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Birthday Cake

It’s a beautiful Fall day, and as I was taking the garbage out earlier I saw a smashed up birthday cake in the dumpster, bees buzzing around it. There were left over party bags, a storage container, a table. Is it weird how taking the garbage out reminds me just how many people live here, in this apartment? So many lives and so many things going on all at once simultaneously. Lots of hearts beating. Lots of birthday cake.

Today is my mom’s birthday and she’s in Oregon with my sister. I don’t know how she does it, but she plans on driving home today, too. What a long drive. Here I am at home, my day off being a Monday, different from most people around me. Justin is at work to bring home the bacon as they say, and I am left with the quiet. Alicia and I talked last week about the quiet of our own minds. I long for this kind of quiet, the content kind. To not need a to-do list or to feel like a failure if this or that isn’t done. To find peace within myself.

The final countdown has started where the three of us will be parting ways soon. In December our lease is up, and we will officially go our separate ways. My gal Alicia calls it homeostatic anxiety, if you will. The need for things to be unchanging when in fact things are always changing and therefore, how does one adapt to said changes. Neither me nor Justin do well with change. Just moving in together and getting married was culture shock. Now wherever we move to in December, I pray for cheap rent, because no one likes to move in the holidays. I also pray to simply be able. Able to adapt to an environment without my mom. She has been with me since day one when I came to Folsom, a few years ago. I was much different then.

My boyfriend at the time was a tattoo artist back in San Diego, and I was still a part time optician. I didn’t have my ABO certification, although I had failed the exam once. My best friend Judy was in San Diego, and I had no friends here. No connections at all except my mom, and some of her friends, who became my friends too. My hair was shorter, I was more slender. My eyebrows were thinner. Life was just altogether different.

I met Justin when he was a customer service manager. I asked him for help in the vision center to do a refund, or something requiring an override, and I think he stared at me for a solid 20 seconds at least. And then he began to blink rapidly and I felt a slight achievement at the fact I knew he was attracted to me, and I walked away feeling smug, not knowing how much I loved him then. A short time later my mom came into the store one night when I was closing the vision center, and I met her while she was grocery shopping. Justin walked past us, sort of staring at the ground, also sort of staring at me. I told him good night and he smiled and turned away. My mom asked me, who is that? And I said, that’s Justin. I had an inward sensation that felt somehow like opening up a brand new book,

page one.

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The Lord Knows

It hit me today that the Lord is my shield even when I am wrong. He is the prosecutor and the defense. I’m not always righteous, but even when I’m not, he never fails to defend me any way. Don’t misunderstand me. I think that God always convicts us at our heart’s core when we’ve made a mistake. But we are still defended. Like with this marriage thing, I’m a week into it already, and man I’ve been making mistakes. But knowing how real God is now, well, I don’t think I’d trade that in for anything. Do you know who your defense is?

Disneyland really is the most magical place on earth. Now I know. I was taken when I was a baby, but this was really my first time going. Of course, I had pet peeves. It’s crazy to me how many people are letting their small children operate cell phones. So many kids on their phones, missing the beauty, aka Mickey Mouse, around them. Even the adults are a little too absorbed in it. Justin and I were at the Blue Bayou restaurant the other night which is made to look like you’re literally outside in a bayou. It’s sunny outside the restaurant, you step inside into a lobby area, and taken outside into a dark landscape, with boats floating by on the water, and a giant “moon” filling the sky. It’s quite cool, and I’ll say it again, magical. Justin and I are eating our dinner and enjoying the splendor of it all and I see a family sitting right on the edge of the water, eating. Mother and daughters, it appeared. The mom was talking on her phone for literally minutes, eating and drinking and ignoring what was around her. Now I know, I wasn’t in her shoes. How could I know the whole picture? But all I could think was…this make-believe beautiful moonlit night that we are witnessing right now, is nothing to you. Your back is literally turned to it. Maybe you’ve seen it too many times before, maybe you’re just oblivious. Maybe you’re desensitized. But for me and my husband, its everything.

