{DangerDoes} Don’t Tell Me I’m Pretty

Don’t tell me I’m pretty

Don’t compare my face with the others that you have seen

Tell me I’m otherworldly and ethereal and beyond comprehension 

Tell me that what I think matters and that what I say has merit

Listen

Ask me what my opinion is on the book you just read or why I think Pluto should still be a planet 

Tell me a story that nobody else knows

Let me inside the vault of your mind and your heart that you keep closed

Tell me that the way I use words heals the hurts that run miles deep

Tell me my heart is full of compassion

Tell me that I matter and am brave even when I feel ready to sink

Tell me that my emotions are what make me strong

Tell me the truth when it’s hard, when I’m cruel and shouting and falling apart and blaming you for things that aren’t your fault

Tell me that I’m the one that makes you want to stay at home when the whole world is calling your name 

Don’t call me pretty,

tell me I’m enough and complete without you

but that you’d like to walk with me wherever I’m headed.

Two whole people,

who say so many things but don’t tell each other that they are pretty.

 

{DangerDoes} Blue & the future

I like to dye my hair. It’s been black, purple, blonde, green, & most recently blue. Now you can imagine the reaction that I get to these vast changes in hair color. I mean, abnormally colored hair is usually judged immediately, since it’s a very obvious physical attribute. Everyone sees your hair. Some judge it well & others aren’t a fan. I mean usually people are polite or critical in a polite way, depending on tone, “Oh, wow, you’re hair is blue. How nice.” can mean so many things. But most people I know usually support me in my hair escapades. & of course, I have blue hair, so I don’t necessarily care very much about the opinions thrown at me but I do always appreciate the support when it’s found. People can be the greatest & the worst (a good topic for another day.)

But, to steer the conversation back, I feel like for me, it’s not really about what others think. There will almost always be spectators to the 6 foot tall girl with blue hair. But what scares me is the future. Oh! I get it now…that’s why the title is “Blue & the future.” Foreshadowing. Gosh–Ok, on track again– But see it makes sense…One day, in the near future, I will probably have normal hair that is a natural color. & as petty & unimportant as it sounds, when that day comes I’ll be sad. I don’t look forward to the day when I’m considered a professional. When I’m considered “too old” for “fun hair.” Now, I’m not saying that you can’t rock a sassy hairdo of any color as a professional or as a older person, I just mean for me, in pursuit of some sort of career in Law, it’s probably not going to be an option. I mean, I’ll do my best to be a blue-haired lawyer, but I don’t know how that will work out for me. I will let you know as soon as I figure it out. I’ll get back to you in a few years. But blue hair has taught me that some things are meant for seasons, & that after a while all things dye–er, I mean die.

If you, like me, tend to overthink the little things, like what your hair color will be in the future, then maybe you need this reminder just like I did. Life is meant for new things. New colors. Blue hair. But if I had blue hair forever, it might lose it’s charm. That new normal might become boring. As new & exciting as blue hair is now, maybe future me will look back & laugh at me at 21. But knowing myself, I’ll probably have my awesome professional hair & look back at photos & think about how exciting it was to go out on a whim & buy the wondrously named “Electric Teal” hair die. I’ll remember going home to put it on only to end up going to see the Tarzan movie with my dad. I’ll remember him talking too loudly in the theater during the movie, saying something funny or pointing out a plot error with the books & how I wasn’t embarrassed anymore when he decided to have loud mid-movie conversations with me cause who the heck cares anyways. I’ll remember driving back home & taking our new family dog, Amelia, out to the yard with my dad & laughing at the way she’s not good at fetch yet. I’ll remember cracking the hair dye seal at 11 p.m. & not finishing the dye job ’til 2 in the morning. Blue-haired, blue-handed, & ready to sleep. I’ll remember the days I haven’t lived yet, but I’ll look back to this season of life, to the love I feel for so many, to the songs I liked, the movies I loved, the people I share life with near & far, & I guarantee that somewhat normal colored hair me will say, “I’m glad for the blue hair days. Here’s to the *insert color here* hair days to come.”

 

Life will most definitely be just as exciting in the future, even without the blue hair. I guess blue hair really isn’t the issue. It’s just been the catalyst to teach me that this time in my life won’t necessarily be the place I need to be in in the future & I’m grateful. Things will change, thank God for the promise of newness & the mystery of what life has yet to bring me. I’ll miss blue hair & be sad the day it changes, but life will continue to move on & new things will gain importance & significance to me. I’ll live my edgy blue haired days now, enjoying the things I’m experiencing with it now, learning who I am & doing the most with this one wild & precious life*. I can now look forward, with the lessons life is teaching me now, to the day my hair will be “normal”, without regrets or fear. For whatever color my hair is then, I bet that in the future–life, work, friends, family, love, Jesus, & all the joys along with the sorrows that will be experienced now will be felt just as deeply & beautifully as I experienced them in the blue hair era of my life.

