On Humanity

Humans are terribly, terrifyingly, brilliant creatures… and I want almost nothing to do with them.

I love people, the way they get passionate about things. When their eyes light up and they get a little hitch in their breathing because they’re talking so fast they can’t keep up with themselves trying to explain to you why they love whatever it is they’re doing so much, whether it be art or sports, or anything really. I love watching theater kids start talking about the role they play as if it were another person and then they start to lapse into that character’s pattern of speech like it’s a second part of themselves and music kids who start tapping or making the motions of playing their instrument to a beat in their headphones that the rest of the world can’t hear. The way a writer stares off dreamily into nothing that we can see, worlds playing in their head like a movie before their very eyes.

I love to listen to poets speak, every word carefully chosen, even in the heat of the moment as though they had a thesaurus taped to the inside of their contact lenses.

The way a painter describes colors and shape as though they were a blind person seeing life for the first time. They way an architect motions with their hands trying to show you in words and movements the grandness of their ideas.

Have you ever listened to singer breath? Deep breathes to fill their lungs to produce sounds that you and I can only dream of.

The way a sculptors hands might look damaged, dry, and scarred, but you know that even if they crack and bleed they’ll just patch it up and keep going. The way an athlete who loves his sport will fall and skid on his face but get right back up and keep on running.

Humans are beautifully and wonderfully passionate about everything and anything.

People with dogs will do anything to see their four legged friend wagging their tail and happy and healthy. Cat lovers will do the same, anyone who loves their pet, really. We defend our pets like our own offspring.

Our children, though I have none, there is nothing more that I love than seeing the look on a child’s face when they discover their first passion. Whether that be books, dinosaurs, or that weird bug I don’t want anywhere near me or my ear thank you very much. The way a child looks at a dandelion and where an adult sees nothing but a weed they see a beautiful flower that now you have to put in the fancy vase your mother gave you because they picked it for you and you just HAVE to keep it for as long as it stays alive.

I love seeing children learn and read and become little people who can think for themselves.

And yet, I hide from people. Humans are good at picking out the things in the room that are different from them. We’re also good at making ourselves feel like we’re the one thing in the room that doesn’t belong.

Me… I’ve never been good at expressing my emotions. Happiness, passion, even heartache and sadness. I don’t like to laugh in front of people or cry or really do anything. Anger is something I can’t always control, but I don’t like to show emotion. My grandmother is convinced that I’m at least slightly autistic like my little brother, but nothing is proven and until they diagnose me I’m not, I’m just me. 

Part of me is afraid, afraid that one day they might see that I’m different, sense that I don’t feel the same things that they feel, that I don’t feel the things I love most about them and they’ll set me aside, ostracize me because I’m not like them and then I’ll never get to be around and see the things that I love most in this world, emotions and happiness.

I love the way people can be stubborn and determined, extremes of any kind are what make them human. I envy it and I avoid it, because I can’t return it, not the way they want me to. I don’t relate in like mind.

Have you ever googled “how to show emotion” or “how to be passionate”, how about “How to be impulsive?” I’ve searched for these answers and variations of these time and again with never the same answer returned.

It seems that no one can agree… people go to war over their different ideas of the best way to be human.

Some lay awake at night at war with themselves not certain if they were correct today.

Were they too kind, not kind enough? Did they do all that they could do? Should they still be up at their desk burning the midnight oil in a fit of creative passion? Were they wrong to quit that office job to pursue their love of art? Are they wrong to give up their art for a stable job? Should they have a child, should they not, the list goes on, worries and doubts and decisions to make.

Some manage to go through this life with such seeming certainty, never appearing to second guess themselves. While others, and I am often one of these,

And it is all breathtaking and beautiful.

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A Gift Misused…

Everyone has a gift they’ve been given in life. The ability to sing, cook, make people feel better, patience, kindness, the ability to understand science and to innovate and further the human race.

Me? I’ve always felt that my gift was storytelling. The ability to pull someone in and give them a hard dose of truth wrapped in an enchanting, at least I hope so, tale full of adventure and intrigue. But I don’t think I’ve been using that gift to its fullest. Not just because I barely ever post anything for you, but because even in my writing when I manage to get through the depression and the anxiety to sit down and pound out a few words here and there I don’t really use my ability to its fullest. I don’t share it with people. 

