Saturday, February 26, 2011

So I have this friend......

So I have this friend.......
and I met her when I was about eight.  On top of a wooden house on a playground at a camp.   I didn't realize then that she would be my best friend.  In fact, it took us about seven years to get around to it.  In the meantime, we stored up memories in our piggy banks.  I wouldn't trade them for anything.  Some things I adore about this friend of mine:

She understands me even when I think there is no way she possibly could.
She not only puts up with my obssesive list making, she encourages it (with reason)
She can tell the times when I say "I'm doing good" and I'm really not.
She loves me despite my faults.
She tells me when to be quiet.
She lets me prattle on.
She gives me epipens when I'm allergic to myself.
She goes for the things she wants and doesn't ever give up.
She's in love with the same Savior that I am.

I could keep going on, but there is something really important that I need to tell you.  My amazing friend is in a scholarship competition and she needs your help to win.

While you are helping someones dreams come true, you can also win a bunch of cool stuff.

Check it out.



P.S.  Here is a direct link:

Imagining the Inconceivable

Brain Damage.
Is a very serious problem. Usually it is the overhanging anxiety following strokes, concussions, car accidents, premature births. It is also used as a threat. Don't drink—it causes brain damage. Don't do drugs—it causes brain damage. Don't hold in a sneeze—it causes brain damage. The validity of the last one is somewhat questionable. Still, we are told and we see how external circumstances can cause irrevocable brain damage. It is incredibly sad and terrifying.

I started questioning my existence when I was about eight. Not in the “why am I here? Do I have any significance in this huge world” type of way. Fortunately, I had unusually extreme self-confidence and never really doubted why I was in this world. Obviously, my presence made it a better place. What I would do, however, was think myself away. I am making no sense, I know. Stick with me.

I had a tendency to go through my life as if it is a story (probably an after-effect of too much reading as a small child). I know many people “narrate” their life sometimes, but I did this ALL the time. It was if there were two Chloes. There was the one that did the acting, the living out. Then there was another one that sat backstage and watched. Every once in a while the backstage Chloe would throw out a couple of forgotten lines or give out stage directions, but for the most part, that Chloe just watched.

I had gotten so accustomed to watching myself that sometimes I would lie in my bed at night and stare at the ceiling and repeat to myself... “This is real. This is real. I am real. I am me. My life is real.” Realizing the fact that the person that I was watching act out their life was actually me always sent my head into a dizzying fast orbit. The fact that everyone was real, that we were all humans, that this life wasn't just an incredibly complex and enthralling novel, absolutely turned my brain to mush. This is what I mean by questioning my existence. It is no wonder that after these mind games, I would fall promptly asleep, my brain too tired to continue living in the conscious form.

I still do this sometimes, but its harder now. I don't know if it is because I've done it so often or if my mind is no longer capable of imagining the inconceivable.

Back to brain damage. I was considering this peculiar habit of mine (that is, the existence questioning) and wondered exactly how much damage it had done to my brain. Questioning the fact that one is real certainly doesn't build up the brain cells. While pondering this, I came to an interesting conclusion: While brain damage caused by the external is serious and harmful, perhaps the greatest brain damage is done by ourselves with our own thoughts. What else could be so powerful as to damage our brains than the very things that feed it? When our thoughts become twisted and confused, our brain follows suit.

We can turn off parts of our brain by no longer using them. While a car crash can cause brain damage that is not of that person's choice, we can in fact use our own thoughts to intentionally damage our brains. The sad part is, that by leaving some parts of their brains stagnant, many people are hurting their minds without even realizing it. Unintentional self-brain damage is very dangerous indeed.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Girl Walking Backwards

I haven't posted in a while as I've fallen into the habit of questioning everything.  My thoughts are more akin to an interrogation in one of those white cinderblock rooms than to a quiet investigation of thoughts, feelings, and ideas on a plush couch with a cup of tea.  I just don't think anyone wants to read a blog full of unanswered questions.  I'm sure you have plenty of those in your own brain.  You don't need mine. 

Yesterday was an incredibly windy day.  I've always loved the wind.  When I was younger, I'd take a plastic grocery bag and type a piece of string to it and wander around the yard during the gusts.  I'd name the bag and set it down in the middle of the yard and run to the road and close my eyes and count to fifteen and then open my eyes and chase after the bag.  Once, it got caught in a pine tree and wouldn't come down no matter how much I asked.  That was the very first time that I felt betrayed. It would seem that being betrayed by a plastic bag is far easier than a human but I can still feel my seven year old's heart pang and I'm not so sure there is much of a difference. 

Yesterday was an incredibly windy day.  I grabbed my harmonica, a journal, a bible study, a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia in Spanish, and of course, a plastic bag.  I went outside and started running.  Very slowly.  I wanted to stop, I hadn't meant to run, but I couldn't stop.  I wanted to outpace the wind. I ended up in an emptyish field.  Here I stopped.  To my left was a path that I knew would lead me to the library.  Everytime I had reached this fork in the road before, I always went on the path that I knew.  I knew the path and I knew its destination.

