{August 25, 2012}   Alice in Wonderland

(I’m just gonna vent before I start this blog. I had a huge loooong post written, but I accidently clicked on something and it disappeared! Agh! And it was a great post! Ugh. Now I have to tap into my genius yet again. I’m pretty sure my internal writer is about tapped out for the day, so I know she’s crossing her arms and glaring at me right now. But here I go…)

Have you ever seen the movie Alice in Wonderland? Not the new Johnny Depp version, but the Disney cartoon from years ago? I saw it many, many times growing up, but until recently I never really watched it. A few months ago, I was sitting around thinking about what I wanted for my next tattoo. And for some reason, Alice in Wonderland popped into my head. I kept thinking about it and thinking about it. I just couldn’t shake this movie. I watched it again and really paid attention to the movie. I realized that this movie is not only relateable, but I AM Alice! What an epiphany! My life is just as crazy as hers. I sometimes feel as though I’ve tumbled down a rabbit hole into this abnormal abyss where nothing makes sense, but everything is a crazy fun world.

I am an observer. I love to people watch. And in my observations, even if my deductions are far off, it seems as if everyone around me has it all together. Everything is normal, everything is at a relatively normal level of perfection, everything is just right. And then there’s me. There’s a quote I read one time that says “Life is divine chaos.” And that is soo true to my life! (It’s a future tattoo, for sure!) But it’s so fitting for my life. And when I really look at the movie, Alice’s adventure is divine chaos as well. Everything seems a bit trippy and weird, but at the bottom of it all are some great lessons.

In the start off, Alice says to her cat, “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” She wanted something more for her life. Something different that wasn’t everyone elses norm. I get the impression that she feels as though she doesn’t “fit” in this every day world of everyone else. And then here she sees a rabbit. A white rabbit in a jacket, hat and a pocket watch. She decides to make this choice to follow this white rabbit. What about this is a good idea? She even states at one point “Curiousity often leads to trouble.” Story of my life!! But that doesn’t stop me!

After dropping down into this seemingly never ending rabbit hole, she begins an adventure she never could have imagined. Crossing paths with characters that only dreams could be made of. She finds that to navigate herself through this wonderland, she must change herself to fit the situation. I often feel as though I must do the same. I don’t have triscuits to make myself grow or a potion to drink to shrink my size, but with any new situation, I am always changing some part of me. I have not developed to the ability to walk into a crowd and just proclaim “this is me! accept it or not, I don’t care.” Because the fact of the matter is, I DO care! I wish I didn’t, but there is not an ounce of me that doesn’t constantly want to please people and ensure that I make them happy. So with different situations, I present the best applicable me. And that’s what Alice had to do.

At one point, she is small and wanders through a flower bed. The flowers sing and begin talking to her, and about her. They discuss what kind of flower she is because she looks funny and has no fragrance. They throw out all sorts of possibilities, one even calls her a weed! Finally, one bud quietly questions, “Do you suppose she is a wildflower?” What?? A wildflower?? How appropriate! That’s me!!! I’m a wildflower! I may not be beautiful rose, a whimsical daisy or a gorgeous tulip, even though I’d like to be…but I’m a wildflower! One who grows on her own accord. Free and free spirited, floating about in life, ending up in random places. Some may think it doesn’t belong and really is nothing more than a weed, but how many times do we overlook these wildflowers? How many times do we not really see the beauty that they offer? They can enrich the bouquet more than I believe we ever give them credit for because we never truly stop to appreciate what they offer. That little bud really nailed it! A wildflower. What a revelation.

In another scene, Alice crosses paths with a caterpillar. A caterpillar who is weird, smokes a hooka pipe and isn’t all that friendly. The whole time she is speaking with him, he keeps asking her who she is. She answers in circles and states that she can’t really answer because she really doesn’t know. Again, so true to my life! I’m 32 years old (eek!) and I have NO clue who I am. How did this happen? Shouldn’t I know who I am? Heaven forbid I come across a caterpillar (or human, I suppose, if we have to be normal here) that repeatedly asks me who I am. How would I answer? Stammering and stuttering for sure. How can I quite explain it to you, when I don’t know myself? In her conversation with the caterpillar, he asks her to explain who she is. She states “I can’t put it any more clearly, sir, because it isn’t clear to me.” Who I am is murky enough to me, I can’t possibly make others understand if I, myself, don’t understand.

