Monday, January 30, 2012

Growing Up

"I don't think that growing up should be synonymous with becoming stressed about life, though. I don't think it should have to mean losing patience on the freeway or running errands all weekend or dashing out the door for work without having eaten breakfast. "

i stole the above quote from my friend maggie's blog awhile ago now, but the words still resonate with me as much as ever.

i've been thinking about growing up a lot lately. (A. LOT. - as michele would say). and when i think about growing up, i think about stress and bills and travel (not for-fun travel, but business travel with briefcases and work to get done on the flights). i think that when i read the newspaper, as a grown-up, it is no longer acceptable that i turn to the comics first or get bored by the front page or don't even bother to look at the business section.

i confess these things: sometimes, to me, growing up means being busy, all the time. hopefully busy doing really important things. and i kind of know where i got this picture, because both of my parents are very busy people. they like to be busy. but i forget sometimes the ways they build in 'play' to their daily lives. i forget about the things that mom says to herself just to make herself laugh, or the quiet mornings with steaming coffee and good music my dad has, or how he wears vacation hats and makes up stories or she does strange dances to christmas music.

i confess that in the middle of preparing and expecting, i forget and i grow anxious. i think of adulthood as what maggie reminds me it doesn't need to be: stressful, rushed, lonely.

awhile ago, my dad asked one of his friends what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. the friend replied with characteristic wisdom and brevity: "you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."
that phrase sticks with me, as i grow up.

i was in carmel with my dad last weekend, and went for a run that took me all along the ocean. i was feeling particularly anxious about growing up at that moment, and i detoured to some rocks and tide pools down the hill from the road. i saw a bunch of families out on a sunny afternoon, and watching the kids in their little-kid bathing suits with their little-kid floaties and little-kid bravado running up to wave after wave, i felt deep pangs of sadness for the little kid that i will never be again.

the more i watched, though, the more that i saw that it wasn't only the kids running and splashing in the water. their parents joined in. their too-cool older siblings got up and walked around, and their dogs ran and ran and ran until they could run no more.

the ocean is a great equalizer, and this is one of its ways. it is life-giving, and life-affirming, and reminds me that i am free to disregard whatever secret grown-up manifesto i keep thinking i have to embrace. Jesus does not stop doing his work in me because i am growing up; in fact, i expect that he will do even more. and isn't that lovely.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's about that time

I should preface to anyone who has started reading this blog in the last few months: A few times a year, I take a break from my sporadic theological ponderings to review awards-show fashion. It is not the world's most serious endeavor, so feel free to skip this one -- or indulge the side of yourself that is sick of listening to me rant about Mark Driscoll.

OH, what a night! Ricky Gervais delivered on lackluster jokes about the celebrities in the room, George Clooney got away with the dirtiest joke of the night in his charming, I-stole-Brad-Pitt's'-cane kind of way, and The Artist and Downton Abbey deservedly won their respective categories. Of course, if you've been following this blog for any amount of time now, you know that this is all warm-up for the Oscars, which my family is absolutely religious about. So I'm on to a month of reading wacky prediction blogs, but before I go there, needed to debrief some of the Golden Globe fashions.

Loved Laura Dern's dress. Loved loved loved it. So classy, so 1970s Halston -- Sarah Jessica Parker would be proud. The color is so rich. It reminds me of Angie's Golden Globes dress last year, but I think I like Laura's even more. The V-neck adds something, and I love the contrasting colors of the collar and the belt. Her hair looks like she just read an article in Teen Vogue about putting it in two braids at night and then undoing it the next day for a fabulous style!, but it doesn't really do much for me.

Okay. Now that we've talked about her dress, can we talk about how she brought Ben Harper (her estranged ex-husband) as her date?! I love the two of them together, and the news of their possible reunification brings me great joy.

OH, Rooney Mara, I have a feeling that you love all the Lisbeth Salander attention you are getting these days. Since you've essentially transformed yourself into the character. Because they interview her all the time ("What was it like to get the role?" "When did you change from your seemingly sunny former self into a goth Method actress?"), I know that the most Commonly Asked Question of Rooney Mara is whether she kept her piercings from the movie. She kept a few. Consequently, all I could think when I saw her was, "I wonder if her nipple piercings are chafing under that dress." Because, I mean, ouch!

I would just like to say that Carey Michelle Mulligan Williams is looking very cute these days. Didn't you love when she sang "New York, New York" on Dawson's Creek? Or when she dated Shia LaBouef in Blue Valentine? What a gamine talent!

This one just makes me think of Jessica Biel, but looks ten times worse because the wearer did not just get engaged to Justin Timberlake, rendering her temporarily insane. What has Amanda Peet even been up to lately? Shopping Florence Welch's closet, apparently.

Zooey! You looked fantastic. Better than adorable, or 'adorkable,' which is a word I refuse to use, so let's pretend I didn't. Her Prada dress was gorgeous -- so different from what almost anyone else was wearing. I love that she had a pop of color on the dress and clutch, and the bottom of the dress totally reminds me of my wedding dress--except don't worry, it wasn't black, I'm not that weird--which is always a good thing. The only thing that really bothered by about this whole look was her hair. She looks like Liza Minelli (or, more accurately, the Andy Warhol image of Liza Minelli.) The fringe-y bangs combined with the oddly-layered hair makes for a funky combination. But overall, much more sophisticated than we might have expected. A victory. 

