Saturday, February 4, 2012

Babycakes




Two Septembers ago, I got in line for a drink at Mozart's coffee shop and said a little prayer that most likely changed my entire life. "God, please make this day not suck."

You see, that day was not a very good one at all. It was the perfectly horrible day to end a perfectly horrible year of medical, family, and relationship drama, and well... I hadn't really prayed in a while. Needing a pick-me-up, I got back in line for my second hot chocolate and whispered my prayer.

In front of me was this group of people who looked like it was their first time at Mozarts. I struck up a conversation and found out that they were from Colorado and had moved here to Austin to plant a church. "You love Jesus? I LOVE JESUS TOO!" I exclaimed.

They invited me to sit with them, and by the end of the conversation one of the girls said something about needing a place to stay for the week. I offered, she accepted.

From there, our friendship progressed. There was about 15 people ages 16-30 that hung out on a pretty consistent basis, and they began inviting me to join them. I was hesitant about the whole church and Jesus thing for a long time (I had some recent happenings with a church relationship that really hurt me and I was a bit wary to enter into similar relationships again). They kept gently pushing, but I was usually working or was too nervous to go. But they were relentless, always making sure I felt loved and knew that I was welcome in their circle.

One day after work, I finally took them up on their invitation to hang out. Two of the guys, Daniel and Gabe, were preparing for the Harry Potter Premier at their house. They were super excited, and Daniel had called me and told me that he made his very own wooden wand and that I just HAD to come over to see it. So later that day, I did.

Little did I know that my friends had two new guys living at their house, Jordan and Marten. At the time there were like, seven guys living in this tiny three bedroom apartment, all of them in town from out of state to plant this church. They actually nicknamed the place "The Shire" because all of the guys were under 5'5. Well, everyone but Nick, which was okay because that meant he could be Gandolf. The church was in it's beginning stages, so the interns, Jordan and Marten, were staying with whoever they could, and it just so happens that at that time, it was the Shire.

When I arrived at their apartment, this tall, non-hobbit sized blonde guy opened the door and let me in. My immediate thought was that he was a Ken Doll. You know, the kind of guy who's so attractive they probably know it and would most likely be flirty or full of himself or something. I thought he was a surfer. hahahahaha. Now it's all just really funny to me. When I tell Marten that he's like, "Really, Mary? a surfer?" But whatever, that was my initial reaction. And then, to support my theory even more, that night he bought a motorcycle, which I (at the time) thought only pretty-boys/wanna be chick magnets bought.

Marten had been super annoyed all night at the whole Harry Potter excitement. While he is creative, he's more of a jock than a nerd/artistic minded person for sure. All night he kept thinking to himself, if I hear one more word about Harry Potter, I am going to lose it.

And then I walk in.

"OH MY GOD DANIEL THAT IS THE COOLEST THING EVER. BLA BLA BLA, HARRY POTTER, BLA BLA BLA, YAYYYY HARRY POTTER."

His initial reaction to me (in his head) was apparently, "Woah. I could marry a girl like that." But after hearing my reaction to potter he thought "NEVERMIND!!" But God had other plans, I suppose.

I saw Marten maybe once or twice after that, he probably remembers the exact number of times we interacted at at the exact dates and everything, unfortunately I don't. But what I do remember is that within the first three times of meeting me, he was VERY sure that he wanted to date me.

We were all at the shire, all ten or fifteen of us, talking about relationships and marriage. Bob and Simone were getting married, so I decided to ask them, and the rest of the group, for some relationship advice. My last relationship ended for a number of reasons, but the main one for me was because I dated this guy for about four years but he still didn't see me as his best friend. That really messed with my heart. I wanted to see what these people who seemed to know so much about God and had so much wisdom, thought about that question: should you marry your best friend?

Everyone had their opinion. But I can remember this, clear as day. Marten sat directly across from me, grinning his beautiful grin. Sitting down with his head propped up on his hands, he waited for the room to become quiet. He asked, "What do you think?"

"I think you should. If you're not best friends by the time you get married, how can you know you will be after you get married?"

I kid you not, y'all. This is what he said. In front of all these people.

"I'LL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND!"

It was so awkward. haha On one hand, I was super alarmed by what he said. On the other, I wasn't phased at all. Again, I thought Marten was a "pretty boy" which could mean that maaaaayybee he's not the brightest bulb in the box. I assumed he didn't get what I was saying, or that he didn't hear the part where I said I would MARRY my best friend. Well, he did.

"You know I was serious, right?" He said as I was leaving the room.

"And you do realize I said I would marry my best friend. Meaning, if you were him, I'd marry you."

