Ignorance On Twitter Kept Me Up All Night

My friends have gotten an earful from me about people saying “gay” as in “stupid.”
There’s a whole website dedicated to ending the derogatory use of retard(ed).
People on my campus debate all the time about who can use the N-word and who can’t.
But it’s time we talked about another word/phrase that we need to stop using.

And for those of you who just read that, rolled your eyes, and thought “People need to stop being so sensitive!”

Shut up.  Just shut up, sit down, and listen to me.

It’s time we stop joking about sexual abuse, not only joking, but trivializing it.

If you did an awesome job on a test, good job.  You did an awesome job on the test.  But no, you didn’t “rape it.”

If someone says they were raped, assaulted, abused, molested, used, etc. No matter what their character is, no matter how they present themselves, no matter how they dress, no matter how many hook ups they’ve had, no matter how many times you’ve caught them lying before… You believe them, you support them, and you find them help.  You don’t laugh about it to your friends or brush it off.

And seriously, if I hear one more trivialized comparison between a sexual remark and sexual abuse, I will throw my already-broken-laptop out the window.

Don’t understand what I’m talking about?  Let me explain…

Some students from my university put together a page where people could anonymously submit crushes and flirty remarks. Some of the comments have said things like “Jane Doe has the best butt on campus” “I’d like to ride John Smith” and “SoAndSo can pop out of a cake for me ;)”  Yes, they are sexual.  Yes, they are over-the-top.  Yes, they are inappropriate.  But the responses I’ve seen against this page have boiled my blood.

Obviously, people have spoken out against this page.  Calling it “immature” “rude” “offensive” “degrading” “disgusting” “childish” and many… MANY.. other words.  Seeing as how most of the posts on the page are silly, humorous, or things like “This guy is such a cutie” “She is so gorgeous” and seeing how even the inappropriate comments are mild… I think it is an overreaction. Out of the 54 posts on that site 12 could be stretched to be considered inappropriate.   BUT on to my point…

One dissenter of the page wrote “it is nothing less than a form of sexual abuse.” and that’s when I knew I would write this post.

Sexual abuse is “a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat.”  Yes, those remarks can be considered inappropriate.  But sexually abusive?  Not a chance.  Degrading?  I wouldn’t even go there either.  Degrading is to de-grade someone, to lower them down in rank.  These comments, although inappropriate and immature, were intended to give someone a confidence boost, not to humiliate someone.  I can’t bring myself to call them degrading.  It’s just mindless people.  Not abusive.  And honestly, half of those posts were probably written by guys and their roommates about each other as jokes.

If you still stand by this idea that the people posting on the site are hypocrites and dirty pigs… and if you still think that what is being said on that site is sexually abusive.  Consider this.  Have you ever been locked in a room, pinned down, struggling to keep unfriendly hands and other body parts away from exploiting you?  I have.  I am a survivor of sexual abuse.  Survivor.  It’s a term applied to victims to honor and empower their strength to heal.  And I find it offensive that my assault gets classified in the same category as “That guy, the crazy one on the volleyball team, he can give it to me any day.”

To the person who said “it is nothing less than a form of sexual abuse,” I don’t know you.  I don’t even think we’ve ever said hi to each other.  But I will say this.  That page is MANY things less than a form of sexual abuse.  I’m not saying this to attack you or vent my anger.  I’m saying this to open people’s eyes.

I understand that the Christian community can be highly sheltered and doesn’t talk about sexual things outside of “I get to have sex because I’m married!  It’s awesome!” “Ye perverse sinners.  How dare you look at porn or quote Family Guy!” or “This is my testimony… BUT JESUS.” I would be willing to say that Christians are so afraid of how desensitized our culture is to sexuality, that they have over-sensitized themselves.  But seriously, let’s get our definitions right.  Don’t confuse stupid innuendos with sexual abuse.  Doing that trivializes the traumatic experience that someone has gone through.

Sexual abuse can tear apart families, destroy marriages, and ruin lives.  I’ve seen it cause problems for my friends and their relationships.  I’ve seen it make peers run out of classrooms sobbing from triggered memories.  I’ve seen it take over and consume my mind.  It is real.  And it is serious.

People need to understand the weight their words have.  No more talk of how your team “raped” the other team.  No more disregarding or worse, laughing at, that girl’s claims that she got molested by her date.  And no more labeling things as “sexual abuse” that are merely inappropriate.

Don’t be so quick to give something a weighty label in order to drive home your message.   You have no idea who you can hurt by doing that.

