National Women’s Day.

A while ago, the women here in America celebrated this “holiday” by boycotting work and going on marches.

And I didn’t even know there was a national holiday dedicated to women.

Of course, I didn’t celebrate, but I got to thinking, maybe a day to celebrate being a woman isn’t such a bad idea. Or a day to celebrate being a man.

But I’d do it a bit differently.

I think celebrating womanhood should look less like one big hate letter to the male population and more like one big love letter to the people around us.

On that day, a woman would make it a point to either dress up or dress down, depending on what makes her feel more comfortable with herself. (Personally, dressing up does that for me.) She’d either do her make up or not do it, whichever makes her feel confident and pretty.

A woman would spend the day, not protesting that she was a victim, but taking control of her time and spending it doing things that she feels really matter. Which could be hanging out with her kids, cleaning up a park, volunteering for a charitable organization, or visiting her family, or going out with her other female friends for a girls day.

Then she should do something fun, like go on a date, or if she’s single, do one of her favorite things.

The perfect day would include the kinds of talks that women love to have, and the kind of peace that they love feeling when they feel loved and cherished.

A strong woman does not need a man’s permission to be feminine; she would celebrate whether anyone else did or not.

I’d put hearing my favorite songs; eating assorted chocolates; watching a good movie or reading a god book; and hanging out with people I care about in a relaxing place; all on my list of things that make up a perfect day. Not to mention feeling close to God.

How men would treat women on this day would just be to say the things they should say all the time. To admit that they need women in their lives. And to be equally proud to be men.

Because when both men and women are glad to be what they are, it’s an irresistable combination. People like to see it.

Which is not to say all the problems between men and women would be fixed in one day, or even that everyone would celebrate. But the point is, if you will celebrate, really celebrate.

I just don’t see the joy in ranting and raving about injustice on the one day you get to be celebrated on. Which goes for any holiday. Who celebrates Christmas by protesting all the people who don’t get of give gifts? Or don’t go to church, or don’t celebrate at all, no one does that. (If they do I feel sorry for them.) What people do instead is they give to someone who has nothing, or they invite someone to go with them, and take someone in.

Celebration is about joy, and sharing that joy with other people. There will always be those who’d rather be miserable and gloomy, or who will focus on the wrong thing. but no one should pay them any mind except to help them.

That’s what I’d call celebrating my womanhood.

If nothing else, just taking a minute to be glad for what you have is celebration. We have so much in America, and if you’re reading this blog, you’ve got a lot more in your hands than many people will ever get to see in their lifetime.

Let’s not complain so much.

Until next post–Natasha.

Running away from Sadness.

Continuing from my previous post…

Now that I have defined Joy and explained how we find it, I need to expound upon it.

This, more than any other topic, is a Church related one, because it’s in the Church that the word is mainly used; and many people are frustrated that they can’t find it.

If it were as simple as I made it sound, than more people would have joy. Because accepting sadness is totally simple…right?

Wrong is probably what you all thought, but actually, it is simple. It’s just not easy.

We run from sadness. From our own and other people’s.

I know people who will cry over nearly every movie they watch, but they don’t talk about what’s going on in their life so much.

I also know people who seem to be perpetually depressed, and by choice, not medical condition; it offends these people if you tell them to cheer up.

You know, Pollyanna actually had a sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up, and in that sequel Pollyanna tells her friend Jimmy about a man she heard say that every time someone said to be glad, he just wanted to go out and shoot someone.

A rather extreme way of reacting, but how many of us have wanted to scream when someone makes light of our sorrow?

Which is the last thing I want to do, I’ve had sorrow too, and I’d be a horrid hypocrite if I pretended it was minor.

I handle sorrow in an unusual way, when I experience real loss, I am oddly unshaken by it. I am sad, but it is not crushing. I suppose it is because I have never lost anyone close to me. Another thing is I constantly hear false alarms, one side of my family is always having one problem or another health wise, but they get over it.

but when I have relational pain, it can be very depressing to me.

I think because all our self worth issues get mixed up in that sort of pain.

I won’t say either type of pain is less selfish, or better than the other, but it is true that the latter often makes us act very selfishly.

The worst is when we don’t feel the pain, but it remains there, undealt with, and affects all our behavior.

Which, if I go back to Inside Out, is what happens to Riley. Though she can’t feel her pain any more, it remains there, buried or lost in the subconscious.

Years of living like this are what make people develop neurosis and sometimes psychosis; it is also the source of anger issues, difficulty in committing, and submitting to abuse because one feel like they deserve it. Pain turned to hate against ourselves is lethal.

And it turns to self hate when we neglect is.

But there is hope. Through counseling, or our own personal journey, we can go back and grieve over what we have lost.

After that process, or even during it, comes the time to have joy again.

There is always a reason to be glad, no matter how bad things are, they are never without some silver lining, but it’s hard to find. Plus that is not exactly joy.

Joy is, as I said before, bittersweet, when it first starts. It begins as the feeling of peace after sorrow, or during sorrow. after you have stopped running from it and have chosen to embrace it.

