thoughts on a sunday morning

I’m sitting at my kitchen counter sipping caramel coffee and wishing I had more time. Time to explore, time to read, time to help, time to breathe. I’m lucky, too. Luckier than most. But still, this world and the time we are allotted are not enough.

I made a friend recently who told me he’s an atheist. After hearing more of his life story, I didn’t wonder why.

I have friends who had wonderful childhoods who’ve become atheists, too. You never know.

Living in Asia made me question everything I’d ever been taught about religion. I still don’t have any answers.

I’ve been thinking, too, about expectations and desires versus reality. Reality never aligns itself with Hollywood versions of caked-out weddings and happily-ever-afters. Even in the happily-ever-afters, reality’s life is HARD.

Patience is HARD.

Never compare your life to anyone else’s, people say . . . while they post on social media happy images of the engagement party they attended yesterday. No one says anything about the anxiety leading up to the party or the way they REALLY feel inside . . . Or if they do they’re looking for sympathy. That’s just as bad.

You CAN’T win.

Or can you?

Me I just forge forward, fighting for positive and looking for good, being myself and not apologizing for being real. You lose every time you lie to yourself or others. Honesty is HUGE.

Yesterday I participated in my first dragon boat race. It was a fundraiser for Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries and a great bonding experience with my newfound poetry and game friends. I was exhausted when it was over, but thrilled to have gotten to join in on an event I’d previously only watched in Hong Kong.

Oh the memories.

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hollywood vs. real life

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”      Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo (2011)

A blogger friend recently reminded me of this quote. It sounds nice, right? But I’m here to tell you that Benjamin Mee is WRONG. Benjamin Mee is wrong because Hollywood is wrong. Hollywood is wrong all the time.

See for yourself. Take any Hollywood movie, and see how it stacks up in “real life.” Boy meets girl, lives happily ever after. Injured animal rescued, set free. Rookie works hard, makes it to the big leagues. The workplace is glamor and, “Caviar, anyone?” Sex leads to love. And, sometimes, all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage, and something great will come of it.

The keyword here (which Hollywood downplays) is “sometimes.”

Let me back up. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, Benjamin Mee is referring to how he met his wife. He saw her in a restaurant window as he was passing by. She was beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that he did something crazy. He went inside and introduced himself. She smiled, and they talked. The rest is history.

Yeah, right.

Perhaps I am growing cynical with age (the big 3-0 is no longer that far off), but when was the last time you met a couple that met in such a way? That lasted? Hollywood is full of fabrications, and while we may laugh it off (“It’s nice to dream!”), I feel it can actually do us harm. Because what happens when the girl doesn’t smile? What happens when the animal doesn’t survive? What happens when you don’t make the big leagues and work is sloppy ties and, “French fries?”

We end up feeling disappointed with our lives and foolish about our bravery because Hollywood has set us up with unrealistic expectations about their outcomes.

Not that it isn’t a good quote or there aren’t times when we should be brave. I’ve always agreed with Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994): “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” All of life is a gamble. In order to play, you have to be willing to take risks. It’s just . . . To me, it seems wise to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst. And when things don’t go the Hollywood way, keep your chin up. Don’t let “real life” get you down.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself. ;)