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Who Am I?

7 Dec

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”   (Maggie Kuhn)

So who the heck is this person?  I’m Heather.  I think I have some stories to share and some thoughts about how I view life, and maybe some thoughts which will help you see something new about how you view life.  I find it best to know a bit about who the heck it is I’m listening to, so here’s a little bullet point list.  The fancy word for this is that I’m trying to flesh out a bit of my paradigm for you, so you can see how I view our world.  Some or all of this stuff will likely get flesh put onto it later, but I feel like you need to know it.  20161203_155954

  • I reside, and have resided, in Colorado for most of my life.  Exception is 2 years spent in Ventura, California.  I have lived in our capital city, in the Four Corners Region, surrounded by mesas on the Western Slope, but mostly I’ve lived in a smallish city in the northeastern part of my state.
  • I am just shy of 40 years old.  I identify as Generation X even though some bump folks my age up to the Millennial generation, I do not identify with much of what that generation values and has experienced.
  • I am a white person who was raised in a primarily white church and school system.  My interactions with people of color were always limited, and even now as an adult, are not as frequent as I would like.
  • I identify as a cis-female (mostly) straight woman.  For those of you who don’t know what the word cis means, it just means that I identify as the standard gender of the sexual parts I was born with.
  • Up until recently, I would describe my class background as “middle class,” or even “upper middle class” at times.  Significant thought on this matter and realizations about my life and how I live it lead me to believe that my family was “house poor,” and quite a few of the ways I live my life are influenced by being raised in a blue collar class (meaning we were never at or below the poverty level but that we certainly struggled and did not have as many bonuses as children who grew up middle class did).
  • I was identified as “gifted and talented” as a child, educated in 2 above average school districts, and was able to attend 41/2 years of college before being forced to drop out due to financial reasons.  While in college I was a History major (emphasis Europe, but really from about World War I to 1950) with a dual minor in Black Studies and Anthropology (I was getting ready to just take the last semester I needed for this degree when I had to drop out of school.)  I am a person who takes knowledge seriously and continues to educate myself by reading about people that I didn’t know about and books by authors who have different experiences than I did.
  • As a baby I was baptized Catholic and then when I was 5 years old, my parents started attending a non-denominational First Christian Church.  (The ones without the cup and flame.)  My mother raised me to strongly value reading and knowing the Bible and to pray and discern what it means.  In high school, I primarily attended a charismatic Four Square Church, and in college found an Evangelical Free Church.  8 years ago, I helped found a non-denominational church plant, but left about 2 years ago.  I currently identify as a Christian, and struggle with the baggage that goes along with that.  I do not presently attend a church with any frequency.

So now you know where I’m coming from so we can go together.  Yes?

 

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Writing My Way Out

5 Dec

When the world turned its back on me
I was up against the wall
I had no foundation
No friends and no family to catch my fall
Running on empty, with nothing left in me but doubt
I picked up a pen
And wrote my way out                      (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

I have a lot of journals.  Some of them I’ve had since I was in high school.  Some of them are more recent.  Some are full, many are empty.  This blog is also a journal.  You can tell that sometimes I might set something down, wander away to other activities, then come back and rediscover that it’s there.

Writing has been something I’ve turned to journalsfrequently in life but not as frequently as I should.  The page has listened to more of my sadness, happiness, ideas from left field, and thoughts from right than the whole collective of my friends.  Sometimes the page has helped me to express something that was confusing me, or reason my way through a problem or concept I was trying to understand.  I would like to think sharing my thoughts might change someone’s mind or heart.  But I haven’t kept track of that much.

The time has come to remember that the written word is how ideas best disseminate.  The time has come for us to remember that we are all humans having human experiences together in this place.  And the time has come for us to acknowledge that not all of these experiences are positive.  And how we sometimes view our experiences can hurt ourselves and our friends.  In short, it is time to read and understand more, and to blindly hit the share button (so to speak) less.  I hope, in penning some of my experiences to these pages, that you might find something out of my experiences to apply to yours.