But one cannot live in sorrow, Ecclesiastes says in chapter 3 that there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, there is a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to laugh and a time to weep.

I can’t really explain how you know when the time of mourning is over, I think it comes if you are waiting for it but not rushing it, you just know.

When this time comes, you put away your mourning clothes, so to speak, and you start enjoying things on purpose. You open your heart to new love, you might start a new hobby, or devote more time to an important person in your life. You move on.

It’s okay if it takes a year or two to completely move on, sometimes it takes longer, the idea is never to stay in one place too long, but to keep growing.

I think it has been said that the joy is in the journey, and I think that is true. Joy can be present when you stand still, but usually you need to be in motion.

That’s why joyful people dance, sing, paint, and write; or do whatever they do to express themselves, joy wants to be shared.

In fact if you are hogging your happiness, that’s a sure sign it’s not joy.

We will all run into sadness, but the key is to then run out of it, and leave it far behind. Though we will not forget, nor should we, because the sadness will eventually turn to joy if we are willing.

Those are my thoughts for now, stay joyful–Natasha.

Running after Joy.

I thought I’d do a different style of post today, I wouldn’t want to get entrenched in the same subjects all the time.

I want to talk about that elusive quality known as Joy.

I say known as, but if you google it, look it up in the dictionary or read about it, you’ll find that no two definitions of joy seem to be exactly the same.

C. S. Lewis thought Joy was a longing, or that a longing was how we experienced joy in this world.

Most people think of joy as some type of ecstasy.

The more practical of us think it is just another word for being contented with your life and your work and your family. (I am not using practical as a good thing in this instance.)

My guess is most of us don’t think about it at all, or not frequently if we do. I myself don’t give it as much consideration as I could.

To many people e, and I have felt this myself, joy seems to be a joke. Something people talk about but no one has found. If anyone claims they have, they are delusional. Maybe, we think, joy is just a delusion. Which is worse than an illusion.

We think joy only comes when we can forget our troubles, which we can’t, and that it is fleeting. Maybe we felt it at one time. It’s odd how it is such a strong feeling while it lasts, but it is so easy to forget once it’s gone.

It’s not like we’re left alone once the euphoria we think of as joy dies away. Trouble inevitably comes.

Now if you’re a Disney fan, perhaps your mind immediately went to Inside Out when I brought up Joy. I watched that movie once or twice, I had to give it credit for doing a good job of explaining joy and sadness. I’m gong to reference it in a second.

If there was no trouble in the world, we suppose, perhaps everyone could be joyful. Or I could be, but who can be happy knowing there is so much wrong going on.

The truly sad thing is most of us aren’t unhappy because of the sufferings of others, but because of our own problems. We could ignore the rest of the world if our world was fine. But the rest of the world affects our own, whether we like it or not.

In A Walk to Remember, the movie, Landon, when still pessimistic and bitter over his dad leaving, tells Jamie he has no faith because “There’s too much bad — in this world.” Jamie replies “Without suffering there would be no compassion.” Landon says “Tell that to those who suffer.” Jamie looks away. We later find out Jamie suffers plenty, and tries to stay cheerful and kind despite that.

However, I’ve never really bought that line that we need suffering for compassion, or rather, that we need to have compassion anyway, because if no one suffered, compassion would be useless. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe compassion is very important, but it is the compensation for suffering, not the reason for it.

The reason I went off about suffering is because there will be no discussion of joy if suffering is not dealt with too, even if I tried to leave it out, everyone would think of it anyway.

As is pointed out in both the book and the movie Pollyanna, the Lord tells us to rejoice over 800 times in his word. It would be hard to find a book of the bile where rejoicing was not mentioned in some form.

It’s a saying in the Church, though no any I’ve been to in my memory, that God wants you happy.

Many people have attacked this phrase because it’s used as an excuse to do whatever stupid thing you want in the name of happiness. Which it shouldn’t be.

But though God does not always want you happy, in the way you think of it, He does always want you to rejoice. He says so.

This is where we get to the big difference between joy and happiness.

In Inside Out, Joy starts off as what I would call happiness, a positive attitude, fun loving, goofy character who keeps all other emotions in check. Joy also avoids Sadness like the plague and always feels like Sadness is intruding on her turf, and complicating things. Sadness feel bad, but can’t seem to help herself, she knows that Riley needs her, but she doesn’t know for what .

But after some really sad stuff happens to their kid, Riley, Joy finds it harder and harder to keep control, and eventually she ends up lost, along with Sadness. Sending Riley into a crisis.

The big moment at the end of the movie is where Joy finally feels sad, which seems oxymoronic, but it helps her to see what she needs to do. Sadness finally is able to help Riley, and a new kind of feeling if forged, the bittersweet sort, Joy and Sadness mingled.

Which is the type of feeling C. S. Lewis called Joy. A deep sadness that it is happy to feel. Another oxymoron.

