Thursday, December 17, 2009

College Edition

It was difficult for me to clump my college boy experience with my second grade and junior/senior high ones because they require more explanation. Boys in college are like wild animals who have escaped their zoo keeper and are terrorizing the neighborhood with their curiosity and their new found freedom. They just don't know what to do with themselves, so it's all in! 100 %! It's over-drinking, over-sleeping, over-eating, over-sexing if that's even a word, and often times yelling for no good reason. I'm not sure why boys, especially their freshman year, have the urge to yell "whooo!" whenever inside voices are not absolutely required, but they do. It probably has a lot to do with the pent-up and excess energy they have and can't find enough outlets for it. Requiring them to attend classes like English 101 and Com 114 doesn't help either. Ok, not all college boys are this undone, but all freshman and most sophomore ones are, sorry to say. It may be that I'm mistaken and speaking out of experiences only to be had with boys from the fraternity or the fact that I attended a certain big 10 school, where "whoo!" is the common form of communicating excitement over a spectator sport, but nevertheless, I am speaking of my own experience and not the general pool of girls. And because my school had a huge Greek system and they ruled the campus, there's a number of boys I ran into that were indeed Greek.

Now, I generally don't have any opinions about Panhellenic institutions and think that joining a fraternity or a sorority can be a good networking strategy for the future and simply put it, it's organized fun that you don't have to conjure up yourself. I myself began rushing a few sororities, but when you're pursuing a house in the middle of a semester it's more brutal than normal. Having to come back to school a week earlier from Christmas break and standing outside of the houses in the freezing cold while wearing your cutest dress with heels on is going to break anyone's spirit and pride. I decided after looking in some of the houses that I was being "groomed" for by some of the girlfriends I had on the "inside," sorority life was not for me. The houses were beautiful mansions with manicured lawns, but on the inside, the girls shared rooms with three others and if you were an underclassmen, you slept in a "cold room" where it was literally a cold room with left over penitentiary bunk beds lined up for 35 to 40 girls. I couldn't bare to live the next 3 years of my college career in that room without the escape of these girls for a little me time. Dodging living arrangements with the girls is one thing, but escaping frat boys is a whole another task. Not all of them were bad...but some were indeed the escaped zoo animals terrorizing the sophisticated girls of academia.

A girlfriend of mine, our freshman year belonged to a house, and during a serenade (a common practice in the Greek system) at a fraternity house, called her a "Spik" and nobody knows how these guys knew that she was half Mexican because she looked all American, light brown hair, fair skin and big blue eyes. The house representative, an "older brother" of sorts reprimanded these bigots and had them send my friend a bouquet of flowers and a chocolate box, apologizing profusely for the "mishap." They really didn't mean it. One boy decided to be impressively crass and ballsy, showing that he has no regard for anyone but the coolness he will display for his brothers and because animals come in herds, one chimes in, others will too. I have to fair, there is a difference between a frat boy and a man belonging to a fraternity. The herd that called my girlfriend a derogatory term are called frat boys, the men that made the frat boys apologize are boys who happen to be in a fraternity. Get it?

I find that boys in college have their whole world in a nutshell, in the form of a college campus, and this nut, is their oyster. Girls are everywhere, out of the watchful eye of their fathers, and it's a lab of experimental dating situations combustible at any moment! They try everything and you know this because you get everything. Some will write you a little note and leave it on top of your books when you're studying at the union and you take a potty break. "Call me, I was sitting next to you just now." Huh? yeah, Ok, don't know anyone was even sitting by me, and I'm probably not that curious to find out. Or, through a friend that they were visiting at your dorm and saw you walking down the hall for a potty break. Or walking toward the restroom in that one cool enough college bar for a potty break. It's all a big trap and without the properly honed verbal kungfu, you'll get tripped up whenever you try to take a potty break! I appreciated the lab of experiments because it wasn't as if we girls had it together. Many girls did play the inappropriately friendly card, but all in all, we were in it together, lab rats dating lab rats...or blind mice leading other blind mice?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I learned from the men in my life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Over the course my life, I've had a few boys who had broken my heart and I did learn that not all boys are to be trusted. I learned from watching my girlfriends' boyfriends, just what their intentions are. I can tell that a man that dates a girl for too long and their time for marriage should be in the near future, but the man makes no plans to propose? He never will. I see that with situations like this, they almost always break up within a few months of their big blow up, and the guy ends up marrying a girl not 2 years after their departure. These are just patterned observations, not theories. I haven't always known how spot a weasel from a mile away, I've been duped by the male persuasion while learning about them. It starts early as second grade, when George Heimich wasn't just nice to me and making me Valentine cards, but he's made Loretta and Jill one too! And no, I wasn't flattered that I was one of the three girls in Mrs. Lynch's class that received one of these, nor was I thrilled that he had clumped us together because we were best friends. It's like he casted a net over a school of fish and figured he would catch at least one in the struggle. Each of us were so different, one blond and blue eyed, one brunette with big brown eyes and me, the Asian one. I heard from the other girls that he liked me best out of us three, but I didn't believe them, or him, and not even when his mother brought me a can of Christmas cookies for the holidays. The trust was broken and the damage already done.

