Tag Archives: thoughts

Write

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I remember where I started. I was a creative wriitng major whose time was consumed with course work which kept me from doing what I went to college to learn how to do well: write.

I started a blog to force myself to write.

And I have. I have written every day for four years.

Is writing easier now? Writing is never easy. Writing is hard work. Writing takes time and dedication and craftsmanship, all things which I’ve not always been able to apply here. Sometimes I wrote posts in the last thirty seconds before midnight. Sometimes I wrote posts days in advance. Sometimes I wrote with passions about something really important to me, and sometimes all I could brain out was a list.

But it is much easier to write what I really think. It is much easier to be honest and objective with myself than it used to be.

This blog has helped me realize I am far better at creative nonfiction than fiction. Far better at poetry than at short stories. Far better and pantoums than song lyrics.

Far better at being me than being anyone else.

I will not post tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure when i’m going to post here again–I haven’t gotten that far. I plan to publish the first post on my new blog on Friday, but the best laid plans of mice and men, so they say, oft go awry. If I start the new blog on Friday, I’ll be sure to put a link here.

I may not post. But I will write. I will always write. Old habits die hard.

I can’t stop now.

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Faith

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After all, how else could I have survived the last four years?

Sure, there’s laughter. Laughter is one of the best survival tools ever implemented by man. Laughter is why this blog began. In person, at least, I’m really good at getting people to laugh. I’m even pretty good at getting myself to laugh at impossible or difficult circumstances.

But there are some things even laughter does not help or heal. And that’s where faith stepped in.

I was stuck in Croatia the day they joined the EU. Stuck in an airport surrounded by people who did not speak my language and could not explain why my flight was delayed, why I could not meet my connecting flight, and how I could possibly tell my parents where I was or why I wouldn’t be home on time, if I got home at all.

Fate could not have delayed my flight and landed me in the line to get my flight rerouted. Fate could not have put me in line behind the one person in the airport who was fluent in English and had a phone capable of calling my parents home number from Zagreb, Croatia. Fate could not have put me on a flight sitting next to an EU representative who was questioning his Greek orthodox faith and would let me open my Bible with him as we searched for answers to his questions.

God could. God did. God always will and always does.

The last four years have been a series of seemingly insurmountable odds. I could not have overcome them on my own. I could not have survived on my own. People will laugh at me, tell me of course I did it on my own, that my dependence on God is some kind of sick self-deprecating fantasy.

But it isn’t.

I didn’t do it alone because I am never alone.

God gets full credit for every last moment of it.

Fearless

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It’s easy to be fearless until you’re staring down the lion’s throat.

The thing about blank pages is that there are no limits. No limits but yourself. Yet that limit keeps us from dropping so much as a blob of ink on the page for fear that a blob out of place will send our lives into a downward spiral.

The future is our darkest enemy. It has no face, shows only its back, and is hidden by a cloud, darkly.

The future could keep us from doing anything, unless we choose to be fearless.

There are lions in the streets, we cry. But we are the lions.

But God shuts the lion’s mouths. We can walk unafraid. I can walk unafraid. No matter what happens, no matter the headlines, no matter the lions, I can walk toward the future and they won’t bite me.

Fear silences us, but faith lets us sing.

Fire

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The coals burn, and they burn steady. They may not light up the world, but they light up the little circle around them. And they keep the people close by warm.

You see, the last four years saw me extinguished and reignited. Before I started college hoping for little more than a degree to get me a job to get me a house far away from people, in the mountains, surrounded by trees. Part of me still wants the little cabin in the woods, and I visit occasionally but I can’t live there.

My feet don’t stop. I couldn’t run a mile once–now I can run three and a half. I couldn’t stand the thought of living anywhere but home, and now I want to make the world my backyard, the airport my living room. I want to run. And run.

And I am no longer content to be solitary. I am no longer content to be silent.

Once the coals start, they don’t stop burning. I want to warm everyone around me. I want to change things. I want to change myself, or see myself change, or whatever happens first.

I want to be a lighthouse and warn people about the rocks around them. I want to shine out truth so others can see it–whether they believe me or not. Whether they like me or not.

I want to be fearless.

Milestones

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I’ve been blogging for almost four years, and I didn’t even start a countdown.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who I was four years ago. I’m not overfond of that version of myself, but one can’t deny one’s own history.

The me from five years ago…how that was a girl. Six years ago and my, my, you wouldn’t know me. I had so much fire.

Four years ago, I had no idea who I was anymore. I had my walls torn down and my foundation cracked and I was so confused. I had to start all over from the beginning.

