Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When is Change Justified?

Normally I like to start my writings off with some sort of a story or an analogy that I think helps to get my point across before I actually bring up the point, or the question for which I am choosing to pose to my readers, but this time I was to reverse it.

When is change justified? Change in reference to yourself. Changing some aspect of “who you are” at the current time. Change with plans of long lasting effects.

Of course, we can all change something about our current state for short-term and it is not much of a deal…

As a kid, your mom might have asked you to change out of your sneakers into dress shoes for church. Or in high school your best friend might have asked you to change your plans to go to the movies and to come to her house instead for a night of hanging out with the girls. In college your roommate might have asked you to change the direction you hung the toilet paper roll on the holder. Or yesterday your co-worker might have asked you to change the distance from your mouth that you keep the mouth piece on your telephone headset because you are coming across too loud.

All of those examples are minute changes, many of which are for short-term and really don’t change the essence of “who you are.” Most of those changes you probably didn’t even take a second to consider them before you changed.

Change occurs everyday and it is not something to be feared; but what if it is a change to “who you are?”

The “who you are” characteristics can be different from one person to the next. Something that might define “who you are” to you, might not be such a big factor to someone else. One person might think you changing one aspect about you is not as big of a deal as you might consider it to be. Or, changing something about the way you typically dress or act might be a BIG change to you, and not such a big deal or change to someone else. So “who you are” is obviously a unique situation to each person. But still, we all have a “who you are” that can be changed, so…

When does changing “who you are” become justifiable?

Justifiable: that is—justifiable to you. When do you feel you are warranted to change “who you are?”

It is true that you can not change anyone. You might marry someone thinking you can and will change them, but only they can and will make that change, assuming they feel the change is justifiable to them.

So if the spouse chooses to change, what would be the justifiable cause, or person, for which he/she felt was worth changing for?

Him/herself? God? His/her values? His/her spouse? His/her family or friends? Society? Someone else?

It was in my not so distant past I was asked to change what I believed was “who I was” at the current time…

I found myself running for a titled position. It would be a position with some authority and influence. If I should I get the position, I would “be in the spotlight”—as a lot of title positions tend to be.

In order to run in the election for the spot I had to go through some advising/interviewing with some “higher powers” prior to the election. I did, but it was then that I felt I was being asked to change “who I was.”

It was an “appearance” change of “who I was” that was being presented to me. I was asked if I got the position, would I consider some changes to my appearance. Would I continue to wear my hat? What about make-up? Changes of such matters. Changes that might seem minimal to some, but changes to which I wondered, “What would be the purpose?”

I stood behind my beliefs that the physical appearance of an individual should not be of the most importance.

Some qualities of physical appearance can not be changed, some can. A hat and make-up can be changed, so then it comes down to should they be changed. Did I view the change justifiable?

I ended up taking myself out of the election for that position, though the asking of me to reconsider my physical appearance was not the reasoning for it. What I did do, however, was leave that advising session with a sense of pride for standing up for what I believed in that day.

I explained to the advisor that day that I was fully aware of situations I viewed hats as “not appropriate attire” and I had NO plans of wearing hats to those functions, but still, so if that was what was being addressed, they could rest assured on my word. But as for my everyday attire, I did not see the purpose behind changing “who I was”—a typical hat-wearer, simply because people would be looking at me and it might not be the “girly” thing to do. I explained that I did not think whether a girl wears make-up or not should be the defining point of her influence over others. Maybe looks do “talk to people,” but if that is the case, I was not the person for the spot, as I do not believe that is of the utmost importance.

Many in my situation would have burnt the cap and thrown a Mary Kay party without any hesitation, and that is perfectly fine. To each their own. Physical appearance changes are easily justifiable to some, and that is fine too. But changing “who you are” can be more of a difficult situation to justify to some than others.

It was a value/belief justification for me that day that kept me from deciding to change “who I was.” But if I should decide to change “who I am,” what would make for a justifiable reason?

I know many who would say, “you should only change for yourself, or for God; that you should not ever change for someone else.” Is that the case? I suppose you could merit changing for your spouse as you changing for yourself, because yourself wants to see your spouse happier because you, yourself loves your spouse, right?

Would you change “who you are” for a cause such as a value, belief, or passion you have? Would you change “who you are” for anyone other than yourself?

When is change justified?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 15 – Community: Living with Freaks

Rick does not have much tolerance for people living alone. He’s like Bill Clinton in that he feels everyone’s pain. If Rick thinks somebody is lonely, he can’t sleep at night. He wants us all to live with each other and play nice so he can get some rest. Tortured soul.

Working on my own humility, I try to point out my own ignorance when they are put before me. In this case, it is that I do not know what he meant by “He’s like Bill Clinton in that he feels everyone’s pain.” I guess Bill Clinton was a compassionate individual? I don’t know. One area of my ignorance definitely includes politics, meaning I do not keep up on which presidents are compassionate, which are disliked by the different races, which are not liked by the different social classes, or which are not liked by the homosexual community. Honestly, I do not follow politics at all…

So to the part of this point that made me feel it was worth noting…

I worry about a lot of people who live alone. I do not think EVERYONE needs someone to live with them, but being a psychology-oriented person and liking to assess peoples’ different personalities; I truly believe there are some personality types that would be best off not living alone. And I say this in reference for their own good, and possibly for the good of others as well...HA!

I have said it before that I truly believe we are all social creatures and need human interactions and contact. With that being the case, for an individual who might have difficulty in initiating human contact, or has limited means of human contact, living alone could only begin a downward spiral for their human connections, in my opinion. Granted this is not ALWAYS the case, so please do not see me saying that.

Also, I am not saying that NO one should live alone. I think there are many individuals who would have no issues with living alone. Their social contacts probably would not be affected much and they could live at peace and still have a healthy level of socializing.

And finally, I do understand that living alone might be someone’s only option. Obviously, in that case, it must be done, but when one is living alone, I think it is important to keep one’s level of human contact “in check.” Make sure to always be aware of the level of socialization that one has and make efforts to keep interactions at a healthy level.

I hear loneliness is rough…


The context for this next point by Mr. Miller is that he is talking about how he had just made the transition to moving in and living with 5 guys as roommates from having lived for 6 years alone.

I remember feeling tired for almost a year. I was tired because I wasn’t used to being around people all the time.

I can’t really related to that on a full scale, but I suppose it is similar to how when I’ve gone an entire weekend spent only in my bedroom by myself doing some project for school and I come out at the end of it all, on Sunday night possibly, to hangout with friends, I feel exhausted after all the socializing.

It is like our body gets on one track when we are alone. It basically slows down and focuses mainly on the internal being and the internal cues (possibly being why isolation can lead to depressive states), and then when we get in social settings we are turned onto external states and cues, sometimes causing us to ignore the internal being. I suppose it can be good in the sense of depression in that one can ignore, or forget about the internal depressive thoughts, but it can also cause one to not note the energy requirements of socialization—leading one to exhaustion if not properly monitored.


I was a serious recluse before I moved in with the guys at Graceland. When you live on your own for years, you begin to think the world belongs to you. You begin to think all space is your space and all times is your time.

I can understand that.

I think it takes human interaction to keep us grounded. I think without it, many of us could become so self-centered that we would lose track of the idea that everything ISN’T ours.

In a way, this goes along with the scenario of the “only child.” As the sayings tend to go, a lot of only child’s can sometimes have struggles with the concept of sharing. This of course is easy to understand why this could be the case, since they did not have someone else around their age in which they might have to share their toys with.

When we don’t have to share objects or space or time with someone else, whether it is based on the concept of being an only child or rather it be the case of living alone, we can easily fall into the mindset that everything IS ours.


Tuck was one of my best friends when he moved in. He is still one of my best friends, but for a while I wanted to kill him. He did not understand that life was a movie about me. Nobody ever told him. He would knock on my door while I was reading, come in and sit down in a chair opposite me, and then he would want to talk, he would want to hear about my day. I couldn’t believe it. The audacity to come into my room, my soundstage, and interrupt the obvious flow of the story with question about how I am.

I like that context for a couple reasons…

First, I have always been a firm believer that best friends should do their best to avoid living together. Let me clarify this. I am talking best friend in reference to a best friend that you tend to hangout with a lot. I understand that someone could be a best friend and maybe the two of you don’t actually hangout a lot, but still view one another as “best friends.” However, in my terminology, I most likely wouldn’t consider you a best friend unless we spend ample amounts of time together. The only exception to this would be if distance keeps this from happening.

So, I do not believe people who hangout a lot should be roommates.

I believe having friends as roommates is very important. It is important that you like the people you are living with, but I think the ideal roommate situation is friends you love and enjoy the company of, but do not hangout with on a frequent basis.

