Thursday, October 7, 2010

“No Day But Today…”

"No Day but Today!"
These are the finishing words of RENT, a show that many say changed the face of musical theater for generations to come. The show is daring and candid, raw and irreverent at times, but it's over arching message is one of hope, love and belief in the power of community above all else. Its use of rhetoric in the infamous song, "how do you measure a year?" asks us all to evaluate how and where we spend our time and energy – what does one consider to be the currency of their life…
I fully admit to having a deep love for this show – I've loved it since high school, and I've seen it several times (on both coasts) and sung belted the score for what seems the better part of my angst-y teenage years. It's become an old friend, and I couldn't believe that I had made it into the show when I got the call. In so many ways it was a dream finally realized! I couldn't believe it!
Looking back now, having finished the show several months ago, it's come around full circle. Once again, my life became consumed with RENT and the lyrics took on new meaning with this new stage of life that I find myself in. I realized new value and depth in words I'd only glossed over before. It's like I was falling in love all over again (cue sappy music).
The rehearsal and production schedule was intense - rehearsals five days a week, five hours a night, and once the show went up, we had five shows a weekend for five weeks. I lived and breathed the theater – it turned my life upside down – but I wouldn't change it for anything.
So here are some pictures chronicling the rehearsals and the performances.


The Rehearsal Stills:


 





































The Production Stills:



Pictures by Eric Chazankin

Catching Up…

I've had a few issues both with finding time to blog, and the fact that for whatever reason, my blogger account seems to be picky about allowing me to ACTUALLY blog. Reading the blogs, no problem. Writing them? Not happening. So, fortunately I've happened upon the lovely feature of blogging through Microsoft Word – which I admit, I am still skeptical about – but nonetheless, willing to give it a try!

So! I have a quite a bit of catching up to do and the next few posts will be full of past going's on and lots of pictures. J

Monday, May 24, 2010

And so it begins!


OMG!

Tonight is final dress rehearsal for RENT and then tomorrow we move into preview shows, and then we open on Friday night!
I can't EVEN tell you how BEYOND excited I am!
I PROMISE to post pictures of this week.

OMG OMG OMG! :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get with the Program!

Today I am feeling grateful.

Recently there have been events that I felt had the potential to change the course of our 'plan.' I say 'plan' simply because I am well acquainted enough with life to know that the adages are true, that
a) God laughs when we make plans and
b) Life IS what happens when you're busy making other plans.
Regardless of that fact, I have found that I now refer to our plans as 'general outlines' but it still remains they are plans and that I get nervous when I spot an apparent monkey wrench on the horizon.

So when I saw an impending wrench on the horizon, I began to get anxious. I could feel the anxiety rising and even more, consuming all my thoughts. Eventually it led to an outburst and then to a realization: Everything would be okay.

Anticlimactic, right?

Perhaps, yet the fact remains I realized something incredibly important. On the day that I married Matt, we said to each other, and have continued to say to each other, that as long as we have each other, it will be alright. And while I wholeheartedly believed those words each time I said them, the truth of that statement became real for me this week.

I genuinely believe that moments like I've had this week are in our lives, not just to give us premature grey hair, or five pounds from stress eating and Icee consumption, but to cement the foundations of our faith and trust in the ones we love and to pull into sharp focus our real priorities - what truly matters in the grand scheme of things.

Therefore, while it is still hard to say, I am grateful for this experience, and what it has taught me about myself. I am grateful for my husband and his support and understanding, and I am grateful to God, that while I know these 'teaching moments' may continue (much to my stress eating dismay) that they make life better, not worse, because He's given me a partner - a helpmate - and the wherewithal to not only handle it, but to enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!

We interrupt our newly announced series to bring you the celebration of the birth of my beloved....Matthew!
Happy birthday my love, I cherish you!


Here are some pictures from Matt's birthday celebration at Pt. Reyes Station, CA. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day! :)

Matt & I

Racing down the hill...(and back up again!)

Matt, in action :)




Matt, as a hieroglyph


Now that's some birthday love!