The worst part? I teach first graders every Sunday. I have a mostly willing and, quite literally, captive audience once every week that I don’t use my gift on. I follow a curriculum, I try to entertain them, but I don’t tell them stories. I don’t really teach them. I’m honestly more of a Sunday School Supervisor than a Sunday School Teacher and that bothers me. It’s an itch I try to ignore and just do what I’m told by teaching what’s given to me on a preplanned sheet and program, but I feel like I’m doing a disservice to the audiences I have by not telling them stories, by not showing them what it is to be a living breathing human being made by God, by not using the gift that I believe God gave me.

This month, November, is a big month for me. It’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. and this year,  I started 4 days late, now I’m 4, almost 5, days ahead of the curve. I’ve been surrounding myself in story. I’ve been working really hard to write this story, to get it going and next year I plan on releasing it, starting in January as far as I know and I’ve been really excited about it, but this morning I’ve been focusing on my lesson for today and I had a talk with my Gramma and… I’m just so annoyed with myself right now.

Today’s story is in Luke about the friends whose faith was so great that they took a roof off of a house so they could lower their paralyzed friend down to see Jesus. But the lesson plan I was given? It doesn’t talk about faith, it talks about cooperation. Everything this month is about cooperation. Which – NOT a bad thing – is just so frustrating. As an English major I was trained to get at the heart of a story, to find the meat of it, the meaning behind it, and cooperation is not the heart of this story, it’s not the theme, it’s barely even a subplot. I’m starting to feel like these kids are being cheated of the real lesson. I feel like they’re being taught to just be little cogs in the machine we call a church.

We’re teaching good behavior principles, we’re teaching them how to do good works, but we aren’t teaching them faith. We aren’t teaching them why they do good works.

Faith without good works is like the body without a soul, but good works without faith are just as empty. You shouldn’t do things just because you’re taught that it’s what you do. You should do things because there is a driving force in your life telling you to do it, a motivating reason beyond it’s what you’re programed to do. We’re humans, not robots. If God wanted good little robots he never would have given us free will. He never would have let Adam and Eve eat the fruit and get kicked out of the garden. But we’re teaching these kids how to act, how to look like Christians on the outside without teaching them what they really need to know on the inside.

The outside can look as pretty and perfect as you please, but if the inside doesn’t match, if they don’t have the faith and understanding to think for themselves they’ll never really know why they’re doing it. Doing things without real faith is probably worse, at least in my opinion, than having faith but not doing anything with it. because when you do things that you’re “supposed to” you can end up tricking yourself into believing that you have faith, that you have salvation, when you don’t really believe it in your heart anymore than you believe it with your mind.

We’re working backwards. We’re trusting that good behavior will bring faith, not that faith will bring good behavior.

Every time I sit down to work on my novel this month, I’ve been doing it while fighting depression, anxiety, and self-doubt. But I sit down anyway I tell myself that I have to believe in this story. It helps I have a pretty awesome cheerleader in my NaNo region who’s been checking up on me every night to make sure I’ve been writing, and if I can’t really write he’s been letting me know that it’s okay, he thinks I can do it, and that I’ve been doing great so far. If anything I’ve sat down to write with at least the faith that he will be asking me later in the day if I’ve done anything and I don’t want to disappoint him.

Kind of like how I know, I have faith, that one day I’m going to meet God and He’s going to ask me if I used the gifts He gave me. He’s going to ask me if I told stories and I don’t want to disappoint Him anymore than I don’t want to disappoint my NaNo cheerleader. In fact I’d say the willingness to disappoint Him is less than the willingness to disappoint my NaNo cheerleader. Of the two, only one of them will know when I’m lying. (Not that I’d lie to my NaNo cheerleader…. I respect him too much.)

So… I guess what I’m trying to say here is…

I’m Sorry

I’ve misused my gift. I haven’t been teaching these kids to think for themselves, to have faith before works. No one should believe something just because they’re told to. They should believe it because they are so compelled by faith that they have no choice but to believe it and to act on it.  What’s worse is that I’ve become no better, just a cog in the machine doing what I’m told and not what I want to do, not what I’m compelled to do, what I need to do. (Can you tell it’s NaNo and I’ve been working towards word count goals instead of being short and to the point… or is this normally me?) I haven’t exercised my gift of free will any more than I’ve exercised my story telling gifts…

And for that I am sorry.