In her travels, Alice runs into a cat. A *Cheshire* cat, he is sure to point out. He speaks in riddles (as does everyone in the movie, it seems, which at first is frustrating, but slowly begins to speak to the ridiculousness and amazingness of all the things around) and boggles her mind, but he really is quite clever.  There is another conversation between Alice and the Cheshire cat that is pretty appropriate for my life. This is when Alice first meets the Cheshire cat and she is lost, asking him to help her find her way. She asks for help and he says it depends on where she is wanting to go. She tells him it really doesn’t matter, and he simply states “then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” Ahhh, someone who understands!! I don’t know where I am going! So why does it matter how I get there? Missteps, trials and errors, the falls, the journey…it is all taking me wherever I am going to end up. And isn’t that part of the fun? Not knowing how we get there? But as the King states, “Begin at the beginning, and go on until you get to the end; then stop.” Ha! Straight and to the point. Love it. But as I sit and look at my life, I liken it to a big huge puzzle. Each piece has it’s place, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not sure I want my puzzle to ever be fully put together. I like seeing it come together. I like picturing it all laid out, each piece telling a story and leading to a great novel. Maybe the day that I am no longer here, that will be the final piece of my puzzle. But secretly, I still hope there is at least one piece missing. Just to keep everyone guessing, and to show that no story is ever fully told and complete.

There are SO many great quotes throughout the entire movie. I wish I could just type the whole movie here! If you  have never seen it, or it’s been awhile, I challenge you to sit down and really watch it. It seems crazy and whimsical, but there really are a lot of deep meanings to what is being said if you really pay attention. She comes across so many crazy situations and people in this story, but it isn’t all that far fetched. There are many different characters we meet along our path of living. Each character with their own story. Just because they aren’t like us or don’t have the same story, doesn’t mean they are all that different. One character in the movie (the Mad Hatter, I believe) claims “We’re all mad here!” And that’s true in life. Everyone’s a bit mad.

Anyway, after plaguing me for months, I’m finally putting my epiphany into words. I’m alice in wonderland. That’s my life. I fall down rabbit holes which clearly aren’t the best decisions to make, I meet crazy people along my journey, and things just seem to get curiouser and curiouser. I’m merely a wildflower in this great big flower bed of life. I float along and end up in random places. All I can do is hope that those around will not chop me down, but will see me for the beauty that I offer. They will take me in and add me to their bouquet to enhance the beauty of the world around them.

With all that babbling, I’ll leave you with one last quote from the movie. I feel like this often in my life, so I take it day by day and just hope that one day I’ll figure it all out. Well, actually, I’m not sure I want to figure it all out. It’s kind of fun just going along and not knowing! “I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”



{August 21, 2012}   Back again

Well, it’s been a long while since my last post. A looooong while. I love to write, but when I find when I go to blog, I completely freeze and have no idea what to say. But, again, with some coaxing from family, I’ve decided to try again.

In my last post, I talked about getting ready to deploy. And here I sit, over a year later, a veteran of war. Granted, it was an easy deployment, but it’s still a little surreal to think that I have actually been deployed to a war zone. Never in a million years did I think that would ever happen. As I said, it was an easy deployment, for the most part. Nothing notable happened in the region we were in, thankfully. On a personal side, it was the hardest year of my life. Not ready to really write it all down so I have to physically see it, but for those that know, they are aware of what I am referring to. Crazy year. Full of ups and major downs, of which I hope to never have to repeat. But I’m thankful for the things that I have gone through. I have learned many lessons about myself. Who I am, what I can survive….hindsight is a crazy thing.

It’s now time to close the chapter that has been my life for the last 2 years in Germany. I made some amazing friends, had a ton of fun and learned A LOT about myself. Gained a lot through relationships, and fell madly in love. Experienced an immense amount of loss and pain, but that’s all apart of life, right? Decisions were made, chances taken. All on a hope and a prayer. And with one exception, there isn’t one thing I would change about the last two years. It was amazing, though heartbreaking at times. But that’s ok. I’m still reeling from some of the risidual heartbreak, and probably always will. But I know that I can survive anything that life has to throw my way. Despite wrong decisions or happy circumstances, ever situation makes me stronger and eventually I will get to a point where someone will come along and not break my heart any longer.

Now that I am leaving (well, have left) Germany, my next duty station will be in Washington. I am so excited to get there and start my new journey in life. I don’t know why, but I am feeling very optimistic about going there. Normally, I hate change. Despise it. But after recent heartbreak and being let down yet again, I am so ready. Just done with the past and ready to move forward. I am elated. I know there are good things in store for me along this crazy winding road. And since I know myself, I know there will be no off ramps or slowing down. I am full force hauling ass to where it leads me. Don’t know the destination, but I know wherever it ends up I will look back and see that I was in control of the ride. I did the things I did in the pursuit of happiness no mater the recourse or consequence.

In spite of it all, the love, the loss, the happiness, the heartache, I love my life. It’s really not that bad. So here’s to starting over, yet again. New duty station, new outlook, new blog…maybe a new me.

et cetera