“You Wronged Me… And I’m Okay With That”

Think about that person… You know who I’m talking about.  The one you love to hate.  The best friend who back-stabbed you.  The girl who cheated on you.  The guy who didn’t care that you said “stop.”  The father who was never there for you.  The mother who would rather perfect you than love you.  Go ahead.  Think about how much it hurt.  Think about how angry it makes you.  And think about forgiving them.

Yeah, I’m going there.  Forgiving that person you can’t forgive.  Um, hello.  Welcome to my life.   This is something I’ve struggled with FOR YEARS and now I’m talking about it.

I thought about it.  I thought about all the terrible things that people have done to me.  And I realized that a lot of those people are Christians.  And those sins that were done against me, are covered by Christ’s blood and God’s grace.  Those who aren’t Christians… They could be my brothers and sisters in Christ one day and the same rule applies to them.

The worst wrongs ever done to me.  God says to them “I forgive you.  I do not hold this against you.” So why can’t I say that?  I hated thinking this.  I knew I didn’t forgive these people and yet God could.

But then I thought… I’m no saint and I’m sure anyone who has known me well enough could agree with that.  You know those people that get up in front of church/chapel/small group/etc and say “I am a sinner.  I am not perfect.” and the crowd nods and murmurs “amen” while they think about how they themselves are not perfect?   Yeah, well I’m the person that gets up, says “I am a sinner.  I am not perfect.” and every person in the crowd that knows me laughs and says “I know that’s right!”

I know I have hurt people.  I know I have wronged people.  But I also know that God has forgiven me for that, and that grace?  That undeserved gift?  That mercy?  I didn’t do anything special to earn it… and neither did those people that have wronged me.  It is completely WRONG that I should receive the gift that Christ’s death has given me, but you know what else is wrong?  The fact that I accept it for myself but don’t think it should apply to those people.

God is good, merciful, and forgiving.  Maybe I think those people shouldn’t be forgiven, but hey, neither should I.  And you know what else?  This world does not matter.  It is not what is important.  I am waiting for the better days of life to come in heaven.  And one day all the mess and crap of this world will be gone. One day, it will not matter that you hurt me and I think that is a beautiful prospect.   I cannot wait for the day that this world passes and it’s just God and His kingdom.

To all the people I’ve held grudges against… to those who apologized and never hear me utter these words… I am sorry and I forgive you.  I understand that what you did was wrong and yeah, you hurt me.  But God is greater than my pain and my hope is in Him.  I hope you have found your freedom in Him as well and that I can one day stand side by side with you and we can praise Him together.

Thinking like this has really helped me understand the cross more… It’s one thing to feel the weight of my sin and guilt, but it is a whole ‘nother thing to think that through the cross that person that wronged me the most can be made my brother/sister in Christ – that we can be reconciled together as forgiven creations of God.  Like seriously, holy cow God is good.  I would love nothing more to be able to look that person in the eye and not only be able to say “I forgive you” but also be able to rejoice with them in the fact that Christ has forgiven them as well.   God is good ALL THE TIME and I’m glad He does not turn people away who ask for His forgiveness like I have.

You know, I once thought “There’s no way I could ever forgive them for what they did to me…” but silly me I forgot that “I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

It’s Been Another Year

November the 7th.  Back again.  I was hoping that this year I wouldn’t think about it, and that one day I’d be like “Oh… isn’t that day coming up?”  Only to discover it had passed several days ago.

Only it didn’t.

I was sitting in class.  I wrote down the date on my notes and was tracing over it with my pen… and it hit me.  11/7.  So much for paying attention in class?  I couldn’t focus.  My mind was consumed.  I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone.  I wanted to get away and get alone as soon as possible.

But I really couldn’t.  There was a snow storm today so I couldn’t be outside, my roommates were all in the apartment, and there was no way I was going to hash out these issues in the silent library.   There was just no where to be alone.

So I distracted myself.  I stuck with someone who helped me keep my mind off of it for most of the evening.  And I was blessed by friends with kind words of encouragement and a wonderful, perfectly-timed cup of hot chocolate.  (I’m really beginning to think that my love language is, in fact, food.)

Yeah, there have been times today that I’ve questioned whether or not to take a second shower because I needed to cry… (and I HATE crying)  There have been moments that I have gone into other worlds, consumed in thought about it all.  There have been moments that I’ve muttered strings of four-lettered-words under my breath in bitterness because not only did something happen that I didn’t ask for and that I tried to stop… but it is also still a part of my life today.   “Hey cool… You weren’t invited. Oh, even better!  You’re not leaving.” (more four-lettered words…Lime, Ruby, Sand, Work… )

But today… as crappy as it has been mentally and emotionally… today was better than last year.   Last year I was in the fetal position on the floor of my apartment doing the ugly cry after I had written out everything I was thinking and feeling on paper.

