Saturday, July 31, 2010

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul (14 Days)

My heart has been melting all morning. I prayed at the same window that I used to go to in those first frantic, tender mornings right after I came home from Houston. The sunlight pouring over the mountain and trees and my backyard was comforting to me; I was so newly home that I felt most of the time that I didn't have any skin...I was oozing, falling apart, and the tiniest things were painful because I'd been scrubbed so raw. I remember the first week and second and third begging the same thing out into the sunshine: Perdoname Senor por haberme alejado de ti...I said the same thing this morning. Then I came downstairs and I'm listening to the music that made up the walls of my world 5 summers ago. I had a dear friend then who told me humbling stories about my dark ages and I had a peculiar sensation of erasure. He said he knew why he loved me in the first place but not in the second or third. There was so much lining of the world that I hadn't unraveled in those days although I felt burdened by all I did know. I carry my memories with me, little weights in my pockets like chess pieces. I take them out and arrange them, that dead game, and think, what if I'd made this move? Or this one? If only I had known. Looking at them this morning, they seem like houses too small to contain me now. There is an ineffable brightness moving across the sky.

The doctor I met with yesterday told me that marriage is the hardest and most heartbreaking thing in the world. Her husband died two months ago of a brain tumor (at age 49) and they were not happy. I looked into her eyes and I believed her, but I wasn't afraid. She told me that she was excited for me, but that she also felt really bad for me because of what I would go through. So we talked about loss. We talked about the loss someone unhappy in a marriage feels and the loss of never being married, loss of certain freedoms when you become a mother or the loss of never holding your own baby. What lasts at the end of life and what you lose by choosing to trust someone or choosing to never trust anyone. If it is worth more to stay forever the princess on the tower telling all the lovestruck Romeos "It's just that time [is] wrong" or to become stripped of your defenses, fall into vulnerability with all your flaws exposed, and through that pain change into a better version of yourself. I loved talking with her because there was no idle chatter and no wasted words. We spoke the whole time only about the things that are most dear to us. It seems fitting that in such a personal situation we'd discuss the most personal things...I wasn't expecting that, but I liked it that way. :) After the exam she told me she wished Jonathan was there so she could tell him that he was a very lucky guy. She told me that I'm in the right field and that it shows in how I carry and express myself. And then she hugged me, in my paper shirt, right before she left. It felt like something out of a book, and also like I proved something to myself. I know that life will bring pain and I accept that. But I have a bright companion and I don't have to be in the dark unless I choose that. I want to choose light, choose goodness, choose to be childlike and not bitter. The only way out is up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

'Cause I'll tell you everything about living free (19 Days)

500 Days of Summer is a hard movie for me to watch (ever but especially) right now (everyone feels this way because everyone has been Summer and everyone has been Tom); particularly the scene where Summer and Tom are at the movie watching the scene of the bride and groom waving enthusiastically behind them as they drive away. In the scene, they turn around and sit forward--literally facing their future and driving away from their past--and you can see the excitement and happiness drain from their expressions. Their faces become tense and almost sick. You can see the panicked questions etched above their heads: What have I done? What happens now? Where am I going to? They don't touch, don't glance at each other. They are so newly united, so freshly waved goodbye, then the horror of permanency sets in and they are more alone than ever before. Summer, watching the movie (meta!) weeps and later when Tom asks her why she refuses to tell him. I felt like I might know. I remembered the chapter in Persepolis as well where Marjane gets married and described it as a door slamming shut. The comic showed her peeking out between bars of a cell.