Here’s to all the hair eras I’ve had & have yet to experience–no matter the color–it’s good to learn that things in their season & in their time are meaning full & that there is joy in the beginning, ending, & even in the unknown.

Live like your hair is blue, whatever that means.

-{DD}

 

*Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

{DangerDoes} Cymbals & Restrooms

Ever feel like you’re making a lot of noise, but you aren’t making music? That’s where I am. It’s like this:

Are my actions ringing louder than my words? I’ve been extremely guilty of saying & not doing. Where do my words meet my walk? Where does my love become evident?

I say this all because, recently, I’ve realized the enormous following that bitterness & hate have in the world we live in. See presidential candidates, hate rhetoric, boycotts of stores over acceptance of people, hate over mixed couples in ads, kids shot in the streets, & the way people talk about people who sin differently than they do.

Doesn’t that put it in perspective?

But my disconnect happens because I see in His word where God has called us to love Him & love others like He loves us. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Love. In the verse about love, 1 Corinthians 13 says:

 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Is that me? Am I speaking yet shouting out something that can’t be heard? Am I getting so lost in the idea of who to love, when to love, how to love. In this world…exactly who do I choose to love?

In a recent conversation with a friend, I was talking about mercy & grace & was continually reminded by him that my mercy & grace isn’t what God’s is. In many stories, over & over again, I see Jesus not only loving people, but understanding their need to be loved. The woman about to be stoned, the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, Saul turned Paul, the thief on the cross. God did things that made other people uncomfortable. He accepted people. He loved the Gentiles. He healed the lepers. He forgave prostitutes. He saved adulterous women. He died for me. God’s sweet love story isn’t about telling others they are wrong. It’s about realizing our wrong & righting it & then loving other broken people into His arms. Why do we try to fix people when we are the broken too? Why are we not letting God work by continually trying to use our own human ways to fix what we cannot fix? All the great things we try to do, if not done in love, only hinder the love story of God. It sounds like the loud banging, chaotic noise of crashing cymbals that convince people that the story of love we are shouting at them isn’t one that convinces them that God died for them too. Because we build ourselves up. We say our sin isn’t as bad. We say what we think under the guise that it’s ok for truth to be offensive & to hurt because it’s facts so just deal with it. That’s abrasive, manipulative, angry, aggressive, & wrong. Truth is truth because it’s facts, & saying it in love makes it a much more convincing argument. That’s why grace & mercy are so important. Because God’s message is that what we say matters. How we say it matters. How we love others matters. When we stop trying to make our way the only way, we give God room to show up & prove that His way, that love is, the only way.

When we choose to say that someone else’s sin is worse than ours, when we try to dictate what God says–we start making noise that to hurting people sounds like clanging cymbals. It sounds like hypocrisy. It sounds like anger, bitterness, & rejection.

Make love your highest goal. Not because it makes sense. Not because you choose to. But because love, love is what God gives us abundantly, without limit, without expectation. Because His action–it speaks louder than our chaotic noise. It speaks louder than our attempts to sort out who we should accept or not accept.

In the end, don’t you think it’s better to love like Christ loved us, than to turn our backs on the people standing right beside us that are hurting & dying to be loved?

If you try to tell me that I’m the only sinner that Jesus died for then I can’t believe that. If someone hurts you, love them like Jesus. Do we really get that? Do we understand the magnitude of what that command means? Love others like I love you. Jesus loved us so much, so greatly, that His love manifested itself & led Him to death on a cross. That’s love. Dying for people that hate you, work against you, shouted for your death, are different from you, that sin against you, & those that want to kill you.

Yet we struggle to love those we see at different. Well, I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want to look at others and forget that the first person I’m responsible for is me. I see the way that I break every single one of God’s commandments. I think bad thoughts. I murder people with my looks. I lie. I break God’s heart, & just because my wrong is different, does not make Jesus any less capable.

Jesus loved. It was crazy. He loved His betrayer Judas & He loved His beloved John. He loved & He didn’t stop because it wasn’t convenient for Him. He didn’t think about it & then come down off the cross. So how about we follow suit. How about instead of wild statements about who is going to hell or who God doesn’t love or accept, how about we make a wild statement through our actions by loving people the way God said to. Why try to enforce our own take on Christ’s word & why not actually try being the hands & feet of Christ. Because the Christ I read about, the one I sing to, the one I worship, didn’t die for only my sin. But for it all. Find me a verse that says He didn’t die for it all, & I’ll be convinced. Show me the way Jesus’ example said to stop loving when it’s not convenient & I’ll stop. But until then, I’m gonna believe what God said. At that’s that He came for it all & He died for it all & He rose again for it all.

Stop not loving people because it’s not convenient for you. Because Jesus died on the cross for you & for the transgender person using the Target bathroom. & if you think Jesus stops loving & stops forgiving, then I hope you stay out of Target, because I’m trying to love God & find a cute craft to do without being told that someone doesn’t deserve the love that by that standard I don’t deserve either.

Keep your words & your loud noisy cymbals away from the everliving, powerful truth of God. Because the cymbals of your actions & the cymbals of your words are distracting from the life changing, life giving words & love of God.