True Joy comes only when happiness has been baptized in sadness. Bapitized is kind of a religious word, but it means a thing has to be purified, usually be dying to itself, and then being reborn as a newer, better version of itself. (Basically what the idea of reincarnation tries to accomplish and fails because it uses the wrong kind of dying and rebirth.)

In other words, you will not have joy until you have accepted sadness and grief and allowed them to make you a bigger, better, kinder person; because let’s be honest, we all know people who won’t ever cry or admit they’re not dong so hot, and they are often the least compassionate people of all.

Or we may be that person, and that’s what bothers us.

The heart of Joy is to overcome suffering. Not sorrow, which is where we get confused, sorrow is good in the right amounts, but suffering if only good when we treat it properly, and that involves pursuing joy even through suffering.

I can get more into this in my next post, until then–Natasha.

I really Lived.

I have heard many times that we need to live life to the full. We just need to live. Period. I may actually be sick of hearing this message. The reason is , no matter how often I hear it, I never know quite how to apply it.

I want to live well, to use my time wisely, but how? How do I know what’s worthwhile?

And even if I know, what if I don’t want to do it?

And even if I want to do it, what if I can’t?

Why does this have to be so hard?

Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it just seems hard because we make it so. That’s probably not news to you.

There’s this song that I happen to really like, and it’s not a Disney sequel one. This one is by One Republic is I am not confusing my band names. Perhaps you’ve heard it, it’s called “I lived.” I read on Wikipedia that one of the band member wrote this song for his son, and such songs are typically the best, because though we don’t know what we want, we have much clearer vision for what we want our children to have. (Even if they aren’t our children, but just children we care about.)

But I love this song because of what it exhorts the listener to do.

Hope when you take that jump, you won’t feel the fall.

Hope when the water rises, you built a wall.

Hope when that crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name.

Hope if everybody runs, you’ll choose to stay.

Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad, the only way you can know is give it all you have.

And I hope that you don’t suffer, but take the pain.

Hope when your moment comes you’ll say: “I, I did it all. I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. And with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

I literally get chills just typing these words out, they are so good.

There’s a verse in the Bible that has been made into a song, (as many of them have) but also expanded upon. It goes like this “Teach us  to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

The song tweaks it to “Teach me to number my days, and count every moment, before it slips away. To take in all the color, before they fade to gray. I don’t want to miss, even just a second more of this.”

What these two songs are telling us is very true. And the reason they use the analogies they do is because we understand better that way.

The first song is talking about how we need to live. We need to take jumps of faith, and if our faith is in the right thing, we won’t feel the fall. We need to face the storms of life and build walls to protect ourselves and those close to us. Now, the crowd screaming your name thing can be see many ways, but the best light to put it in, is that we will do so much good that we will be cheered on.

It is so important to me that the writer of the song used the word hope. No parents can make their child do any of these things, they all involve wisdom on the child’s part, and courage, and faith. But it is what a parent should want and prepare their child for. But it get even better.

To hope that falling in love will hurt sounds strange, but it is wisdom. Love, when it is purest, strongest, and most unfailing, hurts the lover. It won’t hurt all the time, but the ability to love so much that it hurts is the ability to have perhaps the highest human connection. I speak of true love, not the pain of unmet desire, that is something else entirely. That kind of love requires you giving it all you have, and that is a great thing.

To stay when everyone else runs, to not suffer, but to view it as taking the pain. Why, that is encouraging bravery, and not being the victim but the hero.

Seriously, I love this father’s prayer. It is like a prayer.

In the chorus of the song we get to the end goal, that the child will one day look back on their life and say “I lived.”

There’s a movie “Secondhand Lions,” which I recommend. It tells the story of two men who had an  amazing life, and passed on what they learned form it to their nephew, Walter. At the end of the movie, the grandchildren of one of the two uncles old foes, a wealthy sheik, show up at their house, and one of them says to Walter. “So those two men form Grandpa’s stories, they really lived?” And Walter says the most powerful line of the movie “Yeah, they really lived.”

I hope that will be said of me when I am gone. Or that I will be able to say it of myself.

It’s not what you do so much as how you do it. If you put your whole heart into it, that is living.

But there is the possibility of living for the wrong thing, and that is where the second song comes in. We only live for a short time. And even if we have good motives, we can easily direct them into the wrong pursuit.

That’s why it’s so important for the Christian to live for God. To do what is right, and what is helpful, not just what we enjoy. I maybe just lost you there. “Another message about how I can’t do what I want, yada, yada, yada.” Well, sorry. I don’t pretend never to struggle with this myself.

But I think that is because I forget the message of these two songs, (and every other form I’ve been told it in.) You don’t give your life meaning, but you can make it meaningful.

See, God gives life. He gives it meaning. But what you do with it, that may be left up to you.

“I lived” get to this as well.

Hope that you spend your days, so they all add up.

And when that sun goes down, I hope you raise your cup.

I wish that I could witness, all of your joy, and all of your pain. But until my moment comes I’ll say…

When all your days add up it should amount to something. Read that again.

