Trust

Nothing could have prepared me for the blood on my sheets yesterday morning. Fantastically red, smeared all over my thighs as if my skin were canvas. Splatters like cherry trees. I had never seen periods in this way: kind of beautiful, actually.
Though a little annoyed that I had to clean this up (and to think I’d want a puppy…), I got on with the task at hand. Sometimes you just have to do it. Like, cleaning your flatmates plates and taking out the trash before anyone else for some peace of mind. Like, starting a ten paged report, bulking up your skeletal resume, and going to that 9am class when your body feels like lead.

I praise God for a more adaptable attitude and an optimistic problem solving style. Instead of shying away from challenges and feeling defeated, I’ve noticed that I now respond to failure and disappointment in a more level-headed way. Am I stressed out about my Linked-in, the looming GRE and grad school applications? Absolutely. But I’m not going to be paralysed by anxiety. There is no ultimate deadline: success is growth at whatever pace works best for me. Most of the problems I’ve faced aren’t unsolvable, my screw-ups unsalvageable. And best of all, my God has planned every day that lies before me.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:16

Maybe I should’ve planned my winter holiday better. But hey, I’m on holiday. I’m trying to relax here. I’ve finally finished my two songs and posted them onto Soundcloud- now I don’t feel like a fraud when I tell people I “write songs for fun”. I just can’t find the time for personal hobbies during the school quarter- it always feels like I should be doing something else. Anyway, how frequently do you have to do something for it to be a hobby? How long ago was that a habit? Do you currently write/sing/hike/draw/read? Erm not really.

At least I’ve replied all the important emails and I’ve seen some important friends- though I tick them off the list and think I’ve done my part after one meeting. I’ve done some Christmas shopping, crafted some cards, watched The Intouchables (brilliant French film). I’ve still got Dim Sum and a massage on my mind. Another song. A book to finish. But I’m not going to fret if I don’t complete everything; last summer was a bummer because I couldn’t do it all. This winter will be different because I’m #chill.

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boyfriend x boyfriend

We are going to have boyfriends we will each befriend. We’re going to be so happy for each other- you guys do look really good together. And so will your children. I’ll notice the way he looks at you, the way you laugh in unison. And as we order, I’ll notice that he smiles to himself as you float over the menu and exclaim how you want French Toast, only to change your mind as you flip to the next page.
“Ohmygod Sophie, everything looks so good”, you’ll feign a pained expression.
He’ll direct you: “why don’t you get the eggplant one?”
“I’ve been craving Toast!”
“Yeah, but you’ve been telling me to forbid it.”
“Okay fine. It’d be the fourth time this week”, you laugh.
He’ll pour water for you, then for himself, and then our boyfriends will talk. Instantly, there’s a sense of brotherly camaraderie, and slowly, we’re not needed in conversation. They’ll leave each other with slaps on the back and a see ya later man, until next time.
I’ll tell you: “I see why you like him so much”.

Oops I’m cliche

Will I ever feel this free again?

Maybe, if I’m unemployed yet wealthy enough to travel alone. Sit for hours in a foreign country, without any real plans and without the urgency to make any. Sounds great to me. But deadlines are what we’re all used to, and movement looks a lot like fulfilment.

Anyhow, I’m excited. It’s hard to describe the feeling of being so hopeful and determined to make the most of my future- university as the most immediate next-big-thing. Wow I’m so cliche I could punch myself! Blank slate, new country, an adjustment to make the past a blurred background. And I’m really getting into the mindset that I can basically take control, find the things that make me happy, learn, and be who I want to be. Underline the parts of me I like and improve the bits I don’t. Reconstruct and take a shape that feels the most me. University will only be a repeat of high school if I let it, and university will only be a dead experience if I cruise it.

Why start now? I guess it’s the most obvious way to begin. Looking forward to a new home, being in a new environment, is like looking forward to a long soak in the bath. “…all freshly bathed and scented, and feeling like a brand new human being!” Blanche Dubois knows what she’s talking about.

It is the perfect time to try and resist groupthink, the push and pull of fads I don’t agree with, or changing myself for people I shouldn’t need to impress. I want to be secure in my values; unshaken, rather than passed along in a sea of opinions, where every obstacle crushes its head into me and manages to strip and polish me into something smooth and average. Only for God am I willing to fully submit and put my sense of self aside.

I must share this quote because it is superlatively relevant:
I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me. – Tracee Ellis Ross

And I’m ready to know LA like the back of my hand. I want a new routine, to know where I’m going to get my morning/afternoon/midnight coffee. I want to know where I’m going to shop to replace my torn jeans (not stylishly torn but serious bum-showing-torn), where I’m going to get slippers (because I don’t actually have any) and other cute things. I’ll have a room that looks like my soul vomited on it and I’m going to learn to cook more than just pancakes, eggs, and noodles. I’m going to compile a list of all the things Los Angeles has to offer, and all the places I want to visit within the four years I’ll be there. Museums, art, Banksy, music, jazz, surf, beach, Chipotle, festivals, wine tasting (when I’m old enough), Hollywood, parks, cycling, Disneyland… And other hubs I’m sure I’ll pick up along the way.

