Friday Glee: April 29, 2016

Thoughts from The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan.

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
“I will live for love, and the rest will take care of itself.”

I love that last quote. If that isn’t a life motto, I don’t know what is. Marina Keegan, a fantastic writer whose life was cut short. She is an inspiration. Her accomplishments and perspective invite me to dream. This weekend, I hope you dream. Remember, “we can still do anything.” -GY

End

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I keep being reminded that if I believe and have faith, I need to stop acting and behaving like this is the end or certain things are final. This is not it. The picture is bigger than this. In fact, I am just getting started. I am going to take back what is mine. Not because I earned it, but because He has promised.

/Came too far for my feet to fail me/ Pay For It – Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar

*Edited for typos

Reflections Before Bedtime #84

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Excerpt from a letter to my mother earlier in the day:

I was on the train, and I brought my Bible. I opened it and began reading in the book of Jeremiah. This is a man whose life scares me the most because it’s evidence that life can be so much less than perfect, and it can still mean we are in the middle of God’s plan for us. I was reading in chapter 38, when Jeremiah is thrown into the cistern. It says he sank in the mud. At this point, it doesn’t take much for me to imagine how he felt. Even still, though, God sent an Ethiopian man to take Jeremiah out of the cistern. A lot happens after that. In the next chapter, Jerusalem falls and is taken, and all seems pretty hopeless. But that last thing I read today was that God promises Jeremiah, “I will deliver you on that day, declares the Lord, and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid.” Jeremiah 39:17. And the next part says, and Jeremiah remained in Judah.

Earlier this morning, I had asked God to show me that He is with me. And what happened was that the most beautiful peach colored pigeon (I have never seen one like this), appeared and stood on the ledge of my window. It just sat there and stayed with me, looking at me through the window. I have never had a bird come up to my window at the office. Ever. It just sat there. I’ll take that as my sign. The bird stayed long enough to remind me, He is with me.

Furnace

“He can. But even if He chooses not to, He is still good. We will remain faithful.” Paraphrase of Daniel 3:17 and 18

“I know you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, I will speak; I will question you, and you will make known to me.'” Job 42: 2-4

Napkin Rings

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[Image from @KushaAlagband]

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I recently read a fantastic post by one of my favorite writers, Candid Kay. It was a reflection on a legitimate fear and problem. It made me reflect on something that has been on my mind, all weekend. My own fears.

You see, people do the oddest things. We all have our own hopes and dreams. We also come from our own experiences, which color us in one way or another– whether we like it or not.

I consider myself a strong woman. I like adventure; I have survived adversity (by the grace of God and my amazing mother), and I can build or fix just about anything I set my mind to (thank you, ma!). I thank God, every day, that I wasn’t raised to be fearful or mousy. I have moxie.

For some things, I can be tenderly naïve, but for most, not so much. Skepticism is not exactly a bad thing in my profession. It’s actually pretty necessary. A friend of mine at work actually thinks I am not skeptical enough. He is even skeptical of our clients’ coffee cans. It’s a long story, but the point is that his years of being lied to have trained him to have a patient but hawk-like ability to spot lies and fraud from miles away. I am not quite there yet. I have also noticed that distrust can also bring jadedness with it.

Time shapes us. Just as my friend’s experience has made him the master skeptic, I have realized more and more that my own experiences have shaped how I approach certain relationships.

Relationships are so hard. Dealing with people is not easy. We are each like our own little country. Sometimes, countries go to war. Sometimes, countries form alliances. Sometimes, you meet a rare person who doesn’t just have a country inside, he or she has a universe to share.

I heard a woman say the other day that she was freaking out because she was unprepared for something. She said it gave her anxiety because  she was used to having everything under control. “I protect myself,” she said.

We all do. We have our defense mechanisms that kick in, like a good immune system, when a threat is registered. Like a country under threat, we protect our walls, our borders, where things flow– anywhere there is an opening.

In recent days, there have been moments  where I felt betrayed, used, and I felt like something important was slipping through my fingers. It was an all too familiar, sour feeling that came upon me like acid reflux, with a screeching, “I am baaacckkk.”

I was on the train having a conversation, when threats started firing their darts. I clung on tight to the cold metal poll and shut my eyes. I was mortified. I was sad. I was confused. It felt like all my walls were crumbling. It was like a call for war raged on inside. It was time to fortify the walls, my head seemed to scream. It was like an alarm went off inside and my pride, with fear and anxiety started making an assembly line to stack bricks.

Then, I made a decision. HALT. Today, I wouldn’t be fortifying the wall(s). My hands started to let go of the poll, and it was as if bricks were falling from my hands. I was terrified, but weight was falling away.

I would not fortify the wall. “It’s going to be okay.” I told myself. “You are not going to shut down. You are not going to close any doors. Don’t shut down.” There I was, trying to talk myself into trusting, openness, vulnerability.

I am a private person, believe it or not. I don’t share many deeply personal things with people. Not many have access to the world that is the world of Gabby. That’s my right. But still, those around me, who want to foster a deeper relationship, need to realize that certain things, words and actions trigger my distrust, and I am trying so hard to keep this shop open, even through blizzards.

I am trying. And it’s hard to let people in, when some of the people you have trusted in the past have been self-centered and disappointing. And I am trying, not in hopes that I won’t be disappointed; I mean, let’s be real, here. We are humans. We always disappoint (some more than others). It’s about opening up, despite the flaws and knowing that disappointment may come, and you won’t have a shield. Instead, the sword will cut through you. It’s an effort to be human, even if that means bleeding.

On my long walks through NYC’s richest residents’ sidewalks, I see the beautiful houses and see their libraries through their glassy windows; I see so much beauty. There is one particular house that has a stunning dining room. Beautiful cloth napkins folded with elegant napkin rings caught my attention once. I sometimes chuckle to myself about the absurdity of some of the unnecessary things a well-established household contains. And I mention these things, not because I want the material things (I don’t need a big house or a giant library). But, I mention these things because they are a home. A world built with others, out of love.  I want the napkin ring household, someday. A person doesn’t get the napkin ring household by hiding or shutting down. Only a brave person, brave enough to love, gets to build a home with a drawer for the napkin rings. 

I want to be that brave. Brave enough to be open and honest, even when another decides to leave me there, standing like a fool with what seems like a one-sided story. I want to be that brave. Some stories and situations won’t have happy resolutions. Still, I am just going to put on my eyeliner and lipstick, curl my hair, and remove the lint off of my suit. I am going to do this for me, and because I have faith that, someday, the woman I see in the mirror every day will set a table for more than just one, and there will be napkin rings.

I will be honest. Right now, I am still telling the pride-fear-anxiety assembly line to drop the bricks. We won’t be rebuilding. I am absolutely terrified. I keep telling myself, “It will be okay. Just think: napkin rings.”