I have found, especially with females, that spending too much time together is where issues arise.

Secondly, in reference to the Donald Miller piece, I smile to myself when I read that last part about having his friend come into his room and ask him how his day was…

I had some wonderful roommate experiences throughout college. I will brag and say I think I am not a difficult person to live with, but besides that, I truly was blessed with some great people that came my way for roommates.

I had a WONDERFUL roommate my sophomore year. If you looked at the two of us you might think we were night and day, but we had a blast living together!

Then my junior year came and I was going to live with three girls. I only knew one of them previously, and even she I didn’t know all that well. Things worked out GREAT there too! It was these roommates that made me smile at Miller’s comment…

I have always been a very people-oriented individual, but when I’m at home, you can almost always find me just in my room…

I’m not much for television, so living rooms don’t really serve a lot of purpose for me, unless I’m entertaining guests of course. And then kitchens—well, actually, you can ask my old roommates about this one—I basically use it as a place to prepare food and that’s about it. I enjoy eating in my room where I can multitask while eating…HA! And yes, I know that is not a healthy eating routine, but it hasn’t really caused me any problems as of yet, so until then, I continue. Then there’s the bathroom, and well, I think we all know it’s purpose.

So my room is normally where you can find me. And yes, I’m still that same way, even after leaving my three roommates from college, so it is nothing toward not wanting to interact with them; nothing like that at all.

So I smile because it would happen to me as it would happen to Miller. I would get a knock on my bedroom door to have a roommate come in to just “hear about my day.” It was a welcomed gesture; I had no problem with it, it’s just that I wasn’t always that type of a roommate. And what’s interesting to me is how I actually do think I am one to quickly ask how my friend’s days were when I’m talking to them on the phone or chatting with them on AIM, but when it comes to being at home, I am never quick to ask. Not just with my college roommates, but even today.

I like to get home, go to my room, and do my own thing. I suppose that is the purpose “home” serves for me. It’s the time I use for myself, as I try to use my time out of the house to see how I can help others by shifting my focus.


Living in community made me realize one of my faults: I was addicted to myself. All I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered that my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-DON, all Don, all the time.

“Addicted to myself”…I could be.

I don’t think all I think about is myself, but I have a pretty high appreciation for myself.

Maybe it is my concepts of “love, altruism, or sacrifice” that allow me to have an “addiction” but to still think of others.

I’m by no means saying I’m altruistic, or that I’ve made any hard-core sacrifices, but I think when you grow up in a large family, especially when means are limited, you learn the concept of sacrifice. When it comes to altruism, I have had the opportunity to see that trait in a few others, which is definitely a trait I admire, so I understand the concept through my sense of “community.”

As for love, well, we’ll just say I definitely have an opinion on that matter…HA!


The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me.

I once heard it said that you know you are grown up when you begin to live your life for someone other than yourself.

So, if that is true, and I’m not saying I necessarily agree with it or disagree with is, so to say. But if it is true, does that mean we are child-like up until the point when we realize that life truly isn’t all about our self? When the “lie” becomes evident…


I hear addicts talk about the shakes and panic attacks and the highs and lows of resisting their habit, and to some degree I understand them because I have had habits of my own, but no drug is so powerful as the drug of self. No rut in the mind is so deep as the one that says I am the world, the world belongs to me, all people are characters in my play. There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction.

Self-addiction is a serious issue. I can say that having admitted in a previous point that I struggle with issues of self-addiction.

Humility is tough. And humbling situations are all different. Humility is definitely a situational thing, as well as a unique experience for each person.

In some areas, I can pretty easily put others before me, but then there are other areas that it is very difficult. It is in those situations where I do struggle, and the best I have been able to achieve in situations like these is the success of keeping my thoughts and beliefs to myself…

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Friday, April 21, 2006

I Confess...

...I am admist a not so typical Friday for myself...

...I am not doing my homework like I'm "supposed" to be doing right now...

...I have a new book I HAVE to have now...


1.) Last night I was informed that I would be not only doing my "typical Friday" routine of taking my cousins to school, which requires getting up at 6 AM to drive them 1.5 hours to their school (where their mom lives), but that I would also have to pick them up after school (normally my aunt or uncle will go get them if I had to drop them off that morning for school). So, instead of spending some 6 hours driving today, I told them I would just drop my cousins off at school and stay down in the "little town" for the day and then pick them up after school. This way saving me some driving and them some gas money and mileage.

My aunt's response: "So are you going to like rent a room or something for the day?"

HA! HA! Some people make me laugh! ;)

No, no room renting. I told her I was going to just go spend the day at the library I found online that they actually have down there. I have plenty of homework to be working on, so it will work out well. The library doesn't open till 9 AM and I will have dropped my cousins off at school by 8 AM, but I'll just take a pillow and nap in the car, as I'll be tired.

So this morning...

I dropped the girls off and then drove to the library parking lot and began to nap at 8:20 AM. I decided I should get up at 10 AM! HA! But first, before homework, needed to drive across the street to the Sonic for breakfast...HA! Yep, a library AND a Sonic--and to think the sign for the town said they only have like 1500 or 2000 folks living here. HA!

So after "breakfast" it was time to see this library. I love libraries! Even considered buying one of the "Libraries Matter" bracelets that they sell here (you know, those rubber bracelets like the "Live Strong" ones).

This little library is cute. It has a big "meeting" room off the side of it--which they apparently had a Yoga class in earlier today. As when I woke up from "napping" in the car I saw women walking in in exercise clothes carrying Yoga mats...HA!

But the actual library side isn't all that "big," but it is still cute. Size-wise, it is about as big as say "Hart Auditorium" at ACU. Decent sized for a small town. And hey, they have this wireless internet I'm accessing right now, so they are "moving right up." ;)

2.) By this point you are aware of the fact that my homework isn't being done right now, since I AM blogging, but the confession is really for more than that. Prior to my writing this blog entry, I got lost in the land of cyberspace for about an hour due to one of my routine "blog checks."

[Note: A "routine blog check" includes my quick runthrough of all the blogs I read to see if any of them have been updated.]

So when the blog check got to the point of no new updates, I gave into the sidebar links on people's blogs, and THAT was what stole my attention...

It was Nicole's blog that I got sucked into, as she has recently updated her "Blogs she reads" and one in particular had me completely enthralled!


[Description of what "PostSecret" is...from my understanding, it is a guy that allows people to anonymously mail him postcards they have created themselves that express their "confession" through whatever form they want too. Words, pictures, etc. Then he shares the confessions with people through the website.]

3.) Depending on how close of attention you pay when you're in that website, you'll learn that there is actually a book entitled "PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives" by Frank Warren...

...I plan to visit HalfPrice Books tonight!


So those are my confessions. Nothing as creative or deep as you might find on PostSecret, but with my recent post about secrets I thought this was interesting to reference to confessing secrets that is.

But not only that, but I wanted to share this site with you as I have not gotten that into wanting a book so suddenly and badly as I was hit with this one!

Many of the confessions are deep and heart-felt. You read them and think, "Wow." Or possibly even, "You too!??!" But still others of the confessions are simply HILARIOUS! You'll understand what I mean when you read some of them, particularly the "sample pages" from the book which can be found on

It's also funny how one website can take you on a frezy through so many other ones...HA!

It was the PostSecret blog page (which I love because it is updated weekly, apparently, and I can get a weekly fix now of these confessions that are so interesting and creatively shared), which led me to the Amazon website to see what the book looks like so I will know what I'm looking for at the bookstore. But then on Amazon, gotta love that "So You'd Like Too..." section which is a listing of more books "similar" to the book you just searched under. It was then that I began my journey through cyberspace intrigued by the prevalence of confession books and websites. Very interesting...

So, I of course recommend PostSecret to you all. But I also found this one called, GroupHug, through its related book, "Stoned, Naked, and Looking in my Neighbor's Window: A book of confessions from" by Gabriel Jeffrey. Sounds interesting too, just not as much as PostSecret to me.

I will include my observation of the websites though, and that is that PostSecret seems more of an adult and more "mature" (so to say) audience, while GroupHug seems to be more of a teenager outlet. With this being the case, you can expect a lot more profanity in the confessions on GroupHug.


This small town life is cute. I like listening to the friendly people in the library behind me. They talk about cute small town things and they all know one another. So cute.

[Note: Talk that is "about cute small town things" includes topics like, "Oh did you see the women's flower garden displays in town?!"]

I might need to move out of the big city afterall. I DID live my YOUNG childhood years in a small town, before moving to St. Louis, so I haven't ALWAYS been a "big city girl." ;)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Controller…

It’s the controller on the video game that gives the player the power. The total power! It is through this controller that the individual has the control over the whole game—hence the name.

