Announcing My Trip To Bangladesh, Some Photos, & Some HolyCowThisHurts/IsAwesome

A few months ago, Lindsey messaged me on Twitter in the middle of my work day and said, “Hey I have a quick question! Can I call you?”

I messaged her back my new cell phone number, and a few moments later we were chatting.

“So, do you wanna go to Bangladesh in January?”

Dude, Lindsey. That is not a quick question.

* * *

2011 and 2012 have been an intense years for me.

At the beginning of 2011, I was a single girl, just beginning to feel aches and pains in my heart over the lack of true-Jesus and true-good women in my life. I was quitting my full time job and dropping out of college for the second time*. Not in a cool Christian, hipster sort of way – but in an I’m totally miserable and this cannot be what life is about kind of way. (I mean maybe it was just a tiny bit Christian/hipster, but whatevs. It’s working out.)

Have you ever been outside in a vast field, with a blindfold over your eyes? What is before you is massive, infinite, laden with answers to life…but you can only somehow feel its vastness, and the hands on your blindfold are whispering, “not yet, not yet, not yet.”

At the beginning of 2012, I was an oh-lord-I-just-met-someone-and-suddenly-got-married girl, just beginning to feel the aches and pains of finally seeing life created within relationships with girls through the new Good Women Project (one of the most beautiful parts of my entire life!) but asking, isn’t there more to All Of This than just talking. writing. telling my story, a thousand times over?

And now here I am, at the almost-beginning of 2013, with Bangladesh before me, and a year of emotional upheaval about the lack of doing, giving, face-to-face-love-ing behind me.

I made that sound more intense than I should have, perhaps, but there’s a reason that the posts have been going up slowly on Good Women Project and here on my blog. The heart shifts and grows, and these digital pages are learning how to align themselves with the newly budding desires and ever-maturing perspective. I have decades of damage from closing out my heart’s cries, and this outward silence is my learning to hear.

* * *

Lindsey and I talked some more, and she shared with me what Food For The Hungry has been doing around the world, and what they’re doing with women in Bangladesh.

It sounded incredible, but I felt like someone had just asked me how I’d feel about visiting the moon tomorrow. This is all well and good, hypothetically speaking, and for all my friends who do missions trips and live abroad, but wait – really – this is like, the actual moon. My apartment is in Hollywood and I have like, a real sweet grownup job involving celebrities ‘n stuff.

I had a thousand reasons why it was inconvenient, and not a single reason why I shouldn’t go. My whole life up to this point has been excruciatingly inconvenient, and I’m beginning to believe it may be the secret to happiness, joy, and all things worth experiencing.

So I said yes.

On January 24th, Max and I will be flying through Istanbul to Dhaka, Bangladesh for 7 days.

This is the first time I will be leaving the United States of America.

This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 12.

This is something terrifying.

This is something beautiful.

* * *

To be honest, I still don’t know much about Bangladesh, or how exactly is creating new life and new love for the women there. But I cannot express how excited I am to go see. To be a part. To write, to share, to give you a glimpse of another world.

I hope that throughout January, you use my little blog as glittery binoculars, through which you can squint and see something beautiful and far away, made close and dear to your hearts.

* * *

Today, the upcoming trip became very real as I got vaccines tiny diseases were stabbed into both of my arms in order to keep me alive whilst in Bangladesh. My parents weren’t crazy about immunizations when I was a little kid, so next week I go back for my MMR and Hepatitis B too AHHHHHHHHHHH. My right arm, in particular, feels as if the nice little nurse lady swung a baseball bat into it.

And here are some pictures from before/during our shots. I hope they accurately convey how unprepared and concerned I am for this entire ordeal. 🙂

DISCLAIMER: I realize that for a lovely handful of you, this is just 10 little days in another country and I’m making a huge effing deal out of this when really it’s not (I mean I’m not even quitting my job or moving or anything), but I just want to publicly acknowledge that I am consciously making this a huge effing deal and will continue to do so because people and women and Jesus and traveling and the world should probably always be big effing deals and to make it a little deal is kind of not fun to me. kthxluvuallsooooooomuch. xoxo

*I don’t always recommend dropping out of college. I know it’s really kick-butt hard, but it’s awesome too. Just hadda say that..

In Which I Share A Little Bit About My Relationship With Some Of The Animals.

I was born into a family that hated cats. Humanity was divided into two sorts: dog people, and cat people.* The first thing I remember about them is that my mother received an “I Hate Cats” book as a gift when I was a young child. Or maybe she’d had it even before me, and I discovered it in our basement as a young child. Regardless, it was a little comic book of cats being killed or obliterated in weird, semi-hilarious situations. A chubby cat being slingshotted into a brick wall is one I remember in particular.

I really, really liked dogs. I remember every house in every neighborhood we lived in by the dog, not the family. We finally got one when I was 12. Her name was Cocoa. She wasn’t really ‘my dog,’ but she was my responsibility, so, she was basically mine. I loved her infinitely, and I helped her give birth to seven tiny, perfect puppies. When I was 15, I came home from a school-related weekend trip and my parents had given her away so that they could travel more, or more easily, or more something.

I lived on my own for five years after moving out at 18, and I always wanted a pet. A dog was a pet that loved me, liked me, and spent time with me. Cats were never an option as I’d sworn in allegiance to my mother that I would never own a cat. (Besides – they bit and hissed without reason, and were the fuzzy embodiment of Fuck You.) She told me when I was 14 that if I ever had a cat as an adult, she would not come visit me. I don’t know if she was joking, but I always remembered it – even after I became estranged from the family, and visiting wasn’t an option for more serious reasons.

Since landlords said dogs were out, and my belief system said cats were out, I owned a very depressing series of goldfish. None of them outlived the 2 week mark, and the man at the pet store became very concerned with my regular “purchase.”

At 23, I met a man who said he loved cats, but wasn’t really a dog person. He also said he wasn’t a guy who was crazy into hugging people that he wasn’t immensely close with. These two things nearly kept me from even replying to that email.

Two years later, I and this man (that I ended up marrying) brought home three tiny kittens (which aren’t cats) to babysit them for an adoption agency in town. Within 24 hours, I identified tiny personalities. Within 48 hours, I knew which was my favorite. And within 2 weeks, I had decided I couldn’t live without one. Her name is Pixel, and I adore her, and she adores me.

Last week, I texted my mother a picture of my tiny kitten. She told me to stop irritating her. I was sad about it, but the kitten-happiness cancelled out the sadness, and I realized I was still happy.

As I sit in a coffee shop writing this, my husband asks if I want to stay or leave. And I tell him I want to stay, but I miss my cat.

I think there is a lesson somewhere in this.

*More accurately, there were Christians who were dog people, and then there Not-Christians who were dog people/Christians who were cat people/cat people. Religiously and non-religiously, I have happily returned to the one-sort-of-people outlook, where people are just people, and that is that..