Aloha, Beaches

I can’t believe it’s been a month since one of my best friends got married. Nicole and Davin tied the knot on February 18, 2017 on the North Shore of Hawaii.

They moved there in 2011 – which I remember well because we had a helluva party before she left and because it was just a few months before Stephen and I moved to Wyoming. I can remember having several gchats with her about her “super big secret” (no, seriously, that’s what we referred to it as for a bit) and talking about what our futures looked like.

Well, after six years (yes, I’m a terrible friend and also afraid of flying – so sue me) I finally made it out to Hawaii to see this beauty in her element. And let me tell you, she shines brighter than she ever has in the 20+ years that I’ve known her.Continue reading “Aloha, Beaches”

Shisitos + Flies

Two weeks ago I was in Hawaii. (More on that soon, I promise!) I came home to chilly weather, but eventually it warmed up a bit and repeated a few of those 60 degree days that I missed while in the Aloha State.

And then it snowed. Not a lot, but enough to shift the weather around and create a dry, blustery wind that hit you in the face every time you walked outside. Yeah, it’s a bit dramatic. I know. But seriously, it’s cold. Cold enough for slushy snow and ice, but not cold enough for fresh powpow to ski on. (Although they are calling for a storm on Tuesday – finger’s crossed!)Continue reading “Shisitos + Flies”

An Original Rebel

tumblr_l6izg6U2Bo1qbohjdo1_500.jpg

This picture was taken when I was 19. It was right before finals week at college, and a couple of my friends and I blew off studying (and our other duties that day, including some Residence Life responsibilities…) to lay out and skate. I spent the entire day on my longboard. As a matter of fact, I think I’m still standing on it for this picture.

Life moves fast. Sometimes I feel like that picture was just yesterday; that my old life is still waiting around the corner for me to reclaim it and pick up where I left off. But then I remember what it was like to be 19 – how different my world was then, how unorganized my priorities were. I was a mess. I was my own worst enemy.

I’m not saying that I don’t miss that girl, because I do. Her carefree ability to let reality slide by is envious… But it’s not realistic anymore. I require structure. I owe it to the great things in my life to stay on point with expectations and devotion. But that’s not to say that I can’t learn from her. Back then I so badly wanted to be an adult… And yet here I am, hoping I can recapture the fine mess that created me.

always,
The Original SoulRebel

____

Post originally appeared on The Adventures of Soul Rebel

 

 

my love is all you need, don’t look back again

mylove

This picture was taken on one of the best days of my life. I know that’s quite a statement – a pinpointed moment in time when one was truly happy, when all seemed to be right with the world. It’s true, it happened, I remember it, I was there.

If I could go back in time and press ‘pause’, I would. If I knew then what I know now, I may never have left that island.Continue reading “my love is all you need, don’t look back again”

blue

(March 16, 2010)

I entered-
5’3″, early twenties, female.
I was greeted by another woman-
mid-sixties, blue eyes, female.
I gave her my ID, and
she smiled sweetly, handing it back, and
I signed.
I closed the curtain behind me, and
I pushed the button for a black man
who promised to change our world.
I left, filled with hope
I wore jeans that day
cuffed, ankles exposed
a pale blue oxford
a button that assured me
yes,
we can.
a woman entered
greeted by another woman
and chose a black man
unveiled
unmasked
untouched.

I see planes in my dreams,
but I wake up, filled with hope.

 

 

An Open Letter to a Closed Person

Dear you,

I remember when I was twenty or twenty-one years old I returned to church and gave a talk during a retreat about my experience as a twenty-something living a spiritual lifestyle. I wanted to send a message to these high school students that being “different” is okay – that believing in angels and saints, the rosary, the healing power of prayer, community – that those beliefs and my unyielding faith had guided me through some dark times. It may not be the “cool” thing to do in high school, but none of us are immune to struggles. That laying the foundation down now for a spiritual life would guide them farther than any drug or drink ever could. I remember I told them that I prayed while I went grocery shopping. Bagging apples (“Dear God, please, please, please help me through this situation…”), choosing a box of granola (“I’m really struggling right now and if you could just send me a sign…”), and waiting in the check-out line (“I just need to know that I’m on the right path…”). I remember I held up my bible – hot pink and covered in music and surf stickers – and told everyone that others had chastised me for defacing it; but it wasn’t ‘their’ bible. It was mine. And I wrapped up by telling those impressionable teenagers to deface their own bible. Draw in the margins. Highlight passages. Color on the cover. Pose questions. Write your opinions. You know why? Because the whole point is that being different is okay. And all we ever need to get us through is something to believe in.

I always wondered what it would be like to hear the call of a religious vocation. To hear that unrelenting voice telling you that your call is to dedicate yourself to the church. I never heard it, but I imagine that the voice isn’t all that different from the voice telling you that something isn’t right. That perhaps this body that you were born with, well, maybe it’s not the right one. Maybe the lines got crossed. Maybe God has a greater mission for you. Because God – The Universe, Spirit, God, whatever – really does work in mysterious ways. That it might be hard to see it now, but God’s mission for everyone on this planet is to live their truth. The truth isn’t on the thin, linen pages of a bible. It’s what is written between the lines. It’s when you start listening to the voice. And it’s when you start sharing the message.

I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful because your commitment to the church brought me two of the most caring and kind friends that I could ever hope for, unwavering in their bottomless compassion. I’d be a fool to say that you aren’t a part of my story. All of my beliefs and truths have been somehow shaped by you. This might infuriate you; How can someone who dedicates his life to the youth of the church have helped to create this? I also hope that it causes you to wake the fuck up. This is where our story ends. I wish you the best and hope that one day, you remember the words that I told those kids – that being different is okay. That supporting basic human rights is far greater than any book or religion. That our time here is short. That the messages in our hearts be clear. That we are all in this together.

I recently heard from one of those kids that I spoke to almost ten years ago. She told me that she still had her bible, covered in stickers. She still read it. She still prayed. But she stopped going to church. She said she got tired of hearing about how we should only pray for those who are different, instead of accepting them.

I heard what you were teaching all of those years. But luckily, some people heard me, too.

Stephanie

 

Featured image courtesy of Slate, by Paul McKinnon

On Death, in Sadness

Widow Walking Through Cemetery, The New York Public Library Digital Collections

I work in a place where customers become family, where family become customers, where everybody knows your name. Well, maybe not quite. But it’s my own version of Cheers, except without the booze. (Sigh. If only we had booze.) It’s also a place where the age range of our customers is three to ninety-three. Yes, really.

Continue reading “On Death, in Sadness”