expansion (ex-pan’-shun) n. The action of one’s belongings growing bigger when a suitcase is being repacked.
Thank you!! Yes, I know it’s a great school. I’m not sure what I want to major in yet [or enter intended major]. Yeah, I am super excited to start. Oh, yes, I know it will be fun but challenging, and sure, I’ll keep an eye out for the random person you know there.
Thanks for being excited for me!
[I know people mean well. It’s just funny how they just ask the same questions and make a lot of the same comments.]
I’m surrounded by people
But I want to be alone.
I am happy to be around them,
Yet exhausted to make an effort.
I yearn to leave,
But I know that if I do, I will cry,
Even though I am not sad.
I don’t understand myself;
I suppose I never will.
Nor will I ever understand
The pain of goodbyes.
–July 28, 2017
Master of saying goodbyes?
That should be me!
Reality? More like the master of running away… still. So I’m pretending I’m not going to leave the state that’s closest to home for me, because that’s too scary to think about. I’m leaving the Less Known to enter into the Completely Unknown. I mean…. Hoowee. Sounds like a big step.
However… I’m not alone. (Haha, this is so cliché. This is really why I wrote that article a couple posts ago.) I mean, hello, I’m not leaving my family for good, right? And I know I can go back home when the opportunity arises. It’s not like I’m dying, or the people I’m leaving are dying, or the places are dying. (Well, technically we kind of are because everything we see is finite, but you know what I mean.) Plus, I’ve got people backing me up literally all around the world. How amazing is that? And then on top of that, I still have my Dad who never leaves my side. He can take all the stuff I throw at Him, or that life throws at me.
The worst part about goodbyes is that you’re usually not sure when you’ll see the person/place again. But I’m guaranteed that there will be a time where there won’t be any more goodbyes. No more sadness from being apart. No more being disappointed because the people eventually drop contact with you, no more not being able to keep in touch due to a lack of a Facebook account… because we’ll all be connected through something that’s infinitely better than the internet.
(HALLELUJAH FOR THAT.)
So I don’t have to be a master of goodbyes, because I probably won’t ever get there anyway. For now, I just have to take life one step at a time, enjoying my surroundings and the people around me for the time that I have them. Even if moving on is hard…
“Man, I wish I had your faith.”
You know the people who just always have it all together? (Read: you know everyone except for the two of us?)
Must be nice to be them. Life seems pretty sweet, because even in the midst of trial, they can still praise the God that seems so distant to me. They have this undying hope that seems to have a lifetime warranty: “if your hope starts to fail, God will fix it for free! No conditions apply!!” And then the conditions around us begin swamping us. Conditions certainly seem to apply here, and life seems to be trying to apply them with all its force. Like, “Hey, who can I get to break first?” And we point to those really righteous people, yelling, “Try them, not me!” And it does try them, and those people just never go under.
Admit it. You’re jealous just like I am.
Life is pushing with a lot of pressure right now. And I’d love to say and truly mean that I’m leaning really hard into God and singing my praises all day long, but instead, I’m trying to pretend I’m happy while I belt songs like Beyonce’s “Listen” at the top of my pathetic lungs. Wonderfully worshipful, I know; very remedial for a patchy relationship with the Lord of the Universe who seems so present for everyone except yourself.
I’m still angry. I might be somewhat depressed. I’m exhausted, annoyed, terrified, and grieving, possibly (probably?) all at the same time. Is this a hard time? Yeah. Am I a bad Christian because of this? …I mean, I could try to be a “better” Christian, but since life doesn’t even work that way, I would say no. Am I human? Probably, which means I make mistakes. Mistake after mistake after mistake.
The last part is the important point. We’re all humans, and we all pretty much stink at life. True, some will find it easier to praise God through trial, and others just have to buckle down and try as hard as they can to keep from drowning; but we all mess up, and we all have our strong and weak points. We all hit rock bottom (some just do it a little more gracefully than others). And none of us really have it all together.
I can struggle and cry and mess up and not always “feel God.” I can cling to the hope that this, too, will come to an end, and that I really don’t have to have it all together, because then I wouldn’t need God in the first place. We don’t always have to be the spiritual gurus who have all the answers; we can simply be and trust that this will be used for His kingdom somehow, even if we can’t see it now.
Therefore, I’m very happy to announce that I don’t have it all together. And I’m happy to tell you that you don’t have to be strong all the time either. So I guess we’re all the latter group in the title of this post.
I write as the inspiration strikes. Inspiration strikes at random times of my life. Huh.
Oh, and yeah, you probably did read the title of this post correctly. I mean for it to be in writing mostly, but I can kind of see how this will apply to real life as well. (….I’m not sure if I was being sarcastic there, either.)
