la cucaracha

“sometimes the beauty of my people is so thick and intricate. i spend days trying to undo my eyes so i can sleep.” ― Nayyirah Waheed

Month: May, 2013

So I’m driving. And I’m driving next to

So I’m driving. And I’m driving next to a truck that is obviously killing the planet with all the smog it exerts. But,

All my windows are down, and apart from the smell of pollution, I’m enjoying this new [rented] car I get to drive while my own gets fixed (another story in itself), and the breeze is a soft hand on my cheeks as I drive home. 

My heart starts pounding, and I know God is getting excited. But I just feel him looking at me. My memory does a spin, and I begin to go through everything that has happened this past year in very fast motion. The feelings attached to each memory also roll through. So, I’ve always been really terrible at a couple of things: remembering dates where significant things happen, multi tasking, and remembering names. But tonight, my heart beat remembered that exactly a year ago it almost stopped beating. The wind kept rolling in, kept tickling my nose. God was so excited, I could not help but join into his celebration with great laughter. 

The truck is still next to me. But, in with the wind came a strong waft of a rose field. I’m not even sure if there is such a thing, rose fields. But I think God has them. And for about ten minutes we just sat there and celebrated life with His heavenly scent. About five minutes before I had to turn to get home, the scent left. But we kept driving and talking our hearts out. 

I love that I can’t remember, but he does. And he remembers all my favorite things. 

He’s my favorite, and the beat he makes in my heart.

 

To Our Fathers:

You are the loving wave of the passerby at the bus stop, a smiling break from a tightly wound up day. The only reason I grew to enjoy Christmas is because you taught me that life is a celebration: and so you should take it slowly with lots of cookies and morning cuddles. And every day I have remembered your words, engraved between the lines of my heart, and when I feel like throwing a big tantrum on the kitchen floor of life after everything I tried to cook up burnt up, instead, I throw my hands up in the air like you used to do to lift me up into the sky, and let out a big laugh. Those were the moments that opened a window within me to receive the love of my Heavenly Father. Thank you.

The redemptive love that you showed me that day I took my first breath is a gift that has shaped my heart into the fountain of gratitude it is today. You chose to memorize the lines of my little hands and the way my nose scrunched up like yours sometimes does when you’re thinking. You stepped on that last cigarette butt on my birthday because your spirit told you that the second extraordinary treasure in your life had been born. And you loved me with your eyes, with all the skepticism that still remained in them. And you loved me with your arms that could not stop shaking from the natural way in which my head fit between your chest and the fold of your arm. You loved me with every part of you; you loved me with your very backbone each time you bent over my crib to rescue me from the misery my young stomach was in, and with your very silence, loving me even in my crankiest state, knowing that behind a scowl, a frown, a tantrum, there was a huge heart that knew how to reflect, absorb, and store the beauty of the Kingdom of God.

Nearly a lifetime ago, we fell in love with each other. It’s been an honor to get to know your heart, as it loved me even when I didn’t know how to love myself. To have you sit silently by my side that night I forgot that love was redemptive, even the one that existed in me. Today, understanding that maybe your silence was your way of begging God to teach me about what was really inside of me. I’m still a little foggy as to who you have been to the world, but to me you have been a prayer. And as I’ve recently realized, prayer is the most beautiful and intimate expression our beings can involve themselves in. I pray that your own Father writes and displays Himself within the lines of your heart, and His silence holds you every night: the nights where you forget the vast beauty and love that reside within you and the nights where “beauty” becomes loosely defined in dialogue with the world. I pray you come to feel your head fall perfectly between His chest and the fold of His arm, and if your head decides to throw back, that your lips would laugh in celebration and gratitude of the magnificent life that you are.

Wherever you are, may your skin burn the same way mine does when I open up our favorite book and take a deep breath before opening it to the first page. A reminder that that even when some days seem to nag more than the need to clean my room, I know how to breathe because there was a day when I took your breath away.

The “everything in between”

For the past couple of days I’ve been staring at a blank text box, hoping that something would come to me. Eventually, the blank box only became a portal for my imagination to run wild. It’s kind of frustrating since I feel my fingers tingling, my heart thumping, my throat getting tight with emotion, and my mind…. Mind? Where are you… Where did that mind go off to this time…?

Well, now I’m sitting here and every lightbulb is off shining light on every other far away land except under my hood, leaving me to just a bright screen, lots of homework, and a warm keyboard. As a relief from this situation, I decided to just type and see what comes out of it. Basically, you will be the subject to a moment of freedom of thought, and my little experiment here might even take me to a place I don’t often visit: peaceful vulnerability. By that I mean, opening up without outlining a thesis, claims, and their respective supporting details and then relating to you my little thoughts essay. If you haven’t realized by now, there’s a control freak that is slowly moving out of the apartment of my head, so there are times that she still likes to chime into my daily life. The control freak and my passionate lady get into a lot of hair-pulling fights. I’ve also been hanging out with myself a lot these past couple of days. To be fair and honest, I’m getting kind of sick of this girl here… I need some alone time… wait….

