Monday, May 24, 2010

Crap-Away Cleaners

I discovered something about myself this past year.
I'm anal.

Okay, I may not have full-blown obsessive compulsive disorder, but I definitely have OCD tendencies.

I just can't help myself. Cleaning is one of my favorite things to do. Wiping away that grime, getting rid of all that dirt. It's a great feeling of accomplishment. I mean, why let dishes pile up in the sink, when I can easily squirt some yummy Grapefruit Dish Soap on the plates, scrub scrub scrub, and put them back where they go? Why clean the bathroom whenever you feel like it, when you can do a little bit everyday to enhance the overall cleanliness of your home?

Okay now don't get me wrong. I'm not a freak like Monica Geller [Friends]. If my refrigerator magnets are rearranged, I don't notice. If my lamps aren't facing north, or my books aren't aligned just so I won't flip out. Right now, if you walked into my bedroom, you would see an unmade bed, decorative pillows strewn everywhere, and a pair of shorts on the ground. [I knew I would be blogging about cleaning today, thus I made a mental note of my room's condition prior to leaving; I do not usually have this information memorized.] But this usually is not the case.

Sometimes it's just hard for me to [consciously] let things be in disarray. After I clean, it's frustrating to see everything slowly start going to going back to the chaotic mess it was just a little while ago. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, right? I might have made that up. As much as I try to "not live" in my apartment after I clean it, [ie I try to not make footprints in the carpet after vacuuming, use the sink, sit on my freshly made bed etc.] eventually it will get messy.

It's ridiculous, but again, I can't help myself. I don't want my hard work to be in vain. Despite my best efforts, it does get grody. I live with two other girls, who are completely normal and actually want to live in their apartment and not in some sort of model home which appears as if no one actually lives there. Sometimes I wish I was like this. Instead, I'm cursed with a love for cleaning. Maybe I should start a business or something. Carper's Cleaners? Jena's Genies? Dust-Be-Gone? Crap-Away Cleaners?

I think cleaning is just a great reminder of God's abounding grace. I can spend a few hours every day making sure my apartment is spick and span. I use all the right cleaners, I vacuum, I dust, I disinfect, I wipe, I scrub, I spray. And for a while, usually not very long, everything seems clean. It feels better. I can breathe easier. Yet, not too long after the clean it slowly starts getting filthy again. I can try and try to keep it clean, but eventually it's going to be gross.

Unlike my bathroom, I can never make my heart appear clean. It's always going to be filthy because, well, it is. The more I try to wipe up the grunge and the grime, the messier I get. We can't make ourselves clean, we can't fix ourselves up no matter how hard we try. Thankfully, there is one who can. He takes away the permanent stain I have inside of me, and that is one mess I'm thankful I don't have to worry about.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Long Distance Relationships

If you had told me six months ago that I would soon be entering into a long distance relationship, I probably would have [kindly] laughed in your face. If you had told me this boy would be seventeen hours and 1300 miles away in the sunshine state of Florida, I most likely would have rolled my eyes and flashed a "you-obviously-don't-know-me-at-all" smile.

I mean relationships are hard enough as it is. Who would be crazy enough to increase to the stress by adding mileage?

For me, it's simple. I like holding hands and going out to eat. I like watching a movie or going for a jog. I like knowing his friends, and having him know mine. Nothing monumental, or life changing. Yet, I felt as though I couldnt really survive without these essential "building blocks."
Hence, the eye-rolling.

Well six-month-ago me was [obviously] quite the pessimist about LDRs. I have had several friends who have courageously taken on this feat over the years. Some have succeeded, but many have failed. Some are only a few hours away at different schools, so they make the trek each weekend to be together. Others are father apart. Six-month-ago-me wondered how they possibly made it work. How can they keep their relationship alive when so much space exists between them?

It's funny how I can claim over and over again that I'm never ever going to do something.
I scoff at all those crazy enough to try LDRs cause I'm confident they're just wasting their time.

Then my friend tells me about this "really really nice" guy I should talk to. I, of course, friend request him. Why not? We talk. He's cute. And funny. We go on a date, or two. It's great. But, here's the catch, he lives in Florida. So really, it doesn't matter how wonderful he is.

Somewhere between our plate of fajitas and the day he left for Tampa, my opinion of LDRs got a little hazy. I found myself being somewhat optimistic. I thought they may be doable.
What's the big deal, right?

Well, it hasn't been easy. The past five months have been absolutely wonderful, but also super hard. The key to its success has been lots of texting, emails, packages, hours and hours of skype dates, visits as often as possible and, of course, having someone at the end of the day
who makes it all worth it.

My LDR has been good to me and I'm no longer a Debbie Downer about long distance relationships. But this Friday, Grahm moves here. Our LDR will be ending.
And let me tell you, I just don't think I will miss it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Those three words are said too much, but not enough

Recently, I've been pondering the word love. I'm a big fan. I use it a lot, maybe too much. It's like mayonnaise; the more I slap it on my sandwich, the more tasty it gets and the more I want to use it.

I just love lots of things. I know with absolute certainty that I love the cold, bubbly fizz of Dr. Pepper sliding down my throat. I know I love a good sweat, the achy feeling in my thighs when I finish a long run. I love napping in my car with the sun beating down on me. I love reading a good book, or blogging. I love laughing until my stomach hurts and I love singing at the top of my lungs. There are many things I say that I love. But I'm not sure if they are all worthy of the word.

