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i love poetry, politics, and people i would be better off staying away from.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm the New Julia Roberts

Something like that.
So, we're getting down to the wire on final assignments and exams for the semester.  So, what do I find myself doing?  Blogging.  Oh, the joys of procrastination.  I know I haven't been as active as I'd like to be on here (and as some of you would like me to be, which, for that I thank you), so I wanted to get another post in before the end of the year.  I don't do this nearly as much as I'd like to. 

However, the blog is "TheLifeOfLilJaney", and as you can imagine, it's a very busy life right now.  So many things are happening between school and speech and looking for a job and/or a sugar daddy (that's a whole other blog post, though), but if you think that's a lot, my diverse group of friends are going through their own busy lives; some in school, some new parents, some newly married or planning weddings, some pregnant, some applying to law school or med school, some house-hunting or fixing up their homes, etc. 
Here's the thing.  The other day I watched "My Best Friend's Wedding, a movie I used to hate equally for the non-happy ending and Cameron Diaz, and two things crossed my mind.  One:  Julia Roberts's character is only 27 and upset she's not married...I'm 29 and Two:  I could really use a drink...and a cigarette...and a husband. Yet, I didn't have any of those things.  I watched the end of the film and for probably the first time in my life, felt like Julia Roberts, or, more accurately, the character of Julianne 
Glad I've dodged this bullet as a single
woman in college.
Potter, standing around in a pretty dress, watching the love of my life's life happen while mine stayed stagnant.  Honestly, sometimes I feel jealous, or even get downright whiny about why things aren't happening in my life (and at the same time, I've also happy that I'm not going through some of these things). 

Right now, though, I'm going through some exciting things in my life, too.  Tomorrow, I teach my first lesson to a high school English class.  In December and January I get to help high school students work on their speech events.  I'm about two years away from doing what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember; teaching English and coaching a speech team.

I know this isn't as exciting to read as some of my other posts, but I'm rather excited about moving forward in my life in any capacity.  I think many times we forget to celebrate in our successes and dwell on what we don't have or where we haven't been yet or what we haven't accomplished yet. Rather than do that today, (okay, for the rest of today anyway...or at least for a little while tonight) I'm going to simply move forward rather than sit
"But, Santa, I've been really good this year. . . . Or, I've
hidden being really bad."
down in the middle of the road and pout about it being too far or taking too long or whine about all the things I deserve (and I do deserve them) but don't have yet.  And, as the last line of "My Best Friend's Wedding" says, "Life goes on. Maybe there won't be marriage. Maybe there won't be sex. But, by God, there'll be dancing."  Feel free to join me on this road I travel on or on the dance floor (whichever metaphor you want to be a part of).  It's sure to be an adventure, no matter what pace I'm travelling or who I dance with.  Now, about that drink I wanted....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vow-trageous Stance for a Conservative Christian to Take

In November 2012, Minnesota residents will have the right and great privilege to stand on the right side of history.  On the ballot, voting Minnesotans will be asked whether marriage should be defined as only between one man and one woman. 

One man. One woman. One sandwich.  Can somebody please
get her an apron?
Some people may think they know my stance.  I'm a conservative. I'm a Christian. She must be for a "traditional" view of marriage.  Some who know my stance may think I'm less of a conservative or Christian because of this stance. I am not standing against the values our country holds dear; I'm embracing them.  As a conservative and as a Christian, I wouldn't be doing the right thing if I voted to keep marriage as listed in the traditional sense. I'll try to break it down, although the lines seem to blur occasionally.

As a Christian:
To say that gay people shouldn't be allowed to make a life commitment to another because they don't follow the word of God, you're forgetting a couple basic things:  1) that Christians are sinners and 2) straight non-believers are allowed to marry.  Atheists and people of other religions besides Christianity are all able to get married in America, as long as it's to a person of the opposite sex.  The government isn't jumping in here, shaking a finger and saying, "No! Marriage is an institution of God and, therefore, should only be practiced by believers."  Additionally, if people think being gay is a sin and that's why gay folks shouldn't marry, then liars, thieves, etc. also shouldn't marry.  It's not like I haven't sinned before. Hell, I do it everyday!  All humans do.Yes, even you have committed a few atrocities in your time here on earth.  And yet, I hope to walk down the aisle someday in a (slightly off-) white dress, just like many of my gay friends do.  (Well, I don't know if they'll go for the dress, but you can be sure that whatever they wear for that big day, they'll look FABULOUS!)  Joking aside, if someone told me I couldn't marry the person I love, whether you think it's because a choice I've made or because of a genetic predisposition, I'd be devastated.