This controller allows the individual playing the game to control where their character goes in the game, what their character does, what their character does not do, when the character does what it does, even whether the character gets to “come alive” or not—based on whether the individual in control chooses to use the controller to turn the game on in the first place.

Sometimes the individual behind the controller totally takes their control for granted; many of these times, totally unaware of his/her controlling nature.

With a video game, this is okay. Ultimate control over the forces of animation is no crime in this grand country we live in; it’s when the sense of power moves beyond the directional arrows and the “A” and “B” buttons that issues may occur.

It’s when a sense of control over another individual takes place that issues can arise. It’s the manifestation of one’s need to control in a relationship that can sour the experience. It’s this sense of control (which can be in existence for a number of different reasons), that leads to a power struggle, as well as a self-worth battle. The power struggle can be between the two individuals involved, while the self-worth battle(s) are battled with one’s self.

Not always, but a large portion of the times, cases of domestic violence are tied to issues of control. It’s unfortunate that sometimes one’s desire for control seems to only be to be met through harming others.

An Oprah episode today, covering an abusive husband situation, noted that more than 50% of marriages today are abusive relationships. This is under the understanding that “abuse” includes sexual, physical, and verbal abuse.

It is sad.

Though I do not have a number, I feel safe in saying the majority of this abuse is suffered by females. And also, not having a statistic, I am willing to say a majority of this abuse comes from a desire for control in the relationship from a male.

I have had the experience of working one-on-one with clients who have been at the receiving hand of domestic abuse. I have heard stories of some of the most horrific sexual abuse/rape cases, as well as some demoralizing physical abuse. Not to mention lives that were filled with continuous expression of verbal hatred and belittling.

Victims of domestic violence are for sure in a tough situation. Granted, living with the physical and emotional pains of the abuse can seem unbearable, but include the difficulty in getting out of the situation into the puzzle and one’s view may seem hopeless.

In an advising position, I struggle with the thoughts of knowing what to even say.

How do you tell a woman who is being beat day in and day out by her husband/fiancé/boyfriend to just leave when she has no other place of shelter to go to? How do you tell her to run away when she has no money for herself? How do you tell her to go hide from her attacker when he has threatened to hurt her family if she ever left him?

Often times the fear of leaving is more frightening than the thoughts of the up-coming punches. One would more readily deal with the pain of the actual abuse than the fears of their “where to go,” the “what about my family,” the “what about money,” etc. In some cases the abused individual has carefully weighed these options, but resorted to staying in the relationship because of the “safety” (as oxymoronic as it may sound) that the situation provides.

But what’s even sadder is when the victim in the controlled relationship is so vulnerable that she denies her own self-worth to the extent of believing she is deserving of this type of abuse. It’s when this woman being abused believes she is nothing without her abuser. When she believes she can not live without the controller. It is then, that the controller has reigned to complete and ultimate power. It is then that he has the ability to turn the game on and off, so to say.

How can a situation get to this point? What does a victim believe that allows her to feel needy of the control? What does a controller do to achieve this sense of complete control?

To answer those I share with you this story. The words of how a controlling relationship works—how it’s experienced. And more importantly, the understanding of what a controlled woman in a relationship must understand to be able to be released…

I wish you didn’t love me. I wish you’d make this easy. It was love that caught me; now it's fear that keeps me with you. I want to be by your side, so I can close my eyes to the growing emptiness inside that kills me when I'm with you.

You try to break me. Try to hate me, so you can fall out of love. You want to make me believe that I'm crazy. That I'm nothing with out you.

I feel you in my shadow. My heart feels cold and hollow. No matter where I run I see, your eyes always follow me. You try to hold me—try to own me; keeping something that's not yours. You want to make me, believe that I'm crazy. Make me think that you're the cure.

It's unbelievable, but I believed you. Unforgivable, but I forgave you. Insane what love can do; that keeps me coming back to you. You're irreplaceable, but I'll replace you. Now I'm standing on my own—alone.

You're still haunting me, in my sleep. You're all I see, but I can't go back. Cause I know it's wrong for us to go on, and I'm growing strong, to confront my fears.

Amazing! Utterly amazing, in my opinion. I do not believe a therapist could describe the situation of what is happening to a victim and what she must be able to see to “get out” any better than that!

That’s it. That’s honestly it to a tee, in what I would say is probably 90-95% of controlling relationships.

It is when a victim can view her situation in a view such as that, that she is believed to have had a full-fledged full-circle moment. When she can see what her controller is doing to her—distorting her beliefs, causing her to feel as she is—she can begin to “stand on [her] own.”

It’s a beautiful thing! Seeing a victim come to these realizations!

The parts bolded in the story I bolded to emphasize the most important realizations, in my opinion, that once the victim can see these, the enlightenment has begun. These are the most important keys to being able to “be released.”

Whether it is a marriage, a long-lasting dating experience, or even a newly found romantic relationship, control issues can be present. It is when the issues escalate to a level of interfering with someone’s ability to function on his/her own that considerations need to be reviewed…

…does one continue to play the game, or turn it off?

[Note: the “story” mentioned above in smaller italicized font is the lyrics from the Kaci Brown song entitled Unbelievable. While I have extreme amounts of respect for this song and the power and brilliance of its lyrics, I prefer not to display song lyrics in my blog entries in the typical form of “song lyrics”—as in stanzas with a preface announcing “song lyrics.” If you are interested in why this is, you can ask, but for now, I will save the blog entry space end with this.]

Monday, April 17, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 14 – Alone: Fifty-three Years in Space

I was in love once. I think love is a bit of heaven. When I was in love I thought about that girl so much I felt like I was going to die and it was beautiful, and she loved me, too, or at least she said she did, and we were not about ourselves, we were about each other, and that is what I mean when I say being in love is a bit of heaven. When I was in love I hardly thought of myself; I thought of her and how beautiful she looked and whether or not she was cold and how I could make her laugh.

That must be a really cool feeling. Someday I might be able to say I know what he’s talking about, but until then, I just marvel at the idea of something being able to put in a position where I will “hardly [think] of myself.” HA! ;)


When you live on your own for a long time, however, your personality changes because you go so much into yourself you lose the ability to be social, to understand what is and isn’t normal behavior. There is an entire world inside yourself, and if you let yourself, you can get so deep inside it you will forget the way to the surface. Other people keep our souls alive, just like food and water does with our body.

Fortunately, I can say I’ve never gotten to the point of living on my own enough to lose the ability to be social. That is a sad thought all in it’s self to me. People bring me energy—extrovert.

I totally agree—“Other people keep our souls alive,”—because we are social creatures. I think the ability one person has to touch another person’s life is so amazing! It is the lives we touch, and the lives that have touched us, that play a large role in defining our state of being.


Sometimes when I go to bed at night or when I first wake up in the morning, I talk to my pillow as if it were a woman, a make-believe wife. I tell her I love her and that she’s a beautiful wife and all. I don’t know if I do this because I am lonely or not. Tuck says I do this because I am horny. He said loneliness is real painful, and I will know it when I feel it. I think it is interesting that God designed people to need other people.

I think it’s funny that Donald Miller uses that story to get to the point of “I think it is interesting that God designed people to need other people.” Really pretty random, but it works though I guess.

But all in all, yes, we “need” one another.

I truly believe it goes beyond our need for one another because we “are social creatures.” Yes, we need interactions with one another to fulfill our social desires, but I believe we need one another for more in life.

One of my underlying beliefs that I have that helps guide my life is the belief that we are all here to help each other out. I do not think we could make it alone, even as independent and self-sufficient and proud we might seem to be—talking to myself on this one! I truly believe we need one another in this life for survival purposes.


My friend Laura at Reed tells me that half the guys she knows have had crushes on Emily Dickinson. She says it is because Emily was brilliant and yet not threatening, having lived under the thumb of her father so long. She thinks the reason guys get crushes on Emily Dickinson is because Emily is an intellectual submissive, and intellectual men fear the domination of women.

This is interesting to me; almost to the point that I do not get it, really.

I think we are all pretty aware of the fact that I struggle in the guy department, and the exact reason for that, well, I wouldn’t doubt we could all come up with several theories, as I know I have my list worth. But one thing I have had put before me, even by a male himself, was the idea that I can come off as an intimating female. Exactly what that means, I don’t know, but whatever it means, it is apparently encouraging my lack of men in my life…HA!

As for “intellectual men fear the domination of women” I can admit my interest is typically in intellectual men. As my friend once put it, “you would have to have a smart guy, otherwise you’d get bored.” HA! Whatever the case, I suppose if my “intimating” manner comes off as “dominating” it is also affecting my luck with getting an intellectual guy…HA!

…just doing some deductive reasoning…HA!


