Sunday, June 28, 2009

some prose about friendship and community

this is a non-fiction piece i'm working on. it's not yet titled.
(i think i'm becoming the type of person who can't title things until they are completely finished and edited)

"Life is born in a community. Existence is breathing, eating, going through the motions. But real living is about family and friends. Life is laughing until you cry. It’s crying at a good book. Life is dancing until you sweat your hair out. It’s hugs and drinks on the house. You can’t really have a life if you’re alone.

"That’s the reason I almost moved to Kansas. I met my Topeka-native best friend at college here in Oklahoma City, but when she decided she didn’t want to make dance her career, she realized that there was no need to pay the high tuition at the premier institution for dance in Middle America. She went back home to be a math education major.

"I lived life for the first time when I was with her. We partied together, dance around our dorm in pajamas together, listened to *NSYNC while cleaning our rooms together, and best of all we were together for the hard times. I was there when her boyfriend broke up with her again. She was there when kids from my high school kept dying. Together, we made the decision for her to transfer.

"When I discovered that I wanted to teach, we talked about me transferring to her school or to one near hers. It just seemed perfect. There was really nothing tying me to Oklahoma, nothing keeping me here. We could be roommates again. We would be each other’s support system in a whole new way because we have the same philosophy about teaching. We don’t want to teach at private schools where the money might be better and the risks lower. We want to teach where a lot of the kids have little direction or motivation, where we can actually make a difference in their lives. She asked me an important question. She said, 'Naj, do you really want to go to work all day and fight the good fight with people who won’t help, and then come home at night to an empty kitchen with no friends, no husband, and no cat?'

"The only answer to that question was no. That sounds like an easy way to get tapped out before I really get started. So I was going to leave. I was going to move to Lawrence in January of 2010 and start learning how to teach.

"And then it happened.

"I was sitting in front of Starbucks in Bricktown waiting until it was time to go to work. I was reading a book, but was all of the sudden overwhelmed by my love for Oklahoma and the potential it has to be the perfect balance between city and country. I came to the realization that was partially my undoing. Who is going to change this place for the better? The Spirit said, “Why not me?” When will I be able to accomplish this? And the Spirit said, “Why not now?”
This realization, this calling if you will, has messed up all of my plans. Jennifer’s long-term boyfriend (who she got back together with, more than once, since then) is inextricably bound to Topeka. Jen doesn’t really want to leave either. And I am now called to accomplish something beautiful in Oklahoma. We are destined to be four hours apart forever.

"Approximately once every two weeks one of us text messages the other to talk about how miserable we are because no one in our respective state is as cool as our “BFF/Love Sound/Roomie For Life.” We each have acquaintances, even friends that we spend time with. Jen has a new roommate. But neither of us can connect to anyone the way we connect to each other.

"That is the only fear I still have about my life here. Where will the support come from? Who’s going to cook for me when I come home worn to the bone and stressed out about the kids at school? Better yet, who’s going to push me to stay up studying when I’m in my fifth year of my undergrad because I changed my major? The kids you go to the club with are not that down. The guy you chat to when neither of you are busy is not that into you.

"So how do you build a community when the one you want is out of your reach?"

i would genuinely like answers to that question if you have do you build a community when the one you want is out of your reach?

Friday, June 26, 2009


i am often amazed at how quickly Divine Inspiration gets deep down into the crevasses of my heart and causes me to set things into motion.

i am motivated to do four things: teach high school english, reach out to people (especially youth) in oklahoma (starting with the capital city and immediately surrounding areas), writing and performing (they come from the same place, so I will count them as one thing), and showing people the dichotomy.

the first three things are easy.
the fourth thing is as difficult to accomplish as it is to explain.

what dichotomy?
  • the coexistence of beauty (even affected beauty) and brains
  • the feminine as it pertains to the corporate
  • the ability to care for others and yet lead with a heavy hand
  • the ability to do the best possible job while requesting only inspiration in return

are you starting to see?