No, but actually, this alone time has been kind of excruciatingly wonderful. I know God is chuckling over there in some corner, as he watches me discover things about myself that I had never noticed that I do on a regular basis before. Like, if I’m writing and my pen accidentally glides too far and makes a very thin mark the white line, I will cross out the whole word to get rid of that little mark that looks like a mosquito had an unfortunate landing. I noticed how I do this, and I thought it was probably the most ridiculous thing in the world. Or, how I randomly get quiet in the middle of a conversation and forget that I’m talking to someone because I’m off chasing a butterfly in the back of my head. Or that I’m in love with order, but I’m so comfortable sleeping in the middle of a bedroom where towers of clothes eat up the floor and books make a ladder leading to the bed: a peaceful heart at home within chaos.

So here’s this crazy girl, with crazy dreams and passions, with crazy love that she 99% of the time doesn’t even know where to put it, and…. Now I’m talking in third person? Marianthy loves cheese. My favorite food is eggplant. Well, and obviously cheese. I wonder if after this post I’ll get a million eggplants in the mail. I’m not really sure how I connected one thing with the other right there…

Here’s an eggplant for you: Image

OHHhmG. You know what I don’t understand? Why we would get so hung up on chivalry in the first place. Did you know how well women were treated in the Middle Ages, when the code of chivalry was developed??? They were basically livestock. Part of the livestock that the lords of the land owned and had to protect against viking invaders. But they were only extra protected because they gave the lords boy babies and their daughters could be married off to become seals of peace between lords. The code of chivalry was developed out of a need to protect goods. Not women. So why would society ever want to keep that idea alive? Women should be protected. Our hearts should be protected by men: to honor the very life and vibrancy that resonates within. Our spirits should be protected by men: to bring unity and peace into the world through the conservation of intimacy between one man and one woman. Our bodies should be protected by men: because they are the holiest temple, just like theirs is too. But not out of a personal desire for manipulation, control, and use. “Chivalry is dead”, well, not so much. The same drive prevails within society, but if you ask me, I think we should kill it altogether with some truth, love, and respect. More on that later, most probably….

Ok, looks like I’m ending on that note… That was actually a nice exercise: a relief from structure and control. Now that I have released a little bit of my crazy on you, my mind isn’t constipated with thoughts. I think I can continue procrastinating on my homework while I have a date with my notebook and pen. Oh, and this is also a good opportunity to ask the general public: what kind of topics would you like to see around here? I like being challenged, so make me read more and make me research… Let’s talk, write, develop ideas together. (I also would just like to be given topics to write on because sometimes my creative cloud decides to blow off some steam somewhere else). Okay, okay, go! I dare you to leave a comment. Or rant to me, I love those.

Peace.

Delightful

“And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You. Jesus, You’re my hope and stay…”

I am just sitting at Starbucks with my books and notes sprawled open in front of me, aching to be reviewed after weeks of abandonment, but instead I am alternating between sipping my coffee and smoothie and singing increasingly louder. The chair opposite my table is tilted at an angle, and I know that God is sitting there, absolutely delighted in my voice. His body tilting slightly back in his chair, eyes closed, his right hand delicately caressing his left in rhythm to my tune. During the 30 minutes that I have spent here, the noise in the room has increased but the silence that has settled around my small table, with its historical anecdotes and scientific data sprawled across, silence has fallen between the melodies that escape my lips. And God is enthralled with my beauty. And I want to share with you, Beautiful, how He is also enthralled in yours.

There’s often not enough of an understanding that even though chaos, disaster, fear, and their family of negativity exists: hope, love, peace, and their own kin also remain. When the corruption of identity begins to consume the individual, there comes upon the mind and the eyes, a blindness to see for ourselves what is truly reflected upon the mirror- for the mirror becomes to us an affirmation of the tainted identity feedback we receive from the world around us.  Today, I want to encourage you to realize the destruction within your life for only two seconds, but take the rest of the day to recognize the deep and ardent love that rests within you. I assure you it’s there. You are absolutely delightful, and I say that with all boldness and truth because even if I haven’t met you or I don’t know you well enough, I know that wherever there is a deep hatred for something, there’s a deeper longing for love. And the depths of the former longing are as deep as it has seemingly been buried within you. Your design is one of love, and the design of the world is to naturally extinguish that truth. You are beautiful, you are love.

