Pocket Sized Feminism/Hilights/Please Watch

These are some quotes from Spoken Word poem I came across recently; it’s amazing. I’ve watched it several times, and it strikes me each time. I love the delivery, the heart, and the message behind this.

“This house is for wallpaper women; what good is wallpaper that speaks?”

“I want to stand up….. but if I do, whose coffee table silence will these boys rest their feet on?”

“There are days that I want people to like me more than I want to change the world.”

Is silence not an act of violence too?”

“They begged us to be careful, to be safe, then told our brothers to go out and play.”

Obviously I don’t own any of this, all rights go to Button Poetry for the video and the incredible Blythe Baird for the poem.

Dual Personalities, Millennials, Time Warps….? and Technology…. Pt. 2

**I hope your first observation about this article is the difference between it’s title and that of it’s predecessor. If you haven’t already read Part 1, I think you should- just scroll down. This post would probably make more sense if you did. Thanks for taking the time to read this…. speaking of time…. what a great natural segue:

Hello again, friends. It’s that time again; the time when I sit in the corner of my favorite Starbucks, sipping the same familiar chai, looking around at who I can observe and write about (slightly creepy, my deepest apologies), looking for some sort of inspiration. //
//**It’s not that I lack inspiration, actually…. for me, it’s just a matter of translating all the crazy, sometimes erratic, and personally overwhelming thoughts that swirl around my prefrontal cortex, and turning those thoughts into something comprehendable and worth reading. Not sure how well I’m doing at that, but rest assured, I’m trying my best.

Anyhow, I’m here, reviewing various materials and sources, mainly from TED talks in the episode duo ‘Screen Time Parts 1 & 2’ which you should most definitely listen to, find them here:
http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/440141277 (you’re welcome in advance.)

In all honesty, I’m just trying to recover and work through yet another small existential crisis I went through after listening to those episodes. Not that this is a bad thing- I’m glad it happened. In fact, I was telling someone the other day something I realized during my senior year of high school, post philosophy and theoretical classes that made me question almost everything I thought I knew…. I realized that if a person goes through their whole lives without having a couple existential crisis (of varying sizes and degrees), then I wonder if they have truly lived. Shouldn’t you be as confident in your beliefs as possible, only after questioning them and seeking the truth to it’s deepest extent, as much as possible? Too deep? Perhaps. These are just the thoughts that come to me while I’m driving down the highway, seeing people of all sorts, who seem happy to never question anything. But I digress….

So here I am, recovering from the ExC (let’s shorten things, sounds fun, right?) and I suppose the way I’m recovering is by trying to give this information to other people, via this blog. I don’t know who will read it, or what they’ll do with this information, but I certainly hope it gives your prefontal cortex an extra-interesting bit to throw around the old grey matter, if not something deeper.

Let’s get started. Read this excerpt from a TED interview with Abha Dawesar(full interview linked in sources at the end of this post):

AD: “With no distinction left between the past, the present and the future and the here or there, we are left with this moment everywhere – this moment that I’ll call the digital now. This digital now is not the present because it’s always a few seconds ahead with Twitter streams that are already trending and news from other time zones. This now bears very little physical or psychological reference to our own state. Its focus instead is to distract us at every turn of the road. Are you reading an interview by an author? Why not buy his book? Tweet it, share it, like it, find other books exactly like his, find other people reading those books. Not just is the digital now far from the present, but it’s in direct competition with it.

And therein lies its greatest convenience and horror…..At all times, I can operate at a different rhythm and pace from you while I sustain the illusion that I’m tapped into you in real time. Just how can we prioritize in the landscape of the digital now?”

That last question gets me; how can we prioritize…. no, scratch that, how can we even survive the landscape of the digital now?
This is where the true issue of the matter of digital personalities and reality collide. We’re pressured into having a digital presence, into maintaining it, but seemingly with no limit or reality of actual time, as we’ve known it for thousands of years until now.

