On Learning to Trust (or How VBS was Entirely Too Relevant to My Life This Year)

Here’s a fact about me: I am terrible at trust falls. Maybe it’s because I’m heavy – or at least perceive myself to be – and so don’t fully expect the person catching me to be able to, well… catch me. I always end up buckling my knees at the last second and catching myself. This is probably because every experience I’ve had with trust falls in which I actually trusted and fell, I knocked the other person over and we both went tumbling to the ground. Landon can attest that I have “trust issues” when dancing – when I’m dipped, it’s rather awkward because I won’t just relax and allow the guy to dip me. (Because I’m afraid he’ll drop me, or that I’ll knock him over – both have happened before. Grace is not my strong suit.)

It’s not that I’m afraid of falling, or of embarrassment. I fall over all the time: usually not intentionally, but there are times when I feel the need to demonstrate how to properly collapse. And I’m outgoing to the point at which nothing really embarrasses me. (At youth group our leader will give us motivation for gathering together quickly by saying, “The last one over here has to stand up in the front and sing ‘I’m a Little Teapot’.” I always linger back so I can run up to the front and show off my now-famous I’m a Little Teapot routine.)

So why do I have trouble with trust? Maybe it’s because of my temperament: I’m reading a book called The Four Temperaments, and I’m pretty sure I’m a choleric, which basically means that I’m motivated, strong-willed, stubborn, and outgoing. It also means I have a tendency to think I’m sufficient all by myself, and I don’t need others. I don’t need to trust people to get along in life. I’ve also always fancied myself like a spy… Trust no one, I work alone, etc.

The problem is, now I need to trust… Need to trust more than I ever have. And I can’t.

I mentioned a couple blog posts back that I’ve been having some issues (that I did not elaborate on). I’m not going to go into much detail, but I’ll just say that there was a boy I very very very much liked who recieved the call to the priesthood. I was heartbroken: really, actually heartbroken – not like my thirteen-year-old version of ‘heartbroken’, which seems laughable in retrospect. My whole world felt like it had been flipped on its head, and I alternated between crying and kicking myself for acting like such a Bella Swan.

This all happened about three weeks ago, and I’m still hurting, but I’m healing, too. My problem is the whole trust thing. I thought I had things under control. I had a plan. Things were going well. And then everything flipped and now I don’t know where I am or what to do.

I don’t even know who I am.

I’m not implying that my entire identity and life rested in this boy, because it didn’t. I’ve been troubled by not knowing myself for a really long time. In Marian Group (a sort of religious/youth-group-y/study group I’m in with some friends of mine), we’ve been talking about identity and discovering ourselves – who we are, truly. It’s a hard question answer: 2-4-6-0-1 doesn’t cut it, in this case.

So add to this whole situation the fact that I’m fifteen and hence overemotional and overdramatic, and you’ll see why I’m sort of a wreck. There are other factors at play besides everything I’ve listed that I am not going to go into, but for our purposes, just assume that nothing makes sense and I feel like I’m stumbling around a maze, blindfolded.

I am lost.

I should also mention that this all happened on the Friday night before VBS started. I woke up Monday morning to discover that the entire theme for VBS was ‘Trust God.’ I spent the entirety of VBS teaching kids about trusting God in every situation, the whole while I was finding it hard to trust God myself.

We sang this entirely-too-relevant song a lot.

That song is basically my life right now.

Everywhere I look, the world is screaming at me to trust God. I have a little plaque in my room that I got for my confirmation. Guess what Bible verse it has on it?

Basically the most accurate thing I’ve ever seen ever.

And this morning at Mass, the homily was all about trusting God despite your troubles. It’s ridiculous: is everyone inside my head right now? Like, living in there? (Hello population of the world. What are you doing inside my consciousness?)

So the solution seems simple, right? It’s being broadcast at me from every outlet – it’s not even trying to be subliminal. God has constructed a flashing billboard and planted it in front of my face: TRUST ME, HERO.

But it’s not simple! It’s not simple at all! I’m not one to sit by and be passive – I want to trust God, but I don’t know how! And I feel like I have to do something. I can’t just sit here and hope God brings about whatever’s supposed to happen to me… I mean, I need a plan, an idea of what’s going on so I can move forward in my life, so I know what action to take.

But like I said: I’m blindfolded. I’m lost. I don’t have a map.