These are the kinds of thoughts that plague me. They appeal to me because they feed my ugliest fears, they have elements of tragedy and drama that are tantalizing in their hideousness. These thoughts hurt me, they are cloying, they are based in deep wounds. As my anxiety has been increasing, I find myself more susceptible to cynicism and fatalism than I have been in months. It's been rough. It's not my best self. The other day I was driving, and this magical thought occurred to me: Why am I dooming my relationship to inevitable misery? Why don't I fight for it? Why am I giving up now, in my mind? I know Jonathan, and I know he will always fight with me. One of the reasons I respected him and found him so trustworthy at the beginning was how he advocated for choice. He helped me see the truth about myself, about situations I'd been in that I'd learned to describe in pretty cobwebby ways, as though I and the other poor players were mere puppets controlled by our emotions. He schools his feelings, I let passion shatter reason's tower. We've both helped each other change in that regard. I can't speak for him, but I know the changes in me have been infinitely right. He loved me for "having a lot of feelings" but he also expected things out of me, held me accountable in ways that others hadn't. Those things I learned from him, that spun my world out of control at the beginning, are what I am leaning on now to help me recognize how silly I am (my tendencies, my dysthymia). My life won't be ripped from my grasp--I have it in my hands always. Jonathan and I are the creators of our home, our family, our relationship. It doesn't really matter what other people's experiences have been. I can make something destructive, crumbling selfish and small, or I can make something beautiful out of this. That's my best self. My best self is faithful and grateful. So thankful for the sweetest moments imaginable. Like today: we went to Northampton with Katie to take bridals and we saw each other dressed up in wedding finery and my knees shook because I felt so humbled by this, why would I ever be disdainful of such a blessing? I love Jonathan so much. He is so good. I get annoyed because he likes to be John Marsden and whoever he'll be in Starcraft 2 but when I listen to him talk about Christ and pull out the center and the intentions of any form of communication while I wander around in the wilderness of detail, I am amazed. He understands about the People and lifting the hands that hang down. I really believe we're going to do great things together. So when we wave goodbye to the celebration and turn around, I want to look up into his face and be glad together about the opportunities we have to do good. That's all we are here for, not to fret about shallow things. We're here to follow Christ and to love the loveless, and to love each other. So instead of a door slamming shut, it will be a door springing open, like he told me once. I'm excited about walking through that door. There is nowhere else I would rather be.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Darse Cuenta

Just the other night, Rachel and I were saying a prayer together. It's always really sweet to pray with Rachel. I love seeing what other people pray about on a personal level, and I've probably not heard more personal prayers than Rachel's. But at the end of this one, something hit me: I'm getting married in like 3 weeks! I thought it was so weird! Sometimes these things just hit us! It's something you've prepared for, thought about, dreamed about for a VERY long time. But somehow when it comes up, it seems so much like something out of this world. The point is, it hit me...hard! But the good thing about it, is how sweet it was. Though I felt a little bit of anxiety, I realized it was a really good was me being anxious to be married! I can't believe how sweet it was.

I think it is amazing how you can be preparing for something your whole life, know that it was going to be something that happened in your life, and still be insanely joyous when it is about to happen. More than you could have imagined. I believe that our lives together will be similar, our current joy always putting to shame our most intensely positive ideas of what we thought our joy would feel like. Thank you, Only Racher! I'm honored to be with you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Give said the little stream of consciousness (24 days)

Why does it always seem like summer is ending in the middle of July? It's only half over, but that downward slope is pretty steep. There are now 3 weekends left until we get married. That's it?! Really?! I had such aspirations of being the most laid-back, relajada bride, but this last week I've suddenly found myself with many reasons to freak out (some of these are directly related to how relaxed I've been, so there's some irony for you to chew on). I feel inept, incompetent, floundering in a sea of domestic duties, decisions I guess I should have been thinking about since childhood but somehow never gave a thought to, trying to plan a trip to a place I don't know at all, putting my sputtering energy into my internship, and dying with embarrassment because of Jonathan and his friends witnessing my bouts of anxiety that present with sullen despair and/or psychosis. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! I usually am more emo than anxious. Anxiety always seemed to be a lot of hard work. It is. It's so somatic and so persistent. The worst part is that people are so good to me, so eager to help, so happy for me. I have friends crawling out of the woodwork who are helping me get things done and beaming with charming reassurances. I feel useless in their presence. My only contribution to anything is being somewhat wry and making people laugh. I did pick out the paint colors for our house (our HOUSE?!), warm tan, sea green and bright blue. If we have to live in Utah, I'll make the inside like a beach! I know those are immature colors and if I had any class or know-how or cultural awareness I would know how to decorate, but I. don't care. The latest and greatest sorrow gripping my heart is the leaving of the Commune. I've loved living here more than I can say. I love living with people dedicated to being passionate about everything and having intense conversations. I love that having fun is a top priority. I'm trying to convince Brian and Derek to defect and come live with us. I also miss Jonathan himself, in advance. I'm petrified of our relationship changing in bad ways. I realize it makes no sense at all to dump fear and curdling neurosis all over our current sweet, healthy relationship, but I've never had much sense. We went to Wyoming and Brian, Julia and I built a dam in the irrigation ditch. I read the entirety of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and I'm passionate about birthing! I talk about it all the time although I have zero credibility. Not for long! I've been so happy that any kind of change seems loathsome to me. Jonathan asks me to marry him every day at random moments and then we pretend it's for the first time. I taught him how to swing me around after we run towards each other at a semi-distance. I wonder what we'll argue about once we get married. Up to this point, every one of our disagreements has to do with (1) my insecurities or (2) video games. I love Etsy and all the tiny, lovely things. I found a butterfly to wear in my hair. I didn't think I would do well with weaving details together for the wedding, but the ones I have come up with are sweet and feel like mine. I'm so glad for this. I'm trying to make a slideshow but practically no pictures exist of Jonathan. He's like the Loch Ness monster, photographed only occasionally and very ambiguously. He's always singing "Only Racher" songs and being endlessly kind and good. We love to tease each other. Laughing with Jonnerthan is the sweetest thing in the world. Second sweetest is how he carried Zacky up the mountain on his back...third sweetest is how we joke about "half our baby" and how he likes the name Amethyst, fourth sweetest is how I have bells ringing joyfully in my heart every time I look at him. He's too wonderful. This morning when I woke up on the edge of a dream I visualized the actual wedding part of the wedding, the saying yes and looking shyly at each other, and oh, I was so happy. Now I'm going upstairs to watch Seinfeld. Everylittlethingisgonnabeallright.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere (30 days)

