I'm wandering the trails of previous blog posts... and it's interesting... how the cry of my heart really hasn't changed much at all in the past two years.

Just a thought.


I wander down a twisted path
whose ends or means I cannot trace /
hands grope for light and soul for love,
mind craves answers far apace /

within the labyrinth of this dark
and husky shell of feinted faith /
I sift my morrows from the lore,
seek naught but understanding gait /

that I may rise from ashes past
and fetters long laid idly by /
to seek the fortune of the brave--
the outstretched hand, the haunting cry.
There is a pulsating sadness within me, a great, walloping heaviness that I can't define...

I feel so inexorably lonely... so adrift upon the sea of my own consciousness...

I almost cried when C left for work, but kept myself.

I'd be tempted to crawl under the covers and take the beating that this inexplicable dejection brings...

...but last night at the boy's group, we talked about feelings, and how we can choose not to dwell on the negative, but choose the positive. One of the boys likened it to having a big plate of food, half of it negative and half of it positive. If you eat all the negative stuff and leave the positive on the plate, how do you think you're going to feel? Sick! But if you eat the positive stuff and leave the negative stuff on the plate, you'll feel a whole lot better. The negative stuff is still there, but you're not feeding on it.

It is tempting to feed upon sadness, I'll admit.

However, today, I say, "Screw you, feelings. I am going to continue with my day as planned, even if I do feel down."

Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are. I just am sad. And that's okay. But I'm not going to indulge it, not today. (Perhaps another day when I'm not quite as strong?)

So I'm going to put on my big girl panties, brush my teeth, and get on with the business of moving in and cleaning.

If I carry this throbbing melancholy with me all day, well, then, so be it. (It can't be as bad as the headaches.)

"Out of"

Ended up in Psalm 34 this morning for worship.

As I was reading, the same crushing disappointment that I feel whenever I compare the formerly glowing promises with the bitter tarnish of my reality swept over me.

Broken promises.

"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encampeth around them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."

Was I not righteous enough to deserve deliverance? I cried, and I was still stuck in my hell-hole. My bones were broken, literally and figuratively. I have been desolate, even while I was trying my utmost to trust in God.

So I started talking to God.

You see?! This is exactly what I mean! I read these promises, and it just re-emphasizes to me that I can't trust you, because they're all broken. I knew I was right when I said that you'd promised to protect us. And still you didn't. Broken promises... I feel lied to.

And I read them again, maybe just to enjoy the feeling of salt in my wound.

However, I noticed something this time through.

"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encampeth around them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."

It doesn't say "from", as in "God will save me from pain, he will prevent it from happening." No, it says the LORD delivers people out of the troubles that they're in. You have to be in something to be taken out of it.

So, okay. That transforms my understanding of the situation a little bit. But I still don't get the "keeping my bones from being broken" part, because, honestly, that sounds like a preventative measure to me, one that wasn't taken.

But I sincerely hope (and now I have a little more of a measure of trust) that the final promise in the Psalm is solid and sincere:

"The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."
I don't even know how to begin to unload all that is going on within my mind...

I am still on this journey with God, but I wish that I could reach some conclusions... I feel so off kilter, not belonging to "the church" anymore... because I don't have that formula to follow anymore, that outline of who I ought to be and how I ought to behave... It's scary, trying to be a good person without the confines and dictates of expectations or rules to bind you. What if you're not doing it right?

I guess I'm just longing today. I'm longing for blessed assurance... I'm longing for the knowledge that I will make it through life okay...

...but as I look at the past, and I realize that this world is waist-deep in crap and horrible things, and that God won't necessarily save us physically from those awful things...

...I am frightened. I have no assurance that I'll be okay, for disaster looms around every corner.

At least before I had the ability to glibly gloss over latent tragedy with the sovereignty of God. How I wish I could believe that He would or could make everything okay...

...but I know that's not the truth, it's not reality, it's not how things happen...

Otherwise D wouldn't be dying of cancer.

And the HJ wouldn't even exist.

I wouldn't live across the street from a hospital.

Am I just longing for heaven? Am I yearning for the fulfillment of a promise that I don't even entirely trust?

Maybe LC was right. We connect the physical world and the spirit world way too often.

God did not protect me physically, that much is abundantly clear.

But he did protect my spirit, in some magical way, or I would not be the wonderfully strong woman that I am today. I don't understand how I came through that hell so unscathed... except that maybe God did protect me.

Was I reading the wrong definition into the promise of protection? Maybe God won't protect us physically--and blast you, Psalms, for leading me astray in that regards!--but maybe he will protect our spirits.

I don't know. I'll have to look into this more, think about this more...

But I do know that I don't want to give up, although it's tempting.

I got confirmation when I was in ID from L. Don't give up--you'll find the answers someday. I think it was from God, that message.

I'm still not feeling the whole "love" thing, though... and I think that's what I'm longing for, today. I want to feel God's love for me.

Sometimes, all I see is indifference.

Heck, who am I trying to kid? Most of the time. And I don't want that to be the true picture.

I can see you lost your way
It’s just easier to hide
But He sees inside your soul
Where your past cannot define

You’ve been heading down this road
And you don’t know who you are
But He knows what’s in your thoughts
And He feels what’s in your heart

You could run ’til you can’t find home
Sail ’til you can’t see land
There is no place you could go
You could fall ’til you’re out of hope
Chase things that never last
You could never run too far
Love will find you where you are

So you’re feeling all alone
But you are never out of sight
There is healing in His arms
There is mercy in His eyes

No height, no depth could ever separate us
From the power of His great love
C and I are discussing my moving in.


Why? For a number of reasons...

I mean, it's not like I don't want to live together. I made a point to sit down and talk with him about it specifically, because we'd been throwing the idea around a little lately, and I've been practically living at his apartment for the last month or so, for all intents and purposes.... but I didn't want us to just end up "sliding" into a living arrangement for the sake of convenience. I wanted to be sure it was something we both wanted. I want to make sure it's an intentional step in the direction of marriage, rather than something we just fall into.