Anyways, I guess people will be people. Justin and I agreed we want to come back. We even talked about what it would be like to be annual pass holders, or even afford it. What would it be like, to bring our children. Would Justin take our daughter to buy a princess dress at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? What color would her dress be? Would she wear an Indiana Jones style hat as a part of her ensemble, to be just like her dad? Justin sure does love his hat.

Needless to say, it was hard to leave, at least for me. I know I complained a lot on the trip about the crowds of people and all the walking, chafing thighs, sunburn, annoying mothers not paying attention to their children, or helping them wash their hands in the bathroom (hello! what did you have a kid for? I want to help him, but what if I’m accused of being a perve? In this day and age…) etc. etc. and I do have an issue with complaining. Lord, please help me.

I had a bad dream this morning about going back to work. I wore these frayed denim shorts to my job, with a lab coat. I was super late for my shift, and brought a bunch of things we are not allowed to bring into the lab, like a purse, and other clutter. I was so not prepared. More than likely, work will go fine this week. I definitely won’t show up in jean shorts. But the thought of going back….maybe it is time to look for something more. It’s just so hard to get that fire beneath me to go and do it. But my therapist Alicia is always asking me Annie, what will make you happy? What honors you? And I’ve gotta figure that out. Somehow.

What honors me?

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Summer

I was never really a big fan of summer. It’s hot. My thighs stick together. In times past I have a tendency to feel lonely, or bored, or without purpose. It’s kind of a strange time of year, I mean, its like three months of whatever. When I was in school I never made big summer plans, and my dad’s idea of vacation was seeing his family in San Diego. Which was nice–some times. It wasn’t easy for me making friends in the summer. Sometimes in the summer I’d wake up wondering when the day would end–2, 3, or 4 in the morning? Days had no beginning and no end. I remember feeling like every day I was facing a new kind of sadness. A new kind of perversion, in myself. Some things were hard to face up to, as a teen. I got older, and I still kind of looked at summer through the same lens, but sort of passively. Well, it’s the middle of the year, I’d think. Nothing really happens in the middle of the journey and it’s not important because it’s neither the beginning nor the end right?

Then I met Justin. I met Justin, and he told me his favorite time of year is summer. He said it was the best time. The sunshine is out longer, he has more energy. The trees are beautiful. His dad heats up the grill. Something good is cooking, and Smirnoff probably goes good with it. In the summer you can stay up later, but not feel tired. It’s a time for road trips and adventures. Falling in love, or watching a movie with your best friend. Hanging out with your cousins, your dog, and your cat. It’s just so fun, he told me. You can relax a little easier. Life is fun.

He’s right. Summer is the best time of year.

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Palm Sunday

I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done today.

I did the dishes, vacuumed, took the garbage out. I worked out and I still need to clean my bathroom which is my least favorite part of course. Tonight we are going to church and then what else, who knows.

The other day at Subway someone who works there asked me where my Prince Charm was. It took me a moment to register what that meant. I made her repeat herself. She said Prince Charm again. Oh, Prince Charming. She meant Justin. I guess people are used to seeing us together all the time. I kind of like that though, Prince Charm. It fits him.

I’ve been struggling a lot with living in the present and what that is supposed to look like. If some awesome conversation is not being had I start to think something is wrong, quick to judge, quick to become irritated. I keep trying to remember that contentment is a journey and not a destination. I can say things like oh, I’ll be happy. Sure, I’ll be happy. I’ll be happy when I no longer live with my mom or in this crowded apartment complex. I’ll be happy when I have my own parking spot. I’ll be happy when my dad initiates contact and it isn’t up to me. I’ll be happy when I get an engagement ring and when I don’t have to lay awake at night afraid because I don’t have someone to cling to. I’ll be happy when I can be on my own with Justin and see him every day. Then I can live in the now.

But I know that none of that is true. I also know that getting the things I want will require at least, a certain degree of growing up. Maybe that’s the worst of it. I’m not much of a grower.

