Uncategorized

A letter…

To the person that changed my soul:

After all this time, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about you. I opened my heart to you in a way I have never experienced before, and have never experienced since. You gave my life such joy, and purpose, and you allowed me to love you without restraint. You showed me how wrong I was about myself, and that I am capable of rising above my deepest fear. If it were possible, I would still be in your life. I would still be there for you every single day; but as much as it breaks my heart, that’s not possible. The only hope that I allow myself to have, is that one day, I may be able to see you and be there for you again.

I feel like I’ve missed so much, and I don’t know if you can forgive me for that. I don’t know if you can understand why I’m not around. Just know that every single one of your tears broke my heart into a million pieces, and if I could have protected you better, I would have. Saying goodbye to you was impossible for me. I put so much of myself into being all I could be for you, that stepping away was like leaving a part of myself behind.

I hope that you are happy, and feel loved. I hope that you are learning, and utilizing how smart you are. I hope that you are growing with integrity, becoming responsible and honest. I hope you are developing your imagination and creativity, because that was what make you smile the most… and you have such a beautiful smile.

If there is ever a day where you need me, I will always be here. I still love you.

always yours,

Jenmer

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thoughts

Fireflies and Stars

I remember catching fireflies in my backyard as a child. I would run around in the calm night air, cupping my hands and trapping them, carefully peeking between my fingers to see it flash up close before sticking it in a jar. I’d be smiling and laughing the whole time, enjoying this magical experience that could never happen during the day.

As far back as I can remember, I loved being out at night. I would just look up at the moon and stars, and I would feel a sense of peace wash over me. There was something about the night air, the small amount of warm light that spilled out the windows of the house into the backyard, and the sound of crickets chirping all around me that made me feel safe. Even though I was scared of the dark inside the house, it brought me comfort outside. Even though there were always mysterious noises and shadows whose cause was always just out of sight, somehow the entire world seemed to be resting. It felt like if I stayed there laying on my back looking at the sky and listening, the earth would tell me a big secret, or the meaning of life, or maybe just something worth knowing, but it seemed my parents would always call me inside before I was finished hearing whatever truth I was being taught.

Things have always seemed more real to me when they happen in the night air. I feel that the daylight is deceiving; it’s supposed to show things more clearly, but really it only sheds light on those things that come forward- it casts a shadow on what is in the background. But in the night, everything blends together. Nothing is more prevalent unless you go up and focus on it. …And you can see the stars at night… Light does not illuminate everything. Light is distracting; it pulls your attention to what’s easiest to see. But in life, the easiest things are rarely worth the attention they are given. It’s what is hidden, or underneath, or behind, what is not easily visible, that matters most. It’s the connection you feel to the author’s words hidden beneath the cover of a book that moves you to tears. It’s the thought behind the gift hidden beneath the fancy wrapping paper and bow that brings a huge smile to your face. The things that matter most are hidden in the shadow of something else.

That’s why I like the night. All the shadows get to come out of hiding, and join the rest of the world. The things we pay so much attention to during the day seem so much smaller and less important. It’s only at night that the stars, hidden by the sun all day, get to shine and show their beauty. The sky seems clear and empty during the day. Sometimes clouds obscure our view of it, but clouds are fleeting, and never stick around for too long. The daytime sky has nothing to reach for. But the night sky hangs billions of stars for us to see. The night sky shows us billions of other places that exist in the universe. The night sky is never empty, but always shows us the possibilities we can’t see when the light of the sun is obscuring our perspective. And it shows  those possibilities night after night, without fail.

Those fireflies I used to catch in my backyard were little stars to me. Stars I could reach out and grab, and peek at up close and personal. Stars I could keep for myself, or share with someone, or that I could set free. Or, I could just run through them, with the freedom and security in knowing that they were there for me the catch when I was ready to take one and see it’s light up close. But they didn’t come out during the day. I couldn’t experience the magic of holding a star in my hands during the day. I actually never thought about them when the sun was out. When I was focused on what the sun illuminated, I forgot about the magic stars I could hold in my hands. Light has a way of distracting us from what the dark can show.

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growth, thoughts

Black and White and Gray

Things are never as black and white as they should be.

They say ‘black and white’ to show simplicity. Right and wrong. Good and bad. There is supposed to be no debate on something that is black and white. But, if I look at a black and white photo, all I see are millions of greys. To me, everything is situational. Something that is supposed to be wrong can be justified, or even right, in certain circumstances. And something that is right is not the best in every situation. Right and wrong is man-made… it is a matter of opinion, not a fact. But we cling to the idea of it. It is engrained into our minds from birth.

I believe, that there is an agreed upon right and wrong, to live in the society we have created. IF we want to live and coexist with the people around us, THEN this is right and that is wrong. But, if society said so, then that would be right, and this would be wrong.