It’s often that I have not been able to find words to ask my Creator to show me my true beauty. Mostly, out of fear of having to receive the crippling realization that none of the descriptions of my inner and outer attributes that have hung around me so tightly are actually false. Kind of makes me think of spending a whole lifetime in a jail cell, until someone busts the door open and says, “You have been wrongly placed in jail, I’m getting you out. Follow me.” My eyebrow would probably be raised to the roof and though the promise of freedom would be terribly enticing, the fears stringing out from taking that step out of bondage would definitely be enough to rationalize my way out of accepting it. If that’s the case, then let’s look at the anatomy of who we are.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” – Romans 8:28-30

God works for the good of those who love him. And so if you just take a moment and agree with me that within the depths of you, there lies an essence that is only and can only be identifiable as yours, and that the fragrance of that essence is pure and irrefutable love. And that God is love. Then, you, even in the depths of turmoil and chaos, even in the presence of adversity, love God. And since you’re called “according to his purpose”, and his purpose is to love: he not only loves you, but has placed a specific and roaring purpose within you. That kind of belief in an individual is only born out of a true knowledge of their capabilities. God knows how capable you are, he knows the loving depths of your spirit, and he knows how absolutely beautiful and delightful you are. And he knows that there is chaos, destruction, adversity, horror, and crippling fear surrounding us: whether it’s circumstantial or life-long, internal or external. So as a Father, He covers us with his protection: “those he called, he also justified…”

He doesn’t stop at the door of the jail cell. He says your name. And with your permission, he then stands in front of you to protect you, knowing that the chaos and adversity still remains; he stands for you, he stands for who you really are even when all else has consumed the adjectives that have lingered in definition around you and offered scoffing, rejection, and abandonment in return. And God doesn’t stop there. He glorifies you: he sings of the beauty that you are as he washes all that muck that had been dressing you. He melts at your glorious sight. He says, “this, this is my princess, my daughter…” or “this, this is my prince, my son”! And I didn’t even have to ask him. All I had to do was give him permission to take my hand, and fall into his arms with all that I thought I was, all that I held within me and around me….

How beautiful you are, how very beautiful! You are glorious. You are delightful. He is enthralled.

With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love.” – Song of Solomon 2:3-4

You told your 2nd grade teacher that your favorite activity was swinging because it didn’t involve sweating. Mostly it was because you thought there could be nothing more beautiful than the moments the wind ran into your cheekbones to part your eyelashes: and you’d smile because you knew God was kissing the very cheeks He made. There was something in your heart that always longed for Him, and you would always ask Him questions. Like, is the shape a mosquito bite leaves on your arm analogous to the walk of life? Or, did Eve have a sense of humor; and would she make you laugh? Do I make you laugh? Your grass tickles my toes and sometimes my belly when I tumble down big hills, how come it looks like I got whipped all over when I finally let the green strands part from my body?

Sometimes you would sit in front of your closet and stare at all the hand-me-down shoes you loved so much, and you would ask God if you were real. And you would forget that you were five years old and that all you really wished was to eat mac n’ cheese in your leotard and tights. And he told you He loved you. But in this kind of way that made your heart seem to get really hot, and the palpitation was the same, you just realized you were alive and your dreams were gifts of a Father, and your round little belly was one of His favorite things to tickle. And you loved to laugh with Him.

Somewhere, sometime, someone turned the lights off for bedtime and they just never turned on again. You thought maybe they’d come on again, so you earnestly believed in the future, but your bones pleaded to be reminded of the light they had constantly been soaking in before. It was sort of like when you jumped on that trampoline that one day and the butterflies in your stomach stayed on the ground while your head flew up into the sky; your hands pulled on by the passing clouds, your feet aching for the very ground that made you fall on your knees later that day. Was I of the sky? Or of the earth? Did I write poetry of bread and water, or oil and shade? You were sweating.

People said they felt like they were talking and no noise was coming out of their mouth. Others had eyes that looked like the sun had drunken all their water. Mostly, you noticed they liked to bump into each other and bounced off of each other’s shoulders; you began to love the way even when their eyes were hidden behind hats, scarves, or those strange lines left by… permanent marker? Their bodies were drawn towards each other.

It had seemed as though someone or something had permanently locked the off switch on that light of your bedroom that one night you went to sleep so many years ago. At night, you began to forget how to read your dreams because you were taught your eyes could strain if you tried reading without light. Your ears began to curl and melt into the sides of your head because something had once said ‘God is light’ and sometime then you said ‘I am not’; inadequacy grew gardens on the sides of your body and you thought maybe your dad had left the grey and static channel on, the one that would help him sleep when your sister was a newborn, and that’s all you could hear now. No,

You walked out.
You ran.
You were sweating. Every pore loved singing again.
Your feet hurt. You loved the way the dirt crawled up and hugged the little hairs on your legs.
And the grass…

Climbing onto the swing, you began to cry. Your palpitation had never changed. The lights had been turned off, but your feet were moving.
So you tell your 2nd grade teacher that you love running. Because the sweat trickling down your spine remind the pores in your body that they are breathing.
Beautiful, because you can move.
And your mouth opens to gulp down the wind, whose knuckles had memorized the grooves on the door by the light switch: it had been knocking every single day.

Dad, am I?
And the grass grows silent, and my legs can feel its tickle. And we make each other laugh.