I'm getting married in a MONTH! I had the idea to do a countdown from 50 days and document my thoughts, wedding plans, etc, but who am I kidding. Angst I do not lack, but consistency is not my strong point. This is today:

I feel myself hovering in this bizarre fairy world (see picture), this lovely, torturous in-between time. I'm obsessed with the idea that this delicious summer of being in love will never be again. Sometimes I feel full of faith and courage and ready to run on to better things; other times I feel a deep sense of loss for so many years of our youth that we didn't get to spend with each other. I fret about those lost years. Maybe no one feels that way if they get married when they are 21, but I had so many roads left in my shoes back then and I still wouldn't wish any of them away.

On the days that my heart is right, my life seems so full and rich to me! The other day Jonathan and I read this talk by Elder Hafen, and had such a dear, joyful experience. Relationships are ineffably precious to me...and belonging to someone isn't fearful or stifling as I worried it would be. I want to belong to the ones I love, and I know my best self is the one who will serve them with an open and joyful heart.

Friday, July 2, 2010

¡Viva Mexico!

Rachel's family goes to a little place in San Carlos Mexico every three years for a sort of a family reunion on her mothers side. This year, with my impending addition to the family looming, I was invited to go to mexico. Most of her mothers side of the family rents condos near the beach and they get together every night to eat and hang out during the days. I can't believe how fun it is! I wish my family did something like this! We still vacation though, and I love those.

So I used to hate the ocean and the beach but because my beloved is obsessed with the beach, I decided I would like it. So I really tried the whole beach thing out again and I loved it! I love the waves! I still despise the sand but I've gotten used to it and I can now say that I enjoy going to the beach. One of the reasons I've really enjoyed the beach is just how ecstatic and happy Rachel gets at the first view of the ocean. Racher on the beach is a joyous Racher. She has such a child-like glee on the ocean! She is so sweet! I would continue to go to the beach just to see that over and over again.

I'm a little bit distracted when there are so many new things to see. Rachel didn't like that too much. I think I didn't give her as much attention as I usually do. But with twelve people in a condo it is hard for me not to be distracted. I suppose this is normal for Rachel but it is different for me. When you add in all of her extended family there it's insane how many people they are. Most of the extended families have 5+ children and some have over 10. So you can imagine.

But I got a unique opportunity. I got to see Rachel interacting with many different people. As distracted as I was I still looked around for her often. She was always talking with someone in her family. She has a special love for her grandfather and whenever she was interacting with him it would tug on my heartstrings. Rachel is the sweetest girl on earth!

The sun really wore me out and at one point we were watching lost and I totally fell asleep. Rachel is always so sweet to me when I'm asleep. When I fall asleep she becomes the most caring nurturing person in the world. I love that about her.

Today, that last day of the vacation, we were walking back from swimming in and exploring the coastline. Because of a hurricane in the gulf of mexico, the waves were extremely big today. It was really fun, but come afternoon the jelly-fish come out. On the way back, Rachel wanted to get back into the water one more time. So we got in for just a bit before Rachel got stung...bad! There were raised bumps on both of her legs. She was so brave about it! She knelt in a pool of salt water and she tried to neutralize the sting. Then we walked inside and looked up on the internet what to do. Apparently tomatoes and vinegar will neutralize the pain for a little bit of time. So I cut up a tomato and rubbed it on her legs. I was really surprised by how little she complained, though she did feel an unquenchable desire to tell her mother when she just walked in the door. I guess I'm actually always surprised at how well Rachel takes pain, though the more people around the more dramatic she gets.

I loved spending time with Rachel's family. They are so unique! There are so many of them and they all have really different personalities. They're all really nice to me and make it really easy for me to feel comfortable in such a foreign setting. I love my new family and I hope I can keep having such a gratifying relationship with them.