Unconditional, no exceptions Love.

God calls us to that kind of love. So forgive. Pray. Be used to love others.

Are you going to? Or is this generation’s legacy going to be that we couldn’t love like Jesus because we were too busy making our own judgements about Christ’s words?

If we don’t love one another the word of God will never be truly heard. Love has the power to change people’s lives. As a Christian, you experience that grace & love everyday. If we really want Him to be great, if we want to be known as Christians then please,

let go of your cymbals & start letting God’s love be louder than you.

 

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} nonfactual childhood thoughts about how my life should be now

I thought that once I was technically an adult, life would all gradually line up into place & things like the present & future would become clear. Reality has hit me square in the face & I now realize that that magical thing we imagine as adulthood is not as it seems to childhood us. I used to think that people who were in their twenties had things figured out. Big news here–no one does. I would love to have the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with eleven year old me & drop some truth on younger me. No one has anything figured out, & here’s the thing, it’s not mandatory that we do. When I was eleven-ish year old me I guess I just figured that adults had the answer. & no one, can you believe this, no one told me any different. I looked with unrealistic expectation to the time that I would be 18 & an adult & carefree. JUST KIDDING. No one told me that as the years accumulated more & more that the things I was responsible for & cared for would increase, questions would still be there & multiply & even be unaswerable, & things would be less figured out than ever. I mean, people even gave me what seemed like a handy guideline. Be a kid, stay in school, graduate high school, get a job to learn responsibility, do the right things, see the right people, get into college, go to college, have a career, have a family, have a hunky dory life that seems super simple all boiled down into a nifty litle time line. Well, thing is, life isn’t a string of years sown together as much as it happens to be many things along with being a series of events, actions, choices, & decisions that lead us each moment to moment. Apparently one just doesn’t grow up & figure things out.

Good news lies amongst my sarcastic comments & hollow ideas of what I thought growing up would be like. Being older doesn’t have to equal having it all figured out. Isn’t that a glorious realization though? That no matter how many books, movies, tv shows & the like end with tidy little endings with nary a hardship, that’s not how life is. I don’t have to have perfect start or ending, a “one true love”, or anyone pushing along my story line other than me (& Jesus, not leaving Him out, actually He’s about to make a huge entrance into this post. Spoilers.) No neat, tidy bow needed. For so long I thought that at one moment or another some life altering thing would happen or some dramatic turn would point me to the right way or thing to do. But turns out that the human experience is trying, failing, trying, failing, & repeating this cycle until we succeed & move forward. We aren’t defined by our past loves, or our past mistakes…we aren’t held to an unrealistic standard or goal. My life isn’t a line stretched out with important dates picked out. It’s not the bad choices I’ve made, the people I’ve left in my past, or the people I’ve chosen to stick with. What defines me right now hasn’t & won’t always. & even in this place where I don’t know myself, my plans, my life, & my future, I have hope. The stuff I didn’t choose, whether that be a person, going somewhere, or personal decisions–get this–that’s the past. That’s something I can’t change. & the past has been where I was choosing to remain. If I would have done this, maybe chosen this person over this person, done this better, had the best attitude, been the smartest, known what I needed to do… I could be doing something. I could even be pursuing my dreams. That “dream” within a dream. The thing I was meant to do. The person I was meant to be.

Let’s put on the brakes here though, because I’ve recently come to understand that I am that person. I am running after my passions & I don’t have to be looking back at all the things I could’ve, or should’ve, or might’ve done. Because in the end, looking back won’t change anything. I’m finally learning a vital point of information about myself–I am not, never have been, & never will be the one in control. I’m finding myself in the present, no longer concerned about what I could’ve changed. I am learning, living, making mistakes, stressing about things that won’t matter in five seconds, & about 99.9% of the time I’m clueless about my future at the same time that I’m worried about what to eat for lunch today. BUT, crazy thing, that’s where God comes in. Let’s start at the very beginning, just for emphasis & fun. He made Adam & Eve the very first humans & He continued to love them when they strayed & chose disobedience. He created Abraham, who sold idols in a foreign land, to be a part of His plan & God chose him knowing each misstep that would happen along the way & He still blessed him over & over. He created Moses to be raised up in the house of his peoples’ oppressors & to lead his people out of Egypt & God knew his failings before Moses knew to whom his heart belonged. He created Esther to be a bride & to be a warrior of prayer & a brave woman in a time where she wasn’t supposed to be. He made John to be a man after His own heart, but that didn’t make John perfect. He created Peter, & He knew that Peter would deny Him, but His love didn’t end. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, lady, we get it, what is your point?) I could go on endlessly giving out examples of imperfect people that God loved & used & knew, even though at times in their lives they were lost, hopeless, unfaithful, disbelieving, critics, liars, cheaters, lovers of man instead of God…I hope the point is received. Because the point is in each one of those people, & many others, I see me. I’m Adam, eating fruit I’m forbidden to eat. I’m Abraham when God tells me to believe that He will be a faithful fulfiller of His promise, yet I choose to do my own things. I’m Peter, denying, questioning, not understanding. & I can’t even begin to explain, but like God’s word points out in extravagant ways, even though He didn’t have to, He loves me. That’s why He says no, don’t. Obey my laws. & yet, even when I fail, He is still faithful to me & to my future. Even when I take others as my love, He faithfully fulfills His never ending, perfect vow to me to love & provide even in my disbelief & foolishness. I am blessed though I fail. Not by my own ability. But by One that surpasses me so vastly I can’t explain. Though I don’t know what is in store, I can faithfully cling to the fact that the One who created me– He created the world. He created Abraham, Esther, Job, John, & all those in between, & He cares in an unfathomable way about every step I’m making & that no matter what the future holds, it isn’t dependent on me.

