what if I rode a tiger to Morocco?

I don’t know what I want to write about tonight.

I definitely want to write.

I just don’t know what about.

I thought maybe I wanted to write about how if I got everything I wished for then the world would be a disaster, and I thought maybe I’d talk about how I keep a solid white marble that I tell myself will grant a wish so that I have to stop and think about the full impact of whatever it is that I think I want more than anything else in the world. But that train of thought ran out about 100 words into a post, and so I decided that that wasn’t the rabbit trail to pursue.

I thought maybe I’d write about today, and how I actually made it through a set strike at the theatre without hating everybody around me, and how it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d prepped myself for it to be, and how much I love being useful and skillful with my hands, but there’s not much to that, and really oughtn’t I get over how much I usually hate strikes and just relax and let it all go? Yeah. I don’t really want to spend several hundred words contemplating that theme.

I thought maybe I could write about my absolute yearning for affection, how it consumes me sometimes and makes me think that I would say ‘yes’ if a total stranger proposed to me on the street, but that’s just weird and it might make people think I’m serious about that and I’m totally not because I distrust people like nobody’s business and that’s the main problem here because I don’t trust anybody enough to let them near enough for them to gain my trust enough for me to believe that they actually like me. And even that is an exaggeration that might make people worried about me and I’m really okay but I just wish that Toby would hug me back.

So I don’t know what to write about tonight.

Buffets are an awesome idea, but they’re totally impractical for me because I eat less at a buffet than I do basically anywhere else, and then I feel silly because everybody else seems to be eating ridiculous amounts of food and I’m just, like, I finished two slices of pizza… Not that I think of eating as a competition. And if buffets are what give me the self-control to stop eating when I ought to, maybe I should live in a buffet. But it does feel silly to pay that much and not eat that much. Does that make sense?

I’m so grateful for friends. For people who make me smile and who call me just so we can hear the sound of each other’s voices and who let me be whoever I want to be. Even if that person does claim to be a five year old and does tend to be socially withdrawn. It’s so awesome to do life alongside people.

Shoes are kind of the worst, and my stupid Walmart flats gave me blisters on both of my pinkie toes today and I think that’s ridiculous but they were the only thing that matched my dress! Why can’t all the clothes in the world go with dusty cowboy boots? Or with neon pink Converse? I don’t get it! I think it’s a conspiracy to make Melissa as miserable and blistered as possible.

I really ought to decide on something to write about…

I got a text, like, twenty minutes ago that my family is finally in Texas and I simply cannot wait to see them! Tomorrow is Monday, which is ew because Monday, but I get to see my minions and my mommy, which is not ew because family! So it’s all gonna work out to be okay. They’re coming out to do the Texas family rounds (which is what happens when your mom is the rebel who moved away from the family homeland) and so that Gracie can hang out with her college-age, rockin’ awesome sisters! The three of us are going to get to go to a Tenth Avenue North concert on Thursday and we are so excited. Or, at least, I am. Grace is. Hey, Abbie: you excited? Oh wait. She can’t hear me from Lubbock. Never mind.

Would you believe that it’s only 8:59pm? That I am writing loopy circles (as opposed to angular circles which aren’t actually a thing) at the measly time of 8:59pm? This is why I go to bed early, people: I am insane 24/7 and night time makes it worse.

I’m…like…the opposite of nocturnal. Plus I hate mornings. Basically, if I can sleep from 9pm to about 10am, that is great. It’s a ridiculous amount of sleep, I know, but it’s fine. I like sleep.

If I had a super power, it would be the ability to learn anything by osmosis. It’s literally the super power of napping. How great is that?!

Oh! I have a white board and it is where I write my homework assignments. Because I would forget where my head was if it wasn’t so solidly affixed to my neck. Anyway, what the all-knowing white board has to say tonight is that I have three papers due this week as well as a test in Spanish! So guess what I’m doing? I’m writing a blog post about nothing at all! I’m also becoming increasingly spastic, but it’s fine. No big deal.

You know what will be lovely? When I can do dishes in something other than a tiny dorm room sink. Because worse than the tiny sink is that absolute lack of counter space. There is nowhere to put the things I have cleaned! So then I have to juggle them while I wash everything else, because putting them down only gets them dirty again! It’s difficult and I know it’s a first world problem and I am ready for it to not be a thing anymore.

