my journey with truth

Archive for the ‘confession’ Category

Phooey.

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.

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Fact: I own over 50 pairs of shoes.

I joined our church’s Financial Peace class in August, and before the first class I decided it would probably be a wise financial decision and a step toward resisting consumerism (which I got a big boost of help in resisting when I moved to a town without a Target – you seriously can’t go in that place without spending $100.  Lists be damned, you just can’t stick to them when they dangle that dollar section in your face and have such a good clearance and home furnishings section.  I can always justify a Target purchase… and that’s a problem).

But today marks four months without buying a pair of new shoes. I have only had maybe 2 situations where I truly felt upset about not being able to buy a pair of shoes I found.  And sometimes when I have to go to Walmart, it makes me sad that I can’t stop in Payless Shoe Source that shares the parking lot.  And then I get emails from Zappos.  And Piperlime.  And DSW Shoe Warehouse.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  I’ve been a very good girl this year four months.

An additional confession: I have railed against Crocs since my first encounter with them in college.  I maintained they are garden shoes and ugly though possibly okay for children because of the ease of getting them on.  My last pair of shoes bought before my year-long vow was a pair of purple Croc ballet flats.  FOR SHAME.  I secretly love them.  Not as much as the lavender maryjanes in the photo above.  But I definitely wear the Crocs more than those.

[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.

If I’m completely honest, I should say that sometimes I wonder if I’m going to end up alone.  And sometimes I wonder if the only way I won’t end up alone is to settle for not being alone as opposed to being with someone who truly delights me.  I’ve been thinking of these things especially since moving to Smithville.  At times it seems like the balance for loving this little town is that I have to give up finding someone while I live here, and so the more I long to stay here in this appointment for a longer duration, the more I feel like I am giving up some piece of my hope for a partner in this life.  Because we all know that you can’t have everything, that nothing is perfect.

Then I met my friend Tina and her husband Andy.  They are lovely.  I mean, Tina is my friend and all, so of course I like her.  And you’d think whoever she’s married to would have to be great.  But no, really.  They, together, are lovely and wonderful.  And their love story is delightful.  And everything about their story actually sounds like a sweet, sweet story you couldn’t write better, and Tina has said that everything she wanted in a partner she has in Andy – so they seriously are like the closest thing to perfect for each other.

One night, I confessed a little to Tina that there are times I feel like I should give up dreaming of some “perfect-for-me” guy.  And that at times the dreaming I do sort of feels like that scene towards the beginning of Practical Magic where Sally makes up characteristics about a man who is to be her true love, but all the characteristics are too much or too silly for one person to actually exist with them all.  So that even if I kept dreaming, what good would it do?  What man could fulfill 26 years of dreaming?  It’s not just unfair to me, it’s unfair to men, right?  So sometimes I think I should give up dreaming up with whom I want to share my life.

That’s when Tina was all “Bullshit.  Keep dreaming.”  And I thought of her and Andy.  And so I confessed to her that I actually had written a letter to Santa a little over a year ago, sort of as a catharsis as writing exercises often tend to be (hello, blog).  I said I should probably tell her the list because she’s obviously got good man mojo (and she actually kind of has generally good mojo for getting things done or bringing good to her when she’s made up her mind about something).  So here’s the letter for you all.  Judge me all you want.  Or find me this man:

Dear Santa,
All I want for Christmas is a man to share my life with.  He doesn’t need to want to get married right away, but I do not want a man who does not want me for the long-term.  It would be great if he could have as many of the following characteristics as possible:

  • wears a good cologne
  • calls me ‘sugar’ or any variation of ‘sugar’
  • perceives me as sassy and/or feisty and likes that about me
  • frequently be found to be wearing a dress shirt and tie, a dress shirt with a sweater over it, a dress shirt and sweater vest
  • have played football or soccer when younger, maybe baseball
  • be a really good kisser
  • doesn’t back down and is passionate about what he believes and loves
  • preferably not an only child
  • knows how to tease me about stupid stuff
  • holds my hand
  • has a dog, but not a crusty small kind (not required, but doesn’t like animals is a deal-breaker)
  • has a little bit of a fix-it gene of some sort, even if it is computer-related
  • gets me flowers every now and then
  • is Methodist? that may be asking too much.  Could you find one that understands my vocation and still loves me?
  • likes to dance
  • loves his family
  • likes to go out and be with friends
  • pushes me to be more outdoorsy
  • cares about broken things in the world
  • likes to travel and explore new places
  • cooks and likes to cook together, preferably with loud music in the background
  • lets me sit in his lap to do the crossword together
  • tells me lots of stories from when he was younger
  • likes to argue a little bit

I know this is a lot to ask, and I plan to keep thinking about it.  Of course, it’s probably too late for this Christmas, but maybe you could try by next year?

