my journey with truth

Archive for the ‘bad girl’ Category


Well, obviously the writing on Friday thing hasn’t been happening – I backdated my post about resolutions to the date I started it… almost 4 months later.  So it’s probably no surprise that much of the other stuff hasn’t been happening either.  I don’t think I’ve taken my iron pill this whole year.  I struggle with breakfast still, though right now I have a big ol’ stash of grapefruits and oranges (thank you, Texas citrus).  And the past few nights I’ve gone to bed with Grey’s Anatomy running on Netflix, though I have been blacking out the screen.  As though that makes me more normal or healthy.

And as for my shoe sobriety, well… I sort of cheated shortly after the last post.  See, there was this Ann Taylor LOFT sale.  And there were the world’s second cutest pair of shoes on sale for $18.  I know they are the world’s second cutest pair of shoes because I made my mom buy me the world’s cutest pair of shoes for Christmas.  But I haven’t worn the ones I bought, the second cutest.  So that’s almost like being shoe sober still, right?  Like, I bought the drugs but didn’t do them.  Yeah, that doesn’t sound good.  Phooey.


Eat breakfast every day.  It’s only fair to myself on a few levels – I’m constantly beating myself up for not losing weight or being better about my food intake and yet I skip breakfast all the time.  Part of the problem is that I sleep in and need to get to work and I don’t want to eat as soon as I arrive at work.  Part of the problem is that I don’t always keep fruit on hand.  So then I continue the eating terribly thing throughout the day because I tell myself that I didn’t have breakfast so there are more calories available to me (not enough for a veggie Tex Burger from Pockets and fried okra as much as I order those…).  And I get off on my food schedule and eat at 10pm for dinner or something and stay up late and sleep in.  It’s a vicious cycle and it doesn’t help me lose weight or focus for the day. And generally, take better care of my body: including taking my iron pill regularly (but not every day – it tears my body up to take it too often, and I’m not super anemic anyway).  See post below for another resolution which is in part about taking better care of my body.

Read before bed more nights of the week than I watch a movie/TV as I fall asleep.  There’s all kinds of research about how the light from TVs and computers doesn’t let your brain actually shift into the deepest sleep.  Plus it’s a bad habit.  Plus I always talk about wanting to read more fiction.  I’d like to read more non-fiction, too, but would want to do that during the day, maybe set aside a time in the week when I go sit somewhere in the sun or in public to read non-fiction, work stuff.

Write on Fridays.  Whether on my blog(s) or letters to friends or poetry or short stories or a screenplay or a letter to the editor, I want to spend time on my days off from work-work writing.  Sermons don’t count.

Tell more truth.  I feel like I have gotten away from this some, and maybe that’s why I’ve spent some time away from this blog.  I moved to a new place and started a new job, both of which are major things that can wear me down in the truth-telling realm of things.  I need friends and I want people in my new workplace to like me = not always being my most honest self in case people don’t like that.  The problem with that kind of behavior is that it makes you friends that you don’t actually want or need or like AND my job is one in which I am called to tell the truth and be my most honest self so that I can help others to be their most honest selves, too.  So, bad girl.  But it’s a new year and I’m seven months into this job and this place, so it’s time to stop acting like everything is ‘new’ and start being true to myself and my calling.

[WARNING: This one’s long.  What else is new?]

When I found out I was being appointed to Smithville First UMC, I was SO EXCITED.  I have had Smithville on my radar since we did a Neighbor 2 Neighbor one-day mission project roofing and painting houses when I was in middle school and of course “Hope Floats” is one of my favorite movies of all-time.  So naturally, I got online and started searching to find out everything I could about my new hometown.  The Chamber of Commerce website is awesome, and I learned all about the Rec Center, the dog park, the community gardens, Rowdy the Tiger mascot, Jamboree, etc.  The most exciting thing I learned about?  The annual Festival of Lights, which, by the way, is featured in the last scene of Hope Floats (see photos).

So when Karen, my senior pastor, asked if the youth might take lead on a float, I replied that I’d been dying to ask if we could do one for the church.  Then when I found out we have a member who drives trucks and would pull and big ol’ trailer for us with a cool cab, I was even more excited.  We had a conversation rather early in the summer with the women of ACE (Association of Citizens for Education, Smithville’s first education foundation to benefit SISD teachers with innovative teaching grants) where Karen had the idea that maybe we could support ACE with our float and give them a little free-ish publicity.  There were a couple cute ideas about giant papier-mache pencils and such tossed around, but not a huge convo.  Months passed, a huge fire broke out in case you didn’t know, and blah blah blah.  The closer the need to begin on the float got, I didn’t have any ideas for the church to fly solo that didn’t feel super cheesy.  It felt like all I could come back to over and over was a manger scene.  Let’s be real – ZZZZZzzzzzzzZZZZZzzzZzzZZzzzzzzz.