I thank God every day for you!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
- I Peter, 11:24
***


Today is Good Friday.
While many would look at the atrocity of Jesus’ crucifixion as being anything BUT good, today marks the deliverance from sin and into salvation.

"We may say that on the first Good Friday afternoon was completed that great act by which light conquered darkness and goodness conquered sin. That is the wonder of our Savior’s crucifixion."

- Phillips Brooks


". . . when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
- Aslan the Lion, from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday; maundy meaning 'commandment.'

On this Thursday before Easter we remember the night that Jesus took the disciples to the upper room and together they had their last supper. We remember and reflect upon the commandments set out for us that evening as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and broke bread and drank wine declaring a new covenant...our salvation in his death and resurrection.

For me, Holy Week has become a time of reconnection and recommital in my relationship with God. Maundy Thursday, in particular, illustrates the intimacy possible in a relationship with God...and paints a picture of grace: "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God." {link}

My heart aches when I think how bittersweet those moments in the upper room must have been for Jesus, knowing all that was to come in the hours ahead.

***
"After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them."

John 13:12-16
link
{here}





Monday, March 29, 2010

There is a castle on a cloud...

Today is is grey. And rainy. And, all together, rather bleak.
*However our herb garden is sprouting like crazy! (Yay for small victories!)

I've spent the morning needlessly pondering my existence and I think this existential crisis can best be summed up in this quote from Jo March:

"I want to do something splendid before I get into my castle - something heroic, or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day."

Until that day arrives, I find my thoughts drifting toward my dream house, located in upstate New York (Nyack to be exact). And I dare to hope that whatever direction my life takes, hopefully it includes this house (and the 6.5 million dollars I would need to purchase it).

Happy Monday,
Amanda

To view more photos of the house and it's interiors, wander over {here}

"Welcome to Widewater-on-Hudson! A spectacular Italianate Victorian Mansion in prestigious Upper Nyack. Magnificent setting - 3.5 acres of beautiful landscaped prop with panoramic Hudson River views! A grand family estate; period detail throughout, formal dining, sun rooms, tower, lg 6 car garage, 2 story riverfront boathouse/guesthouse, 300' beach w/500' riparian rts & 130' dock."








This boat-house is idyllic!




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Five!

Today marks five months of marriage!
And the anniversary of our engagement!
It's hard to believe that a year ago, today, Matt got down on one knee, in the middle of Dumbarton Oaks, and asked me to be his wife!

Matt, you changed it all for me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What to say?

There has been so much going on as of late...but spring fever seems to have taken my brain hostage.
In lieu of a post with a point or pupose, I thought, since my dad is coming to dinner tonight, I would post some pictures of him (and me!):
{My dad and I making ice cream, and also my first trip to the farm in Kansas...someday soon I hope to take Matt back to experience summer on the farm.}
{Dad at the wedding}

{One of my favorite pictures of my dad...I really like how my grandma (his mom) is part of his profile.}

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Speaking of Happily Ever After....

My mom recently sent me an e-mail with pictures of favorite fairytales and princesses after the 'happily ever after.'
I think I nearly died laughing.
Happy Tuesday & Hope you enjoy!

::Sleeping Beauty::
::Red Riding Hood::

::Snow White::

::Cinderella::
::Aladdin::



Really? Every day?

{photo credit}

Recently, while helping out with Middle School Youth group, the pastor gave a talk on our personal relationship with Jesus. He brought up the acronym NADA, meaning: Need Him, Ask Him, Defer to Him, and Appreciate Him. That particular night, we focused a lot on the idea of Appreciation of God for the works in our lives. Many times, this is often relayed as the idea of ‘worshipping the Lord at all times’. For me, this topic gave me quite a lot to ruminate over as the idea of worshipping God, all day {at all times} seemed exhausting, and perhaps over the top. Wouldn’t the appreciation eventually lose its potency after a couple days? Wouldn’t it become a task and chore more than praise and worship?