Happily, it is dependent on my Abba Father, one whose decision confound me, but that I follow because I believe He loves me much more than I love myself. He redeems me time & again, beyond times that I deserve & He continually shows me in my life & the lives of those around me, that He won’t ever give up, even when I do. In my complete failure, my life is to ever praise & point to God. Maybe my idea of how my life should be doesn’t look like I imagine because my plan is way off. & I’d rather my course be directed by God than for the reins of my life to be given to me. “Me” can’t do this & even when “me” tries to take control, I can rest safe in the fact that when I let go, God doesn’t. I have proof. Look at Eve. Look at David. Look at Rahab. Look at Mary. Look at Paul. Then,

look at me.

Maybe now I can stop looking back to the things I thought my life would be like. These nonfactual, childhood thoughts that I conceived about how my life would be like don’t begin to define who I am, where I should be, or what’s in store. Learning contentment in the unknown & in the One I know & trust above all is not an easy task or even enjoyable. It’s rough. It’s hectic. But it’s perfect, because He is perfect. Wherever I go, I don’t want to say, “This is how it should be.” I want to say, “How should this be Lord?” I want to let go of the false, I want to let go of the past. I want to let go of the future & caste my worries in the direction of my Creator who knows exactly when I inhale & exhale. I want to let go of now, because it’s not about where others are. It’s not about what peers say, what my family wants, or even what my own self says I need to do or be. Telling my heart to not go after what it selfishly wants now is hard. But I’d rather have truth, joy, rightness, goodness, & faith than to have the old, childish lies I continually find myself relying on & believing. What He has planned for me is a better plan than “me” could ever plan for me. & this year, more than ever, I need to let go of control of my life. It’s not mine & it’s not what I think it needs to be. It’s His. So here’s to an adventure where I never know, but one where I hear His voice, feel His leading, & say, “I don’t know God, but You do. So let’s go.”

Here’s to the hardest (but best) year coming. Here’s to God’s thoughts, ways, will, & life plan for us all. Look back at all those in Bible & realize He didn’t just help & lead then & that He doesn’t just have interest in me either. When you read that “look at me”, read it about yourself. Because right where you are, or right where you’ve been–that’s where God meets you & heals you & directs you into a love relationship with Him that not only changes you but changes your whole entire life. He’s got a plan & a purpose for each of us, & they start with love & truth. Not the nonfactual childhood thoughts about how we thought life would be right now. Walk forward in His truth & watch your life become His & watch how it becomes one more beautiful than you could ever have imagined.

Take that eleven-ish year old me.

-{DD}

 

 

{DangerDoes} Being Herself

In a world where I am surrounded by people telling me who I should be, what I’m worth, what grades I deserve, how I should live…etc–I am constantly being told things I may or may not want or need to hear. All that to say, it’s hard to truly be myself in a world where so many thoughts are thrown at me. I know so many different people & each of them have different expectations from & for me. It’s hard to not want to live up to the expectations that others place on me. It’s hard to not live up to the expectations I put on myself. Sometimes, what I want from myself is much more of a burden than any put on me by others. But it’s hard to live in a world where strangers, family, & friends {& even me} judge what I say or do, & without meaning to, hurt my feelings or belittle who I truly am. It’s definitely hard to live in a world where I get so busy & distracted by other’s opinions of myself that I let myself be scared & frantic & busy & I forget to rest.

