The Bridge and the Bee

a writing sketchbook…

I didn’t know what to expect, but I am pretty sure this isn’t it. March 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 10:47 pm

I cherish small honest moments with people. With facebook, texting and emailing making up a majority of our social interactions, truthful connections can bring back our pulse.

My best friend got married this weekend, it was a beautiful ceremony at the Air and Space Museum which provided me with a playground of large planes and no security guards. It was towards the end of the night and I was sitting with an old acquaintance that I hadn’t spoken to in years. She asked me how I was, and without thought I just said “Eh…okay, you?” “Yeah…I thought there was more to being in your 30s.” And we laughed…we both got it…we were both in the same place…what the heck is this thing called Thirty Something! It was a small, honest moment.

I didn’t have a plan for my thirties, I didn’t know what to expect, but I am pretty sure this isn’t it. I heard people say it was a time when you could finally relax! You learned from your twenties who you were and what you wanted and you, in your thirties, could just be. I am pretty sure that is a lie…or else my generation keeps missing the boat of contentment.

An hour before the wedding I had managed to spill a bottle of oil based make-up removed in my hair and down my dress. I did the only natural thing I could: I went for the baby powder and thus created a white paste in my hair.

An hour after the ceremony I was sitting with the bride, her new husband and mother. Her mom pointed out that they had forgotten to do the bouquet toss, her solution was that Emily and I go on the dance floor so the time honored tradition of highlighting single ladies could remain intact. Emily is 9. And for a split second I saw my life flash before my eyes, and all I could do was beg for this not to happen.

Two months before the wedding, Super Bowl Sunday. I was lying on the floor, eyes still wet from the Dodge Farmer commercial that made the world weep. My niece was sitting next to me and began drawing a circle on my stomach with her finger. “Aunt Jac, are you pregnant?” Wow. “Nope, J, I am not.” “Well, are you ever going to have a baby…”

20 minutes after the I Dos and I was catching up with old friends over cheese and wine. We knew each other in our early twenties and went to the same church and did ministry together. We talked about mission trips we went on which were nothing more than glorified vacations. I told a story of my time in grad school when an American undergrad told me she was going to drop out of college, with one semester left, and become a missionary…my response “What skills are you going to use? Finish school!” We laughed about the idealism of young people. My mother, in an earshot, chimed in “Now don’t you remember when  you were in the Pastor’s office every week talking about becoming a missionary? You came home with a new plan every week!” God gave us mothers to remind us of everything we have done in our lives without this would all be a lot more judgmental. It’s true, if it were up to my 23 year old self, I would be living in Azerbaijan.  At the end of the conversation we all agreed that we wish we had some of that idealism back. It kept me moving forward, it kept me hoping, it made me better. Now, in my thirties, I settle.

One day after the wedding; I had just finished a day date with my niece. We were in the car driving out of the parking lot, it was quite. “Aunt Jac, are you going to get married.” “I hope so.” “Me too.” “I just need to find a nice boy. What kind of boy do you want me to meet?” “I don’t know, just one. Just one.”

40 minutes after the ceremony and I ran into an old friend from high school. We partied in high school and probably hung out with the wrong crowd but both managed to end up on the right track. We were friends in early college when our ideas for the future were great. I wanted to be a lawyer and change the world. I wonder if my 20 year old self would be shocked at my 31 year old self.

“What do you do now?” says 20 year old self

“I work and then I come home and play solitaire and look at what other people are doing with their life on Facebook.” 31 year-old self says

“What’s Facebook? Wow, were you robbed? What happened.” As my skinny, sassy 20-year-old self looks around my apartment.

“Oh, no, I just kind of don’t put things away. Sometimes, after a really long day at work, I will just take off my clothes as I am walking into the house because I need to get into comfy pants as soon as possible, and then I don’t pick them up.”

“Okay, well, we have always like comfy pants.”

“YES! And, we’re still not brushing our hair?” Says five year old self, who snuck into the picture…wearing striped leggings, a flower skirt, and polka dot sweatshirt.

3 weeks before the wedding. I parked my rental car in a very cold Fort Collins. I got out of the car to make the half block walk to my boss’s condo. I saw a college student nearby and quickened my pace. I was scared, I am scared of youths. I am at the age where I am afraid of young people and also am at the age where I have the urge to let people know when they have cut in line and should wait their turn. I also act like I am sick on Southwest flights so people won’t sit next to me…pretty sure that doesn’t have anything to do with being thirtysomething and more so with selfishness.

