Wednesday, September 9, 2015

dear friend.

Dear friend,

I’m writing you because this whole Kim Davis situation has really REALLY bothered me over the past couple weeks. It hits close to home for me because there are a lot of people from my past that look and sound a lot like Ms. Davis. And the fact of the matter is, while I may not agree with all those people all the time…I still love them and I respect them tremendously. So when I see very personal insults thrown at Ms. Davis it bothers me. Honestly, I’ve spent some time crying over this situation and here’s the biggest reason why - I think we both want the same thing but I’m not sure you understand that.

Here’s the thing - I think what has happened with Ms. Davis is a case of misunderstanding what Religious Freedom truly means. I think there has been a lack of comprehension of The Separation of Church and State (SOC&S). You see SOC&S is the very reason that you are allowed to rally outside of a state office while holding signs and crosses and the government can’t stop you. I want this too! I want to be able to stand and make my voice heard but here’s where our disagreement lies - Ms. Davis is actually putting that great freedom in jeopardy with her actions. I believe that passion is an amazing and great thing, I do. However, I believe that you must understand the consequences of your actions and you should fully understand the depth of what you are rallying against. You see if we stand behind Ms. Davis and label our cause as religious freedom we jeopardize the very thing we seek. Issuing marriage licenses to all people is the law of the United States of America and is upheld by the constitution, religion must be separate from this law. I am very sorry for Ms. Davis that this law took effect after her election to office but it doesn’t change the fact that it is still law. I personally hate it when a rapist is freed after a trial because there is a small, even insignificant, shadow of doubt. But this does not give me the right to take the law into my own hands and punish that individual. I must respect that law.

Let’s think about it like this…say there is a teenager who is…well…being a teenager and that kid decides he can curse his father, degrade him, and really just become a menace. I think we can all agree this happens every day in America. Okay, let’s say that father has had enough and he kills that son. Friend, I would hope that we all agree that this father should be punished. BUT - if we allow situations like that of Ms. Davis to continue then that father will have grounds to use Leviticus 20:9 in his defense and state it as his religious right and freedom to kill his child for cursing him. By rallying behind Ms. Davis we are opening the door for “religious freedom” to become a defense and scapegoat for broken laws. The church must remain separate from the state.

My hope is that you’ve heard me, friend. I love my religious freedom. I love that I can pray in public. I can worship when and where I would like. I can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter and his birth at Christmas. I like that you can be United Methodist or Baptist or Catholic or Pentecostal while I enjoy being this crazy hodge-podge of beliefs.

I am asking you to stop. Look, I’m really glad Ms. Davis is no longer in jail, I truly am. That was probably a scary experience and I will not delight in someone else’s pain. But let’s all agree that she wasn’t helping our cause…she really wasn’t. And you’re not helping by rallying behind something that will threaten our religious freedom. I wish her the best and I hope she has come to realize that the law is the law. If she can’t get past her conviction I wish her well on her new job search. I get it, I probably couldn’t be a Navy Seal…I’m not sure my religious beliefs would allow me to take another person’s life if commanded.

I tell you this because I love you…you are not being a light on a hill. You’re not drawing all men to Jesus with this. I’m afraid you are pushing people away. Yes, you’re gaining those who are just like you but are you gaining those who need to experience God’s love the most? I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are.

Sincerely -

A broken heart.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

authors & story.

i am a story addict.

i love stories in all forms: stage, screen, lyrics, poems, & fiction.

but people are my favorite narratives by far. in the words of a wise time lord...

"we're all stories in the end." ~ doctor who

i recently traveled to charleston, sc for yallfest. if you are not familiar with that festival, it's a one day festival crammed full of middle grade and young adult authors. there were about 50 of the top authors in the business. that many panels are the PERFECT place for a story junkie like me. not only are the authors talking about the incredible works they've created but they let people like me (fangirls & fanboys) have a small glimpse into the person behind the words.

in addition to festivals and cons i also fangirl all over twitter & tumblr and EVEN GREATER THAN THAT some of my favorite writers actually let me be part of their lives. part of their stories. i seriously try to keep the fangirling to a minimum among my friends but sometimes it can not be tamed. if you, too, are a fangirl/fanboy then you get me & no further explanation is required. if you are not...i have suggestions for you! you need to know true fandom passion.

i digress...where was i? right...

by some great miracle i get to hang out with authors much of the time & do you want to know what i have learned?


that sounds so simple and i feel like some of you are probably sorry you've read to this point just for that but don't stop now! keep reading!

we throw around the word vulnerable for so many things but the kind i'm talking about is HOLISTIC VULNERABILITY. i have read blogs & twitter posts by incredible authors explaining the physical toll a draft or a revision has taken on their body. i recently heard a dear friend on a panel say that finishing her trilogy "almost literally killed" her and she wasn't exaggerating. i have watched some level headed & consistently solid people meet a deadline & immediately get sick. studies have shown that writers are among the highest at risk for depression but if you don't believe the stats, that's okay. read this honest & painful account of how truly hard the writing journey can be from an international bestseller. and, get this, her books are very very happy making, you would've never guessed.

so, am i writing this just to bring attention to the fact that writing is hard? no....and yes.