Let me repeat, God gives your life meaning, you make it meaningful. That is not saying you have to make an effort to be important. You already are important, and many of us actually wish we weren’t because we see how we negatively affect other people without intending to do so.

No, what I’m saying is, you can pursue worthwhile things, like making other people’s lives better, and even more crucially, worshipping God; or, you can live your life like it was a credit card given to you with no max. You may use it all up on conveniences, but in the end the credit means nothing because there is no such thing as infinite provision without you working for it somehow. You’ll only run up a debt of time.

If you owe something your time, and don’t pay up, you lose your soul. That’s because time is the medium through which we even come to know and grow our soul, it is what God has given us to use for this purpose.

We, as the songs say, need to allot time for many things. For love; for adventure; for serving others; for Faith, foremost of all; and for enjoyment; and for taking in the colors, the rich beauty around us, if we only have eyes to see it.

“That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Yes, if we realize how our time is precious to us, we gain wisdom. I don’t know about you, gut that’s a kind of wisdom I’m still acquiring, I don’t think I have it yet. But I hope I will continue to learn it.

Maybe there will be some broken bones along the way, I am positive there will be broken hearts, but those can heal. So, when the moment comes when you’ll look back on your life, I  hope you’ll say “I really lived.”

–Natasha.

Why a DP movie is my favorite part 2

In part one, I had just said that I felt cursed, as a child, with fear. The troll tells Elsa “Fear will be your enemy.”

When this happens, Elsa is at most 8 years old. I was younger than that when I realized fear was a problem. But like Elsa, I did not start off that way. I was a kid who liked to feel tough. I wasn’t afraid of trying things. I had my first debate about Christianity when I was four, people, I kid you not, (Four or five.) I knew my stuff too. How did Fear enter the equation?

Like with Elsa, except mine took more steps. When I was little, the idea that fear could control me, could make me feel ill and ruin my day, that was introduced through a seemingly insignificant incident, but it lasted. But the experience more akin to Elsa’s traumatic one came when I was 11. Basically it happened to me in reverse order. But what followed was the same. Except, my parents did not tell me to hide, and they did not die (thankfully.) Elsa has that to herself.

But I digress, I spent years learning how to hide, like Elsa; I became an expert at it. Like her, I developed tricks to keep my mind occupied, to cover up. She used gloves, I used books. If I were a different person, the similarities between us would have been scary. As I watched Elsa’s behavior more carefully, I saw the same looks in her eyes I used to feel in my own. Her hands shook under tension, and I used to become shaky whenever I had to sit through an experience that terrified me, which I had to do nearly every week. But after it was over I could act relatively calm, as Elsa does at the party, up until Anna pushes her, And if anyone pushed me, I would have the same kind of meltdown.

I can’t say for sure with Elsa, but I would always feel very sick, I’d go warm and cold, I’d tremble, I would want to curl into a corner and not be seen or talked to. If I couldn’t do that outside, I’d do it inside.

I can remember it all now, though it was awful, it got worse.

Elsa’s story really starts when she runs away, she is not running from her duties, as many have said, but from her fears. Seriously, how did that responsibility idea ever get started? You can see the fear in her eyes; in her ice and snow; she yells “Stay away from me!” Duh. She’s running from herself. But, as that Switchfoot song says, “Where can you run to escape from yourself?”

This of course, was my life. My whole life was trying to run from myself. Every waking moment. You think I exaggerate, I don’t.

But like Elsa, I had moment or two of peace along the way. It never lasted longer than a day. And come to think of it, her time of peace after her song lasts a day total. She begins at dawn, Anna shows up at dusk. The monster of fear can lose its grip for a short time. But the same thing that triggers Elsa back into it was what would trigger me.

I only needed to be reminded of it. this could be something someone said, or it could just hit me out of nowhere. In Elsa’s case, Anna shows up and Elsa holds out for like two seconds against fear, then it grabs her again.

I am now going to hurry through the rest of the movie until the climax. Anna and Elsa argue, as you know, Elsa accidentally hurts Anna deeply, though Anna tries to convince herself it was nothing. Elsa drives them away, (even the terms are symbolic.) They find out Anna is dying, and go back to Hans. He turns out to be a total jerk. And unbeknownst to them, he has already captured Elsa and thrown her in the dungeon. As the villains will do.

A word on Hans. There are two villains in this story, Fear, and the people who help it along. Hans and the Duke of Weasletown are really two sides of the same coin, the difference being Hans is obviously the head and the Duke the tail. So everything Hans does plays off people’s fears. Anna is afraid of not being loved, Elsa is afraid of herself, the people are afraid of, well, freezing to death.  The Duke also plays off the people’s fear, or at least feeds it. He and Hans both want Elsa dead. The Duke is still the lesser villain, being selfish but not intentionally evil. Hans is knowingly the villain.

I had my Hans too, but I always knew it was Fear itself. The spirit of it.