& I don’t mean a nap {though I love those}, but I mean rest–mental, physical, emotional, & spiritual rest. Where I put aside what is racing in my mind, what I am busily writing or trying to study for in time for a deadline, what I am trying to physically push myself to do, & where I ignore God & resting in Him to get these things done. Of course, God cannot be ignored. Most of the time I figure that out the hard way by pushing myself to the extreme before I realize that I need to stop & rest from the chaos in my life. The chaos doesn’t always seem chaotic though. It could be Netflix or reading a book or a really difficult time or it could be studying for finals so I can go home for the summer. Whatever it is physically, sometimes the things I place so much importance on in this world aren’t the things that they should be. I put off things, like rest. Maybe it’s because sometimes rest seems tedious & unproductive. “I have so many things to do, I don’t have time for rest.” Maybe, though, rest itself isn’t what we hate. Maybe it’s that when we rest, we begin to think of the things we have missed or cast aside in pursuit of more trivial things. Now, I’m not saying studying to pass my finals is wrong and I’m not saying that all life stuff is trivial. When I rest, it is just that these things come to my mind & I actually have time to think–I’m saying I’ve spent countless hours of my life wasting time thinking/worrying about things. & that time could’ve been spent better–like the amount of worth & value I place on making good grades won’t ever actually make me worth more. The actual act of making good grades isn’t the bad thing–it’s the unrest that I’ve caused myself in my life by thinking that I’ll be worth less if I don’t get A’s. I can’t be defined as a better or more worthy person because I make A’s & someone else makes B’s. They are just as valuable as me.Though making good grades might show that I’m responsible & have a good work ethic & am prone to learning well– maybe I am placing too much of my value in them while abandoning the fact the I have so much worth in something permenant– in Christ. & that is worth that I want. That should be the measure of myself that I long for. Of course I measure myself by more things than just my schoolwork & grades– things like money, friends, fashion, intelligence, or anything & everything that influences how I look at myself. But this list that goes on & on often doesn’t adequately cover the important things that actually makes people “worth” something as people. We are worth so much more than the physical, temporary things we use to measure ourselves & others. You are a life full of thoughts & songs & words & actions & talents that make you up & make you–you. Define yourself by the things that you are–

“You are not your age,
Nor the size of the clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the color of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You are the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places you’ve been too,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.” -e.h.

We alone don’t get to decide what we are worth. Because often we assign ourselves or let others assign us the wrong worth. Is it because we don’t like ourselves? Probably not. It’s more likely that we more commonly see what is wrong with ourselves while God sees us in our entirety. He sees us as worthy. Forgiven. Loved. Valuable. Beautiful. Filled with a purpose. Made with a specific design. He sees us in & covered by grace. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed, that I let small things define me. At the end of everything, I guess I need to give it a rest. Maybe by giving myself a chance to rest, I can give myself grace. Maybe that grace will lead me to love myself & then branch out & let me love others like I should. Maybe this rest that I take from myself & my own judgements & my busy mind will help me gradually become who I really am. As I shed the less important things in my life–like my own ideas of what I’m worth–maybe I’ll give myself a way to see myself like God does.

Maybe rest is what will eventually change my life & the lives of those I’m blessed to know, influence, & live life with. Only time & rest in Him will tell. & maybe after I’ve let myself take a break from overanalyzing & overthinking–maybe I will realize I’m worth more than my grades, judgements of others, my fears, my doubts–maybe the things that scare me & bring me down are the things that will make me stronger, help me love deeper & lead me to trust more in the Creator who can already see me as me. May I never stop looking for that view of myself, for I long to see who I truly am–I seek to see myself the way God does. I long for Him to give me my true face. Through the chaos of my life–where I put value in the wrong things & where I make mistakes–He truly sees my face & calls me by my name. May I take time to rest & listen.

& you too. I hope you rest & listen too. May you never stop looking either–

Be your{true}self & rest.

-{DD}

{DangerDoes} Four & Fourteen Months

{A poem of my heart thoughts over two dear people who passed four mouths & fourteen months ago}

 

Constant sorrow is my friend
Even when I tell it to go away it comes back again
& I find it impossible to turn a blind eye
From the way it speaks & the way it sighs
life wont give me a break
from this constant deep chest ache
Clinging and hoping I barely see the light
Knowing and believing seem so far apart
Winter oppresses and no birds are in flight
I try to think and sometimes, almost never
I go to that porch and sit by your window
and the sorrow seems forever–
Forever seems infinite and incomplete like walking forward into the past week after week
But life isnt bleak
it just seems dull
The sun shines and the birds harmonize
in the world you loved
finally turning back to green.
Life isn’t over it has just begun

but sorrow wont leave
it clings to this heart
but one day it wont seem so constant
or tear me apart

{DangerDoes} Long Distances

{This doesn’t really have to do with 2015, it just happens to be my first post of the new year–just a normal blog post at 3:47 a.m. on a Monday.}

Isn’t it ridiculous that some people think that distance can change feelings? I mean, there is that quote about distance & how it makes the heart grow fonder–yet so many believe & adamantly fight for the idea that distance kills feelings. Maybe it’s because some don’t like the responsibility that must be shouldered by going somewhere farther away or maybe some truly believe this–but I must say, I have never been a true believer of this concept.

In fact, I find it completely ridiculous. What a heartless thing to think…I must say it’s kind of insulting to humankind in general to imply that we can’t have feelings for someone far away. Like for some reason if I can’t be within a certain range of someone then I just forget that I have feelings for them. How would that even possibly work? I mean, distance can be a contributing factor but isn’t really the actual problem in the equation. When you try & make an effort, having feelings for someone isn’t a job as much as an instinct that becomes a habit.

