Old Photos (Day 8)

As we grow, I think there must be something in our brains that works as an evolutionary constrictor, so that we never repeat certain parts in our lives. In a way, our brains are saving us from that embarrassment. Because sometimes fashion choices really don’t need to be repeated.

I shall provide for you a for-instance. In high school I used to do this thing where I dressed up weird on Wednesdays. Maybe it was a weird homeschooler thing, but I called it Wacky Wednesdays and wore toe socks with flip flops and that sort of thing. I’m talking blue eyeshadow, pigtails, suspenders, leggings. Every. Wednesday. It’s really no wonder I didn’t have many friends. To save us all, I won’t post that one. But I will post a couple that take me back down memory lane….

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Jenna in yellow & Me in blue

This was me freshman year of high school. This was the day after meeting my best friend, Jenna. The first day I met her, I was getting picked up from the bus station for a MK co-op event and was meeting all these new people for the first time. It was news to me that there was another girl my age who lived near by, so my brain spazzed and I tried to shake her hand. Like an idiot. She also thought I was an idiot (not ‘sophisticated’, which is what I had been going for).  A day later we were inseparable.

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Mayhem in Mayville

This was my first real show. I played Rona O’Toole who was a postal worker, tangled up as a suspect in a murder. It was an interactive show that involved the audience and broke the fourth wall. At the end of the show, the audience would vote (by clapping) as to who they thought the murderer was. The louder the applause, the guiltier the suspect. Opening night, I was deemed the murderer, and it was my proudest moment on the stage. I loved playing Rona because she had a huge temper and got really mad at people all the time. Her best line was “I’M NOT YELLING!” as she shouted it across the stage.

1933798_1241650843019_2047553_nThen of course there’s always THIS little gem. As you can see, the rainbow hair started young. I showed up at the bus station after being gone all weekend and looked like this. My dad wasn’t impressed. I remember the drive home, and my mom commenting on my snarky attitude. I believe the phrase “That dye’s leaked into your brain, young lady,” was used more than once. 1928805_1089031108923_1872_n

And my baby faced self on day one of seventh grade in public school. Mom and dad had walked me to the bus stop and I was terrified. It was the year of way too many horrifying moments that crippled me for life. It was also a year of firsts. First detention, first crush, first breaking down and crying in the hallway between classes. Oh yeah, it was a fun year.

Ok so if I’ve learned anything from being me, here’s the thing. The embarrassing moments, the hysterical stories, the crazy hair, all of it, is part of a great story. My story. Sometimes I get so caught up in where I am right now that I forget the past moments that have brought me here. I’ve learned from all those times, and the people and experiences have brought me to where I am. And I wouldn’t change that for the world. Sometimes even the bad stuff leads to good.

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Piercings, Tattoos, & Rainbow Hair (Day 7)

A lot of people view piercings or tattoos as a rebellious act. Especially if you have parents like mine. I would like to think of myself as a rebellious person, so it should be no surprise that I have a tattoo, a nose ring, and have dyed my hair multiple times. Talk about living dangerously. I even impress myself.

In college I pierced my nose. It was one of those things that I don’t actually remember having a reason for, other than I thought nose rings looked cool. I did it right before Christmas break and surprised my parents at the airport with bangs and a stud in my nose. My dad still makes bull jokes.

Last spring break I got a tattoo. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, and though my mother had vocalized her opinions on the matter, I decided (as a grown up) that it was something I wanted to do. The tattoo is of coordinates (N 43° 53′ 27″ E 18° 23′ 22″), right on the inner side of my right arm. If you look up the coordinates, it’ll send you to a building. My building. If you’re familiar with some of my other posts, you might recognize it as a bombed out building in my old neighborhood in Sarajevo, Bosnia. It might seem like an odd place to pick for coordinates, but that old building was huge in my development as a writer and as a person. It’s also a constant reminder of where I came from, and to never forget that brokenness can be a path towards redemption. In the same way my loneliness as a kid pushed me toward becoming who I am, the brokenness of the people of Bosnia (both economically and spiritually) is a path towards the hope of redemption. As the country and the people grow and as they continue to seek truth and hope. Ok, back to the lighter stuff…

The rebellion continued on to last May. After I graduated, I bleached my hair and then dyed it purple. Yep.

It was one of those things I had always wanted to do, and now that I had graduated, I was looking forward to trying something new. Needless to say, I LOVED it, and kept it purple all summer long. Complete with a green scale and purple top swimsuit, I lifeguarded a lot and got called “Chief Mermaid” which was a dream come true!  I was bummed when summer ended and I had to have a real job. Apparently jobs in the real world don’t look kindly upon mermaids working desk jobs.

BUT!!! There is redemption! I plan on piercing, tattooing, and dying all over again after my wedding next month! First, I plan on getting the new tattoo. This is something I’ve wanted ever since I got my first ink. If you’ve gotten a tattoo before, you know: Getting ink under your skin is ADDICTING! This is the new plan:

tattoo number two

You might be familiar with the phrase, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” which means “I came, I saw, I conquered”. This one says “Veni, Vidi, Scripsi” which means “I came, I saw, I wrote”. I feel like it sums me up well. I want to write about my experiences in the world and leave an impact. I just love it ❤ Placement will be on the inner part of my left forearm and will be aprox 5 1/2 inches long.