Penny says it is when they are in their twenties that people lose their minds.



Stacy says this story is how he imagines hell, a place where a person is completely alone, without others and without God…And what is sad, what is very sad, is that we are proud people, and because we have sensitive egos and so many of us live our lives in front of our television, not having to deal with real people who might hurt us or offend us, we float along on our couches like astronauts moving aimlessly through the Milky Way, hardly interacting with other human beings at all.

Yes, living completely alone would for sure be like hell.

As for the second point, it is unfortunate how we are becoming more and more of a society that limits our human interactions. Day by day new products and services are being provided that allow us to limit our human contact.

I truly believe this can lead to more problems than before, and I bring it back to the point made by Donald Miller earlier about how the more time we spend alone, the more likely we are to forget how to be social and interact with one another. With this being the case, when we are required to interact with another being, after limited interactions in the past, things can become more complicated when social skills are being forgotten or even limited. I guess it goes back to the old saying…

…practice makes perfect.


Rick told me, a little later, I should be living in community. He said I should have people around bugging me and getting under my skin because without people I could not grow—I could not grow in God, and I could not grow as a human.

From my beliefs shared through out this passage already, I think it goes without saying that I truly believe we are the essence of encouraging growth in one another. Like I said, I think “we are all here to help each other out.” And if my competing with you to encourage your growth is what it takes, then so be it, but do not think that my growth is not occurring at the same time. But, of course, I do not think human competition is the only avenue for growth to occur. Also, as mentioned earlier, I believe the power of a human life touching another can motivate and encourage growth in so many ways.

We have mentors and role models in our lives that encourage our growth. We have many people we love who inspire us to grow. We can even have enemies that can push us to grow.

Growth is such a great thing!

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Saturday, April 15, 2006

If I Only Knew...

With a title as similar as this one is to my most previous entry, this post as the potential of less people actually reading. It’s very possible that people might come to view my blog and quickly glance at the top entry, see the title, and mistakenly think it is the post I wrote on April 11th...

…I’m perfectly fine with that.

Part of me wonders why I’m posting this in the first place, thinking it really doesn’t have a lot of relevance anyways, but the other part of me says I really need to post it because of the number of individuals who have approached me recently, expressing their concern.

While my previous post was in reference to what one knows about his/herself and the rest of the world does not know; this post is about what one does not know about one’s own self, nor does the rest of the world.


An instant message I got today read “I know something is bothering you, and I don't want to be pushy, but people have asked me what's wrong and we're worried about you...if you need anything, I’m here...”

Let’s sum it up in “what’s your deal?” for the sake of making it quicker to type and to say…

…and I can answer it is just as few words, “I don’t know.”

I’ve written recently about this state of being: here. Now, like then, I still am not able to put a finger on exactly what “my deal” is, but I’ve definitely become more aware of it this week, as has everyone else apparently…

…this week a co-worker made me stop working and face her as she asked me what was bothering me. To which I told her nothing, and she responded that I’m not a very good liar. So I tried a different response and said, “I don’t know, but if I figure it out and I think you can help me with it, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

This same co-worker had asked me what was up about a week ago too, and I told her nothing, to which she pretty much left me alone about it that time, but I on the other hand ended up getting frustrated about her having asked me that.

I carefully replayed everything in my head from that day to see if I had done ANYTHING at all rude to her, or complained to her, or taken out any aggression toward her, ANYTHING to give her reason to ask "what my deal was," and my thinking came up empty. With this being the case, it frustrated me that she was wondering what my deal was, if I hadn’t done anything “bad” to her.

Why can’t she just let me be? So, maybe I’m not as talkative or joking lately as I normally am, but I’m not being rude, I’m not refusing to talk when I’m spoken too. I answer questions that I’m asked, I just haven’t been initiating conversation much, but what does that matter?!

This had me frustrated. Why does it matter to people if I’m not “acting myself,” so as long as I’m not being rude to them, not complaining to them, and not refusing to do my part, whether that be work related or answering their questions they ask me or whatever?!

So then my aunt asked me. That same day at work, about a week ago, to which I, of course, replied, “nothing. I’m fine.” But it didn’t end there, as I had hoped, with my genuine sounding response…

This week she came into my room and brought it up again, “Is something bothering you, as you’ve seemed more distant and quieter lately? Are you mad at me? Is everything okay? Is school going okay?”

…my response of course needed to be different this time, so I spiced it up a bit, “No, I’m fine. No, I’m not mad at you. I’ve just been tired lately.”

And had the concerns only come from my co-workers and my aunt, this blog would not be being written right now.

As the instant message from today explained, it’s more of my friends too who have noticed “something.” So, I feel it’s only appropriate that I address these concerns the best I can at this time…

As for "what’s my deal," I wish I only knew…

I’m not one to really talk to people when I’m “dealing with something.” I pride myself in always handling things on my own, and figuring them out for myself. I don’t like to ask for help, typically. And while some are quick to want to talk to others when they are having a rough time, I normally do not go that route. I suppose maybe I do become “distant and quiet” in a sense. I do not necessarily see distance and quietness as a negative thing, as it can simply mean one’s taking pleasure in the idea of being alone and able to think things out on one’s own. The problem for me comes when all that time spent alone and thinking never seems to come to a conclusion. All the thinking is like a massive research project that can’t be concluded because the researcher can’t come to a conclusion.

I think the most frustrating and almost embarrassing part of this all for me is the fact that I just do not know what is “wrong” with me right now. I honestly don’t know what my deal is.

It’s frustrating because it is hard to fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is in the first place. It’s embarrassing because of a pride issue: I should know what my own deal is, not just because it is me, myself, but because this is what I’m trained to do in my educational field. I should be able to look at the symptoms, give the “problem” a name, and know exactly what I need to do to “be better.” And what should make it even EASIER is the fact that I should know the cause since it is me, myself, rather than having to dig and assess the client to figure it out.

I mean in all my “thinking” lately I’ve been able to see most all the symptoms rather clearly, and my knowledge based on the symptoms points directly to depression…

…lack of pleasure in previously pleasurable activities…
…lack of motivation…
…blunted mood…
…sleep problems…

They seem pretty obvious to me as depression symptoms, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what has me depressed. THIS is where I become frustrated. How can I be depressed and not have a reason for it? It’s one thing if I have a history of depression, but I do not. It’s like this feeling has up and come out of no where recently and I have NO CLUE as to what has brought it about.

I realize that you can not always pinpoint depression to a single cause, as we covered that thoroughly in my class this semester, but I should have an inkling as to what could have brought it on--having not ever had a history of depression and all.

So here I sit. Not knowing what my deal is. Everyone is asking. Everyone is concerned. And the best I can do is sustain my dignity through hoping they’ll buy the response of “nothing.”

This week things have seemed to be more frustrating with "my deal..."

Early in the week I had a confusing situation with some friends, and that had me frustrated, confused, and upset.

Wednesday night I had a rough night in finding out for sure that my friend from STL was avoiding me, when I finally gave in and tried calling her once again (after having restrained from trying to communicate with her for a couple months). I decided to use the house phone to attempt to contact her, as it has a different area code from my cell phone, figuring she wouldn’t recognize the number and possibly answer. I was right, as she answered with a “hello” to which I responded her name, paused for the brief period of silence, only to repeat her name once again, to which the return response was a click of the phone. I was hung-up on...

The latter part of this week I lost interest in even talking to people on AIM.

Wednesday night and Thursday I ignored instant messages I received. Many of which I simply just “Xed” them out. I did choose to respond and talk to one person Thursday evening, after staring at their IM for a few minutes and then giving in and writing back. And if it wasn’t you who I wrote back to, please do not take it personally; as it had nothing to do with who you are, it was just that I was not in a talking mood. And actually, if I told you who it was that I decided to talk too, most of you wouldn’t believe me anyways…HA!

Friday wasn’t much different, as I really only IMed with two people that evening as I had to talk to them to tell them I was bailing on going out for the evening with them as I just didn’t really feel up to it. However, I will report that that night I did feel more like "my usual self" as I found myself messing with my cousin at one point—bear hugging him and laughing as I was dragging him across the room—and I gave in and dyed a few Easter eggs with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins too that night. I even cracked a few of my jokes and had them laughing. It was like I was trying to be my old self—though I think it was me given forth the effort in hopes that my aunt would think things were “back to normal” so she wouldn’t ask me again "what my deal" was. HA!

So, what do I say?

Though I don’t really like being asked “what my deal is” since it frustrates me because I, myself, don’t know what my deal is; I do feel blessed in knowing that I am asked and my friends are expressing their concern only because they care—not to frustrate me.

I wish I only knew, so I could not only give my concerned friends a better, and more genuine answer, but also so I could go about “fixing” whatever my deal is, so I could get back to my “normal” self.

