Thoughts on Being a Hypocrite

Let’s be real. We’ve all been hypocritical. I believe in equality for all and not falling for stereotypes. Yet sometimes I act like I’m better than others or base my choices on stereotypes (I did that a few weeks ago and got called out on it). I do these things and then I realize that they make me a hypocrite. If I truly believe what I say I believe, then I should try not to do the opposite. I should try to be a better person than I was yesterday.

But growing up in the Midwest has exposed me to an interesting set of hypocrites. Before I get too deep into this, I want you to know that this doesn’t go for every single person in the Midwest. To say that would be a stereotype. This applies to certain people that can probably be found around the world, but I happened to have observed it in the Midwest.

From my personal observation, these people claim to be Christian. As in followers of Christ. As in the guy who said “love your neighbor as yourself.” These people are willing to help others, but with some stipulations. They’ll help people. But these people need to be straight. And they have to be Christian. And a Republican. And not be welfare. And they have to be legal citizens. And it’s typically preferred that they be white. Then, apparently, they can be helped. But if it’s going to cost money, count these “Christians” out. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember there being qualifications for Jesus’ definition of “neighbor.”

I know I can be a hypocrite. I recognize that. But don’t call me a “communist fag” because I care more about human beings than money. Don’t call yourself a Christian and then ignore people in need just because they don’t live up to your standards. From my view, as a Christian, God loves you no more than he loves the Muslim couple living down the street or the gay guy that you see in your office building. And He loves all of us. Whether we’re gay or straight, Muslim or Christian, white or black, we are all his children. And whether we know it or not, He loves us. No human can decide that.

Love others. And when I say others, I mean everyone. If you don’t believe that, I want to hear why. Because I don’t understand the logic of the opposition. Why can’t we just love?

End of thought.

Thoughts on Me…

I haven’t written for a while. And that’s probably because a lot of my thoughts lately have been about either specific individuals in my life (and they were not thoughts for the blog) or about myself (because I’m a narcissist). However, I developed the sudden urge to give you, reader, a peek into a different part of my mind. The part that I call the Me Center.

A few things. I’m a full-time music student and a part-time bank teller. I live at home (yay rent-free living space). I am the only liberal in a conservative family and probably one of the few liberals in the area (this is the Midwest, after all). I don’t call myself a Democrat because I don’t believe in a strictly two-party system and I hate that my state makes you pick a Republican or Democrat ballot in the primaries. I am neither and therefore do not want to vote straight-party. I also believe that I should dictate where my federal tax dollars go, specifically to PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. I also feel that Illinois politicians need to stop getting pay checks so we can fund things that are kind of important, like SCHOOLS. This is getting really political. I’ll switch subjects.

I love coffee. I wrote a whole post about it. I actually spent three hours writing a paper in Free Press tonight. It was great. Relaxed atmosphere. Amazing food. Best honey vanilla lattes ever.

I love music, in case you couldn’t tell by my major. I sing, play French Horn and play, like, four chords on the piano. I’m also convinced that I could fake it till I make it on the trumpet. Don’t ask why. I have a recital in a week. I am not prepared for it. I also have a choir concert in a week. I’m not prepared for that either. Oops.

I could easily walk around downtown Springfield all day. I love architecture. I take pictures of random buildings and my friends probably think I’m nuts because of it. It’s just a thing that makes me happy. I love the city. I love buildings and busy streets and people. I don’t necessarily like interacting with people. But I like watching them walk past and I wonder what’s happening in their heads, where they’re coming from, where they’re going. Don’t get me wrong, I love open spaces and forests and rivers and nature stuff. But there’s just something about the city. It makes me feel like I’m home.