The problem with my understanding in ‘worshipping the Lord at all times’ really began with the fact that I saw worship mainly as singing songs of praise and worship. When I recalled the idea of worship, I immediately conjured up ideas of Sunday Services and praise and worship music. My immediate response to this idea of worshipping God in everything that I do, was ‘I love praise music, but enough to sing/listen to it all day,’ and ‘I can’t pray all the time, I need to be focused and concentrate on my work and the tasks at hand!’ It seemed like an implausible feat outside of chucking it all and becoming a modern day anchorite like Julian of Norwich. To my dismay, I felt as though I had fallen into a trap that I feel plagues many Christians in this day and age and that is that singing songs of praise, and lifting up in prayer has become the default form of worship. I am, by no means, criticizing these forms of worship, however, I do find that they can be site specific and cannot, in my life, be realistically sustained for hours or days at a time. It was at this point, I realized that perhaps I needed to go back to the drawing board to truly understand the concept of worship. I thought about the true meaning of worship – honor and veneration of God, and how, in my own life, I had limited that to songs of praise and prayer. Quite honestly, I came to realize, if the essence of worship is honor and respect, then it follows that it should be completely plausible to find ways to incorporate worship and praise into my day to day life; what it boils down to is intent. Eventually, I came up with two ways I can honor God in the day to day: respecting myself and respecting the environment.

I can live a healthy life for myself, which is fine, or I can choose live it with the intention of glorifying God and respecting the creation that is my body and my life. I think that to say,” Lord I am grateful for how and what you made me, and I honor that by making the best choices to maintain what you have created,” is indeed a form of worship and praise.

So what does this look like in my life?

I can treat my body kindly by giving it all that it requires, and not all that I desire. (i.e. eating healthy, exercising, engaging in my environment, etc.)
I can refrain from putting myself down, comparing myself to others, telling myself every morning that I’m fat, look like a ‘hot mess’ or coming down on myself because I don’t have it all ‘together.’

In the same way, we can also worship God by being better stewards of our environment.
Dr. J. Patrick Dobel wrote an inspiring article entitled: “Stewards of the Earth’s Resources: A Christian Response to Ecology,”
{here} and his thoughts on the ‘Stewardship Imperative’ mirrors what, I feel, can be considered a new Christian paradigm for living in daily praise through stewardship:

The New Testament distills these notions and adds a strong activist imperative with its account of stewardship. This activist element is a vital alternative to some of the more extreme ethical positions in reactionary ecological ethics. The parable of the good steward in Luke 12:41-48 and the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 summarize the concept. The preservation of what is given “in trust” demands a recognition of the owner’s dictates for the resources. We must know the limits and laws of the world in order to use them wisely. Our actions must be guided, in part, by concerns for future generations. Above all, we must never knowingly exhaust or ruin what has been given to us. If doing so is absolutely necessary to sustain life, then equity demands that we must leave some equally accessible and beneficial legacy to replace what has been exhausted.
But there is more involved in being a “faithful and wise steward.” Even the most conservative banker is obliged to improve the stock for the benefit of the heirs. The parable of the talents makes it abundantly clear that we who are entrusted with his property will be called to account for our obligation to improve the earth. The stewardship imperative assumes that the moral and ecological constraints are respected, and it adds the obligation to distribute the benefits justly. The steward must “give them their portion of the food at the proper time.” Mistreating his charges, gorging himself on the resources in excess consumption, and not caring for the resources will all cause the stewards to be “cut off.” True stewardship requires both respect for the trusteeship and covenanted imperatives and an active effort to improve the land for the future and to use it in a manner to benefit others. Ethical proportionality applies to all those responsible for the earth, for “when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him” (Luke 12:48-49).”


Again, it comes back to intent; we are able to worship God by being faithful stewards of the earth and preserving what we have been given. With the intent that each moment you treat our world with respect and consideration you do so as an exaltation and honor to God for what has been provided we are then able to praise and worship God on a moment by moment basis. Can you imagine how this could ultimately expand our paradigm of praise and worship? Realistically, I feel this was always a part of God’s plan for us, living our lives in honor of Him thereby directly resulting in sustaining the world and each other.

Could you imagine that by simply worshiping and praising God every day, you could end up loving who you are more, and preserving this earth for generations to come?