1 hours after the ceremony an old friend and I were catching up and sharing photos. She was showing me pictures of her gorgeous kids and family. I was showing her pictures of other people’s kids and other people’s dogs.

1 week and 2 days before the wedding after a long arduous day of meetings, I was out with colleagues, we decided to go dancing. Better yet, I declared that WE WERE going dancing! We walked into what can only be described as a horrible college bar with disastrous decorations. There was no one in the bar. Our group of 15 made up 90% of the occupancy. The DJs were spinning something, but no one knew what. My friend approached the DJ and said “Hey, I am with a group of old people and we don’t know what you are playing, can you play something else?” 10 minutes later he played Steve Miller Band…I am pretty sure he hadn’t seen people our age in that bar…ever, so unfortunately he took it back a little too far! Within minutes the bar went from zero people to packed with tiny boys that looked 15 years old, all wearing flannel. The dance floor became crowded with these little folk dancing very freakishly, spastically and erotically. I felt very uncomfortable. We all felt a little old and out of place, and partly because we were wearing slacks, khakis and cardigans. Unsure of what moves we should use, we stayed off to the side, swayed and snapped our fingers. A few minutes later we gave up, gave in, went on the dancefloor and started dancing. We moved in whichever way we please, we over exaggerated our moves and made silly faces. I stopped (completely out of breath…I blame the altitude and not a lack of physical mobility in every day life) and thought “where are all those college kids?” I looked behind me and they were in the corner. We had encompassed the entire dance floor and we moved them right to the back. We danced all night long and mostly to songs none of us had ever heard.

So I suppose we thirtysomethings really don’t have a clue what we are doing, but maybe its just about dancing with your arms flailing in the air, not giving a damn and having a lot of fun doing it.

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Hope… November 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 9:48 pm

The grass pulled from its roots as my boots raised from the ground lifting the tips of the wet weeds. My gait was uneven as I walked along sticks and lumpy ground. The grape vines soared above me, their leaves freckled with fall’s oranges and yellows. I let my hand brush the paper-like leaves as I looked forward at the hill and the purple sky.
“You are a vine-dresser, I am grafted in…the wine, your blood, your sacrifice.” I saw many images of Christ as I found my way to the clearing.

Napa Valley smells amazing. A hearty combination of yeast, soil, and fruit. It smells liberating. I was content.

– – –
I have, I believe, ignored the power and necessity of community in my life for the last three years, or maybe my whole life for that matter. I used to joke that I tried to live on an island; when things got rough, hard or embarrassing, I would row myself into isolation where I created a cocoon of imaginary safety.

– – –
It was around 7 pm when I got to the San Jose airport. It was dark outside and I was physically exhausted from a weekend of exploring new cities and beauty. When I stepped into the terminal I was overcome with deep sadness. I knew that one false move would land me with spasming lips and tear soaked cheeks. I could not understand why I was feeling what I was feeling, so I did my best to ignore and I traded this burgeoning emotion for book shopping.

– – –
The sadness turned to despair, hopelessness and worthlessness. Three very deep, and serious emotions that unfortunately had no root in any one thing, event or person. The three emotions where then quickly paired with shame, guilt, and confusion. The image of being stuck under three inches of water grew as I felt myself lying under the pressure of a whole ocean. I could barely breathe and I had no identifying marks as to why I ended up here…when I was moments ago maneuvering God’s beauty with a grateful heart.

– – –
“In this way, Satan considers God’s people. Viewing them as hindrances to his reign, he contrives methods by which he may remove them out of his way or turn them to his own account. Darkness would cover the earth if he could blow out the lights. There would be no fruit to wave like the cedars of Lebanon if he could destroy that handful of corn upon the top of the mountains. Hence, his perpetual consideration is to make the faithful fall from among men.” Charles Spurgeon

