Time Traveler

What would you do if you went back x number of years? Someone asked me and I asked the specifics. Did I time travel, or was I in my younger body? Did I have my memories and experiences from current me? Specifically, I considered what it would be like, having my current memories and experiences trapped in me during my freshman year in high school. I hated high school, especially now that I’ve lived ‘real life’. “I would chew my mother out,” I finally answered.

“Really?”

“Yeah. And I would enroll in more extracurricular. I felt like she didn’t let me enroll in extracurricular.” He was surprised, especially with my bitterness towards that chapter in my life. He somehow had drawn the conclusion prior to our conversation that I was popular and social in school. “No, I was the outcast of the outcasts.”

I understand myself now well enough to have been a counselor for young me. I would have been able to point out why I was looking so desperately for validation from my peers, and that I do behave differently from them due to the isolation I went through. I would point out that the reason why I was not drawn to boys my age was because they lacked the ambition and leadership skills that are not commonly found, especially in boys, but that there were people out there that would love me for me. In fact, if I went back in time as my friend suggested, I would spend those years waiting and preparing to come back to where I am now. I would make sure to be at the college cafeteria during the first week of school where Alice and Edward would see me and invite me to sit at their table for the first time.

I even considered the relationship with my ex and how it affected my relationship I’m in now. I wouldn’t date him. I wouldn’t be content to be with anyone knowing my “soul mates” were out there and I would meet them again. What I would do is I would surprise my ex by telling him things that others didn’t know, and tell him that he was important and needed to not give up. I wonder what that would have done to him, to not have wanted anything from him and still validate him as a person. To kill time (I’m waiting years for true love) I would have probably made friends with him still, and taught him what a non-sexual significant other is, and then hang out with him and tell him the future. I think the mistake I made with the first go was that I thought that if I loved him enough he would love me back, and in a weird way it eventually kind of worked, but it wasn’t organic so it was disastrous.

I would have studied the bible more, and burned my Tarot cards sooner. I would have worked on my relationship with my mother and sister. “I know I’m not like the person I was yesterday, but today I want to be my true self, and that’s what I’m going to do, whether you can appreciate it or not,” might be the first conversation I had with them. From then on, I wouldn’t be feeble, and I would try to allow myself to argue back. I would have defended my writing time, making the argument that this could be a sign that I’m a young prodigy and my mother wouldn’t want to get in the way of that. I wouldn’t let myself be afraid anymore. I would have been a completely different person by the time I put that into practice.

I think I was still going to my father’s place every other weekend per court order, and to be honest, I would have allowed myself to go one more time. I’ve struggled now with my memory, and I think by reliving one visit to his place, I would have enough fuel for my novel to flush out my character confidently. And then I’d draw the line and say more bluntly that I was not going to be around my father anymore and that he made me uncomfortable and crossed boundaries. I think I could have prevented him from molesting my sister, and he also would not have gone to jail years later. That makes me feel strange, that the abuse my sister went through has resulted finally in my ability to go anywhere in the city without looking over my shoulder for a few years.

I would have gone up to Bailey when I saw her in the hallways, and I would have kissed her and told her I would marry her someday, before walking nonchalantly to class. She would have appreciated it, too, even before knowing. Hell, she would love me more now if I had.

I asked her this evening what she would do if she could take her current experiences and go back to her first year in high school. I’m glad I asked, though her take would have been almost opposite mine. “I would tell everyone I was bi and polyamorous, and get the shock factor out of the way then so it wouldn’t surprise them with my relationship now. They will see it coming.” And she would have made sure to have fun. Because we went to high school together at the same time, but weren’t close, it was an interesting and enriching conversation. I got to learn more about her now by hearing about the old her and her motivations, and some of my memories returned to me. I also have a greater appreciation for who I’ve grown into.

Coffee for Two .02

Good morning! Bailey made coffee this time, and there’s chocolate flavored coffee creamer, with or without sugar. You’re right, that one is hot chocolate mix, so you can make your cup into a mocha if you would like.

How do you feel about Christian music? I feel like the majority of Christian music is like a Mardi-Gras cake. It’s the one with the plastic baby hidden inside if I have it straight, I think the proper name is a King’s Cake. It doesn’t taste good. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal, or why they haven’t changed the recipe. I think it’s only still around because of tradition and nostalgia. I feel the same way about Christian music.

Alice likes it, maybe because she grew up going to church regularly so it has a different meaning to her. I can find music that praises God without the bland flavor, like He is Legend or Flyleaf, and some Emery and Icon for Hire to move the world.

I’m making French toast, by the way, would you like some? I’m frying bananas in butter as a topping, I recommend it.

Let me play for you something from a band Edward introduced to me.