How could I NOT do this? How could I find any justification NOT to worship God in this way? When I think about what a life lived with the intention of constantly praising God could look like, I get so excited, and I wonder, why have I never considered this sooner?

Well, better late than never right?



Sidenote: If you have the time, I would encourage you to read another article on "Stewards of the Earth" {here}



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Punch Fear in the Face

Sometimes,
You need to say, "I'll be damned if I let my fear prevent me from doing this!"
You need to follow your gut and stay true to who you know you are.
You need to trust in your abilities and talents.
You need to remember who you are.
Pray (like crazy) for strength and courage,
And then,
You need to punch fear in the face.
Twice.

Which is why, on Sunday, I auditioned for a local production of RENT (right jab!) and made it to the call back audition (uppercut!), on Monday, where I sang my heart out, and made it to the last round!

image courtesy of google

I don't know what (if anything) will happen next, but I'm not even thinking about it at this point.
I overcame my fear; I auditioned for one of my favorite shows - Of. All. Time. And I walked away knowing that I GAVE IT MY ALL!

No regrets! No second guessing!

Just pure joy, in knowing I held nothing back, and sang the best I could with all that was within me. And you know what? I feel ALIVE!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Creativity to the max

“And Then There Was Salsa” from Frito Lay Dips on Vimeo.

A friend of mine is the producer for this video advertising Tostitos Salsa, and I want to help get it out there! It's massively creatively and meticulously executed. So please check it out and pass it on! I consider this one way of supporting the arts!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Four Months (+1 Day....)

Pardon the tardiness of my post, but yesterday there was cause for celebration! Four months ago, yesterday, I became one half of a 'we'.
It's been quite a road to this point, but one that I am glad to have walked hand in hand with my best friend.
Four months ago, I married this man:


Because he asked me to spend forever with him:To which I eagerly replied 'yes!' beacause I knew it meant a sharing a lifetime of adventures with my best friend like this:

And four months ago, we stood up, in front of family and friends, and pledged to love, honor, cherish and respect each other for the rest of our lives.
And when it came time to pronounce that we were finally man and wife, I looked like this:
Because inside, my heart felt like this:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Bit of a Meltdown...

Since this blog chronicles my revelations as a newlywed, I find the subject of this post fitting, and perhaps over due.

A bit of background: Matt and I have been married now for four months (!), and it has been wonderful; although, as you know from reading, not without it's ups and downs. Our dating history is quite a tapestry of similar ups and downs, to summarize - eight years of "will they, won't they?" with a dash of, "we-can-never-be-friends-but-oh-I-can't-quit-you"-esque feelings. We dated in high school, and then several years later (and hundreds of life lessons and growth adjustments later), dated again, in our mid-twenties, which led to our *blissful* nuptials in October 2009.

So, last night, at midnight (my prime hour for emotional melt-downs) Matt and I had an argument about school work (his) and how I felt it's subsequent mis-management was cutting into our together time. Like any good argument, this really seemed to be just a 'watershed' topic that unearthed a deluge of feelings and unspoken insecurities in me (in all fairness, I had no idea that they were there) that lead to me blowing up and storming out of our room to 'sleep' on the couch. No, I didn't stay there, but being the always dramatic woman that I am, it seemed like a great idea for oh, five minutes, at which point the combination of our cat pestering my bare feet and the fact that I had to fold up like an accordian to accomodate my height within the confines of our couch brought me back to bed; plus, it should never end this way - I'm petty but not THAT petty (plus I hate when arguments are unresolved). As I went back to bed, we had one more 'discussion' that didn't seem to allay any of the anxiety that seemed to be plaguing me. I lay there, in the dark, just stewing over the entire argument, hurt that he didn't make enough time to spend even two hours with me (let the record show, though, that we spent the ENTIRE weekend together - which is usually not even possible due to work schedules).

