In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Spring in the South is sudden. 

It happens overnight and anyone who’s lived here long enough can tell you when it happens.

Because one night, you go to sleep and every tree is cold, shivering, and naked. Then, when you awaken the next morning, the world is white. The little flowers are nestled on the branches like sleeping butterflies, perfect in every way. If you look closely, each bud has a tiny fuchsia center, reminiscent of a heart. The minuscule beating heart of spring, our time for rebirth. 

Of course, the Bradford Pear isn’t the only tree that blooms out in brilliant blossoms. It’s just the most noticeable, and for two reasons. It’s always the first. 

And the blooming of a Bradford Pear is accompanied by the most unholy stench. 

Image

 

For many Southerners, knowing how to successfully landscape to ensure maximum curb appeal has turned into a science. Which is fortunate because it means we are consistently surrounded by floral beauty from mid-March through June. From the sweet, yellow Daffodils (which will sometimes bloom even through snow), to the magnificent beauty of Hydrangeas in every color, to the creeping vines of Wisteria that consume everything in their paths with lovely purple blossoms, we Southerners do not often find ourselves in a position where we cannot simply reach around and pick a flower. They will grace our yards, our porches, and even our kitchen tables. 

Spring is also (at least in Tennessee) tornado season. My family recently put in a storm shelter under our garage, which is a long time coming, seeing as my mother is absolutely terrified of tornados. In fact, she’s convinced she will either die in a plane or a tornado or a plane flying into a tornado. Anyway, it’s not unusual for us to have at least one tornado warning a week here. It’s been pretty bad since 2009 and the Good Friday tornado. Today, for instance, we were under a warning for several hours. Additionally, the weather was absolutely disgusting. It depressed me so.

That’s where the old adage comes into play, I guess. 

March: in like a lion, out like a lamb. 

Let’s hope so!

Until next time,

xx Chloe

Advertisements

These Aren’t Feminists! This Is Sunday Brunch With the Cast of Desperate Housewives! (Philosophy Midterm Post #3 – Final Post)

We’re sorry. The person you are trying to reach is not available. At the tone, please leave your name, number, and a brief message.

*Beep!*
Mrs. Mason, I appreciate your call about the brunch club. I have to say, I found the experience interesting, however…I don’t think I will be attending again. 
To be perfectly honest, your group is not exactly what I would call a “feminist organization.” When Meghan mentioned that you were holding meetings to discuss gender equality in America, I was thinking more along the lines of…you know, gender equality. Not spiffy southern belles in Lilly Pulitzer dresses discussing the secret to their so-called famous Deviled Eggs recipes. 
Yes, I know, that’s the purpose of brunch. 
But it isn’t what I was expecting. 
The problem is, these aren’t feminists. This is Sunday brunch with the cast of “Desperate Housewives!” In the course of the meal, I heard several incredibldisturbing comments.
Sandra said that while she understands that she should probably pay for dinner every once in a while (especially since her boyfriend has been out of a job for the past six months), she just feels like its so unladylike to suggest the idea and she even thinks her boyfriend would find it offensive, given his current financial situation. Sophie Jo sympathized with this skewed logic, saying that if -when they were dating – her husband had ever suggested she pay or they split the bill, she would have thought he was incredibly cheap.
Georgia claimed that she thinks it’s perfectly okay for her daughter to hit or punch a boy if he’s acting aggressively towards her but that her son was being taught that it is never, ever okay to hit a girl. 
Annabelle complained for at least thirty minutes about how she wishes she could have 5 minutes of peace every now and again, then laughingly admitted that she’d never even think about letting her husband cook dinner or clean the house because she was sure he’d screw something up. 
These probably seem like trivial matters to you, but to me, I think it makes a point about your society. 
I don’t claim to be an excellent example of feminism. If a guy wants to buy my dinner on the first date, I’m not going to say no or force him to split the bill. However, if there is a next time, I will offer to pay and have no qualms in doing so. I didn’t bring it up at the brunch, but I am sure that if I had so much as mentioned the word abortion, someone would have spilt their tea. All of your young women want to advertise their equality but they don’t want to grant other women the right to do what they please with their bodies. 
To put it succinctly and try not to further offend you (if you haven’t hung up and deleted this message already), I just don’t feel right being a part of something that, to me, seems to hypocritical. 
Therefore, I appreciate the invitation but I simply do not think I can make it. 
Goodbye. 