Sadly, he doesn't come with
Zipporah and the Ethiopian woman
that he married.  Then it really would
be an "action" figure!
Additionally, people continue to point out "what the Bible says" about homosexuality.  Really? Let's instead look at what the Bible says about marriage?  Now, granted, this isn't all it says, but I thought it would be good to look at some of the marriages of the pillars of our faith.  There's Moses.  You know Moses.  Wrote the first five books of the Bible.  Spoke to God on the mountain.  Chiseled the Ten Commandments onto stone tablets.  That guy.  Yeah, he had two wives.  Most people today would be appalled at the thought of a man having two wives!  Oh, but it gets better.  Abraham, father of our faith guy, had three women he married.  Jacob/Israel one-upped his father and was joined in Holy Matrimony with four ladies.  How do you think he got the twelve tribes of Israel? Bow Chicka Wow Wow!  Oh, but like Jacob said to his first wife, Leah, I'm just getting started. David,

Psalmist? Rapper? What's the difference?

the psalmist, the man after God's own heart, David had at least eight wives and yet more concubines!  Geez!  It's like a late 90s rap video!  As a child, I hated sharing my toys with the bratty girls on the playground.  That said, I'm glad that our view of "traditional marriage" has at least changed from the days of the Pentateuch.

I also think it's important to point out that Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality.  Additionally, many of the types of people Jesus would have been hanging out with during his time on earth were the ones the church shunned, and still shun today.  Just a note.

As a conservative:
Generally, Republicans are for limited government.  I don't understand, then, how most Republicans can want so strongly for government to come barging into the love lives and bedrooms of law abiding, American citizens.  "Come on in, Senator!  Do you want to join us or just watch for the first round?  Pull up a chair if you like, we're gonna be at this for a while. . . ."  So many people bring it back to our country being founded on Christian beliefs, yet more than that it was founded on the idea that a person holds certain rights and freedoms (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness stuff).  Why are we trying to limit those freedoms to a certain group of people?  It's similar to the racist and sexist laws of America's dark past.  Blacks can't eat here or use this drinking fountain. Women can't vote.  Gays shouldn't be allowed to get married or raise kids.  Our laws on marriage have changed many times and in many ways, just as our laws on women and people of color have changed.  Women are no longer property of their husbands, divorce is legal and even common, people aren't required to marry according to social class or standing, people aren't betrothed at age 12, etc.

For those who say this is a sin issue, let me clarify something:  Our government isn't there to judge sin.  It is there to judge a general view of right and wrong.  If our government was in the sin-judging business, I'd be sitting in county for talking back to my momma yesterday, even though we've already made our amends (for today, anyway.  Lord knows I'll be yelling at her again about something tomorrow).  We're all sinners.  We'd all be in jail.  Gay and straight, male and female.  We all miss the mark.  But it's not our government's job to be a moral police.

I went to Memphis, TN over spring break this year.  I visited the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.  I found myself considering who I am and what I stand for.  I thought about what my parents, who lived in this era, felt about blacks coming into their schools and restaurants.  I thought about what side of history I'd have been on if I grew up in that time frame.  When blacks were getting bullied at school.  When business owners refused to serve them simply because they were "different".  When police stood idly by watching white kids and adults beat black kids and adults, burn them with cigarettes, cut them with razors, spit on them, kill them.  Sound familiar?  How much bullying do we have going on in schools nowadays against kids who aren't "the norm"?  I nearly cried standing there, looking in to Dr. King's hotel room, wondering if I'd have stood with the black kids my age and fought for their equality had I been born years earlier or if I'd have been spitting, mocking, bullying with most of the white folks.  November 2012 I have the chance to be on the right side of history.  That's why I'm voting "No" on the amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  I hope the majority of Minnesotans find themselves doing the same.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life, Poetry, and the Order of Words

I wrote a poem in January for my friend, Anna.  She's an amazing artist who has been through a lot, just like me and everyone else in the world.  So, with her latest painting she gave me, I wanted to give her something in return.  I started to write a poem based on her, and soon I realized it's based on her and me and probably every woman I know.  I wanted to post it on here for a couple reasons.  First of all, because I haven't shared my poetry on my blog yet, and that's part of the reason I started blogging.  Secondly, because I made a drastic change in the revision stage of the poem. 