So, the climax. I have told this so many times, I am not sure what the best way is. But you have probably all seen or heard of it, so I’ll keep it short.

Even though True Love has been mentioned a few times, mainly by Anna, and Kristoff, and Granpabby, no one has actually defined it… until Olaf does. This is one of the many reasons I love the movie, it took the comic relief, and without changing his character at all, it made him on of the heroes. Just by knowing what love was. Olaf’s character it so in line with that message that it seems only fitting he would explain it.

I believe in my earliest posts “The Quest” series, part seven dealt with Love, and I talked about Anna’s journey with it. So I’ll just briefly recap: she didn’t know what love was, Olaf told her, but she only got it when she had to make the choice herself.

Anna saves Elsa. “In every way a person can be saved.” She saves her life, she saves her from being sentenced to death unjustly, she saves her from fear.

When I watched this, I was already saved. Honestly, if I hadn’t been, I couldn’t have understood what happened in the space of thirty seconds. The movie itself doesn’t try to explain it, either you understand the miracle, or you don’t. Most of us don’t.

Truthfully, it is not the people’s fault that they don’t get it. I considered myself fortunate to get a peek into the real meaning of what happened. But it has to have happened to you, or you have to be told by someone who had the experience.

Once I realized this, I could forgive the haters. I can even forgive the people who like this movie for the wrong reasons. They just don’t know. They don’t know that I lived that story. And I continue to live it.

Frozen doesn’t end where the movie ends. As the months of hype over it have clearly shown. I think my tone must show how entirely serious I am about this. I relive the story every time I encounter a new challenge in my life.  I call it my movie, because it is, in almost every sense, mine.

This is long enough.  I think I have explained it thoroughly. If you read this far, thank you, I appreciate it. Until next time–Natasha.

Why a DP movie is my favorite.

So, I mentioned doing a post about Frozen a few articles back. Though I am still not sure anyone but me is interested, I still wanted to do it because, frankly, I’ve wanted to do it since starting this blog.

With that pity plea out of the way, I shall begin. (Seriously, don’t keep reading if you really don’t want to, I get it.)

As everyone already knows the movie was a huge hit and after the first six months or so, people really started laying on the hate. Some of them were frustrated parents, most of the ones I knew were boys who hadn’t ever actually sat through the movie, a few were girls who hated the Disney princess image in general, or else just didn’t get Frozen and were tired of hearing how awesome it was.

I cannot change any of this with a post that will reach only a few people, comparatively, but I do have an interesting story to tell.

When I first saw posters and advertisements for the movie, I rolled my eyes, like many others. I thought “Here we go, another cliché Disney Princess movie with stupid jokes and a story I’ve heard a dozen times.” At this point in my life, I had not been often watching said Disney Princess movies. I will say, Frozen was the most poorly advertised DP movie I’ve seen up to date. But my sister checked it out, and practically forced me to listen to the song “Let it Go.” I almost didn’t bite, but when I heard the line “The cold never bothered me anyway.” And saw the ending with the castle, I was hooked. Even at this point, I only gave this song a B+ and possibly the movie. But I started watching clips, then more clips, and more, and basically, I saw the whole thing in clips multiple times before I ever saw it as a movie.

Though I liked Elsa, the movie didn’t really grab me until I saw the scene that made it iconic. My other sister and I remember this differently, but according to her, once Anna got frozen solid, I went upstairs in a huff. I think I probably just didn’t know what clip to watch to find out what happened next, but my sister found it in no time and I saw what happened. I was hooked before, now I was really in deep.

I became obsessed (see my post “Good Obsession” for how this happens to me.) When this happened I had just been reading a book about finding oneself (for lack of a better term for it. Captivating was the title.) and I soon saw the Frozen could have been made as a dramatization of the book’s message, but even more than that, Frozen was my life.

I am not kidding. Frozen was a movie version of my life story. In fiction form, which is my favorite, so it only gained points there. now, it rarely goes well when I tell people this, I suppose they don’t know how to react to someone claiming to be the subject of this film. Plus, a lot of girls felt that way, so what is my special claim?

Well, I’ve never met anyone yet who had quite the experience I had with Frozen. I have shared before how I used to be a very fear-bound person. Right off the bat, Elsa and I had that in common. But it was more.

Elsa had no common fear of being herself, she had the fear of herself. It is the crucial point that most  people missed when they watched it, and it changes how you perceive everything in the movie.

Fear is portrayed not as Elsa’s gift, but as the corruption of it, a very important distinction. Every time she is afraid, her ice and snow darken, and twist into ugly shapes, or else sharp spikes. But something I noticed at length was how, as the story progresses, the fear becomes less and less subtle. The spikes start to point at Elsa herself, they try to trap Anna inside the castle even when Elsa is no longer in it herself and would personally have no reason to trap anyone, and her storm starts to blind her as well as everyone else.

Fear is the monster in this film. But what does Elsa think? That the monster is her.