Okay. Increasing twitchiness wins the day. I am going to call it a night and head to bed, early though it be. Too bad I never figured out anything to write about…

– Melissa
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November 13, 2014

That moment when you can finally take a deep breath, stretch out your tense muscles, and mutter on an exhale, “Yeah. That’s over.”

I am finally at Thursday afternoon, and while I do have one remaining class for today, it’s just lecture and turning in an assignment I finished polishing up this morning.

In other words…it’s the weekend. And what a weekend it will be.

Thanks to the fabulous generosity and love of my parents, I fly out of Dallas tomorrow for a crazy fifty hour whirlwind-weekend at home in California. My sisters and I have already discussed that sleep probably isn’t anywhere on the agenda, and we’re okay with that. Life’s too full of friendship for sleep to be anywhere near important.

As I’m pretty sure I’ve communicated, I’ve been pretty homesick since moving to school, and while my family visiting last month was a major blessing, it didn’t lessen my longing for my horse or my best friends or my favorite haunts (namely, church, my bedroom, and the barn-thing in the backyard). And in less than twenty-four hours…I get to see all those things!

Yay!

I just have to make it through these last twenty-three hours. At least I get to sleep through a decent fraction of them.

Anyway.

Deep life thoughts aside from the fact that I finally get to visit home.

I decided last Thursday night that it was finally time to cut back on the amount of sugar I consume. Because sugar affects me. Majorly. And so for the last week (excepting Sunday, when I had to bake a cake for a potluck thing, and it’s impossible to bake a cake without licking the batter off the spoon and sampling it fresh out of the oven and licking the icing off your fingers) I’ve avoided anything blatantly sugar filled. So, basically, almost all of my favorite things. (I know that there’s sugar in pizza and macaroni and cheese. But not as much as in ice cream, so I didn’t count those.)

And you know what?

It’s been okay.

Now, sure, I want to have a meltdown every time I walk into the caf.

And I totally miss riding the sugar highs—I like to let myself forget about the inevitable crashes that are oh so unpleasant.

But non-sugared Melissa is a little bit more grounded.

That crazy sugar-induced panic in my chest that I get when I’m facing two exams and a major project on a single day (yesterday…) wasn’t there, and I could just be stressed and exhausted without melting into a puddle of tears.

When I spout off some ridiculous nonsense (today I was singing about deer at the beginning of hunting season to the tune of Best Day Of My Life by American Authors as I ate lunch) I know that it’s actually me talking, not some crazy hyped-up version of me.

I will never get drunk.

Nor will I ever do drugs.

The ways that sugar plays with my head are quite adequate for me, thanks.

All that to say, it’s been a grand (though interrupted by a Sunday) experiment, and I guess I don’t totally regret it. At all. (Wow. I can’t talk in a straight line today. Good grief.) And while I won’t be making this a permanent change, I do envision cutting back on my sugar consumption to at least some degree, especially on crazy exam weeks. (Now that I say that, I need to plan on doing this again during Finals Week. Glad I thought of that.)

The world’s a crazy beautiful place, even when it is consistently below freezing temperatures and you’re from California and you’ve never been this cold in your life, and I’m pretty grateful to be a part of it.

And I’m also really really grateful that before too long I’ll be somewhere where it’s not below freezing and I might even get to run around in shorts because it’ll be above 60 degrees. Yep. Good things.

Well, not too much longer before class, so I may as well start walking that way.

I hope you find your own reasons to smile today!

– Melissa
Food for Thought

Under-dressed and Overwhelmed

Today’s just been one of those days.

You know what I’m talking about: an awake at midnight, can’t crawl out of bed, things go wrong and the rights can’t overwhelm the wrongs and you’re just tired all day long. But you know what? God’s present on ‘those days’ too.

Like any good disaster, mine precipitated last night when I looked at my schedule to realize that the geology test I though was on Thursday was, in fact today. So time that would have been dedicated to one project had to get siphoned to studying for a major exam. Then I got to move on to the project I’d budgeted time for (two hours later, of course) and found that it wasn’t going to be as simple as I’d hoped. Of course. So finally I threw my hands in the air and—knot of dread still securely tied in my stomach—fell into bed. (I really need to get to the point of realizing that sleep isn’t the monster I sometimes think that it is.)

So that’s the backstory.