It's interesting how changing word order and placement can take a very depressing poem and turn it into something full of hope.  So, in a sense, I wrote two poems.  The first one, "beautiful girl, broken", was the first draft.   
We see her.
The girl,
beautiful in her own way,

We know her.
The girl,
broken by regret, circumstance, labels,

We are her.
The girl,
courageous and craven,
perfect and pitiable,
fierce and frightened,
beautiful, broken.
After looking it over again, though, I knew that this wasn't the poem I wanted to write for my friend. So, using the same words and just changing the order, I captured what I feel is the essence of life as a 21 year old woman who just went through treatment or a 28 year old woman single and doubting that she'll ever find a great man who loves her for her or a woman in her early 40s who just lost her father or a 64 year old divorced woman lonely and struggling with health and money problems, etc.  We've all got things we're going through, but "broken" doesn't have to be the final word.  There is hope for a future and life beyond our circumstance, and with that in mind, I made the necessary revisions and wrote the revised version.

broken girl, beautiful

We know her.
The girl,
broken by regret, circumstance, labels,
We see her.
The girl,
beautiful in her own way,
We are her.
The girl,
craven and courageous,
pitiable and perfect,
frightened and fierce,
broken, beautiful.
I find it interesting that by using the same words and changing an outlook, we can have a completely different feel to a poem.  I feel that way about my life.  I can chose to live with a negative slant on things, dwelling on all that is wrong (which in all honesty, I usually do), or, with a life of the same hardships and circumstances and choices, I can have a positive look and have the last word of my life be "beautiful" instead of the last word be "broken".  What's the last word on your life?  It's easy to dwell on the hurt and the fear and the things that go wrong, but these poems challenge me to take a different and more optimistic view of my circumstances and the words which make up the poem that is my life. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ink Explained

The start of my second tattoo. Oh, and
huge shout out to Nate Hanson and
Addiction Ink of Mankato, MN!

I got my third tattoo over spring break.  I've been wanting a snowflake tattoo for at least three years.  However, I wrestled with the timing, finances, and where to put it, among other things.  Now was definitely the time to get it, and not because of the record 80+ inches of snow we got this season in Minnesota. 

I'm the one on the left.  Jennifer is on the right.

I'm a very planned person.  I make at least two lists of what I want to pack and what I'll wear on each day before leaving for a vacation. Also, I usually make these lists up to three months in advance.  So, I'm not the type to get some spontaneous tattoo that I'll regret twenty years or five months or thirteen minutes after I get it. My first two tattoos I put the same amount of thought into as well.  I got a matching sister tattoo with Jennifer, and I got a quote on my back that I love.  "Do not hold her misdeeds against her, for in her heart she wanted to do Your will."
The finished product of tattoo numero
dos.  (Note the cool dent in my back.  I
love that dent.  Not sure why it's there,
but I've had it since high school.)

Well, this tat was no different.  I've been planning it since first going to my pastor a few years back about my guilty feelings about, as I put it, "whoring out".  As much as I plan the rest of my life, my sex life just kind of happens, whether I plan to keep my legs closed or plan to open them up to the world.  Drunk or sober, whoever I'm with, it makes no difference really.  And I really didn't like that part of my life.  Don't get me wrong, the sex was decent. . . well, sometimes, but I'm not crazy about the one night stand or friends with bennies scene.  I've done it, but it never really fulfilled me.  So, enter a new chapter in my life where I am actively sticking to my plan for my sex life.  And I start this new chapter with a tattoo of snowflakes.  Ten of them.  With little streams of wind blowing them around.  Right above the crease that connects my right leg to my body (a.k.a. damn close to my "little girl").  And, while we're on the subject of sex and tattoos, lying on my back and getting the tattoo wasn't nearly as awkward as losing my virginity was.  It was however more painful.  Let's just say that Nate, the tattoo artist's needle hurt more than my first boyfriend, Derrick's "needle".  Pun definitely intended.

So, why the snowflakes?  I love winter.  It's my favorite season.  Fall is my least favorite.  In the fall, everything dies.  Leaves fall.  Grass turns brown.  Everything is really ugly, in my opinion.  Sure, the changing leaves are cool for a while, but then they pile up on the ground and ugly naked trees are all over the place shivering.  But the snow comes and makes everything pure and beautiful again. (Now you're starting to make the connection.) 

I've made a lot of decisions I'm not proud of.  I've slept with guys I didn't like.  I've given head to guys that I didn't want to be with.  Yeah.  I've been "that girl".  Dead like the leaves in the gutter on a rainy autumn day.  But then the snow falls.  And everything looks perfect and still and precious and beautiful.  The whole world is frosted like a cake.  There's a lot of crap underneath, but now, that's all forgotten.  Snow is clean, pure, beautiful in my eyes.  And so am I.  I've had a lot of crap in my past.  Some of it I was okay with.  Some of it I wasn't.  Some of it I was talked into.  Some of it I refused the whole time and yet, I was still overpowered.  Some of it was my idea.  Let's just say I've been through a lot since turning in my v-card.  And even though that will still be part of my past, it doesn't define my future.  My future starts with a world covered in snow. 