 

Engage(d)

4 Nov

It seems this fall that engagements are almost an epidemic in my life.  Perhaps there is some sort of water being passed out, or maybe they had a great deal on rings at Kohl’s or something.  Or maybe Tom Shane has just succeeded at wearing everybody down like some sort of bored Urkel?

(In case you were wondering about the voice who’s wearing you down to visit his store.)

Most people my age will now commence with either sharing a sweet, wonderful story of how their present spouse proposed to them or a semi-bitter story about their ex whatever.  I have neither of those to share with you from my personal experience.  I also do not find it surprising when a friend of mine recounted a story of an ex sister-in-law of hers who is now on marriage three and she has not yet hit age 30.

And I also do not find it a bit surprising that there is currently a blog entitled “You Probably Shouldn’t Get Married” floating around teh internets right now.  It’s an incarnation of the same post that’s made its rounds about once a year about how marriage is super special, and it’s really not about you, and many other yada yadas about unconditional love.

Part of my survival mode in avoiding the scary c-word (which happens to rhyme with enrichment) that goes along with engagement has been to become a big ol’ nerd.  This started in middle school.  Hey, if the boys aren’t going to ask me out, I might as well do things like memorize large chunks of Shakespeare’s greatest works and spend a lot of time with Picard, Crusher, and Data.  It’s a lot simpler to not be reminded that you’re not out on a date if you’ve got a Next Gen marathon on channel 2 or a pile of Vonnegut or Asimov at your disposal.

The Nerdy McNerderson disguise works excellently.  Well, until you attend college and all of a sudden post college us nerds are at the top of the heap, and damn are some of those nerds attractive!  And then, seemingly all of a sudden, you stumble upon a nerd who knows all the movies and Joss Whedon shows from which you nerdily quote.  And who can get exactly why you are so excited that there is a new Sandman prequel series.  And who absolutely understands why the deletion of Tom Bombadil from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was absolutely NOT a necessary edit.

And then you find yourself back at square one, nerdy disguise peeled away, flowers sitting on your dining room table, and many hours of time have been spent with that person.  It is at that point you realize something very important: you have no idea what it is you got yourself into, but it seems mostly harmless.

Yep.  I'm not.  (Thanks XKCD.com for explaining all the feels!)

Yep. I’m not. (Thanks XKCD.com for explaining all the feels!)

Now, I’m not saying I’m anywhere closer to that elusive c-word that rhymes with equipment, lest my phone and facebook feed blow up with a gagillion congratulations.  I am saying that I’m staring down the cliff over the edge of a precipice that I’ve watched many people jump off of, but I’m not sure this safety harness is gonna’ hold.  Thankfully there’s someone standing next to me.

Maybe that’s what it is: Thankfully there’s someone standing next to you. Congratulations if you’ve found that someone.  And if you’ve not…keep doing the things you like and pay no mind to that cliff over yonder.

Independent

4 Jul

No glass on my ceiling

A short bucket list for Independence Day.  As I am now no longer waiting for “what will happen next?” or “I have to wait to do this together,” I present to you a few things I plan on doing before the end of the year:

  • Get a job.  Maybe even one that I really like.
  • Be able to afford my own place, instead of having roomies (I love my roomies, but it’s nice to have my own place)
  • Learn something new (perhaps home brewing?)
  • See Yosemite
  • Do as much California Roller Derby as possible
  • Get to Portland for Regionals
  • Set a goal and finish it (what up, C25K? Nice to meet you.)
  • Beach, often.  Perhaps even to get a tan (hasta, ghostly pallor)
  • Learn California State History
  • Don’t kill my mom when she visits for Thanksgiving
  • Write more
  • Whine less
  • Be able to do something big anonymously for someone

So the goal here being, that I’ll be disassembling this post slowly for the rest of the year.  And hopefully blogging about it.  (Except for the anonymous thing of course.)  It’s good to have independence.  And direction.