Plus who gets to decide what “distance” is far enough away to suddenly change someone’s feelings. Is it a mile or 10 or less or more? I mean, I can’t physically see someone that is a mile away (though, I’m nearsighted & must admit that if I don’t have my contacts in, I can’t see you 10 feet away) ,so does that mean that I don’t love them the same as I do when they are sitting right next to me or holding my hand? Must someone be glued to the hip of their significant other to be truly & sincerely in love? (I hope not, because we all know that couple, & that couple is annoying & they would annoy themselves if they were subjected to putting up with their utter overly couple-y nonsense.)

Or, as I suspect, can people–brace yourselves–love people no matter the distance? I think yes. Distance doesn’t lessen the fact that I love someone.When I was 9, I moved to a different state. This move put me a whole state away from my grandparents & for my sake I hope they still love me as much as they did when I lived close to them. Actually, I think it’d be safe to say that I love my grandparents even more now that I have to make the conscious effort to keep up with them. When I do spend time with them, it’s even more special. Distance has proven itself & has indeed made me grow fonder. If distance was what dictated how much people loved me, I’d be in a world of trouble. Imagine that you could never leave people for fear of not being loved…what kind of life would that be? Thank goodness this doesn’t have to be the case.

I love many things that are far away from me–I hope distance doesn’t ruin that. I think what people really mean to say when they say “Long distance is impossible” is “Long distance is possible, but really hard & I don’t know that I want to put that much effort into it & so I will have this attitude & I won’t make it work.” Which, let’s face it, is brutally honest & true for some people. Some people equate distance with love & think that the further someone is the less they love them. But I disagree with that. I think that each person has the ability to reach out & try, no matter the distance. When distance becomes a problem, it was probably preceded by about 50 other warning signs & many other issues that just weren’t resolved & then exacerbated by the distance. But like with family & friends, it just takes effort. Like in my case, I didn’t suddenly go to college & lose affection for all of my family or friends & they don’t love me any less because of the distance. It’s not a great distance but it’s distance nonetheless. It promoted growth for me. It makes getting letters at school 100 times better. I appreciate them more. I kind of appreciate everyone more when I don’t get to spend the time I want with them, which is a sentence that seems to contradict itself, but rings true. Distance makes the world turn. It causes people to pursue people in the effort to shorten that distance. Distance exists to be shortened & shortened & shortened, & that’s a part of the experience. Growing closer is the benefit of distance. Think of all the letters exchanged by boat centuries ago, & how even over the distance of an ocean, people could still be in love. Distance is actually, in its own way, romantic. We’ve been spoiled by instant-ness. The ability to instantaneously be able to communicate has somewhat lessened the impact of conversation & feelings. I mean distance isn’t the ideal sometimes but distance is possible.

“Long distance is actually a little bit of a contradiction. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, makes the bond stronger, & pushes us to pursue the people we want the most in our lives. Now that is something I can believe in.

So here’s to distance–bringing us closer together even when we’re far apart.

-{DD}

 

 

{DangerDoes}Old Year/New Year

It’s almost the new year & that means that literally most of the whole world will make resolutions.I have nothing against resolutions other than they have the tendency to never make it to completion.

Instead of a list of resolutions on a “better” me, I wanna make a list of what the old year brought & taught me. Somehow I feel like it will definitely influence how I live not only in the new year, but the rest of my new years.

{2014}

– I finally got used to college. This might seem a bit late, being three semesters in, but I finally feel like I belong. I feel like an adult, in college, making decisions, & I’m also able to make business calls that my mom used to make for me because I was too chicken to make my own phone calls. NOT ANYMORE. I’ve conquered the devilish business of the tedious/annoying adult phone call. College hasn’t fixed me. I’m still a very nervous person who has a difficulty connecting with new people. & in school this year I came across the first non-family, blatant, made me cry for an hour, person who decided to take their anger out on me. I’m a likable person( so I’m told & so I sincerely hope) once you get past the extreme awkwardness…& I thought this person was my friend. Honestly, I think he still is my friend, I think, I know, his own personal insecurities led him to what he said. Still didn’t make the experience any easier or any more pleasant. Maybe I’m too forgiving, I might be too much of a people pleaser, but I believe in the goodness of people even when they let the not so pretty part be the dominant part of their nature. Some day, I won’t even think twice about phone calls, mean comments, or college. But this year I learned that growing up is awful & it’s also awfully wonderful. It doesn’t suck.

 

– I learned a lot about myself. I like Hawaiian pizza, Biscoff Spread, peach daiquiris, instant photos,Greece, 90’s TV series, watercolors, old music,Vincent Van Gogh, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, sad books, Spotify, elephants, Abe Parker, Baz Luhrmann movies, leggings, polka dots, golden doodles, free books, Apple products, William Sonoma, old records, & cello music. I apparently like to write. I like interacting with my professors & getting to know people older/wiser than me. I like to dye my hair & have winged eyeliner on because it makes me happy. I like collecting old bottles & may have a slight obsession but I’m not admitting that because I don’t have a problem. I learned that college kids are just as petty as highschoolers, no matter how much we try to pretend we aren’t. Actually, the whole world likes to pretend it moved past the high school years, but it really didn’t. I like to paint my nails nude colors because I guess I’m an adult now. I love Goodwill & bought way too much there this year, including the $12 dollar chair I’m sitting in to write this. I’m terrible at waking up at 8 a.m. I learned that I don’t know everything & that remaining open to listen to others opinions & not be judgmental of others can get you places. This old year taught me about myself & has helped shape me–2014, I’m ever grateful.