Ten snowflakes later, and we turn
the page.
 I also want to point out that there are ten snowflakes.  According to www.random-website-i-found-when-i-did-a-google-search-for-number-meanings-in-the-bible.com, the number ten signifies completeness, the end of something.  And, while I'm not saying that now I won't struggle or still need God's forgiveness in this area of my life, it's definitely the symbolic close of the chapter of my life that I've been dealing with.  God will always give me his amazing and undeserved forgiveness. (Not to go all flaky-christian on you or anything, but it's probably the best part of God there is for me.) 

So, there's the meaning behind the ten snowflake scabs under my underwear right now.  And as we come into spring in the next month, we see that under all that snow is a chance for new life.  Some people get butterfly tattoos for the whole "new life, emerge from a cocoon" transformation in them.  Not me.  I acknowledge with this new tattoo that after the death of autumn and before the surfacing of spring comes a purifying and cleansing snow in my life.  I don't know about you, but I'm excited for the next chapter!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating with Censorship

I've been pretty silent so far about the Huck Finn N-word removal story that was recently in the news, and I figured, what better day to talk about it than MLKJ Day?  So, here's my take, as a writer, as a white person, as a woman, as a Christian, as an American, and as me, specifically.

There are things in the history of "my people" that I wish I could blot out.  Things I would love to erase and replace with happier things.  I can't do that.  There are things in the short 10 years of my adulthood that would be great to erase and replace as well.  But I can't.  Even if I could do that, to remove those parts would be to change who I am today.

I've been one to stereotype.  I've discriminated against people. I even dropped the N-bomb.  And I don't mean when singing lyrics to a song when I'm by myself in the car.  I said it to a person, about him.

I've also been on the other side of the table.  I've been discriminated against.  I've been abused and mistreated and even went back to the one who did that to me.  I've been cheated on.  I've been lied to and lied about.

Now, by no way am I saying that I personally have had to endure anything like the segregation, mistreatment, or hardships that blacks have.  I suppose I'm just saying that there are things that have happened in my own history of adulthood that are uncomfortable to talk about.  That doesn't mean you change the words to make it sound nicer.  That means when you talk about it, you use it as a learning point or teaching point to see where you've been and how far you've come.

Our nation has set aside this day to celebrate the life of a black man who took massive strides to ensure that all people will be treated fairly.  And while there is still a long way ahead of us, we've certainly come a long way from the time when my mom was in her twenties, which was when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and we've certainly come a long way from 1884, which was when Huckleberry Finn was first published.

I can see major changes in my life from how I was 10 years ago to how I am now.  And while I try not to dwell on my past, I'm not closed off about it, either.  I don't use prettier or more acceptable words when explaining what's happened to me or what's happened to others because those parts of our history (whether our own or our country's) aren't pretty and aren't acceptable, but they're accurate.

A dear friend of mine, Kailei Higginson, who happens to be one of my favorite black men that I know, said as we were discussing this issue "history is dirty and pretty at the same time. . . The removal of the word 'nigger' is offensive to me.  It's like saying my history didn't happen."  I feel the same.  I'm horrified by some of the things that have happened in this country.  However, I'm not going to act like it hasn't happened.

I suppose that if people are so afraid to talk about the uglier parts of our history when reading classic lit to our children or just afraid to face it when reading it for themselves, then go ahead and change the words for them, but then the book should be labeled as an adaptation, perhaps The Adaptation of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn by The Society to Produce a Prettier, Politically Correct History, and not pawned off as "the real thing".

Some people are content with a generic, watered-down version of life or books or what have you.  I am not.  I prefer the full flavor of a book and of my life, even though that flavor is sometimes sour or bitter. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Faulty Pheromone vs. Dishonest D-bags

"I saw ev'ryting.  I tell you."
Do you remember the episode of Mad TV with Ms. Swan as the eyewitness?  You know the one where the rookie cop is trying to get her to describe the perp and she's the only eyewitness and even though she saw everything all she keeps saying is, "He look like a man."  No?  Well, Youtube it.  How about when Austin Powers attacks Basil's mom and says, "That's not your mother, it's a man, baby!" and when Basil explains that, no, it really is his mother, Austin replies, "Well, she is rather man-ish"?

The fact of the matter is that some people look like men.  Most men do.  Some women, as well.  I, however, DON'T look like a man.  I have some crazy big, womanly hips, perfectly plucked eyebrows, and the full, pouty lips of a fat Angelina Jolie look-alike.  No, I don't look like a man at all.  Thank God for that one.