The winner of the night was, hands down, Charlize Theron. She looked absolutely stunning, and I know that the dress has a ton of stuff going on -- drapey bow, brooch, slit up to there -- but it just worked. The peachy hue was a gorgeous shade against her skin, and the headband and hairstyle and shoes all conspired to form a perfect Golden Globes look. Playful, stylish, not overly formal or elegant. She looked statuesque. The only thing I might have added was one of those backwards necklaces that are so hot nowadays. All jewelry should be worn backwards. 
This dress was also a great example of a skin-tone dress that was the right shade. Julie Bowen, bless her heart, gave it the old college try on Sunday night, and I LOVED the sleeves on her gown but the rest of it just looked like . . . pretty skin. Is that too Silence of the Lambs? 

Blergh! This makes NO sense, excepting the aforementioned temporary insanity plea. I mean, girlfriend. You are GORGEOUS. She looks like my friend Mallory from highschool, I think -- the prettiest girl next door/tomboy you've ever seen, so WHY are you walking around in an oversized doily with a scalloped center slit? Why do you want us, your loyal fans from the days of 7th Heaven, to think that you have a third boob somewhere on your chest? The phrase "Jessica Biel stylist" brings up a cadre of unrevealing results, so I can't tell if she was given professional advice to look like the Bride of Frankenstein or if she came to it honestly. Either way, blergh! ALSO, UPDATE, I just read that she was wearing a backwards necklace. So, you know, there's that. 
"Giddyup, ladies! I'm playing Annie Oakley in my next movie, Annie Oakley Sings!, a musical about a funeral singer named Annie Oakley who finally embraces her ancestral roots and impossibly high cheekbones. I -- I mean, Annie -- popularized the current phenomena of Dress Pockets, which you can see here by the way I have casually inserted my right hand into my Dress Pocket. An alternate title for the film was The Guns in My Dress Pocket: The Annie Oakley Story, but Lifetime didn't like it. Annie grew tired of excess material on the top of her dresses, so she replaced the top with whimsical mesh fabric and placed the extra on her hips, for an extra flattering fit! Oooh, my ponytail holder fell out! Must run!" 
I almost never post two pictures of a dress, but the back of Claire Danes's dress is what makes it. I was struck not just by how modern this dress is -- stark colors, simple design -- but how delicate it manages to be at the same time. The back, especially, looks held together by almost nothing, and the whole thing looks demure in the best possible way. Old Hollywood, if I dare trot out that old cliche. Her makeup was a bit much for me -- I get that people are loving a bright red lip right now, but it's not my number one favorite all the time. However, this was such a fantastic look overall that I can't complain much.  

Honorable Mentions: Reese Witherspoon, who was all vava voom with beachy hair and a mermaid red dress. Lea Michelle in a non-fishtail, non-little girl Marchesa number. Jessica Alba in a gorgeous lilac princess-y dress that was still sleek and elegant.

Dishonorable Mentions: Tami Taylor in what looked like a sequined linen napkin. Dianna Agron in a Valentino homemade Valentine (all that was missing were the dry macaroni noodles). Sarah Michelle Gellar in a tye dye experiment gone terribly awry. Angelina Jolie in what looked like another napkin, weirdly folded at the neck (and again with the red lipstick.) 

Madonna Mention: Madonna. I have no idea whether I loved or hated her dress, "The Punisher."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Whence real love?

There has been a lot of chatter online the last few days around the newly-release "Real Marriage" by Mark and Grace Driscoll. Reviews (both from those in the Reformed camp and outside of it) abound; you can find them here, here, here, here, and here. (Okay, so not the last one. But I thought you could use a little levity, and who doesn't love Steve Martin?)

While my own thoughts about Mark's theology are both widely available and probably quite evident, I wonder now more about the marriages that are going to be shaped by reading this book. The couples, old and young, whose behavior and attitudes and life together have been laid at the altar of the Driscoll's teachings.  

I haven't read the book, and probably won't, so this isn't meant to be a review of any type. And as much as I know I could go that way, this isn't meant to be a condescending portrait of a lost couple -- no "oh, poor things," or "they just don't know how to discern good theology from bad." I don't want to say that I feel sorry for them, because that assumes that I, on my high horse, have somehow managed a superior skill at living in a relationship. And that certainly isn't the case.

I do wonder, though. What must it be like to be a young woman, newly married, raised to find your own voice, lead your own life, only to be told that the home is the place where you must use your gifts. To learn that, as a young mother, you must first consult with your husband about your new haircut -- because no matter how many minutes you save in the morning by not having to dry, curl, and spray, no amount of time is more valuable than your husband's pleasure in glimpsing your long locks. To have grown in a relationship of partners, only to find out that perhaps your marital struggles are stemming from your 'disobedience' to God in wanting to work outside the home.

No, I don't feel sorry for them. I feel sad. And confused -- confusion akin to that I feel at the growth and attractiveness of a church like Mars Hill, under the teaching of Driscoll and others who teach that God hates you and that you shouldn't worship a Jesus you could beat up.

When will we be free? When will the time come that we don't need to have these conversations? It can't come soon enough, to be sure, but I fear that it will take longer than I hope. We have lived under false teaching long enough.

This year.

"When you discover in yourself something that is a gift from God, you have to claim it and not let it be taken away from you."

So says that modern hero of the faith, Henri Nouwen. And these words -- words that should excite, inspire, spur on -- these words scare the shit out of me.

Over the Christmas holiday, I had a long, rich conversation with my sister, dad, and aunt. We walked for hours through the terrain of growing up: setting goals, treating yourself thoughtfully and with care, loving others well, letting go of contempt.

I like writing. I am good at writing, and I want to do more of it. It is a gift from God, and I will not let my fear (so much fear!) stop me. Not this year, or the next, or this day. I will claim it and not let it be taken away from me.

That's all.