– – –
We met, we sat, we sipped coffee, and within fifteen minutes her hands held mind and she looked me in the eye “He loves you! He looks at you and says ‘That is my daughter! And I love her,’” She told me I was made for great things, and that Satan sees me as a threat. She said I had gifts and talents. She put her hand under my chin and lifted my head “He lifts you up and shines on you.” And, I believed her. Truth be told she doesn’t know me yet, but she knows Jesus. And it was there at the small coffee table in the middle of a bustling church lobby where I understood: Community is necessary. Community is a way that Jesus breathes life back into the lifeless. Our God is the same, the sacrifice done on our behalf is the same…so Jesus gave her words to speak to me. They weren’t her words, they were my Father’s words. These words pulled me out of the water and gave me air…
On my own I the opportunity seek my Father’s face, his truth…but often times in the quiet, on the island,  in my head swim lies, these lies entrap and shame….these are times that truth needs to come from others.

In community, we hear, audibly, the sounds the Gospel makes…the sounds of love, forgiveness and redemption…we can hear it. We can see it, and we can touch it.
Solitude and stillness before God are key, and  insurmountable to spiritual intimacy. But so community is a requirement for understanding, knowing, touching and seeing the intricacies of our fascinating Lord.
– – –
The rain rushes outside my window, bouncing off cement, wood and metal…drops dangling on tree branches falling and getting lost in stucco crevasses…the rain is dancing loudly.

I am a threat….a wonderfully made and loved threat…One that professes Jesus Christ as my Lord, thankfully, gratefully…permanently…
– – –

“I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through

God I am more than a match for him” Martin Luther

 

Dear Rachel: Notes on a Blackout September 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 3:58 pm

I had intention to right a more robust account of Blackout 2011, but I have a stronger intention to write a better piece on New York for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Below is part of a letter that I wrote, during the blackout, to one of my most dear friends, Rachel, who lives in New Zealand, with her husband Chris. The blackout affected San Diego, parts of Arizona, Mexico and Orange County on Thursday, September 8th at 3:20pm…5 million people were without power, 1.4 of those in San Diego.

Dear Rachel,

There is a city-wide blackout right now. We haven’t had power since 3:20 this afternoon. I don’t even know what time it is right now–I am void of the 20th and 21st century. I absorbed as much juice from my cell phone as possible, and now I am left with this pen and paper, the puzzle box I am using as writing support and the glow of 17 candles. Their light is shining on the screen of my 52 inch plasma television –  the old and the new colliding.

The infallible remain– wax and a wick, a pen and paper.

I wish you were here. We would probably be telling scary stories, or having a silent dance party dressed up in a miraculous costume that we would fashion together in pitch black. If we were together it would mean that we would still be in Glasgow, and because the sky is always covered in clouds we wouldn’t even have moonlight to guide us. Can you imagine Glasgow in the dark? I know we would walk around the city with candles making the most of the Victorian city and seeing it the way it probably was meant to be seen.

On my wall, near the plasma TV, I have a mid-century print of a jazz singer in an ivory dress. It’s beautiful by candle, the flickering of the lights make her look like she is moving. There is more depth and character in the print than I have ever noticed–it’s funny what you see when the TV is off and the computer is put away.

People were forced to talk today. All we had was each other, some old gin and warm tonic. It was a hot day; the pool was crowded with people escaping the stuffy heat of their apartments…the unmoving air. I met neighbors today and I saw gatherings of newly acquainted friends. When it was completely dark, people were still in the pool, no one could see a thing, I only heard laughter.

I realized today that the relationships I hold most dear are with people I only communicate with via technology (I say technology because let’s face it, this is only the second letter I have written this year). I use technology as a barrier–I use it to keep me from developing meaningful relationships with people I see in the flesh. And, if we are being honest, technology allows me to be non-committal. How many lunches, outings, or social events do I cancel on because I can send a quick text to escape the “closeness”?

Remember before the internet, cell phones or even pagers? Remember how you would make plans over home phones? The home phone prevented you from ditching out at the last minute. Without an absolutely valid excuse you could not leave a friend waiting at a restaurant table, on a bar stool or in line at the cinema.

I often think about the Victorians and how they lived, the depths of their relationships and what made them close or not close, when they would connect to people and how, and when they too would put up barriers and why…tonight I feel inches from them, in a small way, I feel connected.