There it is- proof I’m not the only one. Did you catch the verse, “lean with it, rock with it/ when we gonna stop with it/ lyrics that mean nothing/ we were gifted with thought”? Okay maybe he was referring to what’s on the radio in general and not strictly the cheesy, monotonous, redundant music sung in church. What do you think, though?

Oh, try this lavender infused honey on the toast, it’s pretty amazing.

I like the skill of living according to one’s faith in a way that isn’t stifling and benefits even those who don’t share in that belief. I grew up repulsed by the stereotypical Christian life. I almost never went to church and didn’t know what to do when I was there, and the music was probably my least favorite part about the whole thing. Yet naively I listened to Evanescence and Flyleaf because they sounded good. I want to live a life like that, and I would like to write in such a way that I can showcase the good I believe in and not repulse those I reach out to.

I actually think that this idea is related to being polyamorous. I believe in living in love, and I think it is hypocritical to believe that God wants you to love everyone but you have to have a favorite person that you treat as greater than mortal, essentially worshiping them as above human and the source of your fulfillment. That is where I place the blame for the high divorce rate (which is isolated to monogamist relationships). Our culture has grown selfish, but I feel everything trying to balance out, a fissure growing. How can I miss it when I’m caught in it, becoming the change that put me here? Polyamory is growing in popularity (I hate that word, popularity,) but we have to do it right or it will become exactly what we are struggling to diminish.

I went too deep again, didn’t I? I hope you enjoyed the coffee.

My Children Have a Price Tag

The Power Ball has been increased to half a billion dollars. I don’t know about you, but I’m not acquainted with holding more than a few hundred in my hand at a time and can’t fathom how much that is, and am too lazy to count the zeros.

At the news, I turned to Ed. “If we did win the Power Ball, then the argument that Alice’s parents are more fit to raise our children because they have more money becomes invalid, right? So then what other argument do they have?”

“They don’t.” The case was brought on by their false accusations that the children were neglected and abused and has since been cleared by CPS twice and by a court appointed psychiatrist, and though she had some discriminatory things to say about our family structure, she too admitted that there were no signs of abuse or neglect. It is literally about money now.

My next question was would I have to work. Nope, absolutely not. I will say, though, that I would not leave my position in the charity that Ed and I work for. If that was what I could do now, that would be a higher focus, but serving the needy makes a modest living and it takes a separate income to keep that up.

Attention shifted back to the case. Hire the best of the best and get our case to the Supreme Court so that other families like us will not be discriminated against via abuse of the system. It is strange to me that the only factor in bringing my children home is money. If we have enough money, this stops being a problem.

Once that was done and the children back in our home, we could afford to donate to charity regularly. Besides funding our charity, I started going down a mental checklist of the other charities that have helped us to make it where we are and how we can give back.

I also thought of how money changes people and what that would do to our kids. We can afford to put each of them in the best schools, and they won’t hear whispers in the halls about how their parents live off of the government, as is being said about us now (untrue, by the way). I thought of all the high quality yarn that I could buy, and how I don’t have to worry about things on Etsy actually selling, just hosting a pretty shop where you could buy things I made but where I’m not desperate for sales. I also remembered that Gary wanted to learn how to knit. We could buy materials for the kids to teach them skills. Think very vaguely about that. We could buy musical instruments, since all our children seem to be musically inclined (Guinevere beats at her children’s battery operated piano, which has dead batteries, and looks at me to tell me she’s the next famous pianist waiting for the opportunity), yarn and fabric for creating clothing, materials for building so they can help design the tree house that came with the property, etc. We could afford to make the business property environmental, all this while pouring money regularly into the charity to help kids with terminal illnesses.

Of course, I’m thinking small, because I cannot fathom how much half a billion really is. Bailey, on the other hand, jumped straight to travelling. And I think back on how that benefits the children, which is exposing them to other cultures, which itself helps contribute to teaching them politics. This is relating to outside of the country; inside the country, while our charity drives around to all the hospitals, our family would be tagging along in a bus of a sort. Edward says it’s more economic to drive a school bus, I think that if we don’t have to sweat about expenses go for the luxury of a tour bus we can sleep in. And if we are so comfortable financially, contribute to the betterment of technology by investing in mods that make a vehicle more resourceful and environmentally sound.

I don’t know how many people feel this way, but I’m almost afraid that if we won the lottery, we would become too comfortable. Things would be too easy, though I’m sure that when you ‘level up’ in class, there’s a different set of challenges. But I think more about my relationship with God. If I have everything I need, will I still be asking the Lord to bless me and my ways? Or alternatively, without possessing any need to stress about material things, would I feel unhindered and be willing to dedicate myself more to meditating on Him and the bigger picture?

I don’t know, what would you do with half a billion dollars?