first the NO. i am writing this for the other addicts like me out there. when these books hit shelves and we fall all over ourselves to read them, that's where our part begins. that book is out of the author's hands it is no longer "theirs" it becomes "ours." but here's the thing - they CAN NOT divorce themselves from that book. that author has given birth and can now watch it grow but it will forever hold part of his/her soul. the book is part of the author. the author is part of the book.

be kind.

we are completely & totally allowed to dislike a book. we can disagree with a plot choice the author made. we can loathe the fact that a certain character died. we can throw the book into a blazing, burning, black fire as a result of our passionate dislike. BUT we have NO RIGHT to attack a person. you might think an author has stepped back and disconnected from a book because it has become "ours." they have not. by the time a book reaches a place you & i can read it, the author has been in relationship with those characters for years. that author gave part of himself/herself to share that story with us. i promise you, if you feel - HEAD EXPLODE, THROW SOMETHING, RIP OUT PAGES, LAY IT DOWN, BURN IT WITH THE BLACK FIRE OF A THOUSAND WITCHES - mad about something...there were probably months of turmoil over that decision because they love the book too.

on the other hand, if a book is - HEAD EXPLODE, HEART POUNDING, NEED THAT BOOK ON YOUR PERSON AT ALL TIMES, UNICORNS & RAINBOWS, WEEP LIKE YOU ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE GLASS AND LOKI IS INCHES AWAY GRIEVING BUT YOU. CAN. NOT. TOUCH. HIM.- good...then tell someone! tell your friends. tell your enemies. tell the hottie in front of you at your local indie (this is always a good choice) and lastly, TELL THE AUTHOR. write a review, tell them on twitter, BUY EXTRA BOOKS AS GIFTS and bring like 20 for them to sign when you meet them (they like this). if you tell one person & they read've made a difference.

now for the YES. yes, i'm telling you writing is hard because i think those of us who walk into barnes & noble and see hundreds of choices before us assume getting your book on one of those shelves is easy.

it is not.

writing is hard and as a fangirl reader i want to say thank you. if you are reading this and you write books...i see you. i know that you had to open a vein and spill part of yourself onto that keyboard. and i know that after that YOU HAD TO DO IT AGAIN, maybe 3, 4, 20 times! you make yourself vulnerable - ON EVERY SINGLE LEVEL - so that the world knows good art.

you matter. your work matters. and you are not taken for granted.

go forth.


be kind.

hug an author. (with permission, of course)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

one year.

i remember the days when a year felt like an eternity. i remember turning 15 and thinking that a driver's license was still an eternity away. on the last day of my junior year in high school graduation was still light years away.

however, i have found this crazy phenomenon as an adult. time seems to bend and warp into seconds and eons at the same time. one year ago today i went to my storage unit, picked up my life and made the 63 mile trek to my new home. when i think of that day in particular it seems like it was only yesterday. BUT when i think about the person i was on july 18, 2012 and the person i am today, i swear it has been years since the day i signed the line and crammed way too much stuff into my tiny little apartment by the river.

the first six months were hard. they were REALLY hard. i found myself living alone for the first time in my life. it was weird on the best days and so very painful on the worst. looking back on that time now, it seemed i was living through a great storm, alone.

so many dark clouds.

BUT, so many silver linings.

both the clouds and the light behind them came in the form of self exploration. all that time by myself made me think. and it made me think A LOT. i really, really love fall and i think facing that season with the realization that life was different and not yet comfortable was like a smack in the face. being courageous, transplanting myself and simply being didn't come with a magic happy potion. i will spare you all the depressing details. all i can tell you is that somewhere around the six month mark the clouds broke.

i read a lot.
i talked to my Creator a lot.
i talked to my friends a lot.
i talked to my counselor a lot.
i cried a lot.
i reached out a lot.
i listened to music a lot.
i found some courage, a lot.

you see i've always felt the pressure of who someone else thought i should be. the pressure started way back. back when i couldn't control it, but i allowed it to remain too long. there were religious pressures,  familial pressures, friend pressures, even society pressures. some of the pressure i felt was legitimate but some of it was self imposed. sometimes i was the cause of the pain, i made assumptions about who i thought others wanted or needed me to be. but the funny thing about pressure when you're so isolated, in a new place, with new opportunities is...

your own pressure is all that matters when no one else is around. 

i was a carbonated carla. my lid remained secure but the pressure was too high. HOWEVER i had to figure out which pressures were keeping me crisp and making me a better human and i had to separate those from the ones that were simply shaken up by others. because those, those nasty little boogers are the ones that can cause you to blow.

so here i am, exactly one year into this new journey. i still get shaken up. but in the last year i have been forced to look at my relationships with faith, with church, with friends, with family, with love and with my Creator.

a sweet friend recently used the phrase "religion free but hope abundant." the longer i thought about the phrase, the more i realized that's exactly how i would want to describe myself because that is how i would describe Jesus. my faith has taken me to many different churches and several denominations. and i have found that religion is flawed but Jesus is not. i have been more sure of that this year than ever before.

one day last winter i got really brave, i faced my fears, i said some words and then it happened...the clouds broke and hope abundant came shining through.

i am in love with this city and...

i am more carla today than i have ever been.