just be heard.

Why am I even writing? At first, it was a little bit just wanting to rant. My sarcasm got me a side-job. It was pleasant. But now that I’ve found a niche, it had become much more than that.

I just want to make people think.

You go through your ordinary day except suddenly you recall something I’ve said about the environment or society. You make the smallest change. Those changes add up.

And as far as native awareness goes…I began reposting and writing to spark awareness. It’s working. I’m getting friends posting to my Facebook wall about sports mascots and casinos and membership rights…. There are people liking statuses about racism and “red power” concepts who aren’t native. I know it sounds silly to rely on Facebook….but the reality is so many people are on it and so much information is circulating.

Seriously. I have friends reconsidering their outlooks. I have white and black and Asian friends sympathizing and de-Chiefing and raising awareness. I’m even encouraging a profoundly deaf friend to seek a way of medically assisting the disadvantaged through the IHS because I know she’s passionate about health rights and making a change.

Rag on me all you want for my writing random posts because it’s these little things that spark the mind that encourage the biggest changes. And it’s slowly working ūüėė

ignorance.

Writing a book has been on my list of things to do for a long time.  I actually wrote 75% of a novel in French last year but a few things happened and I got discouraged and uninspired.  My book was about my own ignorance and how travel changed me, particularly in my experiences living in Benin, traveling in Togo, and volunteering in Cameroon.  But my editor cut it down before he got to the end, the part where the story all comes together.  So I lost hope.

My experiences traveling the world began with a trip to Alaska in 2012 for the AISES National Conference.¬† I was already passionate about my native heritage and the health of the planet, but meeting hundreds of other native¬†people raised with the same passions made me realize I’m not alone.¬† Seriously, thinking of these friends of mine can make me cry.¬† I can remember their research presentations, how enthusiastic they were over the most miniscule things (like studying how worms remediate the different horizons of soil, the preservation of sacred turtle species, etc.).¬† I can remember their excitement to learn about other native cultures and how proud they were to share their own.¬† I can also remember how quick they were to cry when they talked about the poverty, the pain, the histories of their own peoples and all of the things that have happened to them in the past.

Those were the people that inspired me back then, and they continue to inspire me now.¬† Now I have studied abroad on four different continents.¬† Now I continue to travel and don’t see myself ever stopping.¬† But what is inspiring me to do this?¬† It’s not to say I’ve been somewhere cool.¬† In fact, it’s to encourage others to realize they don’t know what’s out there, that there’s more to life than what they see in their hometowns or in the media.¬† I want people to take on dispelling their own ignorance and to attempt to even share their stories with the people they meet.

A year after my conference in Alaska, I was in Colorado for the same event.  This time, I was repurposed.  I had traveled with a professor in India during the summer who inspired me to take the wisdom of the projects we witnessed on the trip and to apply them to US Indian Reservation work.  I walked around the events at the conference and shared my thoughts with anyone willing to hear them Рand that was everyone.  I was amazed by the positive responses I got.  It prompted me to generate a survey, and now I am to present to a professional chapter in a month with my ideas.

The more vocal I’ve become (about anything), the more aggressively I’ve been smacked down by people who give unwarranted feedback.¬† It has gotten me so frustrated and I never fully understood why.¬† But, suddenly, it became clear.¬† I wasn’t upset by what these people were saying, I was upset by why they were saying it.¬† And why were they saying it?¬† Well, if it was something about my personal life, jealousy is why.¬† That, I can’t help.¬† But when it comes to the things I am passionate about, when it comes to racism and native causes, they’re speaking purely out of ignorance.

I’m not upset about them, I’m upset for them, for their lacking education, for their poor selves that had no better way to grasp understanding.¬† For their lack of compassion and for their lack of opportunity.¬† For how it must feel when caring people look at them and see them as vain fools.¬† I mean, it must be far worse to live with that much bundled hatred, spite, and ignorance.