Blogiversary

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I’m so glad today is a leisurely day, and I get to share with you that it’s Ch4rl13Sm1th’s anniversary! Steve nicknamed it a blogiversary, hence the title of this post. As for the title of the blog itself, I haven’t come up with a better name for it yet, but at the same time don’t think I mind it either. A year ago today I reflected on the way I live my life and wondered how to do more. An introvert with a story to tell, I have enjoyed writing for years after somehow not associating it with the chore of doing school assignments. Starting a blog and not having it backfire on me gave me courage to write the rough draft of a novel, and accomplishing such a task in 30 days has led me to feel invincible and most of all like I matter. That might be a big leap and hard to explain, so just take my word that I feel like a better person because of having the courage to write.

Initially I signed into my account to do a little post about all the knitting I was able to accomplish and what that looks like. I was inspired by Kristin’s post about how she did presents last year and wanted to show off how I managed my time well enough to squeeze in some pretty knots.

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Edward wants me to call them Bags of Holding and I can’t think of a cooler name for it. I made one for each of the kids that would be home for the holidays except for two, who both have a pair of knit baby booties.

The pattern for the bags is available here, though I give more details on my experiences on my Ravelry account. I was raving to Ed about my accomplishments when I knit four for the Girls and Guinevere tried to snatch them all up, so I understood she would appreciate one as well and made hers in turquoise. I put a Baoding ball in since she isn’t quite old enough to find something better to put in it herself and made a longer string so that when she’s older she can practice her dexterity tying and untying it. She loves shaking it around for the music. Knowing that the first thing the Girls would do was sniff the fake flowers, I sprayed rose perfume into them. Geraldine was the first to catch it, as I expected.

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I knit some for the grown-ups as well, matching Edward’s to his two sets of die and increasing the size accordingly. Mine being the first it has the most mistakes, but I still love having a customized, hand-made pouch to show off.

Daisy was kind enough to share her yarn with me earlier last year, which gave birth to Seamus and ALL THE BABY BOOTIES I made. Every day at work I had a booty to knit and became somewhat famous for it.

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And for myself, I really wanted pretty fingerless gloves. My mother had given me a few skeins of brown acrylic yarn a few years ago. I feel like brown is her color, and if I knit it into certain shapes my artwork gets called certain things I would rather not associate with my craft. I tried using it up to make fingerless gloves, borrowing patterns from Google to get the size and adding in a cable stitch to make it pretty. Then I learned from my mistakes and made a shorter set in ribbed, and the day after I mended one of the gloves I lost the other and became rather depressed about gloves. I gave it another go this year to play with an amethyst wool yarn Danielle got for me and am pretty satisfied. The left one is too small, but it was painstakingly made and so I’m going to show it off anyway.

I think I did pretty good with my timing, since Christmas presents were all finished before Christmas, meaning I completely bypassed the last minute shopping that the holiday is famous for. Some were done during the month that I wrote over 50,000 words. I didn’t include a picture of the little basket thing I knit up for Danielle to hold the miniature spa kit I assembled for her because it is embarrassingly ugly, but what I can take away from the experience is that it is interesting knitting with strips cut from T-shirts and pillow cases.

The Ox That Won’t

Finding the beauty in things like fighting.

“I don’t feel like we’re acting of one heart and one accord.”

“What are you talking about?” Edward was almost insulted. I watched to make sure that Alice was out of earshot as I stood outside the driver side window.

“I mean in regards to the show we’re supposed to be on.”

“Because she wants to go do her own thing.” He gestured to Alice as she went into the workplace.

“She says she wants to pray that God makes it clear whether or not he wants us to be on the show-”

“I feel like we should do it,” Bailey piped in. “I know it’s going to be scary, but if we want to win, we have to be in the spotlight. What else are we going to do, nothing?”

“We’re doing nothing right now.”

“I know,” Dwight grumbled.

I continued. “If God gives you something to do, you do it, and if it doesn’t go through when you do your part, then he clearly wasn’t behind it.”

“Well, I think you need to talk to her,” was his response. I looked away, admittedly looking for an excuse. I tried talking to her about it the day before, and I fear it would have been a fight if I didn’t walk away. He continued, “If I talk to her, she’s going to feel like I’m pushing her into doing something she doesn’t want to.” I knew what he meant. Sometimes Alice will safeguard her freedom, even from us. In the same way that I will sometimes raise my voice and say stupid things, just because my mom can’t tell me not to anymore, Alice will sleep with her head at the foot of the bed. (This is annoying because someone ends up accidentally kicking her in the face in his/her sleep.) Now it made sense to me why he avoided talking about it the day before, when I was trying to address it.

“Every time I mention the video, he doesn’t respond, even if he just gave a response to something else I said,” I griped to Alice. I measured the weight of the bags I strung across my shoulders to make one trip from the car to the house.

