Monday, September 05, 2011

In frostproof

Well, I made it. Dad flew in Wednesday at 6 and I picked him up and we pointed the Nissan south and took off. I was pretty much a wreck the whole way down. we drove through the night on Wednesday, and stopped in NC for the night with my uncle. we were both too tired to push through. That night, I remembered just how allergic to dust mites I was, and so mid morning, dad pulled over at a gas station so I could perform the most complicated medical routine I've ever done. something like,Zyrtec, emergency inhaler, then ibuprofen, then regular inhaler, then benadril, then emergency inhaler... last time I felt like this I went to the E.R. but since that wasn't an option, I managed to doctor myself out of it. needless to say, I slept the rest of the trip, till around St Augustine, where we met up with my little sister. I decided that I should live in St Augustine, it's gorgeous, and has many little shops and cafe's. then the three hours to Frostproof. Mom had tied yellow ribbons to all the door posts for me, and I felt very loved. Saturday was spent unpacking, moving beds, getting settled. I had a scare, thinking I'd forgot the pegs for my furniture, but we found them in the end. The room looks very nice and comfortable, and it has closets! something I've not had for years. Sunday I went to church with my parents and was a little overwhelmed with all these strangers being so happy to see me. I am, of course, the only one my age within 10 years, either way. I am going to look into different churches here, and see if there's one that feels like home. the rest of the day I crashed, sleeping fitfully, and unpacking. Today, I pulled apart my air conditioner in the car, but I can't see what's wrong with it. I have an interview for a part time job on Wednesday, which would be in town, 10 minutes by car. I've been feeling pretty rotten, moving, then stopping, trying to get to a point where I feel good enough not to think about what my body is feeling... I also feel surreal, there is no noise outside, other than the generators on the houses, and the occasional tractor in the orange grove, no music, no noise pollution. Mornings are beautiful here, I will try to take pictures and post them, but the day is hot and humid. part of me thinks, oh good, sweating is good for weight loss. The other part of me thinks, oh no, dehydration. I'm not happy, I don't think I will be for a long time, but I am beginning to see that this is just a time in between.
there are some good schools nearby (45 minutes) so in a week or so, depending on job situation, I will start asking around for adjunct positions, and I'll start talking to Iona about long distance school. I would love to hear from you all, whether it's just a note or a letter. Phone reception tends to be iffy around here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

short and garbled

since the last post, I've been packing, and saying goodbye to people. I've been allowing myself to luxuriate in the company of my friends, shamelessly enjoying them like a long drink of water on a hot summers day. at the same time, I've been crying regularly, mourning like I have never mourned before, in part, because I feel this separation more than any other. All other moves, I had a destination, a goal in mind, and I had the hope that maybe where I was going, I would learn to feel alright, I would be OK. This move, I know I'm not ok, and I know what I'm leaving behind. And oddly enough, in these last few days, I am missing not only Nyack, but the parts of Belgium Nyack reminded me of. I'm going to miss the chocolate shop in Nyack, not just because it's chocolate, but because it has all of my childhood candy in it, and the proprietor speaks dutch. And the packaging is in dutch. It was in Nyack that I realized that although I will never fit in anywhere, I can still be myself and add to the scenery. This post is mostly self analytical, as I look around my room in boxes yet again. I love moving, I love new experiences, but I am afraid of losing what I have here. I woke up this morning singing Dutch songs to myself, desperately missing my language. one I'm not so sure I can still speak. One that won't ship books to the U.S because they know no one here speaks it. My parents were foreigners in my culture, now I'm going to be a stranger in theirs.
Ik kan maar met moeite omschakelen naar het vlaams, en ik denk daarom dat ik aan het zingen was, om de klank en vorm van de taal te vatten. Moet de storm deze weekend, kreeg ik plots enorm heimwee, met all dat wind, en de bomen die omgeblazen werden. Deed me denken aan een storm die we ooit in Belgie gehad hadden. Vlaams is ergens toch wel de helft van mijn moedertaal. Ik weet dat dit nooit gevraagd word op een enquete, maar toch. Als ik mij niet bezig houd met het nederlands dan ben ik minder mijzelf. maakt momenteel niet uit hoe slecht mijn spelling of grammatica is. Ik mis het, ik mis het zo. Ik moest gisteren, toen ik voor het laatst afscheid nam van vrienden, en erger, mensen die vrienden hadden kunnen worden, plots in het vlaams huilen en vloeken. En dan pas kon ik voelen dat ik echt weg was. tja. Mischien moet ik mij meer bezig houden met het schrijven in het nederlands, maar dan moet ik echt weer gaan studeeren. Nyack, ik ga u missen, mischien kom ik terug, maar niet meer alleen. God, kunnen we dat afspreken? Ik ben het zo beu om de wereld door te gaan op m'n eentje. En het is niet meer gezond voor mij om dit te doen. alsjeblieft?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