In all honestly, this me, is not a me I enjoy being.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

If They Only Knew…

[NOTE: This blog entry was not written with ANYONE specific in mind.]

It’s amazing the secrets we can keep. Some big, some little. Some probably wouldn’t change anything if they were told, and some would change things if they were told. Some legal, some illegal. Some healthy, some unhealthy.

With so many secrets, one can never seem to stop learning about one another…

Couples who have lived 50 plus years together can still learn something new about their spouse that they never knew before. Secrets that have been kept for years can emerge out of no where, especially on deathbeds.

The secret can be an event of the past, a belief one has, a continuing behavior one takes part in, etc. There is always SOMETHING that is kept secret, even from those we claim to be the closest with in our journey through life.

So why do we keep these secrets? Is it that we are ashamed? Do we view the event or behavior as a “fault” of ours? Was it a “failure” we had not expected and still have yet to let go of? Could it be that we think it would not achieve the acceptance from others, therefore we mark it as being viewed as a “disappointment?” Or maybe it just “upsets” us to even think about and/or relive the event, so we choose to not talk about it, thus keeping it a secret.

Life provides us with so many different situations in which we are expected to behave in one of a few “appropriate” manners, and it is when we deviate from those manners, and we venture to behave in what society would view as an “inappropriate” manner, that we are faced with an event of the past where we have to choose whether to admit to it, or hide it. It is when we choose to hide it that the so called “secrets” develop.

So if we don’t publicly admit to the events and behaviors of the past, is it impossible to learn from them? Of course not. We can learn from our actions of the past and hopefully choose not to behave in that manner again, should the circumstances arise, but this is not always the case.

Sometimes our “secrets” are behaviors we continually partake in, however, in undisclosed manners. Even if we choose to continue with this behavior on multiple occasions, it does not necessarily mean we do not view it as a “fault/failure/disappointment.” Maybe we do, maybe we don’t. Maybe we do not necessarily see it as “bad,” but we are aware of the stigma society places on it, which in turn influences us to hide it. Yet still, there are some continuous behaviors we have that we ourselves view as a “fault/failure/disappointment,” but we are unable to control the impulses due to lack of coping strategies. It is then that help should be sought out, because it is that person who is aware of their struggle, just ill-informed on how to overcome it, who is the best candidate, so to say, for seeking professional help.

We all have secrets. I’ve recently been reminded cognitively of some “secrets” I have from when I was a young kid growing up. I look back on them now and think of how immature I was then and I could have probably gotten in a lot of trouble for them back then, had they ever been “revealed,” but I can say I have learned through my years of maturing from those mistakes of the past. I do not talk of these events, as I can not think of anyone I have ever shared them with, but they are still there. Does this make me less of a person or inferior to anyone else? I do not believe so. Would people think differently of me if they knew my “secrets?” That’s possible, but would it change the person I am today, if others knew about them? No.

With my examples, they were specific events that took place in my past—so they are not continual behaviors I deal with today and keep secret, so in cases like that, it is easy to keep the secret, especially if NO one else was involved in the event. It could be a secret that is kept till the grave, should one choose too. And if the secret was a one-time-event, and you have learned from it and have come to peace within yourself about it, it is very possible that no one will ever find out about it, no matter how close they should come to you. However, it is when one has not been able to come to peace with their short-comings of the past, that they can resurface, or in other words, cause us to still dwell on them in the future, possibly leaving us in a state of a distraught nature. It is then, that it is possible for others to get close enough to know that “something” is bothering us, enough that it is affecting our functioning—whether that be our daily functioning, or functioning of a specific nature, such as in a romantic relationship, in a friendship, in a job situation, etc.

It is then, when others begin to notice a “strain” or a sense of a distraught nature, that we have “shown” our secret in the sense that one might become curious as to the nature of the “strain.”

What makes you so uncomfortable with being physically close to another person? What makes you unable to look at a young child without a sense of hesitation? It is then that people begin to question…

With events of the past that are “secrets,” I recommend seeking advising (and no, I do not say that simply because it is my soon to be profession). I say it because of this…

If it is a situation that one feels so uncomfortable about it, that they have chosen to not share it with even the people they are the closest too, and one has been unable to “overcome it,” so to say, on their own, a fear could still exist for the individual. This fear could be that of which I just described earlier—a fear of people being able to note a sense of “strain” in your character, possibly leading to questioning, causing one to feel a sense of discomfort as they struggle to preserve their “secret.” The key to seeking “help” in a situation like this is the idea that a professional is someone you do not have to worry about their judgment of your “secret” affecting a relationship you have. Meaning, you most likely do not have plans to preserve a friendship or a romantic relationship with your therapist, or for that matter, you probably wouldn’t even have to ever see that individual again after you hopefully “overcome” your “secret,” therefore leaving the individual who you “let in” on your secret totally out of the picture in your life in the future.

It is easy to think, “why would I want to tell a total stranger about a deep dark secret that I have, when I won’t even tell the people I love the most about it?!” To that I say this: many times it is the ones that we love the most—the ones we are the closest to—that we fear “disappointment” and judgment from the most. It is the ones we look up too that we do not want to know about our “failures.” Many times we can be satisfied with our “faults,” but we do not want others to be aware of them for fear that they will view us as our “faults” and “failures.”

So what about our “secret” that is a continuous behavior?

Believe it or not, I would be willing to bet some of your closest friends have continual behavior “secrets” you have NO idea about! Day after day I learn of more and more “secrets” I was never aware of, and they were practically in my backyard.

Think of your closest and best friend. Now just imagine him/her cutting their self. Imagine them stepping out during a movie to “use the bathroom,” only to return with a less full stomach. Or maybe he/she doesn’t sleep much at night because they are too busy feeding their impulsive urges for internet porn…

Maybe you are right in saying, “my best friend does not do any of those, nor would he/she ever;” but maybe you just don’t know…

It is these types of continual behavior “secrets” that are more prevalent than we would ever guess. Eating disorders, self-mutilation (cutting one’s self or causing other bodily harm to one’s self), porn addictions, sex addictions, etc.—behaviors such as these, that are taught in our society to be behaviors that are to be kept to one’s self. Because of the “secretive” nature of these behaviors, one is very careful and selective should they choose to reveal their behavioral existences to someone, if anyone at all. And as society continually teaches us that these types of behaviors are a “flaw” in our character, or a “disappointment” to our existence, we will continue to hide them, especially from those that we care the most about how they view us.

So up to this point, all the sorts of “secrets” that have been referenced have been given the generalizing impression of “big secrets.” “Big secrets” meaning they would be viewed as a big deal to the person who is keeping the secret, as well as, those who the secret is being kept from; however, all secrets are not of this nature. Obviously, all secrets are a “big deal” to the person keeping it secret, or else they would not choose to keep it as a secret in the first place, but what about “secrets” that truly would not be a big deal to those who are having the “secret” kept from them?

It is possible, that what I choose to keep as a secret because I fear it would be viewed as a disappointment might not be viewed that way after all? Maybe I view a “weakness” of mine as a “character flaw,” when it just so happens that those who I’m the closest too have the same “flaw” so to say. God forbid I find out it isn’t as “bad” as I thought.

But maybe my best friend doesn’t have this same “weakness.” Maybe it just so happens to be a strength of his/hers, so I do my best to keep it a “secret.” But aren’t we all aware of the fact that not a one of us is perfect? We can not possibly have a “strength” without something to be weaker than it, otherwise it would not be able to be considered a “strength” in the first place (this being since “strength” and “weakness” are terms of comparison). I suppose it comes down to our reasoning for choosing to keep this “weakness” or self-defined “fault” top secret.

What makes me not want others to know about a certain characteristic of mine, or a behavior of mine? Is it that I, myself, view it as a disappointment, or really more that I feel it would be a disappointment to others? If it is the latter, it is based on assumptions and expectations. It is possible that the expectations I feel others have for me can be so overbearing that I fear ANY short-coming, therefore causing me to hide any unsatisfactory mark. A lifestyle defined in that manner, for sure makes for a tough way to live. Or, maybe it just comes down to expectations I have for myself. Maybe I feel anything short of what I expect is unsatisfactory, therefore causing me to feel ashamed of my missed expectations, so I hide them.

There are so many possibilities, all of which can lead us to hiding from others information that is tied to us.

So what is it we do with a life infested with “secrets?” Often times we choose not to “let people in.” We fear letting someone get close, because too close could reveal our “secrets,” and should our “secrets” get revealed, we could be judged in a manner we see as unfit. So we continue as if there is nothing to do but to keep the “secrets” and adjust to our way of living where we do not allow people to get close enough to get a sense of the undisclosed. Because it is then, then when we feel violated—in the sense that we feel someone is getting too close to a “secret”—that we shut them out. It is definitely a tough life to sustain, especially if the “secret” or “secrets” are continual in the nature that we can’t possibly overcome the thoughts of them if they keep occurring.