I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m here for. And I don’t know where to go. People try to offer me advice, and it’s not helpful. I’ve been taking lots of naps because when I’m asleep I can escape it all. Pretend I’m five years old, when life was easy: cheerios and Blue’s Clues. No problems.

I have to learn to trust Him. I have to remember something that Julia told me, something that really struck me: God doesn’t just have a plan for this boy – God has a plan for me. And I have to realize that trusting God doesn’t mean not doing anything and expecting my life and identity to just plop itself into my lap. After all, I’m in a maze and I’m blindfolded – I need someone to lead me out… But being led out requires effort on my part. I have to walk forward through the twists and turns and I have to trust God that I’m going the right way. And that’s really hard for me – to let go, to not have a game plan or a map. But I know He is leading me somewhere, and I just have to trust that it’s somewhere good.

I’m going to figure it out. Somehow. (Someday… Somewhere… What? You thought I could get through an entire blog post without referencing West Side Story?)

In the meantime, I’m going to be praying and journalling a lot to try and get a handle on things. I would really appreciate it if you guys would all pray for me. As much as the Slytherin in me says I can do it alone, I can’t, and I know that.

I’m falling backwards, but my knees are buckling before God can catch me. I’m not letting go, and I need to. No matter how I feel, I’ve got to trust God – I said that so many times at VBS. Now I have to start believing it.

~Hero

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Dancing Through Life

My friend Morgann has started a newspaper, for which I’m the fashion and current events writer… Luckily this means that I don’t have to write another recount of prom for this blog, because I already wrote one for her paper! (Read as: I’m really really lazy.)

I want to write an honest, fun recount of what prom was like without sounding stuffy and using phrases like, “We arrived at the country club, our faces aglow, excited for the night ahead!” Because, let’s be honest: that would be a snooze-fest. So here we go.

The night began in the afternoon – for me, at least. For Tanith and her older sister, Violet, the ‘night’ began just before lunchtime, when they drove over to Miss Ani’s house. (If we’re being honest, prom night started on the Thursday before prom, when we all put curlers in our hair and did our nails and made frantic last minute adjustments to everything. However, I would like to keep this article a little shorter than novel-length, so we’ll go ahead and start on Friday.) I met them there at three o’clock, hair in curlers, dodging the confused stares of Miss Ani’s neighbors. Tanith answered the door, sporting some trendy curlers of her own. I followed her to the bathroom where Miss Ani was just finishing Violet’s makeup. I was immediately thrown into the ‘styling chair’ (a metal folding chair next to the sink) and Miss Ani got to work.

Cut to five-thirty at the Tanith’s house. Things were a little chaotic as Tanith, Violet, Kate, and I were running around in our floor-length gowns, finishing up makeup and hair, looking for shoes, calling our dates and double-checking driving plans.

An hour later, we split up and met up at the houses of our dates.

Our friend Kaira, Odysseus, Landon [I’m butting in on my own article: Landon was my date, in case you guys care], and I arrived first at the country club (after getting a little lost along the way – I’m not the best navigator) (sorry, Mom!), and I was stunned by the decorations. The entire country club had been done up like the backstage of a theater. Costumes and props were arranged artfully around the foyer, and a red carpet led into the main ballroom.

Dinner was served at nine. During dinner, the seniors were called up and recognized for their accomplishments throughout high school. Kaira was given the title ‘Miss Versatility’, and Violet ‘Extreme Athlete’. After dinner, the music began to play – the night started off with the appropriately titled ‘Let’s Get It Started’ by the Black Eyed Peas. We were all a little reluctant to get out on the dance floor, until Violet dragged us out to ‘Let it Rock.’

The funniest moment of the whole night happened after Tanith and I finished swing dancing with Frankie and Landon (respectively). The swing ended, only to be replaced by Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies.’ Tanith and I immediately abandoned our dates and ran onto the dance floor to proclaim our singleness. They were not amused.

The after-party at Kaira’s house lasted until 5 AM – by the end, we were all a little jealous of Tanith, who had made the wise decision to turn in early.

It was a great night that we’ll all remember forever. The sleep deprivation was totally worth it.

Forgive me for taking creative license with your names, you guys. 😉

And just so those of you who aren’t familiar with my friends in real life can keep up:

Frankie was Tanith’s date, Kaira was Odysseus’s, and Kate is a friend of Violet’s (and me, and Tanith, of course, but she went with Violet because she was flying solo this year). [Hero’s Afterthought: I’ve put them all on the Meet the Cast page, for future reference.]