Marten grinned his glorious grin and nodded. Taking my hand, he wrote his last name in permanent marker near my thumb.

I knew that I wanted to move out of state within the year to go to school, and I knew Marten was an intern at the church, meaning he couldn't date until the next summer. Sooo... I didn't take him seriously. At all. I was also still super hurt from my last relationship and was in absolutely no hurry at all to even begin considering a "Mr. Right." But over the course of his internship, Marten really did become my best friend. I learned that he wasn't full of himself, nor was he even aware that he could be considered a "pretty boy." He wasn't ditzy, he was wise. Very, very wise. He helped me get through a lot of my problems and told me when I was being a big baby about something. In a way I guess he helped me grow up.

For six or so months we could only hang out in groups, at church, or at Summer Moon, a coffee shop where a lot of people from our church spent their time. I watched who knows how many sports games just to be in the same room as him. Got dressed up all the time. Marten worked really hard to respectfully follow the rules of the internship and not act like a boyfriend or really show affection towards me in that way. One time I was bawling my eyes out at the Houffice over something that was very heavy in my life at that time, and I remember Marten just sitting next to me, his hands in his lap. I could tell it was really hard for him not to comfort me in some way- even just a hug, but he did it. He upheld his integrity even in tough situations.

Serving at One Chapel was easily one of the largest blessings I've had in my life thus far. I loved every minute of it. Tag, JV tag, bigs, Sunday morning set up, hanging out at the houffice, the shire, endless lunches at Chipotle and Chik fill A, all of my friends basically living at the same apartment complex and constantly being at Summer Moon together... EASILY the best time of my life. The fact that I got to meet Marten while there.... it seems unreal. He was my friend first, then kind of like a brother, then my best friend, and now my boyfriend! Then add the fact that the guy waited six months to date me, got to date me for two, and then supported me in going off to New York for school for a year.... WHAT?

I found a winner, y'all.

Marten supports me in everything I do. He is so patient, kind, loving, and really, just everything good. I never have to doubt that he loves me or question who I am to him. He encourages me in my identity in Christ and pushes me to know more of Jesus. He always looks after my best interest. When I get all emotional and want to bicker, he puts up with it, takes care of the issue in a mature way, and then prays with me. I get mad at him, and he says I'm sorry, and prays for me. HE'S JUST SO COOL YALL. He's so playful and fun to be with, while also being such a good leader in our relationship. To me, he embodies how Christ loves the church. I would be honored to be his bride one day.

I'm super blessed by a lot of things, but Marten just about takes the cake. Actually, he totally does. I'm so blessed. I want to share these pictures with you no matter how old they are or how technically perfect the photograph looks. When I see him next I'm going to get him to model for me. Until then, I introduce to you, Mr. Marten Boyden. Or as I call him, Babycakes.*


1. I'm fairly certain this was one of the first times I had a real, long conversation with him. At Summer Moon, of course. If I'm not mistaken it was over Christmas holidays when all of our friends had gone home to see family except he and I, so we decided to meet up and read together. AKA, Mary-tells-you-her-whole-life-story time.


2. YAY! Oh my goodness, y'all. Our friends Bob and Simone got married in Colorado, so all of us One chapel folk made a road trip out of it. Marten got to ride in my car and I was SO EXCITED. We talked the entire way up,and entire way down. In fact, the first time I ever got made at him was on that trip. It was something really dumb, but it ended up being really cute because I got to see how he handled my heart when I felt hurt. He did well, of course.

3&4. Oh, Lord. This was the day that I attempted to make Marten a promo video for his ministry, Salvation Celebration. Our intentions were good, but I don't think it ever fully came to fruition.


5. Once we were officially dating last summer, Marten took me home with him to Oregon to meet his parents! I love his family so much, I've been begging Marten to take me back with him again. I hope it happens soon :)


6. Before I left for NY, my sweet friend Raquel took pictures of Marten and I so I could have something to look at while we were apart. I love them so much. Well done, Raquel!


I wrote a ton and yet I still didn't get to share so many amazing stories and cute little details (like the fact that I'm Marten's first girlfriend ever!). One day I'll write more. I enjoy talking about him, if you can't tell :)

We have had our fair share of disagreements and rough times, and we have things to work on, but overall, we're blissfully happy. He was worth waiting for, and he'd say the same about me. Jesus is really good. Without all that he does for Marten and I on a daily-heck, hourly-basis, we would not be where we are. We pray together and challenge each other in Christ. We desire to do ministry together. We have a TON of fun with Jesus together.

I am so blessed.