From the other side of the baby’s car seat, doing the same thing, Alice replied, “Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s a sore subject.”

“But this was supposed to be done before the beginning of the month!”

“Okay.” I waited for her to say something more. And waited. You’re just going to leave it at that? She didn’t care about the show, and she didn’t understand why not caring was a problem. Why not doing anything was a problem. “We prayed that God would make it clear what he wants us to do, so if it happens, then it happens.”

So many reactions came to mind. At this point, if the date does get scheduled, how is God going to take you to LA if you won’t even pick up your feet to walk?! among other thoughts attempted to formulate and none of them could make it out. In between trying to pick my words, I was testing to ensure that they wouldn’t hurt and I was getting overwhelmed with just that. I could sense in her tone that she was at that point where she was going to be condescending (she doesn’t perceive when she does so, it’s not intentional) and I was at the point that I was going to be mean because of what I perceived to be immaturity. I walked away.

I pursued Alice in the workplace, yet as I caught up, reviewing my memory of the evening before and realizing I might still need time to relax before potentially starting something with her, I instead got ready to clock in and messaged Edward about the evening before and how I wasn’t sure I could talk to her without starting something. ‘Okay, we’ll talk together tonight,’ he text back.

We’re normal people. We have our disagreements. I don’t like sharing them, but I feel obligated to show by example why we get along so well. How is that expressed by discussing a situation where we weren’t in agreement? By sharing how we deal with it. Even in anger, we do not want to hurt each other, and we work together to keep the peace. There’s a reference to being evenly yoked in the bible. It’s been interpreted many different ways, but the way that we understand it is that if we’re pulling in different directions, the team doesn’t go anywhere. If we don’t all agree to do something, it doesn’t get done. No, I’m not happy about us not being on the show that the three of us feel is the best move in fighting to have our children come home, but I am proud to say that we are each respected as individuals and that we accommodate each other.

(That’s how I happen to have more ladies than you [to most of you guys who wondered what you’re doing wrong] 😛 )

Couple-Couple-Couple

“It’s my favorite couple-couple-couple!”

Katniss invented this nickname for our group, which was probably the easiest way to describe us. In our culture, if you are with someone, you are a ‘couple’. ‘Couple’ now means two people that have an intimate relationship with each other. We have yet to discover a term that so easily communicates, “Yes, I am with that person, that person, and that person. Yes, we are ‘together’ together,” the same way that a word like ‘couple’ communicates, plural. I suppose she says it three times to put emphasis on plural, or because we’re a couple of ‘couples’ and by dissecting it out it would equal the same term stated three times. So we are referred to as Katniss’s favorite ‘couple-couple-couple’ and it actually makes sense.

Katniss is a character that waits tables at a restaurant where all the servers are popular characters. Danielle was Tinkerbell (or Stinkerbell, as some wanted to put it) when we met her. I thought I wouldn’t like her, but apparently it was because she was in character. They dance and sing for happy birthdays and potty trips and for a massive platter specially for parties of four, which we thought was too ironic to let down and ordered one for ourselves. Jokes ensued, and it was the fastest way to get to know people and the most memorable thing about us. We may start our conversations with our servers using the phrase, “what is the weirdest thing anyone has told you?” This is followed with the most disappointing pause as they consider some conversations that were held with their customers and either an “I don’t know, I’ve heard a few,” “I can’t think of any,” or a not-so-amusing tale. You would think more interesting things happen, but somehow they escape memories. In theory it’s a good way to start up a conversation, and sometimes it actually does create a lively conversation where we are perplexed as much as the server. Funnily enough, I can’t think of those stories right now, either.

At another restaurant, our waitress answers that she had a customer who said that he was with two women, who knew about each other, which she found interesting enough to be memorable. “We can top that,” was my immediate response.

Mothers’ Match

“Our mothers have been hanging out,” Bailey informed me.

“Yeah?” I dumped the broken noodles into the boiling water.

“Apparently about once every three weeks.” I scrolled through my calendar, trying to find landmarks for important dates. I can’t remember when it was that Bailey met with our mothers at the café and chewed them out. I refused to go after texting my mother and seeing her absolute naïveté to not only the case but how she is a pawn on the opposing side. She played innocent, and I figured that if in innocence she could cause so much heartache, I would preserver her ‘innocence’ and just not give her the ammunition. “They’re besties, or at least that’s what it looks like.”

“It really does. I don’t think she hung out as much with her other ‘best’ friend.” I tried scrolling through my mother’s schedule back when I was living with her. The one person she hung out with most and might have called a best friend she met maybe a few times a year.

“I know my mom’s gay. What do you think, do you think your mom likes girls?”

I considered. I couldn’t imagine her liking anyone, she probably hadn’t dated anyone in four or five years. “I know she hates men.”