I was with a group of co-workers for most of the afternoon. We were at the pool as the day aged. We spent time in a dark parking lot, we drove around trying to find someplace on a generator that had food (working 11 hours a day often puts a dent in grocery shopping so most of us had nothing to contribute to the Blackout party but cocktails and beer). We went to a local hotel whose bar and sundry shop was open, I got a bag of chips and a can of cold beefaroni. When I got home, I got candles and sat…realizing that I was alone with my thoughts–it frightened me…so I started this letter….

 

 

New Years Eve September 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 12:19 pm

It’s been raining off and on today. It is humid, and slightly hot but I can sense fall announcing its homecoming. It is the last day of my twenties, a New Years Eve of sorts, the end of a decade. The twenties are an interesting decade. It is the first decade where you are able to take complete responsibility of the entirety of the ten years. It is an exhausting period of life, filled with a lot of analyzing and trying, well…at least for me.

I sit here, on this New Years Eve enmeshed in the pile of these ten years and all I can say is “I am not ready to grow up.” It isn’t a lack of wanting it is a lack of ability. For the past year I have been “preparing” myself for thirty. I have been telling people I am thirty so I can get used to saying it. It isn’t a magic number, it is just another year, but for me, for a person obsessed with symbol, image and greater meaning, this is a big year…this is a tragically joyful new years eve.

An itemized list of my 20s would look something like this:
In the past ten years I:
1. Have earned a bachelors degree in journalism and a masters in Victorian literature that are paired with $68,000 in student loans.
2. Became a Christian, have known Jesus and have loved and struggled with him ever since.
3. Have moved 12 times, lived in 10 different places and have had over 20 roommates.
4. Lived in another country.
5. Have an international bank account worth $10.
6. Studied abroad twice, did two international missions trips and spent three days in Paris three different times.
7. Have traveled by plane, boat and train
8. Fell in love once, almost twice and had my heart broken all three times.
9. Spent four years in unrequited love
10. Have had three grown-up jobs.
11. Have been under and overweight and in-between.
12. Still don’t eat seafood or exercise
13. Have struggled with depression
14. Have had two biopsies and pneumonia
15. Have been in three car accidents, had one speeding ticket and two fix-it tickets
16. Have welcomed two nephews and one niece into the world
17. And have been been a bridesmaid in three weddings and a maid of honor in one.

I am sure there is more to add to my itemized list, but those are the things that stick out to me, because right now what sticks out to me is about places and accomplishments or lack thereof. I have been fortunate to do as much as I have, to have seen what I have seen and to have met the amazing people I have met. In my mid-twenties I was sure I would be married with kids by the time I turned 30. Actually, I am not sure if that is what I believed, but that is what I strongly hoped for. A couple years ago, as I was surfacing from the last heartbreak of my twenties, it hit me that I wouldn’t be 30 and married, let alone 30 married, with kids. I had a hard time with that at first, but not anymore. What I am struggling with as I end this decade is just how uneducated and unprepared I feel to be an adult. I feel like I am still learning to walk. I constantly have an image of myself in a bathtub, shallowly filled with just enough water to submerge my head. I am always under the water suffocating, trying to breathe…but the irony is, I am less than an inch from air. My life is like, that struggling within an inch of freedom, its equal parts humour and sadness.

In a way I am relieved for this New Years Eve. The last ten years have been about figuring things out, asking big questions: Who am I? What do I like? What do I hate? What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to love? What am I good at? What do I need to do/accomplish before I turn thirty? In the midst of big questions you forget to actually live your life because you’re too busy planning it. I think I am ready to live my life.

And I have been thinking, thinking about that fact that I barely know how to walk, and that I don’t know much of anything at all. I suppose growing up, turning thirty is realizing how little you know. I suppose in the quest for great Independence I have realized that we are not supposed to be independent at all and trying to be so causes nothing but friction. Maybe the next ten years will teach me how to be healthily dependent on people. To allow myself to need others, to let people in.

Perhaps this next decade will be more about others than myself. Instead of asking questions about myself, I can ask questions like: What do you need? How can I love you, serve you, and care for you better? I am guessing it would make for a much more filling and satisfying journey, a journey less about where you are going and more about who is with you on it, a journey of connection instead of separation.