I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I keep changing my mind. I think part of it is because there’s a lot of change going on in my life right now. Some of it was anticipated, some of it blindsided me a bit. One of my biggest struggles lately has been accepting these changes for what they are. I don’t like not having control of situations. I also have a really hard time saying goodbye. I’ve actually stopped saying that word all together. ‘Goodbye’ sounds so permanent. I hate the idea of not seeing someone again. Especially if it’s someone I love. ‘See ya later’ is a common phrase for me. I’m also working on saying ‘I love you’ more, especially to my friends. Because I do love them. And they probably know it. But I feel like these words need to be said aloud. I don’t know why.

I need to start working out more. Specifically, doing yoga more. In my yoga practice, I’ve found a new connection with God. It’s a unique time. I’m able to release the tension in both my body and my soul. I’ve stopped doing yoga in the past month or so because I’ve been busy. And I have been busy. But I’ve also had opportunities to get back into my practice and I didn’t take them. And I’m disappointed in myself. This weekend I’m hoping to both purge my room of unneeded items and de-clutter my soul through yoga.

I think that’s everything. Those have been some of my main thoughts lately. Oh, and I can’t decide if I want a tattoo or not. I want one, but I have no tolerance for pain. I’m so indecisive.

Thanks for tolerating my narcissism. If anyone has some advice/thoughts for me, please leave comment. I’d love to hear from you!

End of thought.

Thoughts on Coffee Shops

I didn’t always to love coffee. There was a time when I hated it. I thought it was disgusting. Oh, how wrong I was. Coffee is a beautiful creation. A beautiful, caffeinated, high-calorie (at least the kind I get) creation. Let me chronicle my coffee journey for you. Because there’s nothing you would rather be reading more, right?

There was a coffee shop in a nearby town that my friends introduced me to. I was in love. Great Irish Cream lattes, good food and karaoke. This was several years ago. I drug practically everyone I knew here. Unfortunately, the last time I stopped in, it was not the same place that I loved. They had changed their hours, there was no more karaoke and my latte was far from the deliciousness I remembered. Sad days, yes.

Fast forward to my second semester of college (AKA January of 2017). Starbucks. I love Starbucks. If I am near a Starbucks, chances are I’m going to stop and get something. I’m a basic white girl, yes (I also have a Panera addiction). One day a week I have a large gap between two of my classes. For several weeks, I drove to the nearest Starbucks (15ish minutes away), got a pastry and coffee and did homework. It was nice (most of the time). Sometimes the Spotify playlist they had going was the most irritating pop music ever and it would usually get crazy busy and I would feel like I was taking up space. But all-in-all, I enjoyed it.

And then things changed in late February. A friend informed me that a coffee shop had opened just up the road from our school. It’s name? Free Press Coffee House. Naturally, I had to check it out. My first time there, I ordered an amaretto latte and sat at the bar in front of the windows. I was enjoying it. So I went back the next week. And the week after that. And then I had 15 minutes to spare, so I ran and got coffee before a class. And I started stopping by after work, getting dinner and doing my homework. It’s been about a month since I first came to this coffee shop, they’ve gotten most of my money and I don’t regret it for a minute.

This atmosphere is relaxing, the coffee is the best I’ve ever had, the food is 50 million times healthier than Starbucks, the playlists are so indie, and the baristas know their stuff. Like, they are artists and coffee is their medium. I have a serious love for this place. I  have to be honest, I haven’t dragged all my friends here. Yet.

Whether I’m doing geography homework, journaling or just sitting, something about Free Press Coffee House makes me focus. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re doing it right.

End of thought.

Thoughts on ‘Logan’

*SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS* If you haven’t seen ‘Logan’ and want to remain relatively spoiler-free, I suggest that you turn back now. I have many feels that I want to deal with. Why? Because it’s my blog, that’s why.