And he does want me here, which is a relief. Somehow, I'm always still so afraid of rejection, even in the most seemingly secure relationships. But, like all things, he wants me to do this only if it's something I really want to do, not just as a matter of convenience. So we're on the same page, but the thing is... I know that I want this, yet at the same time... I have so many feelings that I just haven't looked at, and I can't fully say "yes" at this moment.

First of all, I'm afraid. I told C that yesterday, and he nailed it on the head-- "You're afraid of settling down, of putting down roots?" Yes, yes I am. C and I talked about that over our lemonade, as well, how I'll probably still go through these periods where I get the urge to run, and I just need to be honest and communicate. Because of our pasts, we're so used to just up and moving on, of constantly picking ourselves up and relocating when we're uncomfortable or feel like we need to. I know I have that tendency, I know I do. But C is so steady, that to live with him, to accept his proposal of marriage sometime in the future, means to be settled. In one place. Like, forever.

I don't know why I'm so afraid of settling down except that it signifies a lack of escape. Trapped, as it were. Yet, if there were any guy I'd want to be "trapped" with, it'd be C. I guess I'm just afraid that I'll find that I'm not happy, or that I made a wrong choice, and then I'll be stuck with no way to make it better and I'll be in this miserable state forever... just like so many of the marriages that I've seen over the past few years... just like Mom.

Oh, snap. I'm afraid of being my mother. I'm afraid of making the same mistakes she did... of marrying someone who seems like a good candidate because I feel it's my only chance, and then finding out that it's probably the worst decision I could have made, but then being trapped because I want to make it work and there are kids involved, and being a single mom is so hard, and...

I guess I'm afraid that if I take the plunge, suddenly everything will change. The happiness I know now will turn on its head, and I will be sad and stuck. Truthfully, things have been going so well lately, I'm just waiting for the axe to fall. How long can I go without having a breakdown? How long can I go without something bad happening? I don't know...

I'm also afraid of what people will think. At least right now, I can deflect the polite inquiries of church-going friends with the base truth that I'm still living at my grandparent's home. There are only a handful of people that know C and I are together, much less planning to marry. However, if I move in with him, I can no longer be evasive in that way. I'll have to tell the truth, to face the disapproval, to face the zealous efforts to win me back to the faith, to expend the energy it takes to be truly authentic and real about who I am instead of still hiding behind the thin veneer of Former Bible Worker... I'll have to actually set boundaries and keep them... instead of lying because it's easier.

God, I've been lying. I've been lying because I'm afraid. I've been lying because I'm so tired of everyone knowing what's best for me, what I should be doing, how I ought to be living, how to "fix" me... I just want to live my own life, my unique, beautiful life, without having to fend off well-meaning efforts to transform me into something I'm not.

And I'm sorry. You know I hate lying. I hate fakers. I hate hypocrites. And you do, too. I'm so sorry. I don't want to be a liar, but I just don't have the courage to be real... but I want to. Can you help me? Help me to be real? Help me not to lie anymore? I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was doing it at first, but once I was, it was too easy to continue. Help me to be wise about this truthfulness, please. Help me.

Another reason why I have hesitancy is simply because there's not much room for me or my things. Gma and Gpa said I can keep some totes in the sheds at their place (and that'll work fine until C and I get a house), and C says I can stack stuff in the corner of his room, and I think that'll pretty much take care of it. But C already has a roommate, and a bunch of guys that crash here on weekends sometimes. So I'm worried about having my "space", my "alone time"... but S is really good about being accommodating. He's very respectful. And I always have the porch, or C's room. And I was coming here to get away from Gma and Gpa's, where I didn't feel like I had a place or space of my own, either... so it's kind of no different... because I didn't have space for my things there, either. Felt like an imposition. I think I'd feel like less of an imposition here...

The big thing for me was that I'm trying to keep Sabbath, but it's hard here, because of DnD on Fri nights, and the guys all hanging around on Saturday for DnD that night... so, unless I take off or lock myself in C's room... but C's days off are changing from Fri-Sat. to Sun-Mon, which means that DnD will move to those nights, which means that there won't be all those guys hanging around and watching dumb tv on Sabbaths, which means that it will be much easier for me to create a Sabbath atmosphere. Worse comes to worse, I could always go hang out at Gma and Gpa's for Sabbath. Or, heaven forbid, start going to church again! lol

Once it cools down, I intend to take the day out in the desert and hike, so that won't be a problem. It's just these accursed summer months, where the days are SO long and it's SO hot... I don't know what to do with myself, and it's frustrating. You can only play guitar for so long...

And, also, I have to remember that it will not be like this forever. This is temporary. C's got vacation time coming up in August, and he wants to use that to house-hunt. I think that when we get a house, things will be a little different. Yeah, the guys will still come over for game night, but C will have his own "man-cave" room for that, and it basically just won't be a little apartment. Things are always more difficult, the less space you have.

I guess the basic question is, do I want to live with C or not? All those "difficulties" can be ironed out. That's a part of life. It will never go "just so".

But do I really want this?

Yes... but still hesitant. I guess I'm just afraid that it will be awful, that the difficulties will be too much, and that I won't like it... that I'll be dissatisfied... that history will repeat itself and that I'll just up and leave again...

I'm afraid to do what we did before, because I don't want it to end the same way.

And, I remember that when I moved in last time, I was so horrifically depressed. I mean, it was so bad... and I know somewhat why. Because I went from being away at school, surrounded by friends, to being alone most of the day. I didn't have friends anymore. I went to church, but then I came home to an empty house. My family had just moved across the country. C and B were my only real meaningful relationships, and I was incredibly lonely. I needed interaction, relationship.

Also, I had no job. I felt like a drain on C. I felt worthless and useless and like a bad person. I had no purpose. I had no hobbies to speak of. I was isolated, trapped, bored... so I baked. And that helped, some. But I was very bored, and aimless.

On top of all that, I had just gone through a summer of canvassing with very conservative folks, and then a year at my denomination's school, culminating in baptism. But my church frowns upon relationships with people who don't believe the same as you do, and especially frowns upon pre-marital sex and living together. That's not the way you do it. It's a sin. So I felt cut off from God, from my church... I lived in a state of condemnation.

And I was depressed.

And I still struggle with depression. I'm so afraid that it'll happen again...