I’ve always thought, if only they knew.¬†¬† But how to even begin?¬† How to start from the beginning of the truth, about the histories and the causes and the current experiences?¬† The facts, the memoirs, the photos, the real people with real stories…¬† If I even tried to explain, wouldn’t they just cut me off?¬† But what if I could tell them but they didn’t have to know that I knew that they knew…but they would eventually just know and let it go.¬† Or maybe some would have a total change of heart.¬† Yet again maybe some would feel convicted and become even more aggressive, but then shame on them.¬† But how how how could I make that happen??

Finally, I know what I’m going to write about.

 

the company you keep.

“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.¬† Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” -Proverbs 4:14-15 NIV

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” -2 Timothy 2:2-5 NASB

I don’t care if you don’t believe in the Torah/Bible/God; scripture can offer some really good advice if you know how to read it.¬† For example, in this quote from Timothy, take “God” as a symbol for living peacefully and good.¬† It provides the same meaning and is certainly applicable to any faith or faithlessness.

How did I get these quotes?¬† Well, I Googled quotes that could demonstrate the idea of “the company you keep”.¬† And these were my favorites.

Today, I became (yet again) a victim of online bullying.  It was a rash, brash, offhand, unprecedented comment from an uninformed, unimportant individual.  In the past, I would have blown up over it.  I would have sobbed, raged, replied, and probably done a lot of things I would have regretted later.  But that was me before I started paying attention to these kinds of things.  That was me before I began thinking about the company I keep.

It made me realize the company I choose to keep does not behave like this person.
Meaning he meant nothing to me and he couldn’t hurt me.
Meaning he doesn’t know the truth but the people who matter do.
Meaning I don’t keep his company because he is not considerate, respectful, classy, and of good sportsmanship.
But the company I do keep is all of these things.

In thinking of the company I keep and who I want to be, I debated my options.  I could delete the comment and move forward.  But maybe this person was making a point?  Maybe I had overlooked something that had evoked his reaction in the first place.

Aha Рindeed, I had.  I realized he was either being completely tactless and cutting me down without reason, or his tactlessness arose from a misunderstanding in what I was saying.  And yes, this was all about hockey.

First, I chose to leave the comment.¬† I didn’t reply.¬† I won’t reply.¬† It’s not worth it, and it exposes his lack of anything human.¬† And it makes me look better in the meantime.

Second, I e-mailed the captain of the team.¬† I thanked her for her candor, congratulated her team for their season, then made her aware of the situation in case someone else might have taken what was said in the wrong way.¬† I know I didn’t have to do it, but I felt like it is good to clean things up and it can’t hurt nipping a potential problem in the bud.¬† It also gave me a chance to explain why I left the one team for another: sportsmanship.

The comment that was left and a teammate’s supportive, subsequent reaction to that comment were the perfect parallels to the situation.¬† It showed how my old team lacked the sportsmanship and respect I craved and how I gained so much more in those fields and others by switching teams.

It reminded me of this past Sunday when I spent time with a friend.¬† I’ve gotten along swimmingly with his whole family and realized there’s a reason for that.¬† Kind of like there’s a reason why¬†I can throw my closest friends from all over the world in a room together for the first time…and they love each other.

We always tend to migrate towards the same kinds of people.¬† And I’ve been trying increasingly harder to base my “kind” of person off of his/her character.¬† His/her goodness.¬† His/her positivity.¬† Even though I haven’t always been the most positive person, it’s amazing how letting go of a little negativity and surrounding yourself with good people will really change your outlook on life.

You really can change your life by the company you keep and surrounding yourself with good things.

As the quote above from Proverbs tells us, don’t be tempted by that evil path.¬† Just because others act one way does not justify your reaction in their footsteps.¬† You have to own what you do and you are responsible for the consequences.¬† Every step you make should be towards the kind of person you want to be, no matter how big or small that step is.