It’s been two years.  I wrote this post last year at this time and while I do experience a lot of that from time to time… I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made.

I’m not as sour at people for being sympathetic or trying to be encouraging… I really appreciate it.

I feel more comfortable with talking about it, which I needed.

I’ve been having fewer panic attacks… thank GOD!

And I really feel like I’m healing.

But the two most important things?  I’ve found myself again and I’ve found peace with God.

I don’t know why bad things happen… why there’s evil… why God allows it to exist.  But I do know that God loves me and wants what’s best for me.  And what would be better for me?  To have a perfect/harmless life?  Or to wrestle with God in order to understand and know Him more?  I think I’m better off with Him than I am with this earthly life.

And myself.  I’m so glad to be back.  I’m glad to feel stable again.. to feel like I can freely give out hugs without fear again.. to feel confidence, joy, and beauty in myself again… to be making decisions in prayer and thorough examination and not just fear anymore..  I love it.

Today sucks.  The world sucks.  Sin sucks.  Evil sucks.  November the 7th sucks.

But my God is good and He’s making His face shine down upon me today and I cannot thank or praise Him enough for that and the progress I’ve made.  Hallelujah

Lockdown

I saw a blog the other day that was just pictures and small captions of how the picture represented how the blogger was feeling.  So I thought to myself, what would I be if I was a picture?  But that’s about as far as I got with that thought.

However, with a lot of  new things in my life lately, I’ve been analyzing how I feel and trying to figure out why I feel that way.   I’ve been confusing myself A LOT lately, I can feel great about something one minute… but then apprehensive about it the next and with no reason to feel that way.  I’ve been finding myself worried about things that make me happy.

That’s when my picture popped in my head… only I couldn’t actually take a picture of it… so I drew it.


That’s me.  Steel plated, chained, and locked.   And I like it that way.   Why?  Because it’s safer.   I’ve got Jesus in here with me.  My family has a natural ability to loosen the chains and melt the steel.  I have a friend or two that I unlock it for on occasion.  But someone new?  I don’t think I can let in anyone new.

If there’s anything life has shown me in the past two years, it’s that appearances can be deceiving.  I have too many people in my life who seem to have good intentions that end up being fickle or manipulative.  People I think I can trust, prove themselves otherwise.

I trust people that I’ve known for years, but letting someone new in is just too risky.  I mean yes there are people I feel like I can learn to trust, but they are rare, few and far between, and it will be a long time before that can happen.  I just get this feeling about them.. this feeling that I can trust them.  Like the feeling I got about my friend in my last post.  The problem is, I barely ever meet people I feel like I can trust.

I have made the mistake of trusting people that I haven’t had that feeling about and it hasn’t turned out well.  So until I have a better grasp of how to determine who I can let in, I’m on lock down. God’s got a lot of work to do here…. these are things I should talk about at oasis….

The point being, this hurts me and it hurts those around me.  Because there are people in my life that feel promising, but I just haven’t gotten that “ya, they’re good.”  Connect with them yet.  No confirmation.  I can act like we’ve got that connect, but I can’t actually let the openess and vulnerability happen.  I’m afraid of hurting people, because the longer I’m on this fence of “can I trust them or not?” the closer I get to shut down mode.  I become hypersensitive to their every action, and if they do one little thing to worry me, my mind blows it up out of proportion and I hide from them.

I’ve been in this “I can’t let myself get hurt” mindset for a while now, and was actually getting better at bringing my walls down.  But wouldn’t you know just when I think I can let loose, things just blow up in my face again.  The walls are back up people.

So ya, I may be transparent on here, but I’m not telling you guys everything.  And yes, I can be good friends with people, but there’s a level of comfort and openness missing from a lot of relationships for me on the inside.

People can’t be trusted.  That is a fact.   I’m not naive to think there are people that are ALWAYS trustworthy.  But frankly, I’m only interested in risking that trust on people that I know are important enough in my life to get past the times they let me down.  And I specifically use the phrase “let me down.”  I know my family will let me down, but they will never betray me.  I know my best friends will let me down, but they will never carelessly hurt me.  I trust those who I know want to treat me in love, even in their mistakes.  And if I don’t know whether or not you will betray me or carelessly hurt me, chances are you’re not going to be trusted with very much.

At this point, I’m rambling.  So ya… I’m trying to remember that loving someone does not mean you trust them.  I’m trying to learn who I can let in.  I’m trying to figure out why I’m so apprehensive about things that make me happy and only seem to be good.  I’m trying to be careful while at the same time not hurting people.  And I’m trying to protect myself.   “Above all else guard your heart” (what exactly does that mean????)  I know Satan does a good job of snaring me in anger and holding grudges.  So I’m protecting myself even more than normal, because, yes I don’t want to be hurt, but even more so… I don’t want to get caught up in anymore anger than I have been already.

