Changing X

I am not happy.

Well, that’s not true. I’m happy now. But for the past week(s), I have not been happy.

Every single thing felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. Even the smallest of stresses felt like life-ruiners, and for the past few weeks there have been plenty of small stresses.

My Boyfriend’s friends may or may not like me as a human being. He nor I can tell anymore. It’s been the cause of a lot of tension between us the past few days, but I think today I stopped letting it get to me. People, sometimes, won’t like you. I’m learning you have to deal with that.

My Boyfriend, however, has bigger problems with his friends disliking me. Mainly, that his friendships are suffering because of it. I’m letting him deal with that on his own. Another thing I’m learning is that you can’t control anyone.

You can control yourself, though, right?

So I haven’t been happy.

“I don’t think Old You would like how You Now views the fraternity,” he told me the other night.

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, he was right. But I can’t change the fraternity. I can’t change who dislikes me, or who thinks I should not have a leadership role, or generally the actions of anyone except myself.

So I’m changing my actions. I’m trying to put out more of what I want from the fraternity. I’m trying to remember that all I can do is forgive people and accept them and love them and respect them, and hope for the same treatment in return. It’s been hard. Like, really hard.

But being miserable gets old quick. Being angry is exhausting. Refusing to take responsibility doesn’t actually make you feel better about anything.

So I’m thinking about dropping from the fraternity. But I’m changing what I put into it, first. I’ve decided to put in more hope, confidence, positivity.

I’m reminded by the tattoo on my ankle every day that getting stuck in a rut is the last place you want to be. Changing X changes Y so, assuming that X and Y have a direct relationship and the change to X is a positive constant, I can only go up from here. So I’m changing X.

I found a Bible verse I like. It’s short, sweet, and to the point:

Stand firm, and you will save yourselves. -Luke 21:19

I’m pretty sure the context has nothing to do with saving yourself from your own Self Hate Hole. But faith isn’t One Size Fits All, right?

Yes, I do switch translations of Bible verses depending on which one I like the most.

Also, it’s my Boyfriend and I’s anniversary. Congrats to us for surviving four months!

-HH

Joy Cometh in the Morning

Today I ran for an Officer position within my fraternity and I lost. I sat through the rest of Executive-Board voting, I got into my car, and my Boyfriend (bless him) suffered through me going through a flurry of emotions as I finally got to voice my grief at the loss.

And for a minute I really wanted to fall into my hole of self pity. I remembered a post I wrote awhile back, which started off with, “I am not the girl who gets.”

I wanted to reaffirm that. To kick myself while I was down and convince myself that the Universe has just decided that I do not deserve the things I want, and that my fellow Brothers do not find me capable.

But I didn’t. I cried because I was disappointed, because I was mad, because I was frustrated and bitter.

“I wish I had never gone up there,” I told my Boyfriend.

And when I was nominated for a position to be voted on next week, I couldn’t even stop my response. “I don’t want to do that again.”

Because I don’t. I am not beaten or bruised or broken, but I am not willing to get up there for something that I want again. Right now, I don’t think I want anything enough to get up there and fight for it.

My pride is shot, my confidence even lower than before. And it will be picked up (I hope) but not tonight.

Tonight I will eat my feelings and be a little angry. Tomorrow I will get up and be better.

I found a Bible verse that I quite liked that’s kind of my motto for the night. Since I’m trying out this whole faith thing, I guess quoting Bible verses is a thing I’m into now.

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

-HH

God is Love, Apparently

So there’s this video circulating the internet. It’s a three year old girl answering questions provided to her from her mom.

“Last question,” the faceless voice speaks. “What is love?”

She’s quiet for but a moment before responding. “God.”

The mother stop-starts. “What?”

“God.” The girl says again.

There’s silence. My boyfriend, with his arms wrapped around me in bed as we watched the video, quietly responded. “Wow.”

I couldn’t see his face, but I could hear it in his voice; there were tears in his eyes.

The video finished playing in the background, but I got caught on his visceral response.

Before that moment, I have always rolled my eyes at videos like that. Always groaned at people’s sentimentality and dramatization of faith. Before that moment, I was not a person who entertained  ‘God.’ My resolve on ‘God’ was always firm; ‘God’ did not exist.

For the first time in my life, watching him respond so quietly but emotionally, I had a thought I have never had before.

I want to know that. I want to know God’s love.

It made me feel weird. Mostly because I meant it.

It took  me over a week to say that to my boyfriend. And even then, I don’t think I said either of those sentences aloud. I was not ready to discuss those feelings.

Last night we got into it a little more. My Boyfriend, a Proper Catholic, responds to my question of, “Why do you think God gives us cancer?” with “I think cancer is something we have to deal with because of Original Sin.”

And–no. If I’m going to have a ‘God’–if ‘God’ is going to be real–then my ‘God’ isn’t going to be the kind who decides that twelve-year-old me has to watch my grandfather’s body decimate, be in so much pain that he cannot remember who I am or how to function on a basic level, all because Home Girl Ate the Apple.

“My God will not play favorites.” I declared. “I have to believe that my God is not involved in every day life, because if he is, then I have to believe that everyone is being helped. And because I know everyone isn’t, I have to believe he isn’t helping anyone.”

“He helps you because you ask for it,” My Boyfriend argued.

“Do you decide only to help someone because they ask for it?” I countered. “Do you only open the door, return the twenty dollars, grab the heavy boxes just because someone asks for it?”

I waited. He didn’t respond.

“No. You don’t. You help regardless.”

Later I asked if he was mad at me for arguing with his beliefs. He shook his head. “I just feel like I don’t have the answers you want.”

