Thursday, January 29, 2009

Letting It Out...Sorta

I've been advised not to do this, and even though it might create some embarrassment for me, I think I need to let this out in some way.

It's around this time at night that my nerves are timid and pressed tightly. In late November/early December I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is common, but that doesn't solve the problem for me to know that. I'm not entirely sure why I have it, and have panic attacks...but I do and I've been trying to get better.

I've left school a few times because of attacks. They hit me randomly and at what seems to be the worst times. In some driving instances I start to hyperventilate and have to pull over, sometimes the panic proceeds and sometimes it does not. Whenever I'm alone my mind feels as if it's being choked by a rope controlled by unknown sources. If I knew what all of those sources were then maybe I'd start to rid of this trap that's progressed in my brain. I now have a great fear of being alone and hurt, so I always long to be with people who openly love me and show great care towards this thing I can't control. More importantly, I don't know how I'd deal with this if I didn't have faith in God.

My grades have gone down and it's difficult for me to finish any type of homework assignment because at home I feel stressed, so when I'm stressed I can't operate well. At school I try not to care about what's going on because when I do show interest then I think about it too much and that causes me to freak out. I miss half a day at school every Monday on top of it all to go to therapy, and that piles more work on top of everything else school wise. For a while I couldn't play drums for more than fifteen minutes because my confidence was gone. But I have picked it back up again to regular routine.

The only places I feel genuinely happy at are at my church and the Brawley's house. I feel incredibly blessed for both places. I usually feel more connected with God in these places too. When I'm home I read the bible and try to focus on God so much more because He is true and watching me. I know He is. Everynight I pray for Him to heal me of this strange sadness and mental anxiety and worry. And I feel guilty that I worry too much about stuff because in the end there's not much to fret over. Once an attack is over I feel drained and pray and pray. At the same time, I thank Him for the people who are by my side or talk to me when I'm having one. I don't know how those people can still see me as a normal or great person when I have attacks, it takes strength to see through that. I feel like I can't give back enough love that people have given me in the past two to three months.

On Monday I began taking Zoloft...which has been an interesting experience side effect wise. The only one I've had trouble with is nausea, along with zoning out and increased heart rate. My mom's friend who takes Zoloft said that these usually go away within the first week. I hope so. I hope it helps calm my nerves down.

I know not everyone agrees that I should be taking medicine, and I respect that. Infact in a way I find it a compliment because that statement makes me feel like I'm not one hundred percent mentally unstable, but that it's because of some situations and events that have happened over the past year that are making me this way. Whatever it is, I pray to God that He helps me and will keep me in His arms throughout this. And you know what? He's doing just exactly that. Through people, through my heart.

Bandaids and Musical Praise

I feel like Nelly tonight. Not only do I feel like Nelly, I look like Nelly. A bandaid is on my face due to a scab bleeding. Disgusting!!!!

Other news....last night I went to the PCC band practice. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I think it's so cool that these talented musicians meet up to play songs about the Lord! The band members have some real passion not only for Christ but for music. I'm really happy that I was exposed to that atmosphere of love for expression through song, and all for Jesus!! Hopefully if I keep attending practices that I will get some type of chance to play drum set, since it's my favorite thing in the world to do! :D

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Breaking Copyright Laws for the sake of ART

Right about now, I'm most likely breaking 2098324958043985 copyright rules by posting these paintings. They were done by an AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME modern artist named Sage Vaughn. He paints nature but also culture. WOOOOHHHH MODERN ART!

A Lesson Revisited

A bowl of ramen noodles is currently sitting in my lap as I'm typing this.

I didn't go to school today! My parents gave me the option to stay home. Thank you God!

Last night I was struggling with feelings of hate and wanted to call certain people out on bad things they've done that bothered me. I would never have the guts to do something like this, and I think I am starting to grasp even more the fact that it's not my place to do so.

When I woke up this morning around 11 o'clock, I reached for my bible. Reading the bible seems to help quite a bit when going through confusing situations. Right now I'm reading the book of John. Good stuff.

The verses that caught my attention this morning were John 8:1 through 8:11. I'm sure many people already know this story, but based on my present feelings towards people who either remind me of my past or continue to hurt me without knowledge of doing so, this story lit a more peaceful light bulb in my mind on how to react emotionally.