But things are different, now. I'm different.

I'm stronger. I have a purpose. I have hobbies of my own. I have friends, meaningful relationships. I have a job (sort of!). I feel I have worthwhile contributions to make to the relationship. I have stood on my own two feet, and I know I can do that again if I have to. I can be independent if I choose. And... I believe a little differently now about God. I'm not living in that state of condemnation anymore. (Although I think I'm fearful that I'll go right back into it if I make this decision...) I have every reason to believe that things will be different this time around... and yet I am still afraid.

You can make a decision despite fear.

I may end up doing just that.

Note: I read this post to C when I was done, for the sake of communication and honesty. He... wasn't surprised. lol.  He knows I'm afraid, and that led to a side conversation about how (and I quote) "you have a comfort zone of running away". Wow, can he call it or what? It's just hard for me to fathom how blessed I am to have a guy who understands that I'm afraid, who knows that I prefer to run, who anticipates it and is okay with it and isn't threatened by it, and, fore-mostly, who loves me to pieces regardless. (Another quote--"I love you. I would never do anything to hurt you. I love you as much as you know... and then some!" Can we say, "Awwwww"?)
It's been almost a week since I blogged last. When was the last time THAT happened?!

Had company over the weekend (15 ppl!), got sick from overdoing it, went to work for S-- who doesn't have internet-- then I spent 26 hours on the road, followed by a few days recovering.

Working for S is always a challenge to my heart, and not just because it's where D used to live. (Actually, this time around, I found that I am quite satisfied with the fact that things didn't work out with D. Listening to some of the things S said about him, I realized that he was/is totally not ready for anything serious, and that's what I was wanting. No wonder he ran off and wouldn't talk to me! Which is a huge red flag for not being able to communicate through difficulties... Yeah. I'm glad that one didn't work out, in retrospect.)

You see, S is very lonely and unhappy. M is described by S as a workaholic and emotionally distant, though he seems like a nice enough guy to me. (Then again, I'm also not his wife...) So she performs in order to win/keep his esteem and affection and respect. That being said, anyone that she brings in to help her is automatically under the same pressure that she puts upon herself, because the how the hired help performs reflects on her performance, and she's got a lot more at stake than just gas money. Love is on the line for her, and so the pressure becomes stifling. It feels like I can't do anything right, like I'm this big clumsy oaf, and it's awful. Not that she says anything disparaging, because that's just not her style. It's more of a lack of affirmation and the constant flow of comments that let you know that her way is the way that will work-- always. Her way is the way, and it's the best way, and your way just really isn't good enough for any number of reasons. It's enough to shrink a person to lilliputian size, to just let that frail woman walk all over you because it's easier than trying to prove yourself night and day.

And maybe that's what she needs-- the knowledge that she's good, she's the best, she's worth something... because she feels that she has no worth outside of her immaculate housekeeping and prolific canning and gardening...?

What a sad life.

Somewhere on the last day, I put my finger on it-- I was succumbing to a "shame attack". The tapes in my head that replay that discordant refrain of "not good enough, never good enough" were kickstarting again, and I was really feeling low. (That always happens over there...) I was gearing up to outperform, to overdo, to win affection and approval by force, if necessary. Then I realized what was happening. I wasn't able to totally stifle and stymie those tapes, but it was better. I realized that I don't want to live that way anymore, I don't want to be that person. I needed to do my best, to be sure, but toward what end? Toward the end of simply knowing that I've done all I can do, and done it to the best of my ability, and that a streak on the window doesn't somehow lessen my value or lower my lovability. (Yeah, ridiculous, right? But that's the kind of pressure that broods in that home.)

I didn't realize until spending time teetering on the verge of that trap how very free I've become. And I relish it.

S and I parted on good terms, but I was sure glad to hightail it out of there. I managed to pack everything into my little Buick, and the car held up well for the return trip. About twelve hours in, it got a little sluggish, but I had to keep plugging along. I am not sure I've ever been so anxious to get home.

I got very sick on the way, and I am now convinced that I have a potent potato allergy. That, in conjunction with the altitude and the heat, made me very ill. I had to stop and rest for an hour, talking on the phone with Mom to calm me down, because I was experiencing asthma-like symptoms and I had nothing with me to help with asthma. That happened again in the wee hours of the morning, but I called C that time. (Common denominator? Baked lentil chips with potato starch and flour as the second and third ingredients. And a semi-asthmatic response as well as the gut pain. No, no anaphylaxis, please!!)

I do miss the NW, to be sure. I miss the S's. I miss K, but I'll have those beautiful business cards she came up with as a consolation prize.

The day before I left to S's house, C and I sat on the bench outside with prickly pear lemonade in fancy glasses, and just chatted. I want to send her a little thank you note for that, because it was really wonderful. I miss having that mother figure around, because I don't have that in these parts. I'm the adult, here. Mer.

Ahh, but the homecoming was grand. I was tired, but I made it. (Two 5-hour energy drinks is what it takes to get me to or from ID safely, I've found. They typically last me about 8 hours.)

I walked into C's room and he didn't know who had just come in, but when he saw me he leapt out of the chair, and we embraced. My arms around him, his arms around me, one hand on the back of my neck holding me to him... it felt like he was cradling me, and it was so nice. We swayed back and forth, just holding each other, for a very long minute.

For two weeks, that was all I had wanted-- to be back in C's arms. And finally, finally, there I was again. Bliss.

It was funny, though, because I was so tired, I felt like I was drunk. I could hardly walk straight, and I was seeing things. (Probably because I had worked hard all day before I even set off on my drive home, so I was already tuckered out.) C helped me into bed, and I crashed for somewhere around 12 hours.

This weekend has been Recovery Weekend, basically. I haven't done much of anything but hang out, sleep, and a little bit of eating. I did go grocery shopping and bra shopping, and we did go see a movie Fri afternoon. Other than that... it's been very blah. And that's fine. I know the coming weeks will be busy enough what with work and getting ready for school and all.

Oh, yes. C's surprise.

