Some things I've failed to post about:
-- The other week a group of us from the Religious Education group of my congregation went carolling at a local senior centre. (Cute) Minister Rebecca printed out a bunch of lyric booklets for us. As we were walking down the corridor as a group and picking out the songs to sing (this wasn't a terribly organised affair), knowing we hadn't picked the "UU" (less Christian) versions of the songs I said, "Perhaps one with fewer 'Lords' and less 'God' to warm up, so we all know the words and are comfortable?" Minister Rebecca agreed. (Note: I do not say any of that out of disrespect for that set of beliefs; I mean no offense there. Those songs just tend to apply least to the personal theologies of the vast majority of our congregation, especially those gathered for the carolling.) One of the youth ended up suggesting "O Come All Ye Faithful" and suddenly we were singing a long song about coming to adore Capital Him, Christ the Lord, all in quite a high pitch (for me) because I quickly realised that despite my complete and utter lack of practise I was somehow the strongest singer on my side of the room and had to play it up. (It was pretty adorable to hear Minister Rebecca saying, "I hope we have some singers here, because I'm not really a strong singer..." She wasn't, but I was listening and it was cute.) Anyway, I was well out of my comfort zone--in that I didn't know the song super well and was singing a song that didn't follow my beliefs at all--and Minister Rebecca looked up with this adorable look of recognition over how much the song didn't fit either of us or the request I had made and she had agreed to. The bonding moment actually made it all worth while. I also enjoyed the singing experience, during which I realised my nightly breathing exercises to get to sleep have been helping my singing, and I did have a really great time.
-- I kept wondering, because of the documentary GenSilent, how many of those there might be some variety of queer. There was a very butch woman standing in a doorway as we were singing up one of the corridors; she struck my gaydar as potentially one of the tribe. I was wearing my new rainbow scarf (thrift store! ♥) and sang loud and clear on "don we now our gay apparel" (from a song that is one of my favourites). Minister Carol wants us to do a screening of the documentary for our Interweave group and the congregation as a whole. I am totally behind it and really want to make it happen! Awareness of LGBTQ aging for the win!
-- My dykemobile (Subaru Outback) has carried three trees this season: two for our household (one upstairs living room, one ground floor living room) and one that Cassia and I picked up to give to a woman on freecycle. There are always families without trees and this year Cassia had the money to do something about it and I had the car to make it possible, so together we bought a tree and got it home. I came up with the idea that we would say we had bought a tree too large for our living space and couldn't return it. Today we purchased the tree and the woman picked it up from the house.
-- Today I had a good self esteem day so I put on some fun makeup (gold eyeliner, hint of green, some mascara, some lipstick) and went to Game's Night at the place where many of my housemates work. I noticed another queer person there right away and was a bit chuffed to be looking my best around someone from the tribe, although I had no interest. I had time for one game, which Housemate Zephyr won but for which he also tipped his hat to me for being the only other person in the game to manage a strategic set of moves. (It was an odd game called Killing Doctor Lucky in which one plays opposite to how one plays Clue and instead tries to kill this poor fellow who walks from room to room in his own mansion.)
-- Worship committee meeting was today. My plan to open the floor for discussion, anecdotes, and advice during the 'college service' (in which college students come back and tell us and the youth about their experiences at college and how being a Unitarian Universalist factored in) was approved. I've taken on a few more tasks but thankfully the service I'm going to run on Reproductive Rights has been pushed from February to June, which is good since I'll also be on duty for the Senior Youth Service in March.
-- Two members were absent during our last meeting and this week had to speak up in the pulpit to practise being 'worship assistants' (as we're called). It all went well. Beforehand Minister Carol looked at me and jokingly asked if I wanted to talk about my experience last time. Last time she told us at the beginning of the meeting that we would speak in the pulpit at the end and be 'evaluated' for feedback, which sent me into a bit of a panicked frenzy through the rest of the meeting (no one noticed) and then during the actual event. I didn't have the sense to volunteer to go first (as I did at some point learn in university) or even second, so soon I found myself ready to step up last. I went up, read the opening words fine with one little mistake (to which I wrinkled my nose a little because I was not in front of a crowd of people but a collection of committee members evaluating me), was very conscious about using disability-positive language in my asking the 'congregation' to stand if they wished for the song and then be seated, actually sang out the song (Spirit of Life, if you were curious, 101mutts ;D ) to calm my nerves, and stepped back up into the pulpit for more talking--the responsive reading, inviting the chalice lighter to step forward, reading the chalice lighting words, and finishing. (The cute part was that I said, "I invite the chalice child, Minister Rebecca, to come forward and light the chalice" for which she came prancing and skipping up like a gleeful little child and beamed at me for including her.)