And that's when I realized, I had a deep fear that he might fall out of love with me - that the passion and the romance I had come to know in our relationship might fade, or worse yet, come to a point of complacency. On the day of our wedding, the idea of forever seemed filled with possibility as I was filled with the most amount of love I had ever known at that point, but in the present moment, during the night, I was filled with this sense of forever being such a long time to love someone, and that in my mind, it made more sense to grow tired of someone, versus being able to love then any more. I don't claim to have been thinking clearly at this moment...in fact, I think that's what fear does - it creates this anxiety that forces us into survival mode which thereby discounts the nuances and subtle flavors that color our thoughts and feelings that are truly present in life. Furthermore, fear prevents us from the realization that perhaps love isn't rational on paper, and that like anything truly meaningful it can't be quantified, explained - or predicted. It was at this point that I burst into tears and it all poured out: my fears, my anxiety - I'm not sure it was even discernable words, just a trail of unintelligable sentences punctuated by sobbing breaths. I'm pretty sure it was one of those really ugly cries, but the lights were off, so thankfully we'll never know. Unfortunately, in this moment of truth and despondence there was nothing anyone could have said to make me feel better; I think I just needed to cry it out.

This morning, I awoke, still feeling the 'hangover' of last night's emotional binge, and I'll admit, it was pretty hard to get past my open sores of insecurity and kiss Matt goodbye, but I knew it wasn't really about him at this point, it was me, and I didn't want to leave for work on that note.

It being a slow day at work, I was surfing Facebook, when I realized Matt was online. I 'IM'd' him, feeling sorry for how I left that morning, "I love your face." Not exactly poetic, but awkward statements are more my style. I apologized for last night, and put into ACTUAL words what the root of last night, I thought, was really about, to which he replied:
"You're my muse,

my archetype of womanhood,
my higher calling,
my heroine,
the yin to my yang,
my precious dove,
my friend.
I will never
not need,
love,
want,
desire,
exhaust the power of you."

I will forever keep this as a constant reminder to never let that insidious fear cause me to doubt what I know in my heart to be the truth.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The words I've been needing to hear...

I find that sometimes I become inadvertently fixated on topics which hijack my thoughts anywhere from a few hours, to a couple weeks. Generally I find the germination period proportional to the weight that the thought has in my life. Lately, and not to surprisingly given all that is going on in the world (read: Haiti) I've been thinking a lot about materialism and personal spending. Granted, I believe this is a topic that plagues all who live in America, as we have developed from primarily producers into almost solely consumers. And while we could talk for days about the evolutionary process that got us here, the question remains, is this an evolution that we want to continue to embrace or are we going to stop perpetuating the cycle, step back and give some critical thought to the issue - it comes down to numbers - the world cannot sustain a community that are primarily consumers; it's just that simple.

But right now, I'm not worried with the world at large, I'm thinking on a more micro-level, I'm looking at myself - am I materialistic? It's a conversation my husband and I have had before, and I think the answer that we arrived at unsettled us both when we realized we were probably teetering on the cusp of answering that question with a solid 'yes.'

Being the research fanatic that I am, I went online and started combing the Internet for definitions of materialism (I probably should have really read the definition of rationalization because I think that's what I was ACTUALLY doing) and came up with pages of definitions, articles and diatribes. And while I thought that extracting a 'materialism rubric' with which to measure my life would make me feel better, (especially if I found out I wasn't by societal standards) what I found myself really looking for wasn't a better (read: gracious) diagnosis, but a cure; a cure for my consumerism. And that's when it hit me...I knew where to start. I knew because of a sermon I had heard nearly a year ago...and the answer came in the form of John Wesley.

