Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reasons, Seasons, & Lifetimes

Since I was a tiny girl my mom has told me, "People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime." And since I was a tiny girl, this has rung true in every relationship I've ever had. I've had temporary friendships that lead me to stronger, permanent friendships. Reasons. I've had wild, reckless relationships during the hot, sunkissed summer months that float off like fallen leaves come autumn. Seasons. And in a couple, miraculous instances, I've had friendships that just stick, no matter where we are or where we go or how long we go without talking, they will always be counted on the hand of trust. Lifetimes. The difficulty with this concept though is that its something that is always realized in retrospect.

I have never met a person and instantly known, You are a lifetime. I have never gotten all dressed up in a frilly outfit to go to a freaking street fair and thought, This kid won't even a blip on your radar come October. A lifetime & a season are both very clear, distinct measurements of time though. Once you figure it out, you know how long these people stay and you know what you can expect from them. Seasons manifest themselves as fond memories that drift into your heart from time to time while lifetimes grow to become your heart over the years. The one I struggle the most with, though, are the reasons. Reasons do not have a set, measured time to be in your life. I hear reason and my heart cringes. My reasons have mostly taught me painful things about the world, but things that have made me stronger. Most of my reasons have popped up into my life multiple times; usually when I needed to relearn their lesson. The reasons are not people I look back on and smile and giggle, they are people who altered me, changed my stuffing, ripped me apart, taught me what I'm capable of, and showed me what it means to really, insanely, sacrificially love someone.

Usually reasons are people that we expect to be lifetimes, people that consume our hearts and keep our secrets and wipe away our tears. Our best friends, our first loves, people we bring home to our families, who become parts of our families, people that we can't imagine the world without. And then one day something happens to make us realize that they are in our lives for a REASON not a LIFETIME. We realize reasons in hard ways. Believe it or not, the person you trusted everything with, is perfectly capable of hurting you. Believe it or not, your expectation of people is often much higher than their capacity. Believe it or not, things fall apart, always, recklessly, without any immediate explanation, and we are left with fragments of a heart, a friendship, a love, a memory, a plan that was once so whole and pure.

And then one day, or month, or year, or decade down the road, you have an epiphany. Someone tells you a story about their friend who is in a dark place, and you look at them and nod knowingly and tell them exactly how to help her, because you've been there, more times than you can count. You're playing catch and someone notices you can throw a spiral, and you just laugh and think, "So that's what I got out of that." You can curl hair a certain way, you know proper party etiquette, you know that if a guy is worth your time, he'll always text you first. You know how to roll a joint even though you've never been high and you can recognize just about any rap artist's voice within 5 seconds of a song. These might not be things that your reasons taught you, but they are some of the more trivial things that my reasons taught me. Things that will never fade from my repertoire but may always come with a little tug at my heart strings.

There are big lessons too. Like how to drive a pickup truck, how to kiss, what is okay to say to a woman & what is not, and who to call when you're too drunk to drive or walk. And there are bigger lessons than that. Like the differences between love and obsession and lust, to not get so drunk that you cannot walk, the importance of looking ahead, recognizing where you are, and appreciating where you have been, and the significance of telling people how much they mean to you, before it is too late. And then there is the biggest of them all.

It is so cliche, but so true to the human condition. Life goes on; even when you cannot fathom your next step, even when you have spent every day living one way and will have to wake up tomorrow living a different way, even when you are angry to your very core, and even when the betrayal or hurt or disappointment is overwhelming. This is what reason people teach us: how strong we are, how capable we are, and how much you will go through in this brief, beautiful experience that only makes you better in the end. I love my reasons, each and every one, even the ones who I will never speak to again, even the ones who taught me lessons that left scars, even the ones who come with a fitting, "What the fuck Chloe?", and even the ones who I don't even know are reasons yet. I am who I am today because of Reasons, Seasons, and Lifetimes, there will be so many more and I welcome them with open arms.

Whether you are here to get a tan, here to teach me something, or here to stay, welcome. We could hurt each other, we could get coffee, we could have a ridiculously hilarious time together, we could never interact again after this moment, we could do everything & nothing. Just know that we are constantly leaving our marks all over each others' hearts & I'm glad to have all of your lovely fingerprints.

P.S. Maybe I just wrote this blog so that I would know the true spelling of the word repertoire. Because now I do. Reason.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I'm always asking God for signs, real world assurances of my next step in life. I cannot move past a situation or move forward to a new situation until I've gotten a true, verifiable--by my mother--sign. Yet, often times, I wonder if the signs I find are merely signs I want myself to see rather than express shipped from heaven. I can't soundly express how many times I have confused coincidence with celestial intervention, more than I can name without embarrassing myself. Pinterest quotes don't count as signs. Songs on the radio? Not so much. Running into someone you'd almost forgotten when you're happy & doing well, that's just the devil. SOMEONE TEXTING YOU AT 2 AM IS NOT A SIGN, it's just disrespectful, don't do that. God's signs are obvious, just not in the way we have been programmed to expect. They probably won't come hurdling into your inbox when you're in a valley of despair, God's a lot bigger than text messages. Signs probably won't look shiny & pretty & just how you always imagined, they're probably going to tell you a bigger, darker, grittier truth, one you couldn't come to grips with in your own mind.

