I’m not a very touchy feely person. I don’t normally go out of my way to hug or shake hands, although I do like to cuddle and I really like holding hands. It makes me feel special and safe. It’s very reassuring to have someone hold my hand but it is not something that is common. We hold hands in church and you might see people who are dating doing it, but apart from parents and children, you don’t see it much but it really is a sign of friendship and affection in my mind. To me, hand holding is a way to say that you are important to me and I am here for you. It’s a demonstration of love and connection.
One thing I am excited for
It is the end of the thirty day writing challenge, but what I am excited for is the beginning of the Christian year. Sunday began the season of advent which is the beginning of the liturgical year of the church. We wait in joyful expectation for the birth of Christ in the world and in our hearts. Advent is a time of preparation and love and we gloriously anticipate what new thing that the Creator is going to manifest.
I have loved working through these 30 days of writing and reflection. I have learned a lot about myself and the things that interest me. I am also elated that my musings have opened a door for my friends and colleagues to get a glance at the workings of my life. I hope this leads to stronger connections and great conversations.
This is just the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I remain excited about the possibilities.
I’m not sure if I have a lot to say to my ex and not because we are on bad terms, but rather the opposite. With one exception, I remain connected to them and consider them friends. I also have a policy of letting go of regrets.Hindsight is always 20/20 but the decisions we make in the midst of a relationship make sense to us at the time.
If I could say anything, it is simply thank you for loving me. Thank you for looking past the slightly introverted, sometimes high maintenance woman and making a connection. Even through the rough patches, I learned more about myself and am stronger and wiser as a result. Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams with me, for letting me see you at your most vulnerable times. I admit that I didn’t always understand your direction in life, but I tried my best to support your journey. Thank you for coming into my life and for taking the time to hear me, see me, feel me, know me. Thank you for loving me in your own way.
I decided to follow an alternate writing prompt for today because the #30daywritingchallenge prompt was to discuss a family member I don’t like. I don’t really know my family beyond me immediate family as both of my parents are deceased and growing up, we only interacted with my dad’s family and we didn’t do that much. Family is complicated for me.
So the alternate prompt is 22 things for which I am grateful:
- I am grateful to be of sound mind and body (relatively).
- I am grateful that I have family that loves and supports me without question.
- I am grateful for friends who have become like family that love me no matter what.
- I am grateful to be employed and to have a team that appreciates my efforts
- I am grateful for one more day.
- I am grateful to have a community of faith that nurtures me and lets me be myself.
- I am grateful for friends who are not afraid to tell me the truth.
- I am grateful for friends who pick me up when that truth hurts.
- I am grateful for coffee and Pepsi Cola.
- I am grateful for French fries. They make me happy.
- I am grateful for the loves I have lost. I am better even though it is over.
- I am grateful for December 14, 1999. It is a day that I will never forget and while it was difficult, I was changed on that day.
- I am grateful for the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Although they can be challenging at times, I am the woman I am today because of their influence.
- I am grateful for my time at Oberlin College. It was indeed the best four years of my life and influences how I look at the world to this day.
- I am grateful for two people who know my entire truth. They know Joanne: The good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone needs someone who they can tell the whole truth to.
- I am grateful for the congregations that I have supported and served. They remind me that God’s grace is extravagant and abundant.
- I am grateful for my parents. They did the best they could to give me everything I needed, even when they didn’t always understand me.
- I am grateful for public libraries. They provided me sanctuary as I was growing up.
- I am grateful for all of my failures and rejections.
- I am grateful for the one who broke my heart.
- I am grateful for every opportunity to sit in the sun.
- I am grateful that God saw fit to choose me to serve.
This is the hardest writing prompt so far because I never like to think about my fears. It’s right up there with my weaknesses in that I don’t consider them often. Why think on those things when I can reflect on my greatness and possibilities; when there are things noble, just and true to consider?
Nevertheless, that’s the challenge for today. Five of my fears in no particular order:
1.I’m afraid of escalators.I know it’s completely not rational, but I am sure it is a manifestation of my agoraphobia. I don’t like them.
2. I’m kinda afraid of dogs and that is the direct result of being bitten when I was about 8 years old. I was walking down Svec with my sister and her friend Geretta, when a German shepherd came charging out of the house. I remember seeing my sister reaching for me as they ran in the street, but I didn’t react fast enough and the dog bit me. Now because a lot of my friends have dogs, I have learned to manage my fear a little, but I don’t really like them.
3. I’m afraid of mice and other small rodents because they are creepy and wrong.
4. I don’t really like funerals and to be more specific, I am afraid of dead bodies. I think it’s because I went to a funeral with my mom when I was really young and I just didn’t understand what I was seeing and never quite got over it. What’s funny is that when I worked for the church, funerals were my responsibility. God has a sense of humor.
5.I’m afraid of dying alone. You know one of those stories of someone dying in their home and nobody notices. It’s why whenever I get really sick, I have to call someone to come over. Maybe it’s vanity, but I would hope that when my transistion comes, that someone will notice and acknowledge that I had a place in this world.
