If people wanted the original, they would stick with the original. The world doesn’t need copies, it needs manuscripts. Be your own character.

Musings

Writers Block?

I write. I can’t help it. If I don’t write, I go through life discontent and outright grumpy.

But sometimes the words won’t come. Or, if they do, they aren’t in the right order. I try to write them down anyway, but no matter how I rearrange the phrases, they just won’t congeal. This has happened for the past two weeks. Directly after writing Volumes of Rows I could hardly put together a coherent paragraph. For the second week I could build paragraphs, but they were never quite right. They didn’t fit with each other. They weren’t focussed.

Always back to that for me, isn’t it? I can’t focus. I couldn’t figure out what to say. I couldn’t figure out why I even blog. I knew I wrote because words are mine. I love them and they love me. We dance together to a music that can’t be heard or stopped. But why should I share that with anyone? Why should anyone?

Why should I blog? I’m not important. I’m certainly no genius. I don’t have anything to say that has never been said before. 

Wait, what? Annie, everyone should blog. You practically preach that to anyone that will give you five minutes of their time. Really think. Why do you blog.

Because I’m not special. Everything I write can be found somewhere else. But I say it anyway because no one will believe something that is said by only one person. That’s just not good research. You need at least 3 good sources to make a solid point. Some things take even more. I know everything has been said, but maybe I can crank up the volume just a little bit. And maybe it’s been said somewhere, but that doesn’t mean everyone has heard.

So, why do I blog? Because I know I’m only agreeing with someone else, and I don’t want them to feel alone. Because I have things that need saying, and I’m not bold enough to speak them in public. Because I’m thinking and changing, and I just have to let it out, if for no other reason than to say to some girl down the road, I’ve been there.

I’m still not super happy with this post, but it’s something. Sometimes you just have to go with what you have I guess. Another message to other writers and thinkers. Just go for it. If it flops, hey, who cares?

Musings

Be True To Your Heart

I am Annie. I am an ENFP with a strong sense of logic and need for alone time. I am a storyteller. My heart pulses with the blood of two. I have a past of self abuse and self neglect. I see things others can’t and I dream things. I hear music when there is none. I am Snow White and the Fire Breathing Pigeon. I am an adventurer and a poetess. I live in my heart and don’t always notice my body. I am a creature of darkness, not only light. stars

This is who I am right now.

I’ve said before, introspection used to be something I kind of looked down on. Actually, it was more just a thing I had never thought of. I just let whatever be whatever.

But then things in my life kept pushing me to think about myself. Why do I feel this way? Why do I react this way? And you know what I found? I’m actually a pretty interesting person. God has given us each a gift that we can only find by retreating into ourselves.

Even if you have nothing else of value, you have your heart. Get to know it. In doing so, you can’t help but get to know God. His fingers are intertwined with  your very being. I’m just starting to get to know this Beautiful AnnieJesus creature that I am. The more I learn who we are, the more I fall in love with my Jesus.

Learn your heart. You were given it, and it’s the only one there is. Listen to it. Feel it. When it stirs, don’t ignore it. Give it what it needs. Learn it’s language. Find its outlet. What makes it dance? What makes it beat?

There is a pandemic of neglected hearts. Your heart is not deceitful and wicked. It is Beautiful and infinite. It isn’t fickle. It is faithful and good. It won’t lie to you. Guard it. Don’t let anyone tell you it is not to be trusted. Be true to it.

Books and Movies, Musings

A Bubbling Brook

After my post A Boring Character went live I had several people telling me I was wrong about myself. I didn’t really see this until just a few weeks ago. How could I be anything but boring? Nothing has happened to me. I’ve had a fairly comfortable life.

Recently, I started writing a short story. This is new for me, but I like stories, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. I started thinking about character development. In a story, a good character is a bubbling brook. It isn’t still and stagnant. Instead, new things boil up.   The current of life brings new aspects you never saw before. You watch it for a while, and you know it is going somewhere. You can tell where it came from by what gets swept along in it. It doesn’t rush, that would blow your feet out from under you. It just gently bubbles and dances along.

pond

After taking some time to objectively analyze myself as a character, I realized that they were right. Even in a story, I wouldn’t be a be a boring character. I am a very different person than the girl that wrote that post. I have changed more this month than I think I have ever changed in my lifetime. I was apathetic  to most of the world. Sure, there were problems, but I couldn’t do anything about them. Nothing special. Nothing much. Not much of a way to live life. I am now so filled with joy and hope for the world that my former self wouldn’t be able to stand me. I recognize and embrace the poetry that pulses through my veins, instead of ignoring it.

A Boring Character isn’t the only post I disagree with. There are actually many of them I plan to revisit. My world is a lot bigger now. My view of my own value is a lot bigger now. My God is a lot bigger now.

But that’s part of life. We change. It’s not instability, it’s growth. If we don’t change, we grow stagnant and start to stink. How are you bubbling?