So, the argument becomes, if something is right for me, but is deemed wrong by society, is it still wrong? Does my personal need for growth and experience outweigh the decided rules of the society I am a part of?
I did something that is considered wrong by societies standards. And, before I found myself in this situation, I believed it to be a black and white issue. Through my experience, and through talking to others that have gone through the same thing, I no longer see this as a simple ‘right and wrong’ situation.

This thing that is quickly deemed wrong, was an experience that helped me and the other involved grow. We learned so much about who we are, we matured, we developed into more positive and productive mentalities, we experienced things I could not put into words, we developed our crafts, and we ultimately ended the experience not only recognizing the development we each had, but recognizing others in our lives and how they fit, or didn’t fit, into who we had become through this.

This was almost an entirely positive time of development. But, it was wrong.

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Uncategorized

silent presence

It makes me so incredibly sad to see things on the news like cop cars on fire, local business looted, buildings on fire etc… All these people that came tonight because they were upset had a great opportunity, and they blew it. The number of protestors out is impressive, but they not only lose credibility, they make the problem worse by not maintaining a peaceful protest. MLK was so adamant about peaceful protests- he knew that if things got bad, it would be used as an excuse to make the injustice worse instead of better – and he was right, he was making a true difference (of course that’s why the US govt killed him). Now cops are going to be more on edge, now they are going to have an excuse to ‘justify’ the profiling and brutality because these violent protestors are reinforcing the stereotypes.
As Americans need to exercise our right to protest, but to truly make a difference, we need to give the oppressors zero excuses. The second a protest takes a step away from peaceful, is the second we lose any power we were starting to gain. They’ll bait us, they’ll make the first violent move to get a rise out of us, they’ll lie and spin things to push their own agenda… but just stay level headed. Don’t take the bait. Don’t move. Don’t physically fight back. Stand your ground – silent presence can be so powerful if used properly.

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catholic, church, lutheran, religion

I went to church today…

So, today was the first time I’ve gone to church in a very long time. The reason this is a big deal for me is because I’ve reached a point where I’m not a fan of organized religion. I disagree with the rituals, the rules, and some of the things/beliefs that are taught. However, I see why it resonates with so many people, and feel that if it works for others, they should participate in it. My beliefs and opinions are just that, mine. I recognize how different they are from others, and don’t feel that other people are necessarily wrong. I feel that all religions boil down to the same core: treat others well, and do good things, and it will come back to you. In Christian faiths, this the God’s reward for your good deeds; in Eastern faiths, this is Karma; different religions have different names for it. I feel that in some ways, all the religions are ‘right’, and whatever resonates with a person is what they should follow.

Personally, I don’t like how often religion is used for controlling the masses. I don’t like how often religions that preach acceptance and love, actually turn around and judge and shun those they disagree with. I don’t agree that if a special person says some special words over a glass of wine and loaf of bread, that it becomes a special glass of wine and loaf of bread; and i don’t believe participating in this ritual brings me any closer to God. I don’t like the idea that I need to ‘earn’ my way into heaven, and that any act I carry out in my extremely short amount of time on Earth can damn me to an eternity of suffering in hell, especially from a father-figure that is supposed to have unconditional love for me. The more i research different religions, the more i disagree with them. But i want to be clear that it is the details I have issues with, not the core beliefs.

I was raised Lutheran – for anyone that doesn’t know what that is, my favorite description I’ve heard is that it is Catholic without the giant stick up it’s ass. In a Lutheran church, there are no saints, there is no pope, you confess through prayer directly to God instead of in a confessional to a priest, etc. I always felt very at ease in Lutheran churches, and that it was very much about having a relationship with God, and less about the right and wrong way to ‘serve’ Him. For a few years of my young adult life, I was very religious. I went to Church every Sunday, often alone as my mom didn’t want to go and my dad was at work. I went through my first holy communion, and confirmation. I prayed daily, and tried to live my life with God leading my decisions. I felt connected to Him. I can’t remember when I started drifting away from that, nor can I remember when I stopped believing in church, but I remember questioning what I heard in a new way.

I’ve had a hard time seeing God as our Father. The reason for this is because it’s hard to see suffering, and accept that an omnipotent father would allow his children to suffer like that. The explanations that I received from church, priests, religious friends, etc never satisfied me. It all seemed a cop out to me- God has a plan, one day Jesus will return and after this big fight, there will be peace and happiness for a long time (but not forever). The devil is at work, and caused this. Whatever I heard, did not sit well.

I also have a hard time seeing God as our Father because we’re taught that if we sin, and don’t repent, we will spend an eternity suffering in Hell (Catholics are even taught that anyone not baptized Catholic will spend an eternity in hell). Anyone that is a parent can tell you that no matter what, they will never stop loving their child. Their kid could murder, torture, whatever people, and while they would be horrified, a parent would still have love for their child. This is the kind of love we are taught God has for us. Now, I consider eternity. Our lives on Earth, even if we live to an old age here, are insignificant when comparing it to eternity. How could I possibly do something so horrible in this short amount of time on Earth, that would warrant an eternity of suffering in hell? To me, that’s like a putting a kid in time-out for the rest of their life as punishment for something that they did one day. The punishment is immensely cruel in comparison. How could someone punish their child so severely?