I sit here, on this cloudy day mixed with hot and cold unsure of a lot of things. In ten years the only thing I am sure of is Jesus. I discovered him at twenty with a rush of faith and at 29 find doubts in every corner. But in those doubts I know that He is real, even though I struggle in my belief at times. And what I have learned is despite whether I believe Him to be true or whether I have doubts, He is who has has always said He was and my fleeting emotions don’t change a damn thing about that. And that, that is the one thing I have learned, and that, I suppose, will teach me to walk, and raise up my head out of the water, so I can breathe.

Happy New Years Eve!

Thank you to those who have loved me up to this point in my journey. I am so filled with joy that I have know such amazing and wonderful people, and that despite me, you have loved me.

 

The Un-Romantics: a sneak peek at the very beginning August 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 11:36 pm

So, I had a moment with God today on my walk. He told me “Write about what you know!” After weeks of frustration with a “novel” I started…basically dealing with a stagnant character (stubborn lass!), I decided to write a story that has some strong autobiographical elements to it. Some are made up, some are spot on, some are exaggerated. Some of my characters are people I know, people I don’t know or a conglomeration of people rolled into one. I am incredibly hesitant to post this as this is a VERY rough beginning, or middle or page 5 to my new story, but not that many of you read this so I shouldn’t really worry. So below is an except introducing my character, Charlie. There are heaps of grammatical issues and horrible sentence structure concerns. Also voice shifting problems as well…but nonetheless, why not have a go.

 

The Un-Romantics (Part of Chapter 1)

 

They were the type of people who smoked unlit cigarettes indoors. The brunette was short, petite and donned a boys haircut dyed black repeatedly over the course of a month; pale skin made paler with thick studio powder, the kind used for theatre, created a canvas for her large nose and eyes. She loosely held her cigarette between two thin fingers as she flapped her hands giving pronunciation to criticism of her neighbor’s remarks regarding Proust. The pitch of her voice lowered and deepened as she made specific, key points in her argument. Her neighbor, a male older than forty, dressed in faded black jeans with unwashed grey hair, stopped her to proceed with his philisophical findings. The brunette moved her cigarette to her mouth where it dangled as she shuffled through documents, uncovering Camus’s The Stranger which was hidden in a pile of loose papers. As he spoke, she forcefully opened the pamphlet sized book, interrupted the speaker and began to talk over his thick French accent. The two continued their low octave, pressurized conversation about Dadaism, Proust and Camus as they rotated their unlit cigarettes between loose fingers and pouting lips.

Charlie watched the pair as her ring finger and thumb held two places in her novel, pages 130 and 702. She looked at the Camus and back at her Dickens. “It would take hundreds of loose papers to hide a Dickens novel,” she thought.

She sat alongside the wall in a bench seat that span half the room, starting at the window and ending at the edge of the bar. Along the wall were a series of small wooden tables that met the bench seating. Charlie sat on the faded mauve cushions in the middle of the row, watching the Dadaist couple across the room. To her right an economist sat  as he distracted himself with information on his phone. He drank a beer whose condensation crept toward the edge of a document containing formulas and numbers, things Charlie didn’t understand. To her left were two young women in their early twenties, they were dressed nice, in new clothes with bright colors for the city this time of year. They had straight hair, unmessed by the rain and wind. On the corner of their table were a series of Austen novels, one critical book on Keats, and the complete poems of Wordsworth. They were drinking wine, white wine. They discussed the influence of nature on Keats poetry; one of the girls brushed her hair with the tips of her fingers as she read:
“My wine overbrims a whole summer;
My bowl is the sky,
And I drink at my eye,
Till I feel in the brain
…”
The poetry reading eventually found its close and their conversation musically flowed to the poet’s untimely death from consumption. The other girl, a blond with bright blue eyeshadow and a smile that engulfed her face noticed Charlie staring at them, she looked over and produced an open mouth grin larger than what should fit on such a small face. Charlie was caught off-guard and quickly returned to her novel, her large, heavy, massive Dickens novel.

After an hour of reading, observing, counting ceiling cracks and drinking her gin and tonic, Charlie opened her book bag and put away Dickens, Disraeli and Elliot. On her way out of the middle section of the long bench,  she side shuffled between the Keat’s table and her own and accidentally knocked over some of their materials. The girl with the large mouth looked up at her and released a thick Southern accent, “No worries my dear! I got it.” and she picked up the pale pick edition of Northanger Abby.