Ugh… where am I going with this?

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you… the world’s worst ending to a blog post….. pineapples.

To that friend…

It’s been awhile since I last posted a blog, so I wanted to write one today.  I’ve had something I’ve wanted to try to say somehow, but I couldn’t really figure out how to do it.  Then I realized I could write this post to a friend that brings a lot of the topic I want to discuss to light.  Plus sometimes it’s fun to just write out a story about life from my perspective.   Obviously, you shouldn’t think you know a whole story until you hear every side, but I don’t think I will compromise anything by writing this.  Plus this friend and I are the only two in the story, so I can’t think of many people who could even know who it is.  So, wooo… you guys get to read what I’d like to tell one of my friends.  Who knows, maybe that person will read this and actually understand a very confusing situation we’ve been in.  Tally ho!





Friend,

You know, I don’t understand you.  You confuse me more than anyone else.  Not because of anything you’ve done, but because of how I react to you.  You see, whenever I meet a new guy, my guard is always up.  My trust barrier is harder to get through.  I am suddenly hyper sensitive of my surroundings.  I am very physically reserved.  I am uncomfortable.  Even my guy friends that I met the same time as you and am very comfortable with now, they were a threat to me when I first met them.  Basically, I go into protection mode.  (If you haven’t seen this… well, I like to think I’m good at hiding it.  And if you have seen it… well then crap, maybe I’m not so good at it.)

You were different.  I wasn’t afraid of you.  I felt like myself.  You didn’t make me feel like I had to question your every movement.   I wasn’t afraid to let loose.  I was comfortable in my own skin.  And the strangest part about it, is you of all people should have been sending me into protection mode.  So many things about you are a perfect set up for me keeping my distance, but I didn’t feel that necessity.  I felt like I was getting better.  You made me feel like I was getting better.  You made me comfortable again.  The first guy in a long time that I wasn’t wary of deep down the first time I met them and had no problems with after that.  It made me happy, confident, bold, hopeful, the list goes on.  I was succeeding…or so I thought.

Then came that night that I asked you for that hug.  Now mind you, before I went to you I had been set off into a very weak state both mentally and emotionally.  I had been twisted and pulled in every direction.  The confidence I was building and I thought I had secured over the past several months had been shattered in the matter of a short 20 minute conversation.  One person’s ignorance blew every feeling of growth and success that I had out of the water.  Bam.   I didn’t know what to do, but then I remembered the way you made me feel.  The comfort and security that you brought.  The sense that I was alright… that things would get better.  I could have gone to any friend to talk about it, but I didn’t want to talk about it.  I just wanted to know that things were getting better.  I wanted to prove to myself that I was strong enough the handle it.   So what did I do?   I asked a tall, intimidating, male friend for a hug…. I asked you.

There I was, walking to meet you.  Thinking to myself, “I’ll give him a hug and it will be normal.  Today was tough, but I still have this last reserve.  I may be hanging by a string, but at least it’s something and something is better than nothing.”  You walked out and it was a little awkward at first.  I wasn’t really in the mood to say much.  But I just told myself all I needed was that hug and I was good.  So, you did what I thought I needed.   You wrapped your arms around me in a friendly embrace…and the last thing I expected or wanted happened.

Anxiety took over my entire body.  I felt nauseous.  Dizzy.  My head ached.  My hands got sweaty.  My face was flushed.  I spaced out from reality and my mind went reeling to places I had been trying to forget.  I felt mute.  small.  broken.   My last string had been clipped.  My one reserve, my last line of confidence, my proof to myself that I was getting past it all had just become like all the others.  And that killed me inside.   I tried to leave.  I wanted to get away from you as quick as possible.   A large part of me just wanted to break down sobbing.  I also wanted to puke on the rocks down by our feet.  I wasn’t sure what would happen first, the crying or the puking, but all of the sudden you became the last person in the world that I wanted to see me in that state.  But you wouldn’t let me go as easily as I wanted.  You offered to drive me back to my apartment, and I figured that was better than getting on the shuttle in front of a bunch of other people who would see me as a wreck.