And this person’s bullying is exactly what Timothy’s quote is describing: This person may have been reacting from a misunderstanding, but it was still completely uncalled for, demonstrates his lack of good character, and proves that he is insecure about another’s accomplishments.¬† He had to cut me down for my pride in the wonderful people I have discovered on my new team and by the honors I’ve received for being a part of their society.¬† Clearly, I have a LOT that he lacks.¬† And he doesn’t like it.

While I can’t change him and it’s not my responsibility to try, I can just hope to lead by example and to continue supporting my teammates, choosing better, and maintaining a close watch over the company that I keep.

rain.

Tomorrow, it’s going to rain. I’ve been through short blizzards, bright and sudden sun, frozen mornings, and incredibly strong winds just in a few short days on-site…yet we all dread tomorrow’s rain.

It’s not fun when you wake up in the morning, pick out one specific set of clothes to wear all day outside and which still meets safety regulations, then you get caught in a downpour. And your only set of clothes is wet. But it’s only the morning and you have sampling runs to finish all. day. long.

Haha, water falling from the sky. And I’m afraid.

Bring on the rain. Have you seen how sad the tree buds are? How desperate the ground is to thaw? The rain is a sign of warmth and spring, of life finally returning to the plants. The woods. The crops.

No rain means no life.

But rain is also a sad, humbling moment when the rooftops sing and you’re forced inside to reflect. Rain is music. It is a rhythm in life. It is necessary.

And like my friend Jo said, without the bad times the good times wouldn’t be so great.

That’s the same with rain.

We gripe about rain because driving becomes more dangerous, clothes become wet, we feel cold, we can’t run freely outside, and all nice things and hairdos become soggy masses.

Without rain, we would die. It is the vein in life. All things revolve around rain like the core of the planet.

I’m glad it will finally rain. Rain over snow. And I’m thankful for the frozen mornings because it’s their chill that makes the afternoon feel warm at 30 and the evenings feel refreshing after the “heat wave”.

So bring it, rain. I need you.

Inexplicable Comfort.

I know I started this blog years ago with an intention of bashing satire, but lately I feel like I have turned it into a documentation of my transformation. ¬†I think the combination of busyness and that the emotions plugged into my original satire all equally provide the reason for the turn. ¬†Writing about my “little thoughts” just comes so much more naturally than always sitting down to ruthlessly tear apart a topic or an attitude. ¬†Sometimes, doing the latter almost makes me feel worse. ¬†Writing about pure Kayla Faith just feels healing and therapeutic, like a journal that I throw up to the world and don’t care who sees me for who I am.

I’ve found comfort in this kind of writing as of late. ¬†And, today, I noticed that I found comfort in places I never expected to find it, at times that didn’t seem to be supportive of it.

It started last night, really, when a long Saturday at work turned into a fun night in the snow and an invitation to spend the rest of the weekend with someone I care as much as humanly possible about.  Never in a million years would I expect such an invitation from someone so busy this past week and so low on spare time.

Today, despite a conversation that I had last night that tore me down a bit, I attended church as I have a few times now with said person. ¬†I found so much comfort in going. ¬†We always sit in the same place, I’m starting to recognize the same faces who always express their loves to see me, and I watched snow fall outside the whole time. ¬†When I first attended, the music was my favorite part. ¬†An actual band plays. ¬†Now, it has become the application of scripture. ¬†Perhaps that is because I have been reading the Bible to understand the preaching better. ¬†And today, I had few qualms with what was being said. ¬†I had memories of singing Gospel with my grandma, thinking she had the most beautiful voice in the world and that one must obtain such a voice by singing for God and that only,… so I suddenly began craving the scripture reflections and traditional hymns. ¬†Furthermore, just the feeling of going to church makes me feel good. ¬†I got up early in the morning, I went with someone I care a lot about, I supported his faith the way I like when people support what I care about, and I saw many kind – and now familiar – faces. ¬†I’m not saying I believe things one way or another, but I’m just saying I have come to love those Sunday mornings. ¬†I know he would say God is making me love them, but I don’t care what is – I’ll just keep going.