As Charlie maneuvered the deep black puddles on Ashton Lane she thought about the girls reading Keats and their pink books. “I admire them, their bright colors and their consumption, “ she thought, as her grey boots lined with buttons slammed into the water. “A period when suffocating was romantic. Where everything was romantic and pink! I have Disraeli, and tuberculosis. I have reality and identity crises.”

Charlie was always quick to complain and see the dark side of things. When she encountered a family man who lost his job she would tell him why her day was worse. When she met a woman with a serious illness she would describe her headache with such tenacity that the sick woman would begin to feel sorry for her. And when she met someone studying the Long 18th Century she would tell them why it was harder, more depressing, more daunting, more tragic to be a Victorianist.

Though she complained about her chosen time period, one that she barely began to study, she could not bring herself to research modernities because it was, as she said “comparable to a dog chasing its own tail,” and was “without the context or pleasure of being decorated with historic greatness…it’s too new!” She  also exempted herself from Romanticism because she felt there may be too much joy in Romantic literature and her leanings were towards most things dark, morbid and realistic, even though reality to Charlie was usually quite questionable. In fact, before leaving the States her friend’s only advice was centered around Charlie’s love for the darker things, “If you meet someone you like, you are not allowed to talk about cemeteries until the fifth date! Do you promise me this?” Unfortunately this was not a promise Charlie could make.

Charlie’s deduction into field of study was not based on solid academic fact or information, it was based on a misunderstanding in a film. And as she continued her walk down Ashton Lane and observed her surroundings, she began to wonder how she really got to this place, this foreign place 7,000 miles away from home, studying literature when she didn’t really like to read.

 

A Princess I know: The Tale Behind the Red Hair August 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 5:00 pm

We were lost in an industrial area trying to find Toys R Us. I am not sure why the Toys R Us corporation needs to place their toy superstores in the middle of seedy neighborhoods, but they have surely committed to this since the early 80s.

I was making an illegal U-Turn in the middle of a street when I heard, “Aunt Jac! That man needs our help today.”

“What man?” I asked, even though I knew she was referring to a homeless man under a tree propped up on trash bags that contained his only belongings.

“The man over there. He needs our help today.” She said as we drove past.

“What does he need our help with?”

“He needs us to give him some food.”

I was impressed. Jillian is only three years old, she is my niece and 1 of 4 loves of my life.

We arrived in the parking lot of what seemed to be a run-down warehouse..scattered cars, a faded Toys R Us sign, and the smell of sewage water.

“Aunt Jac!! You tooted!”

“No J, I did not. That is sewage.” I said as I tried to help her out of the car.

“NO! I can do it myself.” She is fiercely independent and simultaneously carries the need to be the center of attention, I have finally met my match, which is why we often engage in mutual banter and bickering…apparently I haven’t grown up yet.

Though Toys R Us is fairly creepy on the outside and when walking down the aisle of baby dolls which randomly cry with motion censors, once you walk inside and realize you are surrounded by toys and gadgets, supreme joy sets in. We made our way to the princess section.

For the next twenty minutes our conversation went something like this:
Jillian: “What’s this?”
Aunt Jac explains the toy.
Jillian: “I want that please.”

Then…
“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Without fail, J always has to go to the bathroom at an inopportune time.
Upon our return she notices a small Princess Piano, she plays a few keys…then I jump in to impress her with my version of Chopsticks.
“Oh Aunt Jac! Stop, stop it, you are so loud!” already embarrassed by her Auntie.

We find a Princess Ariel wig, “I want that!” she says. I agree, this is both fun for her and me. I love costumes and firmly believe that children should wear costume, and in public, for as long as possible.

I soon learn that J will not call this hair piece a “wig,” she just calls it “my red hair.” When I would forget this and call it a wig, I would quickly hear “What?” I would then clarify with, I am sorry, “your red hair.” She loves Ariel, wants to be Ariel, and in fact refuses to let me sing any Ariel songs in the Disney Princess Sing Along movie. I was given permission to sing along to other songs, but Ariel is only for Jillian.

After her poking and prodding with sweet pleas, I finally broke and opened up “J’s red hair” in the car. To justify my actions and the recanting of my original decision which was to wait until we got home, the Chic-Fil-A line was incredibly long and boring. Since I was in the drivers seat I wasn’t able to place the hair on correctly so I just plopped it on her head.

