Books and Movies, Musings

This Is Real Life, And It Is An Epic

Every heart has a story to tell
Some dreams have wings, some are torn at the seams
and just sit there on the shelf
If you were to walk in my shoes
You’d see we are all the same
So find the love inside yourself
Cause every heart has a story to tell
This is my heart
This is my story to tell

I really love Pandora. I have found two of my favorite songs by using it. This is the chorus of Every Heart, and it perfectly exemplifies something that’s been rolling around in my brain for a while. I touched on it several months ago, but I think this is an idea that warrants a closer look.

Stories are incredibly powerful things, and I’m not really sure how to describe them. What *is* a story? If pressed for a short answer, I would say it’s a string of related thoughts having to do with and describing an event. But they are so much more than that. They are life. I don’t just mean stories from 10660227_730463573675003_2572696761722264010_nhistory either. But my life is nothing like a storybook. It’s boring. All I do is go to work, eat, and hang out at home. Stop. I mean it. That is no way to talk about an epic masterpiece.

What do you look for in a strong character? You look for complexity, depth, emotion. You look for things that make it real. To the characters in stories, their world is just as real to them as ours is to us. You sit in McDonalds and drink a Dr. Pepper. They sit in an inn and drink a pint (“They come in pints?”) It’s kind of like what I say about the news. Just because something bad is reported on tv doesn’t mean it is a common thing. In fact, if it were common, it wouldn’t be worth noting. [Note: This isn’t strictly true, especially in cases regarding social justice issues.  I’m referring to things like buildings collapsing or people finding anacondas in their bathrooms.] Stories don’t often dwell on the mundane parts of a character’s life. They skim over the irellevent stuff and focus on the important details. We have the luxury of seeing only the good bits. The character doesn’t get that. They have to work their way through life, and they don’t know the outcome. Just like us. They don’t know which details are the important ones, they can make a guess, but there’s no way to know for sure. Just like us. 

But what’s the point of telling your story if you don’t know where it’s going to end? What’s the point of waiting? Do you read the last page of a book before you even begin reading the first chapter? I used to think that my story was boring. I grew up in a fairly normal family. Nothing exceptionally tragic has ever happened. But two things happen when you begin telling your tale.

You find out what makes you special. If you never talk about your life with other people, they can’t give you feedback and tell you how weird you are. I knew having 5 siblings wasn’t normal, but I didn’t know living in 5 different states was remarkable. My dad was in the military, moving was normal until I talked to people who had lived in the same state, same town, or even the same house, their entire lives. 

 You find out that you are not alone. Whatever you think may make you an outcast, or unloveable, or weird, someone else is dealing with too. But until you start talking and opening up, both of you will think you are the only person that feels that way. This is why we have fandoms. If we didn’t talk about loving Firefly, we would think we were the only ones obsessing over a bunch of space cowboys. If we didn’t talk about the damage that fundamentalist mindsets do, people would keep getting hurt by them and think they were the ones in the wrong. But since we talk about it, we can find each other.

When you look at your life as a story, it’s easier to see personal progress. As I said in A Bubbling Brook, a well written character changes. You may not catch it, change often happens gradually. There isn’t always an ultimatum.  Just like in a story, you notice those in real life. That sudden instant of realization. Sure, these moments may be turning points, but you don’t just turn without preparing. If you did that while driving, you’d flip the car. If you do that while singing, your voice will probably crack. Without your consent or knowledge, your life so far is leading up to something. Don’t speak disparagingly about what will be your success story. 

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.

Actions in Activities, Musings

For Passion

I love seeing people talk about things they love. The fire behind their eyes, the intonation of their voice, the excited gestures. It’s beautiful.

Last week I went to a conference in Colorado called For Action. It was a conference with a purpose of preparing my generation, the millennials, to go and, basically, take over the world. And I have got to say, it was amazing. The things talked about were as different as the fantastic speakers themselves, but what they all had in common was passion. They love what they do, and you can tell when they speak about it. DSCF1115

Not only did our speakers do things they love, they gave us tools and helped us find our passions and pursue them. For some that was writing, or politics, maybe computer programing, there were several of us interested in activism of one kind or another.

Now, if you’ve known me for a while, you may know that I used to be part of The Rebelution. I read and still own the books, I went to the Do Hard Things conference twice, I was active on the forum and never missed a blog post. I was even working on a “hard thing” type project.

I’m going to be honest with you. When one of the speakers asked if anyone had read Do Hard Things, I hesitated to raise my hand. I was embarrassed. See, I don’t agree with much of what The Rebelution teaches. Not anymore.

The difference between For Action and The Rebelution doesn’t look too big from the outside. Both are trying to enable young people to be leaders and do amazing things. The thing is, The Rebelution told stories of other teens who have done these things, but didn’t talk about finding your passion or gifts. They were unwittingly pushing a one-size-fits-all ideology.