Yesterday was not a day to take the normal path.  I went straight.  Then left.  Then straight. Then right.  Then I backtracked.  I caught a glimpse of a building and turned around and went in the opposite way.  I walked until finally I was lost.  I looked around and wasn't sure which way was which.  There was no architecture to guide my way.  And I was very happy.  I walked over territory that I had never seen before, that I didn't even know existed.  Everyonce in a while, the wind would startle me, make my heart jump.  At these times, and only these times, my thoughts fell silent as I surveyed the area for potential danger.  It took me a while to realize that the only thing that could harm me was myself. 

Eventually, I heard a familiar tree creaking and realized that I had come full circle to the begginning.  I suppose that could have been the end of my windy afternoon adventure.

I ended up in civilization, emerging over a hill to see a small child standing in the library parking lot looking at me rather confused.  I ignored that.  I kept walking.  I didn't stop.  I found a sidewalk.  This territory was annoyingly familiar.  I could see years of my footprints on the hard concrete. 

So I faced the other way and kept walking.  I couldn't tell where I was going, but I knew where I had been.  As I walked backwards, I could not see the snow patches before they rose up beneath my feet.  This small feeling of the unexpected excited me.  A car passed with girls inside of it, pointing and laughing at some oddity.  I suppose it was me.  This did not bother me.  I would laugh too if I saw a girl walking backwards. 

Sometimes backwards is the only way I know how to walk.  Sometimes playing games with a plastic bag on a windy day is the only way I know to feel alive.  Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find yourself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Drawer

It's full of odds and ends.  The junk drawer.  Where obscure items get shoved when your mom tells you to clean off the table.  In my house, there is this weird thing where we refuse to acknowledge that we have such a drawer.  But we do.  Just no one wants to admit it. 

Good job, you made it through the intro.  This post is an odds and ends drawer.  A few random thoughts that are not quite meaty enough to have their very own post.  So they end up here. 

#11.  Random Acts of Kindness
Guess what?!?  It is Random Acts of Kindness week next week!!  This is extremely exciting for me.  While it makes a nice theme for a week, it really is something that should be done year-round.  Give a friendly smile to a stranger, pay for the person behind you, clear off the windshield of the person next to you.  Come up with your own ideas!  There are some on the RAK website but they are pretty lame, more like things you should be doing everyday. 

#86.  Valentine's Day
If you are expecting some angry, bitter post on how Valentine's Day is just a day to make everyone who doesn't have a "special someone" feel horrible about themselves and that it is just Hallmark's sneaky way of making everyone buy their overpriced pieces of card stock.....look elsewhere.  This is a positive outlook on the very controversial idea of love.  Everyone has had those impossible crushes.  Where you like someone one that has no clue or will never like you in return.  My friend describes it in a good spend all the time when you are with them wanting them to notice you.  And then they leave.  And part of you slinks behind them.  It is at these times when love seems hopeless.  As Charlie Brown put it, "Nothing takes the taste out of a peanut better sandwich like unrequited love." So, when you think about it....two people being in love is pretty much a miracle.  The fact that two people could both like each other and gather up the courage to admit it and take that first is powerful, wonderful, and dangerous.  But I'm just talking about two people.  Zoom out.  There is a God who loves you like crazy.  He created this incredible universe for us, and as a thank you we screw up.  All the time.  He is under no obligation to continue loving us or saving us.  But He does.  And His love isn't just that highschooly crush-type stuff.  It's the real thing.  He loves me even though I could never reciprocate fully while I consistently prove myself unworthy. Mind. Blown.

#24. Polychromatic Emotions.
"And how does that make you feel?"  That infamous psychologist line is very difficult for me to answer.  I don't just have one emotion about ANYTHING.  It's a mixture, a blend of colors and tones and hues and saturations.  I feel pretty purply with a splash of lime green and periwinkle.  How do you like me now Dr. Phil?  I'm pretty sure others feel the way I do.  Not only do emotions come in vivid bright colors (forget the boring black and white stuff) there is a full range of colors.  They mix and mingle with each other, the pigments smudging over the futile boundaries that we set up.  If I am happy, I am not simply happy.  I'm most likely joyful and ecstatic but maybe a little apprehensive since happiness rarely feels sincere for me.  Every decision comes with an entire palette of emotions, one for each pro and con on my flip chart.

#49.  An Uncharacteristically Stereotypical Blog Post
Usually, my blogs are about my thoughts and philosophies.  This little scrap is just about me. 
I'm getting really excited for college.  There are so many possibilities that I am simultaneously delirious with happiness and paralyzed with fear.  Kind of a fuchsia feeling with some neon yellow mixed in. 
I love Narnia.  I've loved the idea of another world ever since I started creating one when I was five (I'll save that for another post someday).  I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan.  I have not read all of his books but am working through his essays currently.  I very much enjoy his logical way of presenting confusing ideas. 
I have amazing friends.  I don't have a group since I haven't really stuck with one "extracurricular activity" long enough.  It's more an eclectic cluster of people that inspire me, love me, and make me wish I could be a better friend to all of them.
Okay, my incredibly egotistical writing is done now.  Tell me something about you.