Saturday, June 22, 2013

On my Own

When you fully immerse yourself in a community and are suddenly ripped from it for one reason or another, it can be really really easy to find yourself feeling entirely alone in the world. The people you were closest with, be they family or friends or classmates or co-workers, all tend to slip away, even if you say you'll still see each other. It's normal for people to drift apart as they head down different paths in life, but sometimes this ends up being a more difficult thing to accept than we want it to be.

When I stepped down from my youth ministry job back in December, I told people I'd still be around in their lives, that I'd love to keep seeing everyone, but it would have to be in a different context and a whole lot more intentional. Knowing that that intentionality was an important factor in that, it made it all the more crushing when I found myself alone for the couple of months that followed. Did people not want to see me anymore? Did they just have more important things to do? Was there an effort lacking on my end of things as much as on theirs? Regardless of the answers to these questions, something bigger comes up. If losing the regular context for these relationships caused such a big rift, are they any lass valid? Do they still mean something if they're over?

I struggled with this for months and months, feeling like I had lost the community I had grown to know and love. And I had, at least in some capacity. Those relationships still existed, but in a totally different context from the one I had grown familiar and comfortable with. Now, in order to maintain the closeness I once felt with people, I had to be really intentional about that, and try to actually make plans with people. But in my blindness I wasn't able to see that, and so a lot of those relationships fell apart, drifted away, or just sort of faded out. I was left alone, with no family or friends but the few people who I had managed to get close to outside of that. Thank God for those few people, because my relationships with them grew even stronger through this and I ended up with a really solid bunch of people to turn to with my problems and concerns. God provided even in a time of struggle.

I guess there's two lessons to learn from this story- the first is not to put all your eggs in the same basket. If you allow yourself to exist exclusively within one ecosystem, then as soon as something goes wrong there, your entire world is shaken into a state of utter chaos. If you spread yourself out a little, it's far less devastating when one group shuts down or grows apart. The second is that at the end of the day you're not really alone, even in the darkest moments, God is there. He's there, He's good, and He's got a plan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Broadway, Here I Come!

Hey everyone!

Sorry I've been away for so long. It's been a really intense year, and a lot of stuff got in the way of my blogging. A few of you (mostly Carl) have been wondering where I went, why I'm not posting, and even begging me to come back. Well, Carl, and anyone else, I'm back now, and I think I'm here to stay!

I apologize in advance for my lack of proof-reading here. It's early and I don't feel like checking spelling.

Back in September, I moved out of my parents' house to finally live in my own apartment. But then they split up in October, so I realized I really had no option but to keep being on my own. Okay, I'm ready for this. I've got this. Working three jobs, studying part time, leading the youth ministry at church, nothing has really changed except that now I'm totally independent.

But then I realized I was feeling more and more out of place in that ministry, and more and more disappointed and uninspired by school. But what would I do without the youth group? What would I do without Dawson College? Who am I, if not a Dawson student and a youth leader?

I ultimately decided I needed to stop hanging on to these things just because they gave me security, and stepped down from both. This left me feeling lost and directionless, but hoping that a new direction would find me sooner than later.

Well, that took its sweet time, and I spent a solid four months feeling totally hopeless and totally forsaken. I cried out to God and, for the first time in years, really didn't feel like I was hearing anything back from Him. But I kept having faith, kept hoping and trying to trust that He wouldn't leave me alone here, that something would make sense eventually if I just believed.

The short story is that I spent the first chunk of this year struggling with a really intense depression, lying to everyone and saying I was okay, and drinking my problems away. I'm not proud of that, but hey, I'm not going to lie either. I was realizing more and more of the brokenness that laid within me, and understanding less and less of the redemption that I knew I had in Christ. Basically I was a total wreck, you know?

Anyways at this point I'm feeling a lot more stable, haven't had a drink in a couple of weeks, am learning how to stop seeking validation from other people, and am feeling a lot more confident in myself and in my God.

So that's a quick update about what's been going on with me spiritually since I last posted here. Now for a quick update about the rest.

It's 5:30 in the morning right now, on a Sunday. I've got to be at church in five hours, and am not in the slightest bit tired, despite having been awake since about noon yesterday. I'm not sleeping well these days, but it's strange, because some days my body is totally fine with that, and others, it hates me for it. The upside is that my work schedule at Hazelaid is flexible enough that I don't need to wake up super early every day, but I'd prefer to do that and not have to work overnight ever, so I'm trying to regulate my sleep schedule as much as possible. Anyways, this sleep issue started a couple of weeks ago, and has led to a lot of late-night Mario Kart and, apparently, early morning word vomit. Who knew?

These days, I am living with Tim Blais, who you might remember from Cabin 9, which has been really great, although our current apartment doesn't get much light, which is probably why I can't sleep/wake up/function as a normal human being. We have more windows between bedrooms than we have to the outside world. True story.

I'm also studying Songwriting at Berklee College of Music's online school, which is super exciting, because I'm finally studying something I'm actually passionate about, instead of just wasting time at Dawson. I'm doing this because I really want to write musicals, and thought that some formal training in lyric and song structure stuff would be a helpful tool for that. My plan is to finish the 9-course master certificate program I'm currently enrolled in, then apply for Concordia's bachelor in theatre studies, with a focus on playwriting, to help round out that skill set. After that, I will hopefully write something good enough to get me some money, so I can head down south to New York City, the centre of the universe :P

In addition to this, I'm writing my first ever full-length musical right now! Tim is helping to compose the music, I'm writing the book and lyrics, and my close friend Alex Smith is co-writing the book with me. We're all super excited about it and, though we've only got a couple of scenes written out so far, I can say with fairly sober judgment (get it, because I'm not drinking anymore!) that they're really good. On top of that, Tim and I are still doing music, and have a couple of big projects in the works that I'll tell you more about when they become less classified ;)

Anyways, I think this is enough of an update for now. My plan is to write every time I find myself awake entirely too early/late and have nothing better to do than sit on my porch enjoying the cool air of not-daytime, and in anticipation of that being a really frequent thing, I don't want to run out of stuff to tell you all about. So I guess you'll have to just keep checking back :)

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers reading this.


"NO DAD, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!"- Simulatenously my favorite Breakfast Club quote and my response when people ask what I'm doing today to celebrate.