Installed

2 Jul

Sandy Skoglund, "Fox Games"

I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of those moments where the floor drops out and you don’t know which way is up or is down.  The last 10 years of my life have been strung together with these types of moments.  And I used to become completely unhinged for weeks, maybe months – becoming some kind of unwashed, alien zombie bent on dragging everyone else down into the pit of my despair.

And then I started to learn that it really was just a situation.  Of course, I’m not claiming to have the corner on this sort of truth, nor do I even want to give you the pretense that when negative things happen to me I always deal with them perfectly, with great composure, and never a stray hair missed.  (Or with some unwashedness for that matter!)

But here’s kinda where I’m coming from, and I’d like to take you with me if you’ll go.  I’ve become acutely aware of this painfully beautiful something I’ve built around me.  A masterpiece, even.  A still life pose.  Like a bowl of oranges, really.  It is a beautiful safety net, forged from Elvin silver.  Or a cane with a crooked handle that I can hold onto over my head, its bent handle keeping me from plummeting to my death after a misstep on the tight rope.  It’s nothing very revolutionary, other people have become aware of it.  It’s just simply my people.

My people.  They are many types of people.  Some are problem solvers, some dreamers, some have endured more than any single person should endure in their life, one is very tiny and can’t even say words yet.  They all do one thing though:  they sit.

Sometimes by a lake, in the middle of the night, 12 feet away, but still checking on me.  Often through some form of technology, just quiet, or chatty, or whatever is needed.  They sit on the end of a couch and humor me with Goldie Hawn and tasty snacks.  In my arms barely weighing anything, and only fidgeting slightly as they fight sleep.  Or on a barstool knocking back drinks and muttering obscenities under their breath.  Sometimes they are angry for me, sometimes sad, often they point out the lies I’m believing, or stay up all night with me just so I’m not alone; they are always there with their unique perspective.  They sit.  They show up.  They are there.

I think it’s why I’m obsessed a bit with installation art: someone filling a space with art which integrates the space around it as well as the piece.

Anthony Gormley's "Field for the British Isles," or "the first installation piece I fell in love with"

With installation art, the artist uses not only a created piece(s), but also space to guide the viewer through their piece.  Sometimes the viewer is allowed intimately inside the piece, with the artwork surrounding them; other times it is only by peeking in through the entrance of a room.

I seem to get the feeling more often than not that installation pieces want you to be surrounded, feel surrounded, know you’re surrounded.  Or they want you to be surprised and delighted that you found such a wonderful thing.  (See: guerrilla art) And I am.  Surrounded by beautiful pieces of art.  And I wander through, and sometimes hunker down beside them.  Or I laugh, sometimes smugly to myself that I’ve found such a lovely thing that thousands have walked past every day.  But mostly I am amazed.  I am amazed at this installation piece that I’ve created, and I lovingly try to care for it daily.

Chris Burden "Urban Light"

How Do I Fold This Note Again?

1 Jan
These Boots Were Made for Travel

My dearest new reader,

Welcome.  I don’t claim to be the best at everything.  Nor do I claim to be that blogger that you’d read all the time if I blogged.  I was never really good at passing notes back in elementary.  I could never master the complicated art of note passing origami.

When you start a blog around these parts, they tell you that it’s best to have a focus.  And I do have a focus: I like to make things. The photo shows custom boots I created for a trip last year for a roller derby tournament.  One should always create something new when exploring new places.

It’s always fun to make something new.  Or to see things be made new.  I shall enjoy writing to you about many things, and frequently, as that “dial it up to 2011” resolution is to pass you a note twice a week.

What will I make?  Well, new friend, I will make groups of words.  Sometimes those words will be my opinions on life, on faith, on my pending international move, or my thoughts once I am there.  Sometimes those words will simply be said with a photo.  I hope you’ll come with me, comment as often as you’d like, and have fantastic shoes along the way!

Amitiers,

~H