Basically, in the end, we all have “secrets.” Some secrets for what most of us would consider to be good reasons to be “secret,” but still others that possibly only we our self have what we believe to be good reason for keeping them secret.

I end with this. A great point shared with me by a mentor of mine. Dr. Trevathan once said that EVERYONE has a "closet" in their life. The “closet” being stuff you are ashamed of or information you choose to keep secret. We all have different contents in our "closets" but we all have them. Now, just think about your "closet" and imagine who you would want standing there if your "closet" should get kicked open. Just think about it. Do you have people in your life that you could trust with the contents of your "closet"? If so, you should really treasure those individuals in your life that you would trust guarding your "closet". And though none of us would want our "closet" kicked open, it could happen. So think about it…

Do you have people in your life that you could trust with the contents of your "closet"?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 13 – Romance: Meeting Girls is Easy

Here’s a tip I’ve never used: I understand you can learn a great deal about girldom by reading “Pride and Prejudice,” and I own a copy, but I have never read it. I tried. It was given to me by a girl with a little note inside that read: “What is in this book is the heart of a woman.” I am sure the heart of a woman is pure and lovely, but the first chapter of said heart is hopelessly boring.

Hmmm…I’ve never heard that before; nor have I ever read Pride and Prejudice (but I think we might have had to watch it in an English class in high school—not that I remember paying any attention to it). I suppose if it is apparently “the heart of a woman,” I might need to read it and see if my heart is in the right place…HA!

I’m sure some of y’all out there have read it, seeing as it is a classic and all. Do you agree? Is it what you would call “the heart of a woman?”


I kept talking with my stupid mouth. I told her that love, or what we call love, is mostly teamwork and that, quite possibly, I would get a crush on another woman after I had been married for a while. I also mentioned that my wife might become attracted to another man. The stuff that attracts us to other people doesn’t shut down just because we walk down the aisle, I said. I was going on like this, being a realist and all, and I suspect I was saying stupid things like this because I have not read “Pride and Prejudice” because it turns out these ideas are not the keys to a woman’s heart. Julie believed that there was such a thing as true love and she would be in love with her mate forever and that he would be in love with her forever too.

I think there is two good points from that passage…

…one. I know all about saying the wrong things at the wrong time. HA! It isn’t necessarily that they are “stupid” things, because honestly, I think he made a great point there (which is my soon to come point number two), but honestly, that probably was not a good place to bring up that point, being a first or second date with this girl. HA!

He was probably nervous and knew he had to converse. I get like that. When I am nervous and know I’m supposed to be saying something, I say some of the most “not fitting” things sometimes. HA! I’ve always been so much better at putting points and thoughts into written words, rather than spoken words. If you haven’t noticed sometime, try to catch me in a “you are supposed to say something” situation, when I’m nervous—but just don’t laugh…HA!

…two. Miller is so right. Just because “we walk down the aisle” does not mean we will no longer see people who we are attracted too. If and when I ever get married, I’m pretty sure Tim McGraw will not suddenly turn into the Hunchback of Notre Dame, with the ring of my “I do.” I suppose if that were the case, weddings might be a lot more interesting to go to. You would never know what would happen to people in the wedding party and the audience with the pronouncing of husband and wife. HA!

There is no doubt that myself and my spouse will still find people who are attractive, whether it is by looks or personality, following our vows. But I suppose what is not typically spoken of in the vows is the art of discipline that comes with a marriage. I guess it is then that we are expected to be disciplined enough to no longer act on our attracted desires. Circumstantially, this can be easy or difficult for one person to the next. This might possibly be one of our largest disciple tests we as a society are faced with.


I think if you like somebody you have to tell them. It might be embarrassing to say it, but you will never regret stepping up. I know from personal experience, however, that you should not keep telling a girl that you like her after she tells you she isn’t into it. You should not keep riding your bike by her house either.

Been there…

Done that…

Did not, and still don’t, regret it…

…didn’t ride my bike by his house though.
[the above statement was made for clarification purposes only]


I’ve had about fifty people tell me that I fear intimacy. And it is true. I fear what people will think of me, and that is the reason I don’t date very often. People really like me a lot when they only know me a little, but I have this great fear that if they knew me a lot they wouldn’t like me. That is the number one thing that scares me about having a wife because she would have to know me pretty well in order to marry me and I think if she got to know me pretty well she wouldn’t like me anymore.

That interesting to me. It isn’t really that I feel like I feel that way, but I know I’ve heard that said—or something to the extent of that—a lot. And though a first thought might be that someone is putting on a different act, not being their true self at first, which might be why many might be attracted to them initially, but that really does not have to be the case (though it could be, in some cases).

While not in a lot of my peer interactions, in a lot of my interactions with individuals who are older than me, I find myself slower at warming up to people, so to say. With this being the case, it is easy to see that I could come off one way at first to people, but later been viewed as someone totally different.

I think also, a lot of times we choose not to share some of our more vulnerable characteristics, so to say, to people until we are closer to them. And while this of course makes perfect sense, it leaves us with the thought of “what might this person think of me when they find out this bit of information?” And though some might disagree, I think the thoughts we have following our thought of that question all depend on the level of self-esteem we possess.


My best friend, Paul, married my friend Danielle. People change when they get married, it is true. Danielle was a fiery feminist when she married Paul; now she isn’t so much a feminist, or at least she isn’t active. She is very much in love with him, and he with her. Sometimes, when I am visiting them, they grab each other’s butts as if I am not even in the room. It’s embarrassing. People shouldn’t grab each other’s butts with me sitting there in the room.

I quote all of that to say this…

…people really shouldn’t “grab each other’s butts” when someone else is sitting in the room…

…unless, I suppose, there happens to be another couple sitting in the room, and then it just becomes a situation of a competitive nature.


Paul is the only person I know who is completely comfortable in his own skin, completely true in what he says. He is what they call a true person. “You know, Don, marriage is worth the trade. You love all your freedom, but you get this friend. This incredible friend.”

I wondered about that when he said it. The idea of marriage is remarkably frightening to me for precisely this reason: the loss of freedom.

Ah…people who are completely comfortable in their own skin. Those types of people truly are a breath of fresh air. It can be encouraging and motivating just being around people like that. People who are honest with themselves and others about who they are. People who do not have to question how they will be or act in a particular situation because they just naturally act as them self.

As for the incredible friend you get with marriage…

…I’ll let you know when I find him.

As for losing freedom when one gets married. That is kind of scary I suppose, but I do not see why a married couple can not still respect one another’s needs for a sense of freedom in a lot of areas. Unless I am simply being misinformed, I am under the impression that ALL freedom is not lost with “I do.”

I think what interests me the most is the idea of how once individuals seem to suddenly be given the most freedom they have ever had, they are so quick to want to restrict it…

Why is it that when we get our freedom by leaving home for college, so many have the desire to lose the freedom again by getting married immediately? Maybe extreme freedom and independence can be overwhelming for some. Just a thought.


“We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people,” Paul says. “That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.”

As unfortunate as that is, I think it is pretty true in most cases. Depending on our past history of being loved, our view of whether we can be loved by others or not is formed. And not only that, but I think the situations that elicit the love and types of love can be influencing in different ways. Because when one might have had a “terrible break-up” with a past boyfriend/girlfriend, or have always found him/herself in situations with abusive boyfriends/girlfriends, this lack of rejection of love, or neglect of love, can be more influential on some individuals than say love from friends or family members.

Love can be a powerful thing…

…in so many ways.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Today Was Amazing...and I'm not even a lesbian...'ll understand the title in a minute...

Today was quite possibly one of my most FAVORITE days in my educational career which has spanned over some 19.5 years. And what is so ironic about it, is I didn't even have a single class today, but I still spent the entire day, from 9 AM till 8:30 PM in a lecture hall at my school.

Today I chose to take the day off from work to attend a LGBT Symposium. For those unaware, LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender individuals. And also, for those unaware, symposium basically means a workshop/seminar (I say that, because honestly, I had no idea what that word meant, nor how to even pronounce it until yesterday...HA!)

This was basically a first time event for our program to put a symposium of this nature together, so it was free to students and faculty and staff (normally workshops of such nature you have to pay to attend and C.E.U.'s are offered and such). When I orignally heard about this symposium going to occur a few months back, I was interested, but it wasn't until two days ago when I got a copy of the agenda that I was really interested.