There she was, our tan, blond beauty with the cake topper, Ronald Mac Donald red hair poofed up on top her head. For the next 20 minutes I barely heard a word from her, she just sat playing with the plastic, extremely flammable curls. She felt beautiful. She felt like Ariel. She felt like a princess.

I don’t believe that the need or desire to be a princess has been created by Disney. I believe it is something deeper in each little girl, something we are made to desire even into adulthood. This may sound odd, namely because our society has made being a “princess” as someone who is self-absorbed, opinionated, expensive, and flashy. That is the definition of a diva, not a princess. I see a little girl, or woman’s, initial appeal to princesshood as an idea that she will be protected and taken care of forever, that there is no need to worry, no need to fear. Now in theory, we know that whether you are rich or poor troubles come on there own.

After a small debate on which dress she should wear, I finally let go of my hopes for the green dress and gave into the dress adorned with polka dots with tulle. I do, however, stand firm that the green dress was more of something you would see on a mermaid princess…I digress. In her full ensemble, J spun, twirled and gazed at herself in the mirror. She then brought me into her room and led me to the rocking chair.

“Sit down and I will make you some yummies.” She ordered.

Not soon after she was covering me with blankets to make sure I was comfortable, I sat there with three empty Tupperware containers, a plastic cupcake, six blankets and dried out baby wipes for napkins, I looked at her and realized that her vision of a princess is more similar to the Proverbs 31 woman than of a Diva.

To Jillian, being a princess does mean being beautiful, in fact in the car ride home she exclaimed “My mom will be so proud of my red hair!” The beholder of her beauty is her mom and dad. She is not old enough to seek after the handsome prince, something that plagues women as they get older. For her being a princess involves dresses, crowns, jewelry and dancing! But it also means taking care that the poor are fed, and that the sick are healed.

About a month prior to this, I went to my mom’s house to attempt recuperation from pneumonia. The house was full of kids, but Jillian stayed by my side, bringing me water and trying to nurse me back to health. Even though she tried to take my medicine and drink after me, she saw her only position as a healer, a princess that takes care of others.

She chooses to serve rather than being served. Now, does this mean my little niece is perfect? Far from it. She has her moments, as we all do. In fact she is usually “mad” at me, though she never can tell me exactly why. But, there is something I learned from her last night, something pure and true to how we were made…

The Little Mermaid is a story about a mermaid who desperately wants to be part of the human life. She yearns for freedom…and a handsome prince. Cinderella, is basically treated as a slave, dressed in rags, she also longs for freedom…and a prince. As each princess story unfolds, we see a desire for freedom and a prince. Today, sadly, many people view marriage as a type of “slavery” a bond that does not equal freedom, creativity or independence. But in these stories freedom is found when the woman marries a prince and becomes a princess.

Many sociologist and gender studies will probably have much to say on this matter, instead I am brought to something absolutely stunning.

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. Scriptures, time and time again, refer to the Kingdom of Heaven, and of our inheritance in this kingdom. We are seen as poor, meek, wretched, sinners clothed in rags, but our King, Jesus, saves us, purifies us and makes us heirs to his Kingdom. His sacrifice crowns us in his glory.

Many opposed to the idea of Christianity see this also as a form of entrapment, rules and guidelines. But, interestingly enough, when we become slaves to Christ we actually find freedom. When the woman marries the prince she becomes free.

As a woman, as a daughter of Christ, I have so often struggled with my identity, my Spiritual desires versus my worldly desires. My desire for an earthly prince over my desire for a heavenly Prince.

My desire to be seen as beautiful, special, unique and gifted is not worldly. It was given to me by my creator because in my union with Jesus it all comes to fruition. To be seen by him, to be loved by him is to simultaneously be protected and free…to be a servant and an adored one, to ultimately be a figure that radiates the glory of a risen King.

And, truth be told, if it were up to my little princess Jillian, we would have stopped the car last night and fed that man, because yesterday he needed our help. And, at three years old, the little girl obsessed with princesses and crowns was really in tune with what it meant to be a princess of the King than I did. It means that we get to dance because we have no shame. It means that we are protected and guarded by a strong and mighty King so we don’t have to fear. It means that He meets our needs so we can meet the needs of others. It means that we stop the car, we feed the hungry and we sing while doing so.