i would love to be able to show people what it looks like to be an editor at a top magazine and also secretly be a large contributor to various nonprofit organizations.

basically, i want to be oprah - if she were a teacher and not a celebrity. of course, i would need her money, but i don't need the house, the manfriend, or the publicity. really, just the money. lol.

but seriously, my fellow church member brandawn, said we christians are all either "priestly kings" or "kingly priests" and we have to figure out which. i am not putting anything beyond the LORD's ability to accomplish, but i don't think i was made to be priestly. but i'm also the poorest king i've ever heard of. pastor charles says that's because i haven't yet learned to trust G-D. we'll see.

i don't know if this post made any sense.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"more today than yesterday"

"fill me
shape me
mold me
break me
Jesus, i want to be more like You

"i need Your grace more today than yesterday
i need You love more than words that i can say
i need Your mercy to breathe new life in me
i need Your strength
take my heart and make it clean
i need Your peace
to rest in You to follow me
i need Your Spirit to reign and renew in me

"fill me, more today than yesterday
restore me, more today than yesterday
consume me til all that i see is You
change me, more today than yesterday
refine me, more today than yesterday
build me to make more like You
i want to be more like You"


i want to be humble enough to say i'm sorry and mean it.

i want to be calm enough to excuse unfairness without retaliating.

i want to have enough joy to overcome the hard times with grace.

i want to be humble enough to know that there is nothing others go through that i deserve to be shielded from.

i want to be so aware of the Divine that cease to misuse the Name and that i treat it as holy, almost too holy for expression. like they did in the old testament.

a long time ago, i was so convinced that G-D was everything and i was nothing that i never capitalized the letter "i." this was not an original idea. i took it from a girl who said, "am i so important that i always need to be bigger than the other letters?"

i did then, and now have come to once again agree with that assertion. i have spent too many days, weeks, months, mistaking the grace that gives me access to the Divine for a sense of entitlement. i felt like i was entitled to power, to prestige, to favor. but i am not entitled to anything. if people live on the street and children have no medical attention, why do i deserve only the cushiest desk jobs and the honor that comes with having people see the intellect i was blessed with?

christian said this was meant to teach me humility. i thought he was wrong. but the mistake was mine...depression and humility are far from the same thing. in fact, i am starting to believe that depression, at its core, is selfish. so intend of praying for humility, i will pray that my eyes are opened to the reality of what has become my life.

as within, so without...

Monday, June 22, 2009

To: G-D

I know I haven't really prayed to you in a long time. So long in fact that I had trouble deciding how to address my prayer. I didn't know if I should say G-D, or LORD, Jehovah or YHWH, I thought about saying...Heavenly Father or Jesus. I decided that you would probably hear me regardless.

If you are still inclined to want to walk with me and teach me and let me share your yoke (Matt. 11:28-30), I am ready to walk and learn and share.

I doubt that you are as skeptical as I am. In fact, they told me that you have cast my indiscretions into the Sea of Forgetfulness. But I want to be honest and say, I don't know how many more times I will have the strength to crawl back to you. So perhaps, you can teach me in a way that will ensure I stay close by forever.

I was looking at my life today and I realized something that is hard to deal with: Everything that I depended on has been taken away, everything except my mother...and you. My best friend and I are both equally convinced that our destinies are tied up in our home states - Kansas for her, Oklahoma for me. We will always be long distance. In one year, I have buried three automobiles and my ability to move about freely. I have lost my independence. I have lost the ability to get and keep money. I have lost my innocence. I'm surprised my clothes and shoes haven't been lost in a fire or something. That's the last piece of me I have left to hide behind.

The Buddhists say, "The only sacrifice is to give up that which has no reality."

It is time for a change. If I thought you were impressed by sacrifice I would put on sackcloth and shave my head to show you that I'm sorry. But I know that what you really want is my acknowledgment, my submission. You want me to want you.

And for the first time, I think I am able to admit that you are all I have ever really wanted. "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you..." (Psalm 42:1). Everything that I have been searching for is tangled up in you. Everything that I want you can give.

