Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hide and Seek

I wonder, what was the allure? Counting, hiding, finding. Hide and seek is one of those games that almost every child has played. We teach it to our youngest in the form of "Peek-a-boo", training them for when their little legs can carry them to the far off corners of the house in an attempt to not be found.

Whenever I visited my cousins during my childhood we played together, but they always knew the best places to hide because it was their house. I hated being "it", counting with my eyes closed and knowing everyone would be gone when I opened them. But there was some measure of curiousity that drove me, wondering where everyone would be and searching everywhere I could think of. And sometimes I'd get side tracked as I explored a new closet or secret corner. One time I found a toy bow and arrow, which I started to play with--and then accidentally broke. Of course, everyone was hiding, so who would know?

The odd thing about hide and seek, was that no one really wanted to be too good at it. Did you ever find a hiding spot that was just so amazing that no one could find you... ever? After singing all your favorite songs in your head several times over and counting how many seconds you could hold your breath before your vision got blurry, the whole affair lost its appeal.

But we kept playing anyway. We still play as adults, constructing walls and veiling emotions. Alter egos and character sketches carefully designed for every situation and every need for escaping discovery. We've gotten better at it, learning to distract and divert attention, letting the obvious hide the important. Why do it?

When I was very young, I took up the tradition of hiding when my dad came home. Every evening, the sound of the lock turning triggered a mad dash for concealment. We lived in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn at the time, so hiding spots were slim, and with my dad only seconds from being inside, I always ended up in the same spot: under my parents' comforter. I'd try to scrunch my body up to look like folds in the blanket, and sometimes my dad would pretend he didn't know where I was. But then he found me--he always found me--and that was the part I loved. I loved the moment when he peeled back the blankets and I could jump into his arms.

So what's the allure? Why play the game, even when we are long past the age of sneaking into closets and crouching under tables? Maybe it's because we all just want people to be curious enough to look, because it's so much more meaningful when care is taken to discover a secret.

And maybe, we all just want to be found.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'll Kiss the Sky

I ran down the hill with my arms thrown wide open and my heart exposed to the sun. It was euphoric and wonderful. I'd been thinking about flying and how spectacular it would be to pilot a plane, and as I crested that hill the sound of an engine buzzed about me. Squinting through the star-bursts of sunlight through the trees, I saw a small plane rolling and flipping through the air. I stopped and watched as it flew back and forth, flying toward the sun and barrel-rolling back down. It looked like a leaf dancing with the wind. I was enthralled. As pretentious as it might sound, it felt like that plane was there just for me to see, to compliment my earlier dreams of flying. And I wondered, why did it just have to be a dream? I've learned to dive deep into the blue below, why not soar in the blue above? It sounds corny now, but I thought, "I'll kiss the sky before I die" as I finally tore myself away from watching that pilot doing his stunts in blissful freedom. It filled my mind with fantasy the whole run home so that I couldn't even feel the miles go by.

I'm going to learn to fly.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Regrets

I just saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and it set me to thinking. Thinking about the value of memories and the power of the emotion attached to them. The story is about a man who decides to have his memory erased of a relationship gone wrong, but as he's watching the memories disappear, he realizes he's losing the good with the bad and desperately wants to hold on to the good ones. But he can't. It's all or nothing. Yet even after it all, when the memories are gone, as soon as he sees the girl again, even though he doesn't know he's loved her before, he falls for her all over again. Because, you see, even without the memories, he is still the same person and she is still the same person and they are still drawn to each other.

Lately, I've wished I could erase some of my memories. I feel haunted by them, and I'd rather not have them at all than have to deal with the emotions that go with them. It confuses me because I used to strongly assert that I would always take the good with the bad and never complain, that the bad memories also help shape me and that there are always things that I can learn that can make me stronger.

When did I become such a coward?

I've been running. Trying to hide from the things in myself I don't want to face. I may have been running for a while. I recognize the familiar patterns in myself, the avoidance of anything real. But what if I stopped? What if I stopped and just let everything catch up to me? You can't hide from yourself, and I don't think I want to. I want to be free to be who I am, to be free to be who God made me. So what holds me up?

My will. That's what it is. When things don't turn out as I hope, when I'm disappointed, I have a hard time accepting. I get caught in the broken record loop of trying to figure out how I could have changed it, what I could have done differently. It's a sign of immaturity I think, that I can't accept when things don't go the way I want. It's why my memories sometimes seem to become a web that entangles me, it's why I feel bound, why I can't just be free. My carnal, selfish, nature holds me back.

So I need to let go, to resurrended to God and to His will. Let go of the expectations I've had and the desire to change things. To trust in God and have faith that He knows what He's doing, that He's shaping me into something, and that every experience has value. I don't like being afraid. It makes me angry and unhappy with myself, but the only way to escape these fears is to let God have control and stop trying to grab the reigns myself. I realize this has been my struggle lately.

I have to take the good with the bad. To thank God even for the hurts I've experienced because they teach me things and give me an opportunity to grow. I'm just me. Sometimes I mess up. But I'm learning. And what I've experienced is part of me.

At the end of the movie, the main characters end up deciding to be together even after finding out they had been together in the past, failed to make it work, and had the memories erased. They decided to make exactly the same decisions they made before. Why? Because they needed to. They needed those experiences becasue they were still the same people with the same thoughts and feelings and reactions. God knows the experiences we need.

In the past, I've been asked if I regret things. I always used to say that regret didn't really make sense. Even if I could go back to try to change something with present knowledge, if I changed it, I wouldn't have learned the lessons I know now. I'd be the same person, and as soon as the opportunity arose again, I'd make the same decisions I made originally. So all this regretting I've been doing recently? It's completely out of line with who I am and it is completely useless.