– I traveled to:

Athens & Syros, Greece
Frankfurt, Germany
Birminghan, AL
Decatur, GA
Chattanooga,TN-twice
Nashville, TN-twice
Asheville, NC
Greeneville, SC
Kings Mountain, NC
Black Mountain, NC
Pittsburgh, PA
Lower Burrell, PA
White Sulphur Springs, WV
Hot Springs, TN
Washington, D.C

 

– I made an effort to get out & go to as many concerts as possible (around things already planned like school & family & friends& other events) & I made it to 3. A We the Kings concert. An Abe Parker concert & a Rusty Clanton &Tessa Violet [People You Know] concert. I have plans to go to one more the 31st & two more in the beginning of the new year. I like this new aspect, I love music, & live performances have been an amazing experience of 2014.

 

2014 was an emotional year. A year of stress & tears. Hopes & dreams & realizing some of what I want to do with my life right now. Of course I’m worried about the future, but this year taught me that I am most definitely, not even a little, guaranteed the next day or the next minute. I’m literally guaranteed almost nothing. I’m becoming o.k. with that, because in reality I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or ten years from now. I’m o.k. with that–but explaining that to people who ask if I’m getting married soon or if I’ve figured out what I’m gonna do with my life is a little more complicated. But I don’t know the future. I could die in a minute–so I’m not gonna hypothesize about it–I’m gonna live.

 

In 2015 I want to love better, live better,& press on. I wanna keep up with my grades & learn how to wake up at 8 a.m. without feeling like growling at people, I wanna learn to listen more. I wanna do things I’ve never done before, but I’m not gonna make a list of what those things might be. I’m blessed with a new year… It’ll be newer & fresher & I’m gonna live every seconds, all 31,536,000 of them, & I’m not gonna speculate what exactly that might mean.

To each person I met in 2014, thank you for becoming a part of my life

To those I’ve known forever, thank you for remaining year after year, your influence in my life is immeasurable.

To my family, thank you for the laughter, the new shoes, & the way you are always there for me even when I’m not at my best.

To those in my life that left too soon,I miss you. The hurt never gets better. You are never forgotten. It might’ve been a year or just a couple of months, but every once & a while I think about something I’d tell you, write you about, or call you about & living in this world without you is still almost unbearable. The tears don’t come as easily though, & the ache is dull, but never gone

To my educators,bravo & thank you for the countless hours you’ve given me. Your sacrifice & help have gone beyond what you have to, & you probably won’t ever know the magnitude of difference it has made.

To you, the reader, thank you for taking time out of your year, for using your seconds to read some of mine. I’m truly grateful to each person in my life, for each experience, each scar, & each story that I now have.

This year:

If I have an opportunity- I’m gonna take it.

If I see a book- I’m gonna read it

If I’m invited somewhere- I’m gonna go

If Christ leads me to do something, anything- I will do it.

If life happens- I’ll live it

May the new year bring you unexpected adventures, grand stories, & the knowledge that each day, each breath is precious. Don’t waste it, don’t take it for granted, don’t lose hope, 2015 is going to be our best year yet.

Here’s to LIVING!

T.G.I.A.T.N.Y- Thank Goodness It’s Almost The New Year.

-{DD}

 

 

{DangerDoes} 20

I am 2 days away from 20. NO. WAY.

I am almost not a teenager anymore. How does TWO DECADES pass by so quickly? That is 7,304 days or 175316 hours or like a whole lotta time if you get the drift. I’ve lived 20 years–that’s a long time. That’s a longer life span than most toaster ovens, washing machines, & ovens…I guess I shouldn’t compare myself to household appliances. But really, I’ve outlasted a lot of household appliances.

I have this thing, I guess, where I don’t want to age. But I really really REALLY really really don’t wanna be 20. I didn’t wanna be 19.

Or 18. I was good at 17.

17 was comfortable & good & secure & just a swell time for me. I was at the top of the world. High school, man, it was the best. I had everything I could want. & it was so certain.17 was my year. I didn’t want to change, yet change has been so good for me. I wasn’t naive to the world, of course, even at 17. I wasn’t one of those über popular, bratty kids that thought I ruled high school & that was the only thing life ever would hold for me. I just enjoyed every last drop of high school I had. I knew 18 meant a whole new world.