There weren't very many in between second grade and the more substantial ones with great repercussions of a broken heart during the years of high school and college. I did learn in junior high that boys really are mean to you when they have a crush on girl, but that ends in junior high, and does not mean the same when you're 24 years old. When a guy is mean to you at an age where they should be able to communicate what they really mean, he's just not that into you.

It's trickier when you're in high school, because the boys in high school are only beginning to learn how to go beyond clubbing a girl over the head with a stick and dragging the prize back to his cave. It's up to the girl to find the fine balance between knowing that some boys are still in their pubescent knuckle dragging stage and some are coming of age and will communicate with words, closer to what they actual feel on the inside. They learn quickly so that they're not left with the second choice date because they weren't able to speak up when they had the chance. I appreciated my prom date who asked me while walking me to my car after a hang out at a friend's house. I thought it odd because he would typically say bye to whoever was leaving from his sinking couch, but he surprised me when he began putting on his shoes to walk me. He hung around my car a bit, fidgeting with his hair and shifting his weight from foot to foot, before he popped the question. Yes, almost the same as "will you marry me," but we were in high school, so he popped the other question, "will you go to prom with me," except, he said, "so....wanna go to prom?"

I didn't know if he was asking if I wanted to go with whoever would eventually ask me in proper English or if I would want to go with him to prom. I gathered from his stammering that it's him he wanted me to go with. I saw this coming because of the way he'd been acting the last few weeks at lunch; saving a seat in the senior cafe, walking me to my classes and not that this was out of the ordinarily because lots of boys have walked me to my classes, but they weren't sweating from his hands and going the opposite way of the classes he should have been walking toward. I said "ok! yeah," hugged and sped away in my Toyota Tercel. Turns out, he was the perfect gentleman and a fun prom date, wouldn't change it up anything. In High school, it's about labels and who's group you were in for prom, homecoming, or turn about. It doesn't matter if you're just going as friends, but that had to be clear and whenever the dance in question was brought up, you had to reinforce that fact of "we're just going as friends." I broke up with a boy I dated in high school because there was a label confusion and someone got it wrong when they were talking to me about him. I thought that he was talking to a girl as "more than friendsies" instead of "just as friends" It was just that easy and he couldn't defend himself verbally so he just let me think that he "cheated" until we reconnected again as adults, when it was clear that all was just a misunderstanding. Thank God for that glitch in the grapevine, or I might have suffered through his egotistical alpha male attitude for who knows how long.

College was a little more relaxed and dating takes place more naturally because by this time, we've made all the mistakes in high school. Even if you were like me and didn't date that much, you just take cues from the boys, and gals, who have. Though out the ins and outs of these boys, there are a few in my life that have been staple, foundation, my rock and they are the one that really taught me how I should view myself. My dad, my brother and eventually my husband, are the ones that taught me that I should be treated this way and not that way, to tolerate this and not to tolerate that. Without the men who actually loved me for me, to teach me how men are suppose to treat women, I think I would have suffered through much more than just the "too many Valentines per one boy incident." When my heart was broken the first time, my brother was sure to let him and me know that this is not O.K. and frequently yelled not so nice things over the phone when he called asking for me. It's these reactions that "My Men" have demonstrated are the bedrock of my value and worth.

I guess this is also why I'm capable of having guys friends, I can tell the difference between a crude joke and a seriously insensitive comment because I've had run ins with my brother while growing up. Now, I know that a "let's hang out" can be a completely innocent and platonic gesture, while the same proposal could be indecent. The same way I know when a close guy friend calls me "nigga," he means that I'm his homey forever, and his "I love yous" don't mean that he's thinking of leaving his wife. I'm grateful for the long and taxing education I've received from " My Men," and hopefully I've returned the favor by educating them some.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A wayward sheep

Thankfully I have people in my life who pray for me and think of me. They ask me how I'm doing now and then and I always give the same answer, "I'm O.K." I don't know how else to answer that question because I honestly don't know. I can't find the words or pinpoint the feeling. Reminds me of a revelation verse from chapter 10, where an angel says to John not to write about the great thunder like Roar: "and when the seven thunders spoke, I was a bout to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." It's something you may want to remember down the road, for your sake, for others' sake, but I am forbid to write it down. I feel a little bit numb and no matter how much I ponder and toss around in my head the events of the past 2 months I can't find the words. I can't find anywhere to lower my feet, like the dove who was sent by Noah to find dry land and could not find any, so it just flies back tired from flying and searching.

