brigitte kathleen

rediscovering my heart


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I’m Just Like Herod… But Cuter

I only ask what I’d ask any superstar.
What is it that you have got that puts you where you are.
I am waiting, yes I’m a captive fan.
I’m dying to be shown that you are not just any man.
So, if you are the Christ, yes the great Jesus Christ
Feed my household with this bread.
You can do it on your head.
Or has something gone wrong. Jesus, why do you take so long?
Oh come on, King of the Jews.

If you’re familiar with the Broadway hit, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” you might recognize these lyrics. King Herod’s Song is probably one of my favorite numbers from the show because of it’s swing feel, and overall fun factor (if you have time, click the link- you won’t be sorry.). Not to mention everyone I’ve ever seen portray Herod has been EXCELLENT in his role. Always hilarious, always tragically creepy, and always, ALWAYS the perfect portrayal of demeaning. I mean, really- If you want lessons how to make other people feel as little as humanly possible, you must do some serious Herod research.

The first time I saw Jesus Christ Superstar was for my 17th birthday and I fell in love. Having a theater background, I was giddy to begin with, but to see the story of Jesus’ life portrayed in such a creative (and relatively accurate) way was inspiring and exciting. I’ve gone on to own the soundtrack (which is the entire show because it’s a rock opera), and I’ve seen it two more times, as well as watched it on TV every time it’s on. I can also sing the whole show from beginning to end because I’m determined to be some production of it someday.

I love stories. I love telling stories, I love hearing stories, and I love reading and watching stories. I don’t know about you, but depending on the day, I can relate to an wide spectrum of characters from real life, fiction, or the bible. I tend to live in different realities depending on my mood. I’ve been Taylor Swift. I’ve been Katniss Everdeen. I’ve been Rachel Green. I’ve been Princess Jasmine. Right now I’m just like Herod (but cuter). And it’s here, in my Herod days, that I come to you with a question.

The story of Herod comes at a heartbreaking and pivotal moment in the Passion narrative. Herod spends his time doing nothing but mocking Jesus and asking for some sign of proof that he is who he says he is. We see this paralleled in the story of Jesus dwelling in the desert and Satan comes to taunt him. But I have to ask you a very serious question: How are we any different?

How many times have you gotten into a jam- any kind of jam- and been desperate enough to ask God to show Godself? How many times have we been through tragedy and said, “God, if only you were there…”? How many times have we used intercessory prayer to question God’s antics? How many times have we used our relationship with God as leverage to measure “how things should be”? What I’m saying is, how many times have we been so lost in our humanity that we wanted to make God prove Godself to us to make sure WE were being taken care of?

The crappy great part about it is there’s NOTHING we can do about it. We’re unfortunate humans, created in the image of God, but pretty pathetic. Our sinful nature cannot be combated. By the Law and Promise dichotomy, Christ comes to us in our sinfulness BECAUSE of our sinfulness. If it weren’t for our sinful nature, we would have no need for the Promise made in Christ’s salvific act. Because of this, we’re going to continue needing proof of God’s active presence. We are going to continue needing something tangible to hold onto so that our selfish, sinful nature can be convinced that he is alive and loves us.

Especially lately, I find my self doing this at my deepest times of need or loss. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been done with school since December, graduating this past May. I’ve been looking for jobs since September. After applying for 215 jobs, I gave up counting (in February). Job hunting, as it turns out, is the most emotionally taxing, vulnerable, devastating journey you may ever embark on. Never in my life have I felt so small, insignificant, and worthless. In the pit of this valley, I found myself asking God how he could have gotten me here? Why wasn’t he helping me? How could he leave me to flounder so easily? I felt completely deserted by the one thing I knew to be constant.

So what do we do? I’ll tell you want we do– nothing. I mean, something, but let’s start with nothing. By nothing, I mean, let’s sit in quiet. Be embraced by the presence of God that you KNOW is there. Because though your head might feel deserted, your heart knows that’s not true. Settle your mind. When you’ve become calm, remind yourself of the promise of Christ’s love. A promise that could not be broken by death, life, angels, demons… Nothing separates you from that promise. I don’t believe that God has our lives mapped out from beginning to end- I believe that there is free will involved. However, I do believe that as a child of God, I’m offered a promise of love and hope for the future. When I remember this, I no longer need Christ to walk across my swimming pool or turn my water into wine. The thing he’s doing is continually making me a new creation. That’s my proof. That’s my promise.