"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'...At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there." (John 8:6-9)

Although I never found myself to be more perfect than any other person (and with that I do not believe anyone is perfect), I often have gotten angry when I see people do bad acts in front of me, and I'm starting to think that maybe it's because I used to do what they're doing, and sometimes slip into their same actions from time to time. It's become more and more visible to me that we are all equal, and that we are all sinners.
After reading this story I feel more content, and not nearly as much pain. Along with that I don't naturally think pessimistically about others or desire to correct them somehow. That's why I love learning about God though, it's a process. I believe His teachings are only to bring about good, nothing else.

The word of God has proven to continuously provide me with happiness and belief in His love. I'm looking forward to what's next.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You might think they are....but they are not.....

You might think Radiohead is one of the single most overrated bands in the world today, but their credit is soley based off of their originality and succesful adaptation from nineties into the new millenium.
I just made a mistake. Radiohead never once "adapted" to the current music scene, or rather, any scene whatsoever. Pablo Honey launched Radiohead's raw alternative sound with the stalker student-esque single "Creep", but they didn't stick to this sound for long despite the financial splendor.
What?!! They didn't care about money?!! Who are these guys?!! Artists??!!!
Let me put this out there- OK Computer is one of the best rock albums of all time. The first time I heard the track Paranoid Android I got massive goosebumps. Who the heck thinks of this stuff? Not only that- who thinks of this stuff and somehow attracts millions of people around the world who would usually listen to mainstream pop, or...maybe even the dreaded Nickelback (*gasp*), to sit down and souse the whirl of obnoxious, yet beautifully arranged, songs with offbeat topics? Only one can hold the force. Radiohead, may the force be with you.
Thom Yorke, as everyone knows is the lead singer of this lovely ensemble, is....well....strange. He knows it and shows it. What people fail to see is that behind this man's musical career, Thom is aware of what he's trying to accomplish as an artists. Searching his words I found he strongly disagrees with the media and its restrictions on art. Here some of my favorite quotes by him:
-"So ultimately, it's idealistic to think that artists are able to step away from the power of the media and the way it controls things, and go on doing their own things."
-"I don't see it in terms of changing things, but rather using language and music as weapons for fighting a mainstream media which is predominately right wing, and loyal to the political framework and its corporate interests."
-I think the most important thing about music is the sense of escape.
Right now I have to thank Thom Yorke for being an artist and making music that HE wants to make, and nothing less. The last quote I included speaks clear to me. Isn't music supposed to be an escape? I am a punk music fan, do not get me wrong, but I do believe that politics shouldn't make up an entire record. There it goes back again- isn't music a means of communication to its audience? Sure a singer could adress a crowd of thousands and thousands about who to vote for or how the world's enviroment is slowly melting away, but if that's what I really want to hear, then I will go to some type of political rally. Not a concert, and not spend my money on it. That's not escape for me. For others, maybe.
Radiohead creates their own world and dome within music. Taking the art to an individual spectrum. Many journalists have tried to describe Radiohead's noise, but they're simply one of those bands you have to listen for yourself. And not just one track, because all of them vary. The panicky drone of Thom Yorke and the undefined background elements are what define Radiohead. Never trite.
And live? I would feel more than priveleged to witness a Radiohead performance. To see what I mean, check this out-

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nursing Homes

My opinion about nursing homes changed this morning. My former experiences with them have been awkward or kind of depressing.

When I was thirteen my grandmother passed away. Every so often my mom would make Kelsey and I jump into our old Jeep Cherokee to go visit Grandma. Usually my sister and I deeply dreaded having to drive to North Carolina and back within a two day period, and having to sit in a small room listening to my mom and grandma talk. I don't recall half of the conversations they had. Often my mom would ask Kelsey and I to leave the room, or my Grandma would ask me to go play the piano. I didn't know how to play at all, but she liked hearing me play around on it.

She had two high addictions I will never forget:

1.) Smoking
2.) Once she quit smoking, she resolved to debbie cakes. Gotta love the healthy transition.

When my grandma used to smoke around me I had to leave because I would get sick and almost throw up. How ironic, since I later picked up the habit myself for a brief time period and never experienced those physical effects! Let me just say that the longterm physical effects of smoking were apparent in my grandma's appearence. She had that smoker's skin, with more than average amount of freckles and faint yellow skin tint.