Of course, I know the danger of looking towards future happiness. It’s the fruitless endeavour of chasing a dream that’s always out of reach, like trying to out-run the moon. It’s always a step ahead; hence why it’s the future… But a positive outlook doesn’t hurt, and I’m prepping myself more than prepping for outside events. I’m inspired, open to experience, change, and convinced that I can be the one to see to said changes.

Challenge #4

I love my grandmother to pieces. I love her I love her I love her. I know she won’t be around forever but I will pray every day for her so that she may be even more blessed than she already is. I pray that she will one day see my children (or child) and that they will have the privilege of meeting her. This is what my heart aches for. Literally. I want it so badly it hurts. It’s slighty selfish because I feel like I need her; she strengthens my faith. And my prayer is really a three-in-one request.
1) I’ll have a husband
2) I’ll have a child and most importantly
3) that my grandmother lives to see her/him.

God’s will takes precedence over my plans. I just pray and hope that He’ll grant me these blessings.

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:17-18

 

Home, sweet home

I know I will miss the encompassing wall of yellow with frogs wearing crowns and gowns in the foreground, chosen whilst I was on holiday because I would never have picked it myself.  I imagine that one day my room will be whitewashed and lilac, with scribblings and a mosaic of photos on the wall, but for now it is a comfortable dwelling (no matter how childish and ugly) because it is familiar.

The light is always too dim and the mattress perfectly bouncy. Once my head sinks into the blanket and I curl up with a pillow, ‘just resting my eyes’ inevitably becomes a three hour nap. I’ve woken up drenched in sweat from dreamless nights and have sat up startled with cheeks streaked with tears from nightmares quickly forgotten. I’ve sprawled on the wood paneled floor to read and paint whilst listening to music and I’ve watched shadows flit past the starry (glow in the dark) ceiling, trying to match the shapes in motion to the hum of cars and muffled voices deep into the night. Home is an establishment of where things were and are. Or where things weren’t and aren’t. For me it is the heap of things and clutter and disorder that feels right. My desk is forever overflowing with stuff. But I can navigate through my own space. It is my territory and every inch of it is branded with my own memories. Mine. 

The other day, I sat on someone else’s bed in a small, tidy room and suddenly felt this strange sense of dislocation and displacement. I realized just how soon I will have to make a new home in another space and I am dreading it. I’ll have only time to rely on to replace the warmth of the old and I’m impatient. But I’m hopeful that one day I’ll have these multiple homes to visit; nests of once upon a time.

I get it

Sometimes you work hard and it’s not good enough. Fact of life. You spend hours pouring over words in a textbook or solving problems with a calculator and then the exam comes and the worry of the flattening effect (on your butt) of sitting on hard wooden seats for hours adds to your ever-growing list of worries. You wait anxiously for the results and when the day comes, your heart pounds and your hands sweat. You look at the numbers or letters and you either breathe out a sigh or relief or stop breathing because of a stifling weight on your chest.

When I saw my SAT results, my heart sank when I saw the score for the maths section. I had done worse than I had anticipated and worse than I had the first time I did the test, even though I had spent the most time preparing for maths and going to costly tutoring lessons over the summer. What’s worse than getting a result below your expectations/what you had hoped for is getting a result that does not reflect how hard you felt you worked. The only way forward is to work even harder; it’s all blood, sweat and tears baby. The world is such a competitive place and the sad reality is that some people pick things up more easily than others and are gifted with memory and a natural flair for just… getting things.

My dad says my ineptitude in maths comes from him and its funny how we share the same academic strengths and weaknesses. I can say that I’m not a maths enthusiast and that’s fine- it just means that if I want to do well, I have to work harder than a lot of other people who just get it. 

But here’s the thing. There are two ways of looking at failure or being ‘good enough’. I hate that determining whether or not I’m doing ‘well’ in school rests on a comparison between myself and the achievement of others. I am ranked depending on my cohort, comprised of people regarded by their scores or a letter of the alphabet. I understand that’s the way things work- how can you say the tacos here are the best without trying the ones across the street? How can you say the fro-yo from Yo Mama is better than that of Tutti Frutti and Holly Brown without trying them all? See, I get it (except taco and fro-yo preferences are highly subjective). It’s hard to separate yourself from your report and the grades, yes, but it is crucial to remember that grades are so one-dimensional. We are all more than our ranks, jobs and positions. More than our PHDs, degrees and awards. We may fail by some conventional, societal or academic standards but ultimately, I’d like to agree with my grandmother: as long as you do your best, you’re doing well. Anybody who tells me otherwise or asks for more can go away. I am who I am, you are who you are and sometimes, how good you are at something or how well developed a skill or quality you have is much like deciding which fro-yo and what flavour tastes better than another. It’s relative. Thank God for the variety of life – everybody has something to offer!

With University a prospect not too far off (in fact drawing closer as the weeks fall away), the future is brought to the forefront of my mind and it is a daunting thing. It’s easy for thoughts to spiral out of control, spring boarding from one failure to another until the mountain of anxiety is seemingly insurmountable. But I need to remind myself to take a deep breath and realize that God has a plan for me. Even if I don’t get the scores I want and I don’t get accepted into the Universities I am pining after, it’s going to be okay. His way is the best way.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sobe xx
P.S Holly Brown’s frozen yogurt is to die for.