*fun side note, during my second year of university in my Cultural Anthropology class we read a chapter from the textbook on the concept of time…. for the first time I fully realized that some culture have no concept of time that we in American society do. We live by the clock, it practically dictates everything we do. Think of the (Western) phrase “time is money!” Well, let me tell you…. I could barely process anything after that really sunk in. Classic small existential crisis, brought to you by Rekiah Stone. Just one of many ‘brain explosions’ I had in that, and many other classes. Never stop learning, friends, never stop allowing yourself to have more ExC’s.*

// Next day///
I might have to write a whole seperate post about this TED talk I listened to this morning. I think I’ll save it for next time, because it impacted me so deeply as I was listening. Stay tuned for that ;)

Another talk I listened to this morning while preparing to finish this post was by Sherry Turkle, who is a social science researcher. She says:

Over the past 15 years, I’ve studied technologies of mobile communication and I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people, young and old, about their plugged in lives. And what I’ve found is that our little devices, those little devices in our pockets, are so psychologically powerful that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are..[gives some examples..].And we even text at funerals. I study this. We remove ourselves from our grief or from our revery and we go into our phones.”

After considering this, I paused the stream for a little. I could not agree with her more; I think about myself, my friends, my family, and people around me. The screens dictate how we behave, who we are, who we try to be, and who we become. Obviously there is some room within the sphere of the digital age that has an effect on us- but most of our lives today are driven by technology. It is our escape and our hiding place, but also our greatest exposure of weakness to the world. Within the digital space lie, as Dawesar put it, our greatest convenience and horror.

What Turkle says next has been a thought I’ve had before, a thought that scares me and threatens things I hold dear. I see it all around me. Turkle says:
I think we’re setting ourselves up for trouble — trouble certainly in how we relate to each other, but also trouble in how we relate to ourselves and our capacity for self-reflection. We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together. People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere — connected to all the different places they want to be. People want to customize their lives. They want to go in and out of all the places they are because the thing that matters most to them is control over where they put their attention…you can end up hiding from each other, even as we’re all constantly connected to each other.”

Even now, I see it. A group of 4 high school age girls walked in to the coffee shop I’m at. They’re all clutching their phones, peering down at their screens instead of at each other…. except when they pause to take a picture together, or a Snapchat of their lattes, or to giggle and show the others a picture on their screen. Alone, but together. This is the world we live in today. I’m not here to say that they, or others like them (myself included, at times) don’t ever share meaningful moments…. but those moments are clouded by screens, and taken away from by  the tapping of fingers.

I remember the days when people would suggest ‘hanging out’ and that’s all it really meant- being together. When I was in middle school (seems like eons ago now, thank God), I didn’t have a smartphone or a laptop, so when I was with a friend, we were talking, watching tv, cooking, or laughing about something stupid- we weren’t usually glued to a screen. Eye contact used to be a thing. Now, I feel it’s been replaced by a camera, a touchscreen.

//Sorry to sound so negative. Am I? I think at some point, in this tech-saturated world we’re in for a rude awakening. I think this duo of TED Radio Hour episodes (Screen Time pt. 1&2) and a couple other articles I’ve read recently have been my rude awakening. Yet another small existential crisis. An even bigger fear I have is that people actually won’t have an awakening at all…. rather, that they’ll just keep staring and staring and staring at their screens until no one looks up at all. Sound a bit dramatic? Perhaps. But completely improbable? Not to me. //

Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology. And when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short-change ourselves. And over time, we seem to forget this, or we seem to stop caring.” 

This really hit me. How many times have I just ‘connected’ with someone, instead of having a genuine conversation with them? Actually, how many times have I been trying to have a real conversation with someone and all they wanted to do was connect? On a surface level, one that they could control. No one wants to commit fully to a deep conversation, because vulnerability is a scary thing. It’s so much easier to just pull your phone out and put a pause on conversation, and simply ‘connect.’

