Epiphanies at Twenty: I Procrastinate Way Too Much

This one just hit me. It’s 7:22 in the morning and I haven’t been to sleep yet. I just couldn’t. I’m tired, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I had the lights off, I had music on. I fall asleep to music every night, but last night, it just wasn’t working. Honestly, I’ve been having trouble sleeping for a while now. I just get really restless at night and I can’t sleep until around 3 am. 

At 3am this morning I was on my second episode of a drama I’ve been wanting to watch. I thought it would help me sleep. I was tired anyway. I think I’m on episode four right now. I stopped half way to see if I could try to sleep again. Didn’t work. I got on the phone and called Discover student loans and asked them how quickly they could get funds to my school if I took a loan from them. They said around eight business days. The deadline to pay for fall tuition is this Friday. 

What the hell is wrong with me? What have I been doing this whole month? Is there some reason I didn’t take care of this earlier? The only thing I have to keep me busy is my one part-time job. About twice a week I make dinner. Why the hell didn’t I do this earlier? Watching Doctor Stranger only took three days. The other things I’m watching don’t have all the episodes out yet so I have to wait for them. It’s not my newly found social life either, or my boyfriend (I have one now). I’m such a…ugh. How did I ever make it through school up to now?

Epiphanies at Twenty: Laughter Is a Cover-Up

I was asked once how come I’m so happy. I was taken back by this question and wondered why it was thought that I was happy. I asked. What makes you think I’m happy? The response I got was that I was always laughing. Hmm. I thought about that. I do laugh a lot. Laughing is something I like to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m a happy person. I’m not a happy person. 

The truth is I use laughter as a sort of disguise for whatever negative feeling I have, whether it’s sadness or anger or loneliness. I laugh because it makes me feel better. If even for just a moment, laughter allows me to forget that I am sad, or that I’m frustrated, or that I miss my mother. I scroll down my Facebook feed, watch funny videos, and laugh my ass off. I watch dramas, and those take to me to an entirely different place, where I lose myself in the lives and minds of fictional characters. 

Laughter has begun to lose its touch though. I’ve come to realize that I’m using it intentionally, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the things I have to do and the people I have to deal with, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the responsibilities I’m acquiring as I grow older. While I’m watching that funny video on Facebook I’m still thinking. There’s a voice in my head reminding me that the real world is still there waiting for me, and that I will have to look at it again when I’m done laughing. The videos don’t even work anymore; they’re not that funny. My smile doesn’t last long after they’re over. 

I guess to someone observing me from a distance I appear to be a happy person. I smile and laugh a lot, I make other people laugh, and I always keep the mood light. I think I do this because I need to, because I need something different from my list of worries. When I’m around people outside of home I’m fine. I can be light and funny. Other than that I just mope really. Sometimes I try to write in my journal, but there are no words I know that can express whatever is going on with me. Today a friend asked me what was wrong. I told him there were too many things. Then I told him I would like to know. It would be good if I knew what was wrong with me. That way I could tell him.

Epiphanies at Twenty: People Aren’t Perfect, They’re People

I’ve always felt pressured to follow the rules, to stay out of trouble and be good. I grew up being known as a good girl, and even the other day was called one of the good ones. I’ve always been polite to everyone, and I treated people the way I wanted them to treat me. When guys swore around me they would always apologize saying they forgot that I was there, or one would tell the one who swore to stop because a Christian girl was present. People thought I was a Christian before I became one.

When I did become a Christian, a real one, I followed the rules more strictly. There were a lot of them too. I tried hard to be the best Christian I could be, and that meant being a perfect Christian. When Jesus said to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, I took that very seriously. It was my mission, so to speak. I would do everything right, and become perfect. Needless to say, I failed — miserably.

While I was on my way to being perfect, I used to look with disapprobation at others I thought weren’t doing it right. I used to look at what they were wearing, how they spoke, and the way they behaved. I don’t think I ever considered myself as better, in fact I hated being praised by the elders of the church. I did, however, dislike the feeling that I was the only one trying to be good, to do well, to follow all the rules properly.

The thing is, my father was raised strictly, and he raised my sisters and I the same way. We were to do as we were told, and if we didn’t we would feel it (take a guess at to what it was). Then I ended up going to a church that was also very strict — another follow-the-rules type of upbringing — and I was fine with it. It was what I was used to; you tell me what I need to do, and I do it. And it worked, that is, when I had faith in the one making the rules.

I had always been taught that God was perfect, that He never made mistakes. He knew everything, and He was everywhere. Nothing could be hidden from Him. He was all-everything. So was the Bible. It was the word of God, His love letter to man. We got closer to God by studying His word daily and making it a part of our lives. This was fine too, until three years into my Christian walk I started to realize that something was off.

It turned out the Bible did contradict itself, contrary to what everyone at church said. To any seeing eye, there were things in the Bible that clearly contradicted each other, and I don’t care if they’re only numbers from Numbers and Ezra, or Numbers and Leviticus, or whatever two books I saw the numbers in that didn’t match. Something is either infallible, or it isn’t. While I used to roll my eyes in my head at atheists and other non-Bible believers for not understanding what was so clearly written in the Bible, I started to feel a bit unsettled. There were things wrong that couldn’t be explained away, and apparently everyone knew, but they were all ignoring them. The ones who didn’t believe had good reason for not believing.

I started to fall away a little. Everything started to look different; the Bible, our devotional, the sermons. It was all wrong. The thing I’d been building my life on wasn’t what I thought it was, and I was using it to judge people, and myself.

I took a step back, a tiny step, and I kept walking backwards, looking at things differently, thinking about them differently. I started to not take things so seriously, and to see more and more that people make mistakes. People make a lot of mistakes. I had, my parents had, my friends had. That doesn’t make us wicked or terrible people. We’re still people just the same.

It’s okay to wear nail polish. It’s okay to listen to music that isn’t gospel. Some people are a bit more stylish than others, that doesn’t mean they’re farther away from God. So what if someone wears jewellery? As long as they don’t let that take away from their relationship with God. God doesn’t judge by outward appearance, why are we? People who swear still need love, and they know how to give it too. People with tattoos aren’t bad or anything, maybe they just like tattoos. There isn’t anything wrong with them. And it’s not the worst thing in the world to have sex before you get married. That’s a touchy one, and I think I am going to wait, but I hate feeling like someone has less worth for doing that. The person is still a person. Not that I’m completely okay with all of this, and everything still has its place, but people who do things we aren’t in support of are still people who need other people. So they’re not perfect, so they don’t fit our standard or suit our taste. They’re still people, and we need to think of them as people. I want to think of them as people.

I’m sorry that it took me this long to realize all this, and that I hadn’t been very understanding of others before (although it was just in my head), but here I am at twenty years old, finally coming to terms with the fact that I’m not perfect, that people aren’t perfect, that all of us are just people.

Lightning

I like lightning and wish it would strike through me
Cut me open and let me see what’s inside me
What made me feel like a walking disaster
Death on two feet
Wearing smiles
A mask of deceit
I wish lightning would strike me
So I could feel the cold of the earth