many of you already know this, but I am moving back to Florida. I know that this is sudden to many, but believe me, it was not an impulse decision. Back in April, when I quite my job, I told myself I had 4 months to get better and find another job. I was functioning under the (now proven delusional) notion that I was suffering from an illness that was temporary, and would go away if treated right. I got my feet back under me, and was heading back into the big bad world of employment and school, and was hit by another wave of sickness. This time it was different, because I was conscious of what was going on every step of the way. I was aware of what I should be doing, and what was taking place in my body. Yet this knowledge didn't help the episode be any less draining, and it didn't stop me from losing a day of training at work, and missing a job interview the next day. With my 4 months up at the end of august, and that ever dreaded word,Finances, looming in the near future, I finally called my parents and took them up on their longstanding offer of moving back to Florida to recuperate. The decision is a sad one, as I have made a home for myself here, with many wonderful friends who know me very well. More than any other place, Nyack has been healthy for me, in all but the physical sense. It is hard, hard, hard to leave, but I am encouraged by these same wonderful friends who have already checked online fares to Florida and are planning mini vacations to visit me. I also am realizing that I leave nothing behind me, I take it all with me. My memories, my books, my projects, my hopes and dreams... I remember a quote I found in Capernwray, although I've never been able to place who and where. " I not leave my heart behind me, as they say in love letter. No, I will carry it with me, over the mountains, because I need it. Always." This is not to say pieces of me will be in Nyack forever, but I will not diminish when I go. I go to become a healthier me, a better me.. anyways, there it is, my update. If you are in the New York region, please schedule a visit before I leave!!! Pretty please, I will beg if required.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God is the way to man

I didn't mean for this blog to be a religious update.. and I hope it isn't becoming that. It's just that I'm trying to get into the habits of writing more, so as to become more articulate, and having a quiet time. Combining these two allows, I hope, for accountability and engagement (one of these days I'm going to go mad trying to stop alliterating. it's not a real alliteration a, and e, but close enough) but also, writing for an audience allows me to write better.
Today I was reading Karl Adams. 
Thus spoke mr Adams: 
"The Lover can reach his beloved only through God. God alone can carry him over the dead point which lies between the ego and the alter and cannot be transcended by mere logic... Thus in every genuine, unselfish, serious love belief in God is contained, even really presupposed. No one has expressed this truth with greater profundity than the apostle of Love, St. John: 'Everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God."

I John 4:7-12

God's Love and Ours

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Sonb into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice forc our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