I was all geared up to get the surprise when I came home, but while we were on the phone on my drive home, he told me that it'll be 6 to 8 weeks, because of the "other people" involved in the surprise. (I know what that means, though I won't let on that I know. It means the ring's in the shop, but he didn't expect it to take that long!) And, while I was suspicious, now I'm certain. How, you ask? Easy-- because I gave him back the engagement ring that he had given me once upon a time when we got back together and knew we wanted to get married. I gave it back so that he could re-use it, but the problem is that it had fallen off of my keychain at one point and been run over by an Expedition, so it was warped. He took it, and it got put in his dream box for safekeeping. I would check on it periodically, to make sure it was still safely tucked away, and so did he, because every now and then I'd find it out of the box, lying on the desk where he'd left it. Now, however, the ring is gone. Completely gone. So I know he's getting it fixed, and probably getting some additional stuff put on it like he said he might do.

I have some processing of emotions to do with this whole "settling down" thing, but I think I'll put that in a separate entry, because it could potentially take up a lot of space.

For now, I'm just so happy to be back home with my beloved... and happy to be getting copious amounts of sleep!
The time has come... the time to pack up and head out.

It's bittersweet, for I really am looking forward to being home with my beloved again, yet... the ones I leave behind are also deeply loved.

There's this nostalgic sadness permeating the atmosphere of my mind this week. This could be the last time we do ______ together. This could be the last time I see D play the guitar and sing like that. Wow, I haven't seen D play the guitar and sing like that in over a year. This could be the last time for ______. This could be my last racquetball...

And, truthfully, I just want to head home from here. I don't really want to go work for S, because it takes so much out of me, emotionally, to spend large quantities of time over there, and and I'm already rather depleted. Tired... so tired...

But I'm going to miss these dear friends-turned-family. I always do. All of them, not just the S's.

I suppose that we always carry a little bit of each other inside of us, in the form of memories or inspiration. I am fortunate enough to come away with both.

But, as they say... "I can't miss you if you won't leave!" ;)

I must go finish packing good ol' Shenandoah. (What a faithful steed!)

If you could soldier on, headstrong into the storm
I'll be here waiting on the other side

Don't look back the road is long, the first days of the war are gone
Take back your former throne and turn the tide

'Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You'll never make it to the great unknown
Till you keep your eyes open, my love

So tell me you're strong, tell me you see
I need to hear it, can you promise me?

To keep your eyes open, my love

Just past the circumstance, the first light, a second chance
No child could ever dance the way you do
Tear down the prison walls, don't stop the curtain calls
Your chains will never fall until you do

'Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You'll never make it to the great unknown
Till you keep your eyes open, my love
So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I'll never let you fall apart
If you keep your eyes open, my love

Ohhh open up
Ohhh open up
Ohhh open up your eyes, the weight is unbroken

Ohhh open up
Ohhh open up
Ohhh open up your eyes (keep your eyes open)

Don't let the night become the day
Don't take the darkness to the grave
I know pain is just a place
The will has been broken

Don't let the fear become the hate
Don't take the sadness to the grave
I know the fight is on the way
When the sides have been chosen

'Cause if you never leave home, never let go
You'll never make it to the great unkown
Open up your eyes, keep your eyes open

So show me your fire, show me your heart
You know I'll never let you fall apart
If you keep your eyes open, my love
Keep your eyes... (keep your eyes open)

Burning out. Too much stimulation. Not enough down-time. I didn't realize that I could make myself physically sick by doing too much. (At least, not realized it with this amount of clarity.)

Today, I repack. Tomorrow, I head out to work for S for a few days, during which I will also play for Market and pack up my car. Then, Thurs. morning I will head south again.

I'm homesick in many ways. I miss C terribly, but not desperately. I wish he were here with me.

And I'm just... sick. Don't feel well. Too many people. (15 people at breakfast?! *sigh*)

Felt depressed when I woke up this morning, which is odd, because I hadn't felt that way in some time. I realize now that when I allow myself to "burn out", I am susceptible to depression.

Good to know.

I can't wait to get home.

(Which sounds so lame, because I'm totally enjoying myself and so happy that I came. Ever wish you could be in two places at once? ^_^)
Something I love about coming back to ID is that I come away so inspired. Whether it be the lacy skirting green of new growth on the pines or the searing, scintillating blast of icy winter across the land, I pretty much enjoy it all. From food to relationships to music, I've been inspired, and I can't wait to carry it all home with me. I feel like I'm walking out of a department store at Christmas time, my arms loaded with wrapped packages.

The past few days have added significantly to my store of pleasant ID memories. J and I have had quite the Mountain Woman Adventure together, as we fondly call it. It started on Wednesday, when we:

Then, the very next day, we:

It was a 21.5 mile round-trip hike, and my pack was the lightest at 30 lbs. precisely, so we were definitely tired by the next day. It was a huge blessing to have such nice weather and a wonderful camping spot. We also met a hippie. And his dog.

Happy to be heading home, that's for sure!

-We saw no rattlesnakes, or bears, or wolves, or boogeymen.
-I forgot to take my meds before we headed out, so I did that first 12.2 miles without any support to my adrenal glands. Go me!
-B's map is wonky. Don't trust it. Trail 607=thecakeisalie.
-Talked to C today for a while, and a.) he says that he would like to play racquetball with me if we can find a place to play (Yipee!!), b.) he's definitely being vague (purposefully so?) about his "running around" and the nature of the errands that he's running. I'm not pressing it, but I'm suspicious that a proposal is imminent.
-Hung out with H most of Wednesday, and we've got a lot of wedding plans in place. I'm ready for said imminent proposal :)
"So they tell me you were a Bible worker."

Ahhh, my reputation precedes me. Am I branded in my forehead or something??

"Yes, I was."

"Did you go to any particular training for that?"

"Well, I went to a little Bible college called SOULS West."

--Ensuing conversation about different qualifications for being a Bible worker--

"So you've given up Bible work, then?"

"Yes, I have."

"But not given up on the Bible?"

"No, of course not!"

And I wonder... what would happen if I told the truth about the matter, rather than just my politically/religiously correct knee-jerk response?

But, really, how do you sum up such a complicated phase in your journey in just a few words? And I don't feel like explaining all of this to a stranger... much less this kind of stranger.

