Ugggh.

I’m beginning to remember another reason why I hadn’t written in this blog for a nearly a year: I am so damn tired, and it is so much easier to just go to bed instead.

Sweet dreams : )

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A much overdue update.

I’m going to be honest: I completely forgot about this blog.  It wasn’t until I was asked about it today that a nostalgic wave hit, and all of a sudden, I wanted to reconnect with my past.  Looking over old entries from nearly a year ago, it’s amazing to think how much has changed.  I guess the easiest way to describe the change is through this line of reasoning:

If you look through the majority of my old posts, most of them can be filed under varying degrees of negativity.  This blog was started because I had a lot of angst, and I needed an appropriate forum in which I could express that.  Although I struggled with a lot of anger, frustration, and depression, I also struggled (and still do, to a degree) with a deep desire to not upset or disappoint others.  At the time, I would say that I was just trying to be non-confrontational.  Now I would say that I simply lacked confidence in my own legitimacy as a rational being, necessitating a (relatively) private space to share my thoughts where I felt safe from criticism.

So in a way, the fact that I have not blogged in nearly a year is a very good thing.  I actually feel that it shows the two most important changes I’ve undergone in my life thus far: 1) Being happy. 2) Becoming assertive and confident.  It makes sense that it is easy to blog about things that are upsetting–sometimes a person just needs a place to rant.  And when that place is exclusively limited to your own thoughts, and no one else can challenge them, it’s not surprising that blogging and discontent are seemingly a match made in heaven.

However, why should my public forum be limited to this?  I am actually extremely proud of the changes I’ve made in my life, so why should I not share them?  Why should this blog be limited to my past frustrations and not my current successes?   As far as I can tell, there really is no good reason why, so I guess it’s time to start updating more frequently about the life that I am finally enjoying so much.

Can I just say that I’m really excited to emote over my life now?  I can’t wait to share about how much I love the state of Oregon, how much I love the classes that I’ve been taking (and how successful I’ve been in them!), how much I love being near family, how much I have fallen in love with an amazing person, how I’ve made wonderfully diverse friends, how I’ve developed a stronger consciousness, and even how I’ve developed a love for football.  The list of things I want to talk about goes on and on, and it reminds me of how lucky I am.

So in short, I’m happy, and I really love my life.  Hopefully I will do better at remembering this blog, so that my friends and family can share in that with me.

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Here’s a secret:

On days that I am trying to procrastinate studying, I absolutely love being domestic.

Baking…

Dishes…

Cleaning…

Blogging…

Laundry…

Bed making…

It’s amazing how productive you can be when you are trying to escape productivity.

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Apology to my unborn.

As promised, here is  a performance from Def Jam Poetry.  Out of all of the poems I’ve seen, this is my favorite; Perhaps because I can relate to the anxiety of potential motherhood and the feeling of inadequacy at taking on such a difficult role that she feels is necessary for her to some day take on.  Perhaps I love the piece simply because the artist reminds me of my sister.  I’m not sure why this poem speaks to me so much, but each time I watch it, it touches me.

The original poem, which was written long before the performer was pregnant, is posted below the video.  You can see in her performance that she made many changes to the original piece.  I’m assuming this is partially due to time constraints of being on the Def Jam show, and also because at the performance, the reality of her “unborn” was much closer.  I think both the original and performed pieces are beautiful, so I am posting them both.

Apology to My Unborn

I fear that you will never sleep,
that like these fingers too long and thin
to hold rings and commitments,
you will inherit your mother’s insomnia,
her restless spirit.

Child, I wish I could quiet all your questions;
tell you the exact number of stars;
show you where the moon goes at sunrise.
I wish I could temper your fear of good byes;
prove that the earth spins regardless of whether or not you are awake to see it.
I wish I could give you one morning worth rising for.

I pray that you can close your eyes,
see the world through the only thing I have fit to pass down to you:
this heart of a dreamer.
But I want you stronger, sooner,
want you kind and brave,
want you unafraid to fight
for what you believe and need,
want you beautiful and free,
I want you nothing like your mother,
this girl trembling before each new day
frightened of herself, love.
This girl who finds the word ‘woman’ a cloak too heavy to don
most days.
You deserve someone who carries the moniker like banner,
wears it easy like sun in summer.

But, child, what can I tell you of peace
when you were probably conceived in a cacophony of questions.
Still i think of you as possible,
can almost smell the breath of god, light against your skin,
can hear you, softness, eyes closed laughing,
real as the beating staccato against my chest.
But future, I fear if I
cling too fiercely to you unconditionally
that I will bruise you
because I can not hold my breath long enough to shrug off these imperfections.
I wonder, if they will make me too nervous to nurse you
leave me unable to find a place where just loving you is enough.
Child, I will begin counting those same stars.