I think of what Mrs. Valiant says in “Hinds Feet on High Places.” “She is a Fearing herself, and has Fearing in the blood, and when the enemy is in you that is a very hard thing.” There is a difference from a having fear inside you and being the thing to be afraid of, but it is not a difference people know by instinct.

C. S. Lewis called the fear of oneself the worst fear of all. He was right. I used to have it, I was afraid, literally, to look in the mirror. There is only one point in the movie that Elsa looks at her own reflection, it is when she and Anna are arguing about whether or not she can fix the Winter. Do you know what Elsa says as she looks at herself? “There’s so much fear.”

Mirroring plays a huge role in that story. When we see Anna’s reflection, Anna is always singing or talking about love and being there for Elsa. When we see Hans’es reflection, he reveals his true colors. Hans himself is a mirror for everyone’s worst fears or most vulnerable emotions. (I have to give SuperCarlinBrothers the credit for clueing me into this, they are a YouTube Channel.)

Elsa is never once unaware of her problem. from her childhood she is told “Fear will be your enemy.” And I was, I felt, cursed with the same thing as a child. No one told me it had to be that way, but I kept being told I was worrying too much. I was being a worrier. I was shy.

I am going to continue this in the next post, this is long enough. Until next time–Natasha.

Not real?

I had a new experience since my last post. Somebody online got a bit aggressive in a discussion and I felt somewhat like it was a personal attack. Thankfully, it got no worse because I did not respond.

I’m well aware  I may be the only person on this blog, ironically, never to have had this happen before, so I’m not going to act like it was a big deal. It is actually the topic we were discussing that bothered me, because I’ve known many people to get defensive about it.

Well, specifically, I’ve known many people to get defensive about how they like to watch horror movies, or read what I would call horror novels, though I believe they are mostly known as Young Adult Fiction. (Yeah, burn.)

Seriously, the amount of times this conversation has happened is a bit scary to me:

Me: You like to watch so and so?

Person: Yeah, I love that (show, movie, etc.)

Me: But it’s horrible.

Person: ( a little less enthusiastically) but I like it.

Me: But stuff like that leaves images in your brain…

Person: But I know it’s not real.

Me: just because it’s not real…

Person: Well, it doesn’t affect me.

It doesn’t always happen in that order, but I can almost guarantee the words “I like it”,”It’s not real”, and “It doesn’t affect me”, will come up.

I should fill in a little bit more of that online debate. See the debate was about books and writing, not movies. That’s mainly because the people I was having it with are readers, and likely not as big on movies as the people I debate movies with. I used to assume that people who were readers didn’t have the same problems (content-wise) as people who weren’t, but I have been disillusioned.

I find to my shock that many teens of about my age or younger write mainly one kind of story. You know the type if you’ve ever browsed through the Young adult section in a bookstore or library. (I avoid that section now.) It’s dramatic, it’s about teens, it usually involves mutants, vampires, zombies, or a post apocalyptic setting that might have a combination of two or all of those choices. The narration is usually in first-person. There is a lot of fear, confusion, and fighting back happening in that person’s mind, soul, or surroundings. On top of this, the person tends to be either incredibly immature, or incredibly callous and cynical. And they can be as young as 12 or as old as 16, usually.

My point being, these books are almost always garbage. Even if they are well-written, there are still several inherent problems with them.

The first one would be they are extremely dark. And that is what my debate centered on, how dark can a book be? (And still be healthy? I presume is the implied question.) Most of the people in this online thing thought it was all right to put a lot of darkness in a story, if, in the end, good overcomes it. Others cautioned against putting too much, and one or two thought it was perfectly fine to get in touch with you inner-villain and go all out on your characters.

Something you guys need to know about fiction writers: our characters become real to us.

The evil characters are not like real people to me, personally, but the ones between good and evil can be,  and the good characters always develop a lot of personality.

But the good ones suffer the most, and that is why the darkness question centers on them. But it also centers on the reader. And on the movie watcher, because movies and books have this in common, they make you, the participant, part of the adventure. They have you rooting for the hero and getting upset when things turn out badly. At least this is what a movie is intended to do. A book does even more in that it can leave it up to you to judge what should have happened. A book gets your mind involved, a movie may only get your emotions. Either way, you are meant to get something out of it.

If there is a lot of darkness in a book, that is what the reader will walk away with. I once got a nightmare from such a book, and I am not a person who usually gets nightmares relating to what I read. When I read such stuff, something inside me just says “This is not right.” But personal feelings aside, I think there are biblical reasons not to focus on darkness.

Suffering, evil, and all that goes with it are a part of life. But going to great lengths in your imagination to see and create such things is unhealthy. We are not meant to live that stuff on purpose. As evidenced by the fact that actors who played too many psycho characters have committed suicide, and many bands that have music centered on darkness are not composed of very stable people.

All I am stating is common sense. If this is where darkness leads then don’t go there. But it makes people angry when I knock their favorite material. Which to me is more evidence in my favor. If someone knocks my reading and watching habits, I’m not going to get super defensive unless I personally have misgivings about it already. When I am confident it’s good, I don’t give a rip what anyone says.