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7 Things To Tell Yourself When You’re Hurting

Thought Catalog

1. I am going to face it.

Don’t run away from it. Don’t treat it like it’s not there, like it has never happened — this will only prolong the period of suffering, and delay the healing. Talk about it, not avoid it. Things only get nastier when you try to sweep them under the carpet. Face that bitch right in the face. If it’s gonna hurt, it will. But after that, it will be fine. It will get better.

2. This pain is necessary for growth.

You tell yourself that it is NOT all bad and no good — that something good CAN come out of it. That through pain you become stronger and better as a person. That going through tough things and shit situations are part and parcel of life. People can break your heart, but it is up to you whether to seal it up on…

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Emergency Grocery Store Run Results in Existential Crisis: The Salmon Edition

Tonight started like any other Tuesday night. I got home from work shortly after 4 to catch the last part of Ellen. Then I flipped on the news (insert “SHOCKER” here). After I cleaned up last night’s dinner dishes (left over due to the fact that the Bachelorette was on and that consumed most all of my evening), I decided to start thinking about dinner. I knew I had a salmon fillet left over from grandma’s generous unloading of frozen meats she bought from some Schwan’s rival, and I decided to make a lovely salmon fillet with a lemon-dijon sauce, and a side of broccoli and tortolini. A little fancier than a usual Tuesday night meal, but it was the first thing I thought of, and I stuck to it.

I made my dijon sauce, and started the water boiling for my pasta. When I reached into my freezer, I remembered that the salmon had been in there for quite some time and I started to worry that it wouldn’t be good anymore. I was right. The salmon fillet was severely freezer-burned and had all the markings of “bad fish.”
[As a side-note, I should also tell you the following:
When I got home, I knew I didn’t have plans tonight so I washed my face, and took all my makeup off. At this time, I was reminded that I needed a new toothbrush.]
Continuing on…

I had already made my lemon-dijon sauce, crushed my breadcrumbs, and started my water boiling, so there was no turning back. I decided to halt everything and make an emergency salmon run. I turned off my oven which was fully preheated, I turned off the stove, I grabbed my keys and out the door I ran. I was not even halfway down the first flight of stairs (there are six) when I realized that I wasn’t wearing any makeup. I almost turned around but knew that I just wanted to go and get back so I could continue making dinner. To be sure it “wasn’t that bad,” I pulled up the camera on my phone to take a look at my face to see if I was even close to publicly presentable. I wasn’t. But as they say in the ‘biz,’ “the show must go on,” so I forged down the rest of the stairs, and made my way to Rainbow.

Now is the time when I take a brief moment to be completely honest with you about something I’m sure you don’t care about only because you don’t need to and you’ve probably never thought about it. Ready? I NEVER leave the house without some kind of make-up on my face. Sometimes it’s to actually cover something up. Sometimes it acts as more of a security blanket. And before you start going and blaming my mother saying things like, “Why did she teach her that?” or “Why didn’t she instill more self-confidence in her?” please note that this has absolutely nothing to do with my mom. Actually, my mom has frequently tried to tell me that makeup doesn’t matter. She, herself, doesn’t even wear much. This obsession I have is no one’s fault but my own.

When I got to Rainbow (for you out-of-staters, Rainbow is a grocery store), I knew something was off. The moment I saw someone, I looked down at the ground- and my eyes never left it (except to look at which salmon, toothbrushes, and tupperware containers I was purchasing). I stared at the ground during the entire 7-10 minutes I was in the store. I went through the self-checkout because I didn’t want to have to look anyone in the eyes. Every time I walked by someone I was reminded that I wasn’t in my usually “pretty” state. I wasn’t wearing makeup. I was in a state that is only ever embraced when I’m alone in my apartment. Shame had completely consumed me.

As a woman, I’ve been conditioned to believe that “beautiful” looks a certain way. As someone with terrible self-talk and self-esteem, I’ve conditioned myself to believe that I am not it. As much as this is a problem, I don’t think it’s completely my fault, nor do I believe that it’s completely the world’s fault. Sure, media tells me that “beautiful” comes in pretty much one form- long, beautiful hair, big, beautiful eyes, thin, tan, nice boobs, and a nice ass (for all you ass guys out there). I don’t fit this mold—– AT ALL. For those of you who know me personally, you know that this is true. Yes, some of you will tell me that I am beautiful, however, the key to understanding where I’m coming from is that I don’t fit the beautiful mold. There’s a difference.

