Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When Good Birds Go Bad

Dear Bloggers,

I once heard that there are three sides to every story; one person’s perspective, the second person’s, and the truth. Now readers, how many times have you been sitting around, had a friend come into the same area that you were in and give you the silent treatment? Confused, you confront them, and they say: “You know what you did!!” When rethinking about the situation, you remember your friend being in the wrong, not you. Then, YOU get defensive and begin to get upset. You’re poor mutual friends don’t know which way to go, because both of you have very legitimate reasons for your anger. But, there seems to be something that’s missing, an integral part of the story that makes each side stick together to reveal that it was all a big error.

I’ve had this happen to me many times in my life, but I’m going to share the most ridiculous one. It was all a big misunderstanding, but they didn’t want to listen to reason…

One morning during the summer going into my freshman year of college I was awoken by the beautiful sounds of a bird singing on my window ledge. Feeling extremely blessed that this bird picked my windowsill, I woke up feeling refreshed and happy. I felt even more uplifted when her husband joined her the next day or so, and they started building a nest on my ledge. As I witnessed their eggs appear in the nest, I felt as if I was a distant family member with this bird family.

One afternoon, there was a horrible storm, and the next morning, I found that the bird’s nest was no longer outside my window. Feeling a little sad that the storm took the birds away, I discounted it and returned to my passion of watching television. However, the birds came back…

The birds began attacking me and my family, and actually holding us hostage whenever we tried to leave (*opening the garage door, and seeing one of the bird’s shadow hopping in front of the door, just waiting…*). They began diving after us, and they actually CHASED ME down the street!! I could see why they were so upset, but they couldn’t comprehend that the storm was the reason for their abortion, not me.

Right when my family and I thought that we would be prisoners in our house for the rest of the summer, the birds committed suicide!! SERIOUSLY!! Those kamikaze birds did a straight nose dive into the ground, breaking their own necks.

Now, due to the wrong misperception of that bird family, I can’t stand any birds now… unless their cooked on my plate.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Diving In

Dear Bloggers,

There are very few things that scare me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally fearless, and I’m easily startled (my fight or flight reflexes are constantly on alert). But there are two things that seriously causes me extreme anxiety and the thought can bring me to tears.

The first thing is DEEP water. When I was in seventh grade I took swimming lessons, and while trying to learn to do a dive, I started drowning. If you thought that that was the end of my drowning escapades, then you would be wrong. I almost drowned a total of five times. Due to those moments, I have an extreme fear of deep water. So, I stay in the shallow end of pools, lakes, and oceans.

The second thing is dating. Now, I’ve never had this fear before, but after my last relationship (which ended with me having an eating disorder and going to therapy), I’ve also found myself staying in the shallow end of the dating pool as well. But, it’s not only that relationship, but the molestation I dealt with when I was younger, or a HORRIBLE thing an “ex” did to me after we broke up (he was the first person I told about being molested, so when we broke up, he not only told everyone in his class, he also told me that I was “a slut, and that’s why you got molested”). Then, on top of all of that, I’ve witnessed people close to me have their significant others cheat on them, or beat them, or viciously verbally abuse them.

Now, whenever I feel myself becoming attracted to a guy, I feel myself experiencing panic attacks and second guessing everything. There’s a fear of “what type of dudes do I attract?” “What if it’s worse than before?” “What if I can’t get out?”

I stand out on the docks of the lake and life while my friends try to encourage me, with promises of: “This time it’ll be different. Just jump in, and you’ll be fine” However, that fear leaves me paralyzed, wanting to trust them, but still unsure of what diving in would mean for me.

Just like the beautiful HUMONGOUS lake that finalizes the scenery around my job, I look at it and dating with a combination of desire and fear. The desire of wanting to jump in, experience those blissful first days of getting to know someone. Spending time with someone and realizing all the interesting things you have in common. Swimming in those feelings of first attraction and succumbing to the waves of realization that you’re not just physically attracted to this person, but you’re attracted to their personality as well. Kicking through the tumultuous times, and overcoming the ebb to realize that not only you, but your bond is strong than it was when you first started.

Everyday, while I walk to the office, I look at the water, a sense of longing in my eyes, thinking that one day, I will conquer my fear. One day, I’ll be able to let those past incidents be just that, past incidents that doesn’t necessarily dictate my future. In the same sense, I have the same hopes of dating. One day, I’ll be able to dive in, not only in the water, but in love, with the trust that the water/ my boyfriend will catch me, comfort me, soothe those fears, and reassure me that this time, I won’t go under. Until then, I’ll work on moving from the shallow end.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

S-U-C-C-E-S-S Spells Fear

Dear Bloggers,

Success seems to be the ultimate landmark for many, the ulitmate form of immortality. But for some, even though they crave success, they also fear it. With the ultimate contradiction of human nature, many people sit on talents, and great ideas in fear of "What if it ACTUALLY works?"

