Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Putting Away Childish Things

A retrospective on Presidential Inaugurations

I don't talk about my mission too much on here. Maybe I'll get on a rope or two if we're actually chatting but my heart is so full of memory and hope and perspective today that I just can't help it.

I served 18 months in Washington DC. I saw those memorials and that river every day for 18 months and those images are inseparably connected to the deepest convictions of Faith and Love I have in my soul. I can't tell you what it was like standing shoulder to shoulder with people leading and protecting the Free World with my little black name tag on serving with everything I had too, but just a little differently. The seat of world power was blocks away but the power to change lives was in my hands. Everyday I mused on that delicate juxtaposition, on the difference between the senator's Lincoln next to my Missionary Escort in traffic and what it meant. What the concept of home is and how hard you work for it to protect it and share it.

In turn, my patriotism is a blue flame along side the white one of my faith. I cannot see one without the other. So today, seeing those people and hearing those words again touched deep places in me.

I was there at the last one.

I was there during the initial chaos after the aftermath of the election. A group of the Sister Missionaries had inadvertently gotten a group together to go visit the Pentagon the day after the election and got an acted out play-by-play of the previous night's antics from obliging Marine waiting to give the next tour since we didn't have a clue as to what was going on.

For the next few weeks we glanced at headlines to see if they had figured it out yet but the unsettled and annoyed feeling that a fumbled election can create permeated the entire capital. It was a potent, slow crescendo of angst and fear all the way to Inauguration Day. When they day finally came it was psycho bitter cold. Like 10 degrees and 90% humidity with a threat of freezing rain. They almost canceled the ceremonies twice. My mission president gave us leave to attend if we wanted to. My companion didn't want to go and neither did my roommate so I grabbed my other roommate and we found the nearest metro and set out.

We don't get out too much as missionaries but enough to know what things are usually like and enough to know that today was different. I didn't carry any heavy opinions about Bush or the fiasco that had followed election day. I was just really glad to be a part of something this big but the people on the packed metro didn't feel the same. They were quiet. And not the content quiet, oh no. It was the angry and deep thinking quiet.

Things continued to get more and more eerie as we made our way to the Mall area. There were more protesters there than participants and not kind of silly loud jovial protesters, these were people with who had painted their faces black and held angry angry signs.

Now imagine, milling through all these charged people were these Texas fat cats. Middle aged rounded men in leather trench coats with gold tipped vanity canes, eel skin boots, and fine leather 10 gallon hats strutting through the crowd like peacocks. It was almost as if they were surveying some conquered new acquisition. It was so mind numbingly cold that all I really can draw from memory are images. They, and the overwhelming feelings permeating everything was all that stuck. Most of my energy that days was focused on keeping warm and not complaining about it. There wasn't much left to really soak in what all these people and things meant. Only the eeriness and stark contrast of the kinds of people around that day remain and it still feels like yesterday.

We layered up as best we could be we still were in our missionary skirts and nylons. I had my pea coat and a hat and scarf and 2 pairs of long johns on as well but wet cold knows no boundaries.

We stood there for the whole hour and a half service and clapped and sang and prayed with our new President and when it was over we started to walk away but my legs gave because they had become numb from the knees on down. We staggered over to the National Gallery to warm up and digest what had just happened and got on the metro and were home by 11. We took pictures by the CNN jumbo screen and all that but that day has haunted me more than I think I realize.

So flash forward to Jan 20th, 2009:

Today was huge in my house. I know that I'm not bashful with my political leanings but I know some people are so I don't touch on it too often to be respectful but I would like to take a moment and reflect and explain why today was a Today.

My mother was a dedicated Civil Rights mover and shaker in her time. She held her signs and sang her folk music and sat in with all that her huge heart could muster. Its a dedication that she's handed off to us. She called me up crying on election night when I was at Institute and could only say "we did it" through her tears.

Just last week she came into my room weeping because it had hit her for the 3rd or 4th time that a good man, a strong man, a hopeful and bright man who was also a black man was taking office. This was a win that my mother has been aching for for 40 years. A real hard copy of the social evolution she devoted most of her early life to. Civil Rights was part of how my mother has observed her faith testimony so today was holy day seeing that wrong made right and I cried with her. I kept reminding her we're only half way there and she smiled and laughed but the sentiment remains the same I think.

Experiencing 1.20.09 with my mom was rare. Her life experience and mine combined in the same room and sharing the same box of kleenex but for different reasons was singular.

On the TV I saw miles and miles of people, packed to the gills in the freezing weather happy and hopeful. When I was there there was extra room in the Mall. I saw a sunny beautiful day with hopeful blue skies, not threatening freezing rain. I saw people bowed in prayer not being knocked over by people walking away as my head was bowed too. I saw a whole different America with a whole different attitude.