I’ve told a guy friend of mine, on at least two occasions, that “guys like him are the reason girls like me are single.” I usually drop this bomb when we discuss how “hot” Carly Rae Jepsen or Kellie Pickler are (I’m only using him as an example because I guarantee you he doesn’t read this). I really don’t mean anything by this when I say it, but then I reflect, and I realize how much I actually believe it. “Girls like me” don’t fit into his or most men’s cookie-cutter mold that the world has come to know as beautiful. And as smart as I am, or funny, or [insert endearing quality here] as I may be, I’ll never be, and other girls who don’t fit into the mold will never feel like we are a complete person because we know that men are looking for something more. Essentially, we’ll never be the complete package.

Now, I’m sure you’re trying to tie this back to the whole “leaving the house without make-up” thing, so let me help. The second I stepped out of my apartment, fresh-faced, and flawed, I felt the pressure of the world on my shoulders. I knew that, as a woman, I was supposed to be something in particular, and by stepping out without make-up on, I was failing to measure up to that standard of excellence. I couldn’t tell if I should be ashamed of myself, or ashamed that the world had conditioned me to feel like this. At that point, it didn’t matter. My reality was that I DID feel like that, and for 7-10 minutes, walking through Rainbow, I felt inferior to everyone around me, and I felt that I had little-to-no worth.

It makes me sad that my 12 year old sister will grow up in a world like this. It’s funny, because she’s starting to dabble in makeup, and worry about fashion while I’m constantly telling her it doesn’t matter, and she’s so beautiful. As much energy as I put into telling her that, I put just as much energy into telling myself that she won’t believe it because I don’t believe it for myself. The world (and I hope you understand that by “world,” I mean “American society”) has put these standards on us as women AND MEN (trust me guys, I know you’re dealing with it too, and women are not totally innocent in that), to live up to expectations that no one can reach. Not even celebrities. Do we need to talk about the significance of airbrushing and retouching photos? THIS is the world we live in- not only are the “realistic” levels of expectations too much for us to handle, we have a whole separate set of unrealistic expectations to live up to.

If you know anything about Brene Brown, you’ll realize that this post goes against everything she teaches and talks about. Brene Brown researches shame and vulnerability and encourages people to live into that vulnerability, and embrace who they are. I love her work and her writing and I will encourage any and everyone to read her books, but tonight was a clear indication that some of her teaching is total and complete idealism. What she talks about is not the reality that you and I live every day. We feel pressure to look right, to have enough money, drive the right car, go on the right vacations, be members of the right church, or country club. It’s hard for me to embrace myself because I’m living in a world that’s constantly trying to take who I am away from me. And guess what? You might not know it, but the world is doing it to you, too.

So, how do we get over it? I have no idea. The problem is systemic, and systemic problems are the hardest to fix. You can love yourself all you want, and embrace who you are as much as possible, but we are all fighting the exact same battle… and we’re fighting it against ourselves and each other. I can promise you that I will probably never leave the house without make-up again because I can’t. It causes me to feel actual pain in dealing with the shame that I experience. Your battle might be something different. I don’t know what it is for you, but the battle is there and the key to fighting it is understanding what it is.

I will never be as beautiful as the FSN Girls (don’t even get me started), I’ll never be as charismatic as Jennifer Lawrence, and I’ll never look like Megan Fox. Don’t be fooled– celebrity women aren’t the only ones my struggle is with. I went to High School with a bunch of girls I STILL wish I could be. But there comes a time when the need to face reality overcomes the need to live up to expectations. If that means that I’m single for a really long time because I’m not pretty enough to date (a guy in high school told me this one time), then so be it. Luckily, life goes on whether you’re a little ugly or not. Life goes one whether you’re a size 2 or a size 20. Life goes on whether you make $30,000 a year, or $300,000 year. The beautiful part in this is that life does, in fact, go on.

Your battle is your battle, and I’m sorry you have to fight it. I’m especially sorry if you’re fighting it alone. If at all possible, find comfort that though we might all be fighting separate battles, we are fighting them together.


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A Letter to My 12-Year-Old Sister About Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About

Dear Little Sister,

You just finished 6th grade! Congratulations, you’re officially half-way through your childhood– wait, WHAT? This letter couldn’t be coming at a better time for you! Being well into my adult-hood (although I try to stay young, and you help me do that– especially since we wear the same size clothes), I believe I can offer you a little insight about what you’ve already experienced and what you have around the corner. Ready? Here we go!

1. Mom and Dad

Mom and dad are really great. They each have certain things about them that make them really AWESOME people. You might not feel that way right now because they’re always telling you to clean your room or practice piano, but they really are doing it because they love you and they want to see you succeed. I know that sounds corny, but you have to trust me- I’m your older sister.  It might seem like sometimes they’re just giving you work to do they don’t want to do. Guess what? They are, and they can. They’ve earned that right. It might suck, but that’s part of earning your kid stripes.

