Puzzling at premarital sex, and the ways I don’t regret it

Expect me to ask a lot of questions here. Questions because: on the one hand, who am I to give answers? And on the other hand, I legitimately have very many honest questions. I have them, and so I’ll ask. This kind of honesty is taxing on me so please, have patience with me.

Something I am wrestling with lately: premarital sex. It is not very pertinent to me anymore, I guess. I’m married now. And yet, there was a time when it was very relevant to me. I loved love, and I had a great many relationships. Poly girl in the big world— that was me.

And yet if it’s a sin that I’m meant to repent from— well, then regret for my past is hard for me to come by. Sometimes I try. Really, I do. And yet it ends in confusion and self-loathing. If I did what I was not supposed to do, then it caused me to have what I was not supposed to have.

And yet.

And yet such beauty and such pain was wrought from it. I suppose I’d be glad to have been spared the pain… but even that feels forced as I type it. Someone else’s words speaking through my mouth. Because my pains defined me, molded me, shaped me resilient and compassionate.

And the joy— should I wish to have been spared that? Talk about an arrow through the heart. Would it be best if I didn’t have the bittersweet memories, poignant and drenched in wistfulness and loss? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Because the loves I had were beautiful to me. Those memories are steeped pink in my memory; they glow like the lights on the wall of my old bedroom, slink over my skin like the red satin sheets long since consigned to the trash. I don’t think I would be better off without them.

My sins won me loves and my shining protector, my wonderful one. I do not think those men would have glanced at me for more than a moment if I was committed to chastity, to God’s word and Jesus. Why does that feel like blasphemy to say?

And yet.

It’s still the truth as I know it. When I am feeling charitable and pious, I think to myself that maybe God would have had other plans for me: other loves, a different path. But this path has been drenched with so much light, and so much goodness, and I am loathe to give it up— even to pay homage to my Lord.

I love my husband, and I love my life. And I wonder if that is a crime? If I am falling short of true repentance.

Maybe God will change my heart yet. Only time will tell.


(Pssst. Hey you! Just a friendly reminder— you can find this blog post, along with other writing, art, and oddments at my website: hopezane.com)

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Living an Authentic Life as a Christian and an Artist

You might have notice, that lately I am Everywhere on the Internet. In the interest of getting my stuff out there, I have been going hardcore into social media. It is equal parts thrilling, frustrating, and a little bit terrifying. In light of that, and more specifically the fact that I have actually been showing people my art—real live people that I know and go to church with, and have worked with in real life—I have been doing a lot of self-reflection.

And here is the thing: I don’t fit neatly into any specific niche. I’m too vulgar for the church, but I’m too churched for the world. Too alternative for the pews, too full of Jesus for the atheists. Everywhere I go, I constantly do not fit in. I feel like I am bound and determined to constantly be pissing all sides off.

Sometimes I want to hide, you know. I’m tempted to change the art that I make, tempted to hide the writing I do. To take anything off the table that shares too much of my heart or my beliefs—especially the ones that are too. Too something, the what never really matters much. If you split the difference and walk the middle road, it’s impossible to offend anyone. And yet, if you do that the magic rubs off; and you are left with something bland and uninspiring where the sparkle used to be.

How it feels to be a Christ-follower and an artist, and a writer, and to want so badly for others to love and approve of me: this is it right here.

And yet, I feel called to authenticity. And so I steel myself and say to myself that yes, perhaps I will constantly be pissing off most people… but I can hope that in the midst of it there are other people caught in the middle. People like me, who are too much of all of the things to be one thing. People who are many things.

Who are working out their salvation with fear and trembling, while trying to learn how they fit into 2018 in America. Who are filled with such compassion for the LGBT community that it hurts their spirits, but who are willing to say, “God, you are in control. It is your plan, and I trust you. If it makes me look hateful, if other people don’t understand. If it makes me look like a fucking fool… still, I trust you.”

people posing sunset

Two things come to mind:

This video of a poem by Sierra DeMulder, called “Talking to God” (“Half of us are broke, the other half are breaking, and I am just a witness to half of it […] Remind me life is suffering, existence is coincidence, and I am just a witness to half of it.”)

And this poem by John Donne:

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

And last but not least, I just want to remind you all that I’ve moved to hopezane.com! You can find me and all my writing, art, and other wacky projects there.

I’ve Moved!

First of all, hi! And thank you to all of you who have read and subscribed to my blog for the past year or so. It has been a pleasure to have you as an audience. This isn’t goodbye, but it is “catch you on the flipside.”

