I'm Alone (No You're Not)

I haven't written much lately, about anything important or even an update on my life. I'd forgotten what discipline writing takes, what a spiritual discipline its been in my life. The past two months have been full of big changes, but to my surprise, it's also been very uneventful. 

After the dramatic move and start of classes, life started to get... ordinary. Days are full of classes, homework, occasional babysitting, and fitness classes at the YMCA.  The two years I spent between college and graduate school were wonderful and I enjoyed not having any responsibilities after coming home from work. I thought I could go back to my undergrad routines of near-constant homework, but it didn't take long for me to feel drained and stressed. At the advice of a former professor, I've tried to treat school like my 9-5 (or 8-6) job. I try to get all my work done before dinner and then I have the evenings free. This has been mostly successful and if nothing else, I feel less guilty about watching all my favorite TV shows at night. 

My classes are interesting, and although Hebrew is doing it's job of kicking my butt, it isn't much different than what I was doing in undergrad. It feels like such a privilege to be studying theology again and I feel so at home in academics. I got elected Class President (without campaigning!) which my SPU friends will know is nothing short of hilarious. Being back in Student Council feels so familiar and I love the chance to be apart of working for the student body. 

I was supposed to work for Starbucks, but it slowly fell through, leaving me without work for much longer than I expected. I've had a job since I was a Freshman in college and it feels very weird to not be working (and not have an income!) I've been looking, but it hasn't been easy. I've been filling my time with as many extra-cirruculars and activism as possible. I've canvassed for Hillary, protested with Black Lives Matter, marched in the LGBT Pride Parade, and am attending an anti-death penalty vigil. I'm essentially my conservative upbringing's worst nightmare, but how else is a liberal going to survive in the South? 

The biggest change has been my relationships. I left a community of friends that I knew well and knew me. The process of building new relationships has been slow and difficult. It's not that people here aren't kind, it's a bunch of future pastors, so everyone has been kind and welcoming. And yet. It's always, "and yet," with me. 

Starting over is exciting and yet... it is so hard.

Being independent is wonderful and yet... it can also be terribly lonely. 

Kindness is appreciate, and yet... I long for real, messy, true relationships.

I went to a concert with a friend last weekend of a band that I love- Joseph. They're from Oregon and one of the sisters was at SPU the same I was. They're 3 sisters who are incredibly talented and I feel so proud of them, even though I don't know them personally. Their concert  was phenomenal, and I am definitely not a concert-going person. They sound even better in person than on their album, which I didn't think was possible, and it was so fun to hear their little explanations of their lyrics. They played their album title song near the end and it's become a bit of anthem for me in this season of life

There're always two thoughts
One after the other:
I'm alone.
No, you're not - I'm alone - No, you're not.

Life has felt like a fight against the ever-present voice that says, "I'm alone." I have to fight it daily, "No I'm not. No I'm not. No I'm not." It's so tempting to give in, to believe the lie that I am all alone, to throw a little pity party for myself. The loneliness is so real and I don't want to diminish that. I also don't want to dwell in it either. Instead, I'm going to put on a great album, cook dinner for a new friend, and remind myself, "you're not alone."