I guess sometimes it's better to just let sleeping dogs lie.

So much for authenticity.

It is strange, I must admit, to be back in a place that is as familiar to you as your own breath... yet to know that you have become somehow different. Like a poignantly sweet memory laced with the tang of change, it lingers on the soul’s tongue-- evasive yet oh so real.
I’m back in “my” bedroom, but there are boxes tucked in various nooks instead of the odds and ends I once had strategically strewn across various surfaces. The girl in the dim oval mirror looks similar to the one that once slept in this bed, but her hair is longer, her shorts are shorter, her eyes slightly dimmed with fatigue.
The clunky, reliable house phone I held to my ear moments ago gives utterance to a voice never heard in this home before, a different voice than the one hoped for so desperately a scant year ago.
This family--my family-- is also the same, yet different. For one thing, I love them with a more distant love, if that makes sense. Yes, we’re family now, but they’re not my family. They are, and yet they aren’t. A while ago, I wouldn’t have owned to that. No, they are dear. There is no mistaking that. But they are their own family unit, with their own troubles and joys and atmosphere and daily living procedures. C was right--it was time for me to move on. Had I remained, I would have stagnated, and brought about tension and dissension in the home that I love so much. It was time.
The changes in K are fairly obvious, though I can see the changes in J, too. She seems more... real? Relatable? More like a young person, like someone to hang out with, and less... stuffy? Prim and proper and so very mature? Not that it’s a bad thing, by any stretch of the imagination! But she’s loosening up, and while I don’t know whether to take that as a good or a bad thing, I’m enjoying it. When I first met her, I was struck with how mature and responsible she was, and that kind of carried over and through all her interactions and ways of dealing with life and people. That has remained--she’s still so responsible, it puts me to shame! But now she says things like “epic”, and she goes to Renaissance festivals, and she hangs out with people her age for fun, and... it’s just pleasant to see. She’s less like a Mom and more like a peer. (She’s gonna make a great mom, though. That’s for sure.)
And with K... it’s interesting, because I know her changes and new choices have really brought tension into the family, but... I almost feel like they’re expecting me to join in their disapproval, and I just can’t. I can’t, because I read what she writes and I understand. I totally get it, I feel much of the same way, and I just... get it. To disapprove of her would be to disapprove of myself and the choices that I’m making. I’ve been trying so hard to get away from putting myself in the judgment seat, the one that says “Well, at least I’m better than ______,” and I find myself unable to do that with K anymore. I can’t judge her like I used to. I can no longer feel smug about being “better”, because, truthfully, I’m not. I suppose that’s a good thing.
Okay, granted, we’re not alike in every aspect. I know that I have more maturity and wisdom and the ability to just plain think through things, but that’s partially due to inherent gifts that I have no control over, and partially due to a life experience that I wouldn’t wish on her anyway. However, I am more open and teachable, I think. I think. I can’t say for sure.
Anyway, it’s just a little strange, to be hearing how her actions are negatively affecting the family, but to identify so strongly with her, in a way I never have before... kind of puts me in an odd position.
I enjoyed spending time with the C’s. They’ve changed in some ways, too. I mean, kids grow up, as always. M has changed the most drastically, I think. He grew out his hair, stopped singing, plays contemporary style on his guitar, and eats voraciously. (Oh, wait... I think he always ate voraciously!) But he’s becoming a young man, maturing from the boy that I used to know. It’s rather exciting to watch, honestly.
The girls are still quite similar, though less rambunctious and “clingy”. They’re more independent. That’s good, because I barely had enough energy to keep up with the family as it was, after that drive!
I appreciate the atmosphere of that home so much. I always come away refreshed and inspired. I really do think it’s possible to be a good parent, after spending time with J and her kids.
I registered for classes today. That means it’s official and legit. I’m going to school in Y. Though I’ve only been gone a few days, I’m eager to get back home to C. Not anxious, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice having someone to miss, quite frankly. I’m looking forward to house hunting together, and setting up a household.
He’s planning a surprise for me, apparently. It involves several other people, but that’s all he would say. Do I dare hope... for a proposal?? It very well might be, now that we’ve gone through pre-marital counseling, and now that I’m not moving away for a year. (He called me tonight, and I was glad to hear from him. I’d wanted to talk to him, but whenever. It’s nice to know that he wanted to talk to me, too. He says he’ll call again in a few days.)
I got him a little trinket while I was up north with the C’s-- a tiny steel-cut model airplane for him to put together. M got one, too, but his was the Black Pearl, and it came out really neat, so I think I made a good choice.
I need sleep. More time to blog later. Suffice to say that I’m happy to be “home”, and so looking forward to spending time with loved ones.
Oh, and Juneaux is doing fine. Still a lover, and still remembers me. *sigh* I love my son.
P.S.-- My broken AC/heater apparently fixed itself while my car was parked. It was working as I drove away down south. Strange much? Maybe... prayer does work?
Made it safe to my destination in the wee hours of the morning. Almost exactly 24 hours on the road, with a stop for a one hour nap once.

Let's just say that those 5 Hour Energy drinks really do work--not to get you hyped up and jittery, but to keep you alert and rational, not feeling sleepy at all.

I wasn't looking forward to the drive, because, let's face it-- 24 hours straight is grueling.

Some "minor" events came up that I survived-- gas-guzzling that I hadn't predicted, dense fog, freezing rainstorm, deer in the road, car's heater/ac breaking somewhere after Salt Lake City, boredom and loneliness, construction (LOTS and LOTS of construction), "seeing things" from lack of sleep...

Grabbed a few hours of sleep before hanging out with my "family" for many hours. Now, though... I need a nap. Like, physically need. I don't think I can make it to bedtime without one.

Not looking forward to the drive home, either. Happy to be here, but I wish there were another (faster), less grueling way.

On My Own

There’s gotta be another way out; I’ve been stuck in a cage with my doubt.
I’ve tried forever getting out on my own.
But every time I do this my way, I get caught in the lies of the enemy.
I lay my troubles down-- I’m ready for you now.


Break me out, come and find me in the dark now.
Everyday by myself I’m breaking down. 