If you had asked me about my life in seven years when I was 25, then you would have received a well articulated 7 point plan about the direction of my life. I had goals and dreams and determination. Nothing was going to stop me, nothing was going to turn me around. And then life happened. Don’t get me wrong, I did achieve many of my goals, but by the time I turned 30, I was very far from the path I saw for myself at 25. Very, very far. So twenty years later and you ask me about my life in seven years and I am uncertain about how to respond. I still have goals and dreams, but I am clear that my life is not my own. I’m called, chosen, set apart fir God’s exclusive use and it took the hard lessons learned over the past twenty years of my life for me to realize that God’s plan will always supersede mine.
Consequently, in seven years I hope that I am on the path that God has chosen for me. In seven years, I hope that I am satisfied with Jesus alone. In seven years, I hope that my greatest desire is for the Holy Spirit to fully reign in my life. In seven years, I want to have a renewed mind and the fortitude to endure the trials and tribulations of this world with grace until Jesus cracks the sky.
I am single. The challenge for today is to discuss my current relationship. I could go the Facebook copout way and say it’s complicated, but it really isn’t. I am single. I ttried really hard this summer to not be single. I really tried. Oddly enough, both guys, while great, are not very confident in themselves which is unfortunate because they are both great in different ways.
Guy 1 talks a good game.Everything he says is just perfect, but his actions don’t support his flow.At all. I should really call him Cyrano because he is clearly speaking for someone else. Guy 2 is mild mannered, almost a little boring, but I appreciate his simple approach to life. It’s charming to a certain extent, but he lacks ambition and drive and really is most comfortable when I tell him what to do. That’s not exciting to me. I mean I am bossy and I manage people for a living but when it comes to a relationship, I really don’t want to be in charge all the time. If I have to make every single decision, guide every conversation, well I can do that on my own. Consequently, I am single and that is okay for now.
Any type of discrimination is crazy, but I think I might be especially sensitive to ageism. My parents were a little older than my peers’ parents as they got married and had me later in life so I was constantly responding to questions like: Is that your grandfather? or How old are your parents? It bothered me a little because other than moving a little slowly, my parents were very capable. They both worked until very late in life. Even after my father retired, he still had a part time job as a custodian at one of the office buildings downtown and my mother was always busy doing something. Always. As a result, I think I gravitate towards older people. Most of my friends are older than me and I prefer to date older men (although my track record is about 50/50 in that area). I volunteer at the senior center in my neighborhood and in social settings, I more than likely will find my way to the oldest person in the room. It might be a sense of security or maybe I just appreciate the history that their presence represents.
Day 5 – A place you want to live but have never visited #30daywritingchallenge
I have always been fascinated with France. It started when I was in fourth or fifth grade and started attending Saturday school at Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Volunteers came each Saturday and taught classes on subjects that we might not have at school, like drama and art, and supplemented the fundamentals in math and reading. I decided to take French and I thought it was the most beautiful sound in the world and from that point on, I have been obsessed with France.
I studied French throughout high school and my first year of college, but as the demands of school and work increased, I had to cut some electives from my schedule and regrettably French was the first to go. I remember enough to be able to read and translate with the help of a dictionary, but I have lost most of my conversation skills.
I planned to spend my 40th birthday in Paris eating cheese and drinking coffee in a charming bistro, walking down the Champs-Elysees, visiting the Eiffel Tower, touring the Louvre but my life changed radically that year and I could not afford the trip. I kept saying next year but next years have come and gone six times since then and I still don’t have a plan to get to Paris. That’s probably a good thing, for I fear that once I get there, I won’t ever want to leave the city of lights. There’s something very compelling about a place that celebrates wine, chocolate, butter, beauty and art. There’s something provocative about a place that embraces passion and ennui equally.
I am not sure when I will get to have my April in Paris, but I know the plan will come together in due season. Until then, I remain excited about the possibilities.
Day 3 – Your first kiss or first love; if they are different people discuss both
His name was Michael. We met in the office of the student government advisor. In fact, she introduced us because neither of us had a date for the prom. As vice president of the senior class, prom was my responsibility and I had spent so much time planning for prom that my advisor thought it only right that I should have a date so she introduced me to Michael. I was grateful because that was an emotional time for me. I was completely devastated because the guy I really liked was taking someone else to the prom. While that would have been hard enough to deal with, it was compounded by the fact that one of my friends had been encouraging me to pursue this guy because he really liked me but was afraid etc.only to discover that it was all a lie and that my friend had been manipulating both of us because he was bored and a great meltdown and girl fight might be fun. Seriously. I was the Desdemona to his Iago in a most tragic high school drama. Seriously.
Consequently, Michael was a welcome distraction. I had never seen him at school before but he knew who I was and we got along well. It was not a great romance but we liked each other well enough. Technically, our first kiss was after prom aswe dropped him off at his house. (Prom day transportation is another dramatic story that I will tell another time.) But we went out a couple of times after that and that is when we had our first real kiss. I don’t remember what we had done that day, but we ended up at his house. His mom told him to show me around the house and the radio was playing in one of the rooms. He asked me to dance which was equal parts corny and sweet and all I could think about was that I was glad I was having a good hair day. When he finally kissed me, I was not exactly sure about the mechanics, but I had read enough teen novels over the years to figure it out. It was nice.Very gentle.
As for my first love, because Michael was definitely not that, I don’t think I am ready to talk about that. After all these years,our relationship is still quite unresolved and that is unfortunate because it is only because I didn’t have the language to really tell him everything I should have at the time. So we remain disconnected and drifting on a memory.