That’s when I met me from three years ago. That’s a me I never want to forget. That’s a year I never, ever want to forget.

And the thing is, I won’t, I can’t. Because it’s all here, on the blog. Every day. There’s a snapshot here for every late night, every early morning, every road trip, every escapade. I even saw me fall in love on this blog.

This blog saw me graduate. This blog saw me start my first full-time jobs. This blog saw me married.

Me from six years ago wouldn’t recognize me now. I had so much fire then. Now I have coals.

But goodness knows coals burn hotter.

Success

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“Just How Rich Are the Kardashians?”

Apparently that’s a newsworthy headline. I saw it towards the bottom of the homepage of a news website I frequent. Next to the headline was a (photoshopped) image of Kim herself, her hair whipping dramatically around her allegedly flawless face. Thankfully just a headshot this time.

Because of course we are fascinated by successful people. We are fascinated by those who seem to have it all–the beauty, the money, the attention. How did they get where they are? Where are they going? How do they live their lives? What does one do with all of that money?

Because of course money equals success. Right?

I’d argue that if the only thing you’re good at is being pretty, and if that’s all you ever aspire to be–pretty and rich–then you’re missed the “success” mark by a mile.

I’d even argue you’ve missed if all you are is rich.

If “success” can be defined as simply meeting an established goal, then fine. Success acheived. But what else have you acheived?

Attention? That comes in droves. It follows money.

The most successful people I know are the ones who get very little attention and have very little money. But they do so much good. And they have so much love.

I’d rather be that sort of successful person. Any day.

An Announcement

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Hello, friends.

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and written a real post. A real, honest-to-goodness, put my fingers to a keyboard and write something post.

I haven’t actually touched a computer in two weeks, except for the purpose of watching a movie. My writing brain has been completely shut off.

Well, not shut off. I’m always observing. Always inventing imaginary scenarios. Always making mental notes and taking mental photographs.

There’s been a lot of pictures taken, recently, with bright colors and vivid resolution.

Everything about my life has changed. Even my name has changed.

This blog is about to change.

Perhaps I should say that this blog has been changing. For some time. It’s evolved with me. This blog has seen me through some of my darkest days, as well as some of my brightest. I have not missed a post for almost four years. That’s the entire length of a college career.

In fifteen days, The Risible Rambler will reach its fourth birthday. This blog has served its purpose. It has kept me (and hopefully, my beloved readers) laughing and thinking for four long and beautiful years.

It is time for The Risible Rambler to retire.

Now, by retire” I do not mean “cease to exist or function.” Not at all. That is not what retirement means. Just ask anyone who’s retired. They still exist, and they still have adventures, and they still do wonderful and influential things. Retirement just means a change in focus.

I will still post to The Risible Rambler. I will probably post about the hilarities of married life or write about changes in life or humorous happenings. This will also remain my default blog for fiction and poetry. But I will no longer post daily. I will post once or twice a week, tops.

I made this decision many months ago. I discovered new passions and new areas of interest that my fingers want to write about and my mind wants to research. I want to write a blog that will turn into a book–hopefully the kind of book that might change some lives, or at least some minds. This new blog will be a blog with purpose. It will take more effort and concentration than I am able to give to this one. It will require a different appearance, stronger internet presence, and more intentional focus.

I wouldn’t force that kind of restriction on The Risible Rambler. Not for the world.

So in fifteen days, I will start a new blog. Please follow me there. I’ll need you all more than ever.

Risabella Rambler will ramble on as she always has. But she has more to say than ever before. And she’ll need a new place to throw her words into the air and hope they’ll catch the wind.

2

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There’s nothing stranger than saying “I’m getting married the day after tomorrow.”

I mean, maybe saying “I’m getting married tomorrow” might top that, which is what I’ll be saying tomorrow.

I’m not letting myself overthink anything. After all, the wedding is just a thirty-minute long ceremony. All I’m doing is promising my best friend that I will love him forever, which is something I made up my mind that I would do about a year ago.

Everything about this wedding feels so perfectly natural. I’ve wanted it to happen for so long.

But here’s the thing:

I’ve been in a lot of plays. I’ve always had plenty of reason to be nervous. Lines weren’t always in my head, costumes weren’t always finished in time and weren’t guaranteed to stay in place, and blocking was always a little touch-and-go. Yet no matter how precarious the upcoming performance might be, I wouldn’t get nervous until the day of, nay, hours before the curtain rose. And that nervousness would find me in a dark corner, shivering, alone with my feelings of anxiety and a tentative urge to lose the contents of my stomach.