A phenomenon I’ve encountered much too often, especially in conversations with (drum roll please)…. millennials (for further thoughts on why I always cringe when I hear the word millennial, refer to previous post, also that article by John Green referenced in that post. You’re welcome)… yes, ahem, so the strange concept I’ve run into so often recently, especially in younger crowds is the idea that, if one person pulls out their phone, everyone else is obligated to as well. Or, even more commonly, you’ll enter a room of people being ‘alone together’ aka all facing their screens, and you’ll sit down, try to engage in conversation of the genuine sort…. but be greeted only with connection. No one puts their phone away, sometimes barely acknowledges you’re there, and proceeds to click and tap away. You, feeling awkward and sad by the lack of response, feel obligated to pull out your own device, and start scrolling until someone agrees to conversate.  

This is a sad, sad, state to find oneself in. I myself am very non-confrontational. I don’t want to be the one to say “hey! Put your damn phone away and listen! I want to be with you- no, really with you, not to just be the afterthought of the screen in your hand.” I want to say that, but I also don’t want to be mean or abrasive… So eventually, I usually just give up and pull out my screen, or leave.

I feel like I always say this about every quote I insert from a TED talk but…. this one, as I heard it, kind of wrecked me for a little while. I feel like Sherry Turkle and I, though she’s literally been doing the research, have come to the same place.

“When I stepped back, I felt myself at the cold, hard center of a perfect storm. We expect more from technology and less from each other. And I ask myself, “Why have things come to this?”

And I believe it’s because technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable. And we are vulnerable. We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy. And so from social networks to sociable robots,we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”
[This. Is. So. Profound.]

We, as a society, are afraid of intimacy. Of being truly vulnerable, of ever putting ourselves in a position where we could get hurt. People complain because they’re so lonely…. on Facebook. Instant audience, right? Instantly people commenting or messaging them, instant connection. You get the connection, without the ‘baggage,’ or without the same emotional insecurity you feel when talking face to face, screen free, with someone. People hide behind a screen, edit and delete their true feelings, and only become who they think they want to be- without the pressure of being open or weak. 

 “…the moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, they reach for a device. Just think of people at a checkout line or at a red light. Being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved. And so people try to solve it by connecting. But here, connection is more like a symptom than a cure. It expresses, but it doesn’t solve, an underlying problem. But more than a symptom, constant connection is changing the way people think of themselves. It’s shaping a new way of being.”

I feel like so much of young people’s self image is an image of themselves, in the digital space. That’s where they seek validation, value, connection, and love. Our screens have shaped who we think of ourselves as, and how others perceive us.

Here I am, trying to hold on to the remaining shreds of whatever genuine life we had before technology. Call me old fashioned.
//Feeling a little extra morose than usual, could you tell? It might be the lilting Vivaldi violin concerto I’ve been listening to… but I know, deep down, that our landscape is changing before our own eyes. On screens. So, I, in response to this, am going to continue to seek genuine conversations and relationships with people. I will try to lovingly confront them if they keep the screen out, and will try to actively maintain genuine connections with those around me- screen free. Join me? //

Stay tuned for a potential Part 3. Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a gold star. Check out the resources below for more potential ExC’s.

Sources/Recommendations:

I highly reccommend this entire playlist, about “Our Digital Lives”:
http://www.ted.com/playlists/26/our_digital_lives

An interesting look at virtual reality technology: 
http://www.npr.org/2015/09/11/438920415/how-are-our-screens-changing-us-now

A heartbreaking look at the subculture of shame within the digital space:
http://www.npr.org/2015/09/14/440286008/how-can-our-real-lives-be-ruined-by-our-digital-ones

The transcript of the TED interview about ‘the digital now’ entitled ‘How do our screens distort our sense of time?’ with Abha Dawesar:
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=440306123

Transcript of TED interview with Sherry Turkle called ‘Connected, but Alone’:

 

No wonder we’re crazy…millennials *do* have two personalities…Pt. 1.

Hello blog. It’s good to be back. I promised not to neglect you, and did for a few days. Deepest apologies.

