Tuesday, November 25, 2014

this is about honesty. 

last week i was asked what i thought was worth fighting for. my first answer was honesty and my second answer was justice. someone asked me why honesty. they said why not justice first or the lord or your family or your friends. i said i do not know. i just believe in honesty. i think god did too because as far as i know he/jesus/the holy spirit don't lie. so i think its pretty high up on the value list. i think honesty is worth fighting for. i think honesty is really hard. mostly really all the time it is hard. i'm not talking about the "do i look fat in this" kind of honesty. because sometimes that is mean and makes people sad. actually, maybe that honesty is okay because it leads to other conversations about things like self image and being comfortable or not. i digress. i mean the real, soul-wrenching, painful but freedom inducing honesty. 


i get it, i'm an upper middle class white girl talking about honesty in the wake of a whole lot of not honesty and tragedy. this isn't about that. or it is about that but i am not trying to weigh in or sway anyone. in fact, my friend matt had the best social media post about Ferguson i saw all day. "Please do not debate this. ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎PrayForFerguson‬Peacemakers seek justice for all."

honesty. hard. for some reason i am good at it. probably the number one compliment i recieve is related to my honesty. this is funny and encouraging and sometimes scary to me. a week ago i was in a room full of women, some of which i knew, most i did not. they all answered this question about me "what is one thing i am not embarrassed about" their answers were "your body odor, your opinions, boys, anything because your are honest, and your problems" okay so really for being in the same room as some of these women for the first time IN MY LIFE and them only spending 3 hours with me playing a board game this is what they got. granted, i had just run a half marathon that day and could not really move or think but either 1) i am entirely too talkative or 2) i am entirely too honest and share way too much way too soon.  i was telling my friend diana this story the other day being slightly mortified about how these women picked up all these things from me in a very short time span. and diana reminded me that it is good. that a lot of people are not honest and it is refreshing (and sometimes a little scary) to meet someone who is honest like i am. 


two years ago i lived in a house with 8 other people and it was hard and fun and messy. at the end of the year we were talking about first impressions and how we felt about each other when we moved in the house. two of the girls said it was hard for them to love me or feel loved by me because of how honest i am. i remember being so humiliated and sad in that moment. they know me well though and knew i'd feel this way. they continued and said hannah no, we are radically different because of that in you. it is scary at first because this world is not like that but it is good and life giving and life changing. (i dont remember the words they used because really it was two years ago but it went something like that---thanks maggie & alexis) 


when people call me out for being honest or for even being a safe space for honesty it baffles me and is hard. i do not wake up and say i'm going to be really honest today and try to make friends or enemies because of it. maybe i don't have a filter. maybe i've just had some hard things in life that have made me a little weary and i decided along the way i was going to share those with people. i'm not sure. neither decision feels consious or intentional. i just know that i'd much rather live life with people talking about the mess than keeping the mess inside me. i know that i have been set free by other people being honest and if i can carry that on and walk with other people in their messes and maybe get to help/watch/participate them being set free from things too then why wouldnt i. 


back to this-god is honest. i think we were made to be honest. or maybe honesty came when the fall came. i don't know. but i think honesty reveals things and maybe starts a path to freedom. we have been reading books in my social justice class about oppression and dictatorships. naming things-naming oppressions-naming problems sheds light on them. it gives ownership to them. even if it really shitty. giving people names for things, even for oppression type things is a start. i think naming comes from honesty. comes from the honest reality of what is happening. naming things also can create unity with other people who have named things as well. if i name what is happening to me as oppression and you do too then there are two of us. and that is where change starts. naming, dialoguing about naming. it is all honesty. and hard. and scary. 


i am not saying honesty leads to all wonderful things. honesty leads to hard things too. loss of friendships or relationships, death, jail, i don't even know. honesty is not always believed. this friends, is why it is worth fighting for. clearly i am not a criminal-i hope to never be one. i do not know what it feels like to be a criminal and lie about it. i do not know that i would have enough integrity to be honest about crimes that i had committed. that seems the scariest. i can't even imagine it so i won't write about it. jesus was honest about who he was and he was murdered on the cross. i do not for a second think that jesus thought it would be better to stay on earth and hide who he was and lie about his identity rather than die for the human race. he was honest. he didn't even like being honest i bet. he prayed he would not have to be honest and would not have to die. honesty won in the end and radically changed my life & the entire course of human history because of it. 


i think honesty is worth fighting for. it is hard. but it is worth it. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

it is november 11th (my favorite day!) and that means 11 days of NaNoWriMo have past and I've written um approximately twice. So add this to the list of failures I have. I'm actually tired and can't think of any major failures up until this point so this may be my first one. My second one may come on Saturday when I attempt to run a half marathon without training. At 9 in the morning sitting outside in Charlottesville at Christines bachlorette weekend running a half marathon without training seemed like a good idea. Buzzfeed supported me and I even had dreams about running laps up and down a mountain and was convinced it would never be that hard. Race day is three sleeps away and now 13.1 miles seems way longer than it did six weeks ago. I've done some fake training--walking a lot, doing some sprints around my neighborhood, and doing a 30 day plank challenge (which I've also failed to do every day like I am supposed to--add it to the list). I just did a 2.5 minute plank and feel like I'm well on my way to failing on race day. I'm okay with that.

I haven't been doing a lot of writing. I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing, which is not the same thing. I bought a moleskin journal to write down all the things I want to write about because I always think of them at the gap or driving and by the time I get home I can't ever remember them. We've been talking in my social justice class about activism and verbalism. activism is acting without thinking which makes dialogue impossible. verbalism is talking talking talking forever but never putting action behind anything. praxis is the connection between activism and verbalism and manifests itself in action and reflection. this is really hard for me. i either obsess over something and talk it to death (sorry pals) and then finally succumb to action mostly because everyone encourages me to do so or i'm so tired of talking about things i just want to punch myself in the face. or i do wild actions without reflecting on how they will affect me or those around me. i'm not sure if premeditated activism is a thing but i think i do it. like i have thought a lot about running this half (and talked about it) and have done research about how to best run races without paying for them but in reality i'm just going to do it saturday morning. just going to do it and hope that i blend in enough to not get thrown out of the race. (to be fair--i'm not going to cross the start or finish line or take any water/snacks from the people so i'm trying to bandit/ghost run as nicely as possible). so it's praxis but not in the real way that praxis is supposed to be implemented or effective.

i think the balance is hard. walking the walk-talking the talk. doing things for you and not for other people. the times when i'm most active and least reflective are when i'm trying to impress people. actually...i talk a lot about situations too but more so because i'm an external processor and not as much to impress people. in grad school everyone freaks out all the time. everyone is always stressed and always bitching about how stressed they are. verbalism. i'm not into that. i'd rather spend that time complaining doing fun things then sitting down and writing a paper and complaining about it in the moment if need be but not for hours upon hours. i'd rather play tennis. or watch gilmore girls. or pretend i'm training for a half marathon.

so really...be a praxis person (is that an adjective? i don't know...) and be better than i am and act upon things and reflect on them. do things for yourself. do things for others. do things. that might be seeing a movie you've been talking about seeing--even if you go alone. or if you're going going going--chill. take a hike. reflect on life. good news is we'll all figure it out in the by and by and sometimes that's all you can want.

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