*I would just like to point out how hilarious I find this nickname to be. He's this big 6 foot, broad shouldered tough guy who lets this girl of his call him Babycakes. i love it! hehe

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Becoming Clean

I like this place.


It’s an odd place.


We had an original place in mind. Sort of. But I like it here instead.


As I sit and observe, I hear my professors voice in the back of my mind, trying to remember our original reason for being here.


“Your assignment this week is to observe a space outside of school for one hour. I will assign you a partner, and you are to agree on a location together to visit before class next week. You are to write no more than one page on what you observe while there. Do not speak to one another. This is an independent project.”


I was assigned Jordana, the tall brunette sitting beside me in Film 101. We were both too indecisive to choose a location that day, but we did agree upon a time, Sunday at noon.


Sunday came, and about 2 pm she texted me asking if I still wanted to meet. I forgot. Of course. But she forgot too, which made me feel a bit better.

We decided to meet at 8 that night, intending to head to a library for observation. Thankfully her desire to walk 1.5 miles to get there was just as low as mine, so we decided on a coffee shop in the neighborhood instead. On our way we discovered that the coffee shop was closing soon, forcing us to continue our search. We passed bars (who sits at a computer at a bar?), sushi restaurants (fish=ew), and many closed shops (typical Sunday nightness). We nearly settled on faking the essay (don’t worry, we didn’t) or just sitting outside at the park. Finally we found our safe haven, rescuing us from the peril of lies and frostbite, The Laundry Bar.


The Laundry Bar, located in Fort Greene, was a laundry mat that looked like it was still stuck in the 70s. Run down to say the least, the walls not been painted in years, leaving tiny blue chip fragments scattered about the floor. Among them are old socks and Sears catalogues littered the floor. The soap dispenser in the corner depicted a warm toned rainbow and font that should only be used at a disco. It was out of order, of course. While the d├ęcor of the place was very dated, the washer and drier units themselves where bright and shiny, most likely very up to date. They tossed and turned their contents with the low hum of proficiency while their drab customers waited patiently in silence, possibly contemplating their own proficiency in life.


I could go on and on describing in detail this tiny, run-down place. However, I am more intrigued by the context that brings us here tonight. Nowhere to go, broke, and tired, we found this place and it is now our little gold mine of stories. I wonder how many others came here in this fashion. Inspiration has obviously found my partner, who sits across from me, etching her way across the pages of her purple Moleskine booklet. Who would know that this place would be our savior tonight?


You see, on the outside, the Laundry Bar looks like a dump. On the inside, it looks like a dump. But this is where people come to accomplish something. To get clean.


It is interesting to me, this process of becoming clean. The contents that are being cleaned are all different. How they got there, the context that each sock, undergarment, and shirt, the sizes vary etc. but the actual process is becoming clean is the same. Insert clothes. Add money. Add soap. Push on. Wait. Take items out. Carry to Dryer. Insert money. Push on. Wait.


I feel as if I could make endless stories based purely on the context of the Laundry Bar. What brings people here. How the Laundry Bar came to be. The story of how things got dirty and how they got clean. The story of the owner of the matt, the others that work there, etc. I could go on forever. I tend to think more in metaphors than in obvious ways, so it is fitting that after an hour of observing this place, I still can only see it as a metaphor for the human condition. “We pick the dirtiest ways to become clean.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm baaaaaaccckkkk

Hello, people.

I haven't blogged in a very long time, obviously. My last post was three years ago. HAH. By the way, I really hate blogs that start out with "Oh hello! I haven't blogged in forever!" but I feel like it's the right thing to do. I need to tell you that the majority of my posts will probably be much different than this one. Much more pretty and up beat, artistic maybe, but definitely more on the side of well written and less "Dear Diary." But that's for later. Now is the time for honesty. Here Goes.

________

Today was an odd day, y’all.

For no particular reason I slept until 4:30 pm. I missed two classes. Ate half a pizza by myself. And watched the same episode of Once Upon a Time three times.

I feel like today a lot of things came to halt today. I think I realized the weirdness of the situation I was in and I mean… really realized it.

I forced myself to sit down and write a letter to God, detailing every single thing I did today, right down to the items I put in the garbage.


I have butterflies in my stomach right now. The weird kind that only come when something is very wrong or I am very nervous.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

There is much more that happened today than merely understanding this quote. While asking God about when my life was going to change, when my day to day life was going to change, this quote popped into my head.

You see, for the past oh I don’t know… seven years of my life I have been in planning mode. Always looking forward. Figuring things out, finding solutions to problems. I had levels of solutions, categorized by how pretty and shiny they were- how desirable I find them, and how much honor I would gain from others by attaining them.

