Monday, August 22, 2011

Fear of the Fall

In this case, I mean that quite literally--the fall, as in the season.  Usually, I love fall.  Even this summer girl needs a break from the heat, and I welcome being able to wear jeans again.  I love sleeping with my windows open and apple cider and football and the beauty of the leaves changing.  I love the smell of leaves burning and the deeper blue of the sky.  But this year, I'm afraid.

I want so badly to move as far as I can away from this spring, so I welcome the passage of time.  But memories are tied to our senses, and all of my good (now painful) memories of my past relationship are located in the fall.  So will the chill in the air remind me of words whispered and promises made in a different fall, promises that fell to the ground and shattered into a hundred pieces?  Will living this fall make last fall seem closer than it really is?  Can I go back to only watching my Heels play football and not giving a damn about the SEC?  (No offense to my many SEC friends--you are the superior football conference, I just happen to hate one of your members.) 

I want to write over the memories that exist for me in September, October, and November.  I want to re-record these months with new experiences, new words, new life.  I want to live this autumn for what it is, without thinking of what used to be. 

The trouble is, I'm not entirely sure how to do that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

That Time I Quit

It has been argued that I can be a bit stubborn sometimes. I don’t like to quit anything, because it feels like giving up.  I can get frustrated easily, but I don't walk away because things are hard.  I'm loyal to people to the point of stupidity.  If my ship is sinking, I usually just go down with it.  I only quit jobs when I have something better lined up, and I feel a ridiculous sense of guilt at even that.  But a year ago, I quit something.  I quit something so big it made my mother cry.  I quit something I was actually really, really good at.

I quit law school.  After one very successful year with no drama or competitiveness and very little stress.  Seriously, I could write a book on how to survive (tip #1: have friends that aren’t in law school).  But regardless of all of that, I didn’t like it.  All I could think of was how high my student loans would be, and how I’d have to work in a job I hated to be able to pay them off so I could go do the type of law I really wanted to do.  It wasn’t worth it anymore. 

Midway through my second semester, I started googling "quitting law school." That's not really a good sign. When I didn't enter the journal competition after exams in May, I knew in the back of my mind what that probably meant.  The day in late June I finally decided to quit I felt nothing but relief.  And the day I officially withdrew I was actually giddy.

It's been a little over a year since I made the decision to quit.  It hasn't been the easiest year of my life, but law school seems a distant memory, like it was a year lived in someone else's life (except for those pesky student loans).  On the rare occasion I drive by the law school, it usually doesn't even register that I spent a year there.

I don't plan on quitting anything else anytime soon.  But I have zero regrets about that decision.  Since the day I last walked out of that building, I haven't looked back.  If only everything was so easy to move on from.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it

Control, that is.  I like being in control.  I want to be in control all the time.  I am a perfectionist partially because it gives me the illusion of control.  If I can cultivate the image that I’m a good employee, good friend, good Christian, good whatever, then maybe I am in control of my life.  If I can keep myself under control, manage my emotions, always stay calm and rational, then maybe I am actually in control.

My cringe-worthy moments are pretty few and far between.  I’m not a risk-taker, except in controlled environments (like skydiving, for example).  I keep my mouth shut too often mostly because I’m afraid of saying something stupid or saying something that other people will disagree with or get mad at.  I don’t like to make waves or create conflict.  Most people think of me as even-keeled, except those few people who get freak out emails or phone calls from me at random times when I’m in the middle of an emotional crisis or I’ve done something entirely too cringe-worthy for my liking.

Because this control I’ve tried so hard to maintain?  It’s nothing but an illusion, a lie.  I’m not a calm or rational person, at least not when it comes to my own life (I do, however, give very calm and rational advice to others).  I may not let other people in on my secret, but I sometimes act impulsively, I take things too personally, I make decisions out of emotion.  I feel things deeply, and I’m intensely loyal (unless you totally screw me over, and then I give you evil nicknames—this only applies to those with a y chromosome).  And sometimes in my irrationality, I do stupid, cringe-worthy things.  I let myself get caught up in a feeling, a longing, a hurt, and I make a rash decision that I immediately regret but can’t take back.

But I have to ask myself, what’s the alternative?  Do I really want to be a person who’s in control all the time?  Do I really want to be someone who never makes mistakes because she never takes risks?  A person who’s never hurt because she never lets herself truly love anyone?  As C.S. Lewis writes, the only place outside of heaven where a heart can be safe from the dangers of love…is hell.  I don’t want to live in a hell on earth because I’m scared of being hurt.  My desire for control leads me to put up walls, to shut people out, to keep people from getting too close and finding out the truth about me.  I’ve lived like that for far too long.

In truth, I would rather dance inside the flames and really live this one life I’ve been given than never risk the pain that might come from letting go (thank you, Garth).

I want to learn to laugh at myself, to do something stupid, regret it, learn from it, and move on, realizing that MY WORLD DID NOT END just because I’m an idiot sometimes.  I live in freedom under the sovereign hand of God who made me and all of my quirks and my complicated heart, and NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. 

So to all of my cringe-worthy moments, I now say, so what?  You haven’t destroyed me yet, and you never will J  Bring it on.

P.S.:  This month I'm wearing one dress to raise awareness about sex trafficking--many girls who are trapped in the sex trade have only one dress to wear.  I'm blogging about it at  Check it out!