I’ve decided to move my blog to hopezane.com. I made the change for a number of reasons— desire to unify my web presence, deciding to branch out and do more (or rather, let people have a peek at all the things I already do). But most of all, it was the result of a little soul-searching and the decision to stop hiding behind anonymity on the internet:

“This is me. All of it, and I’m sharing it with you here.”

And I’m excited! I think it’s going to be a fun ride, and I’m excited for what comes next. I’ve stuck some shirts based on my poetry up in my website’s store (and expect more to come), and you can look out for a little fledgling cosmetics line emerging in the next month or two.

If you’d like to keep following me (and I hope you do! It would be lovely to have you!), then please click on over to my new website and sign up for my mailing list. I might keep posting here now and again to catch the stragglers; we’ll see. I have several more months paid on this domain name, in any case.

Follow me at hopezane.com.

Writers, stop beating yourself up. Or, The Glacially Slow Speed of Progress

I’m doing it again.

I’m comparing myself with other writers, other artists, other makers, and getting increasingly frustrated with myself. She wrote her entire five book series in three years. Why are you so lame, and why has it been taking you four years to finish that first book? Unsurprisingly, all this negative self-talk does nothing to help me work any better or faster. All it really accomplishes is making me want to hide in my bed with some chocolate and ice cream and come out never.

I saw a Youtube video once that gave the advice to fail faster. The idea is that every success is preceded by failures— we a try a thing, and we fail. And then we correct our mistakes. And each time we get a little closer to doing it right, to our eventual success. By failing faster, we’re speeding the process of our success.

The pedantic, argumentative part of my mind says, “If I try to fail as fast as possible, I will inevitably start making intentional mistakes, which completely negates the idea of reaching success quickly. I’ll just be correcting mistakes I could have prevented by slowing down and being intentional.” The rest of me tells that part of myself to stop being such a picky bitch, because come on, Hope, you know what I/you/we mean.

You see why it’s sometimes hard to motivate myself? I end up having arguments with myself over the motivational material. Nevertheless, the writing has been progressing. It’s been progressing with glacial slowness, but it has been happening. And why is it that doing the work makes me more impatient than not doing the work? It shoves the actual, realistic speed of progress right up in my face and makes it impossible to fantasize about The Book being finished overnight.

Here’s to glacial slowness, as long as it is progress. Wish me luck and send scotch if you’re feeling kind.


Closing thoughts:

“We don’t grow continuously or smoothly or even noticeably at times, but stumblingly, glacially, or at a gallop, without meaning to, or after great effort. We grow because life is growth and we love life not only as an idea, but compulsively, anonymously, in every cell and membrane.”

-Diane Ackerman

(Here, if you want to listen to what I’m listening to.)

I am still so deeply moved by marriage.

I’m looking at our wedding photos and just remembering so much. We look happy. We look like kids! It was only three months ago, but it already feels so far away. Like a story I heard once.

&

It’s a terrifying thing to be known. Truly known. My husband knows me like that, and he might be the only one who does. I hide a lot from the world. My jagged edges, my fear, my anger. He’s a witness to all of it. He knows every bruised and broken part of me; he knows how afraid I am, of everything, all the time.

And he loves me anyway.

There is something unfathomable there. To be known and loved anyway. That the one who sees you embraces and doesn’t turn away.

I deeply hope that we can always love like this.

bridge photo

NYE Again

It’s shocking to me how much the people I loved in Oakland have changed. 2+ years is a long time. I have certainly changed a lot, and so why wouldn’t they? I don’t know why I expected that they would stand still. Is it because our time together felt so static?

Which begs the question, were we holding each other back?

Or were they changing the whole time, and I just didn’t see it, and I was the one who was static? Maybe everything is just more clear in hindsight, and you notice the change more when you aren’t witnessing it in real time– the way a friend from 6 months ago suddenly looks much thinner.

&

I’ve changed a lot, and I got angry tonight. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but perhaps I’m scared of getting older. Maybe I’m disappointed in what I have(n’t) accomplished. I have been telling myself, “I’m getting to the age where ‘potential’ is embarrassing”– and I mean it as a joke, but there are real knives in there.

I’m going forward as a 27 year old, closer to 30 than I would like. I’m a married woman. I’m a Christian. And I’m still trying to figure out where I fit into all of those things. Me, who for so long defined myself by things that were anything but. I was poly; I am bisexual; I was young and wide-eyed in the great big world.

I was free. Am I still? I feel like I have so many responsibilities, but I don’t know if that’s me or the labels talking.

I’m looking forward to 2018. I have ideas, I have hope. I have a loved companion to share it with. But I’d be lying if I said I was fully happy tonight.

