All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

Did this help you? If so, buy me a coffee here and keep the posts rolling!

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Happy

“i’m afraid
i don’t want to be out of control
what if happiness scares me?
she follows me like a shadow
found in drumbeats and embraces and the feeling of
pushing forward
the song i’m listening to flutters
i have fluttered before
i will flutter again
i don’t like it because my happiness comes
out loud
shout it to the heavens
i’m happy and i don’t know why”

For some reason, people have always said I’m resilient, as if that’s something I want. All it meant to me was that I didn’t kill myself when my dad died, when XYZ happened, etc., that plodding on should be applauded. It didn’t mean that I was going anywhere. It didn’t mean I was proud of myself or living for anything.

When I met my husband, all of that began to change. I was living, at the very least, to be able to spend time with him and make sure he was happy. Even when I wanted to blot myself off the face of the Earth, he was there.

When I moved to Alaska, things changed even more. As mentioned previously, two psychiatric professionals took down the notion that I needed to be on hundreds of milligrams of meds a day, allowing me to cut back on my unnecessarily doses. He was the one who set all of this in motion. He was the first one actively involved in my care to challenge the idea that I could be crazy.

With all of these changes, I feel more energetic, hopeful, and happy. The happiness baffles me. It now rents out the space where sadness used to be, and it is almost persistent in its pursuit of me. It’s wild, loud, and feels dangerous. I still don’t trust it, and still confuse it with going crazy. It involves a lot of shouting for joy.

It can be compared to the end of a hero’s journey story where the hero arrives at the same place they started, but changed. It’s like, this is new, what do I do now?

I’ve been throwing myself wholeheartedly into my tutoring, which is awesome. Lots of new music has been made, and this long overdue thing is in the works…

People have been wanting to read my poems in a book for a bit, so I will make it happen.

If you’re happy and you know it, what do you do?

HISTORY LESSON TIME!!! (pt. 1)

Okay, something I realize I have not written about is history, even though my blog has the name of an ancient-ish empire in it. So it’s time to change that! One of my students has requested a history lesson with visuals, so I’m going to write until I have exhausted all of my resources and brainpower. It’s 12:30 AM, why not? Pack your lawn chairs, it’s Russian Revolution time. LET’S BEGIN.

ALRIGHT

Our fair tale begins in Russia in the mid-1800s. On one fateful day, a man named Alexander Ulyanov was hanged. To be specific, the year was 1887. His crime? Plotting to kill the tsar, Alexander III. Why is he special, you may ask? Isn’t he just a random would be assassin? No, not quite. He was a leader by example, his younger brother would become the famous?? infamous?? Russian leader V.I. Lenin. This event likely left a great impression on small Lenin, for he grew up to fill his brother’s shoes…and more.

This says a great deal about the political climate of the day. Europe alone is fairly imperialist and centered around monarchy in 1887, Germany is bursting with nationalism and will soon cause trouble, see: World War One, but for now most everyone is holding it together. But underneath, especially in Russia, things are growing more and more tense. Rulers like Catherine and Peter the Great favored the landowners and nobles above all others, knowing that without their support, they were toast. But that came at the expense of the peasant class, which would make up 80% or more of the population by the time the revolutions begin. And the peasants were not pleased.

Alexander III dies in 1894, and a very inexperienced tsar named Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra rise to the throne. Nicholas has very little political or military savvy and neither does his wife, but they do have four daughters. Then, in 1904, they have a son, Alexei. Alexei is the heir to the throne, but there is something…wrong with him.

He has hemophilia, a genetic disease making it so his blood doesn’t clot. Alexandra is a descendant of Queen Victoria of England, from whom the disease originated. Hemophilia is carried by females and manifested in males, as was the case with Alexei. It’s a battle just to keep him alive. Alexandra is desperate for hope, and finds it in a mad ex-monk who is known to history as Rasputin. He has so called prophetic powers and is the only one who can heal Alexei, or so Alexandra says. Then the World War One breaks out.

Before I can tell you that story, however, I must tell you this one. Remember our friend Lenin? He is still here, and he is up to no good. While the royals have been getting married and having kids, Lenin has been stirring the pot of revolution. He picked up Marxism when he was younger, and he believes it can work for his country. In 1903, there are two factions in Russia’s main socialist group, the Mensheviks (meaning minority) and the Bolsheviks (majority), and they split over a few key issues.

The Mensheviks are in favor of educating the populace and gradually phasing in communism, but the Bolsheviks wanted a revolution and they wanted it NOW. With that in mind, let us continue. In 1905, they lead a revolution, and it is violently crushed. The tsar issues the October Manifesto, which is a sort of compromise that says that the tsar will grant civil liberties and make use of an elected parliament, called the Duma.

It’s enough to hold the nation together for a few more years. But then World War One breaks out. Russia is failing miserably in the war from the outset, and continues to fail miserably after they are beaten time and time again. Our friend Nicholas II may not have any military experience, but has a strong sense of duty to his country and as such feels the need to go and assume supreme command of the army. The situation goes from bad to worse.

Now, picture this. The year is 1916, and you’re a peasant. Your family was tied to the land until the 1860s as serfs and even then you’re still pushed around by the nobles, who always seem to have full stomachs while yours is empty. And now your son is sent to war, where he will almost certainly die. And then you run out of food. What’s a hungry person like you to do in a situation like this? Start a revolution? Sounds good.

It’s situations like the one above that led to the March Revolution. Protests and demonstrations turn violent in Petrograd, and the tsar abdicates when his soldiers, ordered to stop the protesters, join them. A new provisional government is put in place. It only lasts a few months, because unrest breaks out anew in Petrograd in November after a failed coup in July. This unrest boils over and the Bolsheviks take a chance and seize the Winter Palace, the final stronghold of the Provisional Government. Their coup is successful; the Bolsheviks are now in control of the country. How did this coup succeed where others failed? What now?

To be continued….