Typically, you'd find more entries and more talk from me about what I feel or what I think, or even what I feel God thinks, but no dice. I don't know if I had self medicated myself with friends, family and too much T.V. or if I'm miraculously cured of my heartbreak. I'm hesitant to say the latter, but I really don't feel a thing, although I know I'm not fully restored. That is...I don't feel a thing until I read The Word and unlike the words I write, it sears me where I'm wounded. Then I feel again, the heartbreak and the tragedy. Perhaps, the confusion I feel comes from 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, where I am hard pressed from all sides, perplexed, persecuted and struck down, but don't feel the consequences of these afflictions negatively.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

It's time I stop coming up with my own laws and rules about life and be re-educated on the true Law. Pastor Dave recently gave a sermon about reading the Bible more, he called it a "re-bible," (yes, very clever) and I think I know what I need to do now. I need to stop talking and thinking and be silent and reading. Has he been breaking me down so that I'd do my quiet times? The sheep that wanders off and leads other sheep to stray, the shepherd will break the leg of this sheep. Then, the very shepherd who had broken the sheep's legs will hand feed and carry the sheep till the bone is mended and eventually, his waywardness. Sounds too harsh and too severe for God to break my legs to keep me near to him. But it is this, he will break my legs to keep me from running and straying from He, the one that loves me most. I will rest here, with my broken legs, so that he can heal them and correct my wayward ways.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Pup n' Kitty

On August 4, 2002, Hans and Susie became "pupnkitty." I guess those nicknames started out as silly remarks of how Hans looked like his late Schitzu named Odie and I, apparently act and sound like.... a kitty. Everyone knows us by pupnkitty and it's no mystery who they're talking about when Hans says "Kitty forgot to turn of the heat again." On some occasion, others have called us by those names to beckon us. At the alter, Pastor Dave gave us a charge and every bible verse or charge he gives a set of man and wife to be is so appropriate to them that you'd think he's the oracle of marriages. Joshua 1:9 was the text he gave us and "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go," was the the charge. At the tender age of 24, I was a child bride, and was expensive; at least to my father who thought me too costly to give up and he was not smiling that day, nor was my brother, who by all means is my best friend and can't live without.

When I first met Hans, he to me was the most loud and obnoxious person I've ever met and I tuned him out of my head so that I wouldn't be over stimulated by his antics. At the time I was dating my long time boyfriend who was quiet, sensitive and lit vanilla scented candles in his room while playing his guitar. There was no getting away from him since my boyfriend played soccer with him on a college league and he began hanging out with a childhood friend of mine. Not only did he invade my personal life, but my ministry too. He was getting discipled by an older brother of mine from youth group and he thought Hans was hilarious. When he laughed at his jokes, I would give him a side ways glance and whisper, "why do you laugh at him? He's not even funny!" After the world crumbling around me when my boyfriend broke up with me for a girl inappropriately younger than him, I made a vow not to date any more boys until I was good and ready to marry. Hans showed signs of loyalty and character I never saw in him when I was dating my college boyfriend, I'd say I had very different priorities as a young girl, but proud to say I caught on when I still in college. It just shows how quickly I matured, because obviously now, I am the sage of my generation (cough*). For reasons not so obvious to me at the time, I began laughing at Hans' jokes and our older brother noticed something I had denied venomously, over and over until I almost broke Hans' spirit. I said almost.

I didn't know why Pastor Dave gave us the Joshua 1:9 charge and I couldn't even remember what he had said, I was so busy fidgeting with my flowers and worrying about the make up that will ruin when I hugged my parents following his sermon. Only a year later when we reminisced about the wedding on our anniversary would Hans remind me of our charge, but still couldn't figure out why we had to be so strong, courageous, not be terrified and remember that the Lord God himself will be with us wherever we go. Maybe it was a round about way of saying He'll be watching me, so stop doing all those "bad" things in secret. I was just imagining God pointing to his two eyes and then pointing his index finger back at me. "I'll be watching you little girl!"

We've really come along way since 24. We literally grew up together since I was 18 years old, giving him rides back to school, clumsily co-leading a freshman small group, and working and toiling to find ourselves in a beautiful condo, all under the heavy grey cloud of trying to conceive a child of our own. Ministry is what we do well together, he the extrovert, initiating and talking, inviting and hosting, while in the quietness of the night, I prayed and did my best to make a difference in the lives of people I loved. I would not be able to write enough of what we've seen together, but I know now, why Pastor Dave charged us with Joshua 1:9 seven years ago with 200 people as eye witnesses. Today, I will hold up the charge and honor God as we become strong and courageous in the face of adversity, become resilient and know that where we are God is her with us and we are not alone. Who knows what the chapter called "adoption" will unveil in our story book, but thus far, it's been tragic, but the hero and heroine have made it and have not fallen folly to the discouragement of tragedy. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speechless

It's been a little over a week since my D & C and a little over two weeks since my miscarriage, and I forbade anyone to mention it to me. I haven't talked about it to anyone expect the few who asked despite my protest and I don't have much to say about it. Hans says that I should write about what's happened because he believes it's therapeutic and if not anything else, I write my best pieces when I go over a rough patch on life's complexion. It's true, especially fueled by anger or sorrow, I do write my best, but I wonder if it's just word vomit instead of careful reflection which manifests into the writing genius that is my blog. Most likely it's the first. I wrote a letter to my friend who had been out of the loop of all that's been happening since the November, a lots happened and it made me talk about it, write about it, recount what really went down and I got to put it in a small envelope and send it away for 44 cents, plus the cost of stationary and an envelope. I think that's pretty cheap considering it helped peel a layer of a pained onion and day by day, I'm finding little ways to recover. I guess this is why I'm able to log on to my online blog and talk about it now.

It's a rarity that my pastor has no words for what's been happening, he's stumped and I think all of us are! There's no plausible lesson or meaning in it and we had to accept it, eventually, after toiling over the growth I'm suppose to find over this. Nothing, until I saw the light through the long tunnel and it's when I finally emerged from my sorrow cave, that which I call my living room couch only accompanied by MTV and the Food network. I broke down crying on stage during a praise set on Sunday over the lyrics to Matt Redman's You Never Let Go and you're Grace is enough. After service, various friends came up to me to tell me that they are crying with us and that we're not alone. A friend shared with me over an omelette one morning that she's been really wrestling with God over this and that her faith too has been tested. I handed her a tissue, in hind sight, I found it a tiny bit amusing that I was the one handing her the tissue and not the other way around.

It is an honor to see that God has made an example out of me and I mean that in all goodness. Just like how the story of Rachel, Hannah and women like Esther have had their trials and troubles in the public eyes to survey and learn from, I'm glad I had shared my life honestly, with everyone so that there is a congruent story for people to follow. Hopefully, I am like Esther, who is obedient and is an example of God's Mercy played out in her life and I'm not like Rachel, who took matters into her own hands and trading mandrakes from her sister in law, in exchange for a little alone time with Jacob. This only lead her to resent everyone. I was afraid I was becoming like Naomi and have to change my name to Mara, meaning bitterness. There's really only so much a person can take and I was afraid that this was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it wan't. Strangely, I still joke, laugh and find joy in small things like a picture of an animal disguised as another animal.

I see that now, our lives, under the hand of God, is not a private affair but to shed the light of God on it and make it the story of his majesty and mercy. How can I call him Lord and call my life "mine" at the same time? When God commands us "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!" It's not faking it or forcing it because that would be impossible, but in circumstances that don't allow joy to squeeze through, you allow the Spirit to take over and take control. That's what my pastor said, and that's about the only thing he could say.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Chorus:
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Chorus:

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"It is a treacherous time to be a woman"

A man studying and writing an article on the book Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher was deeply moved, or more like deeply disturbed by the toil of girlhood, just because she was a girl. He saw that things like a good home, dealing with the wrath of the thin goddess and the limitations society chains to the ankle of a girl in fear that she will float away on her potential had so much to do with how a girl becomes the woman she is. He with all compassion and open eyes expressed his grief for all women to a friend that happened to stand near him saying, "It is a treacherous time to be a woman." The girl straightened up a little, and feeling like the Spartan Queen, who through all hardship of watching her husband conquering distant lands, his men dying for his honor, her young son watching his future and withstanding all the pressures of being a woman in a man's war, said, "why yes it is, thank you."

Ophelia, in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, is a young girl not too different from America's girl next store, has a crush on a prince who is hopelessly consumed with the death of his father and the revenge he will take on his uncle. She is pretty, sweet and could have been the next princess of Denmark, her brother adored her and her father loved her. Ophelia, is the girl in today's society was squashed by the wars of our lives, who had drowned in sorrow. Although, her brother jumped into the grave to hold her one last time and Hamlet proclaimed that he loved her more than forty thousand brothers, after her funeral, Ophelia was never mentioned again. Even in her death, she was forgotten.

I know a girl, Ceecee, who is completely loved by her father and not only is it one way, she knows this, she and her father have this rock steady relationship that cannot be shaken. As I watch her, out of the security she receives from her father's love, she is confident but not in a boastful way, and she is comfortable in her flesh. I've never seen such grounded-ness, until I met another girl J, who is just as mature and although she is shy, that is just personality, but cannot be mistaken for insecurity. What makes her so? just like Ceecee, J has a father, who shows her worth, not in her outer appearance or how she performs, but she is taught to have character and worth that comes from unconditional love. "Daddy Issues" aren't vials of mythical potions that people poison insecure "crazies" with, but it's a true and vile elixir that girls will have to purge from themselves if they want to become healthy, purposeful women. I recently discovered a show on MTV called Tough Love 2, where a match maker tells women just how it is. "You're too insecure" "You're too strong" "take off that wig, you look like Simba!" In the end, when he digs deeper, the sexpot, the outspoken rock star and the blond cutie, all had lost their fathers to death, divorce, or neglect.

If not "daddy issues," girls find plenty of chances outside of the home to be broken down of their value and inspiration. According to Pipher, girls excel in math and science until they grow into the junior high age, when they become more sensitive to their environment and how they perceive it. It is commonly known that boys are better at math and science and girls rise in the arena of language. Boys are not as susceptible to these boxes, and many men have grown to be writers and language scholars, but girls take these generalizations to heart and begin declining in math and science even though they are gifted in these subjects. If not the boxes teachers unintentionally insert the girls into, it's Teen Vogue, Beauty Pagents, Football players, unrequited crushes, their boobs, their hair, other girls and even their moms push them down the stairs of self doubt.

I don't have the answers, but one thing is clear, fathers and mother play a big role in making their daughters feel like they exist in the world. Not to disappear with every side ways look or an inappropriate one, but to take up space on earth with a good head on her shoulders.

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too - John Mayer "Daughters"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stranded on an Island

Weathering through suffering is like becoming stranded on an island. I recently watched a movie where a man from Seoul Korea tried to commit suicide by throwing himself over a bridge into "Han-Gang," the Han River. Instead of finding his sweet end, he finds himself stranded on an "island" under the bridge he threw himself over. Irony. As he emerges from the water, he's confused and a bit hazy on whether he was even dead or alive. He begins to run from one end of the island to the other, only to see the city just beyond the waters that divide them and he begins to scramble for his phone, which was losing it's battery and called anyone that would hear him, but not one understood where he was. In a way, no one could believe where he was or how he ended up where he was and that happens to all of us at one time or another. By and by, the man did give up on leaving the island seeing that there was no hope in finding a way off of it, so he begins to make the best of the "garbage" that washed ashore and made a decent living for himself. Learning to fish, making fire, finding an old boat as a bed, and even farming with bird poo figuring that some of the seeds they have consumed must have made it out without being digested. Four months would pass until one day, a great storm swept it all away with one sweeping motion, without the slightest consideration of all the sweat and tears that poured into the life that was not chosen for him, but forced upon him.

This is how I feel as of late. I'm stranded on this island, I make the most of it and build around it because I'm put here and I'm not going anywhere fast, but just when the environment is made fit for human survival, it's torn down and taken away. Then you start over, setting up tent, making shoes out of discarded water bottles and twine and planting bird waste to grow your own food, then it storm comes again, tearing it all down at the precise moment when you've set up the last finishings that would make your survival possible. I learned that sometimes, there's nothing to learn and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to find meaning and a lesson to every trial and suffering you endure. Sometimes you just have to say that it's falleness, it's life. I mean, why does it rain? Why does the storm come? We never ask these questions when we're cozy and dry under the roof of your secure home, but that question looms like a dark cloud when you're stranded on an island and your make shift survival kit is ready to be blown away by the wind at any moment.

When I knew I miscarried, I searched for dry ground to land my feet on and to make some sense of what God was doing through this. I near drove myself crazy teaching myself a lesson when there was none to be had. This time, he's not given me a sneak preview to the coming attraction, but kept me completely in the dark about what this all means. Why would He make me go through a summer of falling in love, acceptance to an adoption agency, only to make me conceive naturally? Then, not 9 weeks into my pregnancy, he sends the storm, to blow away my water bottle shoes, my old boat bed, and that bird shit garden of mine? It's only appropriate for me to say, "Though you slay me, I will trust in you..."

Luke 1:38 "I serve the Lord," Mary answered. "May it happen to me just as you said it would."