fro margs and t swift

Summer 2019 brings with it frozen margaritas and Taylor Swift on repeat — I keep joking that I’m discovering my best basic white girl self.

There’s something about the fro margs at Guajillo in Rosslyn that’s totally and utterly captured my heart, ever since that impromptu dinner date at Pho 75 with the Baldwin. (It’s probably the frozen part and also the margarita part.) We didn’t mean to meet there, didn’t mean to hop next next next door for post-dinner margaritas, didn’t meet to linger so long, telling each other stories we thought we’d shared but really hadn’t. But the impact is real and it’s lasting.

Ever since that evening just two weeks ago, I’ve been back for those frozen margaritas two (three…?) additional times, each time citing Guajillo as my new fave happy hour location even though technically they don’t have a happy hour and technically I’ve never gotten any happy hour dealios there and technically technically I don’t even like Mexican food. Life. It’s a beautiful mystery!

And then this Taylor Swift resurgence. I’ve traced it back to our Seattle trip, when David and I were jamming out to tswift hardcore on our drive up to Vancouver. It must have awakened a little earworm in my noggin, and the lil guy is yelling, compelling me to listen to more, more, more TS. Yes. I know that’s not actually how an earworm works, but isn’t the image kinda cute?

As I find myself in music chamber situations (read: driving in cars) with people who aren’t as resurgence-y about TS, I find myself explaining — nay, defending — why I’m liking her so much these days. That her songs are fierce and fun and even just…kinda fun to make fun of, too (cue: Trouble Goat Remix.) But most of all, that she’s a good storyteller who writes simple, compelling lines put to melodies that are so. effin. catchy and tells her stories in an authentic voice that’s decidedly hers. She’s this girl and that, described by lovers and haters as this other girl and yet again that — but she takes it all and writes songs that are honest about what she thinks and who she is. She contains multitudes, eh hem, if I may borrow the timely phrase.

Frozen margaritas in a swirl of TaySwift. Maybe this is just one of those English major-y things where you’re reading several books for different classes during the same semester and your brain starts to make connections that aren’t there, but joking about being “my best basic white girl self” and defending Taylor Swift’s singer-songwriter honor feels oddly appropriate in light of my most recent life-nugget acquisition, when in a swirl of an emotional meltdown I had to actively decide to believe one set of possible explanations over what the evil voice in my head was yelling, in a situation that was making me want to believe and think the worst about myself.

I realized that a lot of those anxiety-ridden moments that make me question myself — because they happen in a vacuum of actual information — push me toward and over the cliff of self-doubt. “Wait, why would she have done that” too quickly tumbles me down into a pit of “She hates me because I’m untrustworthy and I probably shouldn’t even be here.”

The weird thing is, when other people come to me with stories of “Wait, why did x to y in z situation, do you think?” my reaction is never as dire and cliff-y as it is for the possible explanations I provide myself. There is zero grace for me. All grace and best-intention scenarios for everyone else. Why? That’s so silly. (And a whole nuther blog post, I’m sure.)

As difficult and counterintuitive as it was, I had to tell myself to give myself the same kind of advice that I would give someone else — to assume the best intent on this person’s part, that it might have been a mistake, that she most definitely does not hate you. Me. I had to shut down the evil voice of ~all those h8rs~ inside my own brain and embrace my fro marg-lovin, tswift-blastin self for all those multitudes contained inside.

The frozen margaritas and the Taylor Swift had nothing to do with this mysterious situation that caused such internal turmoil, by the way. But if it’s not the job of an English major to weave disparate threads into one colorful blog post, I dunno what is.

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resilience

noun re·sil·ience \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\
  1. :  the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress

  2. :  an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Life is full of compressive stress, misfortune, change. All of which may or may not be deformation causing.