As we took the short trip to my place, you asked what was going on.  I wanted to tell you.  I swear I wanted to tell you so bad.  But everything I could think of saying sounded so stupid, or just got caught in my throat.  I found myself rambling on like a fool in the most vague way possible.  You stopped your car outside of my apartment and I sat there yelling at myself in my head to just tell you.  To just spill.  But I couldn’t.  I was so mad at myself.  So lost.  I tried to say something and it didn’t even make any grammatical sense and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I ended up slamming your car door and bee-lining to my apartment.  I felt so stupid.  You had been gracious, patient, understanding… and I acted like a mute gorilla with the flu.  I then furiously typed out this post.  I thanked you later on over facebook chat, but everything from there on out felt so wrong.  Nothing made sense anymore.  I couldn’t find that sense of security I had been cultivating.  I was out of it for a good couple of weeks.  Days bashing myself for being stupid, questioning you in my head for why you were being distant, convincing myself that you thought I was insane.  Nights stuck in my mental swamp, furiously writing away on notebook paper with markers,  waking up on the rainbow colored pages the next morning that had somehow become tear stained.  Things were a mess.

I’ve collected myself since then.  I’m learning how to handle those moments that I become overwhelmed with anxiety like with that hug.  I’m creating my own sense of security.   I’m  working on being able to differentiate from perception and reality, and not letting my perceptions have more weight over me than reality.   It’s safe to say I wish I hadn’t been so quick to think I needed you.  I wish I had realized I am not strong enough on my own sooner.

And yes, you still confuse me.  I have not had a moment like that from interacting with you since.  And I have even more reasons to go into protection mode whenever I’m around you than I had before.   But I don’t.  I don’t know why you’re the only one who’s been like this for me… but I do want to thank you.  Because you have been a step forward for me in this journey.  I’d like to think that there will be more people that I don’t have any reaction to when I first meet them just like you.  I’m still on edge.  Still afraid that I’ll break again.  I even get shy around you.  Crazy but true.  If you get too close to me I can’t look you in the eyes.  I don’t know if you noticed this.  Sometimes I think that shyness/nervousness is a precursor to another meltdown, but it never gets past that.  So ya, you confuse me.  I’ve been shot into anxiety ridden protection mode from you.  You have all the qualities to keep me there, and yet you don’t.  I’m losing my ease to be bold when we’re around each other, because I find myself mumbling and looking down at the floor in nervous laughter to keep myself positive and sane.   BUT, at least you at least give me hope.    Hope that there will be more like you.  Hope that I can some how feel normal again, because you made me feel normal.  So thank you friend.  I know I can be very confusing, but maybe we can have an actual conversation about this one day.  Until then, I’ll try not to mumble 😛

-Kels

Finding Out What People REALLY Think About You. Sort of…

For my counseling class, I had to interview people who knew me well.  I was given a list of questions from my professor and told to find at least 1 person.   I put the questions and answers my interviewees gave me below because I found this so interesting.

If you find any of their answers interesting and want to comment, agree, or disagree on them go right ahead.   Feel free to answer these questions about me, if you want to as well.


1. What is it like to be around me?
1:         It is fun.  Typically easy going.  It’s very easy to both talk to and listen to you about any topic.   You do have strong opinions about certain things which is respectable, but at the same time you listen to whatever comes out of my mouth.

2:         I think you’re fun and friendly and personable.  People like to be around you.   It’s also hard because you can be very sarcastic.  It’s hard to find the balance between sarcasm and realism.

3:         It’s fun.  Upbeat.  Not boring.  Easy to talk to one-on-one.  It’s a no pressure situation.

2.  How do my words affect you?
1:         No comment.  Didn’t understand the question.

2:         Your words can be very encouraging at times, they can also be very deflating at times.  It depends on where we’re at.  I think there’s a mix.

3:         When you say something, I take it to heart, because I know  you don’t have an agenda.


3. How well do you feel like I listen to you?
1:         You listen pretty well.  I know sometimes I get lost in what I’m saying and in my train of thought and you follow along pretty well.  You do sometimes shove off what I say, but that’s usually for a good reason.  Sometimes you do lose the main point of something or whatever I’m trying to say/you’re being told.  Generally it’s ok.

2:         Pretty well.  It just depends on time.  Normally it’s very well.  When I’m going through something, you’re willing to help me through stuff.   I think when things are good you listen very well.  Like that time that you let me talk for thirty minutes without telling me to shut up.

3:         Pretty well. I would say that you trust my opinion and you know when to call me out on my bs.

4. What emotions have you seen me express? 
1:         The full spectrum.
Afraid – -Anxious, secluded, frozen, stiff, quiet,
Mad – Usually frustrated.  You become rude, rash, and kind of get independent you get mad. annoyed, illogical, nonsensical, unreasonable,
Sad –You close yourself, you also get kind of frustrating.
gloomy, pessimistic, dejected, closed off, short,
Glad –You’re  pleasant, very open minded, courteous, kind. Beaming, beautiful, bright, cheerful,  hilarious, warm, open,

2:       Afraid – anxious, distressed, frightened, upset, worried. You’re quiet and reserved,
Mad –anger, frantic, irrational, unbalanced, unreasonable, unstable, doesn’t want to be bothered, “talk to me and I will kill you”
Sad – bitter, despairing, down in the dumps, heartbroken, hurting, pessimistic.  You’re downcast,  hidden, closed off,
Glad – animated, cheerful, contented, hilarious, light hearted, pleasant.  You’re happy and smiling.