Over a year ago, my husband and I along with some friends, went to attend service at Glide Memorial in San Francisco. It was an amazing service - the music, the people - the general outpouring of love and acceptance was intoxicating...it's one of the reasons why I love Glide so much...but the message this particular Sunday was what really stuck with me, even to this day. That Sunday, the pastor spoke about John Wesley, an English Anglican priest with the COE who had a very strong message about finance and giving, which he not only spoke about with great candor and force but that he also lived in his own life. She recounted his own method of personal finance which went something like this:
"Wesley preached that a believer should “Gain all you can, save all you can,” so that he or she could “give all you can.” He went on to give an example of such a life without ever mentioning that the person being described was himself.
"[He] had thirty pounds a year. He lived on twenty-eight and gave away forty shillings. The next year receiving sixty pounds, he still lived on twenty-eight, and gave away two-and-thirty. The third year, he received ninety pounds, and gave away sixty-two. The fourth year he received a hundred and twenty pounds."
For four years, Wesley lived on the same amount, twenty-eight pounds. As his income increased, he gave the surplus away, regardless of how much it amounted to or what percentage of his income it was."
{article found
here}

I remember sitting in the pew and thinking that this idea was not only revolutionary, but that even today it was completely do-able. I think that Wesley's own experience speaks to the power of what we can achieve when we work to give, rather than work to consume.

So what does this mean? For more answers I consulted John Wesley's sermon "The Use of Money" {found here} and was really convicted upon reading these sections:

"[C]onsider, when the Possessor of heaven and earth brought you into being, and placed you in this world, he placed you here not as a proprietor, but a steward: As such he entrusted you, for a season, with goods of various kinds; but the sole property of these still rests in him, nor can be alienated from him. As you yourself are not your own, but his, such is, likewise, all that you enjoy. Such is your soul and your body, not your own, but God's. And so is your substance in particular. If, then, a doubt should at any time arise in your mind concerning what you are going to expend, either on yourself or any part of your family, you have an easy way to remove it. Calmly and seriously inquire,
(1.) In expending this, am I acting according to my character? Am I acting herein, not as a proprietor, but as a steward of my Lord's goods?
(2.) Am I doing this in obedience to his Word? In what Scripture does he require me so to do?
(3.) Can I offer up this action, this expense, as a sacrifice to God through Jesus Christ?
(4.) Have I reason to believe that for this very work I shall have a reward at the resurrection of the just?

You will seldom need anything more to remove any doubt which arises on this head; but by this four-fold consideration you will receive clear light as to the way wherein you should go.
[S]ave all you can, by cutting off every expense which serves only to indulge foolish desire; to gratify either the desire of flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life; waste nothing, living or dying, on sin or folly, whether for yourself or your children; -- and then, give all you can, or, in other words, give all you have to God.

No more waste! Cut off every expense which fashion, caprice, or flesh and blood demand! No more covetousness! But employ whatever God has entrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree to the household of faith, to all men! This is no small part of "the wisdom of the just." Give all ye have, as well as all ye are, a spiritual sacrifice to Him who withheld not from you his Son, his only Son: So "laying up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that ye may attain eternal life!"

The part that resounds with me today is "No more covetousness! But employ whatever God has entrusted you with, in doing good, all possible good, in every possible kind and degree to the household of faith, to all men!" It's an amazing and gracious reminder that, 1) it's not about me but 2) that I am an agent of the change I seek not only in my life, but in the patterns of this culture.

Wesley, as Christ did, calls us to be active participants (read: producers) in the world, empowered by the gifts and talents that we were given. I love that the message in Wesley's sermon is not one of abject condemnation, but the opposite, it is a call to greatness and purpose - one that I think we are all longing for in our own lives; a reason for our existence. It is like we are standing on the front lines of Pelennor Fields, and these are the words of that inspire us to action, this becomes the basis of our battle cry; this becomes the reason that we lay it all on the line:

"Gain all we can, save all we can, so we can GIVE all we can!"

{image}

This is the antidote to materialism.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty..."

{image}
It’s hard sometimes, to be angry at a situation or to be frustrated with a seemingly convoluted circumstance. It’s hard because there’s really nothing to be mad AT. There’s no face, no person to confront, no reset button to repeatedly push in frustration or direction in which to point a finger of blame. It’s nebulous, and gray, and undefined, and to be completely honest, that’s what makes the situation all the more maddening.