I have come to the very top of my list. And now I want down.

And it’s funny because you see, everyone has been taught the lesson I am being taught. The lesson is this: You can’t escape from your personal problems, no matter how many cities you move to, they follow you.

Everyone has a different style of learning. Some are audible, visual, hands-on, written, etc. I’m not sure which one I am, but I am not an audible learner. So every time someone told me that, I never believed them. In fact, the majority of things people have tried to help me with, I never really believed them.

“Yeah, but in New York I will WANT to do __________ because New York is so awesome and inspiring!”

“Yeah, but in Austin I will want to _______ because there will actually be things to do there!”

“Yeah, but I will LOVE art school because it’s something I am passionate about and I know it will help me!”

I always thought that the things I didn’t like about myself would just go away on their own. Eventually they wouldn’t sound good any more or something. Buuuuuut unfortunately, unless you make them go away, they probably won’t. What you do in day-to day life can never really be inspired by my surroundings. It will really only be determined by what I “feel” like doing just then. I’m in New York…. And I still slept until 4:30 pm, which is something I said I’d never do in an “exciting city.” I missed two classes today because I “didn’t feel like going” even though it’s ART SCHOOL and I’ve wanted to be here for years.

Nothing really changes unless you personally want it to change. There has to come a point where you say “enough is enough” and you do something different. I can’t keep expecting things to get better but never do anything to actually get better. That’s literally the definition of insanity. INSANITY, yall. INSANITY. There's a gigantic freaking difference between being all cliche and like "OH I'M GONNA CHANGE AND BE A BETTER PERSON YIPEEE" and "I have to change, otherwise I will literally go insane."

We say a lot of very sad and melodramatic things because we think they're funny. My friend Michelle and I practically bond over how messy we are or how many classes we can miss in a week or how many hohos we can eat in less than 10 minutes. The difference between those ironic, funny, weird or whatever things that I joke about all the time and what I am telling you now is that these are actual problems that actually stress me out and will actually qualify myself for insanity if I don't change them. In case you still think I'm being dramatic, here's my example:

"I really hate that I am messy and not all put together. UGH."

*Continues to sleep until 4:30 pm, eat nothing but pizza and fudge bars, miss class, and not answer emails for days*

"UGH! When am I going to get over this?"

*Goes back to bed, watches Parks and Recreation for the fourth time that DAY*

.... Catch my point?


This is what I realized today. and I now feel light as a freaking feather now that I have fully realized the gravity of my situation.

I am a very lucky girl. Right now, I have the opportunity to deal with the issues that I have hated about myself since high school. I'm in New York, have a dorm all to myself, attending school, planning a business, etc.... I don't know how to fully describe it but I do know that I am extremely lucky. It's like God specifically planned out this whole thing for me to figure out on this exact day. It's quite amazing, actually. I began this most feeling depressed and overwhelmed, and now... I feel sort of brilliant. Thank you Jesus for revelation!

I'm okay with being humble and admitting that I've been wrong for a very very long time. I'm very stubborn and it takes A LOT for me to completely understand some things. I usually don't take someone else's word for it, I have to realize it for myself (something I'd really like to work on as well). God has really been patient with me and is finally revealing things to me in a way that I've needed for a very long time. I'm glad that I'm beginning to understand how to go about the things that I want to achieve in a healthy way. I'm excited to share my process with you. I was nervous about 30 seconds ago, but I just asked Jesus if it was okay for me to share this journey publicly and he said yes. So here goes, guys! I get to share what he does with me in the next few months with you :)

(I know that this isn’t one of my super majestic writing pieces or quirky funny posts like they used to be, but it’s what’s going on with life so whatever. I already am feeling a lot better and I expect to really enjoy some accountability :)

Goals:

1. Being cleaner. Seriously? I should be able to walk in my room. I should be able to invite other humans to hang out in my dorm with me.

2. Write more. I cannot even express to you how much I miss writing. It was so good for me back in high school when I blogged all of the time, and people are always asking me when I’m going to start up again. Also, my articulation has really sucked lately and I know blogging can help that.

3. Get in shape. I am not okay with how round my face is getting. IT MUST STOP. I’m not overweight and I’m thankful for that, therefore I shall keep it that way.

4. Draw/paint more. I used to have so much fun doing this as a form of hanging out with God. I miss it.

5. Read! GAH I MISS READING. The bible has so much good stuff and I’d love to re-read all of Augusten Burroughs’ stuff. I still love him.


Woohoo, that is all. Off to clean my room now. I shall post pictures tomorrow of my pretty dorm room :) Yippeee