I promise to get back to normal, interesting posting soon. I’m just stressed out about the SAT this weekend and a bunch of tests and papers and science experiments and presentations that I have due this week. *hyperventilates into a paper bag*

~Hero

I Use Antlers In All of My Decorating

Oh my goodness, you guys. It’s been a while.

This is going to take forever.

Here we go.

WHAT I DID IN THE PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN ASH WEDNESDAY AND EASTER SUNDAY:

1. I played a lot of Zelda. 

For this to make sense, you need to understand just how much time I spend on the internet. A good chunk of every day is spent rotting my brain online – so when I gave it up completely, I had this huge VOID of free-time that I had to fill somehow. A normal, productive person would have spent this free time doing something good, like writing their novel, or working harder at their schoolwork, or maybe trying to get ahead on their Driver’s Ed. Me? I played Twilight Princess. I am unashamed. (I also watched a decent amount of Leverage.)

2. I got confirmed.

Okay, so arguably this should have gone first. Whatever. But, yeah! On February 28th, at 7:30 PM, I got confirmed! I took the name Lucy Maria, after St. Lucy of Syracuse and St. Maria Goretti – both martyrs. I chose them because their courage inspires me to stand up for my faith and my morals. It was such an incredible experience, kneeling before the bishop, heart pounding in my chest, hearing him speak my soon-to-be name… I just had this chill run through me, and as I was walking back to the pew, I had to tell myself, “You are not going to cry – this mascara is not waterproof.” I’m so happy – I’ve been waiting for ages and ages for my confirmation, and now it’s finally happened. (Plus, we had cake after the ceremony. Hurrah!)

3. I made new friends!

Backstory: I’m homeschooled, and I do classes online. Hence, I have a bunch of friends all over the country. Sepp has a class with a girl who lives here in town – he’s been trying to get us to meet up for ages and ages. Toward the beginning of March, I went to a dance with the usual crew. At the dance, Tanith saw an old friend of hers and introduced us – I recognized his last name, and it turns out that he’s the older brother of the girl Sepp has been wanting me to meet up with! It was absolutely the craziest thing. Anyhow, long story short: I now have two new friends and they’re both awesome and hilarious. (PLUS, they took me to the Hunger Games midnight premiere, hence I am obligated to love them forever.)

4. I WENT TO SEE THE HUNGER GAMES.

I LOVED IT. I know that there were a lot of critiques of this movie, and I have a couple myself, but I’m going to spare you all my ranting about the film-maker’s inability to hold a camera steady and the absurdity that is Liam Hemsworth, and just say: holy cow. For the most part, the movie kept so true to the books, it made me SO happy. And Josh Hutcherson is SO GOOD as Peeta! AUGH! AND I LOVE CAESAR FLICKERMAN TO A WEIRD EXTENT. He’s probably my favorite character out of the entire movie, and yes I realize how ridiculous of a statement that is, but I don’t even care. I’d go into more detail about the movie, but I’d rather not spoil anybody. Let’s just say that I thought the movie was epic and anybody who says Seneca Crane’s beard is not the best thing ever to grace the silver screen is going to get smacked.

5. I went to see October Baby.

Such a good movie – if I were any good at crying in movies, I would have. (As it was, most of my friends blubbered their way through the whole thing.) I really recommend it: if you find yourself at the movies in the near future and have to make a choice between any other movie and October Baby, pick October Baby. (I don’t care how much you want to see Mirror, Mirror. Just do it.)

Here’s the trailer, in case you haven’t heard of it.

6. I had my solo cello recital.

I surprised myself by doing really, really well. I only flubbed one note, and all of my glorious, amazingly sweet friends told me that it sounded perfect, and even though they’re probably lying, it really means a lot to me that they took the time to watch my performance and at least pretend to enjoy it. After the recital we went to Bass Pro Shops for dinner (don’t judge me – it was a Friday night during Lent and they have a sea food restaurant). That place totally scares me (being a vegetarian, I’m not a huge fan of stuffed, dead things mounted all over the place), but I owe the fun of the evening to, again, my friends, who upon seeing the Christmas tree made of antlers in the entry-way, immediately flung out their arms and shouted, “I USE ANTLERS IN ALL MY DECORATING!” “I WANT A GUY LIKE GASTON!” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to go rewatch Beauty and the Beast. Seriously.)