Lately, I’ve been thinking. Dangerous concept, right? Yes, so lately I’ve been thinking about…. two things that are almost always paired together;

  1. Millennials (*cringes as she types the word*)
  2. Technology. The Digital Age.

For some context concerning my literal current situation, I’m sitting at a corner table in a Starbucks, using their free wifi and sipping a chai tea latte (the irony of this is not lost on me). I’m on my laptop, typing furiously, when I chance a look around me. As if to proove the point I’m about to make, I see that, of the 10 people in the store itself, every single one of them has a screen.
Their eyes are glued to that screen.
A girl close to me is pretending to read a book, but is actually scanning Instagram, and hasn’t actually turned a page for 20 minutes. A nerdy looking teenager is eating a cinnamon scone, playing an app on his Ipad. Perhaps saddest of all, I witnessed a precious elderly couple walk in, holding hands. They smiled at each other, laughed a little, ordered, then sat down in two comfy chairs with their drinks, promptly pulled out their phones, and have been glued to them since. They haven’t spoken to each other.

I’ve been reading things lately. Yet another truly dangerous activity, I assure you.
To be specific, I read Fahrenheit 451 for the fifth time.  Bradbury is an incredible storyteller, and I adore the well worn, soft pages in which he describes one of my favorite literary characters, Clarisse, in just the first 39 pages of the novel.
//Expect a future post about the book later.
Anyhow, I suppose it was my choice to re-read F451 a couple weeks ago that sparked this initial battle in my mind…. an ongoing war, of realizing:
-who I am as a ‘millennial,’ (more to come on that)
-who society is shaping us to be,
-what the future holds in store for mine, and the upcoming generations as it relates to the development of technology.

Fun fact about me: I listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s something that I’ve really enjoyed for a few years.
I am an auditory learner, have an insatiable desire and thirst for knowledge and learning new things, and I own a device that can connect me to people who can teach me things, so of course… I utilize that.
One of my favorite subscriptions in my podcast feed is the TEDRadioHour. It’s TED talks, adapted for radio, and combined into an hour long show. They usually feature three or four speakers per show. A two part series called Screen Time came up, and I listened to them both right away. I can tell you that every speaker in those episodes was incredibly interesting, I needed a couple hours to process their talks.
I laid in bed, thinking about screens. How much they’ve begun to consume our lives, almost overnight. A phrase that a speaker said was that our phones are like a “digital exoskeleton,” an extension of our brains, that we feel the need to constantly have, maintain, update, and check. We shape and adjust our phones to our liking- they wake us up, put us to sleep, remind us of things, inform us of things…. few people, especially younger generations, can imagine a world in which they function without their phones.
One of the most provocative and hard-hitting topics that came up in Screen Time ep. 1 was about how we have two personalities….

Let me explain.
Consider the fact that the majority of people these days have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any combination of other online profiles. We spend incredible amounts of time maintaining the public image that others see of us on these various digital platforms. You post status updates, photos, opinions, articles, videos…. and so on. All of these tell the people you’re connected to (or the world, depending on if you ‘private’ your information or not…. privacy being relative, of course) who you are.
Not necessarily who you truly are, but who your digital personality is. Who you’ve created yourself to be. When you really think about it, it’s like a second personality. It’s a version of you that you have curated, maintained, and updated. You’ve changed, grown, developed, and evolved. You can go back, as many of us have, and delete things you posted that you cringe to see now. You look back at your younger, more naive self and think….
…..Wow. Who did I think I was?

As I’ve thought of this ‘second personality’ that we all seems to be forced to have, it’s brought me to think about my generation. They call us ‘millennials,’ a word that makes me cringe for so many reasons. John Green, a human being and educator that I value very much wrote this article, which I highly recommend you read.

http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/stop-patronising-young-people-and-start-listening

Also, his brilliant brother, Hank, posted this video that I agree with 100%.

Please read and watch these. It’ll give you a healthy perspective on millennials, etc.

After thinking about this subject deeply, for a long time, and after considering the stories of young people I know, I’ve reached a conclusion:

I would not want to have been born after 1995. 
Lucky for me, I was born in ’94. Barely.
Reason for this thought?

It started when I was maybe 10…. I never did anything truly ‘digital’ until I was 14 or so. As a young kid, there was no pressure for me to have a Facebook. None of my friends would ask me to tag them on Instagram…
Instead we were too busy having fun, playing outside in the woods, on the playground, using our imaginations, jumping in puddles and playing tag and making up little societies, building forts, picking berries, making mud pies, getting bruises from crashing our bikes, playing with Polly Pockets, baking, building cities with Legos…… so many beautiful, small, seemingly insignificant little activities that made each day special.
Sounds cliche, right?
Those are the memories I’ll have and cherish for years to come.