I mean, I know that’s the “reason for the season” but if I said there’s a Christmas parade in town and we’re going to do a float, what would you expect?  And see the funny thing about how you’re answer would be a manger scene is that the real-life, first Christmas manger scene was so unexpected.  God incarnate.  Sheesh.  But that’s a different soapbox for another day.  The Festival of Lights theme this year was “A Cowboy Christmas” and the best I could come up with was angels on horseback with cowboy hats on.  Not really.  That was my friend Nic’s idea.  That wasn’t ever really going to happen, obviously (only because they don’t allow animals in the parade.  Just kidding.  I’m obviously not that ridiculous.  Though somehow I sort of think the idea gets better when you imagine cowboy angels on stick-horseback).

I kept joking about how it was a shame there wasn’t a float-building class in seminary, but then I’d had some experience with floats when we lived in Comfort.  Anyway, it was like I had allllllll these ideas for an ACE-themed float, though.  So I approached Tina, my friend obsession of Smithville who happens to be the Vice President of ACE, and floated (ha) an idea by her scribbled on a napkin.  She was excited, really excited, and grateful for the church’s offer, but a little worried about the ambitious nature of the float scheme.  I was determined we could do it, described how we’d re-use a lot of stuff already lying around, and we went with it after approval from an ACE meeting.

Many, many, MANY, many hours of labor later, we had a rocking float.  Despite the fact that tempera paint doesn’t like to dry on felt, the threat/reality/threat of rain, the computer fritzing out on me when of course the projector is finally working, and about 15 logistical shifts and changes.  I think we went through 4 tubs of tempera paint, 200 straight pins, approx. 25 yards of felt, something like 40 packages of tissue paper between the chicken wire star and the apple pinata that had 2 incarnations, and I truly do not know how many strings of light; we hot-glued, we staple-gunned, we hammered, we un-screwed, we re-screwed, and sewed.

Tonight, we rode down Main Street for about 10 minutes at a speed of 5-ish miles per hour.  It was exhilarating.  There is something magical about Christmas lights.  There was something magical about driving past beauty queens as we moved to our spot in the line-up.  There is something really fun about riding on a trailer, four and a half feet up in the air with your legs dangling over, waving at a bunch of people waving back.  Not to mention, there’s something SUPER SATISFYING about winning the “Most Beautiful Local Lighted Float” on your first try (especially when you were working on a Friday night til 12:30am on it, and got up in the morning to work on it, gave up a Saturday afternoon earlier in the month, and wrangled youth to work on it for 2 Wednesday nights, besides the nagging the congregation for help and lights, etc.).   That’s right.  My float was the prettiest!  At the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS!

If you thought that’s what this post is about, you’re wrong.  There’s nothing hard about telling you my idea and execution of it got a prize at the local parade.  No… it’s the part of the story I left out so far that is painful and a little embarrassing to tell.

So.  I kept telling people we needed to leave the church at 6 in order to get in the line-up in time to be considered by the judges for prizes, “not that I think we’ll win one, but just because for all the effort we’re putting in, it would be a shame to get there too late to possibly win a prize.”  I went back and forth internally about it, though.  Sometimes I thought “THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME – NO ONE CAN BEAT THISSSSSS” and then I’d think “OHMYGOSH, the Festival of Lights is a really big deal.  People are going to show up with all kinds of crazy coolness and I’m going to have put everyone through this for what?  Some PR?  Some feel-good mojo?”  Something clicked this afternoon.  Maybe it was after we’d come up with our book cover and tracing it out with the aid of the projector turned out as cool as it did.  Maybe it was once the lights went on.  Maybe it was when the apple pinata showed up or the awesome kiddos or the school desks Michele Rutherford just happened to have in her garage to lend us.  I suddenly had an extreme desire to win.  And a confidence that we could.  We just might.  Holy moly.  Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee (high-pitched almost-dolphin noise of glee).