For quite a while now, I have been pathetically lacking in this kind of necessary life gumption that gets you through the day without slumping over at every poke. I am a strained body, incapable of recovering my size and shape after the pokes and prods of everyday life. It’s nobody’s fault — just the result of a lot of different stressful events, thoughts that have made me sad, questions that have gone unanswered. And questions that have not yet been answered — at least not to my satisfaction.

I’ve been doing a lot of bemoaning and emoting, sometimes productive, and at other times, really not. And yeah, it’s healthy to let yourself feel stuff through and to “be okay with not being okay,” which itself was a huge milestone of a realization when I came upon that gem.

But I think it’s time to snap out of the self-pity-parties and not be so slumpy anymore. I wanna be resilient. *snap snap* Am I resilient yet?

Hm. How does one build resilience? Just spit-balling here, so forgive the mess:

  • First, acknowledge the bad. You’ve got a trove of sadnesses indeed, and those have made you the person you are JUST as much as the happinesses have grown you. Give them time in your thoughts without letting them crease your face.
  • Remember the good. Remember how things have turned out, remember the nuggets that were gleaned as a result. Remember how faithful.
  • Noodle about how the sadness, the gladness, the redemption all fits into the picture of creation as God has made it. The limits of your imagination =/= the limits of actual human reason, let alone God’s purposes. Ask older, wiser people when stuck.
  • Read back on sappy stuff about MM, cause he’s loved you since such a long time ago, back when you din’t barely hardly know nothin’ about what love even is. Back when you were going around like a fool, asking everyone else’s opinion, trying to social scientist your way to an answer.

What really inspired this post was the simple thought that I have been a little bit like the squishy white exterior of a steamed bun — impressionable in a bad way, no spring-back if you poke me — and that I would like to quit it and stop being this way.

Pray more, obsess less. Love more, demand less. Do more, brood less. Seems simple enough, right?

I’ll have to keep you posted on how this goes.

normalcy, aka all those little Wednesday bricks

this weekend has been full of calm little moments that just feel very “normal” if we’re being optimistic and “boring” if pessimistic. but neither adjective in any bad way. I think it’s just these consistent and dependable little building blocks of normal life that eventually construct you a solid little house — of a friendship, of a relationship, of a life.

dates around town, normal. catch-up meals involving Netflix and jjajangmyun, …normal. I guess. I kept walking away from these things, head cocked to the left because my normal mode of human interaction is intense and full of mind-wracking for sparky connections and out-loud hm-ing and huh-ing.

“we meet up infrequently for long, long conversations,” is how I describe it.

but in all my head-cocking wonderment, I realized that THIS kind of stuff is the stuff of those boring, precious Wednesdays. (see here for the full explanation; here for just the first couple paras if tldr.) I’m just building my house here; it’s a normal-boring Wednesday.

nothing to see here. but also…everything worth seeing is here.

normal-boring is having Binky for the weekend, a creature camping out in my bedroom on which I must look in from time to time and not be so selfish with my gallivanting plans.

normal-boring is googling “things to do in ___ this weekend” and filling in that blank with all the leetle neighborhoods around where ya live because, well, you’re basically, like, a local now.

normal-boring is handing a friend a MUCH belated birthday gift at church, in a quiet little handoff, feeling grateful that you get to see her at least once a week at least.

normal-boring is running the dishwasher and emptying it. for the umpteenth time.

small details, these, but they are the activities that keep our families happy, keep our relationships going, keep our apartments tidy and functioning as they should. they are the normal-boring, precious-bland bits and pieces of life that all add up to something worthy of a look-back-upon when you’re an old, old person, feeling lucky to get to be that old, probably.

and the Wednesday effect works wonders for your goals, too, as the long post explains. so every little Wednesday (but really every other day, too; you know what I mean), read your Bible and pray and be kind to the people in your life. these little bricks will have built you a solid and comforting old house someday.

and, too,

say thank you for all those years to come, stretched out between the now-self and the old, old person self that you get to live now, this realization in mind. in pocket. okay, at least in this here blog post.

so without further ado: thank you, thank you for these Wednesdays.