Mom and dad really are awesome people, and they’re really, really smart. They’re not going to make you do something that’s going to hurt you, but they’re trying to teach you things about what it means to grow up. Trust them. They know what they’re doing.

2. School

STUDY. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I know it seems pointless sometimes and a lot of times, teachers just give you busy work. But here’s the deal- YOU HAVE TO DO IT IF YOU WANT TO GET ANYWHERE. Not only will doing your homework teach you the material you’re learning, but it’ll also teach you about discipline, time management, and prioritization. None of this means anything to you right now, but I promise it will.

Being able to bounce back is a really good skill, but don’t use it a lot. In 7th grade advanced math, at mid-quarter I had 14 late or missing assignments and I still pulled out a B in that class. What did that teach me? Nothing, except the realization that I could finagle my way out of almost any situation and still be above average. While this is respectable, it’s not admirable. Strive to be admirable. Show us what you can do because you can, not because you have to.

One last thing- do everything you can to be amazing. Study hard. Be involved. You know why? Not only will this just continue to prove to everyone that you are, in fact, AWESOME, but you’ll also start applying for college someday (the money talk is next… get ready), and the more free college you can get because you’re awesome, the better. Make schools WANT you to come to their school. Make them WANT your awesomeness. Because, girl, you are.

3. Money

Money sucks. And it’s only going to get worse. Here are my rules– pay attention.

– SAVE. SAVE. SAVE. Save your money. You’ll thank me and yourself later.

– Students loans are terrible, but they’re a reality. This is why you need to do awesome in school– the less student loan debt you have, the better. Trust me- my student loan debt is the reason you won’t be an aunt or sister-in-law for a very, VERY long time.

– Be responsible. Don’t be impulsive. Your good credit (once you have some) is next to Godliness. Be careful.

– Money is not the end of the world or the defining quality of a good life. If you’re responsible with your money, you’re paying your bills, and you don’t have much money left but you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Money will not make you happy. As long as you’re living the life you want, and you’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing, that’s what matters.

4. Friends

Some friends stay forever. Some friends stay for a week. Friends will hurt you. Friends will love you. All of the experiences you have with your friends will become a part of who you are, and you, in turn, will be a part of who your friends are. I have three best friends (and they might not even know who they are), but I have a small group of really close friends, too. Each of my friends has turned me into the person I am, and the person I’m continuing to grow to be. You’re young, you have a lot of growing left to do.

If a friend hurts you, make sure you forgive them. But you also need to remember that you’re worth being treated like gold. If you’re friends don’t respect your, or use you, or hurt you constantly, make sure you know that you deserve better than that, and that  maybe it’s ok to walk away from that relationship. This way, you can invest more in the friends who love you and care about you and will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. But make sure you’re the best friend you can be to your friends, too. Respect and love in friendships is a two-way street.

5. Boys/Love

This is last because it’s the least important. I know you’re not experiencing it much now, but you’ll start (sooner than I’d like). First of all, boys are dumb. They’ll never understand what is going on in your head, so don’t expect them to. Second, boys aren’t worth it. Guys are almost worth it. Men are sometimes worth it. You have TOO MUCH to focus on right now (and through high school) to get caught up in “boy” drama. Wait until you meet a man… then come to me and I’ll let you know if it’s time and if he’s good enough for you.

No boy/guy/man is worth your tears. If they’re not nice to you, get out right away. Make sure that if whatever feelings you have for him aren’t mutual that you either tell him that, or get out. Your broken heart or his broken heart isn’t worth the dragging out of something that isn’t there– TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

Don’t let mom, dad, grandma, or any of our aunts or uncles make you feel bad about your relationships or lack thereof. Eventually, you’ll be smart enough to make your own decisions without knowing that your family is judging your every word or move. Your relationships are YOUR relationships– not anyone else’s… except I expect to be overly involved. I can. I’m your big sister.

Little Sister, you are so incredible, and you don’t even know it yet. You’re not even your whole person yet! That’s what’s so exciting about being 12. You have so much time to make mistakes and correct them, and to make masterpieces and enjoy them.

In closing, here are the things I love about you, because sometimes it’s nice to hear things like that:

1. Your loving heart

2. Your willingness to try new things

3. Your excitement to learn about new things

4. Your beautiful artistic abilty

5. Your musical ability

6. Your creative spirit

7. Your unconditional love for people (sometimes to a fault)

8. Your beautiful smile

9. The fact that you are a bed hog

10. I love that you laugh at my jokes

Dream big. Be awesome.

Love,

Your Big Sister

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