Thursday, August 31, 2006

Don't Make Midget Piñatas

This year I believe I will love my school. I have some excellent professors. Today John Bertreaux had his ethics class help him consider whether becoming a male prostitute would be a good career change for him, amazingly incorporating this into the text the entire time. Ondine Gage asked her linguistics students to feel her neck as she spoke, and then asked us to imagine chopping off her head. The enthusiastic, yet out of touch, Jennifer Fletcher has not yet realized that her junior and senior Brit lit and linguistics students are not the 14 yr olds she has taught the past 10 years. I will not be shocked if she asks if we need a juice box and graham cracker break tomorrow.

Classes are refreshingly challenging, but not enough to distract me from my friends or Myspace. I am meeting new people, collaborating with amazing minds, and making a genuine attempt at being a real CSUMB Otter this semester, this is of course, if someone can murder the midget fucking with the AC.

What? What's this about a crazed midget? At first I thought maybe the CSUMB climate control officials were confused, and wanted to pretend we were in sunny San Diego, not freezing Seaside, but this is unlikely. There is no way anyone in CSUMB could be this coordinated, or has been to San Diego. It has to be a midget. I'm sure he is the kid from 10 years ago (is the school that old yet) that was made fun of for being a midget and wasn't invited to parties (save as a novelty that some drunk junior would attempt to tie a string to and scream "piñata!!!") and has since sworn himself to a life of revenge on all Otters. We sit in our classes, bundled against the cruel Seaside mist (it gets intense) when suddenly, like a gift from heaven, the heat kicks on. We begin to peal away the layers, the blonde little sophomores revealing tiny matching outfits, us old kids revealing whatever we slept in the night before. And then the AC happens. Ice cold air cascades from then giant vents like an alien invasion and we bitterly rebundle. This may continue for the rest of the class, or in vicious outbreaks as soon as we begin to feel safe and unfrozen. Today a large male student even whimpered "is there anything we can do about the fans? I'm cold." The professor said no, and cast her eyes away, because he was shameful. I suggested a sacrifice for the AC gods, but instead of selecting the weakest among us to die (I was gonna vote for cold guy), we all laughed. We all know there are no AC gods, only a bitter and crazed midget, peering through the vents and giggling.

If this was a form of torture being used by the Chinese to get me to talk (I heard they do stuff like this too, must be a size thing) I would have already told every secret I know, and don't know. I don't know what the midget wants from me, but when I find him, I'm gonna get drunk, tie a string to his head and scream "piñata!!!"

Hehehe. . . it makes me giggle every time.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What Doesn't Heal

"Oh in 1936 I had many dreams. It was the depression, and it was very hard for young people to get their lives started, but we did get married and we finally got jobs and we were happy. But soon after that, in 1939, Herman got diagnosed with acute Leukemia. . . I couldn't imagine how I was going to live in a world that didn't have him in it, but life has a way of demanding you live it. . ."

"What are your hopes for me, after you're gone?"

"I hope that you are going to find somebody that you can love as completely as I loved Herman, because there is nothing in the world that's as wonderful as two people in love, there's nothing better."

Today in my oral histories class I realized how weak the fabric with which I am woven is. I sat and listened to a recording of 91 year old Nora Percival tell her granddaughter, Emily, about her short marriage to Emily's grandfather, who died when his pregnant wife was only 24. He never met his son. As I sat in class holding back my tears with all I had, all I could think was "they sure don't make them like they used to," myself being the them. My life has struggles, but nothing like what my great-grandparents endured. My heart is broken, but nothing more than what countless others have felt. The clouds are dark and the rain is cruel, but far worse storms have passed over far more innocent hearts! And yet I am ready to surrender now, quit before life hurts me anymore.

As I listened to Nora's voice, I could hear the many years of struggles and hardships in her weathered tone, but there was a softness as well. She spoke of Herman like it was only yesterday that she was lying with her dying husband, saying goodbye. The tenderness with which she spoke of him made me realize how long we carry these things with us, that some things don't heal like we like to believe.

When I got to my car I cried. I cried because life is so hard, so confusing, and the light so far in the distance. I cried because Nora was so strong, and that strength seems so far from my grasp. I hope I'm wrong, I hope that they do make them like they use to, and that one day I will have a full life to look back on, and that my voice carries in it all the strength and pain that Nora's did.

