Friday, May 31, 2013

The coast and the city

I can barely believe that it’s the end of May. Not a lot of posting up in here this month, for a few reasons:

1.       The first part of the month I was getting us ready for vacation. Lots of shopping for the perfect pair or sandals for me, 
      boardies for AD, and small items to keep LG busy during his first airplane ride, along with paying bills, washing, packing, etc.
2.      We were on vacation for a week, during which time I unplugged. No email, Facebook, blogs, Internet-anything. It was 
3.      I was pregnant the whole month. How’s that for a super low key life event reveal? I am currently 12 weeks and due 
     December 8th. I’ve been tired, nauseated, and hungry.

Besides the vacation and pregnancy, I was also a perfectionist throughout the entire month (okay, throughout my entire life). Though I know things don’t need to be perfect and have come a long, long way, perfectionism still trips me up, wedges itself between me and my dreams, and sometimes paralyzes me. If I don’t have the (time, energy, resources) to do this (blog post, DIY project, event, meal) to an acceptable level I’ve created in my head, I just won’t do it at all.

In terms of the blog, I don’t have the time or energy right now to make it read, look, feel the way I want it to, which has been a stumbling block to recording and sharing what’s been going on in our lives, in my head, and in my heart this year.

Though I wanted to do something fun to highlight my first blogiversary (and Mother’s Day, and the new bebe) this month, it didn’t happen. I did go back and read my first blog post, and realized that I need to get back to where I was a year ago: simply writing as a way to share memories, work out some things going on in my head/heart, and hopefully glorifying God. Not posting photojournalistic snapshots with each post, using the perfect graphic and font, getting followers, getting my projects pinned, etc. So I’m going back to basics for a while. If I have time to get my photos uploaded and edited, great, but if not, it’ll just be memories and meaningful content.

So, here’s what I’m noodling on right now:

Part I
My family (AD, LG, and I) and the fam I’m from (mom, dad, brother, brother’s girlfriend) spent last week with my mom’s aunt’s family at a gorgeous beach house on St. Simons Island, Georgia (it’s on the coast between Savannah and Jacksonville). We had a wonderful time—I will definitely be doing a detailed post about our trip with pics at some point—but what’s really struck me since I’ve been home is the simple beauty of that place.

Last week it was the ocean, beach, and marshes, lush foliage and hanging moss, colorful homes of all types of architecture, vintage-style bikes, the sunshine, the breeze. And this week, driving to the grocery store and looking around, I’m seeing concrete, powerlines, restaurants and strip malls, and house after house after house in one of four styles with grass and one or two trees (in one of five species) in the yard. This culture shock of sorts made me realize what an effect being surrounded by a beautiful environment can have on your spirit. Now, I know comparing an upscale vacation destination and working-class metropolitan area isn’t quite fair. And I’m not saying that I don’t see some beauty in some parts of the suburbs or city, but as indicated in my use of the word “some” in the first part of this sentence, it is often an exception, not the norm; something that must be sought out or looked for, not simply taken in. There are a lot of people who would tell me that I need to  choose to find the beauty in the everyday, blah blah blah.

All that said, I know there are a lot of beautiful places--city and country, in all directions, near and far--that working people can live. While it has been in our family plan to eventually move out to a big piece of land with hills and trees and water and be as self-sufficient as possible, traveling to this beautiful place confirmed it that much more, and brought the goal into finer focus.

Part II
On Tuesday, AD, LG, and I hopped in the car as soon as I got home from work, headed to a nursery down by the airport that has quality plants for cheap. When we got there, we were greeted by a sign telling us that they were sold out and closed until they'd have farm produce in late July. So we took a different way home, one in which we'd pass a few more nurseries. A little way down the road, in a city we only ever pass through, I made AD pull over because my stomach was getting empty and making me feel like I was going to puke. 

The next place to pull over was a gas station with a McDonald's. So we got out of our decade-old car, all of us in t-shirts, jeans, and flip flops, and ordered dinner. And the overwhelming feeling while we were there was that we were not welcome there, mostly because we were not black.

And I just thought, this is BS. I live in this county, my taxes help out here, and I can't get some chicken McNuggets without dealing with crap? And then all of the ranting I hear from my father, who grew up in Detroit but now calls it a dump (among other things), and the comments from my aunt and uncle when they get back from visiting my cousin's family in Charlotte, all started to make sense. I was asking myself, why should I deal with a corrupted city that can't help itself (can we say Kwame?), horrible roads, high gas prices, when I don't have to?

And these musings bring me to an ongoing internal struggle between optimism and pessimism, and a question I ask myself all the time about a lot of things: When do you keep trying, and when do you give up on (your city, job, family, friends, religion, sports team, ____)?

This city has me feeling this way this week, but even more so over the past year, I've felt this way towards the behavior of some people in my life that I care about. As I've grown older, I've become more complacent; less likely to speak my mind if I feel that something or someone has done wrong. I've been wondering whether it's that I'm afraid of the lasting consequences of being really straight up/standing up to someone, whether I'm being complacent because these people are not a part of my everyday life and dealings, or whether an appropriate opportunity just hasn't come along yet. The one thing that resonates with me, though, is that doing and saying nothing just perpetuates a bad cycle that could at least change, and maybe one day end.

Well, this post was...
...all over the place?
...moving in the right direction


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