Was I ever right. So many things changed as I approached 18 & 19. At 17 I started to change. Life changed & family changed. Babies were born & loved ones passed away. Love was declared & sometimes denied & sometimes accepted. I worked. I planned ahead. If I had told you, if you’ve guessed, if you happen to be psychic, or if you know me in “real” life, you’d know that I’m NOT, I repeat, NOT an organizer or a planner. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kinda chick. I didn’t even think about college ’til senior year. Like I mean, I had thought about college…thoughts like “One day I’m gonna go to college, but I’m in high school & that’s gonna last like 4 years/forever so I don’t have to worry about that now.” THEN BAM! I was graduated & headed off to where I felt like I needed to be. & that’s where I’ve been ever since. I figured it all out eventually, but each new year gives me the ability to improve upon the last.

Now, all that to say, I know 20 isn’t the end of my world. In fact, I’m blessed & I’m breathing & I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to live each day. I do not say “I don’t want to be 20” in a callous way. I say it in a “I will miss this” way. I’m grateful for all the new days & the new years that I’ve had & still have left. 19 taught me so much. I will always remember 19–in fact, I’ll remember each year I’ve lived, but 19 will always hold a dear place in my heart–for the ones that I met & the ones that I lost. This year taught me so much about others. And others taught me more than you can imagine.

I’m a past dweller. But I’m changing. Turning 20 is a big deal–but I’m gonna be fine.

I’m gonna be 20. I guess I’ll always want to be young, I’ll always long to be 17 again, & I’ll always keep moving forward. But just maybe growing older will work out in my favor. In fact, I plan for it to work out in my favor–I’m gonna have a marvelous 20th year–with all the success, heartbreak, challenges, love, life,  & growth that it will bring–I can’t wait.

Thank you 19. You taught me 365 days worth of life living. Here’s to the next 365.

#almost20

-{DD}

 

 

 

 

{DangerDoes} “And if not…”

The most difficult thing in life for me is uncertainty. It’s not planned. It knocks my life around. It makes me uncomfortable & tosses me into an unbalanced state that makes me feel like I’m unraveling. It’s a terrible feeling–the feeling of uncertainty.

What will I do? How will that affect me today & ten years from now. Does anything beyond right now even matter that much?

(Yes, I think all the existential thoughts)

Recently, I had to deal with death.
An unexpected, unwanted, & totally life shattering death. On the 10th, one of the dearest professors I’ve had passed away in an accident that happened out of the blue.  I’ve never felt as devastated, been as blindsided, or been as lost as I was 16 days ago.

I walked across campus from my residence hall to the chapel, where I work in the mornings. It was a gorgeous day. The birds sang, the leaves were just starting to turn the colors of fall, & I remember thinking that the day was beautiful. I walked up the old brick walkway & opened the painted white doors like I do every Monday & I saw that he wasn’t there. I heard the hushed whispers. No one said his name, no one mentioned it plainly but he wasn’t there. There was no whistling of a little song or a “Hello, my girl” as I walked in. I started to breathe unevenly & my heart began to race. I could feel it beating beating beating. My heart tensed. I kept looking, but in my heart I knew. The sadness & whispers were about him. & then, “DB…paralyzed…he was riding his bicycle…there was a car.” Stunned, I unsuccessfully held myself together. I cried as I worked. I went about my day with red eyes & a heavy heart. I went back to my room that evening after classes & wrote him a letter. I’m so very glad I wrote that letter.

DB was a life force. Strong & jovial, a lover of words & a teacher with his life. His impact is a lasting one.

Four short days later he died. I can say with full truth that I wept. I still weep. I breakdown as I write this now. It was such a hard loss to experience. Of course, it wasn’t in DB’s nature to dwell on compliments, truly they embarrassed him. He was not one for grandeur, but he was just so grand. He was a light to those that so desperately needed direction in the darkness. He loved the good & bad, the light & the dark–He accepted people, pain & all. There was a sacredness to it all for DB.

I don’t claim to know everything or almost anything but I know God, He is faithful beyond my comprehension. This didn’t surprise Him. He isn’t reeling from this as I am. I quake with disbelief & I weep but He is still in control.

If anything has gotten me through this time it has been this |Christ guided DB’s life & the same Spirit, the same Lord that DB spoke about–the One that raised Jesus back to life–lived in him| So I am positive in the fact that I will see him again.

I am changed. I am taught. I am blessed to have been able to have such a monumental professor in my college life. I owe a debt that I can never repay. I will never ever see him again here on this Earth, a fact that brings aches & tears. Thank you for teaching me to live. Thank you for allowing me to see Him through your life & through you. In the end of this all, DB, I am incapable of expressing in an adequate or articulate way what & how much I owe you. I am overwhelmingly & abundantly grateful to you. Thank you for the book you gave me 3 & a half weeks ago, for the lessons you intentionally & unintentionally taught. For it all.

{Go & do good} & {Press on} is what he told us while he was here with us. & that’s what I’m endeavoring to do– each day, each breath, each word said. It’s never been this hard & I’ve never been this uncertain in my life & even so,

I press on. In the face of uncertainty, I continue to live in faith.

“And if not, He is still good”

-{DD}