I don't smell like one either.  As much as I like the guy on the Old Spice commercials for entertainment value as well as the sheer joy of eye candy, I have no desire to smell like him.  To smell him, yes, but not to smell like him.  I prefer a more girly scent.  I like fruity shampoos and body washes and love the smell of Vicky Secret perfumes and body sprays on me.

However, I've recently found that my look and smell really sets off this radar in certain guys.  *Note:  I said guys, not men. I apparently have a unique pheromone or something that tells guys I make a great "girl on the side".

In the past week, I've been hit-on or had "the moves" placed on me by two different -- and taken -- guys.  One married.  One with a girlfriend.  It's completely depressing, really.  I mean, why couldn't I have a powerful pheromone that says "this girl is worth putting the time and commitment into a relationship"?  Or the one that lets men know "not only is she great in bed, but she'd make a great wife and mom when you guys are ready"?  Hell, I'd even take the "give her a shot as a girlfriend" pheromone over the one I obviously have.

Breathe it in, boys!
 From what I gather, the "girl on the side" pheromone  gives off something that tells guys I'm good for one thing only, and I don't kiss and tell.  I hate to say it, but that's completely inaccurate!  I mean, I am good in bed, I suppose, but there's so much more to me than that. And as for the part about me not kissing and telling, well, anyone who knows me knows that I'm great at keeping secrets . . . as long as they're not mine.  My secrets, however, would end up in every newspaper in the state of Minnesota, but by the time people would read it, it wouldn't be news anymore.

Then again, maybe I don't have this pheromone after all.  I mean, I have plenty of married or taken men that I'm friends with who seem strangely unaffected by my smell or look, as long as I'm not coming straight off the treadmill. Not my finest time of day.  But the married and taken men I'm friends with are just that -- men.  I asked one of my faux-girlfriends (read: guy I dish to) who has a great wife about this pheromone phenomenon.  Here's a snipet of our conversation:

Me:  WTF? Do I have that perfect-for-a-girl-on-the-side look or smell or something?  I mean, WTF!?
Him:  I don't know.  Maybe you just have an electric magnetism about you that [guys] can't resist.
Me: You mean my va-jay-hole?

Well, that kind of makes sense, though.  I seriously have a hard time understanding how a guy could ask me to make a trip to visit him and screw around while his wife is already in the area.  And when I bring her up he just says, "she can stay at home." or how when a guy is going to see his "GF or whatever" (his words, not mine, hence the quotes) in less than five hours, he wants to go further than friends should go.  Is it that they simply can't wait that long between coitus?  (b-the-w, pretty sure that's the first time I've used the word "coitus" in my life.  weird.)  Is it that boring with the same person over and over again?  And if that's the case, why would you put yourself in a relationship? 

I've made my feelings on marriage and cheating and such known on here before.  I think people just need to be honest with themselves and with each other.  For example, instead of asking someone out or proposing and saying that you want to be with them forever, why not try a different approach?  If you're reading this and looking for an honest way to pop the *real* question, I have given you a sample to go off of.  Here it is:

He even looks like a douche.
 I want you to know that I'll commit to you for an undetermined amount of time ranging from three and a half minutes to the end of the weekend, and if something better or even just different comes along, I promise to hide it from you, so your feelings don't get hurt, as well as for my own physical safety because we all know that "bitches be crazy".  I will pretend to love you and will be with you for now because the sex is all right or my parents are pushing it or I knocked you up, etc.  And, in order to avoid any accusations and playing of the "But, baby, I love you" and "But, baby, I'm sorry" cards, I promise to not make any promises at all. I have no intention of changing.  You should know that you can't turn a ho into a husband.  And with that *gets down on one knee* Lillian, will you be casual with me?

I mean, come on!  How can a girl not say "yes" to that?  On Christmas morning in front of the whole family, or maybe when it's just the two of you on a romantic walk and he surprises you with that proposal!  Magical, right?  I've got goosebumps!

So, it's not some faulty pheromone I need to have checked.  It's just that some guys, no matter how great they are or smart they seem or sexy they look, are perhaps selfish, immature, and dishonest.  (Now, not only guys suffer from this dishonesty, but since I've already posted about that one catty, unfaithful B-word who's now engaged, no need to bring it up again.)

To all the guys out there who are reading this -- right . . . like guys read my blog, *Note: I said guys right there again; I know there are some men who read it -- I have a few words for you.  Grow a pair.  If you think you're a man, then you should have the balls to be real with someone.  And if you think you're a man in a relationship, then not only should you have some balls, but you should keep them in your pants and their bigger buddy in your girl's va-jay-hole only, where they belong.

 . . . Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone!