A Quick Ode to Autumn

I am so excited that autumn is finally starting to show itself in the valley! It comes with the start of school, cooling temperatures, leaves on the ground and the slow approach of the holidays. Autumn is the mother hen season, tucking us all under her wings of warm gold and brilliant auburn and rich, silky red. It’s a time for hugs and gloves and mugs and new love. Autumn means that there will be time for raking leaf piles with the neighbor kids; inhaling deeply the crisp air and smell of fallen leaves; and making new relationships that have the potential to last longer than life.

I love the turning of the seasons anytime, but autumn is hands down my favorite.

P.S. Have fun at school today, my fellow students! We can do this.

The Run and Go

Sometimes life is beautiful and we capture a piece of it to share.

The girl in the video is my friend. I call her Phil. We made this together.

(“The Run and Go” by Twenty One Pilots)

Blog Posts That Lead to More Blog Posts

I don’t know if this counts as a post. I’ve had a lot of topics on my mind lately and I’m trying to pull my brain together enough to write on them, because when topics really matter, they deserve to read like art. Anyway, hopefully I’ll get around to them, though it’s been crazy lately, what with the whole wanting to die thing.

So I want to share with you a song by Damien Jurado called “Working Titles.” My sweet sister introduced me to it. Just so beautiful, especially these lyrics:

“You could mess up my life in a poem
Have me divorced by the time of the chorus”

“You’re no him, but he’s you, only better”

“I wasn’t lying when I said this was over
I have questions that lead to more questions”

I want you and the skyline, these are my demands”

Here are two covers of the same song, the first by The Tallest Man on Earth and Idiot Wind, and the second by Ian Lindsay.

Anyway, team, I hope you do good things. And I hope you know Jesus loves you. And I hope you know I say that with total sincerity.

Also–finally–Thanksgiving break! Whoot.

Summits, Pills, and the Hand of God

Thirteen months ago, give or take a few weeks, I started taking happy pills to deal with the all-encompassing depression that had entered into my daily life. I remember how hard it was at the beginning. The pills made me really nauseous so I didn’t want to eat anything, which made me lose several pounds in just a few days. Then the nausea caused me to grind my teeth a lot, which gave me a constant headache. And then there was the overall trauma that yes, I, Maney, was actually taking happy pills. It was kind of disconcerting for a small, helpless human of my age. Like, what have I done to deserve needing these? I felt like the universe had played some kind of terrible trick on me.

“Go on, Maney, make friends and fall in love, and just when things start looking up, say goodbye to those you love the most. Also, mental illness runs in your family. Buckle up.”

I’m not saying that these feelings were good or bad, just that that was how I felt. It was hard.

And here I am, thirteen months later, and I’ve just started working off of my pills. Wow, I feel like this has been such an uphill climb, and I’m finally at the top and can start the somewhat easier trek back down to whatever’s waiting for me at the bottom. It took so much of my heart and soul to become emotionally stable enough to reach this point. I’ve had to jump through so many of my sweet counselor’s hoops so she and I both felt like I would be ready to come off and stay off.

So the main point of this post is, I guess I don’t know what’s going on in your life, reader. Maybe you’re climbing that mountain to accomplish something really important to you, like receiving a college degree, figuring out your place in this world, or getting off your happy pills. Or maybe you’re at the summit or walking down, marveling that you were able to achieve your dream. But no matter where you are, I hope you can see beauty, and hope, and the hand of God in your life. No matter how lonely or hopeless I felt this past year and before, I always knew deep in my heart that I wasn’t alone. And neither are you.

As an added bonus, here is a beautiful video a friend of mine posted on Facebook last week, and it really touched me. It reminded me that there is so much beauty in the world, and we have to keep looking for it. After all, if you and I don’t, then how can we be sure anyone will?

P.S. It’s a couple dancing in the wilderness. Maybe not your style–I respect that. Have you seen anything beautiful lately? I’d love to see or hear about it.

Trials

I pray for trials because I know they bring me closer to God. This habit of mine has become something of a family joke; my family says I should leave them out of these prayers because they have enough trials. I think it’s true and I try hard to get the point across to my Creator that I want the trials to affect me and me alone.

Anyway, a trial I’ve been facing for the past few months is dreaming every night. I’ve already discussed this but whatever. I dream about offending people I love, making huge mistakes and feeling guilty, being in scary TV shows I watch, missing classes in school, seeing my dead or missionary friends, etc. I hate dreaming I hate it hate it hate it. Haha, I used to love dreaming because my dreams used to be funny or interesting. Nowadays I face my deepest fears when my eyes are closed and my breath is steady.

My Heavenly Father must know I need these nightmares because in the morning I am deeply grateful for reality. I see the beauty in dust motes, ticking clocks, dappled sunlight, chirping birds, socks, poetry, rustling papers. I know He wants me to be happy. So today I am grateful for my nightmares, because without them I wouldn’t know how special my life is, in all its quiet, lonely, and uneventful glory.

Hats Off to DFW

My AP English teacher first introduced me to David Foster Wallace’s speech “This is Water.” Few literary passages have changed my life so profoundly as this one did. I hope that everyone within earshot of my cyber voice will read it and try to understand it and do something because of it. Read it–go on! It gives me chills.

He posits that we are innately selfish beings. Everything we think and know and experience revolves around us, and the default setting of our state of consciousness is to perpetually focus on ourselves. In his speech, Wallace presents a life-changing choice. He words it best:

The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the “rat race” – the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.

It is one of most beautiful feelings I have ever experienced–the realization that I am not the center of the universe. I can choose–choose, people–to care about things outside of my intimate circle of consciousness. It is so wonderful. I have the power within me to think about you, and care about my earth footprint, and try to make this world better, because it will live on after I’m gone. Of what worth is money, power, beauty, intellect? Every day we are surrounded by other people who are just as important and needed and loved by our creator as we are. That is true beauty.

“It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: ‘This is water, this is water.'” -David Foster Wallace