I’ve been the scapegoat for situations such as these – and it’s not fun, because as the scapegoat, you can’t win. You start at a disadvantage because the other person has the benefit of emotion overriding rationale. To them, it doesn’t matter how culpable or non-culpable you are. You’re THERE, and that’s enough. At this point they just want it out, AND at that point, no one’s choosy; it’s a clawing desperation to make the momentum of the uncontrollable crap spiral stop.
I spent several years of my childhood being the scapegoat, and one would think that that would produce an individual who was proactive against such passive behavior in their actions; you’d be wrong – I won’t take that behavior from someone, but apparently, I’m not above dishing it out.

Last night I found myself at the bottom of a crap spiral; I won’t go into the details, but through a series of unrelated and yet equally unfortunate events, in a seemingly unrelenting succession, I was left feeling stressed out, covered in crap water (literally) and at my wit’s end. I was like a rabid Old Yeller, being backed into a corner: darting eyes, my mouth may or may not have been foaming, and I was out for blood. Somebody had to pay for this. I felt the victim of a ‘crap day’ hit and run! Nobody to take responsibility, and I sure as heck knew I didn’t deserve any of it!

And so I turned on my husband. I’m not proud of it, and I’m even more ashamed because I’m very much aware in the light of this new day, why I did it. I knew he’d take it. He’s good in that way. I knew he wouldn’t walk out on me, and he would try to see my hurt and frustration through all my rampant and flippant accusations; I made him the face of my crap spiral*. And no, he didn’t just “take it.” He loves me and he called me out on my unchecked accusations, but that only added more fuel to my fire in the moment.
(*Now please note, I didn’t just look at him and start yelling…I’m crazy at times, but not that crazy. Like any good watershed moment, all it needed was a small crack, a little scuffle, and like a minor chink in a dam, it came pouring out.)

There was no rationality in my actions. They were blatantly RE-actions – thoughtless, hurtful and low. And in the light of day I cannot believe that I chose to take them out on my husband. I’m not proud of that, and I’ve apologized; but it really got me thinking about how hard I’m going to work at being an equal partner in this marriage and what being a ‘partner’ actually means.

To me, it means taking responsibility and not using my relationship to absorb a bad day. If anything, I should take COMFORT in my relationship as a safe-zone – where bad days cease to have effect. Why would I want to jeopardize my safe zone?

I’m not saying that I need to swallow my feelings, but I need to keep them better in check and not allow myself to blur the lines of what I actually feel he’s responsible for versus thrusting responsibility for everything that’s plaguing me upon the one I love. I know that we promised to love each other in good times AND in bad, but I don’t need to invite the crap into our marriage by blaming him for the uncontrollable!
I think too often in this culture marriage is treated with this cavalier attitude in which it needs to prove itself “weather proof”…but shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to protect marriage? Granted it should be able to ‘weather the storm’ but that doesn’t mean we should willing put it in the path of the storm!
As a newlywed, I do realize that I’m still learning…but I realize so much now that what marriage is teaching me isn’t always about how my husband and I sort the chores, or live together, but about how it is teaching me to be a better and more responsible person. My husband is the daily mirror which reflects not just the love he has for me (and all that goes along with that), but it’s also a mirror of accountability – of truths I may have been able to deny or not take responsibility for when I was single and accountable only to myself (of sorts).

So, I guess this is the very long winded way of saying I accept responsibility for the fact that I took out my anger on my husband, AND that I want to change that reaction of “scapegoating” and work harder to respect the sacredness of our marriage and all that that entails.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello 2010!

And...it's here!

Right, I know, I'm a weeee bit late on the arrival of the new year, but as we procrastinators say, "better late than never!" Despite my lack of posts, I have been busy reading other blogs, and I love the new trend I've seen of resolutions take the form of positive intentions with regards to maintaining good patterns, or further projects or talents discovered in '09.

With that, I thought I would share my resolution, which is in keeping with the trend of improving upon strides made in '09 - I resolve to do at least one painting a month.

For me, this seems like an impossibility, especially since we are nearing the halfway point of January and I JUST found my subject for this months painting...but nonetheless, this is the resolution.

The office is ready, my easel is set, and if I could just figure out where I put my courage and resolve, I'd be ready to go. Here's to hoping inspiration sets in this weekend!

image found here