I really suggest you listen to Nora's interview, you can listen to it here: http://www.storycorps.net/listen

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Surf:1 Cori:0

There is skin literally hanging off my toes. I smell exactly like a dumpster of dead fish. My nose and throat burn, I may never stand again. . . well until I head to the beach for round two...

It wasn't sunny, the ocean was brown, tasted like dead fish, and as a small but mighty wave crashed before me, I swear I heard it say "Today I will take your soul." As it foamed violently at my feet, I stepped in and waded out. I grabbed the board my brother offered me, he told me to start paddling, and then I died.

Actually, I didn't die. My board and I did an amazing underwater tumbling stunt. Horrifying. I found air and gasped it in like I never had before. Failure comes quick, but your next chance comes rolling in only seconds behind. For a moment I thought "Hell no, I'm out." Instead I grabbed the board again.

I didn't realize surfing involved so much underwater time, which is where I spent a lot of time. Dive, jump, paddle? No matter which I chose I mostly tumbled. I was being pummeled, but I didn't resent the ocean for its cruelty, it was like I was begging for it.

I am exhausted, but I can't wait to go out again. I didn't do much with the board, I eventually worked on body surfing, learning to recognize a good wave, and never turning my back on the ocean. And the death comes in "sets."

Now, sleep. More later.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

God Teaches Cori to Drive

I woke up on fire. Not literally, but spiritually. I know weird, usually I wake up, roll over and turn on my laptop (which sleeps on the right side of my bed) to check my Myspace/email/bunny website. Not today, today I woke all on fire, which is really intense when compared to the intense brokenness I have been experiencing. So I decided to drive out to Santa Cruz and do something, I didn't know what. I just had to share, even though the church wasn't opening for another five hours. I get in the car and my favorite song was on! Yes! This day was totally on! So I'm singing and praying--turn onto John Street--singing, thinking wow I'd love to serve--get onto 101 N--but not serve as in teaching yet, I'm such an infant in my faith right now--run into traffic in Prunedale--but I'd love to serve with my time, not teach, there's too much temptation there, hey, I'll work at the church coffee house!--just getting out of Prunedale. . . what am I doing?!?!!

I'm so excited, I started driving to San Jose not Santa Cruz! And then it was there, the big fat lesson! One of my spiritual downfalls (and there are many!) has been enthusiastically throwing myself into ministry with no real direction. Maybe I'm just a bad driver, but God totally used it! I'm really learning to follow His lead right now, it's an amazing feeling! I feel so free in not worrying about what will happen to me. But I'm so excited I feel at risk of not healing enough, because I have been severely broken. So what I did all day in Santa Cruz was read, pray, and journal. I did it in the park, at Jamba Juice, sitting on a bench. I gave my mind to God, and He gave so much in return! Honestly, I think I got spiritual stretch marks today!!

By the time I got to church I was practically bursting at the seems. My worship was pure, my talk was pure, my thoughts were pure. I haven't felt this for years, everything had no hidden motive, I felt so naked... but that's when it happens... the beat down.

I need to learn to expect it, after every talk at Vintage Faith I feel like I've been through the shredder... but in a good way. Last week Josh talked about faith, and I sat there and had to face my intense fear of faith... this week Shelly exactly described my situation, only about her sister, and at first I began feeling helplessness, but then I read the road sign! I had to face my unwillingness to fight for people, and my bitterness towards those who have refused to fight for me. As believers we are commanded to fight for people, for people going through hard times, we are supposed to stand by their side and tell them to push on, we're here for you, you can do it!!

I wish more of us did that, we need it from each other. I think that that's one reason so many of us that know Bob (yes, shout out to you buddy) love him so much, he'll fight for us!

So that's the road sign I was missing (as if there was one, haha, there are many!). I swear to fight for you all. I'm so sorry for who I've been, and I hope I'll be more of a joy to you all in the future. For those friends I've left far behind, I'm sad they will never see this from me, to see what I'm like watered, flourishing!! I know what it's like to be fought for, and I know what it's like to be told "Huh, that's too bad, well there's nothing you can do, it's too late, not even God can help you now..." And from a Christian no less. I never want to be that to any of you!

I'm still working at the church coffee house though :) but I am making a promise to myself and God to follow the road signs.

