A Faceless Power

Recently I’ve been hoping for things to work out–for my partner to get the perfect job offer, to find a home we can afford within an expensive city, for my family to heal and get better. At time this hope feels almost like a prayer and I can catch myself saying, “please, just let me find a place to live with my husband that is safe and spacious and warm,” which off-handedly sounds like a prayer except for that my God does not have ears from which to hear.

God as a human-like figure has never been a part of my life–neither has his prophets Jesus, Muhammed or Moses. God was always something much larger than that–more encompassing and more powerful and all knowing. Like fate. Like the future. God is strength. God is larger than the sum of everything. And yet God is me. God isn’t a thing with which I have to build a relationship, it is the relationship I have with all things.

But how do you pray to that faceless power? 

In times of need or in times of uncertainty, I often come to this question and it’s easy for me to be jealous of the religious friends I have who find the answers to their questions in a deity who leads the way with direction and “signs.” But I’ve never had that God in my life; I’ve also never sought that and I don’t think I ever will. It’s not in my conception of spirituality. And yet, how badly do I, in my weakest times and my most tired state, want a human-like God who loves and watches over me to take my worries and sooth my fears.

For my devoutly religious friends, this post may just seem the sad meanderings of a girl who needs to find her relationship with God or Jesus or whomever. But I’m not unhappy. I’m not lost. I’m perfectly content in not having the same type of peace I see others find that is only brought upon through prayer. I’m simply remarking on the differences and the comparison of over where we find strength.

These are all just thoughts I have to sooth my impatience while I wait for things to work out.

The universe has a way of working itself out.

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How I Feel about Leaving Nashville

It all just seems too rushed. In between the planning and the prepping for all things in the coming months, I forgot to make time for leaving. I forgot to make time for goodbyes. It was easy to overlook–everything coming up in the future is a good type of nerve-racking: buying a home, getting married, moving to a new city, going on a honeymoon. And Nashville hasn’t been my favorite place I’ve ever lived. So of course it was easy to forget to prepare for leaving.

This weekend is my last in Nashville. I asked my partner how he felt about it; I asked if he was going to miss anything.

“No because you’re coming with me.”

I feel similar. Of all Nashville has given me, it’s the fact that I’m a stronger more mature woman that I care about the most–and that can’t be left behind. I can do without the overwhelming construction accompanied by gentrification; I can make without the lonely nights. I won’t mind saying goodbye to the tears, to the anxiety of being no less than three hours away from those I love most. I can wash my hands of the trying to fit in, say adios to figuring out adulthood. I look forward to not feeling like an outcast in a city too preoccupied with looks and trends. I can even say goodbye to the happy things: the batman building, the parks, the festivals, the farmers market, and the bridge.

But I can’t say goodbye to my growth. 

In Nashville, I learned to be responsible for more than my own well-being. I started to clean myself of selfishness and instead replace it with empathy, hard work and self care.

In Nashville, I learned how to accept the consequences of adulthood. I paid the tickets, the fines for not registering my car. I learned how to save money, and now (because of that) afford a house.

In Nashville, I learned to be alone. I learned how to be independent. I learned how to wipe away tears of loneliness each morning for those first few months and still put on my brave face until it didn’t hurt anymore and the friends I so longed for became my Nashville family.

In Nashville, I learned how to love someone forever. I learned what it meant to accept all of a person and to want to grow with that person forever. I learned how to compromise with that person, to love from afar and relish in the closeness.

In Nashville, I learned how to become a forever learner, how to be a good student, and how to accept my label as nerd.

In Nashville, I grew up. I did “post grad” hard and learned the most from those experiences.

But here’s the the thing; I don’t need Nashville to carry those things with me.

In December, I vowed to create a bucket list of things I wanted to do and see before I left in May. I think it’s fitting that I became too busy to make or finish that non-existent list… Because the things I learned in Nashville can’t be summarized by places I’ve been or things I’ve seen: they’re in the person I am, the person I am bringing with me.

Am I sad to leave Nashville? Eh, not really. 