And in dreams these arms will hold you,
whisper you soft into a still slumber.
These hands, small and strong, like your grandmother
will build for you a world of colored things
will pray, palms towards the heaven, for a quiet
without the tumble and chaos of
words and worry.
Child I pray that you know
that though feared, you are wanted,
know how you’ve lived lifetimes in this hollow expansion of breath,
know how easy you’ll fit
in my spaces,
need you to know this now before time and distances help me
to forget to tell you often enough.
I hope that we will not be too much like shadow and brick,
voices thrown against walls.
These hands are tired of building,
and child, I hope you will forgive my quiet.
Those moments when I just can’t find the words to speak.
I hope my silences don’t scare you,
won’t have you questioning your worth,
have you turning towards friends and strangers for comfort.
I want you to like me,
to know me,
to know that there are moments when I will wrestle with moments
that shade my best intentions.

Moments like now,
your mother
lays awake
watching, yet, another morning from the wrong side,
practicing slow this breathing that will usher you one day into this world.
Here, I can, almost conjure up a proper image of you.
I still fear that you will never know peace,
but I already know I need your laughter,
need the gentle curve of your fingers,
need your eyes locked on mine,
need you here now for balance.

But, my future,
I will deny you your right to exist
before I pass on this
cracked soul of a storyteller.
You deserve more than
this threat of me as your mother,
still attempting my own world of colored things.

So child, just promise me that you will be, eventually.
I need your possibility
like I need a night worth sleeping for

-Bassey Ikpi

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Def Poetry Jam

I’ve always admired (good) poetry, although I often have a hard time understanding it.  To me, it’s kind of like Salvador Dali artwork: I recognize the talent, think it’s amazing, am jealous of his abilities, but I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean.  I guess it gets frustrating for me because in an attempt for the poet’s work to remain beautifully artistic, their work is often very vague and riddled in symbolism.  Readers have to interpret the meaning of the poem, and I always get nervous as to whether or not I’m interpreting it correctly.  Because of this, reading most poetry is an interesting experience for me; it is something I enjoy, albeit anxiously.

Recently though, my roommate has introduced me to Def Poetry Jam.  This was a show on HBO where artists could perform their “spoken word”, their poetry.  It’s harsh, it’s blunt, and it’s certainly not beautiful–at least not in the “very vague and riddled in symbolism” kind of way–yet I find beauty in it.  It’s honest and full of raw emotion, and I rarely ever hear a selection without wanting to hear it a second time.

Because I have been enjoying these pieces so much, I’ve decided that every once in a while I will post some of my favorite performances.  To give a fair warning however, many of these would be given a “PG-13” or “R” rating, mostly for the use of strong language and/ or sexual innuendo.  If I post a selection that heavily uses either of these, I will make sure to specify so that my readers can exercise caution in what they want to watch.  I hope my forthcoming posts that include these spoken word performances will be as enjoyable and thought-provoking for you as they have been for me.

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This Week in God: Part Lutheran- Missouri Synod

This past Sunday I attended the congregation of my friend, Andres.  This was a Lutheran congregation that was more along the lines of what I was familiar with (i.e. no guitars or keyboards), although still not as strict and uninviting as what I am used to.  Twice throughout the service the Pastor had us mingle and offer blessings of peace and happiness to other members of the congregation.  This was a welcome change for me, as I felt like it really brought a sense of camaraderie to the congregation (everybody knew each other!).  I also found the lesson interesting because it was on grace, something that seems to be more heavily relied upon in this faith.  I appreciated the sermon, not necessarily because I received a manifestation of its truth or anything, but more so because I never once felt guilty while there.  That was certainly a welcome change.

Based on this experience alone, this is a congregation I feel I could come back to; however because of previous study about this particular denomination, I doubt I would become a permanent member.  From my understanding, the Lutheran Church has a couple of different sects that vary on different issues.  The sect of the Missouri Synod is one that does not allow female pastors and is also stricter in terms of rights for homosexuals within the church.  Although I did enjoy this one experience, these issues are important to me, and as such, I will likely seek out an ELCA Synod at some point, as their feelings towards these issues do not conflict with mine.  Still a good experience though, and I will likely go back.

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This Week in God: Part Jubilee

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Last term, I got the chance to experience something very new:  I went to church with my roommate, Hope.  She attends a church called Jubilee, and it was a very different experience from any church I’ve ever attended before.  This was a lively, upbeat church–the kind of church that has an electric and bass guitar, a drum set, and a keyboard accompany all of the singing, not to mention the use of  swaying and “Jesus antennas” across the congregation.  This was the kind of church where audience participation was encouraged, prompting the calls of “Amen,” “You preach it, Brother!”, and “Thank you, Jesus!” throughout.  This was the kind of church that (apparently) fostered diversity, as it was the most amount of Caucasians, Latinos, and African Americans I had seen under one roof in years.  It was the kind of church where your neighbor, a person you may or may not know, grabbed your hand to hold during prayer.

I loved the idea of this church, but in my actual attendance, I felt awkward and slightly out of place.  This is not to say that their service was not good; it is rather to say that it was out of my comfort zone.  As I explained it to Hope, “the difference between a Mormon service and a Jubilee service is overwhelming.  It’s like stepping out of a prison and going straight into a circus.”  I hope that one day I can loosen up enough to feel comfortable in a setting like this because it was obvious that, to everyone surrounding me, it was both fun and spiritually uplifting.  All in all, a good and different experience, one that I would be willing to repeat.

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