3:       -Afraid – You put up a good front about it.   Around people you trust, you have no problem letting it out.  Most people can’t see it, but since I’ve known you for so long I can tell.
-Mad – You show it sometimes, you’ve gotten better at hold it in.  You’ve gotten better at letting it blow over
-Sad – hide it well, but with people you know well, you have no problem letting it out.   You don’t go around showing it to everyone though.
-Glad – happy energetic fun to be around talkative social


5. Do any emotions seem disproportionate or missing?
1:         -Sad/Afraid/Mad – You’re a lot more prone to getting into those more easily in general.  Sometimes it’s hard to get you out of those moods, not so much mad, but sad and afraid.  When you’re happy, it’s overpowering because you see a wider spectrum of emotions than when you’re sad, mad, or afraid.

2:         Yeah, mad and sad can be overdone, but that’s a hard question cause you can’t really see what someone is going through.

3:         No.  You’re a very happy person in general.  I wouldn’t say that’s equally done.  I would say that when you’re afraid you don’t show it off to the world.  You show all emotions but you show happiness more than the rest.

6. How have you seen me respond to conflict?
1:         -Sometimes when conflict happens you shut off what the other side is saying.  You get rash and rude sometimes, and instead of actually hearing everything out, you don’t.   And then again, there are certain times that you do have an open mind and you do listen.  And you’re able to absorb what other people are saying, you’re able to form a new train of thought instead of just having an argument of “a” and “b.”  It really depends on your disposition going in.

2:         All kinds. There’s: -Do not respond. Ignore it.  -Punch the conflict in the face when I see it. -Patience, waiting it out a couple days

3:         You’re direct and you do not shy away from conflict.  You never search conflict out, but once conflict comes up you’re not afraid to tackle it head on but you’re not looking for it.

7. From your impression of me, what would you say my experience of God’s presence in my life seems like?
1:         You have a very strong connection to God.  You take Him into account anytime you have a decision in life.  While you have shown… Uhh nevermind.

2:         You can just tell, through what you’ve been through you can see that you really trust that God has a bigger plan.  God is faithful and will ultimately carry you through and through that turmoil He kind of reveals himself to you.  It seems like you understand who He is and what He’s like through hard situations

3:         It shines through.  Especially in how you treat people.  You realize that no matter how bad someone is, they’re equally loved by God.  You easily relate.  You’re very kind and have over all joy towards people.

8. What do you think my blind spots might be?
1:         Losing a world view – there’s having a closed mind, there’s having an open mind, and there’s having a world view which is having a closed mind and an open mind at the same time.  It’s having an opinion on what’s around.  Sometimes you get caught in a very simple small view of things – not thinking big picture.  Sometimes you choose to do this out of ease.

2:       -Conflict resolution
-Not trying to assume the worst in people, and trying to see the best in them
-Encouraging people

3:         You don’t realize how awesome you are.  You underestimate yourself.

As you can see, I interviewed three people for this project.  3 is the one out of the three who understands who “Kelsey” is the most.  He has a good grasp on my identity and character.  1 is the one who knows my thought process and emotions best.  2 is the one who probably understands my spiritual life and my story the most.  I would have liked to interview a female, but I did not have the time.  It makes me wonder what kind of feedback I would have gotten from a non-male perspective.

The thing that I found the most interesting was my friends’ perspectives on what I am like when I get angry.  1 and 2 both have been around me in social setting a lot in the past year, whereas 3 has not.  However, 1 and 2 have not known me as long as 3 has.  They both said that when I am mad I close people out and I become very secluded.  They saw this as a problem.  They thought that I needed to work on discussing what I am upset about with people instead of closing myself off and forgetting about it.  When I asked 3 about how I act and what emotions he has seen me express when I am mad, he said, “You show your anger sometimes, but you’ve gotten better at holding it in and not letting it affect the people around you.  You’re much better at letting it blow over.”  3 saw that me holding my anger in was progress from where he has seen me in the past, whereas 1 and 2 saw it as a problem I needed to address.  It makes me wonder if, in my attempt to correct my over reactive anger issues, I have gone too far to the other side of the spectrum.