But, now that I know what I’m doing wrong. I have an opportunity to fix it. I have a chance to make things better, to change the world for the better and to teach these kids, at least for the short while I have them, that they can think for themselves, that God made them with free will and that faith doesn’t come from good works, good works come from faith.

I’d like to Request a Retraction and Apology

I would like to request a retraction and apology from every adult who ever disciplined me for backsass, name calling, hateful speech of any kind, and for using the word no when asked to do something that I didn’t want to do. I would also like to request consideration from every adult now, I am also an adult by the way, who acts like I can’t tell them no or speak my mind because I’m just an immature child.

Continue reading “I’d like to Request a Retraction and Apology”

Papa John and 9 Little Nazis – An Open Letter to the Ball State Board of Trustees from a Concerned Alumna

I have never been accused of beating around the bush or dodging hard subjects so I’ll make this brief:

Wenn ein Nazi am Tisch ist und neun andere Leute mit ihm reden, haben Sie einen Tisch mit zehn Nazis.

When I attended Ball State we were required to take a foreign language in order to earn our Bachelor of Arts degree. My language of choice – German.

I don’t know if I got the language part right, but the culture – I got that. For those that do not speak German the above phrase translates roughly as such: If there’s a Nazi at the table, and nine other people talking to him you have a table with ten nazis.

In regards to Papa John: looks like my Alma Mater has 9 racists sitting on the board and I’m disappointed.

I’ll be honest. I spent years denying my own racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and upholding of the patriarchy. I thought I was accepting of everyone and everything and as a woman there was no way I was anti-women. But I was all of those things and it showed in my actions and in my words.

It took the Ball State English Department and a whole lot of amazingly talented writers within to get me to pull my head out of my own ass and realize that by saying and doing nothing against injustice I was a part of the problem. That by not acknowledging people’s differences it was just as bad as if I hadn’t included them at all. And by not speaking when I heard something wrong I may as well have said it myself.

By continuing your relationship with Papa John you are collectively saying as a board that you accept his behavior. That you accept his racism. That you are okay with it. You as a board who represent Ball State and the interests of those affiliated with her are deciding as a whole to declare, quite loudly through your actions, that Ball State supports racism, that you support racism.

Well, we don’t and we aren’t going to be silent about it. Ball State taught me to listen, to speak. They taught me the value of words. I’ll be damned if I don’t use them.

I spy with my little eye: 9 Nazis sitting on the board.

Papa John and 9 Little Nazis – An Open Letter to the Ball State Board of Trustees from a Concerned Alumna

I have never been accused of beating around the bush or dodging hard subjects so I’ll make this brief:

Wenn ein Nazi am Tisch ist und neun andere Leute mit ihm reden, haben Sie einen Tisch mit zehn Nazis.

When I attended Ball State we were required to take a foreign language in order to earn our Bachelor of Arts degree. My language of choice – German.

I don’t know if I got the language part right, but the culture – I got that. For those that do not speak German the above phrase translates roughly as such: If there’s a Nazi at the table, and nine other people talking to him you have a table with ten nazis.

In regards to Papa John: looks like my Alma Mater has 9 racists sitting on the board and I’m disappointed.

I’ll be honest. I spent years denying my own racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and upholding of the patriarchy. I thought I was accepting of everyone and everything and as a woman there was no way I was anti-women. But I was all of those things and it showed in my actions and in my words.

It took the Ball State English Department and a whole lot of amazingly talented writers within to get me to pull my head out of my own ass and realize that by saying and doing nothing against injustice I was a part of the problem. That by not acknowledging people’s differences it was just as bad as if I hadn’t included them at all. And by not speaking when I heard something wrong I may as well have said it myself.

By continuing your relationship with Papa John you are collectively saying as board that you accept his behavior. That you accept his racism. That you are okay with it. You as a board who represent Ball State and the interests of those affiliated with her are deciding as a whole to declare, quite loudly through your actions, that Ball State supports racism, that you support racism.

Well, we don’t and we aren’t going to be silent about it. Ball State taught me to listen and to speak. They taught me the value of words and I’ll be damned if I don’t use my words.

I spy with my little eye: 9 Nazis sitting on the board.