Later on the debbie cakes replaced cigarettes. Being a kid you'd think my face would light up at the sight of a box of sugar and an invitation to diabetes, but I got sick of seeing her eating them. Ugh, I hate debbie cakes now! hahah

The last time I saw her she was on a breathing machine in a hospital. Her health just got worse and worse, and then she died. I could see it coming, ofcourse like everyone else in the fam. I think that for years my mom always thought that each visit we gave might possibly be the last. Which is important to remember when a family or friend is in critical condition, but that fact never ruined our visits.

Seeing someone die slowly helps you accept others' deaths in the future. My grandfather once saw my reaction to hearing about someone's death, how I remarked how awful it was for someone to pass away. And he replied, "You just aren't used to it yet." And he didn't say this in a negative tone, because my grandfather looked very peaceful when he said it. Death is, as everyone knows, a part of everyone's life. Thankfully no one I've been really really really really close to has died. I've seen what loss does to other people, after my grandma died. I find it interesting how people invade your house with flowers, and that even when you throw the flowers out the house still smells like Lowe's greenhouse. I think this tradition should be shifted. People's houses should be filled with hugs and prayer instead of a plant. Plants can't hug you. Especially cactuses, I don't recommend trying that out.

But back to the original topic at hand.

Nursing homes. Facilities with some residents older than the concept of nursing homes. Within their doors lies a world of age and experience, of some fragile bodies with big minds. Hayley, Shannon, Sydni, Vania, Hannah Merchant, and Melissa...uhh...darn I feel bad but I forgot her last name, and I all went to Lucy Corr Nursing Home this morning bright and early! At first I was a little nervous (what's new) about going to visit the old folks. Because my grandma's nursing home was miniscule and sad. And...the smell was not pleasant, I'll be honest. Lucy Corr, though, is the Hilton Hotel compared to my grandma's Motel 6. I almost asked the guide where the bar and swimming pool was. Speaking of the guide, she got kind of mad at me since I ran into the bathroom while the rest of the group trailed behind her. Then once I went to go into the room they were at I almost set the alarm off, and left the bathroom door open which bothered her. It's always an adventure!

One of the residents was in trying to get through one of the doors at one point during our tour, and our nice guide asked her where she was headed. The resident looked up and said with a smile, "Imma bout to beat a bitch." It's always an adventure.

All of us broke up into groups of 2. Sydni and I were in a group together. She had brought with her a bag of nail stuff to do ladies' nails if they wanted them done. The first lady was lovely. A 93 year old with an open personality. I couldn't believe she was 93! Sheesh I felt like a fetus compared to her. But I gained respect for someone who's lived that long. I wonder if there's anything she hasn't experienced in life. She's had quite an amount of time to check things off her list of things to do. I hope I have a great deal of things checked off of my list when I'm old. The thing that was strange was that I didn't talk at all. And I didn't want to, I wanted to listen to this lady talk! Sydni asked some cool questions, thankfully, that generated some rad answers.

The second lady told us she had twelve brothers and sisters in order to manage thier farm in Alabama!! Wow. She's lost two of her three sons along with her husband. At the end when Sydni asked if there was anything else she wanted to tell her about, the lady said she won the jackpot once! and that she still has money to this day from it! Well, we aren't sure if this is true, since when Sydni told the guide about it she looked confused or surprised. It's always an adventure.

Afterwards all of us went to get pizza. So much fun! No one was there so I danced in my chair and started being loud. Surprise! I have a feeling we will be visiting that nursing home again soon, along with pizza or some variation of food afterwards. I sense a great bond coming from this, I could sense a memory generator from doing this. Can't say I'd forget what happened today.

My opinion about nursing homes has changed. Not everyone in there suffers from some epic sickness, although many of them do unfortunately. But I saw the importance of these people being visited, how it could turn around their day. During the conversation with the second lady we saw, Sydni said, "I'm doing this because I want people to come visit me one day when I'm in a nursing home." I agree with what she says. I'm not looking forward to being in a nursing home, but if that's what it comes to, then I'd enjoy meeting strangers who'd want to provide that company they usually don't recieve. Until then, I'll try to keep those people in mind.

I prayed this morning before leaving to go that God let me see nursing homes different, and not feel completely uncomfortable as I used to. It's true that while being there I felt some emotional difference, but it wasn't sadness, it was more so care for the people that were there. Makes me thankful I don't have to sign out in order to go see a movie or have someone help me walk to lunch.