Something that was really confusing to me was the way that 2 and 3 saw that I treated people.  2 said that something I need to work on is “Not trying to assume the worst in people, and trying to see the best in them.”  However, 3 said “You treat people with kindness and joy. You realize that no matter how bad someone is, they’re equally loved by God.”  I think the reason for the opposing answers is that in high school I did not put up with bullying or people excluding others.  I chose to treat everyone with respect, especially the people that no one wanted to be around.  3 was looking at how I treat people through that lens.  Since high school, I have had a lot of bad interactions with guys in my life.  I do not trust men until I have known them for a very long time.  I do not often give any guy a chance to get to know me.  2 has seen this first hand, so I think he answered this question while considering  all the guys, including himself, that I have shut out and rejected in attempts to protect myself.  He sees me assuming the worst in guys.  This is the only reason I can think of to explain the different answers these two gave me.

This interview process was uncomfortable.  There were questions that seemed as if they were asking for my interviewees to compliment me, and these guys would get really awkward when addressing those questions.  Then there were also questions that were asking for brutal honesty and constructive criticism, and I could see the ways that they were trying to not hurt my feelings.  For example, when I asked 1 about my experience of God’s presence in my life, he said, “You have a very strong connection to God.  You take Him into account anytime you have a decision in life.” Then he added “While you have shown…” and paused.  He thought about what he was saying for a moment or two, stammered a bit, and then said, “never mind” and asked to go onto the next question.  I tried to coax him into saying what he was going to say, but he would not be persuaded.  It makes me wonder what things these guys thought about saying in their answers and held back from telling me.

I do not want to just stop this process after this project.  I think it is important for us to ask questions of those around us to get an assessment of ourselves.  I definitely plan on using some of these questions to talk with close friends over Christmas break.  In the end, I noticed two common themes in the answers I was given, one good and one bad.  The good theme is that I am considered respectful and personable when it comes to listening to people and talking with them.  The bad theme is that when I get emotional, I become illogical and unreasonable.  I was repeatedly told that I can be frustrating to them when I get upset.  This is amusing to me considering the fact that this is men’s usual complaint about the entire female population, but it is definitely something for me to work on none the less.  This was a very beneficial exercise and I was glad I had the opportunity to do this.

Remember That One Time… That I Was An Old Cuban Lady That Rapped?

So, in one of my high school classes… I was given an article about an elderly woman who supported Castro in his revolution and was now in economic destitution.  The article highlighted the fact that someone stole towels out of her kitchen.

Well, upon receiving the article I was told to write a rap. (if you’re laugh now… you’ll be laughing more in a few moments).  So… I did?  And I recently found said rap… and died laughing about it.  I was so dumb.

HOWEVER, I figured… I haven’t written something lately… So why not post it?

Haha, enjoy.  (and yes I had to write certain words in certain ways so I would remember to say them with enough swag.  I’m white and a theater geek remember? Pronunciation is key.)

Yo, dis be a Martica Valdes production, this goes out to all dem castro hata’s out dere.  I’m witchu yall

M-M 20-6-7
M-M 20-6-7
M-M 20-6-7
Stop.
Lemme’ break it down.

I was there from the start,
at the revolution’s heart.

I smuggled Castro guns,
for this country’s future sons.

We were the secret women,
for the freedom of the Cubans.

Now I live on a small pension,
and I’m starving.  Not to mention,

I eat one meal a day
my ration card’s not worth its pay.

Cuba ain’t got lots of hope
Cuz this generation’s dope.

All these kids aren’t very stout.
They just want the easy route.

Think they’re just too cool fo’ schoo’
They’re all a bunch of fools.

They’ll never get a job.
We’re just a country full of slobs.

They just peddle for some cabbage
cuz they don’t want employment baggage.

But what really makes me howl,
is someone stole my kitchen towels.

Now I have to lock my doors,
before those thieves get anymore.

I live my life just like a mouse,
cuz I hardly leave my house.

What’s my man Fidel thinking?
Does he know this land is sinking?

His revolution was immaculate
but now I’m taken back a bit

Cuz even though I helped him out
I’m in this economic drought.

I wonder will this ever end?
This ain’t no life I’d recommend.

And I don’t mean to be a traitor,
but I’ve become a commi hater.

No socialism can set us free
you do you and I do me.

And really do I need to shout?
The revolution never helped out!

It’s all for the phat government
and they haven’t given us a cent!

They’ve got the money. They wear the ice.
For me, a little food ‘d be nice.

But I guess at 81 this be the end.
I don’t want no Komrades, I just need friends.

Ever since my huzzy died
I’ve seen this destitution nationwide.

And I’m just one of many in this land.
Who have suffered at Castro’s hand.

SMH Kelsey… smh

The Emperor Moth

I never really thought to post this, but my mind has been coming back to it over and over this week.   This is something I wrote over Christmas break last year.  There are two sections to it.  The first was written in one of the worst places I have ever found myself in my life.  I was mad at God, but too afraid to admit it.   These emotions all came rushing into my head and I did the only thing I knew what to do.  Write.