I also plan on getting a daith piercing, which is piercing the cartilage fold on the inside of your ear. The piercing actually acts as a sort of acupuncture, and helps relieve migraines. This is something I’m very excited about since I get migraines pretty often and hate having to deal with them. I’ve heard great things, and think it’ll be a great addition to my bling.

And lastly but not leastly, I shall be bleaching my hair once again and going….. PINK. Somewhat of a mix of dusty rose, salmon, It’ll be a good summer. I’ll also be working at camp Sandy Cove again this summer as photographer, and I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to spend my first summer as a wife!

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The Meaning Behind Hannarchy (Day 3)

I realize a while ago that I don’t like being told what to do. Being told to be quiet and just listen has never made me a happy pickle, and I hate the “it is because it is” answers. Being more aware of my stubbornness doesn’t always help me though, and I find myself questioning people’s methods all the time. I suppose there are good things and bad things to this, though usually I get into more trouble than I know what to do with. If only I could just go with the flow instead of thinking for myself.

There’s a comedian I enjoy listening to named Rachel Feinstein. If you look her up, I’m warning you now, she is far from “family friendly”. My favorite bit is from one of her shows where she goes off on a whole story about her nanny and her nanny’s dad. She imagines her as a girl where she was little and her father coming home one day. It goes a little something like this:

Papa: I hear you skirts want to work…in buildings with men?? I told you, you don’t need to work, you can stay home and make cupcakes and giggle. You like giggling, don’t you?
Nanny: It’s true Papa, we do want to go outside sometimes. It’s not just a nasty rumor, I’m afraid it’s true. Why, sometimes we get bored at home.
Papa: I told you if you get bored you can practice looking at a pretty pattern or doing a twirl. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?
Nanny: Yeah we twirled for a lot of hours, Papa. But I wanna go out and do something. Wouldn’t that be exciting? Me doing something! Come on Papa! No, Papa, I want to do something exciting. I mean sometimes I get bored. I know it’ll be hard outside, but I’d like to be a pilot. Imagine that, Papa! Me! Awww sure, it’d be scary, but let me try it!
Papa: Are you crazy? What’s next, you start wearing wristwatches and having opinions?
Nanny: Well then maybe I could be a stewardess. Imagine that Papa, me, a waitress on a plane! I’d like to try it. Come on, Papa, please let me try it…
Papa: Sounds like an opinion to me! Why don’t we take that on down to the old lobotomy factory and take a nice sweet chunk out of your brain…The talking back part.
Nanny: No, I don’t want to go to the lobotomy factory! Ever since Mildred came back, she’s useless! Now all she does is flap around and spit in the corner!

I laugh when I hear it, and the voices she does are hilarious. But it makes me think. Imagine if my stubbornness, my I’m-not-satisfied-with-your-answer-so-I’ll-keep-looking-for-one-myself-ness got taken away from me? Brought on down to the lobotomy factory to remove the talking back part. The think for myself part. The “I wanna do something exciting” part. What then?

I realize this all doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with my blog name or explaining the meaning behind it. But, I promise, if you hang with me for a sec, I’ll explain it to you.

When I was coming up with the name for my blog, I was trying to think of something creative that would catch people’s attention, and be something they would remember. I wanted it to stand out but also tell a little about who I am. Not much rhymes with Hannah, except for banana, a few made up words, and a couple US states. Not much to work with. In the end, I made a list of all the ones that were kind of functional.

My top favorites were:

  • Partly Cloudy
  • Sometimes I Do Stuff
  • Sometimes I Put On Pants
  • Shannahnigins
  • Hannecdote
  • Hannarchy

I finally decided on Hannarchy for two reasons. Anarchy and Monarchy.

Anarchy is defined as a state of society without government or law. Monarchy is defined as a state or nation where the supreme power is held by a single person. The combined force of these two words (while being opposites) made sense to me. I’ve always been my own person, never a huge fan of the rules, and never a huge fan of being governed by them. Especially when the rules didn’t make sense. I know what I want (unless I’m ordering food at a restaurant) and usually go for what I want. Sometimes apologetically. And these things can be good! They drive me to do something out of the box and creative.

Unfortunately, with both of these words there comes a consequence. Anarchy never seems to last, as chaos rules and order is ignored. Living without boundaries or control can lead to a complete disruption of life. Monarchy can lead to a huge ego and a falsified sense of superiority. Knowing these things was important to me too. How better of a reminder than history to show what happens when anarchy and monarchy go bad? This it also is a reminder to myself.

If I become too enthralled with the idea of being unbound by the rules, or above them, I too can become another example of bad leaders in history. So where is the line? Where is the medium between the two extremes of my anarchist and monarchist tendencies?