My buddies, I have to admit, I sometimes have this fear too. I find myself hesitating, on ideas (it took me months to even start this blog, because of fear of no one reading it, or worse, EVERYONE reading it) or people (making new friends, or dating). There's a never ending paradox that runs through my head sometimes of "What ifs."

"What if I fail? Will people be expecting it? Will people look down on me? What if I'm not as good as I thought I was? What if he hurts me? What if I hurt him?"

Then, my questions of: "What if it DOES work out? Could I handle all of it?" This constant form of questioning put me in the mindset of Sisyphus. Constantly rolling a boulder up a hill, just so it can roll back down again.

I'm beginning to get to the point where I see how ridiculous constantly rolling a boulder up the same hill is, and I decided that I was going to roll it past the precipice. Do I still have the fear of failing AND succeeding? OF COURSE!! But now, my fear is being immobile. Stuck like Atlas, carrying the worries of my world on my shoulders.

Well readers, instead of being immobilized by my fear, I started to become empowered by it. My hope is that you can all do the same.


Monday, June 15, 2009

A Deer In Headlights

Dear Bloggers,

This week’s discussions will be on fear and the resulting emotional and physical paralysis that comes along with it. Now, Bloggers, fear affects others differently. When I was younger, on my family’s weekly movie night we watched “Child’s Play.” Everyone else found it hilarious, but me, I almost wet my pants while watching it. After that, I was positive that Chuckie was hiding in the bathroom, which lent itself to some actual pants wetting action. I couldn’t use the toilet until I looked behind the shower curtain, under the cabinets, in the back of the toilet, everywhere.

Even though I’m no longer afraid of Chucky, due to the habit of my fear, I can’t use the bathroom until I look behind the shower curtain. That’s one of the crazy things about fear, even when you overcome your fear, sometimes you develop habits due to them, and those habits are sometimes hard to break. Whether it’s looking behind a shower curtain before your cheeks can hit the seat, or avoiding letting someone of a different race on an empty elevator with you, fear can cause you to develop those idiosyncrasies that can affect your life.

Fear isn’t always over miniscule things (like an animatronics-activated sociopathic doll). Many times, our fears are based off of our own horrible personal experiences that couldn’t come from the imaginations of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or Edgar Allen Poe. Those fears are logical; indulging in them could cause a person to freeze in a time they should be jumping in action.

Like a deer caught in headlights, it is not only a split decision for the driver, but for the deer as well. Driving on highways, the sidelines are littered with deer that were too afraid to keep moving. Dear readers, it’s easy to let our fear consume us. It’s easy to become immobile when the time requires us to behave like our favorite action stars. However, I encourage you to not let your fear allow you to miss out on the amazing opportunities that life brings your way. Even when YOU stop moving, the world doesn’t.

This week, let’s discuss!!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Do as I Condemn, Not As I Do

Dear Bloggers,

We’ve talked a lot about the normal views of maturity, but there’s another form of immaturity that I would like to talk about. Even though I’m giving a Christian perspective on it, it truly is something that I personally believe is true for ALL religions, or lack thereof.

Many people ask me, why is it that I went through so many tumultuous events in life, but still seem to have a smile permanently attached to my face? Well, when I was younger, I became a Christian. For me, it truly did help me out in life. I no longer felt depressed, or angry.

The joy I felt was something so tangible, and I NEVER felt anything like it before in my life, and I began to become EXTREMELY excited, and EXTREMELY dedicated to spread the Word. I became a mini-Evangelist, and went around with my Bible, and tried to talk to my peers, teachers, and even principal about Jesus. The only problem is, when people expressed a dislike for my beliefs, or didn’t want it crammed down their throats like I was trying to do, I would begin to condemn them.

“Well, if you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re going to Hell!!” Instead of fighting with my tiny fists, I began to fight with the Word of God. I truly thought I was winning the “Good Fight,” but little did I know that not only was I losing it, but I was losing possible recruits due to my own actions.

When I reached high school, I became worse. I would walk around my campus, and would observe all the “lost sheep.” People would enter class on Monday mornings and would laugh about their drunken escapades, and as I glanced at my “won’t have sex until marriage” promise ring, all I could think was: “I’m soo glad I’m not like that.” My other Christian rhetoric quoting friends felt the same way, and I actually felt pity for my classmates.