It’s hard to keep a good attitude when you feel pressed down and shaken from side to side. I told Justin earlier today one day I will look back on my life and see what a privilege it was for me to bear someone else’s burden, and not a chore. But now that I think about it again, I think that one day I’ll look back on my life and really see those who were bearing my burdens for me, and that will really put things into perspective.

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The Drawer

The neighbor’s baby is crying. It’s Thursday night, I’ve just had dinner, and now it’s time to do some sharing.

I keep a drawer in my room filled with special things. Some things stay in the drawer and some things leave the drawer, like a rotation. There’s an alligator chew toy I’m saving for my dog Bailey I’m receiving from my Aunt Shelly next month. There’s birthday presents for Justin. A heart-shaped box I got for our first Valentine’s Day together–of course it was full of candy, then. A slip I plan to wear on our wedding night. A post it note from my dad that says “I love you-Dad”.

A not-so-physical drawer known as the drawer in my heart is filled with icky things. Fear that no one could ever love me. Fear of never knowing what it is that I want. Fear of speaking and being spoken over. Breaking up and getting back together again, for the rest of our lives until our heads spin off and we jump off mental cliffs that no one ever knows we jumped off of. But we know.

Which drawer contains more in it?

My sister posted this article on Facebook the other night and it was about the things women do when no one is around to judge them. You care what people think when you sleep with no shirt on. Or eat with no shirt on. Or eat where you sleep, with no shirt on. You care about who knows they make you feel insignificant. You care about saying I love you and then stuffing the cat back in the bag later, because saying it, somehow makes it untrue. You care who sees you watch Girls on HBO and you care who sees you ugly.

It can be so hard to just be.

I build up walls to protect myself from being hurt by others. But I think I hurt myself more than anyone else ever could. I build up walls so I don’t have to face the truth. That knowing what I want scares me, and walking down a path I don’t know I’ll succeed on scares me even more.

I’m afraid of change.

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Unabashed and Unashamed

When did I become such a dick? When was the transition from not-so-much-a-dick to actual dick?

I dreamed this morning that I was trying to get to my dad. I was on a road trip with some other people, I don’t know who they were. Driving in the middle of the night, nothing but dark roads ahead of me, no lights, trying to get to my dad. I stopped somewhere for fast food to which other people in their cars were trying to call out to me and get my attention and I knew I was being slowed down. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to my dad in time. I had this short window to see him and I knew, I wasn’t going to make the cut off.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love and what that is to me. I’ve been feeling so confused. It’s easy for me to judge and accuse and complain about what I don’t have without taking a tally of what I do have. Here’s a few things I know that love is, and well, I think respect goes into some of these as well.

  • Leaving half the Asian salad in the fridge for your mom because she wants half and you know if you ate the whole thing, she’d be devastated.
  • Going to church, with a hard heart like my own, and feeling it soften.
  • When your boyfriend brings you a canteen of chicken noodle because you’ve been hacking the night away.
  • Farting in the other room.
  • Telling your daughter you’re getting remarried and not letting her find out about it via social media (wait…)
  • Blood shed on the cross for me.

What are some of the ways you feel loved? Display it? Own it?

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Holyish

I believe some people, even though they claim to be God lovers, only really want to be with other people just like them. Just as they are. No differences between them.

Then you have other people who want to love the broken and the lost, even though they don’t have a lot in common with each other.

Both sets of people love God. It’s not a question of that. But the love gets lived out differently.

I really hope I can be the latter. I hope I can be like my mommy.

So in around 100 days-ish I will be married. It’s starting to sink in more and to be honest, I am getting more excited for Disneyland. I hope Jessica Rabbit is there. After all, she is my counterpart.

I was reading about the Passover last night before bed. In II Chronicles it says that the Jews had given up celebrating Passover for awhile, so when they started doing it again, there was a whole lot of cleansing that needed to be done. People were showing up for Passover dinner in an unholy state, and that needed to be fixed stat. For the folks attending who were considered to be unholyish, a special prayer was said for them. Essentially they were being petitioned for.