I am a mere 36 hours away from my wedding, and I am not nervous.

Yet.

9

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People ask me what it is about him that I love the most, and I always laugh a little. There is no one trait I love the most. I answer differently every time. His gentleness, I’ll say. His compassion. His goofiness. His respect for people.

Then they’ll ask what I noticed about him first. Again, I can’t nail down one thing. I don’t remember the first time I met him. I remember the second time I met him, and his face was covered in heavy facepaint at the time. Only his blue eyes showed through. And one conversation confirmed our similar music tastes.

Sometimes they ask when it was that I knew I loved him. Again, there are a dozen little incidences I could name. There wasn’t a concrete moment, although there are plenty of likely candidates. Maybe it was when I was in Croatia without him and I missed him so much I was sick, or maybe it was that time we performed in a murder mystery dinner. Or maybe it was when he called my name in the hallway after a class a semester or two after becoming his friend, and i thought, deep in my mind, that his voice sounded like coming home.

People ask, and I laugh, because if they wanted the full answer to any of these questions, I’d have to give them answers for hours. And I would.

Smells

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When I say I like the smell of lavender, I don’t mean the lavender candles or the body spray you might find at Bath and Body Works.

I mean I love the smell of lavender fields that I smell through the open window of a car as I drive to the airport for the trip home.

When i say i love the smell of baking cookies, I don’t mean an air freshener.

I mean I love the smell of making German spice cookies with my mother the week before Christmas.

When I say I love the smell of pumpkin, I don’t mean the smell of a pumpkin spice latte.

I mean the smell of pumpkin pie right out of the oven.

When I say I love the smell of strawberries, I don’t mean the smell of strawberry chewing gum.

I mean the smell of strawberries I bought from a roadside stand, and they still taste of sunshine.

When I say I love the smell of coffee, I don’t mean Starbucks.

I mean I love the smell of my parents’ coffee, at home, on a summer morning.

Smells are memories. And you can’t put them in a candle or a body spray or a can of Febreeze. Don’t even try.

Ironies

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The person in the room with the most confidence has the least competence. The person with the least confidence has more competence than confidant guy.

I’m so warm at work that I want to fall asleep. I’m too warm at night to stay asleep.

We start our lives fragile, helpless, and dependent. We end the same way.

The harder I try to prevent something, the more likely it is to happen.

That’s all, folks.

Curiosity

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Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all stopped worrying about what we look like.

What if there were no mirrors or photographs? What if Photoshop never existed? What if our only chance of seeing our own faces would be when we looked into still water or into someone else’s eyes?

The makeup industry would falter or tank. People might not try as hard to be fit unless we all discovered how good it feels to exercise and eat right for its own sake. We wouldn’t make choices about how others would see us–we’d make clothing choices based on what feels comfortable. And we’d be less likely to compare ourselves to each other’s appearances. We’d probably compare on other levels–intelligence or wealth, maybe–but we would not think of ourselves as superior or inferior to others on the basis of our own appearance.

One woman did a year-long self-experiment where she got rid of all the mirrors in her house. She is a woman of average weight with blonde hair and a bright smile, if I recall from her interview. She did not look at herself for a year, and was surprised at how her priorities changed. Her focus turned outward. She was free of the distractions and inhibitions that come with worrying about how she looked. Of course she stayed clean and healthy and well groomed and well dressed, but she no longer stood in front of a mirror and criticized what she saw.

She became truly comfortable in her non-supermodel skin. The favorite of her features became her soft, squishy middle, which became comfortable instead of repulsive.

I remember hating my body when I was in junior high and early high school. I remember thinking and feeling thinner than I was–and then looking in a mirror or going clothes shopping and seeing the embarrassing truth. I felt fine about me–until I looked in a mirror.

I got healthy, though. I learned to love exercise and good food. But I still hated parts of me.

My skin erupted. I stared into the mirror a lot. And I was miserable.

Then I decided to stop looking in the mirror, to stop washing my face, to stop caring. For months. I ate right, I exercised, I drank water, and barely glanced at the mirror in the mornings. I made myself not care.

Either my skin cleared, or I learned to like my face again. Not sure. But I’m okay with how I look now. I may never look like I did before second puberty slapped some scars on my face, but I look okay. And that’s okay.

Ceasing to care is the first step to being happy in the skin you’ve been given. Like all aspects of stewardship, it’s a matter of taking care of what you’ve been given. Exercise. Eat right. Sleep well. Dress well. Those who love you won’t care if you’re not on top of your game 100% of the time.

And those who don’t love you are too busy staring in their own mirrors to notice, anyway.