Overthinking it at 3pm, a writing exercise.

So addicted to overstimulation, but being a consumer is creative death. Sit in silence and let the emptiness fill you, then create instead. Boredom is our friend.

I will tell you a secret, dear. I draw and paint more than I write these days, because I can listen to music and make visual art. I can do it with half a mind and one foot still firmly rooted in Oversaturation (that is to say, the internet).

I have to stop pretending that anyone cares what I say. They don’t, and that is a gift. Trying to play to an invisible audience blinds your creative soul.

Trying to be the next George R.R. Martin is wounding my creative process. Listening to friends who say that fantasy and YA is trash is hurting my creative process. Maybe I’m not a Serious Writer, and I don’t write high literature. I can do a good job of writing my story, or a subpar job of writing someone else’s.

These are the only two options.

And if they like it, good;
and if they don’t like it, good.

“I Praise My Destroyer,” thoughts on poignancy and pain.

We got the annual family newsletter today. The red envelope says “Family is the Best!” It’s my grandma’s project. She’s an amazing woman, a true matriarch. Kind and hard, bullish but gentle. Adventurous and terribly clever.

She went month by month, documenting the highlights and lowlights of the year. I love that my grandma doesn’t sugarcoat things. November says, “My younger brother also passed away this year. I miss him.” The simple, arrow-through-the-heart poignancy of it.

Everyone is trying to put their best foot forward, it’s what social media is made of. We’re reminded every so often not to feel bad for not measuring up to others’ lives, because “it’s a highlight reel.” I praise the realness highlighted here.

“If I hadn’t started writing this letter two months ago, I wouldn’t have finished this year.

I am slipping this letter with love into a blank Christmas card or envelope, no comments but wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a very Healthy New Year.”

 

Because what is a year made of, but little moments of good and bad, changing tides of fortune. And what is a life made of, if not many such years?

We celebrate the good and the bad here, in this family.

Married life: 1 week recap

 

So, I’m married now! It’s been a busy couple of weeks and has barely slowed down yet. I’ve had a few hours here and there to catch my breath, so I thought I’d type up a bit of stream-of-consciousness type post while I have a second.

I thought the wedding vows were really beautiful. I wasn’t expecting to cry, but I got choked up saying the ending, the part that goes with the exchanging of rings:

I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Something about the idea of “holy marriage” got to me, too. As in, “Will you have this man to be your husband, to live together in holy marriage?”

It was heavier than I thought. I’ve been feeling grateful for it, kissed by God, like I have just brushed up against the sacred. I expect that will wear off in the coming weeks, as the newness wears off, but I am enjoying the experience of it for now. I love the things that make me feel close to Him, when I can feel without a doubt that I am held in the palm of His hand.

Wedding reception table
The reception table at our wedding

 

I’ve been tired lately, looking forward to hibernating after New Years is done. I have so many projects that I need to start work on, but I think a little self-care is in order first. I have dreams of bone broth and tea, curled up on the couch wrapped in a nice blanket. I feel like I’m falling behind.

Might have gotten a modeling/marketing gig for a local startup, so we’ll see how that pans out.

Writing is the act of peeling your skin off in front of an audience.

I’ve lost the villainy of what the Mad Scientist is. I love her, so I want to make her loveable. I want the world to love her too, that rare lady.

I had an unsettling dream about a car crash on the freeway last night. I followed the wrong car and tried to make my way back to the scene of the collision on foot. But dreams are like walking through thick water, and I never made it. Wound up at the house I grew up in, instead.

My mom and I aren’t speaking.
“You have mama issues,” F says.
I can’t deny it. I do.

I don’t talk about it, because what can you really say?

“People will let you do anything, Mads. You’re smart and you’re cute.” It heartens me to hear it, that people still believe in me.  I feel like I am getting too old for this. I’ve heard it all my life– “You’re so smart, you can do anything.”

But if that were true, then why am I still here, doing what I’m doing. Why aren’t I Somebody yet?

“Because you don’t apply yourself,” he tells me, entirely without malice, and this too comforts me. That it is for lack of trying, and not for lack of ability.

Privately I think to myself that I’m just scared. It’s always been easier to be bland than to be real. If they reject the construct, then who cares. You’ve got no skin in the game anyway. But if they reject you— the real flesh-and-blood, beating heart of what you are– well now that’ll hurt.

“What’s a little pain?” I’ll laugh when I’m feeling cavalier.

What is it; but I know what it is. A deterrent. A balm against rejection. A flame retardant.