But if a part of me were saying “maybe this isn’t good for me.” I would be defensive, or, I’d choose the better option of considering that this person might be right.

That’s what I ask of my readers, who may already agree with me, or maybe only read all of this because they were mad. I can’t know for certain.

But I know that this stuff is important. The fact that it is fiction only means that it represents what people will learn to expect instead of what they already have; and if you expect bad things, you will get bad things. That’s all I have to say on that. Until next time-Natasha.100_4316

Legacy

Ever wonder what your impact will be on the world? When you’re gone what will be different because of you? There’s a name for what you leave behind you; it’s called Legacy.

Good old Girl Meets World has an episode devoted to this that I recommend checking out if you can. I don’t want to spend too much time explaining it but I might use the show itself as an example here.

Girl Meets World made its share of mistakes, but it was always clear that their intention was good. You could tell they really wanted to make you think, and they wanted to help you.

It’s a connection that the creator of a movie, show, or book makes with their audience. It’s a way that we know they care, and if we watch or read it, they in turn know we care. Some of us are moved to tears just by realizing that someone out there wants to do right by us, others of us less emotional people just give it respect.

We actually feel betrayed when a show like this gets cancelled, and a book series suddenly takes a different turn and stops being about promoting the good things we liked it for.

Then, bitter or disappointed or just sad, we talk about what that thing meant to us. Other people think we’re nutty for caring so much. We try to explain.

This is why: Someone cared. Someone tried. Someone actually succeeded.

It didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to be good.

I felt understood, or I felt respected. Like the writers actually cared what they were introducing to my mind.

There are those of us who like dirty movies, or horror, but let’s be honest, even if we do, do we truly like the people who put that stuff out there. We let them screw us, figuratively speaking, but do we give them an ounce of respect for it? We may not regard out own minds, but do we really appreciate that they don’t regard us either?

In my limited experience, the people who like horror and sexually charged material are also the ones with low self respect. You expose yourself to garbage when you feel like garbage, it’s just true. (Not that you have to, but that’s why.)

The people who loved Girl Meets World loved it because it respected them. They respected themselves enough to accept it. The kids who got helped by it’s messages about bullying, being yourself, choosing rightly, they all got helped because they had it in them to be helped.

Half the time, the show just reminded us of what we already knew.

But that was okay, goodness knows we need that.

Girl Meets World wanted to make people’s lives better, makes their relationships better, and thereby make the world better. Hence the title Girl (you, boy can be substituted as we all know) Meets (relationships) World (it says itself.)

At the end of both Girl Meets World and its predecessor Boy Meets World, Riley and Cory both realize the meaning of meeting the world. and while I still hope for something more, because of my faith, I won’t deny it’s a good message. Meet the world. Know you aren’t alone in it. Then change it.

That’s a legacy worth leaving. That’s what legacy is. Who you are, who you meet, what you impact. That’s what you leave behind you. Material legacy just represents the unseen legacy.

Those are my thoughts, and this is also my thank you to this show and to every book and movie I’ve ever liked and learned from. Until next time–Natasha.

I feel all right like I could take on the world. Light up the stars I got some pages to turn. I’m singing o-o-oh, o-o-oh. I’ve got a  ticket to the top of the sky. I’m coming up I’m on the ride of my life. O-o-oh, o-o-oh. Take on the world. Take on the world. Take on the world.

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Reach higher.

Proudly Unpopular–Part 4

Even though the last part was more general, I still wanted to talk about why my faith is so unpopular, so you know what you’re in for.

You see, I think a lot of Christians have this idea that if we were just nicer people, more non-believers would be interested in our message. And to be fair, a lot of unbelievers do say that.

I won’t argue that Christians often don’t know how to live out the faith. Maybe to some that means it doesn’t work, but I’ve never felt that way.

When I was growing up in church, I always sensed this difference between myself and the other believers. I would think to myself that they had something I didn’t. I never knew what it was exactly. Some describe it as happiness, but I wouldn’t call it that. It’s not that I didn’t believe, I did, but I lacked something. Some meaning that my parents saw, and other adults saw, and I didn’t. After I became a Christian full on, I realized what it was.

Before I reveal it, I want to say something more. I’ve since noticed the same difference between other people I know, and between different families I know. You may have noticed that you feel different around different people. Some make you feel secure, some make you nervous, some make you focused, others distract you.

The reason I don’t think Christians themselves are an excuse to stay away from Christianity is that despite the difference I mentioned, I never found Christians to be any nicer, more friendly, or more inclusive than non Christians. They acted the same most of the time, except they prayed and talked about the Bible, and listened to a different kind of music. So what made the difference?

The faith itself. Maybe this won’t make sense if you haven’t seen it, but faith really is a part of your personality. It should be the most important part. And though I believed, I lacked the genuine, fulfilled faith that I saw in other people. Until I began to have it myself.

Until I did, I hated anything in Christianity that was outside my comfort zone of what I could trust. I had nothing to make me more ready for the harder parts of it.