And, Mother, His Shoes… (Philosophy Midterm Post #2)

Image

 

 

Is this thing working? Okay, well, this is Penny Langton. I can’t answer my phone right now, clearly, so leave me a message. (What do I do now? Oh, okay…)

*beep!*

Mother. How could you? 

I mean, really, I know you have gone to great lengths to find me a suitable prospective husband, but this? The senator’s son? Honestly? Oh, I could just scream.

First of all, we have nothing in common. And not just when it comes to the fact that he is an arrogant, manipulative, immature frat-boy. But, mother…he owns an AK47. Not just that, this man was raised in a family which kept a separate cabin specifically to house their weapons. I mean…I can’t even…

The thing that really gets me, though…that just really grinds my gears…he wants to treat the whole Earth as if it is America. I know it’s a good thing to “think globally” or whatever, but before we do that, don’t we need to consider the fact that each of us is one person out of seven billion? Mother, can you even comprehend the number 7 billion? That’s more glasses of sweet tea than you’ll ever be able to serve at any of your soirees in your entire life…although I am sure that, now that I’ve made such a claim, you’ll make it your personal goal to serve just that number. 

What I’m trying to say is that by generalizing the planet and foreign policy, he’s doing us all a great disservice. When you don’t make it personal and when you just consider this world and it’s people as an “entity,” you’re missing the point. And he wants to complain about the Democrats making it impossible to get anything done in Congress. Maybe if his blessed Conservatives – and, yes, admittedly, the Liberals, too – could learn to see things from a different perspective, then we could reach some sort of compromise.

And, Mother, his shoes. I’m pretty sure his shoes cost more than my entire college education. His tie alone could probably have been traded in for a month’s worth of rent. I kid you not. I really don’t know where you find them. 

We disagree on everything. He’s pro-life, I’m pro-choice; he thinks every single citizen should be armed, I say look at South Africa; he hardly believes in gay rights and I think that love is love is love and no one should be punished or excluded from happiness. 

And I know that you know my opinions when it comes to Conservatives and “military age” and all that. But what I’m trying to tell you is that I don’t think he’d listen to them for one second. I don’t even think he’d pay attention to my views if I iced them onto a 3-layer chocolate cake and handed it to him while singing the National Anthem. 

And that’s the main reason I feel we have nothing in common. 

And, just for the record, he said that he couldn’t stand Jon Stewart. If that isn’t the biggest deal breaker of them all, I don’t know what is. 

Goodbye, Mother.

Is this thing working? Okay, well, this is Penny Langton. I can’t answer my phone right now, clearly, so leave me a message. (What do I do now? Oh, okay…)

*beep!*

Oh, also, just in case you were curious, he’s asked me on another date next Saturday. I hope you’re happy. 

 

Image

 

 

Image

I Can’t Believe I’m Doing This Over Voicemail (Philosophy Midterm Post #1)

Image

 

Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice message system. (615) 885 – 9945 is not available. At the tone, please record your message. When you are finished recording, you may hang up, or press 1 for more options. To leave a callback number, press 5.

*Beep!*

Hey, so I know it’s 2:30 in the morning and I just saw you an hour ago and also that you’re already asleep but…I just have so many questions running through my head and I think I’ll go crazy if I don’t get them out…Questions like…

Well, to start off, “no man is an island unto himself,” so why is God an island? Sorry. That sounds stupid just saying it. But, seriously, I know that Anselm believed that by imagining God in all his omniscience that that was reason enough for his existence. I can’t help but think he’s wrong because I can imagine giants and unicorns and dragons and dementors and Lord Voldemort and Transformers…but that doesn’t mean Optimus Prime is about to come crashing onto the interstate this minute and crush me and my car to pieces. And if it did mean that, and if I was left mortally wounded on the side of the road, would you come find me and hold my hand and tell me, “Now is the time to repent and accept Christ. What have you got to lose?” 

Again, that’s not something I feel I can agree with. It seems so…offensive. Offensive to this all-powerful deity. If I were God, I’d be more than a bit upset if people were left and right swearing their allegiance to me just because they had realized they were not invincible and that the end was near. 

Furthermore, if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, why should I have to do all this work of accepting him into my heart? Why wasn’t I born knowing that that was the way? If this is the case, why was I born like this? Why did God make me an atheist? Why was I created not knowing?

Or, to look at it from an even wider angle, why did he put 4.7 billion people on this planet that don’t believe in him? That seems so horrible, to give those people their own lives and then condemn them from birth to an eternity in hell. It doesn’t make sense to me. 