Friday, August 18, 2006

People Don't Change

"Nina, Nina I'm worried about Anna. She's not youthful. She came into the world in such an extraordinary way. I think she used up all her magic in the way that she came. Nina, promise me you'll tell Anna to do something extraordinary before I die."

There is a lie that we are told. The devil tells it to us because he knows we will listen with greedy ears. There is a lie that we are told, and in turn, we tell the world.

People don't change.

As I have mentioned before, I am reading this book, Captivating. Three years ago, I would have received little from these pages, but it is not three years ago. Three years ago I was alive. I believe that I turned into this machine like so many other women. I am not soft, feeling, pleasant, or lovely. Nothing that God envisioned as He crafted woman, as He sculpted her body and stitched secrets into her heart, the mysteries he hid for her lover to discover. I am driven, cold, demanding much from the world and even more from myself. I feel sloppy, not sculpted, I toss my secrets to the wind and mock the mysteries of my heart. I guess this is just who I am. People don't change.

Stasi Eldredge writes, "The curse of Eve and all her daughters cannot be limited only to babies and marriage. . . the meaning is much deeper and the implications are for every daughter of Eve. Woman is cursed with loneliness (relational heartache), with the urge to control (especially her man), and with the dominance of men."

Everyday I am softer. I let myself feel my loneliness and my urges to control, my anger and my doubt, because they are mine to feel. I feel like I am marinating, how cheesy and weird to describe it that way, but it is true. I feel the curse like a wave, but instead of indulging in it, I wait it out because I do not deserve to burst out in anger or seize control. These are things that just happen and are not me. It is funny now, they feel like my panic attacks because I see them as something with no true legitimate cause, just something that happens that I must ride out. Ask Miss Peligra about San Francisco, she was lucky enough to witness my first triumph over this rage.

"Anna you can't come with me. You were right."

"No Danny I was wrong. Listen! My mother told me to do something extraordinary and look! I'm standing here at a train station like some character in one of her Russian novels. Take me with you!"

"You don't even know where I'm going! Anna, this is passion, passion makes you do stupid things but it won't last, I should know!"

"Danny what have I done to you, you sound just like me."

Sometimes I think it is so immodest of me to write my feelings out like this, for anyone to see. But it feels good right now, and I'm doing what I feel for a change. And speaking of change, the devil doesn't lie when he says people don't change, he simply takes the truth out of context.

People don't change. . . people, God changes people.

We never shut up long enough to hear the whole sentence.




Dialogue is from the 1997 film Music From Another Room. A movie whose ending I knew within the first five minutes, but watched every sappy moment anyway and cried when Anna and Danny kissed at the end. . . to the song Truly Madly Deeply of course. I know, but it felt good.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Divorce

Kristen is my super wise friend and her blogs are the bomb. Since her latest post kinda applies to my current situation, I asked her if I could post it here.


From dictionary.com. . .

Commitment:

A. A pledge to do.

B. Something pledged, especially an engagement by contract involving financial obligation.

C. The state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons

Promise:

A. A declaration assuring that one will or will not do something; a vow.
synonyms: pledge, swear, vow

These verbs mean to declare solemnly that one will follow a particular course of action.

I start this blog out with these definitions because it will be those of my generation reading & it is my generation I am speaking to. It is my generation that has no respect to these words, no real understanding of their meaning. It is my generation who thinks promise is something to be as flippantly used as the word "yes" or the words "I will". It is my generation that thinks commitment means doing something only if it continues to be convenient, only if it continues to be easy, only if it does not interfere with anything more fun or entertaining.

When did it become that actually doing what one agrees to do, is surprising? When people actually anticipate that someone won't follow through with what they've agreed to do, and therefore take no course of action when precisely that happens? Why is it so difficult for my generation to commit themselves, in their deepest capacity, to something or someone?

Perhaps I am just one of the lucky ones. I was raised in a family where if you say you're going to do it, you had better do it and do it well. If you over extend yourself, well then that is your mistake & those around you should not be made to suffer for your mistake, so you had better continue doing the best of your ability.

I was raised that marriage was never exempt from these standards, in fact it was held higher than those. When you promise someone, when you commit, you follow it through until the end. And the end is when they're throwing dirt on top of your casket. Now, I do understand that there are some very, very rare exceptions to this mentality. Difficulty is not one of those exceptions. Because it no longer fits into your schedule is not one of those exceptions. You found someone better is not one of those exceptions.