I laughed. “You don’t really have answers at all.”

I guess I’m okay with that. I think, maybe, part of this is figuring out that I’m trying to find the answers that work for me. That faith isn’t ‘One Size Fits All.’

In case you were wondering, the video ends with the mother in tears.

“Why are you crying about that?” The girl smiles.

“You blew me away with that answer. I asked you what love is and you said ‘God.’ God is love. Oh my word.”

Oh my word, indeed.

-HH

P.S. I know I’ve been slacking on the writing. Balancing Boyfriend, Schoolwork, and Fraternity without dying usually means my default De-Stresser is Sleep. But writing this felt good. Hopefully it’ll come back to me.

Summer Bite

Today I want to go on a roadtrip. Driving to class this morning, I put the window down and yelled about how it’s a beautiful day. My Boyfriend agreed.

The air felt fresh and the sun just a little too hot, hinting at the bite of summer.

The Morning Agreement is that my Boyfriend gets the Aux cord on the way to school. Whatever song he was playing, I felt like my father would’ve liked it.

“I miss my dad today,” I said. And he squeezed my leg.

So I want to go on a roadtrip:

To the house where my Father died. I wonder if it is still half-empty with things that no longer smell of him. I wonder if the pool room has been overrun by spiders and lizards. I wonder if there are still CDs lying around, a drawer full of koozies, an ashtray in every room, a pair of my stepmom’s glasses in every drawer. The green-clothed chair with wooden arms. I wonder if it will still feel empty when I walk through the door. I wonder if the house has been condemned.

To the gas station we frequented as kids. We would take late night drives to it for cigarettes (for my father) and ice cream (for me, my sister, and my father). He would never have shoes on, my dad, and he’d peek through the window panes of the building, “If it’s the right lady, she won’t care. But if it’s the one who doesn’t like me, we’ll have to go back so I can grab some shoes.” And we’d giggle.

To Duffy’s. I’d beg for a burger from Duffy’s every time I saw my dad. The fries are delicious.

To the Chase bank our dog Buddy got loose by once. We had two dogs–Buddy and Angel–and somehow Buddy had escaped off his leashed. It was late at night. We called for him and laughed.

Today I want to drive to the beach, or to a lake. I want to feel water on my toes, hear it run along land. Today I want my brain to stop feel like it’s running too slow. I want to each oranges from my grandmother’s backyard. Today I want summer.

Normally I do not remember good things when I remember my dad.

Today I remembered. Today I wanted. Today I missed.

-HH

A Bad Day

He has flaws, but his are manageable. The things that are wrong with you will never be fixed.

Everything about you is fucked up. You can’t do anything right. Your body is disgusting. You have no follow through. You are fat and ugly because you are lazy. You are stupid. You have no worth.

Your ex was right. You are hard to love. You are crazy.

The second he sees that, he’s going to leave. He’s going to realize that he deserves so much better than you. You deserve to be alone.

You’re never going to get anywhere.

Everyone hates you.

You deserve it.

You deserve it.

You deserve it.

Inhale.

It’s all true. Accept it. Let it be true.

Exhale.

Keep breathing.

-HH

Dear Valentine,

I am not someone who holds back. All the things you’re supposed to say on this day, I have said before. And my face is an open book, so even what I don’t say you can (and do) still read.

I’m sorry that all I have are more words–that I cannot give you things so that you know how true my words are. I hope maybe you know anyway.

You are my best friend. You are my favorite person to talk to. Your weird matches my weird. These are all things you know already.

You are more than I ever could’ve asked for. More than I ever thought I deserved. Your respect and love for me are almost overwhelming, because they are things I have never experienced before. You validate the things I already know of myself.

You are quick-witted. You’re hil-ar-ious. Your smile lights up my world. You’re thoughtful. You’re a terrible singer. And you always get the words wrong. You are nothing at all like what I expected love to be like.

I tell you this all the time, but I hope you know how true it is: you make me feel lucky.

You make me feel worthy.

You make me feel in ways I never thought I would.

I have never been happier.

Thank you.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

-HH

Used Up and Hollowed Out

Sunday  morning I woke up knowing a Bad Day was on the horizon. I thought it was that day; I woke up already thinking about the seemingly never ending list of things I felt needed to be completed that day.

I think maybe my Bad Day was today, instead.

The constant low-grade state of anxiety I live in is manageable. And when it gets overwhelming, it usually feels like a freight train in my ears. I can deal with this in two ways: complete everything on the list that’s pushing buttons that’s sending the train into my head or turn the system off completely. In other words, I’m extremely productive, or I sleep.

Yesterday I was extremely productive, so I thought today I would wake up feeling ready to take on the world.

But today, instead, a Bad Day, feels exhaustive. I wrote out of my list of things To Do After Class:

  • oil change
  • read and respond to an assignment for Education Philosophy
  • read for History
  • attend an event for my frat at 7
  • attend an event for my frat at 8
  • kiss my boyfriend in front of the Bell Tower in order to start Valentine’s Day off right

And it doesn’t seem that awful. Half of those things even seem enjoyable. But my body, and brain, can barely get past the oil change. I’m sitting outside my last class of the day, now, and my brain doesn’t even feel ready for that.

I had three tests last week. I have two tests this week. I’m in a constant state of concern about…well, everything.

My brain is shutting down. Nothing about me feels capable anymore. I spent all weekend supposedly relaxing–playing video games, eating, doing no hard thinking. But somehow I still feel exhausted, used up, a hollow form of myself.

But I will complete my To Do list. I will go to bed when I am tired. I will go to class tomorrow.

I will Rinse and Repeat until my brain actually feels Clean.

-HH