————————————————————————

Part 1:

I am broken
but I don’t feel like it.

I am worth more than I can imagine
but I don’t feel like it.

I did not deserve that
but I don’t feel like it.

I am not alone
but I feel like it.

I am not damaged goods
but I feel like it.

I don’t have to be invincible
but I feel like it.

But Kelsey, where is God in all of this?
YOU TELL ME!

God is the one who made me into this little doormat that I am.

He’s the one who let this happen.

So tell me… Where is God?

What kind of father purposely breaks His daughter?

Why would He break my heat?

Why would He crush my spirit?

Why would He send the wolves out on me?

Why would He cage me in fear?

Why God?  Why?

What kind of sick joke is this?

I feel hopeless
like a cavity,
empty and decaying.

Is this punishment for my past?

“Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?”

I’m not mad at God today.
I’m just broken.
I’m lost.
I’m hurting.
I’m lifeless.

If I can’t get my eyes back on the cross soon, I’m gonna lose it.

Or I’ll just pick myself back up and fake it.  But I don’t want that.

I’m a terrible Christian.

I don’t read my Bible everyday.

I don’t pray everyday.

I’m not satisfied in Christ alone.

I’m not finding joy in God.

I don’t rejoice in my identity.

What am I doing?

What makes me think I’m fit for the field?

I just talk the talk… where’s the walk?

————————————————————————

The second part was written a couple nights later, I sat in my bed late at night stewing in anger.   I pulled out my ipod, turned on the angriest and least understandable screamo music I could find, and blasted it as loud as I could handle.  Then, out of no where, “Our God” by Chris Tomlin shuffled into the mix.  I had been turning off every worship song that came on as quick as I could in the days before that night, but for some reason my hand froze.  I allowed myself to listen to the words and I broke.  I sobbed harder than I ever knew was possible.  And through the tears came a sigh of relief for my entire body, a smile on my face, and the words of the second portion of this writing.

————————————————————————

Part 2:

Fresh, cold, icy water
Through my hair, down my back, down my throat.

In my soul.  Cleansing.  Refreshing.

My soul is awakening to a new phase.  A new day is rising.

God is making me into an iron saint.

Forging is painful.
Purifying is painful.
Healing is painful.

But I am His.

I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am special.
I have a purpose.

The devil has no hold over me.  His lies have no power.

This is the power of the cross.
This is Christ in me.

God has a purpose.
He has a reason.

and it is good!

He was protecting me.
He was preparing me.

He is blessing me,
not cursing me.

He is higher than any other.
He is above all.
His name is to be praised.

In the depths of my despair and the mountaintops of my joy.

HE IS FOR ME!

Who can stand against my God and His purpose?  Praise be to God!

Every time He touches my life it’s a blessing, because He does it in His indescribable love. Oh the unspeakable wonders of the Lord!

————————————————————————

So welcome to a portion of where I’ve been with the Lord this past year.  He has been teaching me, and I feel comfortable and prepared at this time to reveal how my walk with Him has been to you all.

At the end of writing it all, a quote stuck in my head from a book I had been reading that I want to share with you.  The author was talking about a time he had tried to help an emperor moth out of its cocoon, but by interfering with the moth’s natural process he weakened the creature and it could never fly.  At the end of the story he wrote:

“Don’t fight your way out of the cocoon to get quick relief… Work your way out over time, so you can develop your wings and SOAR.”

————————————————————————

I hope in some way you’ve been blessed by me sharing this.

I’m Seeing Red

An ode to the color red…

I really do not like you
You make me kinda mad
Whenever I’m around you
It’s like my head just needs a bag

You’re so unforgiving on my skin
You make me pale or lobster like
You don’t work for me, but to my chagrin
You like everyone else just fine

You are the epitome of anger
Hatred at it’s finest
You define outrage and rancor
And this isn’t just my bias.

You are the sign of guilt
You sweep across faces in shame
You arise when embarrassment is built
And cover the hands of those to blame

You are the mark of a burn
The signature of flame
Consuming all.  To ash they turn
In wounds you leave them maimed

You are the trace of life
The fluid coursing through our veins
Revealed from under the knife
The end of our days in stain

Then again, you are somewhat good
You’re the look of a passionate fight
Having fury that a spirit should
Through you desire ignites

I’ll give it to you, I suppose
You are a meaning of love
Without you where is depth to a rose?
What other look would we think of?

So, fine.  I do not hate you
But I’d rather you’d leave me alone
Give me life, passion, love then shoo
Just please, go off on your own