We get down to the line-up and I begin my obsession of trying to figure out if the judges have already gone by.  Then we see this big ol’ white, 4-door ram with the “Judges” magnet pull up next to us and I get all kinds of waving and smiling going on.  Tina shouts out “THIS ONE!  This float is NUMBER ONE!  NUMBER ONE!  Look at this float!  It’s number one!” and we’re laughing and all.  And then it happens.  I see that they’re trying to find out what float number we are in line.  I literally see the front passenger judge’s mouth make the shape for the words “What number are they” and crane around to see where our number is posted.  And then it happens.  The kiddos in front of us who are marching in the parade to rep for the safe-walk to school program (like safety patrol?) hold up their #12 paper, and the judge stops craning and I hear not just see her say “Oh, they’re twelve.”  I am about 1000-238,406% positive they were looking for OUR number.  The kids were cute, they had on reflective vests and some strings of light and stop signs, and their cause is super respectable.

So I did what any self-respecting pastor competitive freak would do and sent one of the youth to run after the judges’ truck and clarify that the FUMC/ACE float is number 13 (lucky 13) in case they wanted to know.  He comes back and it’s clear he went to the registration table, not the judge’s truck.  I think “surely if we win, it’ll be clear it’s us and not them.”  Yes, I just referred to the little elementary safety kids as “them.”  See the scratched out words above.

The judges’ truck comes back around maybe 10 minutes later and they hand a prize out the window to the library lady who was with the safety kids and say “You won for ‘Most Beautiful Local Lighted Float'” and the library lady does a happy dance and I say aloud “WHAT?” (not shouted, but aloud) to Tina, who I don’t think heard me when I talked and talked and TALKED about how I thought the judges got our number wrong.  She, like a good momma should, shushes me and is like “Lizzie.  Be nice” thinking I’m reacting because I’m a sore loser, which I guess would be true either way, but it wasn’t that I thought the kids weren’t worthy of getting it if the judges were going to fall for that sort of thing.  It was the sting of possibly winning and then not getting to actually win.

So, as any self-respecting pastor competitive freak and J as opposed to P in the Myers-Briggs schema would do, I sent the same youth (who had now seen the truck in question in person) after the judges truck to innocently ask “So who won the prize?”  He came running back to and (bless his little honest heart) unflinchingly approached the library lady who was informing Jill Strube that they’d “won” that in fact, “the judges said the ACE float won,” thus confirming my theory that the judges had mistaken who was with whom and which number was which in the line-up.

Here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure Tina was right to tell me to be nice.  Because somewhere deep down, I wouldn’t have been okay with the cute, sweet, safety kids with their vests and stop signs and little strings of lights beating my almost 30-foot float with hand-maid, mostly re-used materials.  Yeah, that’s me trying to justify myself by pointing out that we tried to be as green as possible in the making of our float and that while of course a little group of kids walking down the street can’t compare to a classic 1960’s Ford cab and 30 feet of lit-up trailer behind it no matter what else we’d put on it, at least we weren’t one of the manufactured floats like the beauty queens and all ride on.  I’ve seen the websites where you can buy that stuff.  Really, I should kind of be ashamed of myself.  But I’m mostly really excited we won.  Which is totally sick, I guess.

Note: there is a fire blazing less than 4 miles from where I live right now.  I have evacuated (not mandatory), driven with a cat in my lap (he spilled water in his carrier and while I tried to wangle cleaning it up while driving, he got out and nestled in my lap), returned, gone to volunteer only to be turned away til later tonight, and can’t get much or any cell phone reception so I’ve texted the people most interested in my whereabouts.

What did I turn to do next?  Oh that’s right – like many days of my life, when not sure what to do now, I started googling old boyfriends.  By boyfriends, I don’t mean boyfriends.  And by that I don’t mean friends that are boys either.  A startling truth I’m not really quite willing to fully spell out here just now is that I’ve never had a real boyfriend, but I’ve been in several long- and short-term relationships.  That being said, let’s just say they are ex-boyfriends or at least ex-interests for the sake of a simpler post (I promise calling them that is not really an un-truth).

So yes, you read correctly.  I just spent 30 minutes looking up the current whereabouts and jobs and pictures of an old flame.  I have no idea why that was my inclination just now.  The bigger picture here being I don’t really understand why that’s ever my inclination.  Especially when I confess to you that this person in particular is always a painful recollection.  Ok wait.  As I typed that, this little part of my brain said in my head “yeah, but he was also a particularly wonderful moment albeit a blip on the radar.”  Which is true.  I mean, when I think of this guy, I have such funny stories to tell, all of them vividly – how we met, what he said at dinner that night, what I was wearing, where we were and which table we were sitting at in the Green Leafe when he first brushed my hand with his hand and then took it, the voicemail he left the night of the 2006 midterm elections asking me if I wanted to come over to eat spaghetti and then all that happened when he came over to Meg and my election party.