I don’t wanna fight alone anymore.
Break me out from the prison of my own pride.
My God, I need a hope I can’t deny.
In the end I’m realizing, I was never meant to fight on my own.

Every little thing that I’ve known is every thing I need to let go.
You’re so much bigger than the world I have made.
So I surrender my soul, I’m reaching out for your hope.
I lay my weapons down--I’m ready for you now.

// CHORUS //

Break me out, come and find me in the dark now.
Everyday by myself I’m breaking down. 
I don’t wanna fight alone anymore.
Break me out from the prison of my own pride.
My God, I need a hope I can’t deny.
In the end I’m realizing, I was never meant to fight on my own.

I don’t wanna be incomplete.

I remember what you said to me:
I don’t have to fight alone.

// CHORUS //

Break me out, come and find me in the dark now.
Everyday by myself I’m breaking down. 
I don’t wanna fight alone anymore.
Break me out from the prison of my own pride.
My God, I need a hope I can’t deny.
In the end I’m realizing, I was never meant to fight on my own.
I took my placement tests today.

The proctors informed me yesterday that, contrary to what the advisor said, the testing would take anywhere from two to two and a half hours. (Rather than the 30 or so minutes the advisor suggested!)

So, since yesterday was very hectic for me, I let it slide until today. I ate protein for breakfast, psyched myself up for a long, grueling series of tests, and... finished in half an hour flat.


So, final scores? 120 for sentence structure (a.k.a "which English class do you qualify for?"), 118 for reading comprehension (a.k.a. "can you read well enough to even BE here?"), and 45 for basic algebra (a.k.a "we're secretly one large group of sado-masochists--join us!").

Tomorrow, I can hop online and register for my courses, and Monday, I should be able to call the financial aid department and get my finances squared away. (However, tomorrow, I'll be driiiiiving, so I think I'll wait until Friday.)

Ahh, yes. Tomorrow, I'll be driving "home"! I'm barely squeaking by with enough gas money to make the round-trip, but I can do it, and I'm going to!

Excuse: "I need to get the rest of my stuff!"
Reality: "I really just want to see my friends and my cat again, and I don't have any good place to put the stuff I'm bringing back with me."

Needless to say, I'm super stoked. Getting ready has been stressful, per usual for a big trip, but the excitement cancels out all the other stuff.

I have to pack my car, then I'll take a good solid nap before heading out about midnight.

P.S.-- Am I the only one that thinks about "what if I die in a car crash on my way"? Actually, I think about that a lot... the fragility of life. I have all these plans and hopes for the future, but what kind of safeguard is that? None, really. C and I say, "See you tonight," when he leaves for work, but how can we know that we really will? We can't. I just hope every day that the words will prove true.

And so I tell my friends, "See you in a couple of days! I'm so excited!" but really, there's no guarantee I'll even make it there, or make it back. Everything can change in just a few seconds.

Is that unnerving to anyone else? I mean, sure, it adds that flavor and dimension to life that could never be there if everything were flat and assured, but still... it savors of possible loss, and I don't like it. We can assume that everything will go on as normal, because for a lot of people it does... but not for everyone. And what if I'm part of that other portion someday soon?

I know, I know... somber thoughts for an exciting adventure.

I guess the best you can do is live so that you would not regret anything at any given moment. Do the dishes before you leave the house. Make the bed. Kiss your mate. Post that blog post. Read that book. Pray that prayer. Do whatever you must... but have no regrets.

If I died tonight... the only regret I would have is that I didn't get to see my plans fulfilled. Oh, and that I didn't actually get to eat a piece of cheesecake. ^_^

Today I lost a friend of mine
I never even got to say goodbye
I thought we had time to burn
But life is short
You only get one turn

Whoa,gone before you know
Whoa,so make the most

We're not indestructible
Our lives are unpredictable
It can turn on a dime
So now is the time
Don't wait
Don't wait
Gotta live today
Gotta live today

So here I am wide awake
Blinded by a brand new day
Every breath given to me
Is a gift I want to redeem

Whoa,the minutes they unwind
Whoa,so I gotta make the time

Cause we're not indestructible
Our lives are unpredictable
It can turn on a dime
So now is the time
Don't wait
Don't wait

We're not indestructible
Our lives are all predictable
It can turn on a dime
On a dime
Don't wait
Don't wait

In the blink of an eye
You snap and time goes by
Time goes by

We'll wonder where it all went
If we forget
So don't forget

We're not indestructible
Our lives are unpredictable
It can turn on a dime
So now is the time
Don't wait
Don't wait

We're not indestructible
Our lives are unpredictable
It can turn on a dime
On a dime
So don't wait
Don't wait
Gotta live today
You gotta live today
Don't wait (x2)

Don't wait
Don't wait
You gotta live today
Yesterday, I took the leap-- I applied to the local community college. I went and checked it out, and the timing works great, it's cheaper, blah blah blah, all those things that R brought up.

And... I'm rather excited.

I mean, I'm bummed that I'm changing plans yet again, but as C pointed out, I'm not doing it on a whim just because I feel like it. I got a significant piece of information that changed my mind and my plans, and significant input that alerted me to benefits of this route that I had not previously seriously considered.

So I did it. As soon as I can get my happy butt over to the college today, I'm going to take the placement tests.

I'm going to end up in remedial math, I'm almost sure. I looked at the study sheet and tears sprang to my eyes as a profound sense of hopelessness washed over me. I do not know how to do algebra. I remember seeing it in books and on the whiteboard at school, but I didn't pay attention in math class! I was too overwhelmed to even attempt to know what was going on. Somehow, I passed the math classes necessary to graduate, but even now, I'm not sure how that happened. I don't understand it. I can do basic math-- addition, subtraction, multiplication, division (as long as it's not a fraction), and I can find ten percent. (Go tithing! lol)

But I'm going to breeze through the reading and sentence structure parts for sure. That's always been my forte. I may not remember the definition of a dangling participle (yet), but I instinctively know when a sentence's structure is off. (For the most part.)