two things struck me when I read this

1) mere logic
I have the hardest time understanding how logic, which is implicit in everything we consciously do, can be considered a slight thing. It is obvious that logic is paramount to survival. It takes logic to make judgement calls, to use memory and experience and shared stories and come up with a sound game plan. It takes logic to fix my car. Logic is the foundation of our modern society, built as it is on technology, which is nothing more than a giant string of intertwining 'iff...then...' equations.  It is supporting everything we do. I know my roommate gets off of work everyday at 5 ish. Why? because that is the schedule she is contracted under, and that has been her pattern since I moved it.  Without logic our world would be like an episode of Monty Python or the Mighty Boosh everyday. and those shows are as popular as they are because  they suspend logic for a moment. that vertiginous feeling of loss of logic translates into humor because we know it isn't so. It we doubted it, those shows would have the same depressing quality as french expressionistic theatre. So, we cannot get away from logic. We function in logic. Yet this love of God transcends logic. There are no arguments to be made against it then. It is a simple 'Yes, I believe', or a 'No, I won't' because there are no arguments for it. Arguments are rational. then does that mean the love of God is experiential? something you must be open to feeling? does that mean that experience trumps logic? 
The problem obviously is not to logically disect the verse but to come to a truce in my own life between logic and experience. they are uncomfortable bedfellows at best, oil and water. How does one come to a right understanding about these two? logic and belief? belief cannot be logical, because it wouldn't be belief, yet logic at times helps belief. and humans are not only logical. maybe that's why there are so many depressed people around? we are trained in knowledge but not in intuition, facts not feelings... I could go one, but I would only get more muddled than I already am. It's confusing.  perhaps one must really at one point throw back ones arms and say 'screw it. I'm just going to tell myself it's true'

2) 'man is a mystery. he is a culmination point of an eternal love which issues from God; a point in the actuality of the world where, as nowhere else, the love of God burns.'
to love God first, and then love others. that is the order it should go in.  I don't have any deeper thoughts on this one. the statement above, from earlier in the same text quoted at the top of the entry, sums it up.  It sounds like a Mantra to mention over and over again. how does this fact sink it? how, knowing this, do I go about my daily life? for me, it's easy to love others. the hardest part is to realize that I can say, logically (teehee), that if what is true for 'man' , being a general term for a group, then it must follow that it is also true for every member of that group seperate from the group, ergo: 'Jen is a mystery. She is the culmination point of an eternal love which issues from God: A point in the actuality of the world where, as nowhere else, the love of God burns.' Wow. I wanted to cry a little, but I'm in the public library. I am so far from accepting that statement. but what a goal!  What audacity, I begin to think to myself, for me to claim that! but hang on, self. I'm not just claiming that for me. if the predicate stands, then this is true for everyone. and you've already agreed that it is true for everyone else. in the truest logical fashion, if the term man is defined as including everyone that is human, and I find one exception to the statement, then the statement is false. Ergo, I MUST believe that I am the center of this great love or I make God out to be a liar. both logicaly and experientialy.. 
ok.. so there's my mantra for the day (although it is already 2 pm)

thoughts? caveats? civits? 