It wasn’t until I reached college that I got the RUDEST awakening. I realized that the only reason why I never really participated in the rambunctious actions of my peers was because I didn’t have the opportunity to. My parents, being the extremely protective people that they are, would not let us hang out with people that they didn’t personally know. Not only did my parents have to know my friends, but they had to know their parents. So, if I came home on Friday night asking to go to a party at Joe Somebody’s house, the answer was immediately “No!!” It was easy holding on to my purity pledge because right after school I had band practice, and immediately headed home where my mother was waiting with a barrage of questions. It was easy to seem like a good girl, because I never had a true opportunity to be a “bad” one.

It wasn’t until I took my promise ring off and had sex that I realized how flawed everyone is. The next morning, I felt horrible. Not only because I broke my vow, or the fact that I was the one who truly pursued breaking it, but because I had now felt like I was the same as the people that I condemned. Then when I decided to straighten my game up, I went to hang out with a friend at her campus for Spring Break and got drunk at the age of 19. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME?! Then, when I was SURE I was going to get back on track, I ended up having sex with my NEXT boyfriend.

By this time, not only did I feel uncomfortable at church, but felt uncomfortable just saying my blessing before eating my dinner. I was the same person who I condemned in high school, but in my eyes I was worse. I KNEW that I shouldn’t have been doing the things that I was doing, but I did them regardless!!

It wasn’t until someone called me out and asked me how could I call myself a Christian and still do the things I was doing that I had an “a-ha!” moment. I realized how unfair it was to expect perfection from others, and then have the nerve to expect people to have grace for me whenever I messed up. While in college, I was able to become extremely humble, and realized that NO ONE is perfect. I also realized that I have NO Heaven or Hell to throw ANYONE in, and anytime I want to point out someone else’s imperfections, I’m reminded of my own.

As a Christian, I acknowledge that I’m a flawed individual, and everyone else is too. The same things that EVERYONE struggles with, I struggle with as well. It’s hard for me to not want to go to a bar and get completely plastered, then when I do, I do struggle with condemnation.

The same thing is true for all religions. There are many times when you want to be the best representation of your religion, and sometimes that might cause you to condemn others for not following as rigorously as you are. Or, you could be an atheist, who will point out other’s flaws, or the times they fall in their religion. Both ways are signs of immaturity. You will never be perfect, and just because you accept a religion doesn’t’ mean that it erases the fact that you’re human, and you ARE going to occasionally fall. If you do not want people to expect perfection from you, then do not expect it from others.

As I try to work on myself, I’ve made a new pledge. I pledged that I would never judge anyone due to their past, present, or future. As I’ve moved forward with my maturity in Christ, I still have my moments of Christian immaturity (doing things I KNOW I have no business doing). However, I’ve matured since my first finger pointing days. Now, the only person I’m pointing a finger at is me.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Behind Old Eyes

Dear Bloggers,

One of my duties at my new job entails going to stores, picking things up, returning things, and so on. Yesterday I was asked to make a trip to Walmart and return some cake pans. While standing in the Customer Service line I saw a pregnant woman sitting down. Sitting next to her was a woman who looked very similar to her, so I assumed that she was her sister. Sitting on her “sister’s” lap was a little girl. The two sisters talked, and when I looked over, I saw that the sister with the “daughter” sitting on her lap had bruises on her face. A few of her teeth were missing, and her black eye encompassed most of her face. Her daughter caught me staring, and looked at me. The similarities in facial features and bruises were incredible, and within those sad brown eyes, stared the eyes of an old soul.

I wanted to walk over, hug the little girl, and let her know in eyes just as old as her’s that things would be better. The desire to offer the promises from another hurt soul to a jubilant future, despite a dolorous present or past.

Childhood is expected to be a time of carefree zealousness. The only time in life that you can be ignorant, and not only is it expected of you, but it’s encouraged. But what happens when that time is torn from you. You’re forced to grow up faster than even you expected, and your ignorance is replaced by the injustices of the world around you? How do you go back to what’s expected of you, and would that even be possible?

As I made my return, and left from the Customer Service area, I offered a small wave, and a smile. It might not have been a lot, but the girl smiled and waved back. Deep within those tiny brown eyes of her’s held the soul of an old woman, eyes that mirrored mine. As I left all I could hope for her was a better future that would help erase the bruises from her past. I know that the pain would probably never leave her, and within those beautiful sad brown eyes, a part of her childhood would be gone, but hopefully she could take those missing pieces and create a beautiful future.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parental Guidance

Dear Bloggers,

A wise woman once told me: "It's hard raising good parents." I thought the quote was so poignant, and was a testament to the trials and growing pains that both child and parent deal with simultaneously.

When you're younger, your parents seem to know everything. They have an answer for all your questions ("Why do I have to wear this coat? Why can't I play in the street? Where do babies come from?"), and their authority reigns supreme.