There are a few other things I'm excited about as well, all of them having to do with staying in Y.
- My girls have gotten attached to me, and group is going better than it has ever before. I'm stoked. These girls are actually opening up, trusting, asking questions... it's a beautiful, albeit hard, thing. I'm glad I can stay.
- C and I finished pre-marital counseling yesterday, and I feel really good about this match. I'm more convinced than ever about our compatibility and our communication. We've talked about a lot of things that I might not have thought about otherwise, until they came up as a problem, and I feel confident in our ability and dedication to make this marriage last a long, long time... Like, until one of us dies.
- Fr. B said that we can get married in his church. I've visited there a few times, and that's where we go for counseling, and that's where HJ is located for now, so it's dear to my heart, and it is beautiful. It will be easy to decorate, too. Also, Fr. B will be the one performing our ceremony. So, it's just waiting 'till C proposes, then I can start planning in earnest. :) And saving money.
- C got that 20 days off in August that he had put in for, back when we were going to go up to ID together. He never re-applied, but they gave it to him! So, we may take a visit up there for a week or so, and he mentioned that the time off would be the perfect time to go house-hunting. If he remembers, he's going to visit the bank this week to get pre-approved for a loan. It's happening. It's really happening! And I'm rather almost deliriously happy about it!
- Last night I broke the news to E that I was staying, and she screamed! (In a good way!) The girls and some of the ladies knew I was going to tell her, so they hung around, waiting to hear, and they're all excited and happy about it too.

E's husband was happy when she told him, too, although he did mention to me that he had thought it was selfish of me to be leaving. That bothered me a little, until I realized that it might have appeared that way, but my motivations weren't selfish, and I really can't control how other people interpret my actions, so it's okay. I just didn't realize how much E depends on me, and how stressed she was over my leaving. It's a little overwhelming, because I didn't necessarily sign up to be the right-hand man, you know? It's just kind of happened... but I think it's okay. It'll be okay. I just have to make sure I keep healthy boundaries, and say "no" when I need to.

It still bothers me a little, though... because my caveat when I took the job was, "Okay, but you realize I'm going to school, right? This is just until I go away to school." I stated that from the beginning.

Now I feel better, remembering that. I did say that at the beginning. I wasn't being selfish--I was following through with my pre-stated goals.

Yup. I do feel better. Absolved, in a way.

Funny how that works, huh?

Okay, back to being deliriously happy. (I'm gonna milk it while it lasts!)
Just tentatively said yes to leading DV group this week as well. :-\

L's out of town, E's out of town, so...

I'll have a co-pilot, though, and the material will be provided. *Whew*. It's just a matter of facilitating.

Can I do it? Of course I can! The change comes from within the ladies, as they relate to the material. I'm just there to make sure we get out on time! lol

I refuse to even think for a second that "I cannot do this," because I can. Young or not, I've got insights, because I've lived through it.

Quote session from the book I'm reading today!

All quotes are from Chapter 2-- "Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough"

"When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness--the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don't fit in with who we think we're supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness--that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging--lives inside of our story.

The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute. Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites. So many of us have knowingly created/unknowingly allowed/been handed down a long list of worthiness prerequisites:
-I'll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds.
-I'll be worthy if I can get pregnant.
-I'll be worthy if I can get/stay sober.
-I'll be worthy if everyone thinks I'm a good parent.

Here's what is truly at the heart of Wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.

In addition to letting go of the ifs and whens, another critical piece of owning our story and claiming our worthiness is cultivating a better understanding of love and belonging. Oddly enough, we desperately need both, but rarely talk about what they really are and how they work..."

"A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbing, and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering."

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them--we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.

Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance."

"It's worth noting that I use the words innate and primal in the definition of belonging. I'm convinced that belonging is in our DNA, most likely connected to our most primitive survival instinct. Given how difficult it is to cultivate self-acceptance in our perfectionist society and how our need for belonging is hard-wired, it's no wonder that we spend our lives trying to fit in and gain approval.

It's so much easier to say, 'I'll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I'm a part of this.' From gangs (to church--my insertion here) to gossiping, we'll do what it takes to fit in if we believe it will meet our need for belonging. But it doesn't. We can only belong when we offer our most authentic selves and when we're embraced for who we are."
I've made my choice.

Maybe a bit impulsive, but I see the clear benefits.

It just seems like too much of a wide, inviting possibility for me to walk away from it.

Not that it doesn't come with its own prickles and spears of fear.

I... am afraid.

I'm afraid to settle down.

Change... it's what my family does best. We adapt. We flex. More than that...we move. New apartment, new city, new state, whatever. More than the average person, I suppose.

The wanderlust was bred right into me. (In addition, dysfunctional dynamics always require and instill a certain level of constant shifting, moving, changing, running.)

Then... we stayed in one place. For, like, 5 years. The longest I'd lived in one place in my whole life.

And then I escaped. I went away to school.

I came back, presumably to settle down, but the family was gone. I was isolated, lonely, depressed... restless...

So I left again. Bible college, this time. And oh, what a college. Constantly on the road---this city, that city, this state, that state... I think the longest I was ever in one place was our several month practicum. Always on the move.

It was familiar, if stressful. Then again, life before had been familiar, if stressful, non?

Then I graduated. I had no job, no place to live... but by the skin of my teeth, I got a job in ID a few weeks after graduation.

So I moved again. But the job wasn't for me-- I hated it. I was festering and crumbling on the inside, keening death-wails and tortured sobs of grief that few could hear through the thick, shiny veneer of Bible Worker that I had pasted on. So I quit, shortly after moving again.

This time... I stayed. I stayed for a while. Over a year. And--get this-- I thought I could stay. I mean, long term. I was ready for it. But, as tends to happen, the proverbial excrement began its inevitable ascent towards the oscillating cooling device, and... I moved.

Well, this time, I was going to move anyway, but it happened quicker than I had been anticipating.

So here I am, faced with the decision to settle down, or move.

I'll give one guess as to which I'm inclined towards.

I'm scared to try life, scared that I won't be able to hack it... I mean, who blames a nomad for being poor? They are not in one place long enough to accumulate any wealth to speak of. Who blames a nomad for having few meaningful relationships, or for being reticent and uninvolved in a community or church body?