For anyone interested, I played Sonata in C by Breval, and since the video of my performance has an unfortunate flaw in that it shows my face, here’s someone who actually plays the piece well, for your enjoyment.

I swear, I’ve watched this video so many times… Half of its views are from me – I’m completely serious.

Anyhow, that’s about it. I’m extraordinarily pleased with myself that I was able to uphold my Lenten promise and stay offline for the entire duration of Lent, but I don’t think I’m ever going to do this again! Coming back to the internet after 46 days is like walking into Inception in the middle of the movie and trying to understand it. I’m so behind!

I hope you’ll forgive me for being absent for so long! I’ll be back in the swing of things soon – talk to you on Sunday!

Love,

Hero

I Could Have Danced All Night

The fact that I have now had two consecutive blog titles containing a My Fair Lady reference worries me. Especially because I don’t even particularly like My Fair Lady all that much, plus I just went to see WICKED for the second time, so my head should be full of that.

Whatever. I’ve had the most amazing weekend ever, and I will now try to synopsize it for you guys.

Saturday

Saturday morning I pulled myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of seven AM and my dad drove me and my friend to the convention center for a retreat. The theme of the retreat was ‘Made To Love’ and the keynote speaker was Jason Evert. (For those of you who don’t know, Jason Evert is this ridiculously amazing and hilarious chastity speaker. You should check him out.) However, the people running the retreat were having some scheduling problems, which led to us sitting around for a while taking pictures of our feet and writing on ourselves. (Ink poisoning FTW.)

Eventually, they sent the boys into a different room and we had these two guys come up and talk to all the girls about how both men and women are made in God’s image, and how we all possess some of the qualities of God Himself. In the guys we can see God’s strength, adventurousness, and in the women we can see God’s beauty and mystery. (Personally, I think we girls got the better deal. ;)) They talked about how men have an innate desire to be conquerors – it’s ingrained in their being to need to conquer things. (Also, a cool quote from a cardinal – I think – whose name I have forgotten, “The world tells man to conquer a woman for himself. God tells man to conquer himself for a woman.”) This is kind of cool because if a guy genuinely loves a girl and the girl has high standards, the guy will do basically anything to meet her standards. So girls, set the bar high. 😛

At the beginning of that talk, they made all the girls in the room compile a list of qualities they look for in a guy. This would have been fine, except they made all the guys in the other room compile a list of qualities they thought girls looked for in a guy. The lists matched almost exactly, except that the guys included ‘money’ and ‘a beard.’ (The best part was that all of the girls from my group groaned and basically facepalmed because WE KNEW that our friend had put that on the list. The big dork.)

Moving on! We had lunch. I had a vegetarian sandwich with entirely too much mayonnaise on it. HURRAH.

Then Jason Evert came up and talked. I never expected him to be so funny. I only took a few notes because I was too busy laughing my head off, but I did write down this one thing… He said that if he could only talk to us for sixty seconds, he’d tell us that, “No girl on earth will ever convince other people that she has dignity and should be respected unless she convinces herself.” (That’s important. That’s why it’s in bold.)

All of the other pictures look rather the same, so I shall SKIP THEM! *triumphant trumpet music* (By the way, I am not going to explain these pictures at all, so deal with it. :P)

At the end of the retreat we had Mass. After the Eucharist I was suddenly hit with how much Jesus loves me. I acutely felt it like a knife in my chest – how much Jesus had done for me, despite the fact that I am so low – so low – and I will never ever ever ever ever ever (to the billionth power) be able to deserve it. No matter what I do. It makes me feel like crying, both because I feel so awful for my repeated, continual failure and because it feels so amazing to be loved like that.

I was going to apologize for how religion-heavy that paragraph is, but you know what? I won’t. I cannot apologize for my faith. I am enamored with Christ, my Lord, and I am not sorry about it. At all.

Once the retreat was over, my friend-with-the-beard and his brother, my best-friend-sans-beard, drove me to this Sadie Hawkins dance. (Well, bearded-friend drove – they can’t both drive. That’d be weird.) The dance was amazing. I danced like a complete maniac – I am so sore today. We had so much fun with the strobe lights (we are such dorks). There was a lot of swing music, so I danced with three of my guy friends: my best friend, who I usually dance with, my other friend who I’d danced with a couple times (so I kept flubbing it up because I was used to dancing with said best friend), and my other friend who didn’t know how to dance, so I had to teach him.