I could tell I had nailed it but I was still all shorts of shaky, almost fell over on my way down from the pulpit, and sat shaking and forcing myself to breathe in my chair once it was over. Everyone congratulated me until Minister Rebecca and Minister Carol realised I was actually in quite a state (Minister Carol thought I was just cold, until Minister Rebecca corrected her) and with a few soft laughs I managed to get myself into the kitchen to down a glass of water. Minister Carol instructed Minister Rebecca to give me a hug, but instead I took the moment to sturdy myself in the kitchen and we talked about my instinctive anxious responses to things. I was honestly a little proud that I've come far enough with my coping methods that I didn't have a real panic attack before or after the evaluation event (however informal) and was just a bit shaky, but still in control of my mind. Progress!
Also, it's much easier for me in front of hundreds of people than in front of a few sitting there paying hyper attention just to evaluate me; others have the opposite problem. After the meeting ended I told Minister Carol that it was interesting that I had once come to her for a meeting about my anxiety, panic, and nerves about the approaching university year (with exams and my dissertation) but it was an indirect way of seeing my problems; this was the first time she had directly seen the way my body and brain deal with these things and it was the first true colliding of my congregation/university selves. It's somewhat hilarious because I always do just fine but it seems no amount of validation there can completely knock the problem. It is getting slowly better in getting my coping methods to hold up, though, so there is that!
Minister Carol told me she thought I had gone last so I wouldn't intimidate the other worship committee members or show off. I said, "I only wish I were that kind!" She laughed and told me that she thought that out of everyone, my voice and presence was best fitted to the pulpit and the ministry--and also that she did expect the ministry would likely be in my future and that I would get the "calling" for it at some point. Others have said it (including Prior Minister Ann), but it was the first time she said it outright, and as the woman who has been my minister through my entire life it really meant a lot to me. It also certainly explains why she keeps picking me for these difficult services to coordinate, in which the worship committee member has to do the most crafting of the entire service rather than just asking what whoever hosting it would like to do (college service, senior youth service, reproductive rights service--all the "build from scratch" ones). Especially since I'm the youngest member of the committee and have less than a year under my belt with it; it's the first official committee I've been a member of beyond the things I was involved with in my teens more as the "token teen". I was also apparently the first one Minister Carol asked, ripe at the age of 21 one as I was (hah! not).
So it looks as though I'm being pruned for the ministry. I'm not sure I mind. I met up with Prior Minister Ann last week for lunch since she works in my city now and she reminded me that I already am doing ministry, I just haven't made the official move of going to seminary. The only real step between where I am currently and that is if I were called by the community/ministers to be a lay minister of my congregation (they're in charge of Candles of Joy and Concern and helping with pastoral care/the Meal Angels programme for those who would do well with some meals cooked for them); that usually doesn't happen for young adult members of the congregation, at least not for the last years of 30-35, so I wouldn't expect it. It also deals with more specifically the pastoral care aspects whereas I am equally interested in preaching and the creation of services.
It's just sort of nice to know there's something I'm good at, you know? I need some definite life experience before I look into seminary as a Real Thing, but it's nice to know that there is something that can firmly exist in my future with the knowledge that I would have some kick-arse references. I also know that I would need to get through a lot of evaluations to get to the end, so I'd have to be really dedicated to get through, but I've always managed to get past the evaluations well enough in the end; it just has to be worth it as I weigh the anxiety as a major con and think of the major pros. I think if and when I get to that point in my life, it will be worth it without a question and I'll march through the way I always do.
I just wanted to catch up so, yeah yeah, another long Kiwish entry. :P HERE IS THE PROOF THAT I THINK ABOUT MY LIFE AND WHAT I SHOULD DO WITH IT. So there we go, Professor McGonagall, those are my current career-track thoughts
Tomorrow's a big day. Bringing Housemate Kayla to work again in the AM, calling a craigslister and heading nearby to pick up a desk for my father for his birthday, heading to Bank of America to inquire about opening an account and getting Housemate Casey to change her account so they stop charging her extra, hopefully working on collectibles at some time, a hair-wash shower, working on the Trixie performance for Rocky Horror that my friends and I are doing, WaterFire at 5pm, and tree decorating after. I would love to throw a nap in there somewhere...
Kiwibrain, go to sleep. You love your bed; let it love you.
[Crossposted from dreamwidth.]