Here is a basic copy of the schedule:

9-10 AM Introduction; purpose of the symposium, NASW code of ethics in relation to LGBTs; policy issues

10-10:50 AM Spirituality and LGBT (it was a panel of 4 speakers)

11-11:50 AM Preparing to Disclose to Parents and Questions Parents Have

12:30-2 PM Pizza and a Movie (we watched a documentary called Finding Our Voice: the Gay and Lesbian Community in Dallas)

2:15-3:20 PM Avenues for Providing Support: families, schools, peers (it was a panel of 4 speakers)

3:30-5 PM Transgender Overview and Issues (it was a panel of 3 speakers)

6-8:30 PM A Dialogue with the LGBT Community (it was a panel of 4 speakers)

I had the opportunity to stay for the whole program and each part had it's benefits, but honestly, the panels were my personal favorites, as they were AMAZING! Hearing stories of near suicide attempts, stories of fear, stories of wanting to change--personal accounts are powerful, my friends!

Honestly, I can't really write about this experience right now, as I am still taking it all in and getting off the high I have from the day. I honestly was so intrigued, especially by the trans-gender panel, as that is a topic I am very unfamiliar with and have had very minimal exposure to--and Jerry Springer does not count! HA!

I plan to blog more about this experience soon. Maybe as soon as tomorrow, but then part of me really wonders if I have the ability to put the day in words and even do it justice, as the power of a personal account is hard to capture in written words, especially when it isn't your story, so I'll see what I can do for you (assuming any interest even exists...HA!).

I can almost bet at this point, if an individual with the name starting with Elli- and ending with -son, even began reading this post entry, she is not still reading by this point, as I know where she seems to stand on talking about this subject nowadays. And while we might differ on that, I still love her and for those who might talk to her, they can tell her I still love her! ;)

For anyone else, I honestly would love to hear where some of my friends and other fellow alums of my alma mater stand on this topic--including whether or not they even seem to have any interest at all about it, because it seems more and more I'm finding people from my alma mater do not even want to discuss this topic, as it is not a lifestyle they want to give any support towards (through the mere action of even discussing it). And while I've had the opportunity to discuss it with some of my friends, with some I haven't. And I think many choose not to talk much about it, but if you're interested let me know sometime, because I'm interested. And please don't think just because you think your view and mine will differ that I don't want to hear from you, or that I will try to argue with you, because I highly doubt that will be the case.

I want to end with the email I just wrote to one of the professors in my masters program, who happened to be my past internship advisor. She was on the planning committee for the symposium today.

I just wanted to share with you my appreciation for the LGBT Symposium today.

As a member of the heterosexual community, today’s experience was a MUCH appreciated opportunity for me. Unfortunately, many heterosexuals like myself do not get the type of exposure, or even the “look” into the LGBT community that today provided the opportunity for.

For me, coming from a private religious undergraduate education, talk about the LGBT community was rather restricted unfortunately. I do not say that in anyway to discredit my alma mater, as I believe I got an amazing education there too; however, the topic of homosexuality just was not covered as well as I would have liked—just as there are some topics I wish were covered better in our masters program (no school is perfect). With this being the case, I was intrigued by today’s discussions. And while I like to view myself as a pretty accepting person, it never hurts to hear personal stories from individuals who are from a different “group” from you, in order to get a better understanding to aid in one’s acceptance. Otherwise, as Dr. P referenced today, self-perceived “acceptance” might possibly just be a case of tolerance.

I think in the social work field as we find ourselves (or in a helping profession in general), understanding that each person we encounter is totally unique is importance. And with that being the case, it is important that we are reminded of the importance of hearing the personal accounts and stories, just as closely as we like to hear the statistics and the “cold-hard facts.” Because of this, I greatly appreciated that today was more of a day of hearing the stories of what life is actually like when living as a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or trans-gendered person, rather than it being more of a day of “school” where it was “here are all the statistics and what the journals say about LGBT’s and here are the facts.”

In my many years of my education career, I can honestly say this was one of my most favorite learning experiences, even though I can’t sit down and write you a list of all the “facts” I learned today. Having had the opportunity to be in attendance for the whole symposium, I can honestly say the panel discussions were amazing and greatly appreciated!

Thanks again for this opportunity!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Something’s been different. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but things have just seemed different for a few months now.

Some have used the term “quarter-life crisis,” but I don’t know, if that is the thought of myself and the others being nearly 25 years old, research tells us that we will average approximately 75 years, therefore making this “a third-life crisis.” But since we really don’t know how long our existence might be, we can call it a “mid-life crisis” as far as we know…

Maybe it’s as my one friend recently said to me when I had asked her if she had noticed me acting differently lately or not really seeming myself. She said maybe I’m just growing up...

I don’t know. I mean in if that’s it, I haven’t really “grown-up” in the professional sense yet, as I am still doing the school thing, even though it is at a different level than in the past. But I suppose I’m doing the part-time work and school thing, so that is slightly different.

The friend also mentioned maybe it could have come from my recent professional experience from my internship; and I suppose that could be too…

Then I’ve had the thought, well maybe it’s hormones. I’ve had a friend, who is slightly older, recently tell me that it was around my age—25 or 26—that she began to have different reactions to her menstrual cycle causing her to be more moody and cranky around that time. Maybe if that is what the deal is, I will finally be out of what my uncle recently has called “puberty,” for which my face will be very grateful…HA!

I don’t know. Maybe I am just getting older. Maybe I’m feeling more stressors and responsibilities than I have in the past, though I’m not real sure exactly what they are at the moment.

I’ve also heard from someone else recently that the age they dreaded the most and became the most depressed about hitting was 25 years old (and this individual is 52 years old now). He said he wasn’t sure why, but for some reason, he had a hard time handling turning 25.

Oh joy…

And while I’m not real sure what the difference and reasoning behind it has been lately, I know that things have just seemed different from normal.

Some things are external. Like when considering my car and travel for example. Recently I have gotten my first traffic ticket, gotten my first flat tire, and just this week experienced my first time, out of hundreds of trips (yes, it is that many, I just did some quick math), of missing my schedule for dropping off my little cousins for school because of traffic issues—which of course I had no control over, but still.

Then personally things have seemed different. I just haven’t felt my normal state of no-stress, no-worries self lately. I don’t seem as laidback and “whatever.” I feel as if I’m letting a lot more bother me nowadays that normally I wouldn’t. I have felt as if things that normally I wouldn’t give a second thought too are coming back for second, third, or even fourth reminders to my mind making me become frustrated about it, when normally I just wouldn’t care.

But besides those, it isn’t necessarily all negative differences. Other areas have just seemed different, or maybe I’ve just been more noticing of some things.

It has seemed as if recently more and more of my friends are coming to me out of trust and telling me things that they have only shared with a few other people. I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve heard, “well, I haven’t really told many people (if any) about this yet, but…” I’ve discussed everything from therapy issues, sexual orientation issues, issues between close friends, future schooling plans, future career plans, moving plans, and other topics with friends who have asked for my trust in keeping our discussion between the two of us. And in each conversation I have kept a promise of confidentiality.

While I have looked at this “difference” as an honor, one in which I feel good knowing my friends trust talking to me about such topics, I feel as if this is occurring more and more frequently, making it a difference. But once again, I’m not sure; maybe I’m just becoming more aware to it now than before.

But still other differences have seemed to be. I’ve felt more open about and “okay” with different people knowing who I truly am. I suppose this is more in reference to certain people reading my blog. I mean we all go through the initial shock of finding out certain people read, or have been reading our blogs (which is funny in the first place, because you would think when we decided to make a blog we would have been aware of the fact that they could possibly be reading it since it IS out there for the public). And still, once we find out about them being among the reading audience, we are still at first hesitant to write as we had been writing before our awareness of their “presence.” But I think what it really comes down to is a state of accepting our self for who we are and realizing that we really don’t have anything to hide, if that is who we are as a person.

So what? I might not be the person they thought I was, but I’m still who I am, whether they had a false impression or not. As long as I was never trying to be someone I wasn’t, then so be it that they have now been enlightened on my true identity and beliefs and values.

What’s reassuring is knowing that if you were always this person—the person that is being painted, perhaps with more detail than ever before in your blog—then though someone might have had a false impression of who you were based on their OWN wrong assumptions, then really, you in no way have changed, so hopefully they will be aware of that, and mature enough to still respect you and love you for who you have always been in the first place.

So I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just hit a bad luck streak with my car and driving lately, and maybe my hormones are doing some switching up real quick, and maybe I’m working in a reality internship scenario with my friends allowing me to work on my confidentiality issues. I don’t know. But I do get the impression that as much as this all seems “different” and not me, it seems it is not as out of the norm for this stage in my life as I originally thought—if you don’t believe me, talk to some other people around my age. I’m beginning to think that “different” would be feeling as your same ol’ self that you have been the past few years.