The people loved doing Passover so much that they decided, never again would they go so long without celebrating it, and instead, they extended their celebration. If only to be closer to God.

When I read things like this I can’t help but wonder if God was more happy that his people were setting themselves apart for his sake, or just happy that they were all showing up for Him period? Dirty and clean and pseudo clean and kind of just touched the hand sanitizer clean and so on and so on.

Some times I wonder if we’ve really lost sight of it. I’m not saying God doesn’t want us clean and purified before him. But I think we’ve lost sight of what really matters. Coming to him in the first place. Not putting him off. Making excuses as to why we can’t.

Well, I haven’t showered yet God. Sorry. You know, gotta handle that first.

Just food for thought.

Annie

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Shots in the Dark

My dad says that when I was little, before I could even read, I would “read” to him. Instead of him reading me the bed time story I would be the storyteller, making up the words on the page as I went.

Let me read it to you, Dad.

My dad got engaged over the weekend and he didn’t bother to tell me or my sister. I can honestly say that at first, yeah, I took it personally. I mean, who does that? But then it occurred to me. Dad does that. I don’t do things like that. My sister doesn’t do things like that. Other men don’t do things like that.

Dad does that.

It’s been difficult lately to picture myself getting married. Walking down the aisle, saying the vows, even the premarital counseling. I can’t envision it in my mind. I’ve been wondering lately what it will be like, come June, when I’m up late reading a book in bed and turn over and there on my left, J. My handsome J, snoring away.

🙂

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Traffic

Traffic. I never seem to do well with it. I live maybe only 10 minutes away from my job but a couple nights ago, no not on Friday, it took me almost 30 minutes. The road I live on was backed up to kingdom come and police were everywhere. There had been an accident, but I didn’t know how bad. I only knew that two lanes were merging into one and that would require me to signal and get over in an uncomfortable way. Does anyone ever let anyone over? Sure, when there’s an accident people are more cautious. But overall no one wants to let anyone get over because the fact is we all want to be first to get ahead! So I sat there behind the wheel, heart racing. Would anyone let me over in this sea of lights?

Well sure enough, someone did. He didn’t honk his horn in his big truck and he didn’t rush me along. He just waited for me to get over.

The relief! I waved at him as I passed and 5 minutes later I was home and getting ready to go out to dinner with my mom. We’d talked about our date for days.

My knees shook a little bit when I got out of my car. What can I say? I just really don’t like traffic. But it got me thinking on my way to work the next morning, you know, when we are imagining who God is and trying to picture how he is in our lives, that it really is quite simple.

I’m the one who lets you over in traffic, He says. I do not rush you along and I do not honk my horn at you. I patiently wait for you, so you can get by.

I laughed at this and shared it with my therapist on Thursday. She said she loved it.

I do, too.

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With Bated Breath

I had funky dreams this morning, maybe because it was raining outside. I dreamed that Justin and I went to Disneyland and when we finally got there the curtains of our hotel room had a big hole in them so anyone could look in and see what we were doing. There were holes in the walls too so people could walk through the holes and into the room if they felt like it or not, and even though J was with me, he kept becoming out of my reach. He’d be there one moment and gone the next.

Now that I’m awake I’m wearing my robe I got for Christmas and listening to the laundry spin in the dryer and the purrs of the kitty next to my head. I’m absorbed by the blue light of my computer screen and worried about simple things like time and money and how there is never enough of either.

By the end of December we waited with bated breath for the new year to start, and when we did, I think a lot of us didn’t plan on it being an extension of December, but for some of us, that’s what it has been. Were still the same people we were, and we still laugh at the same jokes. We might hang out at new places, or browse new bookstores, but were still who we were.

When I look at myself, I want to see who God sees. I don’t want to see an optician or Justin’s wife or a traveling gypsy. I don’t want to see Cynthia’s daughter. I don’t want to see Charlie’s daughter.

I want to see me.

I’m getting married in June and my desire to be a mommy is so strong it’s beginning to break my iron-like heart but man,

I want to see me.