My Brain

Benedictus

I’ve never been the type of girl who plans the intricate details of her wedding. I remember one time in particular as a little girl acting out my wedding, but I didn’t focused on details rather than the big picture. I have only ever had 2 details planned: in high school, I decided that my youth pastor will be the officiant at the ceremony. This detail will never change, no matter what. He has been one of the biggest influences in my life and I want him to be part of that day. The second detail I thought of just a year or so ago: I wanted the song towards the end of Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy walked across the field to Elizabeth to be playing while I walk down the aisle.

Well, at least that’s what I thought I wanted. It has since changed in the last 24 hours.

You know how there are certain bands or songs you are obsessed with for a while but then life and other music gets in the way and you forget about it until you’re reintroduced to it all over again?

For me, that’s 2Cellos. I became obsessed with them again last night. Luka and Stjepan are two cellists from Croatia who are absolutely phenomenal. They played for Sean and Catherine’s Bachelor wedding last night, were on an episode of Glee a few years ago, and became hugely popular these last couple years. My friend and I traveled from Denver to Dallas last year to see them live in concert and BOY was that the best concert I have EVER seen!!! We literally watched all of their YouTube videos in one night and bought concert and plane tickets to see them right then. These two guys absolutely rock out with their cellos as much as, or perhaps more than Jimi Hendricks or any other rock star. They shred their bows in the course of five songs and Stjepan even headbangs while playing on numerous occassions. Then during the slower, classical pieces Luka seems on the verge of tears, still moved by the songs he has undoubtedly played over one hundred times. The passion they have for their music is phenomenal. If you have yet to experience 2Cellos, do it RIGHT NOW.

So last night as I listened to 2Cellos on Spotify for several hours, the song Benedictus literally brought me to tears and I decided that will be my processional song. I can’t seem to find the original lyrics of the song if they exist, but I did look up what “benedictus” means: Latin hymn from Luke: a Latin hymn from the Bible beginning “Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini” (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” Luke 1:68-79). At first the song seems a little too melancholy, especially for a wedding celebration but the more I listened to it, the more I began to understand the song–or at least added my own personal meaning to it. The song to me highlights reverence to life and its fleeting nature. I can picture scenes in my head of the world in slow motion as people are staring at their loved ones, wishing for time to slow or stop to live in the moment for eternity. Or of a sunrise over the mountains where the music is reveling in the pure beauty of the moment. It is the musical portrayal of one’s spirit groaning for time to stretch so we may have even one more moment to appreciate life and love. I can think of nothing more beautiful or fitting for such a sacred event. My husband and I will come in the name of the Lord and that moment will live on for eternity.

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My Brain

500 Days of Me

I can never convince anyone to watch 500 Days of Summer with me. The easiest way to alienate myself from the rest of the planet is to claim it as one of my favorite movies. Every time I suggest it for a movie night with my friends, I not only get an immediate resounding “No,” but a string of complaints of how depressing and downright horrible this movie is. They all have their own versions of the plot reenacted in their own lives–how they fell in love only to be left abandoned, wondering why their significant other never felt the same. I nod along sympathetically because I’ve learned to keep my perspective on the matter to myself. I can relate to some extent but not fully because…

I am Summer.

Not as in I’m secretly Zooey Dechanel, which would be awesome, but I can identify with Summer in almost every way. I have to be careful to whom I divulge this information. The last time I had a conversation about this movie with someone, he went on a rant of how Summer was a… *ahem*. Nope, now I’m definitely not telling him my view on the movie.

For those who haven’t yet seen the movie, it is from the perspective of a wannabe architect named Tom who falls in love with new coworker, Summer. You see their budding friendship-turned-kind of romance throughout 500 days, bouncing back and forth in time. From day 1 (or rather, day 10, I believe) Summer explains she doesn’t believe in love. Time and again, she says she’s not looking for anything serious and refers to their friendship as nothing more than that. I admit, she does give him mixed signals here and there by going on what seem to be dates and going a little to far with him, but even then she point blank admits she can’t give him the commitment he wants. 

Note to self: When someone says they don’t want a relationship, that means they don’t want a relationship.

Tom believed what he wanted to believe and saw what he wanted to see. The flashbacks contained only happy memories of the good times they shared, omitting the times she seemed uninterested and uncomfortable. He absolutely fell apart when she became engaged to another man over a year later as if he had been betrayed or cheated on. 

I can see how people who relate to Tom would become infuriated over 500 Days of Summer, reliving their own 500 Days of Somebody. Summer is a reminder of their failed relationships and how blind they were to the truth. How they were just shy of being someone’s “The One.” 

But for me, this movie is a beacon of hope.

Relationships are hard for me. I have the reigns pulled tight on my emotions and have a difficult time releasing them for anyone. I identify completely with Summer’s dilemma of discomfort and uncertainty. She doesn’t allow herself to feel too attached because something inexplicable feels off.

I am my own Summer. 

I haven’t allowed very many Toms in my life. Summer retreats much later than I ever would, and much more gracefully than I would as well. I admire that about her. She gave Tom a chance, but was true to her feelings and wouldn’t let Tom dictate how she felt. She tried to make herself feel things that just weren’t there but in the end, the charade was too much to keep up. She didn’t believe in love because she had seen the hurt it can cause rather than the joy it could bring. 

Oh how I can relate.