So I come to you asking that you steer my heart away from anger. Help me see things from the space of my heart and not my head. Help me to use the debris of my old life as building blocks for the new one, not as a stumbling blocks on my path. I ask that you steer my mind away from competitiveness. Help me to strive to accomplish the things you have ordained for me, because they are good and right, and not in order to outdo someone else. I want to be so wrapped up in you that people look at me and see only you. I want to live up to my name: "Successful Servant of G-D." Help me to lay up my treasures in heaven...because where my treasure is, there my heart will be also (Matt. 6:19-21).

I don't want the rocks to sing in my place. Turn me into something that shows the world your glory.

So let it be.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Mode

"Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun." - Mikhail Baryshnakov (according to Dakota Fanning as Rai in Uptown Girls)

As creepy as it was to here a ten-year-old say that and mean it, the statement is rather true. In fact, that is going to be one of my teaching philosophies: "You have to learn the rules before you can break them."


I just want to sleep and play (see movies, party, hang out at IHOP in the middle of the night) and work and work out.
Seems like that is what I'm doing, right? But I should be working out more. I should be organizing GreekWeek and finishing the English department's newsletter also. I should be saving money and working on communications for Stomp The Stage. I should be making phone calls and asking questions of important people. But I am just not ready to get back in work mode.

I have two meetings set up for Wednesday. Maybe the whole scheduling-preparing-talking-taking notes thing will get me more motivated.

What does your summer look like?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just a Beautiful Old Soul

Country girls sing about the emotions we try to avoid.

Carrie Underwood, "We're Young and Beautiful":

"While we're young and beautiful kiss me like you mean it. Treat me like I'm special. Cover me with sweetness. 'Cause a time will come when we're not so young and beautiful. While we're young and beautiful living free and easy, here without a worry, dancing in our bare feet. 'Cause when the summer's done we might not be so young and beautiful. While we're young and beautiful we'll party down on Main Street, wearing next to nothing, feeling every heart beat, having fun, while we're still young and beautiful. It's a crazy ride and baby, you and I are keeping our sweet love alive tonight while we're young and beautiful."

I have just come to the realization that I have never really kissed a boy like I meant it. I've never been treated special or covered with sweetness. I have lived free and easy, but I've never danced in my bare feet. I have done some of this type of living, but never for a whole summer, and never with someone who was willing to do it with me. I have never kept sweet love alive.

And now it's the summer before my twenty-first birthday and I know what I'm supposed to do with the rest of my life. When the summer is done I will no longer be young. Hopefully I'll still be beautiful, I won't be able to live free and easy. I'll be a woman on a mission, not a girl who is waiting for life to catch up with her.

This song is also by Carrie Underwood, "Lessons Learned":

"There's some things that I regret, some words I wish had gone unsaid, some starts that had some bitter endings. Been some bad times I've been through, damage I cannot undo. Some things I wish I could do all all over again. But it don't really matter. Life gets that much harder. It makes you that much stronger. Some pages turned, some bridges burned, but there were lessons learned.

"And every tear that had to fall from my eyes. Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night. Every change life has thrown me. I'm thankful for every break in my heart. I'm grateful for every scar. Some pages turned, some bridges burned, but there were lessons learned.

"There's mistakes that I have made, some chances I just threw away, some roads I never should've taken. Been some signs I didn't see, hearts that I hurt needlessly, some wounds that I wish I could have one more chance to mend. But it don't make no difference. The past can't be rewritten. You get the life you're given. Some pages turned, some bridges burned, but there were lessons learned.

"And all the things that break you are all the things that make you strong. You can't change the past 'cause it's gone. And you just gotta move on because it's all lessons learned."

She said, "You get the life you're given." I wasn't given time to be young and beautiful. I'm just a beautiful old soul. This is probably what makes me a good writer, but it's also why I've always been single. I am thankful for who and what I am, but there are days, times, when I mourn for what I'm not. I shouldn't be upset by it, but I often am.