Toward the end of the dance, they played ‘Dancing Through Life’ and I started completely freaking out. Nobody had any clue why, so I had to scream (in between lines, of course), “IT’S FROM WICKED!” And then of course, I started singing it, but Dancing Through Life is sung by a tenor, which means it’s too low for my little girly voice, but if I try to bump it up an octave, it’s too high. So I basically just had to yell the words (since I couldn’t sing them), and add this to the fact that I was jumping around like an absolute idiot… My non-Wicked-savvy friends were raising their eyebrows and thinking, “Oh, she’s lost it now.” (I’m looking at you, Mon-la.)

To quickly wrap up the rest of Saturday night (because this is getting really long and I still have to get through Sunday), I slow danced with this guy that I kind of dislike, halfway because I was dared to, halfway because I thought it’d be hilarious. (It was actually just awkward, so, fail.) The DJ announced that the next song was the last song, and I was going to dance with guy-I-didn’t-really-like’s cousin/my non-Wicked-savvy-friend’s older brother (again, as a joke), but I couldn’t find him, so I just danced with my best-friend-sans-beard. I figured I’d dance with somebody I actually liked for the last song. 😛

The dance ended really late at night, so as my friend-with-the-beard drove me home (he’s the only licensed driver in our circle of friends who my mother will let drive me anywhere), my best-friend-sans-beard points out, “Hey, isn’t it illegal for you to drive past midnight?” (According to state law, you have to be licensed for a year before you’re able to drive after midnight.) At this point it’s 11:47 PM and we’re about 10 minutes away from my house. Note that these guys live, like, fifteen minutes away from me. You do the math. I was like, “Ohhh… Shoot.” So, yes. Illegal activity of the day! (Kids: don’t try this at home.)

End Saturday.

Sunday

Dad and I drove for aaaaaaaages (and ages and ages) so I could go see Wicked with my aunt. I’ve seen it before, and seeing it a second time was slightly less powerful. I mean, it was still amazing and magical and wonderful and all things fantastic, but I knew what was coming and how it ended, so it was like part of the anticipation was gone. Does that make sense? It’s sort of sad, because I’ll never be able to recapture the feeling of seeing it for the first time – but that in no way means I’m going to stop going to see it. It is still my favorite musical and it is still unbelievably incredible. So, bravo, Stephen Shwartz and Co. Bravo.

The cast of this show was pretty much the same cast as last time I went to see it, but they had a different Glinda, and this performance with the understudy for both Elphaba and Fiyero. I was excited about this, because I thought it’d be cool to see a different portrayal of the characters. They didn’t disappoint. I completely fell in love with Fiyero all over again. And even though in my heart, David Nathan Perlow will always be the one true Fiyero, because I saw him in the role first, this guy was still pretty awesome. (And, yes, Julia – pretty attractive, too – or at least I thought so. I didn’t get to meet him up close like I did with DNP, so I can’t be sure, but from where I was sitting, he looked pretty good. I cannot cast official judgement, however, so we must leave this unresolved.)

Can y’all give me, like, ten seconds to fangirl? Okay. Thanks. *gigantic swoon thing* I LOVE FIYERO. SO MUCH. Not even the actors that play him, just the character. Just FIYERO. Goodness. Goodness. *swoons again* “I don’t even think he’s perfect anymore and I still want him!” (Oh, Glinda.) Which now prompts one of my favorite exchanges in the whole musical: “He’s been moody and distant… And he’s been thinking.” *enter Fiyero* “Elphaba! Listen, I’ve been thinking…” “I heard.”

Gah. I just love it all so much.

And yes, before you ask – I did fork over twenty bucks for one of those fancy programs. Don’t judge me.

All in all, going to see this play again and falling in love with the characters again has only convinced me further that the blood running through my veins is a glittering emerald green.

Alright, I’m going to bed. I apologize for this novel length, completely confusing post. I’m probably going to reread this tomorrow and go, “What on earth…?”

Sleep deprivation is fun. Whoohoo.

Thanks for reading, guys. It means a lot.

~Hero