Be here now.

When I’m sinking in an article – the world seems right.

As I’m constructing the story, and absorbing the interview notes, and carefully placing each word in each sentence, my surroundings fade away. I’m not worried about money, or car repairs, or bad dates.

When I’m leading the youth group – the world seems content.

As I’m handing out hot dog buns, and leading prayer, and connecting with a kid I never imagined I’d connect with, the stress blurs. I’m not strategizing office politics, or wondering if I’ll ever have kids, or concerning myself with the fate of health care.

When I’m eating pancakes with old friends – the world seems good.

As I’m discussing the fate of journalism, and looking through last night’s photos, and fantasizing about life in the city,  the self-judgment takes a break. I’m not tallying  omelet and syrup calories in my head, I’m not comparing my financial success to anyone’s expectations and I’m not wondering how my eyebrows look.

A friend told me she once had a professor who used to say: Be here now.

It’s hard though. People always say technology makes it harder, but it’s always been hard.

You have make an effort most of the time.

But in life there are rare moments when it just happens. Times where you’re living your passion, or finding a new one, or connecting with friends.

Thank God for those moments.

Thank God.

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hanging out with the past

my friend donell is in town.

I’m just going to go ahead and carelessly throw his name into this post because I don’t believe him when he says he reads my blog.

he and i go way back to that one party in high school where i wore the red heels. oh. and prom. we went to my prom together. mostly we just fought the whole time, but that was because we were two stupid teenagers. plus, he totally started it.

Anywho, he’s in town from Texas. or maybe Louisiana. I’m not exactly sure where he lives these days. somewhere down south.

We keep in touch via Facebook pokes and birthday texts enough though that I wanted to at least see him while he visited the land of lincoln. you know, to make sure he was still as cute in person as his profile picture led me to believe.

I knew the whole thing would be supa surreal, but that didn’t stop it from being SUPA SURREAL.

I like to think I’m 10 years older than i was when i was 16, what with the calendar telling me so and whatnot. but when i hang out with him it’s like im a little girl hoping he’ll hug me good-bye. I lose all ability to interpret secret boy code or come off as any sort of charming.

the whole thing was made even stranger because our other friend Jason also joined the group. (again, throwing his name out there because im pretty sure he was just being polite when he took my blog card).

i went to homecoming with Jason. we didn’t fight the whole time, but i do remember yelling at him while we sat at an intersection. or, wait.  maybe that was a different day. no. no. it was homecoming. i remember wearing the blue and black dress while i scolded him by name.

anyway, both of these guys were  just the very coolest in my teenage eyes.

i dreamed of the day when i’d be able to dance with jason without bumping my head on his (yes. that happened). or when donell would deem me worthy of official “girlfriend” status (that never ended up happening).

but as i hung out with these guys and all their friends Thursday night i realized that it wasn’t a matter of cool versus uncool, it was a matter of different.

i had to hang out with them growing up because my world didn’t extend beyond a five-mile radius of my house. but i’ve gotten older since then. i’ve gotten a car, an education, and a VZNavigator.

i found my way to people like me. people who care about the potential impact of social media on our lives. people who read newspapers and watch the West Wing on DVD. people who don’t get high every freaking day.

well, donell’s at least ON facebook i guess, but i’d bet my blackberry that Jason doesn’t even know what a status update is.

they care about the latest local bands, the pros and cons of Miller Lite or Old Sytle and umm, ya. i think that’s pretty much it.

just because i don’t, doesn’t mean im not cool though.

one of the first things i did when i exchanged pleasantries with Jason was offer my blog card. (it’s a habit i have). and as i handed it to him, he asked why i’d never been to one of his band’s shows.

that’s when i figured it all out.

umm, jason, i haven’t gone to any of your shows because i HATE the type of music you play and only went while 16 because i had a mad crush on you. why in gutair’s name would i put myself through that for any other reason?

now, none of that is a slam on jason’s music. it’s just a reflection of reality.

all of us are different.

and the only reason we ever tolerated each other in the first place was that we couldn’t see anything more than 5 miles away.

thank God for google maps.

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i got by with a little help from my friend

man. i had this friend once.

he was so. freaking. cool.


this guy was co-ol.

he would let me call him like 17 times a day and never get annoyed. and then he would call me like 14 times in the same day and compliment my “micheal jackson” ring-back tone no matter what. 

and he would let me talk about being vegan all. the. freaking. time. and he would never complain about listening to stories of soy.

Oh! AND he was a journalist — so my in-depth theories about lede structure never bored him.

not once.

and since he’s seen every movie ever made, he’d let me ramble on about whichever johnny depp film i had just watched (and you shouldn’t underestimate how many johnny depp films i watch).

also, he was so freaking funny.

his e-mails would crack my sh*t UP. and (when i shared them with others) they would crack my co-worker’s sh*t up. and they would crack my friend’s sh*t up. and then they would crack my sh*t up a-gain. 

but the best thing about this friend was that he believed in me.

i mean, if you asked this guy “what is crystal going to be when she grows up?” he’d say — without even pausing — “amazing.”

it’s not that he thought i was a good writer (he did) or that i was funny (he did) it’s that he thought i was the kind of gal who could fix the world. (or something equally as important).

i mean this guy really  believed I was amazing.

and he had a way of making me believe it about me too. 

and even when he got to know me (and ALL my faults (including, but not limited to: my coke-a-cola addiction, my need to complain about all things snow, and my crazy vegan ways)) his faith in me didn’t fade.

because this guy thought that i was shiny inside. and if other people didn’t see the light, they were just stupid.

it wasn’t weird. or uncomfortable. or awkward.

it just was.

he believed in me. and by extension i started to believe in me.

and he and i aren’t talking now.

and every day kind of a sucks a little bit as a result.

and even though it’s nice outside. AND im the proud owner of a couch. AND i totally didn’t f*ck up at work this week — everything was a little dull without him  to talk to.

and i just wanted to say that i miss him.  

a lot.

and i hope we find our way back.

because friends like him are so cool.

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