But, when you get older, and hit that teenage stage, you slowly begin to realize that they don't know everything. They can't explain to you why your boyfriend/girlfriend left you. They don't know how long your acne will last, and they have difficulty explaining some of those intimate things (that menstruation talk was BRUTAL!!).

For some people, this is when they begin to lose respect for their parents. People I knew in high school would say comments about how their parents were such hypocrites and how everything was "do as I say, not as I do." More people lost respect for their parents for the fact that their mothers or fathers just wouldn't admit whenever they were wrong.

It got me thinking about maturity, and the struggles a child has while trying to mature her parents, and vice versa. No one will ever truly know all the answers, and no one truly likes being culpable of their own mistakes. However, the moment you begin to realize that you're parents are growing the same time that you are, it'll make your ascent into maturity a lot smoother.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Me?

Dear Bloggers,

There are any things that can categorize a person into being a "good friend." Many people would say things like: "they're always there for you," "let's you borrow their car," (my friends aren't THAT good), "good emotional support." Well, dear readers, I think there is something a little bit more important that constitutes a good friend.

My definition of a good friend is someone who loves you when you're unlovable. Let's face it, a lot of us (well, not me, of course, I'm perfect, baby!!) aren't always happy, dancing people. We get angry, dolorous, and extremely pissy on a daily basis.

Now, a good friend is a person who can take us in ALL of our faults, and still make the decision to stay with us.

It amazes me sometimes when I think about my friends. As you all have read, I've dealt with a lot of things in the past, and sometimes those issues have caused me to not be the best Kendra I possibly can. When other people, family members, frienemies, even myself, pushed me over to the side, I was always amazed that my friends always stuck it through.

When I wanted to give up on myself, my true friends never let me fall. My hope to you, dear readers, is that you're as lucky!!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spitting Distance

Dear Bloggers,

What type of person would you consider to be naive? Would you consider a small child, whose trying to deal with the bad decisions of others by trying to make her world a better place? A person who separates herself from her family and tries to create her own by making a new family with friendship. Is she naive? YES!!

Like I've said before, it took me years to deal overcome the hurt that was put on me by some family members. Because I thought in my small, child-like mind that no one in my family could be trusted, that left me without a support system. So, at that time, I tried to create my own family with friendships. The problem was, some of those "friends" were open enemies, I was just too naive to accept it.

A group of girls who did not like my sisters and I came up to me one day on my front lawn. My sisters were in the house, and they always warned me against the girls. I figured that out of the two groups, I would trust these girls over my sisters. They asked me where my sisters where. When I told them they were inside, they then all took hand fulls of ranch flavored sunflower seeds. They asked me if I wanted any, and I jumped up from our stairs to get some. The wind blew through my pigtails and I put my hand out to receive these seeds that I thought were so symbolic of a blossoming friendship. Then...

They SPIT THE SUNFLOWER SEEDS IN MY FACE!!!!!! .....Yeah, I'm gonna let you read that one again.

I stood there stunned, as they ran away. It was as if all I was frozen in surprise. All of the sound became muted. I could no longer hear the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. I could feel my legs itch due to my dry skin. The only thing I could feel was the sunflower seeds and saliva sliding off my face.

I felt sickened, and very embarrassed, thinking that no matter what I would do in life, I would never find a group of people that I trusted.

As I've gotten older, I've gotten tougher, and less naive. I've learned that not everyone can be trusted, and not everyone is looking to hurt me. I have a group of friends and family that I finally have trust, and love with. Even when we're physically apart, they always feel like they're a spit distance away.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Flying on the Wings of Friendship

Dear Bloggers,

This week's post will be about meeting new people, friendships, and frienemies. This weekend I moved to work at a new office for the summer in Minnesota (I'm hoping to run into Prince while I'm here). While driving the 16 hour drive, my boss reassured me that I would have no problems getting along with the other members of my office.

Now, honestly, I've never been too worried about making friends. Being a naturally gregarious person, my friendships come very easily. But every now and then, I'll be flying on my wings of friendship, and then suddenly the extreme heat of the Frienemie Sun would melt my wax. Then, like the tragic Icarus, I come crashing.

I could never truly understand the concept of frienemies, and why people continue to associate with someone that they do not care for. It just seems natural to distance yourself from the things that make you cringe, or makes you look negatively at yourself. For some reason, humans will stay "friends" with someone who is batantly trying to bring them down, or hurt them.

For the next couple of days I'll be meeting new people, and solidifying my wings with feathers and wax, in hopes of leaving Minnesota with a few new friendships. Sometimes, all you can do is take flight and hope for the best.