Lots of love and I’m trying to be a very good girl,
Lizzie

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.

So my friend Megan has had several personal victories lately, a couple while she was home over Thanksgiving break, and I really like that things have been going her way.  Because she’s awesome.  Boom.

But I really like when things go my way, and while I was home over the weekend, I had a HUGE personal victory of sorts, though I’m not sure I’m really categorizing this correctly.  For one thing, I should probably just go ahead and count this as a confession, because it’s actually pretty terrible that I’m so happy about the following story (but I am).

Over the weekend, while I was obsessively checking facebook Friday night, I got a courtesy message from facebook notifying me that this girl from my 5th grade class sent me a friend invite.  Here’s the thing, I wish the button didn’t say “not now.”  I wouldn’t even be satisfied with “reject” like back in the stone age facebook days.  Maybe if it said “Aw Heywul Noe” with a sassy pointed finger it might get close to how I feel, but perhaps the more polite but still truthful button would be “Are you kidding me?”  I just thought, this is going to feel SO GOOD when she feels my interwebs RE-JEC-TION!

But to be honest, I’m struggling.  I kind of secretly really want to write her a message in response.  It would go a little something like this:

Dear ________,
I was really surprised to see your facebook friend invite when I signed into my account tonight.  We haven’t really spoken or even really seen each other at all since 5th grade, having gone to different middle and high schools and all.  And to be honest, I was really grateful that we parted ways after only one year of schooling together.  Maybe you don’t remember, or maybe you’re looking for more facebook friends, or maybe you think I’m really funny and wish you had full access to my statuses (stati?  I’m not sure…) and pictures.  See, the problem I have, and the reason I don’t really understand if this is supposed to be a joke or not or if I should feel some sort of strange pressure to accept a facebook friendship, is that we weren’t friends.  This isn’t a long-lost high school thing 30 years after graduation.  This isn’t because we didn’t know each other.  We knew each other.  And you were mean to me.  Pointedly.  Every day.  I was the new kid having just moved from Austin, and vulnerable in every way; you were long-established in a class that had kept the same students together since kindergarten and in the popular clique, the queen bee so-to-speak.  You told me how ugly my clothes were and where I should shop, only that I wouldn’t be able to shop there because they didn’t carry my size.  When I tried to run for student council and concluded by saying not to vote based on popularity but because y’all should know I’d do a good job, you told me I basically just admitted to how unpopular I was.  We were 10.  We were 10 and you made me feel bad every day.  I got in trouble with my mom for shaving my legs for the first time without asking, and the only reason I did it was because I knew that you weren’t allowed to at all yet and I just wanted something that I could almost consider demeaning of you to hold onto inside.

That’s how twisted you made my 5th grade experience.

What world do you live in that you think I’m excited to see your face or care to have anything about your life pop up in a newsfeed?

Sorry, that was mean.  I can forgive you.  I shave my legs for a different reason now. My favorite jeans are from Walmart, and I still wear the same size I did in 5th grade only I’ve grown about 6 inches since then (though I still wish I could wear a 5, a 7, or a 9).  I won the election for student council vice-president in high school and was recognized the year after I graduated by a random sophomore girl at a party, and I won even though I wasn’t really popular in high school either.  I can forgive you.  But I’m sitting here crying as I write this because when I think of you, I think of how at least a whole year of my life was wasted on horrible days because of the way you made me feel.  I was 10 years old and felt so bad about my life, hated where I lived, felt anxious about school most days, and continued a vicious cycle of eating to console myself for feeling so fat.  I can forgive you, but we are not friends.  And I’m sorry if that’s mean.

For some reason, it’s been 4 days and I still haven’t pressed the “not now” button.  But I really can forgive her, and that’s a different kind of personal victory.

Today I cried and cried during church and after.  I cried during prayers, I cried during the Affirmation of Faith, I cried singing, I cried receiving communion, I cried in my car.

I was visiting Reconciliation UMC for a school project.

It was also my first time worshipping on a Sunday since coming back to school.  Yeah, I know.  I go to seminary.  There must be something wrong with me.  There have been a couple Sundays I tried and just… couldn’t.

I clapped (enthusiastically!) more than I probably ever have in a worship service.

Is it possible to feel embraced and lonely at the same time?



  • None
  • 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

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