What do kids in today’s society have to call their own? What is their childhood going to be comprised of? The Ipad they got for their 9th birthday? How many levels they’ve reached on that popular app? How many followers they have on Twitter? How many hours of Disney channel they’ve watched?
*Of course this is a gross generalization. Most kids do other things, and aren’t completely consumed by tech. But the majority of their time is spent in front of a screen.*

I’ll be honest; I’m beginning to despair at the prospects of any intellectual creativity and evolution for the babies of our time. Babies, meaning relatively so as well.
For the average 13-year-old living today, what does daily life look like? It looks like whatever they and their ‘friends’ put on the screen of their Iphone.
The amount of pressure that young people are under is inconceivable to those who grew up outside the digital realm.
-//This fact really hurt my heart and mind when I considered it; for kids today, the bullies don’t leave and go home after school. They’re always there. On the screen. You can’t escape them. The weekend brings no relief, no safety. Young people are under constant threat of harm from their screen. That kind of pressure is unlike anything “Baby Boomers” or those other generations could ever understand. //

How long before our digital personalities take over our actual personalities?
That’s my fear, I suppose.

Fear of becoming irrelevant. Fear that one day, talking about philosophy, theology, literature, poetry, beauty, nature, and anything non-digital will become obsolete, a dusty subject that no one’s hard drive can recall or compute.

I dread the dawn on this day. But I fear the day is coming.

….To be continued.

 

 

 

 

//Cardamom & 21//

Here I sit, an unapologetic 20-something. Sipping a too-hot cardamom latte, listening to the perfect hipster jazz record, sitting in an authentically vintage chair in a curated quaint coffee bar in downtown. /

Here’s the thing about coffee shops: I burn my tongue, feel awkward, look around too much or too little, drop my phone, try to look interested in whatever book I brought….and accidentally psycho-analyze every customer that walks in. Do I like this about myself? Yes and no. Do I like the over-priced, scalding, pretentious beverage served to me by a similarly exhausted looking 20-something with a similar outlook on life, wearing a similar flannel and a nose ring?

Answer: Yes. Somehow, I do. In fact, as I write this now, I’m carefully sipping a cardamom latte infused with orange peel. It’s excellent. The perfect balance of bitter coffee, bright citrus, and sweet steamed milk.

 

So perhaps the things I over-analyze the most are the things I enjoy the most. Like this coffee shop. Beatnik, free spirit, troubled teen, starving artist, poet, student, knitting club president, youth pastor, city council member, soccer mom, all liken themselves to the place. And of course, the perpetually single 20-somethings like myself darken the doorstep as often as we do our as our own rented apartments.

 

In my 21 years of existence I’ve come to realize many things… so here are a few, take them for what they’re worth:

-Overpriced coffee nourishes the soul, mind, psyche, and curiosity of a person. 

-Record players are, and always will be, the best way to listen to music. 

-Procrastination can be a blessing in disguise. 

-Habits, like hundred dollar bills, are hard for me to break. Not that I have too many of either. 

-Burning my tongue is a lesson I’ll never truly learn, but always regret. 

-Making an effort to change small things in your life can result in a happier self. Example: moving my bookshelf from one side of my room to the other made me read more, clean more, and want to learn more. 

-Facts are not always reliable. Facts are tools to be used to one’s argument in a persuasive essay, political debate, or Buzzfeed article. That’s about all they’re good for. In most cases. 

-Carrying a small purse is always better than a large bag. 

-In that same vein, women’s wallets are perhaps the most difficult thing to find. Just give up and buy a men’s wallet. As if wallets should have genders. 

-Facebook isn’t for dirty laundry. Some people do seem to confuse their laundromat with social media, however, as an individual, I myself have chosen to *not* air the wash. 

-Drama doesn’t end when you graduate from high school. It’s a choice of whether or not you perpetuate the drama. 