actual news:
I am in training for teaching the SAT's a good part time job. I'm also hoping to find another part time job to help me out, but in the meantime have had an interview for assistant manager at a small french bakery downtown. the type of job is right, but the hours are not. It would mean giving up the SAT job, and right now, the SAT job would look good on my resume, as well as help me break into teaching. I've received no training for actual classroom teaching. I'm starting to plan for what I'm going to do once I have my M.A and as usual I'm thinking Global. I just don't know if I have the strength to be in a foreign country.
I've given myself one year to train myself in taking care of myself more. unfortunatly I have an artists self destructive temperament, if not the actual work ethic, and I need to train myself in basic selfcare.
I'm learning to do the little things, although I hate them. I was always more of a bigpicture gal, not one who wanted to deal with laundry, food, cleaning, unless it was for at least 5 people.. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Today's reading came from Jean Nicolas Grou, a man I've never heard of.  His views on humility jived nicely with my own, or at least with my wrestling with the concept. I've always seen humility as passivity and have enacted it as such. This is not real humility.  Grou begins by asking us to see if we can honestly ask for humility as a virtue, and if so, to ask and it will be surely given to us.  so far so good. we've all heard this before. then comes the caveat.. " But many who pray for humility would be extremely sorry if God were to grant it to them...they forget that to love, desire and ask for humility is loving, desiring, and asking for humiliations, for these things are the companions, or rather the food for humility, and without them it is no more than a beautiful but meaningless idea."  I forget that faith = trust. and trust is only visible in hardships, confusion, doubt, uncertainty. I forget that faith is a dirty, filthy, earthy thing as well as a divine one.  It's a physical thing, enacted in the temporal world and without that, it is just a pretty theory. And by dirty, I mean that learning humility will be hard, hard work, will involve messy situations that will stick with you, coat you with memories. you have to be inherently invested in this world to learn humility. Grou agrees with this. he says that 'if the bare thought of humiliation fills us with horror; if we repel it with out whole strength; if pride and self-love get the better of us on every occasion...the fact is that we dislike it and our prayers are a delusion"  
The sentence in bold means prayer is a two step process.  I must first recognize that the concept, the verse, the teaching is good. That is has a profound meaning for my lives, that it is something I should implement in my life.
second, that this particular teaching, concept, virtue, is something I can implement. That I am not simply saying, I should look for this, but that I can. Should implies that I haven't allowed my own history, character, situation to be factored in and that is very very foolish. without the immediacy and physicality of my own experiences, the concepts remain esoteric, of no practical import and will do me no good. If however, I don't allow them their intellectual, divine non-physical, eternal existence, they are nothing more than my own attempts to create meaning from chaos. 
So reading Grou, It came to me to ask wether humility is something I should pray for. and with all due humility, I think it is not. I find that I have such a poor idea of true humility, that I would be reinforcing a bad humility, a negation of a self that is not yet clearly defined. The irony of course is that once it is defined, I will be ready to pray for humility.  
Humility is one of the hardest virtues to have. to easily it is a re-enforcement of insecurity, an inaccurate assumption of worth. Real humility is knowing ones worth, having confidence in ones value, and letting go of the right to demand it be recognized, to instead be a tool for a higher purpose. For those who can do this  their "offer is a real consecration. From that moment they should feel they are not their own, but belong to Jesus Christ and are fighting under his standard"  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Beginnings

hello all you wonderful people!
As the title states, this is a week of new beginnings for me. I have had a rough three months, coping with many life changes. I don't know if i understand clearly the extent of what has happened, but I'm beginning to learn the boundaries to my life.
Today I have spent the morning on the phone with strangers, looking into medicaid, looking into unemployment, desperately fighting for my hard earned dignity. Yes, I quit my job. Yes, I have a condition that is very common. Yes, on paper, it looks like I was being lazy. But, what is it Evita says? "no one can faint quite like I can?" I'm sure those are the lyrics :-)
Only this last week have I been able to see a larger picture of what is going on.

I was thinking about all the emotional turmoil I'm in, changing habits, airing old old hurts, trying to navigate the new currents as I let emotions pass through me, instead of trapping them in a box.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. and when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing, only I will remain" Frank Herbert, Dune.

and of all the physical turmoil, battling Asthma, and NC and possibly depression although wether that is cause or effect I don't yet know. Realizing that my forgetting to eat is leaving my body weak and hovering on malnutrition, knowing that eating will cause more weight gain. (relax, it's a valid problem)

And above all realizing that this is normal. my normal. Above all realizing that it is happening to me, therefore it is truth, and it is valid. I can't question it away, or study it away. no matter how far I run, all this is running with me. so I might as well bed down with the enemy and make it my friend.

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda
"The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. it kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry" Hemingway a farewell to arms.

I realized that I am uber sensitive. physically, mentally, emotionally, I am rigged with a hair-trigger, feeling everything in multiples of what others do. It took me three months to figure that out and accept it and not feel immensely, deeply, foundationaly broken.

This world is not perfect. I am not perfect. I will get messy and I will get messed up. I will be hurt and I will hurt. that is the framework. only within this framework can I really come alive. I have been trying to live in an idealized world that doesn't exist.

so, thank you all for being in my life in one way or another. the light at the end of the tunnel has drowned out the tunnels darkness for a moment. I hope it continues to do so!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

beginning anything

Ira Glass, sharing good advice on how to succeed in the creative realm. It's hard to remind oneself that it takes work, and lots of poor quality work, to create something worth while, and that the judges in our head will always be more exacting than the work we will produce.