First of all, I want to take a second to address the R-rating. When ‘Deadpool’ came out, people complained about how they couldn’t take their kids to see it. Deadpool isn’t meant for little children. The comics are meant for a older crowd and I applaud the writers for sticking with that. Wolverine isn’t exactly a character for little kids either. I know people were mad because the X-Men movies were more “family friendly” (I use that term lightly) and little Johnny just loves those movies. But you can’t let little Johnny watch ‘Logan’ because it’s insanely bloody and the F-bomb gets dropped constantly. I applaud the writers for doing that. Wolverine is a rough character. Of course he smokes, drinks, fights, and swears. By actually featuring that in this movie makes the character more “real” for me. Explanation: I always imagined that when Wolverine is in a fight, it’s bloody. ‘Logan’ was really, freaking bloody. Decapitations all around! To me, you’re seeing the real character, the real Wolverine as he’s depicted in the comics.

I absolutely loved the family unit feeling of Charles Xavier, Logan and Laura. It felt like a very dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. Logan actually uses as part of sort of cover story when invited to dinner by a family they meet on the road. Logan introduces Charles as his father (which in my opinion, Charles was definitely a father-figure for him) and Laura as his daughter (which she is, seeing as how scientists used his DNA to create her).

The music! In one of the trailers, the Johnny Cash song “Hurt”  was used. It was one of the last songs Cash ever recorded. I feel that it was fitting for the trailer. At this point, everyone knew that this was the last time Hugh Jackman would be playing Wolverine. The song goes along with the idea that Logan is not proud of the man he’s been. In the credits, the Johnny Cash song “The Man Comes Around” was used. Essentially, this song is about the second coming of Christ, but to me it also signifies the end of an era and in the case of ‘Logan’, the end of the Wolverine.

I cried. A lot. For anyone who’s reading this that hasn’t seen the movie and intends to do so, I recommend that you stop reading now. Seriously. You’re still reading? Okay, but I warned you! I started tearing up when X-24 (the “soul-less” mutant created from Logan’s DNA) killed the Munson family so he could take Laura. The tears really started to flow when Charles died because X-24 stabbed him. I cried even more when Logan buried him near a pond (mainly because Logan started tearing up and I suddenly understood just how much of a father-figure Charles was to him). I bawled my eyes out at the end. Watching Logan die broke my heart. What broke my heart even more was Laura. Tough-as-nails, bad-guy-killing, didn’t-speak-until-3/4-of-the-way-through-the-movie-and-at-first-it-was-just-in-Spanish Laura. The only family she had ever known were the other kids in the facility where they were raised. She was with Logan when he died and she called him “Daddy.” This little girl, whose temper easily matched that of the legendary Wolverine’s, was watching the man, that she had accepted as her father, die. That broke me. That beautiful, tragic moment broke me.

I loved ‘Logan’ so much. Yes, I got my heart broken and I was in tears, but it was completely worth it. I have a deep love for the X-Men. ‘X2’ was the first superhero movie I ever saw. Yes, I’m aware that’s the second one, I eventually saw the first one. I love all of the X-Men movies. I even love ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (I know it screwed up everything, but it was funny). Wolverine is my favorite character in the Marvel Universe, with Black Widow being a close second. While I’m rather sadden Hugh Jackman will never again put on the claws, I’m happy that they finally gave his character peace, even if that peace meant his death. I applaud everyone who worked on ‘Logan’. It was an incredible movie. Even if you don’t like superhero-related movies, I recommend watching it. It’s an emotionally charged, action packed film with an incredibly talented cast (I would love to see Dafne Keen reprise her role as Laura/X-23 someday) and you will not be bored for one second.

End of thought.

 

Wolverine by Le Hénanff Fabrice:                                             Artwork by Le Henanff Fabrice

Thoughts on Very Little

I’ve been on thinking overload for the past week, so Saturday afternoon I gave my brain a break. It was super nice out, so I grabbed my camera and took a walk around the farm. I thought I’d share some of my (mostly unedited) photos with you. Note: I’m not a photographer, I’m just a woman who owns a camera that she can kind of work.

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I’ve heard it before. “You live on a farm, why don’t you go barefoot all the time?” This. This is the reason. My father has never learned how to pick up a nail.

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One of the old chicken coup pens.