Yes, I am angry. Angry that I know more separated & divorced couples than I do happy ones. Angry that there are very few people, aside from close friends, whom I can count on to do exactly what they said they're going to do. Angry that it is my generation that seems to have this problem, because it is my generation that will be leading the country in a few years. How is it that we plan to do that, to lead a country, if we can't even work out our differences with our spouses? Do we think opposing countries are going to be any easier?

I'm sure I will be told that I can't say much, I've never been married. I've never had a severely difficult life where following through with things was just made "impossible". Maybe you're right for saying so. But i have been on the receiving end many times of someone who simply did not follow through with what they promised. I have lived in a house with a father who's temper could be rivaled maybe slightly by God himself, as well as a mother who stayed & now they are my shining, beautiful example.

Do not speak to me of naivety & being "uninformed" to what real life carries. I have been told by God that I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me. All things. Not only convenient things, not only fun things, not only easy things. All things.

I wonder how better life would be for you today if God woke up this morning and just decided he could do something much more fun today than watching your back. Or that little promise he made with the whole flood thing, nah, that was just a promise at the time. Or the commitment of sticking with you, even when you want absolutely nothing to do with Him.... well you've become too difficult for Him to handle, too much of a burden & your next door neighbor is so much more fun! How would your life be then?

If we are created in the image of Him and should strive to be like Him?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ice Cream Wrath

This is an official complaint I am placing with my father. Instead of walking across the hall and telling you i'm pretty sure you are on online right now so this is how you will have to find out...

Everyday I look forward to my ice cream at night. This is not an excessive amount, but enough to make me happy. I have lived a relatively ice creamless life under the reign of my insane trainer and I am liberating myself through this small, nightly indulgence.

Well tonight, as I sat watching tv with mom, I said, "Hey, who wants some ice cream?" and got up. Yeah turns out no one is getting ice cream! Father, you ate all of it. There were two empty containers in the sink, what is this??? Not acceptable! You have two women in the house, don't mess with the ice cream supply!

Mom and I have decided to make a secret ice cream lair. You will never find it, and it will have all the best kinds, and you'll be way sorry when we emerge from our lair nightly with our awesome ice cream and ice cream accessories.

So instead of ice cream I had an apple. Not cool Dad, not cool.

In His Image

I can not explain this. This is not me, or at least it has not been in the past. I do not believe in the whole finding yourself journey, in self help books, in submission, in passivity, in being unsure. Perhaps that is why I am a mess, perhaps...

I have been forced to ask myself who I am. . . that is incorrect. I have been given the opportunity to ask myself who I am. Because given my situation I could very easily crawl under my martyr mat and have you all bring me soup. However, for some reason a series of randomly deep films, a book, and a quote by Maggie Gyllenhaal have changed my journey from trying to discover who I am, to a quest to recapture what I was designed to be.

Cut to video montage of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Snow Falling on Cedars, and Shattered glass.

If one more person tells me that this painful situation will make me stronger. . . I will. . . do nothing, because I am working on my anger issues. I will ignore the comment because it is wrong, a fabricated comfort whose fibers are worldly. Yes, hurt after hurt will eventually harden you, and next time it wont feel so bad, but I am not looking for calluses, I am searching for my correct function.

Today I read something that Maggie Gyllenhaal said, "What I think is appealing about shopping is putting something on and asking, 'Is this me?' which is another way of saying, 'Who am I?'" We are always searching for the who, because I think asking the what sounds silly as the answer would be woman, human, flesh, blood, bones, tissues. And as for the "who," we can be whoever we want, right? But then with the possibility of being anything, we go out to be something, and what if there was a set something and we are not it and the possibilities are only a lie we are told by a liberated, but confused society. I just might be a square peg jamming myself into a round hole.

Man was created in the likeness of God. Got it. Now what the heck does that mean? Which part of god? All of god? And if man and woman are so different, the opposites of one whole, the ying and yang, what does that make woman the likeness of? I am afraid to even wonder!

I'm studying the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. They have a perspective on what man is and his heart that would make my college professors pull their hair out, but I am so comforted by it. It's like they described the half I do not just want, but need, but only at the very depths of my heart because in my mind it makes me weak. John writes that a true man wants a battle to fight, longs for adventure, and seeks to rescue a beauty, adding, "For Adam is captured best in motion, doing something. His essence is strength in action. That is what he speaks to the world. He bears the image of God, who is a warrior. On behalf of God, Adam says, 'God will come through. He is on the move.' That is why a passive man is so disturbing. His passivity defies his essence. It violates the way he bears God's image." This is God's image, but what of me? What of woman? I've been striving to accomplish, succeed, to do. Wouldn't that make me in God's image as well? I have been doing this for so long and become less and less satisfied with myself. What image am I here to fill?