But the point is I also remember watching him walk out the door of the Leafe many months later with a married woman (though I don’t know what happened next but I know she was throwing herself at him while wasted the week I met him), and I remember him walking into sorority court to watch the queen’s visit with a brunette, and I remember him never calling me back after winter break, and before winter break I remember the night we got dinner at Ukrop’s and went by his apartment to pick something up and when he tried to kiss me I pulled away because I’d had a cold and didn’t want to give it to him before finals and I’ve spent way too many hours wishing I’d gone ahead and let him kiss me then because I loved all the other kisses so much and was that why he stopped calling?  Did he think I was playing games?  I also remember how I found out he was married (which is actually a pretty ironic story).  And I remember how during homecoming a couple years ago I had to stop and catch my breath with Charlotte when some of the guys said they’d just run into him and his wife and did we want to meet up and part of that was the messed up fact that I knew I was in the same place as him basically.  He was the kind of guy and the kind of fall that made it hard to breathe when he walked into the Rec Center I was so nervous and excited and hopeful we’d have another date.

How can a person who was in my life for only weeks, who yes, shared a lot in common and was incredibly charismatic by nature but was on the complete COMPLETE opposite side of the political sphere – well, wait.  That’s not true.  He was passionate.  And engaged.  And that’s not the opposite of me, and I know I am much more attracted to a person who is passionate about what they believe in and advocate than someone who technically shares my beliefs and is apathetic or inarticulate.  Point being, how can a person who was in my life for only weeks have such a hold on me in this way?  I saw his picture and broke out into a huge grin.  I saw his picture and my heart rate sped up ever so slightly.  And then I thought “He probably has children now” as though that is what makes this so messed up.  What?

It’s almost as though I open and reopen the wounds from old boyfriends or whateverfriends because if I don’t leave them alone then I won’t get scars.  Why else would I drudge all of this up at random?  What is the point of reminiscing on this?  I mean, part of me thinks it’s worse to act like none of the good, none of the whatever it is that still sort of makes my heart speed up, can be good anymore because of the bad or the hurtful or the left undone.  I don’t want to become the bitter version of this where when I bump up against a memory of this I can’t even think of it fondly but act as though whole chunks of time were lost or wasted.  But part of me thinks it’s INCREDIBLY disturbing that I waste time on things and thoughts like this and him and us.  And don’t even get me started on the time wasted on what I’d say or do if I ran into him at the airport, at homecoming, at random anywhere.

So, how does one heal from love wounds?  By keeping reminiscing (without generating new stuff by way of the magical interwebs) until the heart just keeps on beating and you can laugh about the funny part without wanting to tell people the story?  How do you embrace scars without becoming scarred in the embittered sense?

P.S. I’m hoping this post will help keep me accountable to never googling or searching him again.  Or at least for like 10 years.

A long time ago, I lied to my Aunt Judy.

I thought I was doing something right in one sense, that it would save my life, in fact.  But in the end, it was an incredibly destructive lie.

I was about 7 years old.  And I told Aunt Judy that I couldn’t spend the night at her house because my mom said so.  It was just like what you had to say to friends who invite you over sometimes, it made sense to me.  Also, it was as simple as this: Mom’s word is final in all things (right?) so if I tell Aunt Judy that Mom said so, there is no room for argument.

Here’s the thing – Aunt Judy believed me.  And the other thing is that my mom never said I couldn’t go over to Aunt Judy’s house.  And beyond that, the problem is that my Aunt Judy and my mom have had relationship rifts in their lives, like sisters do, and without being an expert on their relationship (only they are) I am still pretty sure that my lie aggravated some of those rifts.  I did damage that day.  All on my own with my (big) little lie.

You see, Aunt Judy smoked.*  And I had seen all the films at school that documented the damage that happens to your lungs, turning them black like tar, giving you cancer, sometimes making your gums and tongue basically rot.  It was the high age of public service announcements and public health initiatives regarding second-hand smoke as well, and I got a full education between public school and the Public Broadcasting Service after-school programming.  I was absolutely convinced, sure to my core, certain in my heart of hearts that spending time at Aunt Judy’s house was going to kill me.