At For Action we met and actually got to talk to people of many ages who are passionate. They don’t necessarily do things that would be considered “Hard Things”, although many do. They do things that will last. A small burst of radical differentness isn’t going to change the world, a life of passionate, infectious differentness will.

So, what do I want to do with my life? I want to be infectiously passionate.

Musings

Live Dangerous

Lately I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. In there among the fandoms and random word obsessions, there is a good bit of deep, contemplative thinking. This is what makes it to my blog most of the time nowadays. I’m not sure what to make of this. I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

If you are new to my blog, but you know me in real life, you may be thinking you are on the wrong blog. There are very few people who I talk about this stuff with. You probably see me as the girl who is either the youngest in the room or the oldest. Quiet most of the time, and then randomly coming out with odd little things that don’t quite make sense. Or I might always be talking, but about things that really don’t matter that much or one of my fandoms. It kind of depends on where you know me from, but in either circumstance, you are probably pretty confused right now.

If you only know me from my blog, and you met me on the street, you would not recognise me. I’m not as introspective in everyday life as I am on here.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. It feels kind of hypocritical. I’m two different people based on where you see me. But, this is who I am when I’m really me.

This really bothers me. I am a person who needs adventure and danger. I get weird when I am too safe for too long. I am an adrenaline junky. I love suspenseful movies and stories. I love rollercoasters. I love traveling.

But, I still fall into a rut of complacency. I don’t do anything radical. I get lazy and unintentional. I end up hurting people because of my carelessness.

I want to live dangerously. I want to do hard things. I want to be intentional. I want to be someone that people see as a profound thinker.

I write on here to work on being bold.  It’s not normal for me to share things like this, but I’m working on it. I want people to really know me.

Last Sunday I volunteered to lead the girls discussion in youth group. It was about the question of why we fellowship with other Christians. I love thinking about this kind of thing, but it usually just stays inside my head, or comes out my fingers to this blog. It was kind of weird, I had said I would do it before I realized what I was saying. It just kind of popped out. I was terrified, but I loved it. I attribute that spontaneity and boldness to my openness on my blog.

The fun person who talks about Doctor Who, Robin Hood and Lord Of The Rings is really me, but, like everyone, there’s more to me than that.

Musings

Life is Good

I have a lot to complain about.

I have a cold. I didn’t get as many chapters memorized as I wanted to this month. I don’t have a job. I don’t have a husband, boyfriend or even a potential boyfriend. I don’t have a lot of free time anymore. I’m not in school like most of my friends. I don’t really have all that many good friends. I don’t have a laptop or a car. Basically, I don’t have everything I want.

But, right now, I’m feeling really good about my life. I’m busy, but that means I don’t have time to be as lazy. I don’t have a job, per se, but I have childcare jobs pretty much every weekday. This is something I love doing and it’s the equivalent of a part-time job. I’m content in my singleness. Contentedness comes and goes, but for now, I’m happy. Nearly all my friends live really far away, and I don’t have very many, but the ones I do have are very precious to me. I’m saving money to get the material things I need, but they aren’t urgent needs. I have what I need for now.

I’m feeling really blessed. Blessed to live in a time and place where these things are attainable.

I was watching Robin Hood the other day. The episode featured an Abbot who was betraying Robin and his gang. No one could understand why he was lying about them and condemning them. He had been faithful in the past and stayed out of politics for the most part. Why was he suddenly misleading the people? The Sheriff had something that would ruin the Abbot of Kirklees, but what could be so precious that he would be so evil? For most of the episode I was thinking it must be some scandal that the Sheriff was threatening to expose. That’s how it usually goes. Then Friar Tuck has a little chat with the Abbot. This is bigger than scandal. It is heresy. The Abbot would be in deep jelly babies if this came to light.

Before I tell you what this blasphemous act was, I want you to remember what time this is. It is before around the Renaissance. This is a time of extreme superstition and dishonesty.

So what was the Abbot doing that was so wrong? He was translating the Bible to English. He had been translating the word of God into the language of the people for ten years.  And the Sheriff had his manuscript.

The story comes to its peak, the Abbot is still carrying on his charade, Robin and the gang are tied and about to burned at the stake. The flames are licking up the wood, Robin gets free and escape is eminent, but worthless unless the Abbot will retract his sentence. The Abbot knows Robin is a good man, so he tells the truth. The Sheriff throws the manuscript into the flames and the Abbot tries to retrieve his work. The show ends with a pair of bandaged hands holding a burnt page and a pen. “In the beginning…”

I know this is just a TV show, but I couldn’t help but tear up at the end. The lengths that these men went to get the Bible to the people is just something most of us take for granted. They were going against the church, the most powerful authority at the time. They were persecuted for spreading the Gospel.

It is amazing to me.

Sometimes I feel like I have a lot to complain about, but then God uses something as trivial as a TV show to make me so grateful. You know what? Life is good.