Then, what caused unspeakable heartache to the man pining after a girl who’s been absent for the last 20 minutes of the movie brings unbelievable hope to the Summers of the world. She at long last finds love. The real crime in the movie is that we don’t get to see the true romance play out. Had we seen the progression of Summer with her now-husband, I’m sure there would be a noticeable difference in how she felt about him versus Tom. Even the short smile we witness as she’s marrying this mystery man was a grander one than she ever had with Tom.

This gives me hope. She couldn’t muster feelings for one man, but she found love in another. Just because she didn’t love Tom doesn’t mean she’s a heartless robot with no emotions. 

I don’t mean to shaft Tom. Yes, he deserves sympathy too. He didn’t deserve to get his heart broken. We all can relate to the Reality vs. Expectations scene in the movie… I know I do. But there are many of us who don’t fall in love so quickly, or feel as though they can’t at all. There are some who grow frustrated with Tom’s desperation and persistence. Give the girl a break, she’s been through enough without your pressuring her. Hollywood is obsessed with the head-over-heels romance that consumes one’s entire being, building every relationship up to be once in a lifetime stuff fairy tales are made of. As someone who is frankly a little timid when it comes to feeling anything at all, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this.

My Books, My Brain, My World

Welcome to my world

I’m not good staying in one spot. If I have a day off with nothing to do, it frustrates me to death if I spent it inside with nothing to show for it. I live for adventures, all the way from exploring new foreign cities to finding a cool coffee shop I never knew existed. When I decided to study abroad, I chose Semester at Sea because you don’t simply stay in one country all summer/semester but rather eight or ten! That’s my kind of study abroad.

I think this stemmed from my love for reading. Growing up, my family had a tradition: almost every Friday night, my parents would take my sister and I out for dinner (usually Tia’s, a Mexican restaurant that has since closed, but gave kids tortilla dough to play with instead of coloring pages–a better alternative if you ask me!) then across the street to Borders Bookstore (now closing as well… how depressing). I loved wandering the maze of bookshelves, trying to decide which story I should delve into next. The few times I couldn’t decide on a book, or even find one that I wanted, I would be so frustrated. I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving a bookstore and NOT finding a book!

To this day, I find comfort in bookstores. While traveling abroad, I would find bookshops in almost every country and feel at home again. I bought my copy of The Great Gatsby from Pisa, Italy and I absolutely love it. I’ve met people who have never read a book for fun in their lives and it baffles me. Never??? I can’t even fathom life without my precious books! Sometimes I just sit in front of my bookcase and stare at them… A new adventure awaits me within each page. I can spend hours sitting on my couch but feel as though I’ve just journeyed to Hogwarts and fought alongside Harry and Hermione or followed Ray Bradbury to the future foretold within the tattoos of a strange fellow. I may be in the waiting room of a doctor’s office but feel as though I’ve been locked inside a room with Jack and his mom or escaped to Neverland with Peter and Tinkerbell. It’s always a new adventure, no matter how many times I read it.

Then there’s my journals. I have a large stack of them of various colors and shapes that I consider some of my most prized possessions. I’ve kept a consistent journal since 9th grade and now can’t image in how I would function without one. I always have something to jot down, mainly because I communicate best through writing. I’ll try to explain something to you and it just comes out as a confused mess. When I write something down, however, suddenly my brain comes out from hiding and pours onto the page.

When I write, I explore the recesses of my mind. It’s an interesting place up there… silly brain. Writing helps me discover what exactly has been going through my head and what thoughts have creeped in there lately. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always an adventure.

As much as I love exploring lands that don’t exist or my own mind, having actual tangible adventures are my favorite. I rode a camel in Marrakech, Morocco, straddled two continents at once in Istanbul, Turkey, and backpacked my way through Italy for a week. I’ve spent a week living with a local family in central Mexico, playing Pictionary with the two daughters as a way to learn Spanish. I’ve spent 10 hours on a smelly Greyhound bus from Atlanta to Orlando, sitting among men who openly discussed their recent time in prison.

I like adventures. They make for great stories and keep my life from being stagnant. Journey with me as I embark on adventures of all sorts.

My Brain

Seconds.

What lies ahead? No one knows. We all stare into the abyss of life that we pretend to have figured out. When we lose our way, we look around and only see people with purpose, drive, and confidence. They know what each year, day, second holds.

Until it all changes. I could get up from this chair and know that my next three minutes will be spent in the kitchen, putting the kettle on and selecting my morning tea. I would return to my desk to read a few emails as I wait for the whistle from the stove that will undoubtedly occur in roughly four minutes. When the sound pierces my ears, I will rush to remove the steaming water from the burner, praying my roommates were not awakened by the sound.

But what if those seven minutes occurred differently than I expected? I, being clumsy, could trip as I rise from my chair, breaking a random bone that would result in a hasty ride to the hospital. As I choose my tea, I could receive a call from my mother, delivering unbearable news of some sort, altering my life for an undetermined amount of time. The doorbell could ring, revealing a handsome stranger that would haunt my thoughts for months to come.

What lies ahead? Each second has the potential to shift our reality. Not just for me, for everyone. That businessman rushing to grab a cup of coffee before spending 10 hours at the office. The single mother struggling to survive and provide. The adorable two-year-old, experiencing life for the first time.

No one has life figured out. Those who believe they do are the most foolish of us all.