I've written about stuff like this before, I know. I suppose this must be some sort of cycle I go through when dealing with disappointment. But even though I might be sounding repetitive here, I don't think I'm simply looping back to where I've been. Each time I go through this learning cycle I'm a little different, and the lessons go a little deeper. Carnality is hard to change and character development is an intense process. Sometimes God has to beat things into/out of us. And me? I'm a little stubborn. I'm sure I'm not done learning these things.

But anyway, I'm ready to be out of this slump and attack life with all the passion and drive I can muster.

Hello again world.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Does anybody read this?

I'm thinking of ending the blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Dancing in these tattered rags
I'm here, peeking through
Stitch the holes, patch me up
Plaster of Paris and I'm stiff again.
Who was I then, in those halycon days?
And would I ride the axis of time if I could?
I'm not trying to be cryptic, just ambiguous.
You understand.
Oh, and I don't want to be a pillar of sand.

Streched too far, maybe I'll tear
Grow me back stronger
And try me again
Show me the mountain, I promise to climb
Can't stop in case I don't start again
Momentum taking me, where was I going?
I'm not lost, just finding my way.
You understand.
Oh, and I just don't want to be the giving up sort.

Remember the time I didn't know the answer?
But I do, I think
It was hiding, behind a plastered wall
And I wonder if I should tear it down
And will it grow back stronger
I'm not trying to be sensitive, just cautious
You understand.
Oh, and I don't know if I'm ready yet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


There are surprises cradled in every new day. It's the run-up to another Feast, and I can't help but reflect on where I was a year ago--caught up in the tornado trial of preparing to move to Ireland. And here I am... back in the same place but not where I started. I think about the person I am now and the person I was then. I think I've learned some prudence and maybe some patience too.

In some ways I think I'm more spontaneous now. Even the best laid plans don't always yield the results you expect. I follow my impulses more, and in some way, that might make me freer. I'm much more inclined to take off my shoes and run outside in the rain just because I feel like it than I was a year ago.

Everything is a choice. I don't believe in blaming anyone for who I am or what challenges I face. Does it even matter who's at fault? Maybe sometimes I'll suffer trials because of the mistakes others make, and while I may struggle not to point the finger, in the grander scheme of things, it's just another opportunity to grow. It's hard to keep things in perspective. This life is a training ground to teach us the fruits of the spirit and the fruits of corruption. An illustration of right and wrong and the consequences that result. It's a challenge to learn to uphold godly principles in a satan-driven world.

As I enter into another relationship, as I pull down my defenses bar by bar and risk getting hurt, the theme of choice is foremost in my mind. I can choose to be afraid, to pull back, to refuse to get too emotionally involved. Relationships are dangerous stuff after all. But I'd hate myself if I did that, and even worse, I'd be left to regret the chances I didn't take.

Every day and every moment I decide whether to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good girlfriend, a good employee, and a good Christian. One day I may get married and have kids, and then I'll have to decide to be a good wife and a good mother. The choices never stop.

And so, instead of being afraid, I'll pour that energy into being the best I can be for you. Maybe it will be enough and maybe it won't, but I promise I'll give it all I have. And if one day we part ways, well, there will be more choices to make about who we'll be, but in the end I think we'll make each other better.

I wonder what kind of reflections I'll have a year from now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Red Bull gives me wings!

So this morning I decided to experience my first Red Bull. That’s right, I’ve never tried one before. I just like coffee so much that I never saw the need for an alternative caffeine source. But this morning, falling asleep at my desk, I decided I was in the mood for something new.

I also decided that I should document this experience.

9:19AM – Just bought my Red Bull. First observation: the can isn’t all that big. That’s a lot of caffeine in a small space. Also, I’m having a hard time restraining myself from repeatedly saying, “Red Bull gives you wings!” with extreme enthusiasm. I’ve already said it about 5 times on my way in with my new purchase. I think I’ve reached the socially acceptable limit. ;-) Also, my co-workers might hurt me if I say it again…

9:21AM – First sip. And the first thing I thought of was anit-freeze. I don’t know why. I’ve never tried drinking anti-freeze… I promise.

9:30AM – Wow. This stuff is like a little can of happy. I feel great. I just got back from the restroom and had an almost uncontrollable urge to skip down the halls. I can’t believe how quickly this is affecting me.

9:35AM – Last sip. Have you ever read the label of promised benefits on a can of Red Bull? Let me enlighten you. 1) “Improves performance, especially during times of increased stress or strain”. Stress and strain?!? Now… I’m a mechanical engineer (news flash!). So, stress and strain mean something very particular to me. What do they think people are doing when they drink this? Let me go draw a Mohr’s circle for my increased acceptable stress and strain limits—this way I can make sure that bridge I’m holding up won’t permanently deform me. 2) “Increased concentration and improved reaction speed”. Yes, I feel very focused right now. Quick, try to punch me and see how fast I react! My spidey sense in tingling—or maybe that’s just a caffeine overdose. 3) “Stimulates the metabolism”. Yay! King-size chocolate bar, here I come!!! Guilt-free! Woohooooooo!

9:58AM – Ahem. I have the giggles. Hehe.

10:09AM – My throat muscles feel tight. I blame it on the glucuronolactone. My body doesn’t know what to do with that many letters.

10:18AM – Almost an hour post-Red Bull. I feel like the high is starting to wear off.

10:53AM – First post-Red Bull yawn.

10:55AM – Somebody stole my wings! Also, I’m tired of writing this blog. It reminds me of why I hate Twitter. Multiple life-updates an hour are tedious for all involved.

11:18AM – Well, that’s that. I’m back to falling asleep at my desk. It was a fun ride though! This concludes my documentation on Red Bull consumption.