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My cat Charlie is secretly a model.

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I am oddly proud of this one.

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We used to raise hogs, so it’s not uncommon to find bones. Eventually, everything returns to the dust from whence it came.

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Louis

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Obligatory tractor photo. Also, I’m a city girl at heart and know nothing about tractors.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Choices

Happy Monday! I am really tired. I have no idea why. I had a cup of coffee before I went to class and then I had a chai latte after class. That sounds like a lot of caffeine, now that I think about it. Oops. Moving on!

Let’s talk about choices. We make choices everyday (example: what to wear, what to eat etc). Those are the simple choices. I’m choosing to listen to 80’s music while I type this post. It’s simple and requires little to no effort.

And then there’s other choices. There’s the choices that can affect your day, like choosing to have a certain attitude. I chose to remain in a snarky mood today, which prompted equally snarky texts from a friend. I chose to have a certain attitude and my day was altered because of it. You can choose happiness and optimism. I actually recommend it. It might make your life, as a whole, a bit brighter.

Of course, I have to mention the hard choices. The ones that we don’t like. These definitely impact our lives. In August, I had to make the (at the time, heartbreaking) decision to not attend school in Chicago, a city that I have fallen in love with. Instead, I went to community college. And I’ve come to realize that making that choice was a blessing. I have met some amazing people that have become really good friends. I’m still near my high school friends (some of which are still in high school, others who go to colleges that are a lot closer than Chicago). I’ve had the opportunity to become closer to some older friends in a way that would probably not have happened if I had moved to Chicago. Plus I saved a crap-ton of money.

Hard choices are just that; they’re hard. But even if we feel unsure or nervous about our choices, they can work out for the best. I’m not saying make hasty decisions. Think, consult, pray, whatever you need to do to make educated choices. Chances are, things will end in a good place.

End of thought.

 

Thoughts on Queen…

AKA my favorite Queen songs! For anyone who has never heard of Queen (that must be a pretty thick rock that you live under), they were a British rock band that was big from the mid-1970s until the 1990s. Lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991. Honestly, Queen has never stopped being big. Their music is legendary.

Disclaimer: I tried to make this a top-ten favorite list, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t cut any of these songs from this list. So here they are, my fifteen favorite Queen songs, in no particular order:

1) The Show Must Go On: If I had to officially rank these songs, this one would probably be near the top. It’s an absolutely gorgeous piece about how sometimes we have to fake a smile and continue on, regardless of how we actually feel. Also, I love the ‘Moulin Rouge’ version.

2) Seven Seas of Rhye: Honestly, this song doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But it’s catchy and has a fun tambourine bit.

3) Killer Queen: Another catchy tune and one of Queen’s early hits (1974, to be more exact). Every time I hear it, I start choreographing a tap dance routine in my head. I have no idea why.

4) Bohemian Rhapsody: Ok, does this one need an explanation? It’s Bohemian freaking Rhapsody.

5) We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions: These songs get to share the number five slot, as they’re usually played one right after the other on the radio. ‘We Will Rock You’, of course, features that famous rhythm *stomp stomp clap*. ‘We Are The Champions’ is smoother and just as good. Go to a sporting event. I’ll bet you’ll hear these played at some point.

6) Somebody to Love: Another song that would be near the top of a ranked list. ‘Somebody to Love’ features a gospel choir, which I feel is what makes this song so popular. It’s different. But then, Queen was never like other bands of the time.

7) Fat Bottomed Girls: Another catchy song that I love to sing along to. However, there are moments where my brain insists on really listening to the lyrics. Then I get a little uncomfortable. But it’s still one of my favorites.

8) Another One Bites the Dust: I’ve got to be honest; I never really listened to this song until the Hillywood Show released the Walking Dead parody. If you don’t know what that is, look it up on YouTube. They gave me a new appreciation for this song.

9) Don’t Stop Me Now: I love this song so much. It starts out simply, just the piano and Freddie Mercury’s gorgeous voice. And then *BOOM* an upbeat explosion of sound! Eventually the song comes full circle, returning where it started: the piano and Freddie Mercury.

10) Under Pressure: From their 1982 album Hot Space comes another one of my top favorites: ‘Under Pressure.’ The lyrics are what really get me. Freddie Mercury belts out “Why can’t we give love that one more chance?” The response: “Cause love’s such an old fashioned word/And love dares you to care for/The people on the edge of the night/And love dares you to change our way of/Caring about ourselves.” Essentially, it’s calling out humanity for taking the easier path of hatred instead of making an effort to love.

11) Radio Ga Ga: This one is just catchy.

12) One Vision: This song is full of deep, meaningful lyrics all about being one people. And then it ends with two less meaningful words: “Fried chicken.” End of story.

13) I’m Going Slightly Mad: Another song where I love the lyrics, specifically in verse two: “This kettle is boiling over/I think I’m a banana tree.” Also, look up the music video. If ever a video actually fit a song, then this is it. Plus there’s a penguin in it and I like penguins.

14) Who Wants to Live Forever: If you’ve seen the movie ‘Highlander’, then you’re familiar with this song (I also just realized that I own that movie but have never watched it). This is one of Queen’s most powerful and most haunting songs. I get chills listening to it.

15) No One But You (Only the Good Die Young): The surviving members of Queen recorded this song in 1997, six years after Freddie Mercury’s death. Drummer Roger Taylor and lead guitarist Brian May (who also wrote the song) shared lead vocals. It’s a beautiful song and it makes me cry.

And that’s it. Those are my top fifteen Queen songs. Honorary song: Thank God It’s Christmas. I didn’t want anyone to get mad at me for including a Christmas song in a blog post written in February. Let me know what your favorite Queen songs are and don’t get too mad if they didn’t make my list.

End of thought.

Thoughts on Boredom

Grant me a moment to vent: I have a tendency to not check my email before I go to bed. And I usually don’t check my email first thing in the morning. I really need to start. Why? Because I overslept this morning (I’ve actually overslept everyday this week) and left the house late. This resulted in me showing up three minutes late for my 8:30 class..only to find out that it had been cancelled…last night. If I had bothered to check my email, I would’ve seen that and I could’ve slept in. Instead, I spent two and a half hours in the closest Starbucks working on my geography homework. Which was more productive than sleeping in. But that’s not the point.

The point is: What does that have to do with boredom? Not much, except that it leads up to the part of my day that was actually boring. I went back to campus half an hour early and decided to just sit. Well, not just sit. I spent a few minutes looking at the weirdest piece of art on campus (it involves Yoda smoking a cigar and…other stuff. I’m pretty sure it was created by a student on a bad acid trip). That got boring fast. So I worked on my”selfie game” (I hope I’m using that phrase in the right context. Is it even still in style?), but only when there was no one else in the hallway.

And then I remembered something a friend once said to me: “Boredom is a sign of a feeble mind.” Frankly, I don’t consider myself feeble-minded. Which leads me to believe that there are two types of boredom.

Type A Boredom: When you convince yourself that there is nothing to do, even though you’re probably staring down a pile of unfinished paperwork/homework/housework etc. and you’re just feeding your procrastination.

Type B Boredom: When you have a free moment and don’t have a desire to do anything productive, so you decide to “just be” (a term that means something different to everyone) but call it being bored. This boredom doesn’t last long, as it’s usually interrupted by Life.

I know for a fact that I’ve experienced both types of “boredom.” This afternoon in the hallway was an example of type B. And I don’t mind. It was pleasant. It doesn’t mean that I’m feeble-minded. It means that I took a moment to “just be.” Whatever that means.

 

Here’s my view of the weirdest piece of art on campus:

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End of thought.

Thoughts on Friends

Note: Before I dive headfirst into this post, I want to take a moment to remember two brilliant actors that we lost this week. One of my heroes, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away on Wednesday. She was a brilliant actress who portrayed characters that inspired women everywhere. And also, John Hurt, who passed away on Friday. He portrayed many memorable characters, such as the Elephant Man, Olivander and the War Doctor. May we remember their brilliant work for years to come.

“So no one told you life was gonna be this way…”No, I’m not going to spend this whole post discussing the classic TV show Friends. I’ll save that for another post. The friends that I want to discuss are my friends. And, to some extent, your friends. Let me explain.

Think about your friends. Who are they? How did you meet? Why are you friends? Don’t dwell on these too long, you might hurt your brain, especially if you have a lot of friends.

For me, my friends are all kinds of people. Some are students, some are in ministry, some are nurses or therapists. I have friends that are juniors in high school and friends that are almost thirty years old. It helps that I have an old soul (aka, I have a tendency to act like I’m 64, so I get along with older crowds). I met them in all sorts of ways. But the best part is, when I first them, I didn’t know that we would be friends. I don’t think anyone meets a person and immediately knows that they’ll be friends. I didn’t know that these people would be such blessings in my life. That is something that I have discovered along the way. They have seen me on both my good and bad days. They have seen me when I’m being hard on myself for every choice I’ve ever made and they have seen me when I feel empowered and want to crush the patriarchy.

Friends are great treasures to have, aren’t they? They keep your secrets, they know your dreams, they listen to your rants. They see your dark side and yet still love you. Real friends, anyway. They’re there for you. And sometimes, they become more like family. If you ask my parents, I have one sister. If you ask me, I’m likely to say that I have one biological sister, five “adopted” sisters, and four “adopted” brothers. In my mind, my family is a lot bigger than what my parents think it is.

What this boils down to, is that you should thank your friends. Thank them for being there for you, for trusting you. Thank them for laughing at your stupid jokes. Thank them for offering a hug or a smile. Tell them that you love them, especially if you consider them family. Because friends are blessings and life is uncertain. Count your blessings and be thankful for them, before time runs out.

End of thought.

One more thing: You might be wondering why there is a picture of Mongolian chicken in this post. I had lunch with my friend Cambry yesterday. When we got our food, I whipped out my phone and asked her to forgive for being petty and taking a picture of said food. Her response: “No, go ahead. Actually, you should blog it.” So shout out to Cambry for suggesting I blog my Chinese food. You rock.20170127_111543

Thoughts on Thinking

You know what I do a lot of? Thinking. Actually, I probably do too much of it. Why do I think that? See, there I go again with the thinking. I over think. I over think a lot. Like, I’m pretty sure I could be a PhD in over thinking. And in procrastinating. And impatience. Unfortunately, I can’t get a PhD in any of those things *sighs audibly*.

Lately, I’ve been over thinking every aspect of my life. Trying to figure out my future, mostly. What school I’m going to transfer to, if my major is really what I’m meant to do and other things. And then there’s the fact that sometimes I feel utterly useless, like I’m just stuck at a point and there is no growth. I’m really good at over thinking that and letting it drag me down. And of course, the age-old question: why am I single? I’m good at finding a thousand things “wrong” with me. Although, I have gotten to a point where I’m usually able to turn those things into assets.

But I realized today that my over thinking was making me miserable. Something had to change. So I got back on my mat. I used to do yoga a lot and I loved it. But I haven’t been on the mat since August, which is kind of disappointing. Today I took a few minutes to revisit my favorite poses and then meditate. And you know what? It was great. I’m currently staring at a stack of homework, but I’m not stressed about it. Nor have I weighed all the possible outcomes of the math test that I took this morning. Actually, I’m feeling really good about that test.  I’m just in a nice, relaxed mood right now.

Looks like I’ve found a new goal for myself. To get back on the mat. Probably not everyday, but more often than I had been (which was never). To take some time to breathe and find a little peace. To slow my brain down. To stop over thinking.

End of thought.