So I ask God for signs almost every day, because I'm dramatic and cryptic like that, and I always get them, whether I see them or not, though, is another situation entirely. Two nights ago, I had the worst dream of my life, and yet, I woke up and had no idea what it meant. I have had horrible dreams in the past and forgotten them within hours, yet this dream stuck with me, like it was burned into my brain for some significant reason. It was the most symbolic, meaningful message I'd ever gotten through a dream, or at least that I could comprehend.

Rape is probably the scariest thing I can imagine, my body and my control are two of my most important belongings that are mine and only mine. I do not ever get my self into situations where I feel these things can be compromised. Yet, in the past, I have let other things be compromised, my independence, my virtue, my friendships, all because I wanted to make someone else happy. I lost a lot of the pieces that made me the person I had once been and in the process of rebuilding her, I found that though I was not ruined, a part of me was very much damaged in a dark way that I couldn't understand. I was bitter, reserved, cold, distant towards men, not because of who they were, but because of who they could be.

My friend told me a story, just the other day, about a girl who had been raped and the way she acted in the aftermath. How she didn't like to be left alone, anywhere at anytime, how fragile and fearful she could be, how she shook and crumbled. My heart broke listening to this girl's story, and resonated at the same time. I remembered my dream and how raw it left my mind, I couldn't imagine how she felt in the aftermath of that real experience, I wanted to talk to her, to soothe her, yet I knew my words wouldn't change the way she felt inside. I hope & pray that God cradled her, took her under his wing and healed wounds that other hands would only damage.

In the aftermath of a horrible experience, you have to rebuild yourself and you have to forgive. Sometimes forgiveness seems beyond all reason and comprehension, and yet, you still have to forgive, or else your life will never go on. You pray and you cry and you struggle and you grow and then you feel animosity, bitterness, and hatred and it is as if you never changed at all. I have been the girl in the relationship that metaphorically rapes your life and I have been the girl that goes back to that relationship more times than she cares to admit. I have been bitter and hateful and lost sight of all sensibility, and yet, here I am. I forgive today and I will forgive every day until it is no longer an apology that I need to accept. God crept into my mind and explained it to me, he explained the truth, the innocence, and the finality of the situation. God said, "Let it go, I have you now."

Sometimes signs are quiet, soft, whispered in the middle of a loud, crowded party. Sometimes a sign slaps us in the face, and yet, because of our deceitful hearts, we choose to turn our heads from the truth. Sometimes, every once in a while, a sign is so clear, so pure, so right, that we have no other choice but to move forward with that sign on our horizon or, if need be, that sign in our rearview mirror.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Thinking of New Year's resolutions has been exceedingly hard for me this year. For the most part, I take care of myself in all of the typical New Year's resolution departments. I prayed that God would give me a sign of what I needed to fix, what I needed to change, what I needed to improve upon, and it felt like I kept coming up empty handed. The problem with me, though, is that I have a hard time listening to things that I don't want to hear. I'm tough, I've always considered myself tough at least. I don't put up with anyone's disrespect, I don't hang around people who mistreat me minus a few extreme exceptions. As my mother would say, "Don't fuck with Chloe." And in general, people don't.
I started thinking, though, about the rules that my toughness has burdened me with. I don't cry in front of people, I don't fall apart in front of anyone except for my mom and that is only when I'm a complete disaster. Not because I don't ever feel the need to, but because its a sign of weakness to me. I am not generous with my sympathy, even though I have a rough translation of 'be sympathetic' written on the back of my neck, I expect everyone to act like me, so when people fall apart at the hands of love and other drugs, I rarely feel sorry. I rarely text or call anyone first, I rarely exert effort into situations where I could potentially get hurt, I rarely open up about anything, I rarely let myself really experience emotions other than anger. And where has all the toughness got me? Callused, scarred, bottled up with secret hurt, and a laundry list of disappointments that I will never tell anyone about. Toughness is only a mask, a facade, a barrier between me and the innermost good I have.
So I resolve to be softer, to be more open to feelings and experiences that might slap me in the face with disappointment and hurt. I resolve to be kinder and more understanding of the journeys we are all walking in and how beautifully different and similar they can be. I resolve to put myself out there, to let up some on the stubbornness (not completely...just a little.) I resolve to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about my emotions, even if it means putting myself out on a fragile limb.
I'll always be tough because that's just me, but it's time to stop being tough to the point that I sacrifice experiences, relationships, and honesty. It's time to let my heart be open to the goodness in the world again, because believe it or not, there is still some left, and it is waiting to snatch us up, if only we let it.
Still, though, don't fuck with me.