This morning I woke up on time, did all the things I needed to get done in order to go out in public without humiliating myself (I even had the common sense to devise the strategy of wearing a short dress in order to keep myself alert and awake), and muttered under my breath about the fact that this would have to be the day that the Irish hymn writers, Keith and Kristyn Getty, were talking in chapel because I obviously would not be going for any other reason because it’s too early and who needs chapel credits and…yeah. You name it, I was disgruntled about it.

But chapel really was good, and the music was nice, and I made it out in plenty of time to leisurely walk to geology. Where I took that darn exam. And did fine on it. (I think. There’s always the chance that my brain interpreted words wrong and I tried to write an essay on the scantron, but I’m pretty sure that I kept my wits about me and pulled off an A. Time will tell.) Because it was a test day, an hour and twenty minute class period was shortened to twenty minutes. Celebration point, yeah?!

Yeah.

So the unfinished assignments of last night were looming over my head and so, like any good college student, I came back to my room and fell asleep until lunch. I put off going to lunch until almost the possible minute…only to get to the caf and realize my student ID was in my room (from after the gosh-awful fumble of trying to get into my room after geology…). Dash across campus times two and I found out that they were having a fiesta for lunch…meaning no pizza…meaning that eating took twice as long…meaning that I was about 45 seconds late to a class that sounds like it started about 120 seconds early. Not this girl’s favorite way to do anything.

That class was fine, and so was the next one—except that some people need to respect the teacher and just learn how to shut their mouths. And I basically found out that all but one of my ‘sources’ for my outline (due on Thursday) are worthless and that maybe my topic isn’t so applicable to everyone but I don’t care because it’s too late to entirely start over and I know from experience that it’s all about how you pitch things. (Have you ever heard how I got six little children to help me shovel mud out of my horse’s pen on Thanksgiving? I tell you, you’ve just gotta know how to sell it.)

More stress.

Break and dinner were tolerable. (Though I have no idea what I ate…oh, yeah, a cheeseburger and cold French fries. So healthy.) I mean, I was stressed out of my mind and ready to burst into tears at the slightest provocation (so thankful for friends who love me when I’m messy), but I survived without incident and remembered my ID card when necessary.

And then came the bane of my existence: my 5:30-7pm fitness class. Scheduling that class is probably the worst decision I’ve made in my entire life (besides that one time where I dropped the Christmas tree box on Abbie not knowing whether or not she’d die and that one time where I threw the cat in the pool and somehow thought I wouldn’t get into trouble for it). By the end of the day, I’m drained emotionally and physically. And I hate fitness anyway. This is the formula for absolute grotesqueness. Plus I had to change out of my super cute dress into sports shorts and a t-shirt—not awful but not darling.

Guess what?

I survived fitness class. And had just enough time to dash over to the Getty concert in the auditorium.

People from all over town (maybe even out of town; I don’t know) came to see the Gettys. In fact, the older couple in front of me kept me smiling the entire time by holding hands almost constantly. But the thing was, they all had dressed up for the event, whereas I had dressed down for class.

I like to dress up.

I really like to dress up any time I attend anything in a theater.

And, even if no one else noticed, I felt totally out of place tonight.

Yet…it was a corporate worship service of sorts. I don’t have to fit in. Because we are the church. The vibrant, diverse body of Christ. In all our brokenness from all our walks of life. Which is crazy beautiful. And has nothing to do with whether I was in heels or in sneakers.

I can’t say that I was able to relax entirely. Not the whole time. But I was able to worship my Creator with words both familiar and new. And a couple of times I even forgot that I was underdressed and surrounded by people I’ve never met. And even though I only made it through half of the concert before I escaped to come back to my room to work on the troublesome homework I’m still behind on, it was a wonderful close to my day in the world.

I get so caught up in appearances. In plans. In wanting everything to be perfect.

And when I’m caught up in those things, I forget the things that really matter:

I am loved, I am redeemed, and I have purpose outside of surviving.

Tomorrow is going to be another battle against anxiety and too-high expectations. But tomorrow is also a new day, a new chance to define my focus and my priorities.

For now, though, I have an outline to prepare. And two exams to study for. And sleep to fit in there somewhere.

Goodnight, dear world. Be brave. Stay focused. And ever be distinctly you.

– Melissa
By Faith by Keith and Kristyn Getty