If you’re like a lot of writers, you probably see the word “cliché” and freak out a bit. “What? No! I AM ORIGINAL. You cannot take away my freedom! I will not follow your silly stereotypes! My character will not follow your silly stereotypes! I am not one of your silly stereotypes! Fight me to the death!!” (Cue the writer’s dramatic sip of coffee [Cliché….].)
I know I’ve also said things about avoiding clichés in the past. However, I wanted to confuse you all by giving you mixed messages, so now I’m going to talk about why clichés (I am way overusing this word) are, to an extent, so important. So buckle up, grab your popcorn, and let’s do this.
- Humans are silly, forgetful creatures. (You can see my low opinion of humanity simply beaming through here.) Truth is, we humans just like to forget a lot of stuff. When we read, we still forget a lot of stuff. Therefore, your readers are going to forget a lot of stuff. As a result of this almost-scientifically-sound proof, we need to use clichés just so that our readers’ minds don’t explode. Good reason, right?
- It’s impossible not to use any clichés anyway. Nothing is new under the sun. It’s seriously impossible to avoid clichés entirely, and why? Because fiction writing is supposed to reflect the real world in many extents, and the real world is full of clichés. Hat, my life is a cliché. (Just kidding, but my life has had its share of very predictable moments.) The problem comes when you lean too heavily on predictable, easy answers, rather than taking the time and energy to develop your story / characters better. Don’t. Use. This crutch. Because it will leave your story limping sadly along. (I guess Twilight was one of the sad excuses that got away with this somehow.)
- Readers need a sense of familiarity. And when it makes sense for a story, it just makes sense. Besides, clichés tend to underlie all the major themes… no, all the themes we’ve used in writing, so again, it’s impossible to avoid them entirely. Besides, if we throw a neck-breaking twist in every other chapter, the readers will find it hard and/or frustrating trying to keep up, so sometimes it’s better to try to save the audience from whiplash and just keep plodding along toward Mordor.
- Finally, clichés are just fun. It’s fun over-playing the dramatic high school cheerleader; or the flat Mr. Nice Guy; or the completely random, adorable talking animal with an IQ of negative three. Writing is for fun anyway, isn’t it? If all we’re writing for is the audience/money, our writing gets dry and boring (I’m looking at your second PJ series, RIORDAN). (Agree to disagree, readers.)
We should just never forget that writing is never fully for ourselves, but neither is it never fully for the audience, either. We need a balance of that, just as we need a balance of clichés, just as we need a balance of vegetables and candy.
The life lesson learned from this? Having a world power in control of your fictional world is OKAY. So go… live your dreams. And rest easy about how you’ve slipped some clichés into your story, because it’s only natural and not all-bad.
Can we pretend for a while
That the lamppost above is the moon
And the little bugs fireflies that light up the night?
Can we imagine this dull road
Is a worn dirt path leading to adventure
That we will be the first to conquer?
As the darkness falls over a gray sky,
Let us talk beneath a galaxy full of stars,
And as the voices of others echo toward us,
Let us whisper to each other under the song of the breeze.
If your mind is on other things,
Let us break away from this world of small sorrows,
And lose ourselves in the vastness of the mountains
In the roaring of the seas;
And before the sand runs out
Let’s just pretend for a while
That we don’t have to leave…
– May 18, 2017
What do you do when it’s the last day of an awesome camp and you have to say goodbye to everyone soon?
Pull an all-nighter, obviously. HELLO FROM A HYPERLY DEAD ELISABETH. I haven’t even made it to midnight yet….
Because I haven’t posted for a long time again. Woops. (And that was obviously related to the time of day right now.)
You’re probably maybe not wondering what the camp was for. Like I’ve mentioned/hinted, I’ve grown up overseas, and since kids like me have serious issues, we needed a special camp to transition back to a life of normality not filled with delinquency. (Just kidding. For the most part.) So we have this great awesome camp where we can get together with kids like us and eat pizza and ice cream every day, stay up late, and learn silly American things like how tipping works.
You might think we’re stupid, but dude, we grew up in other countries where things are different, alright?
Anyway, we also got to talk about really deep, painful stuff that I at least didn’t really wanna talk about. Which was good, of course. And I also learned a fantastic lesson… or kind of re-learned it, I guess. And that’s just that everyone really hurts despite all the cheerful facades we can put up.
We tend to think that everyone has it super great, and because we pretend to be happy, no one notices when we’re hurting. It goes both ways. We all hurt, we all put up walls, we all think we’re the only ones. Especially for people with comparatively hard lives, it can be easy to look at others and think their lives are basically pain-free, but guess what? Everyone is messed up to the extreme. That means we hurt others, and it means we get hurt too.