Maybe I'm not making sense.

Obviously, I understand there are different kinds of love. I don't love my mom with the same kind of love I have for fried shrimp or Forrest Gump. I don't love my favorite pair of jeans like I love to write.

They're different.

My problem is not that I love too many things, or maybe I do. Rather I say I love all of them. Am I using this phraseology too flippantly?

Shouldn't I have a different expression for the plethora of things that I enjoy?
Shouldn't my vocabulary be more extensive, or is it okay to claim to love all these things?

I love my little brother, and I'm ridiculously fond of office supplies.
I love to write, and I admire the way a tempurpedic mattress feels.
I love my friends, and I care about the random girl who complimented my hair last Tuesday.

See? It's different.

I don't want to cheapen the word.
I find myself saying "I love you" to people as I hang up, write on their facebook page, or say goodbye. It's casual, routine, and almost shallow. Granted, I don't mean it that way.

I guess I'm just going to be more conscious of my love usage. I don't want it to be something I say out of habit, or merely because I lack the imagination or will to come up with a better vocabulary term. If I say I love something, I want it to carry weight. I don't want you to be comparing yourself to the ridiculous amount of lard on my sandwich or the Dr. Pepper in my hand, if I tell you "I love you." Because as much as I like mayo or soda, I'm confident I love you a whole lot more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not quite goodbye

Have you ever noticed that there is nothing good about a goodbye?
The word is an oxymoron, and it's well, cruel.
The only good goodbyes I know of are saying adios to a bland class,
piles of homework, extra weight, or some bad habit you've been
trying to kick. [Currently taking ideas on how to stop drinking Dr.
Pepper like it's going out of style].

I'm no good at them. Goodbyes that is.
I like routine. I like knowing who I'm going to see and what I'm
going to encounter. I think that's why no one can surprise me.
I need to know too much, so I always figure it out.
Maybe I'm just nosy...

This week several of my friends are graduating. They're donning
their cardboard hats and kissing Norman goodbye. After Saturday,
the real world begins.

I'm a little jealous. Okay, a lot jealous.
In a lot of ways I feel like I should be graduating with them. I'm
ready to be done with school and pursuing a career and family.

On the other hand, I'm excited for senior year. I have so much
to look forward to including two amazing roommates and one
lovely house.

God is constantly having to teach me contentment. Unfortunately,
it's a hard lesson to get through my thick skull. I have a bad habit
of constantly looking forward to the next big thing, instead of
enjoying what I have now and the people I am surrounded with.

I guess I'm not QUITE ready to kiss all this goodbye.

"It is not our circumstances that create our discontent
or contentment. It is us."

Monday, May 3, 2010


I kinda started freaking out. I washed my face rigorously. Again and again. I poked and pinched. I even tried new ways of smiling too hide it.

And when the little devil didn't seem to be reducing its ginormous size, I resorted to applying loads and loads of makeup. Thank God for coverup.

Later that night, I was alone in my professor's house [housesitting].
Flipping through channels, I found a gem of a show entitled "Too
Ugly to Love." For some reason I stopped to see what it was about.
All the while, subconsciously, I was thinking I was the perfect candidate
for this show. "Check out the size of that zit..."

"Too Ugly to Love" was a documentary that followed three sufferers of
BDD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It attempted to help them face their
biggest FEAR, the way they look. Those afflicted are overly conscious about
their appearance. They imagine themselves to be severely disfigured, too
grotesque to even be around people.

Granted, these people don't actually have anything wrong with their faces.
They're all perfectly normal. However, their desire for beauty consumes
them. They have no friends, because they don't want anyone to see their
"ugly" faces. They have no money, because they spend it all trying to fix
themselves. They fear cameras and bright lights and the unforgiving stares
of others. Leaving the house is always a huge ordeal. All they really have
is a mirror, and the cold reminder that they aren't the way they wish
themselves to be.

I suppose that we all have a bit of BDD, don't we? Obviously, the
degree to which we suffer greatly varies, but we all believe there
is something inherently wrong with us. I'm not tall enough. My arms
never look good in shirts. My nose is too large for my face. My thighs
jiggle when I walk. My hair is too thin. My chin is too pointy. My lips
aren't full enough. The laundry list of faults we conjure up for ourselves
goes on and on...

We're all guilty. We all allow our appearance to consume our lives,
whether or not we are locking ourselves away in the safety of our homes.
In a culture obsessed with beauty, it's almost impossible not to
fall into the BDD snare. There is always someone more beautiful with
a whiter smile, thicker hair, and a better swimsuit body. We just can't
help but wish for the greener grass on the other side.

It may sound cheesy, but I believe I'm disappointing my Creator when I
have these thoughts. I mean, think about it. He made me, zits and all, just
like this. This is exactly the way He wanted me, because my God doesn't
make mistakes. He could have formed me to be a six-foot, curly-headed
basketball wonder. But He didn't. I can't help but think, if my appearance is good enough for the most important Being in this universe, shouldn't I be
okay with it?

Bring on the zits.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in
my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
(Psalm 139:13-14)