…..

 

-There are two types of 20-somethings that I’ve come across: those who are either “in love,” engaged, married, or parents. Some of those overlap. Then there are those who are perpetually single, and love to comment on and complain about how all their friends are getting engaged, pregnant, etc. They like to say they’re okay with being single… but deep down inside, if they allowed themselves to admit it… they’re a little jealous. Maybe more than a little.

>However, I believe it is important to appreciate both sides of the spectrum. If you’re single, enjoy that! If you’re in love, engaged, or married, well hey…. enjoy that! I don’t think there should be the subtle, passive aggressive war going on between the two sides. If you’re single, and you think you’re ready to find someone, do it. If you’re married, don’t push your single friends to find someone, or try to do it for them.

<Also, this is not to say that there are absolutes. Some people are truly and completely happy being single for life, and that’s okay. Some people who are married feel no tension between themselves and their ‘single friends,’ and try to maintain that. Some single folks actually want and seek help and advice from married friends, etc. There are always variants in these things, and that’s what makes life interesting. I suppose I’m just over-analyzing my age demographic and generalizing the people I know. For no other purpose but to seek to understand this world. Just so we’re clear.>

/Essentially, in all things, my sage advice is to live in as much balance and harmony as we can. We can all learn from each other, share our experiences, and support each other within each of those contexts. /

As we’re sliding through the eternal question mark of life, enjoy the curve of learning, the process of the swing.

And also I would encourage you to sit down in a bohemian coffee shop, and enjoy a cardamom latte. With, or without burning your tongue- you decide. Just pay the $4.25, sit down, and run with the creative process. Or something like that.

 

 

//Apologies & New Beginnings//

Wow. It’s really been awhile. 

What’s taken me away from writing?

Life, I suppose.

Wait…. wait…. wait.

What a horrible way to start a new post. So boring, uninteresting, average…. just dull.

I look back at my old writing style and it seems so…. drawn out.

Perhaps I couldn’t really process what was actually going on inside my mind, and that translated to sloppy writing. Nothing curated. Nothing mulled over. Nothing edited.

Just…. blah. Mind—–>typing——>post.

Sorry. Sorry to anyone who read those, and sorry to myself, who allowed external feelings and distractions to degrade the quality and nature of previous posts. Not that I have a huge following on here, or that I ever wanted tons of readers but…. all the same, my apologies.

Maybe I should appreciate that, though. Looking back on who I was, who I’ve become, and that process. I’m sure I should look back and remember all the experiences that lead me to post what I did, to phrase it the way I did, and to write in the broken, drifting way I did. For whatever reason, I love the enter key. Still do, really. But looking back… It’s possible I over-used it. Stifled creativity by just ‘entering’ it away.

I resolve against this practice. Unless I feel I should.

So…. let’s try this again. (see next entry.)

 

 

// Overwhelmed?//

Hello Blog. It’s been awhile.

So, cool story (literally) I live in Minnesota now. Or should I say MinneSNOWta. 

It’s crazy cold. Like, so cold it hurts.

The walk from my dorm room to the classroom feels like an eternity at 8AM.

Wind blowing, bitterly cold. Inhaling breath stabs your lungs with a thousand tiny icicles.

Head down, eyes squinting, trudging, trying not to slip on the icy pavement.

Yes, this is my new reality.

And I think it’s strangely beautiful//

You may be thinking…. why did you move from warm, beautiful Oregon to the frozen arctic tundra?

I myself wonder that at times.

But really, I moved here for God.

Not that I didn’t have Him before…. but now, fellowshipping and worshipping with others in my Bethany family around me….

God feels so much more real.

I’ve come to appreciate this community so much.

We’re not perfect- not by a long shot…. but we love each other.

And we’re seeking God together.

We’re also trusting that He will bring us through this program. Through internship, and beyond.

That’s a scary thought. 16 months in a completely new culture, living with a team of people you haven’t known for a long time.

And then the whole financial issue…. and the uncertainty…. and the stress….

I often find myself slipping into this thought process of doubt.