Comfort came to me again when we left and we drove through the snowy parks. ¬†We ran up to Squire’s Castle, I in his work boots because silly me wore moccasins, and we just loved the snow. ¬†Snow. ¬†Snow. ¬†Snow. ¬†I love you, snow. ¬†Snow is perhaps the silence that screams about peacefulness louder than anything else on Earth.

I always find comfort in fixing our meals, sneaking the dishes into the dishwater before he can yell at me for cleaning up, leaving notes and sending letters… ¬†Sometimes I worry I look like I’m trying to hard when, really, I just can’t imagine not doing those things. ¬†Maybe it’s actually selfish. ¬†They make me feel good? ¬†Because I make someone else feel good? ¬†Maybe that comfort isn’t inexplicable, because my friend Rita already sat me down and explained to me years ago that I’m a “people-pleaser” like her. ¬†It helped me understand why I feel so easily rejected and depressed when I don’t meet someone’s standards. ¬†Regardless, I found comfort in doing those favors today.

I found comfort on the way home when I stopped at the store. ¬†I usually avoid talking to people or making eye contact. ¬†I always feel like some silly deer in the headlights. ¬†People always come up to me and ask if I’m okay because I look frazzled or tired or stressed or like I’ve been crying… and that’s happened on my happy days, thus launching such days into self-conscious misery. ¬†So I avoid it altogether. ¬†But then I had the briefest of all conversations at the checkout counter with the grocer. ¬†I recalled previous experiences at Whole Foods and nearly all of them include conversations at the checkout. ¬†That never happens at normal stores. ¬†Whole Foods definitely has a unique vibe, and suddenly I felt comfort that there are people out there who understand me but whom I have not yet met. ¬†The world maybe isn’t as dark as I always think it is.

I found comfort in driving from the store to home and listening to my audiobooks. ¬†I had previously finished¬†Knowing Scripture, a book to accompany my reading¬†A History of God¬†while also reading the Bible (NKJV) cover to cover. ¬†I actually really enjoyed that audiobook. ¬†It was gentle, although set in its ways, and tried to express the importance of “literal” meaning. ¬†What is literal meaning? ¬†Taking something literally doesn’t mean word-for-word but instead the way it was intended to be taken, something that can be determined by its literary mechanisms. ¬†Was that hyperbole? ¬†What is that in the context of its time? ¬†(Or, in the case of the Bible, things like¬†What was the original word for this in its native language and how might it have been¬†translated?) ¬†I liked that, but then I listened to RIchard Dawkins. ¬†I thought I would like this audiobook more, a much longer book which basically speaks against Scripture and is the opposite to the book I just finished. ¬†Truth of the matter is this book is so damn¬†arrogant, the claims so wildly inappropriate half of the time that I sympathize for any and all religious or semi-religious peoples. ¬†Some moments, I agree full-heartedly. ¬†Others, I’m appalled. ¬†I think I was appalled maybe once or twice at some far-fetched concept in¬†Knowing Scriptures and so I suddenly realized how arrogant the arguments sound. ¬†Religious people often strive to be loved by and show love for their god(s), whereas atheists often display contempt for those loving people. ¬†I’m not saying it’s either-or, but I suddenly felt comfort in places where I had previously felt uncomfortable: under the judgment of those who follow religion rather than those who follow proving it wrong.

At this point, I was home. ¬†Expected mail was not in my inbox. ¬†My place looks half-cleaned. ¬†And I suddenly burst into tears in the kitchen. ¬†I do that sometimes, maybe because I’m just confused about life. ¬†About why I’m here, who I am, what I’m supposed to be doing, am I supposed to know these answers, are there no answers, where do I go from here, what is the point, etc. etc. etc. ¬†Suddenly, from no where, I turn to the kitchen counter on my left and my cat Phantom is looking up at me, eagerly. ¬†She has never jumped on my counter before. ¬†She starts to nuzzle me, so I pick her up. ¬†I have never cried into a cat so long before. ¬†All she did was purr and respond to my scratching her ears until I set her down at the windowsill a good 10 minutes later. ¬†Sometimes I’m convinced that people of our past are reincarnated into our pets, to somehow guide us. ¬†Perhaps there is some god that oversees this. ¬†Or perhaps I’m just crazy. ¬†I don’t care, I still feel that way. ¬†Just like I somehow know my grandma is there every time a ladybug refuses to leave my arm. ¬†(And, yes, that exact experience has caused the only female on a construction site – me – to burst into tears in front of a slew of male drillers before.)

