Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where is My Community?

Last week, my neighbor suddenly and very tragically lost her little family member.  He was killed on a different continent, so she wasn't able to be there with her family to put her family member to rest. Since then, I have seen what the phrase "mourn with those who mourn" really means. There has been a constant stream of visitors, bringing food and milk for tea and staying with her. My friend said to me, "This is how we are: we are a community. We come together in tragedy. One person loses someone and we all suffer pain for their loss."

My heart still cries for my friend and neighbor. I've learned from her strength and from her sense of community. Most of all, I've learned that I lack a real community.

I'll pause here, because if my mom is reading my blog she'll be saying, "It's your fault for moving so far away from the family!" While it's true that I moved away, I'd like to point out the fact (as a general rule, not necessarily for me) that your family isn't always part of this inner circle, this community. I have family members that might not even say hello to me if they saw me on the street out of sheer indifference.

Someone else will be saying, "Your church is your community." While mourning with those who mourn and recognize that The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21) is part of what my particular branch, as well as many other branches of Christianity profess, I don't particularly feel a sense of family with them like I witnessed at my neighbor's house.

So I guess my follow up question from my last post about friendship is this: how does one form a community? How do you learn to care for those around you and have them care for you to the point where a community is formed, a family is forged and a bond is created?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gym Clothing: Deliberate Disorder

They other day I was getting ready to go to the gym, when I made a sobering realization: I put more effort into choosing my gym clothes than I do my everyday clothes.

Now this may surprise some of you that have seen me at the gym or running at the park. I usually look like crap, in a race tee or an old tank top and black shorts or black shorts. What you don't know is the thought that goes into the selection of those pieces.

  • SPORTS BRA: This is the most important article of clothing. What exercise will I do today? Plyometrics? Running? Interval training? Then I need my most supportive bra. These girls like warm hugs, just like Olaf.  If I'm going to be doing something less bouncy, like Leg Day or Yoga or sometimes even Spin (if the room is dark), medium support works.  Also important to check for with the bra is the temperature outside if you'll be doing anything outdoors. If so, make sure you have at least least some padding up front. You don't want to be anyone's weather vane.
  • UNDERWEAR: If you fall in the "commando" category, this is not a category for you. This is like bras in that it depends on the activity I'm doing. Depending on what it is, I pick thong, bikini, built- ins, or boy cut. Anything else is unacceptable. Then it's material. I have a few different materials, each are promised that they won't ride up (all lies).
  • SHORTS: From there I go to shorts, which is my most hated piece of clothing, because it covers my most hated area of my body. I own a lot of soccer type shorts and a lot of yoga type pants. I layer a lot because many of them (both kinds) don't pass the Bend Test) anymore.  Really, the way I choose this item is which one I hate the least at that particular moment, and if it doesn't pass the Bend-Test, I'll put some Lycra under it.
  • TOP: The top should be something that covers my muffin top, if the shorts I chose emphasize my muffin top. If I'm feeling particularly weak that day, I pick a shirt from a race that was hard for me because it reminds me that I am, despite how a feel at that moment, pretty tough. If I am working arms, no matter how I feel, I pick a tank top.  Now, if the tank top has a razor back then I have to make sure that the bra has a razor back. Another thing, I need to make sure that the top and the bra aren't clashing colors. It would ruin a workout if I discovered that I wore a pink bra and I had on a red shirt (it's happened and it did).
  • SOCKS: I enjoy wearing long socks even though they look a bit silly. I also enjoy wearing socks that feel like they are being wrapped in an angel's tears swaddled in clouds. Okay, I exaggerate, but I do suggest that if you have foot issues that you stop buying a pack of 10 socks for $6 at Walmart and go spend $15 for one pair of socks at a sports store. It literally hurts your heart to buy socks that cost that much but it's the best money you'll ever spend on your feet. So I pull on silly long socks or expensive ugly socks and neither of those match anything else I'm wearing.
  • SHOES: I used to have one pair of shoes for running and one pair for the gym but now I just have the one for the gym, so this step goes quickly, unless my kid has decided to hide my shoes.
 She couldn't pick the right clothes, either!

You see? It's quite an ordeal? When getting dressed for the day, besides my foundation clothing, I ask myself , "Do you care today?" If the answer is yes, I try to put on decent clothes. If the answer is no, track pants and a tee.  I don't know when the gym became so much more complicated than my life, but I think this is a sobering thought that I should really spend more time thinking about. But first, I'd better do some cardio!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Inorganic Friendship

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I think so much about friendship. (I realize my obsessive tendencies encourage this kind of crazy thinking, yes). Not the we-
say-happy-birthday-on-facebook kind of friend, but the I'd-take-a-bullet-for-you type.
The reason this came about is because I have recently (in the past few years) acquired a friend. It feels like we should be closer, but we aren't. There is an unspoken awkwardness to our relationship that simply can't exist in order to have a deep bonded friendship.
Why does that bother me?
I feel like so few people really care about me and know me at that level that when I think it may happen, it's such a gift. Having something be so close, yet unattainable is like taking a kid to a candy store and buying him one of those honey sticks they keep near the counter: still sweet, still yummy, but it ain't no haystack.
There comes a point in every close friendship I have in which I consciously made a decision, "That person is going to be my friend."

I've discovered there are 3 types of people in my top tier.
(1) Rarely is the decision made as soon as we meet. I can name US, AL, RR, AW, OV, maybe one or two more in the span of 39 years. But the point is, I remember thinking as a 12 year old, "I like that new girl Rachel. We will be friends."  I remember attending a new church and deciding, without even having met, that the pianist would be my friend. I make a decision and act accordingly.

(2) Other times, it takes a while, like in any other relationship. Some friends, some of my dearest friends, I had known for a while and when they sufficiently said or did enough things that I like, then I make that decision. This happened with most of my buddies.

(3) There is one other way in which I have decided that people were top tier friend quality: The Mortal Enemy. These people are the ones that rub me the wrong way from day 1, yet something happens over the course of time that makes me realize that the decision must be made to let them in. Usually these friends turn out to be the ones who keep me on my toes and make me think. Many times they are the ones who can get away with teasing me and dishing back the stuff I usually dish out, because I decided that was ok when I chose them as friends.

So many people talk about friendships like they talk about love: it just "happened" or it was "love at first sight."
I don't believe that either of those things are true in aros - romantic love, so why should it be true for philia - friendship love?

If I choose you, you won't know at first. Don't worry, I'm not a crazy stalker lady. Well, I'm no stalker, at the very least. I just need to choose friends very very carefully, because I choose friends for life. Of those I have ever held in that esteem, very few of us have lost contact.

Seriously, I sound like a lunatic...

Are there people out there that just let friendship grow organically? Is that the common manner in which friendships are conceived? Because I wish I could have that same point of view...

So that's my question: Organic or Inorganic?

Angenette / Neti / Cui

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My given name is Angenette. I like to be called Neti. My family calls me Cui. You can call me anything you like (except late to dinner).