I’m not kidding.  I held my breath around her for as long as I could when she had a lit cigarette, taking in as few breaths as possible.  I would fret during the nights leading up to planned overnight visits, losing sleep in anticipation of losing my life.  I would sometimes even build myself up to have ‘the talk’ with Aunt Judy.  Instead of the wise and experienced adult explaining the birds and the bees, it would be the passionate and panicked child explaining the smoke and the sudden death.  But I never did have the talk with her for real.  The few times I brought up quitting, she quickly dismissed them.  I drew on facts and figures regarding her healthful prospects, but she would talk around them, assert her autonomy of choice mostly from what I recall.  I never just told her the truth.  I never said, “Aunt Judy, when you smoke, you’re killing me.”  Which, seven years old and weighed down with anxiety, was true in more than one way.

Instead, I lied – I said, “My mom won’t let me sleep over at your house.”  And even though my older sister (who may have had even deeper fears and anxieties in our childhood) and I spent many more nights over at Aunt Judy’s, she has always held onto that lie I gave her.  I can’t blame her for holding onto it, not only because I was the perpetrator of the lie.  Laying down a mother’s law like that was a much bigger deal than I understood at the time.

I never just told her the truth, though it’s true that smoking and second-hand smoke is bad.  It’s true your lungs really do turn black like tar, lung cancer is fast and furious in its destruction, and your mouth and all that is in it comprises the front line in a terrible war.  The truth really is that smoking is bad, and it will rapidly accelerate your death.  That is all truth.  And the truth was that I didn’t want to go over to Aunt Judy’s house.

Instead of telling the truth, I lied.  Ironically, that lie has worked its way into my familial ties like a cancer.

*I should say that my Aunt Judy gave up smoking a couple years ago.  While it’s exciting that I don’t ever hold my breath at Aunt Judy’s house anymore, it’s way more exciting that she has chosen this other life.  Also, the picture below is my mom and my Aunt Judy bonding over ebay.

I did something bad tonight.  Bad. Bad. Bad.

I bought a bridal magazine impulsively while heading toward the check-out line at the grocery store.  STUPID!  Bad. Bad. Bad.  Bad girl.

I am not getting married in the near future.  I do not have a fiance.  I do not have a boyfriend.  Bad. Bad. Bad girl.

The crazy thing is that I’m not itching to get married right away.  I’m not saying I wouldn’t marry my next big relationship, I just would like more time actually.  If possible.  But you know, I would really like a big fluffy dress and pretty pretty flowers and a handsome nice-smelling man standing at the end of an aisle.  And I kind of secretly think “Sparkplug Minuet” from the soundtrack to The Royal Tenanbaums would make an amazeballs processional.  But not-so-secretly, I want to get married in a church, and I don’t know that soundtrack music flies in a church.  And it would be kind of hard to acquire all the musicians and recreate it.  And besides all that, a song from The Royal Tenanbaums soundtrack kind of looks/sounds stupid logistically or whatever in the first place.  ANYWAY.  Bad girl.  Because, and this is a big truth for me to tell, when I say that I kind of don’t want to marry my next big relationship but would if it was right, it is because I’ve never had a big relationship.

I’ve been on many stereotypical dates.  I’ve given out my number and been called.  I was in college once upon a time, for crying out loud.  I’ve smooched some (read: a lot of?) boys.  I’ve played the role of girlfriend for at least 3 boys, long-term, without ever actually being their girlfriend.  Which they made clear in what was I guess our non-breakup breakup talk.  I’ve also been what felt like a fake girlfriend to 2 guy friends, one long-distance, one close-up.  And by that I mean that people thought we were dating.  And there were times with those boys I was confused and thought I might have feelings for them, and it finally made sense to me that actually I had feelings for real dating, which we were only faking.

So I’d like a real, live boyfriend that wants me to be his real, live girlfriend.  And it may end up that we have a real, live breakup.  And that’s ok.  And it may end up that my first real, live, long-term relationship ends with a wedding, which might freak me out more than a breakup, actually.  But in that case, maybe it wasn’t so bad that I was bad tonight – that magazine might come in handy after all.


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  • myjourneywithtruth: i had it in my office at my internship in Corpus Christi two summers ago. ellen davis is brilliant and glows with an aura of holy.
  • amy h: i love this quote. i think i may need it hanging on my wall where i'll see it daily. perhaps in front of the toilet? by the door? bedside table? i'll
  • chaz: That post made me really sad too. Mostly because I want to take young Lizzie by the shoulders and shake her (gently?) into sublime realization that sh