When you're on the move, it frees you from so many responsibilities... preserves so much energy that would be expended in all these other places like family or friends or church or community or, heaven forbid, work.

I'm scared to try this serious relationship long-term. I've been told over and over again that "unless your relationship is built on God, it won't work, it's going to fail and be bitter and miserable and you'll realize too late you made a mistake". You know what? I think that's a lie, if it's presented as the determinate factor between success and failure. It's a contributing factor, but I don't think it's the thing that makes the difference between success and failure.

I think that there is more to it than that.

I think your souls have to be aligned at the deep level, and that's what a common belief in God does for you. But it's much more than that, so much more. (If it weren't, then what's the excuse for any divorce among Christians?)

And I realized today that I've heard this so much that I was believing that C and I couldn't ever really work. But you know what? I didn't know that we couldn't until I was told so. I never wanted to leave until I was told that it was bad for us to be together.

I've been scared to follow this to its natural conclusion, scared that what I've been told will be reality and that our compatibility and our commitment and our love will not be enough, will never be enough, for lack of this one element. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Brilliant, really.

But... it's not true.

And I also realized today that I really, really resent the attempts of Christianity to weaken and minimize the individual, to discount and force a surrender of the innate strength of a human soul. I don't think that is how God meant it to be. I resent anything that tells me I am not strong, that I am not capable. Because I am. I may be weak at times, but even in my weakness, there is an undeniable strength. God did not save me from being abused, so I took care of myself. I found ways to cope, to keep myself sane, to make it through. I had a really rough start, and maybe God allowed it to be that way for a reason that I don't understand, but I got myself through. And I'm not about to stop now. I'm going to take care of myself, because I can and I am capable of doing so. I refuse to be a weak person, even if I do have weak moments. They are undergirded with strength by my decision to keep pushing through, putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how difficult it becomes or how infinitesimal the progress seems.

If I can somehow reconcile this inner strength of mine with the teachings of God and his Jesus, then I will be a Jesus follower. If I find that Jesus' teachings are asking me to become helpless, then I will be a follower of the Creator and none other. If I find the Creator to be Yahweh, then I will follow him.

So far, I'm becoming sure that the Bible is no collection of myths-- it's historically verifiable, at least in a general sense. (Granted, not every specific has been proven, and I don't think that will ever be the case. But it's enough, for me.) These are the memories and tales of real people.

But I've decided... I don't want to flee anymore. I don't want to run away, frightened, any longer.

I want to stand my ground and be strong.

Even if that means... committing to something, or someone, or someplace... for the rest of my natural life.

And this is one thing that I can feel good about committing to. He keeps proving it to me over and over again. The way he interacts with my soul and my mind... his gentle compassion yet unyielding intellectualism... is a compelling paradox. And the way he supports me in my times of weakness let me know that this is a man I can depend on to guard my very life.

So... I get the man I love, and to pursue the career I'm dreaming of, and continue the ministry I've been given... all in one option.

Who could say no?

Why would I say no, but for fear?

I will flee no longer.
Got a message from another friend. B, to be specific.

He says:

Hi C,
    I am unable to sleep, I'm not sure if it's because of an extremely active evening of racquetball, or a mis-interpreted FB message, maybe you can help.
    Let me begin by telling you how I am soooo looking forward to playing racquetball with you in the Heavenly courts where we'll use the power of thought for racquets, and the stars for balls, deflecting them off walls that don't exist. Can you imagine how wonderful that will be!
   CONCERN:   Your choice of words in reply to your mom's FB message  " Are you hiding under my bed? C and I were JUST talking about graphene last night! Odd..." is troubling me.
Please don't misunderstand my motives, I am your friend, and I'm concerned for you.
I replied:


I, too, am looking forward to playing racquetball--albeit a little sooner, and I'm pretty sure O doesn't qualify as Heaven, so... ;)
I appreciate that you care, but I don't understand what your concern is. I see nothing wrong with the message, and I don't know how you interpreted, or misinterpreted, the post.


Now, I suppose that might be a bit of a mistruth. I think I know what concerns him, but I don't want to jump to any unsubstantiated conclusions.

I'm pretty sure he's worried that a.) C and I are back together, or b.) that C and I are sharing the same bed. Either one could reasonably inferred from the statement. They're both true, and he may very well be inferring both conclusions. And, knowing his conservative religious stance... I can see how that would be a problem for him. (Of course, it could be true that I was talking to C on the phone while in my room, or it could also be true that C and I were simply talking about graphene, with the "under my bed" simply being an expression of speech meant to signify an uncanny awareness of my activities.)

However... it somewhat galls me that he should be the one claiming concern for my emotional or relational life when he was the one who took me on that long, horrific, awkward emotional trip. Really? Really?! I think not.

I appreciate the concern, in a perfunctory fashion. But I'm getting tired of well-meaning friends trying to guilt-trip me back into the church, or away from C. I'm an adult now, tu sabes? So... basically... step off. I've made my choice, although some may not know that. (For instance, the friends I'm having supper with tonight...)

And perhaps I've erred in being secretive in this regard. I just really, really, really don't feel like expending the emotional energy to constantly defend my choice. The problem is that most of those I've surrounded myself with in the past few years-- my chosen culture-- are the type to see this choice as wrong and challenge it. So you see how much easier it is to be quiet, rather than brazen and flaunting...

Oh. Does it appear that I feel like I'm doing something wrong because I'm being secretive? Hmmm... it might. That hadn't really occurred to me.

Well, if anyone asks me, I'll tell them the truth. I'm still not going to flaunt it. But I'm not going to work as hard at being evasive.

It's funny... when you don't have an institution or a peer group or a bunch of leaders (purposely or inadvertently) pressuring you to make certain choices and adopt a certain lifestyle... you revert to who you really are. When there's no fear of abandonment or rejection... you can make the choices that you want to.

And I feel like I've been transported back to my high-school self in terms of values and choices, but more skilled, wiser, and more mature this time around.

I wonder if I've been the same person underneath, all this time, just afraid to let myself show?

Note: Got a letter from B later that basically said my reply had abated his concern, and he has thoroughly been enjoying racquetball. So... my curiosity remains. What was he thinking??