 

A Half of Something… August 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jacquie @ 8:57 pm

I was dressed as a hipster as I drove into the car in front of me. Since the accident took place on a bridge and opening the driver’s side door would cause another collision, my friend had to take care of the “accident meet and greet.” I sat in the car crying, the tears were interrupted by laughter when I realized my dear friend who was handling the situation with the other driver had a mustache drawn on his face, part of his hipster dress.

The accident and the costumes all happened because we were frantically trying to check off items from a “To Do” list that we had created months before. This wasn’t my first To Do list, in fact a few entries back you will find my 30 before 30 list (30 things I am supposed to do before I turn 30). And, today as I was looking through my journals for some specific entries on traveling, I came across two other To Do lists, one was with a close friend and the other with a now ex-boyfriend.

The sad-funny thing is that I have never completed one of these lists, in fact I have never come close. To be fair, my friend Jamie and I did add some outrageous things on our must do’s. If we had followed through with the items we would be sharing our time between Spain and London working as US consulates and side-jobbing it as fashion designers. It would be a good thing that I finished my law degree because Jamie would need some assistance with her hostel/restaurant business. And though we would both be fluent in Spanish, we would come to realize this would not come in handy during our African safari, but it would prove a nice backdrop for our children’s books. Don’t worry, we did actually complete some of the things on our list, such as “Work out, do homework, paint and graduate from college.”

The ex-boyfriend list was quite interesting to find, for one I just realized we were a very boring couple, considering that one of the items on our list was to go to Horton Plaza (an extremely local mall), and another item that we didn’t accomplish was to buy a tree. Enough said?

Back to the bridge, the crying, and the hipster clothes. We really were attempting to finish the list in one night, though we would have had to cheat extensively to do so. Unfortunately the fact that the rest of the evening was spent in a gas station fastening my hood to the car put a damper on the rest of our plans.

As for my 30 before 30 list, well that is clearly not going to happen since the only thing accomplished thus far is that I got promoted…that was the only thing on the list that was actually out of my control. Sadly, the things that are in my control don’t get done.

It is not just To Do lists that I don’t DO, I am known for not finishing things. In fact there is little that I actually do finish. I often find it a wondrous act of God that I graduated from college, not with one degree, but with two!

I have about 20 journals, only one is completely finished, and the only reason that this journal is completely finished is because I ripped out the last 10 pages so I could say I finished a journal. I have about 600 books, 500 of which I started and about 20 of which I completed…I will also venture to say that 50 books are about 10 pages from being finished…but I just decided, eh, nah, let’s not finish it.

I have half a pantry of nutrisystem, the other half of Isogenix and a box of half eaten Medifast food in my room. I have had a gym membership for as long as I can remember. I have gone to the gym 2 times in the last two years which means each visit  is $252 or $12.60 a minute (since I go for 20 minutes at a time, each of the 2 times I went).

I have started three blogs and four novels. I signed up and paid for a 5k that I never ran. When I lived in Scotland I had a round-trip train ticket to St. Andrews, round-trip plane to Norway and Ireland…all three trips I never went on. I fall asleep before I am done praying. I often change the subject of my own conversation, while I am talking.

In fact, I can’t even finish nights out. I am notorious for leaving an evening mid-way through, without even saying good-bye. Two months ago I was with a group of friends at a bar, we were having a good time, and then I found myself walking up 9th street by myself at 1 am because I was ready to go home, no one knew that I left. Last month I was literally in the middle of a conversation, turned around and walked out of the bar and found a cab…taking my friend’s car keys with me.

I have never finished a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of foundation, or lipstick…I re-buy before I am even close to being done. Last week I finished my first bottle of deodorant and was surprised by that feeling. “Do I just buy new bottles of deodorant frequently, have I actually never finished a bottle?”

When I was a kid I quit jazz and dropped out of softball and girlscouts. I loved to color, but only half the page because I got bored and wanted to move onto the next. I would spend hours making Barbie’s community throughout my living room, and as soon as I completed making the house…I was over it and done playing.

Though it was my favorite movie, I could never finish The Sound of Music, and it wasn’t until I saw it performed live that I realized there was a war and Nazis. I thought it ended with “I am 16 Going on 17.”

And now, as I sit writing this, I am not sure what I have left to say….so I suppose…

 

 
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