My partner and I get to start a life together in the coming months. The friends I am leaving here causes me sadness; but not grief, for they’re the types of soul-enriching friends that I know will remain in my life for years to come. If a city could have values, I don’t think they’d align much with mine and so the disconnect I’ve felt the past several years living in a city consumed primarily by consumerism and pleasure is coming to an end. I don’t have to smile nicely when I tell people I live in Nashville and they say “oh my gosh, the best city ever!” and I have to lie and say how great it is to be in Music City. Because it hasn’t been “the best ever”… it’s been good. It’s been enriching. It’s been happy and maddening and way beyond description. It’s been life. And life isn’t always the best thing ever. But it’s been beautiful. And it’s been me.

I do, still, want to say goodbye. I’ll do so this weekend with my partner. We’ll meet up with friends. We’ll re-visit the places that hold memories. And we’ll say adieu in lieu of a shining future ahead.

Yeah, I forgot to say goodbye to Nashville, but that’s okay because it’s never really going to leave me, in the end.

To Take the Dream Known or the Road Less Traveled?

The past couple days have been a constant state of list-making, what-if saying and sleep delaying. The choice of where to attend for my doctorate is complicated enough, then exacerbate that with the fact that it’s the first place my future husband and I will live as a married couple, and add the fact that we’re signing on for the next five years of our lives.

Maryland, the land of the unknown–both exciting and fear-inducing. We’d live in the nation’s Capital city and I would study in arguably the best rhetoric program in the nation. I’d be surrounded by like-minded students in an institution that prioritizes effectively teaching undergraduate students and would give me the freedom to experiment with service-learning pedagogy. It’s my academic vision. But it’s wrought with unknown factors and new neighborhoods. Friends yet to be made, but loneliness also pending. We wouldn’t be bored between the exploration, the newness; but we wouldn’t know anyone either. It’d be a fresh start, but a happy story we’d have to work for. It’s a new city for newlyweds that we would get to adventure in together, where we could grow together in our commitment to each other and our future as a unit. It is the road less traveled, which I worry over, but it could lead us to paradise.

Georgia is everything warm, fuzzy and lovely. My alma mater. My family. My team. My comm program. My mentor. But it’s also a program that isn’t offering as much money (wasn’t offering ANY money for a while) and whose academic focus isn’t on my heart. For as amazing as it would be to be back in the quaint, quirky college town, I’m worried of feeling stifled here, or not growing here. It feels like going back to undergrad and I’ve done this already. I want something new, but Georgia offers dreams of the craft brew, adventures, and faces that I know and love so well. To be an hour from my sweet sisters, my loving parents. To be near dear friends in the Atlanta area. To frolic in the city that had me grow up so much as a young adult is what dreams are made of. I just worry that it’s too soon to be going back… I worry Athens was my near past and I would be a fool to make it near future again.

So what do I do? How do I decide? How to consider my family, my future-husband and my dream all at once?

To the dream known or the road less traveled? I sit at a crossroads and I’m having the worst time taking the first step.

I have to make the decision this week. My mental health depends on it. But this is quite when I wish I could live two simultaneous lives so I wouldn’t have to miss out on the opportunity I forgo in order to live another.

A sample of creative writing

She trekked through the nearly empty airport with her head lilted back like a drunkard at the waining hours of the night. Although sober, she did little to change this perception because, indeed, she felt drunk. She was drunk with the dose of exhaustion and anxiety that sat heavy in her stomach and coursed thickly through her veins. Her eyelids half shut, masked the haunted and empty eyes of a woman who for too long had used every last shred of energy to stand up straight, despite the emotional weight she carried in her body, so that to others she seemed strong and her actions effortless.

But in this abandoned airport, at one a.m., walking with the gait of a drunk, she relished in a rare moment to let her authentic exhaustion show without filter. For a minute, she was able to release her burden as she rolled back her eyes, tilted her head and shuffled her feet amongst the trickle of other tired strangers. In the revealing and harsh light of the midnight airport, she reveled in this quick and uncommon form of theatrics that perhaps was not all theatrical.

February

  • IICC student leader retreat
  • one year of engagement
  • bought our wedding rings
  • cabin weekend ❤
  • catering and cake tasting
  • got our wedding certificate
  • got into UMD and UGA
  • visited Maryland
  • finished comps
  • finished two weekend classes