The middle, I realized, is Hannah. Me. The girl who cares about people and about telling the truth. The writer, the artist, the lover, the fighter, the creator. The whole purpose of my blog was to write and tell the truth. Speak life into the mundane and shine light on pain. If I can combine the different aspects of who I am (anarchist, monarchist, and hannarchist), all while remaining true to myself, doesn’t that present a pretty clear picture of what I’m trying to do? I thought so.

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“Introduction” (Day 1)

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“Introduction” is such a bad title. It doesn’t say what you’re introducing, just that you’re going to introduce it. Boring.

If you hadn’t noticed by the photo, THIS is the beginning of my 31 Day Blog Challenge. It began because I realized that writing is hard, and I want to write a lot of things. The hard part comes in when I sit staring at my computer for over an hour, struggling to write something that doesn’t sound like fluff.

I decided that I needed a subject. Something that made me want to rant about things that matter rather than meaningless filler posts. I saw a Pinterest post titled “31 Day Blog Challenge” that contained a list of 31 things to blog about every day. It was created for people who blog, but don’t know what to blog about. Now, let me say this up-front. I don’t like this list. I think the things are stupid and trivial and remind me way too much of marshmallow fluff than steak and potatoes.

BUT.

I know that I need to be writing every day, and so I’m hoping that while I work my way through the list, I can actually turn it around into something meaningful. Thus, adding stuff to the fluff. Notice what I did there? Ties into my header image all fancy-like.

I’m really going to need help getting through this. I know already that day 5 is going to make me gag, as well as day 10, 14, 15, 25, and 31. I may end up switching some of these out and adding in my own, mostly because I can’t bring myself to talk about my “First Celebrity Crush” for a whole blog post.

The bit I need to focus on is  this: If a writer never writes, is she still a writer? I miss writing. I miss writing about things I care about. I miss feeling like the words I string together will have an impact on people. When I read back on things I’ve written, there is a mix of emotion. Loathing for the pieces I skimped on and compromised just to get the work done, and pride for the pieces I poured my heart into.

I wrote a piece once, called “What’s In A Name”. It was a project for college called The Gospel Simply. You had to present the gospel without using biblical or “Christian” terms. I loved every second of that project. I created my own version of a Narnia-esque world, smothering in darkness, seeking a deliverance into light. I cried as I wrote the last pages, seeing myself in the main character as she struggled to continue on her journey without her dearest companion. I’ve wanted so much to write a sequel to the short story, but haven’t. I like that the story ends with Darcy unsure of what to do next with the wide wide world staring back at her. The piece spoke to my own wandering and searching, with revelations and dashed hopes. That’s why it meant so much. In a way, I yearned for the type of relationship Darcy had with Kiran, the same way I yearn for a relationship with Christ.

Another piece was a historical fiction short that I composed about Margaret Schilling, a woman who died in an insane asylum in Ohio during the 1970’s. There was a short little paragraph about her ghost and the stain her body had left on the floor where she was discovered. Most of the articles I had found on her were story after story of her ghost haunting people. Something made me mad about that. I hunted (and I do mean HUNTED) for clues about her actual life rather than her death. I eventually found some hospital records, and even went so far as to try contacting the man who discovered her body. I poured everything I had into that piece. I remember pacing in my friend’s room, ranting about how mad I was that no one ever seemed to care about her as a person. I couldn’t even find where she was buried. I did as much research as I could, and then filled in the blanks from my own imagination. Let me tell you, researching how it feels to slowly freeze to death isn’t fun. Not even a little. The passion I had for telling the truth, her truth (or at least as much as I could find of it) was so important. If no one else could tell about her, then I would.

THESE are the kinds of stories I want to tell. THESE are the kind of truths I want to write about. Not merely jabber on about My Guilty Pleasure. (Though I think we all know, the answer to that is simple. Pudding.)

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Drafts on Drafts on Drafts

My “Drafts” number of blog posts has almost reached the number of my “Published” blog posts.

Every day I open up my site and stare at those drafts and wish that they were actually something worth reading. It’s probably the reason they’re only drafts and not published yet. I’ve talked before about self doubt, and while that might have something to do with it, I think the key is that I don’t want to just write to write. I’m afraid the things that will come out will be trivial and stupid. I want to write about things that matter.

I need a subject. Something that makes me want to rant. For pages and pages.

I saw on Pinterest a page titled “31 Day Blog Challenge”. It has 31 days worth of blogging, with examples for each day.

  1. Introduction
  2. 20 Facts about me
  3. Meaning of my business name
  4. Earliest childhood memory
  5. My guilty pleasure

And the list goes on…

Part of me wants to do it because I need to get into the habit of writing every day, and also because I don’t have any other topic ideas at the moment. But the “deeper” side of me aches for substance rather than fluff. So what do I do?

I’m hoping maybe as I write trivial fluff, I’ll hit something of meaning that gives me the chance to rant about it. Hopefully.

So that’s the plan. I’m going to go through the list. Much like Julie Powell did when she blogged through Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, I’m going to do it. Maybe having a goal to go one way, will lead to a whole other road of subjects I want to write about. Maybe.

I already know I won’t do this every single day. But, I’ll do my best to write one at least 5 times a week. We’ll see how that goes….

Oh! Cake!

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