One Year Ago Today...

On March 27th, I was informed of my 10,000 visit to this website. And it was one year ago today that I placed the visit counter meter on this page, so it obviously hasn’t been on there since the beginning of this blog, as I have been blogging much longer than a year.

I actually have two visit counters on my blog. The original one from Blogpatrol was great, until I discovered Site Meter, which is now my favorite source of blog statistics! It keeps a lot more stats of interest than Blogpatrol, as well as seems to be a lot more sensitive to visits. I love statistics!

Originally I had planned to honor my 10,000 visitor on this blog entry, but I’m pretty sure I do not know who they were, as it was a visitor that clicked on my comment that I had left on a Mike Cope blog that day. The visit occurred around 10 PM that night and it was someone in Nashville, TN, so I suppose I’ll just give a shout-out to all my Nashville readers (which I know are more than Katey)…HA…gotta love Site Meter!

So, in honor of my one year celebration of tracking my visitors with Site Meter, I want to make note of a few points:

--I must say, it surprises me every time when I see on my stats that a link to my blog as been added on another person’s blog sidebar. It truly is a feeling of honor and for each of you who have taken the time to add my link to your list of links, I thank you!

--Second, on that same note, I want to thank some of my top referring blogs: Jackie Beth, JWalk, Katey, Nicole, and Sarah; however, I’m pretty sure most of them GET to my blog off their own blog, so it is very possible that all the visits I get from their blog is them, their selves! HA!

--Finally, it’s always reassuring to see that people do take the time to read my blogs. Most of my entries are long, I don’t deny it, but knowing that people read them, encourages me more and more to write, so thank you.

There’s no doubt that I do not have a visiting audience anywhere near that of some of “the great bloggers” like Mr. Mike Cope, but I am grateful for each reader that takes the time to stop in. While my entries are often something I write for my own good, I do hope to make some of my readers think as well. I take pride in challenging my own thinking and should I be able to challenge yours as well, it’s the icing on the cake! Besides that, if any of my entries have reached at least one person, possibly through bringing a smile to the face of a burnt-out employee, or a laugh to a student who wishes the day would just end, then success has been achieved through this website! It is a success like that which motivates my writing.

If you don’t have a visit counter on your blog, I do recommend them. A lot of people use them to track stalkers they have, or anonymous comments they get that might bother them. They are also intriguing just to use to see where some of your frequent visitors do come from—you know, the ones that only come to read and never leave comments! HA!

We’ve all done it—gone to someone’s blog and read several of their entries and refused to leave a comment because we do not want them to know we are one of their readers…HA! But I do welcome comments from all, so don’t shy away from commenting simply because you don’t want me to know you read my blog. It’s very possible that I know already, so you might not be fooling anyone—once again, gotta love Site Meter!

I can say, however, that I do have some frequent readers in a few areas that I’m still not positive as to whom they are: Flower Mound, TX; Carrollton, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Hereford, TX; & Plano, TX. The problem with a lot of these metroplex ones is that they could be so many different people, since I know several people around here. It’s like the Abilene, TX, visitors, ESPECIALLY all the “” IP addresses; could be one of MANY different people. HA!

So, while the statistics provided are helpful in many ways, they are just short of telling me one’s shoe size and type of deodorant one wears.

But I can say this much, if you have a visitor counter on your blog, it will for sure confirm to you that I check people’s blogs at least 10 times a day…HA! Honestly, I mean what else am I supposed to do during class, while instant messaging with people and waiting for them to respond back, when procrastinating on homework, etc.

Blessings on all my visiting readers during our next year together!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 12 – Church: How I Go Without Getting Angry

Here are the things I didn’t like about the churches I went to. First: I felt like people were trying to sell me Jesus.

I think the more you feel the need to sell your product, or in this case, your belief on someone, the more it means the product or belief isn’t enough on its own. If your religion does as much for you as you like to claim it does, a “new comer” should be able to see that from how you are living; they do not need to hear you tell them how much it can do for them minute after minute.

I get tired of the sale’s pitches, not only for a particular religion or denomination, but more specifically for a specific congregation. If it truly is about your religion and the belief in God and Jesus as the son of God, and that is not about one church versus another, then why should you care if I belong to your congregation or another congregation that is part of the same religion? It is too much about politics and wanting YOUR support for our congregation.

I’ve never been much for politics, so I’m still not going to go for it when it comes to religion too…


Only one more thing that bugged me, then I will shut up about it. War metaphor. The churches I attended would embrace war metaphor. They would talk about how we are in a battle, and I agreed with them, only they wouldn’t clarify that we were battling poverty and hate and injustice and pride and the powers of darkness. They left us thinking that our war was against liberals and homosexuals. Their teaching would have me believe I was the good person in the world and the liberals were the bad people in the world. Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good, and He wants to rescue us because there is a war going on and we are hostages in that war. The truth is we are supposed to love the hippies, the liberals, and even the Democrats, and that God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves. Anything short of this is not true to the teachings of Jesus.

There really is only one main sentence in that paragraph that I wanted to comment on, but I thought it was important to give the jist of the context from which it came. The sentence I think is interesting is:

Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good…

You know, in the midst of a time when people are so quick to say the way someone else is living is bad, it is important to remind ourselves that we are bad too then. Who is to say that a homosexual is any worse than you? We all have sin, so says the Bible, right? It is that sin that makes us “bad,” right?

Don’t get me wrong, we all have those times when we interact with someone or we just encounter someone that the thought crosses our mind that we are better than them. This happens, we are not perfect, and I can understand that. But what bothers me is when the thought becomes a belief or a standard in our life—that we are better than that other type or group of people. When we live day to day under the belief that democrats are bad, republicans are bad, homosexuals are bad, atheists are bad, blacks are bad, obese individuals are bad, etc, we are only clouding our own window for which we view this world in which we are living. Why not just view groups who are different from you as just that—different. Difference is not “bad.” Difference represents an opportunity to learn, and it is this learning experience that can enlighten each of us.


He said he was talking about loving people just because they exist—homeless people and Gothic people and gays and fruit nuts. And then I liked the sound of it. I like the idea of loving people just to love them, not to get them to come to church. If the subject of church came up, I could tell them about Imago, but until then, who cared. So we started praying every week that God would teach us to live missional lives, to notice people who needed to be loved.
[Note: Imago is the name of Donald Miller’s church he attends]

I like this. I think this goes right along with a post I just recently did about accepting and loving people simply because of the fact that they are human, just as you and me. Who cares if they are homeless—they might just have had more bad breaks in their life than you. Who cares if they are gay—they might just be viewing life through a different window than you. Who cares if they are atheist—they might just not be putting their heart and mind around the same ideas as you are.

What makes our interactions with others important is the love we can get and give from the interactions. Love can come in so many fashions and a mere sense of respect and acceptance can easily be shared.

Authenticity is an enormous value at Imago. I love this because by being true I am allowing people to get to know the real me, and it feels better to have people love the real me than the me I invented.

We all have either had times when we pretended to be whom we really are not, or we are current in situations or relationships where we are pretending to be people we are not, but whichever the case, it happens. Sometimes I believe it is need and drive for socialization and acceptance that influences us “try to fit in” when it means behaving/acting as a type of person that we are not.

It was just recently I heard someone say that so often people make comment to the idea that many times once people get married they see that their spouse is not the person they thought they were—things start to change. This was explained to me with the belief that many times people behave in dating relationships as the person they believe the significant others wants them to be. They want to be accepted and be who the other wants, so they do their best to be that “person,” rather than being truly their self. But then, once marriage occurs, the person begins to feel more safe and accepted in their relationship and they feel less of a “need” or a “drive” to put on the front of who they think the person wants them to be, so they slowly (or more quickly with some), will become their true self—which sometimes might not be the person the spouse wanted to marry.

Whether this is the case or not, I don’t know, but I do know that this also does not just apply to romantic relationships, as I truly believe we are all such social creatures, meaning we need relationships. With that being the case, we are just as easily influenced to behave in particular manners in hopes of landing a friendship we feel the need to have, as we are to confirming a romantic relationship.

In the end, it is easy to see where problems can arise when we act in ways that truly aren’t who we are as a person. Why not try being yourself and let your unique perspective and view on life be what lands you your relationships? Why not enjoy being who you are and being yourself to the best of your ability and see where it takes you? There is no doubt it can be hard, especially at first if you are not used to it. And I’ve no doubt that you could encounter some friction along the way, especially from those who might have thought they knew who you really were before, but in the end, it can only make your relationships of the future more grounded and deeper and fuller.

When people can see the real you, they can not unravel the person they love to find someone they might disagree with and change their love for. You are who you are.

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]