People also experience things differently. One thing that hurts a person deeply will hardly affect another. That doesn’t mean the pain of one is invalid.
So… go out to learn the hurts of others instead of assuming you’re the only one who’s been crying yourself to sleep.
Those are my thoughts. Peace.
Do you ever think about the fact that you’re just a chunk of flesh that’s growing older, (hopefully) trying to stay alive, and most likely attempting meet expectations and goals? You feed yourself, drink water, go to school/work/whatever, hang out with friends, and often go for instant gratification. You look in the mirror to make sure that your fleshy, temporary self looks “presentable” or “good” based off the standards of the other little flesh blobs moving around you. You invest a bunch of time into studying and then earning these green sheets of paper that other blobs have decided are worth something. You feel stuff when you interact with these other blobs.
This is the good life. If you manage to rack up enough pieces of paper, which are probably digits in some bank account by now, you can get your blobby self some cool clothes, a big space to chillax in, some super fast and cool-looking vehicle that turns everyone’s heads when you go vroom down the street. Other blobs might know your name. Other blobs might be jealous.
And then you go and die, and so does everyone who knew your name. Then your name might be put down in history books, just for other mortal blobs to read before they die, too.
That’s if you’re lucky.
…That’s pretty much my happy thought of the day.
Have fun living your mortal lives!
Yo. Bad blogger reporting for duty. Yeah, I haven’t been posting often… not that anyone really cares (including me), but I thought we might as well be honest with ourselves. I could use the excuse that I’m kinda hurting right now, but we kinda all are, so pfffffffft.
Hallo USA, g’bye life as a kid at the closest thing to “home.” If you couldn’t tell, I’ve moved, and I’m trying to figure out this thing called “being in the middle of two places you’re trying to transition between.” We’ve left home, but I still have a couple of months before actually moving to university. (Whoa. That’s a big word. “University.” Scary.) Sooo I’m at home but I’m not and I’m basically trying to figure out my meaning and purpose and direction in life.
Pretty stinking big questions.
And since I’ve started this post so honestly, I thought I might as well share that I’m a bigger mess now than I’ve been in a while. And since I know God likes to use open rawness sometimes in funny ways, I thought I might as well share that I’ve been feeling pretty abandoned by Him lately. Kind of mad at Him, too.
(Now, when you share stuff like this with all those really good Christians, they’ll just lecture you on how you’re supposed to trust Him, or read your Bible, or pray more; so don’t tell them I typed that.)
Another feeling I’ve been struggling with is the feeling that Christians really feel hypocritical as crap sometimes, especially here. This isn’t to say everyone is, but you have to admit it: most of us are. We go to church, do our quiet times (when we remember to), tell peeps we’ll pray for them, lecture everyone on how to live… you know. We have it all figured out. We’re righteous people. We ain’t got time to get down on our knees and admit we’re broken.
As to this business with God, I told Him I knew He was here no matter what, that He’s good, that He’ll get me through it and stuff. Maybe that’s why I get pissed because I don’t feel Him. In a hurricane of silly little emotions whirling around, I feel like I’m crying out to Him with no answer, and at the same time I can hear that little atheist part of me (they come up in everyone, don’t they?) asking, “Hey big guy, are You even up there? Do You even dare to pretend that You care?” Which gets me mad, ’cause then He has the audacity to remain silent, or not give me that feeling I really needed.
Aaand the alarm bells ring at the word “feeling.” Remember this thing called “faith”? “Fidelity”? It means even when you feel like you’re flying blind, you cling to the belief and hope that the sun is still there behind the stormclouds. You stick it out even when the night comes and your world is completely transformed into darkness, because you remember that it’s not really about feelings anyway. You don’t ever feel like forgiving people who hurt you; you don’t feel like doing the hard but right thing; you don’t always feel like God is right there, either.
And we all have these moments of darkness, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. You know that that’s what makes people feel judged? Makes you look like a hypocrite? Because how can you claim not to have had those times of utter despair, of complete failure? How can you just talk at a person who’s genuinely hurting and pretend like you’ve never been through the same kind of pain?
You don’t have to be the “good” Christian. It’s not even about being “good.” What happened to love? What if you have the faith to move mountains, but do not love your brother? Can you say that God is in you? What if to love means accepting others’ brokenness, and showing them that they’re not alone by showing them your own flaws?
Christians are still human. Human means not having everything figured out, so drop the facade; it wasn’t fooling anyone in the first place. Just be real. Be honest. You don’t know who might be really needing it.