Finally, comfort came in the form of a text conversation. ¬†One of my closest girlfriends from home texted me this evening, asking about the person I spent the day with (she saw a photo I posted of us hiking). ¬†I briefly explained the situation. ¬†I mean, she’s probably one of the better people to speak to about it. ¬†She became incredibly passionate for my side that it made me feel, yet again, that inexplicable comfort. ¬†Where did this come from? ¬†She was so adamant to support me, being me, believing whatever I believe, no matter how it ever does or doesn’t change… ¬†She was convinced that love is boundary-less, that it is foolish to throw out feelings over a difference that may not exist and that may only strengthen the diversity of something if it does… ¬†Her argument made me feel sound and strengthened and not so hopeless. ¬†She gave me courage after a day of mild confusion. ¬†And, better than all else, she made me feel like my battle was not lost but just slow at being won. ¬†It’s comforting knowing people so far away can care about you so much that they nearly lose their cool in expressing their support for you.

Ever since a conversation I had with a non-religious friend a few months ago, I have fully adopted his outlook on religion and faith: We are all religious, we just define our personally tailored religions in different ways. ¬†This is, I think, completely true. ¬†Even if you’re Christian, you likely interpret things a certain way, one in which others may not. ¬†But what is wrong with that? ¬†Follow the Scriptures all you want, but only certain ones were selected, they were all translated to varying degrees of accuracy, and who says they are set in stone? ¬†(Okay, maybe the 10 commandments were originally but…) ¬†With this in mind, I have no doubt that I am religious. ¬†Religion is literally – there it is again! – defined as not just supporting a superhuman concept, but also following a set of beliefs with a certain upheld faith. ¬†BOOM. ¬†My beliefs may vary throughout the years, molded by whom I am near and what I have learned and seen, but I will have those beliefs nonetheless. ¬†I’m adamant about adhering to certain ways of living and doing what is right, whether or not I’m convinced that right and wrong have to exist.

BOOM. ¬†I am religious. ¬†I always have been, but now more so than ever. ¬†And I find it really odd, but I have been compelled to occasionally pray since I was about 8 years old. ¬†Sometimes I pray because there is someone who asks for a prayer or who is struggling, so I pray for them and I pray to whomever their god is or gods are. ¬†Sometimes I pray because I feel completely hopeless and what else should I do? ¬†I always start off in my mind with “Dear God or gods or Mother Nature or whoever it is that I’m sorry I don’t know but who might have a say in this…” ¬†I honestly hesitated to express in an entry that I am this way because I didn’t want people to regard me in a certain way, but then I decided¬†why do I care? ¬†I am who I am and I don’t know who I am but I’ll still be who I am whether I want to be me or not.

Seriously…my mind is such a freely flowing stream of randomness…but I just really felt like I had to record this moment, today, a day of highs and lows but of discovery and this odd sense of comfort in moments that felt so dreary. ¬†Today, just when I felt like all was lost, I actually began to feel more hopeful. ¬†Like, these are the tests we are going through to make us confident that this is actually everything we want. ¬†We can handle this, because it is nothing. ¬†There is so much compassion to be had and, like my friend told me today, love and respect are the center of it all. ¬†And that’s there. ¬†It will all be okay because that’s there, so I just need to focus on me, continuing to be growing, dynamic me, and this will work out because it’s meant to be this way.

Even if not everything has a purpose, as humans we always find it one.