Nothing really makes sense right now, except that I can’t believe I’m doing this…that I’m talking about this over voicemail. You know, there’s a church that believes that the concepts of heaven and hell are just that – concepts. They believe in what is called a “living heaven” and a “living hell.” Some days, I think growing up here, in the South, I think that’s my living hell. I honestly do…Everyone here pretends to be so godly and perfect and if they mess up, they just say “we are all sinners and God knows this and God forgives us.” They all fail to see the obvious paradoxes and loopholes in their own beliefs and it’s just…

I know you’ve been sleeping with her for the past two months.

No, shoot, I didn’t mean to say that…

But I do. It’s okay. Honestly, after the shock of finding a bunch of black, lacy panties in your apartment that I knew were not mine wore off, it was okay. The thing is, what makes me mad isn’t that you’re cheating on me. Life happens, we fall in and out of love, I get it. 

What makes me so angry is that you said to me, “I just love you so much and it breaks my heart to imagine that we’re going to have to spend eternity apart.” Because why? Because you’re a Christian who is screwing around with another girl but that’s okay because you can just repent and God will forgive you. But me… I’m the reason we’re spending eternity apart, right? Because I am an upright, hard-working person who has never in her life done anything to hurt anyone nearly as horribly as you have hurt me BUT (!) I am the one who is going to spend my afterlife in the fiery pits of hell simply because I couldn’t bring myself to believe in an all-powerful deity for whose existence there is no natural proof. 

I can’t believe I’m doing this over voicemail. I’m sorry. How cowardly of me. You just get to listen to my voice, unable to respond. How arrogant on my part. 

It’s not you, it’s me. 

I’m not ready for the commitment. 

We are two totally different people.

I’m not good enough for you; you deserve someone better.

Don’t bother calling, I’ll be okay.

*Dial Tone*

 

 

Reformat

I am reformatting my midterm blog posts based on a recent NPR story I heard which challenged listeners to write a short story as if it were a voicemail.

So, I am still going to address the three topics I mentioned earlier and I will try and do it from my own, Southern perspective. However, I will be writing more creatively and yes, writing as if it were a voicemail.

How fun!

My first post will be about religion and philosophy and, funny enough, a break up. While I haven’t actually ever broken up with someone via voicemail, part of this is very personal for me because it deals with a statement I was once presented with, about my fate as a “non-theist” (I use this term over “atheist” because I have trouble defining myself, honestly). However, it should be noted that the narrator is not me. She simply feels a lot of the same things I do. 🙂 

Scarlett O’Hara? Hardly, I’m Afraid. (Philosophy Midterm Introduction)

Image

To the outside eye, I am sure that I seem to embody most all things Southern. I enjoy throwing parties where sweet tea and cornhole are involved. I have been reading Southern Living since I was 10 years-old (about the same time I became proficient in cooking up a batch of grits). To any “yes,” “no,” or “thank you,” I am aware that I must attach either a “sir” or a “ma’am.” My favorite authors are Faulkner and Conroy and the only real place to vacation is the Gulf Coast.

Therefore, I am sure that it comes as a shock to most when they realize I am the very antithesis of the traditional Southern Belle or even the traditional Southerner.

Image

            In the next few posts, I would like to discuss how my environment has helped shaped the type of person I am now. Living here has made me realize terrible and wonderful things about the world.  Growing up in Tennessee has helped me realize my religious, political, and philosophical outlooks on life and how very different they seem to be from everyone else who lives here.

To begin with, I feel the need to post a disclaimer. It probably seems that I am casting a narrow stigma over a broad population. I recognize this and would like to make it clear that I acknowledge the fact that not every Southerner is the same. The anecdotes in these posts are simply being drawn from my own frame of reference. I hope I don’t offend!

To conclude my introduction, here’s the shortlist of all the ways I’m going to have the ladies at the Country Club spilling the sweet tea is surprise (and – hopefully – a general breakdown of what I will discuss in each post):

1. I am not religious.

2. I am a liberal.

3. While not a “feminist,” per say, you aren’t likely to find a man I will let push me around.

I hope to address each of these points from a personal and philosophical point of view.

So, stayed tuned, y’all!

Image

Philosophy

The next few posts on my blog will be my philosophy midterm. 

This is kind of sad in a comical way. 

It seems the only way I have time to post on my blog anymore is for school.