Not doubting God, but rather doubting that He will work through me to accomplish these things.

Mountains seem high, looming before me.

…….

….

But so often I’m thinking singularly. As if I’m the only one in the world with issues.

I’m not alone in this .

Everyone around me has the same doubts and fears that I do.

Of course they can relate to me.

but then something else hits me….

///

//

/

The

God

Of

The

Universe

made me.

made me.

and put me here.

Lead me thousands of miles to Bethany.

How could I ever even begin to doubt His plan?

If God wants me here- and I am very confident that He does- then of course I’m going to stay here.

I’m going to have days where I question myself. I question my motives, my sins, my failures, my inadequacies….

but then I remember, that my God is Greater

my God is Stronger

and He’s Higher than any other.

He’s a Healer, and so awesome in power.

His will is going to be accomplished. I just need to trust Him.

It’s not going to be easy.

It might be pretty ugly at times.

But here, on internship, and on the mission field, I need to remember

this phrase that my Daddy has on a plaque in his office at church:

“I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

God is the beginning and the end.

He knows my struggles, my hurts, my desires and my hopes….

and He will fulfill them in His own time. He already has blessed me beyond measure, and will continue to do so.

I just need to trust.

He will never let me go.

The title, you might be wondering?

I am overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with God’s grace and mercy.

His provision and His love.

I pray the same for you.

Three steps forward and one step back.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a senior in high school. 

With exactly 1 week of school left. 

*panic ensues* 

I thought today I would pause and look back

at who I used to be, as opposed to who I’ve become (and are still evolving to be) 

 

Freshman year was awful. 

I hear that’s a common theme. 

So. Many. Hormones. and people and choices and work and social interactions and dynamics and teachers and feelings and……….. just an explosion of stuff, all at once every single weekday. d

Pretty miserable. 

Trying to fit in was hard. 

I didn’t really think for myself. 

I thought of what would best suit others– because I wanted friends. 

Classes were just regurgitating information, stressing over tests and worksheets, and tedious homework that wasn’t at all helpful or necessary. 

Bells herded the waves of fresh faces, the sea of sheeple and mooks moving from room to room, anxiously awaiting lunch, or the final bell, even passing periods- anything that would give them a break from the monotony. 

I say ‘we’ because I know that I wasn’t the only one feeling angry and unfulfilled and unimportant. 

No one (save for the few, crazed IB students who had unbreakable determination and zero social life) ‘owned their education’ because it wasn’t worth having. 

Sure there were a few bright spots. 

I never had Lowe, and I heard he was brilliant. 

…. but I did have Brandy for geography. 

That was the only class (save for English occasionally) where I really had to put my brain to work. Where I had to step away from myself, and look at the world as a whole. 

I fought against it at first, but eventually I just sat and let it be. 

I realize now that that was the beginning of an evolution, that brought me here today. 

 

I want to skip over Sophomore and Junior years. 

Essentially I came to RPA and realized that I, in fact, loved learning and loved school. I realized that the teachers cared about me and wanted to help me. I took College Psychology and began to think about thinking, and brains, and behavior, and a lot of other crazy stuff. A whole new world was at my fingertips, and I took hold of it with both hands, and I’ve never let go. 

I don’t want to sound like I’m ‘tooting my own horn’ or anything like that. 

I’m not perfect, and never will be (besides, perfection is an allusion that is ultimately unattainable anyway, so why try to pursue it?) 

 

BUT here I am today. 

Writing in my TOK journal, as a blog. 

I have come so far. 
I have thought so far. 
I have wandered from close-minded, selfish, pitiful teenage girl

to objective, curious, searching soul, always looking for meaning, for something new, for the answers and reasons. 

I have a better grasp on life, and my role in it. 

I know that I am going to fight tooth and nail against society, to not become a mook or a sheep, blindly following wherever they lead. 

I think for myself. 

I AM myself. 

I am not controlled by the actions and desires of others,
but rather I choose my own path, and welcome those who want to follow. 

I want to help others start to really think for themselves also. 

I am going to change the world. 

That’s how far I’ve come. 

And this is not the end- no

it’s only the beginning.