Stasi writes that a true woman wants romance, to be in an irreplaceable role in an adventure, and be a beauty to be pursued, adding, "This is what its like to be with a woman at rest, a woman comfortable in her own feminine beauty. She is enjoyable to be with. She is lovely. In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You relax and believe once again that all will be well. And this is also why a woman who is striving is so disturbing." The book takes a long time to eventually get across that woman was also created in God's image. God is rest, comfort, safety.

I sit here both wrong and right at the same time. I know why my striving has brought me misery, and why my resting for the past week has brought me hope. I am made in the likeness of a feeling, relational God, and there lies my function. I don't feel like I'm lowering myself to anything by accepting this role, as countless women will tell me I am, it's more like getting to breathe for the first time after diving too deep. I've been going far too deep for my lungs to handle, it's time to breathe.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Inspired by V for Vendetta

As someone who finds infinite joy in studying human behavior and belief systems, I of course am keenly aware of the patterns that pop up continuously in film, literature, culture. Some people make the mistake of thinking these patterns tie all religions, cultures, peoples together making us all right, most likely out of fear holding the belief that is wrong. No one wants to hold the ax and condemn all others, because to believe there is right and to believe there is wrong means some must be condemned. however, the mistake we of course make in our infinite wisdom is that we must hold the ax.

In the corner of my room my ax is propped against a white chair. Its first cob web drapes from the blade to the wall like a triumphant banner. More are to come and I welcome them. It is part of my own journey, one that every culture and religion holds and, to some, may seem to tie them into one. In literature it is apart of every single great story of a hero. It is woven deep into both western and eastern religions, as well as the pagan beliefs that came before.

This pattern is of course the rebirth motif. It sometimes seems that the Christian faith holds the sole rights to it, after all many of us call ourselves born again. But this concept is not solely Christian, for some reason the human race feels the need for rebirth. It is in our legends, myths, tales whose message often depict a miraculous rebirth.

But in a Christian society, rebirth becomes this extraordinarily common occurrence. It happens in the simple bending of the knees and utterance of prayer and raising of the eyes to a heavens. So we live believing this is our rebirth, however, I whole heartedly disagree. I believe this is the signing of the contract to be reborn. To look into the eyes of the surgeon, to look at the gleaming edge of the blade that will soon reshape you and say you are ready. There is no anesthesia, the surgeon will not shield you from the process, the pain. With his words he offers comfort, but not unconsciousness.

We never really know what's coming. We casually agree to suffer before feeling that blade. We lie on the table asking for the change, yet often with the first incision believe that truly this is not the way to change and leap from the table, doing our best to piece our flesh and organs back together ourselves with shoelaces and tape. The process hurts... but for me, I'm going to remain on this table and let an expert fix me. I can feel every incision, cold metal on warm skin, but he will not leave me bleeding, but better than before.

I hope for the courage for us all to endure so that we can in fact truly be reborn.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Moses

I read a true and beautiful story about the courtship of Moses Mendelssohn, the grandfather of a great German composer. Moses was a small man with a mis-shaped, humped back. One day he visited a merchant in Hamburg who had a lovely daughter. Though Moses admired her greatly, she avoided him, seemingly afraid of his grotesque hump...

On the last day of his visit he went to tell her good-bye. Her face seemed to beam with beauty but when he entered, she cast her eyes to the floor. Moses' heart ached for her. After some small talk, he slowly drew to the subject that filled his mind. "Do you believe that marriages are made in heaven?" he asked.

"Yes," replied the young woman. "And do you?"

"Of course," Moses answered. "I believe that at the birth of each child, the Lord says, 'that boy shall marry that girl.' but in my case, the Lord also added, 'but, his wife will have a terrible hump.'"

"At that moment I called, 'Oh Lord, that would be a tragedy for her. Please give me the humped back and let her be beautiful.'" The story ends when the young woman was so moved by his words that she reached for Moses' hand and later became his loving and faithful wife.

So beautiful.