So- anyways, I started questioning things. I no longer found solace in my religion. I settled on believing in God, and Jesus, but that the Bible (especially the old testament) was fables and morals to help people live good lives. For a long time, I just lived my life as best I could, and didn’t feel church was necessary.

I’ve always been very interested in learning about other religions. This last year, I’ve tried to get deeper understandings of them. I’ve been going to Shamanic guided meditations. I’ve read books delving into beliefs and practices of religions, and how they compare and differ. I’ve discussed religion with different people, and looked things up online. I now plan to go to services at different churches/temples/etc to try and get an even deeper understanding. That’s why I went back to my old church today. It’s been so long, I wanted to see what I remembered, if anything has changed, and I wanted to see if I kept an open mind and heart if it would resonate with me again like it did so many years ago. There were some small things I forgot about (like how extensively it’s taught that God wants us to have a relationship with Him), but mostly it was exactly how I remembered. As for connecting to it – I didn’t really. There were moments though. During some of the songs, I got goosebumps. And there were times that I could feel the connection to God of the people around me. And during the sermon, there was a period of time I felt my third eye opening as I was considering what the pastor was saying. But, I didn’t feel connected to the God they were talking about. It didn’t resonate with me on a personal level. I couldn’t get past the comments about His forgiveness, about Him wanting a relationship with us and to have a conversation with us; basically, the things that humanized Him. I tried to be open minded, but I guess I had more trouble letting go my personal beliefs to accept what I was hearing than I’d hoped I would.

I did not go with the hope/expectation that my opinions would change. I understand what it feels like to be close to the God that Lutherans worship, and I understand their interpretation of the bible. I just wanted to see if I would connect with those beliefs again, and what parts of the religion I still resonate with. What I found was that not much has really changed for me at this point. I still believe in a god, I still believe in doing good, and treating others well, and I still believe that we are souls that do not cease to exist when our bodies die. I still disagree with communion, god as a father, and other details that are taught. But the experience did remind me of the benefit and comfort of the community that comes from the church. I found that over the years, I’ve gotten so caught up with what I agree and disagree with about churches and religions, that I lost sight of how a congregation supports each other through hard times. A sense of community is a valuable thing, and a church is full of people willing to pray for you, hear your struggles, and even watch your kids or make you a meal during a hard time. So- no, I don’t believe going to church is necessary for a relationship with God the father (if that’s what you believe), or that you should blindly follow the church (because it has know to become corrupted at times), or that what is taught in the church always coincides with what the religion is supposed to teach, but I do believe that it is important for a person to have a place to go where they feel connected to their God, where they feel safe and welcome to practice what they believe, and where they can connect and grow with people that have aligning views.
I’m happy that my experience today brought me a new revelation about religion, even if it was a small revelation. I plan to visit a Mormon Church next, and possibly go multiple times to get a better understanding of their beliefs and ways of life. I’m excited to see what else I learn, and what new revelations I will have!

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thoughts

My goals…

I want to cover my body in words and art that are meaningful to me and make me think and feel things.
I want to meet new people, and see new places, that make me question my beliefs and that open my eyes to how small I am in this world.
I want to make a difference in people’s lives and give them tools to think openly, feel freely, and to express themselves.
I want to help people, especially those that are struggling more than I am.
And I want to do all this on my own terms.
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relationships, thoughts

growing into a better person

Here’s to learning the difference between someone that makes you a better version of yourself, and someone that changes you into their opinion of a better person.

I spent a long time in a relationship with someone that tried very hard to help me grow into a better person. He cared for me, and wanted the best for me. The problem was, his opinion differed from mine on what would make me a better person. Because I cared for him too, I found myself listening to him. I always felt an internal struggle between doing what I felt was right, and what he felt was right; I often tried to find a middle ground, but that never worked.

Growing into a better person is a difficult thing. There’s no rule book, no right or wrong answers, you just figure it out as you go. So, I figured that there’s no chance that my way is always going to be right. Knowing this, I followed his opinions a lot. But, when I disagreed with him, he would fight me till I did things his way.

All I know from this experience, is that I need to trust myself. I’m the one that has to live with who I grow into. I have to be confident in who I become as a person. And while I am 100% sure that I have made, and will make, mistakes along the way, I have to become my own version of a better person. I have to decide who I want to become, and do it. Listening to advice from others is an important thing to do, but I cannot lose myself along the way.

I now choose to be around people that I feel push me in the right directions. I grow with people that are on a strong path, and are open minded. The people I choose to help me grow now inspire me to change myself; they don’t tell me how I should be different, they are different and lead by example. I believe everyone has something positive to teach, and I am doing my best to be as open to these things as I can. In my opinion, that’s the best way to grow into a better person… but who knows? Maybe I’m wrong, and later I’ll be posting a completely different opinion…

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