Oh well! Onward!

xx

Chloe

A New Year and Another Year Older

Hello, friends! 

I know I haven’t posted since before Christmas and I do feel bad for neglecting my blog. 

School starts back on Thursday and I am having mixed emotions about this. Part of me has been so bored the past week and a half that I am actually excited at the prospect of homework simply because it will give me something to do. The other half of me is dreading the return because I love sleep so much. Truly, I think sleep should be a bigger part of humans’ lives. 

This has been a lovely break, though. Despite the bipolar weather (it was 70 degrees two days ago and today it didn’t get above 40), it has been very relaxing and low-key. Christmas was lovely and New Year’s gave me the opportunity to catch up with some friends I felt I hadn’t seen in an eternity. 

Yesterday, I turned 19. Compared to my 18th birthday, it was positively boring. I mean, there isn’t exactly anything new about 19. When you turn 18, you can vote, buy lottery tickets, and start smoking. Granted, I’ve only done one of those things (I have asthma and the gambling has never appealed to me, so take a wild guess) but still, it’s the novelty of the idea. 

I wish I could think of some funny or exciting story to post, but as I said, this is has been a pretty boring vacation. 

Until I have interesting news!

xx Chloe

Christmas Time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I wish it would snow here at my house, but alas I’m going to be driving around with my windows down all day because it’s a lovely (albeit somewhat cloudy) 61 degrees.

Our stockings have been hung by the chimney with care and Christmas music blasts 24/7 through our house. Perhaps my favorite of the holiday tunes is the three part musical trilogy about Snoopy and the Red Baron. Yes, Snoopy from the Peanuts and yes, the Bloody Red Baron from Germany, Manfred Von Richthofen. You should take a listen and check out the pictures of our Christmas decor around our house.

Enjoy!

 

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Heavy Boots

One of my favorite authors is Jonathan Safran-Foer. He’s a genius writer who can make your laugh until your ribs feel like they’ll break and then turn around and have you sobbing on the floor for hours. In his novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, his 9 year-old protagonist, Oskar, describes his feelings of sadness as having “heavy boots.” 

“I didn’t understand why I needed help, because it seemed to me that you should wear heavy boots when your dad dies, and if you aren’t wearing heavy boots, then you need help.”

Since Friday, I’ve been in heavy boots. I know the media is still bombarding us with new information about the tragedy in Connecticut, but it seems that the world around me has all but forgotten that it ever occurred. Friends who were blowing up Facebook with requests for prayer on Friday are now back to posting photos of their Christmas cocktails parties and status updates are more often than not egocentric (this is a general survey and I have to add that several friends are still posting about the tragedy and voicing their concerns). 

I’m not trying to sound “better-than” by saying it, but I can’t shake the extreme sadness that hit me like a baseball bat on Friday afternoon. I’ve spent the whole weekend trying to think of something, anything I can do…and I’m at a loss. 

I want to stand up and yell at someone. Tell someone how I’m feeling and what I think needs to happen. 

But who do I tell? 

I’m not important. I’m an 18 year-old college freshman, still financially dependent on my parents. I have a high school diploma, a semester of college under my belt, and that’s it. No money, no fancy degrees, no connections…

More importantly, I have no voice. 

Additionally, my problem is I want people to understand my side and agree with it. I want Republicans to concede to stricter gun control. I want the Westboro Baptist Church to be recognized as a hate group. I want mental illnesses to be recognized as legitimate and for there to be a federally-funded treatment system for the mentally unstable. 

And I can’t make those things happen. I can’t make people agree with me. I can’t appeal to higher powers in our government. The fact that I can’t change these things frustrates me beyond belief.

I want to write a letter to every family of every victim.

I guess by now I’m just rambling. I don’t know what point I’m trying to make, only that there is something inside of me that can’t accept this. 

Maybe you’ll begin to question it, too.

xx

Chloe 

PS – If you would like to send your sympathies to Sandy Hook Elementary, the address can be found below. Also, there are multiple funds being set up to support the community of Sandy Hook itself and I have left links to these charity’s websites under the school’s address.

Sandy Hook Elementary School

12 Dickenson Drive

Sandy Hook, CT

06482-121

 

https://www.facebook.com/NewtownMemorialFund?ref=stream

http://www.indiegogo.com/onerepublicforsandyhook

http://www.evergram.com/post-message/our-broken-hearts-2542/?utm_campaign=subdmn