John Irving, in The World According to Garp, wrote that people are born without being able to help themselves as babies, then grow into managing themselves, and (in some cases) die not being able to help themselves anymore. I could see that today. I wonder what goes on the minds of these people who have lived so much, and yet, physically, are able to do little. It shows the heart and mind really do live longer than our outer frames.
I completely forgot I have a blog.

Infact...I'm still a bit confused- is this my blog?

After pulling this up the realization that my memory is fuzzy appears, and most of all, that change has truly occurred. Who was the person who typed dramatically about loss in life? Why did I have the impulse to express my feelings about my natural indecisiveness? Thankfully, my old self will not be revisited.

But I do remember a few things.

There was no desire to embrace God's grace and recognize his power in my life. A fear of spiritual guidance or partial authority consumed my mind. Or more obviously, my body. I took up the art of smoking. The reason I say art is because there are quite a few variations and styles. It becomes art once it's a stress reliever. Once it becomes a means of stressful ventilation. For that's what REAL art has always been for me.

One night I was almost arrested for the activity. At the time the situation was looked up as great entertainment, but now I view it as idiotic. I can still see the policeman's flashlight's glare in my pupils, how they must have looked dilated and hollow. How I didn't move and froze there, my thoughts discombobulated (sp?), thrown into a pathetic blender. Later on that evening the cops would pass us by a couple of times while we were smoking illegal substances.

That's when I prayed seriously for the first time in an extremely lengthy duration. I told God, "Lord, I trust that whatever happens tonight is what will happen. If you could please just ensure my safety tonight...I would be so thankful. Forgive me."

The next day I woke up after a fifteen hour nap. And cried, letting go of tears I thought couldn't be produced by my then passive mindset. Vania called me and told me to go to PCC with her the next day. Church was not my idea of fixing things, but something made me move my body and transport it to the service.

As my dear friend Sarah Brawley told me, "Wow, you had no life". Although her statement was regarding the fact I spent a night smoking at a public facility with a couple of "buds" (who I no longer associate myself with for the obvious reasons), it was stamped and pressed against my noggin in a completely different way. I thought about it for a long time....

I had no life because I did not allow myself to love God.

But God was there with me when I let myself be vulnerable to substance addictions, and to others as well. He was there holding me when I would wake up on the floor and not move for two hours, staring at the ceiling wondering what my life was made up of, and whether or not I really really wanted it to continue. Without that spiritual rock to lean on, my back hit hard on the jagged pavement of absence. God was there all along, but it was my eyes that failed to open.

PCC. Whoa. Enough said. I used to be one of those people who would laugh at the subject of church, and find church incredibly hypocritical or ridiculous. But PCC is honest and real, full of once broken or healing people, putting their life in His hands. It was the music at FOCUS, though, that made me aware God was going to change me. I was so overwhelmed and happy, the fact that God could make me cry and be who I really am. Not full of ignorance like I used to paint my personality's developing canvas with. That color wouldn't stick. But His vibrant and undeniable love is what I suddenly wanted. I quit my bad habits, and picked up new ones, such as going to small group every week.

This led me to great, amazing, and wonderful people. Angie Frame has been a blessing in my life. She talked to me when I first came to PCC, and made me feel extremely welcome. Shannon Brawley has affected me in more ways than one. I believe God brought her into my life to see His light better, since she encouraged me to keep attending PCC, to come to small group. Her lack of judgement about my past and present is a great comfort to me and I owe her so much. She possesses a caring and beautiful heart that I idolize! Sarah Brawley is a being of awesomeness. It almost shocks me to this day sometimes how much we can relate to each other in life situations. I always take her advice into serious consideration, because I feel that she somehow knows me even though she doesn't have complete knoweledge about my life. Hopefully I will be able to express one day how much her words and actions affect me. Both her and Shannon have constantly been there for me whether it's 1 AM or 1 PM! I feel so incredibly thankful for them, and thank God for them quite often. Beth Brawley, although I am yet to get to know her better, has also given me great insight on the current situations in my life!! WOOHHH the Brawleys rock! hahah

However, there are some things to repair within my own family. I will have to be patient through the process of healing.

One last note-
God is amazing!