And that is why people hate Christianity. It is not that Christians are jerks, religions of more violence and cruelty than Christianity are not knocked as often or as bitterly as it; it is because Christianity is scary. C. S. Lewis wrote that until he became a Christian, he was sometimes terrified that Christianity might be true. After he became one, he had sickening doubts that it might be false. The problem is, Christianity, if you understand it at all, is not something you can be half in and half out. You are either all in, or all out. The Bible gives no middle ground. I don’t say this to convince anyone it’s true. My point is that those who are concerned about being nicer about it to toher people have missed the point.

It is not a nice religion.

Now, I can already hear the protests from those of you who are Christians, telling me that we need to be loving. Oh yes, we do. We need much more of that, there never can be too much of love in the world. That is not what I mean. I mean that there is no easy way to become a Christian.

We’ve put way too much focus on nursing people into it. People come to church and leave unchanged, not because we aren’t loving, not because we aren’t teaching the Word of God, not even because we are making God too soft; no, no , no, you can’t exaggerate the kindness of God, as Amanda Cook said. People leave because they don’t share the faith. And they don’t see it in us because we haven’t been honest about it.

You see, real faith is fiery. It makes timid people bold, and foolish people wise. this actually is true of any genuine faith in a good thing, but especially in God.

Christianity is not meant to be popular. It shouldn’t be. Not because I don’t wish it was, but because the only way it ever becomes popular is by people neglecting certain parts of it. (Study Martin Luther, you’ll see what I mean.) It is a waste of our time to try to make it more appealing by selling it on the world’s terms. We just need to live it. And I don’t mean by loving others, though that’s a big part, but by loving God more than others.

People, until I loved God more than others, or myself, I couldn’t really believe on Him and trust Him. Whatever your experience with God has been, until it’s to that point, it isn’t actually faith yet. If you aren’t ready for that, that’s okay. I had to get there. I’m not making an altar call. I just want to set the record straight.

I really want my love for God to be the most important thing to me. I don’t care if it make me unpopular, because when you really get to know Him, you don’t care anymore. The Bible really won’t make sense to someone until they realize that it’s about God and the People who loved Him, not about rules.

 

Okay, this did get preachy, but I warned you; if you read his far, you wanted to hear it. So, thank you, and until next post–Natasha.

A day in the life

I spent yesterday at Disneyland.

Wahoo! Right?

Well, not so much. I didn’t exactly have a bad time, but I didn’t have a great time either. The reason I’m bringing it up is that I’m adding it to my list. I have an imaginary list of things I’ve done this year that were new and also scary or just hard. here’s a few:

  1. I went to another country.
  2.  I taught in Sunday School more than as just a one-time thing.
  3. I wrote a challenging saga about something I like, but found difficult to get onto paper.
  4.  I went to Disneyland with an almost total stranger.

Here’s how it went down. My aunt has a foreign exchange student living with her, and she wanted him to get the chance to see Disneyland. She thought I might like to go. And after some hesitation I agreed. It wasn’t a smooth ride, because then she wasn’t sure we’d actually do it, finally it was settled that we would. And yesterday she dropped us off there. Where I live it’s been almost unusually cold this month and it was freezing at Disneyland. (Were any of my readers there I wonder?) the place was packed. I’ve been four times before I think, and I don’t remember it ever being so packed, but I never went on a holiday. The line to get in and get tickets was over an hour’s wait of standing around. Then we finally got in, and started walking around. But we went on one ride total, and the lines were so long on the others that we both didn’t feel up to it. We were exhausted by then. We ended up leaving at around 5:00pm, though we were supposed to stay later than that. On top of this, I lost one of the two things I bought. And it was the thing I got for myself.

So, a total bust right?

But that’s not to say I totally regret it. I maybe did not have a good day, but that wasn’t the only point for me. I wanted to challenge myself.

I’m the type of girl who’s terrified of being around a guy, alone, for any length of time–let alone all day. Of course there were crowds, but that only makes you feel a little safer. But I did not spend the day feeling afraid. I felt bored, tired, sad, but not afraid. If you’ve read some of my previous posts about my life, you’ll know that’s a big thing for me.

I used to ruin every fun event I went to by being  a nervous wreck the entire time. I am by nature an introvert, but I used to have it on steroids. Until I was at home and safe, I wouldn’t relax. I literally felt ill every time I was in an unfamiliar situation. People knew I was shy, but they probably never guessed exactly how much agony I was in. Talk about painful.

But that’s a thing of the past. I almost can’t remember it anymore.  As bad as yesterday was, compared to how my life used to be, it was great. I went from hiding from new things to embracing them. As much as I could.

I still get nervous, but it doesn’t rule me anymore. That’s a day in my life, doing things I once was afraid to do, and doing them because I want to or need to. I don’t always look at it that way of course, but sometimes I just have to stop and look back to where I was and be glad I’m not there anymore.

You must have those moments too, I’d love to hear about them, until next time–Natasha