I would like to thank Mr. Bush in my really little way for his work. I don't know the man at all but he was my President and that is not an easy thing to be. But its something he did for 8 years after an insane life and I thank him for fulfilling his oath the best way he knew how. I truly wish him well and hope he has the peace hes been chasing after all these years.

1.20.09 has reminded me of a few things too.

Like every American, I've always craved a large life.

I wanted see huge significant things and think profound lasting thoughts and feel all encompassing feelings and do significant, lasting things. I want my life and the lines on my hands to mean something, not just be something.

I want to speak to 1000s of people at a time and feel the earth moving beneath my feet and see hearts stirring in the eyes of the people I meet. I want to stand for ideas and things that are bigger than me. Like Love and Work and God and Hope. I want to have stories and battle scars. My dream was to be a modern day Spartan. To be that good. To be that tough. To be that committed to what I love.

And on Inauguration Day, for a brief second, maybe even a few, seeing that empowered fleet people I felt apart of something bigger - I felt like I was. Like I did. Like I am.

Wednesday Giggles

The epicness and outright FAIL and hilarity and pop-culture satire cannot be contained in one sentence!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Awesome

So this came up on one of my podcasts this week and I was kind of torn as to how to react because the interview was just down right hilarious. Like talking to someone that was a cross between a 5 year old dressed as a cowboy, a car salesman and a Barker from a carnival.

"Whats faster than what you do?"
"The speed of light"

But when he could back up what he was saying I was slightly impressed. Decide for yourselves.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Giggles

So the FAILblog has been a favorite for a while and where I go to feel better about my immediate gene pool.

Here's their latest gem

Hi Again

Just a note to let you know I'm much better. I needed to do some writing to actually get myself to cry about being disappointed and I did. For a long time.

And then I stayed up inordinately late watching How I Met Your Mother and now I'm back. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Checking In

So it's been an excrucitatingly hard day and I just need to get these spiked ping pong balls of ideas out my head before my eyes cry themselves out and I move to Mumbai and sleep on the street and poke through the trash with the best of them. Heres a cross section of what's weighing on me:

I've been unemployed for one month as of yesterday.

I've received more "Thanks but no thanks" answers to applications in the last few weeks than I ever have in my entire life including the TeachingCorps that I had pinned a lot of hope on.

I'm fighting the echos of Garrison Keillor and his "Do you want fries with that?" take on the virtues of being an English Major

Me and the Governator need to have a stern talk. He and his lack of budget skills are complicating my 5 year plan.

If I'm going to get any instructional experience its looking like its going to be out of state and possibly China or S. Korea and that scares me because being American and abroad isn't exactly very smart right now.

My loathing for Mormon Culture and understanding of how diametrically different it is from The Gospel of Jesus Christ grows almost daily (detailed blog to follow). However, people have fairly small lives I'm learning. Insomuch that they get significantly buttered about me creating snarky Facebook Groups and it makes me giggle.

I think I need to keep a notebook of how worse things could be because I hate feeling like this.

I think reading me some Steinbeck could help with that too.

A fairly significent ex (who I am still good friends with) is getting married on April 11th and wants me to come and I'm not sure if I want to. I don't see how it can be a plesant experience. Either the bride will be prettier than me and I'll feel like utter trash the whole time or I'll feel prettier than her and turn into a diva and hate myself for it later. But I'll hate myself, like, for forever if I'm too chickensauce to go. I'm happy for him. I really am. I'm just not sure if its enough to win over my my pride and selfishness. Don't worry - I'm going to go! I know I have to. How can I not? It's just going to be very VERY hard for me. And theres a good chance I'll bitterly weep the whole time for myself. This is a serious cross roads for me. I'm serious. And I have no idea how to prepare for something like this. I would seriously prefer the Spanish Inquisition the more I think about it. But it is what it is.

I'm begining to wonder if there is any honor in an undistinguished life and if I'm doomed to such.

I'm pretty much addicted to this song

This world is really really mean and people pretty much don't care and it's painful. Dreadfully horrible painful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Friday Awesome

Because I love Daft Punk and coordinated people.

Sorry I'm off this week too - I've been helping with 12th Night. I'll explain later (with pics of course :))

In the meantime slap on your glow in the dark makeup, put yourself in an anime music video and see why this video is originality^2 and why this group even made Kanye eat his heart out.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wednesday Giggles

So I just finished the first two discs of How I Met Your Mother Season 1

its LEGEN (i hope you're not lactose intolerant because the other half of that is) DAIRY!

Barney is the Neil Patrick Harris' character and is what makes the show go from quirky/interesting to awesome. This is a quintessential Barney moment.