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Choosing to believe the best and my new BFF Little Bird

3 May

Life is hard. Sometimes, we just have to choose to believe the best.

One day this week, when my husband was pulling into our garage, he kept looking behind him.

“What?!” I demanded. My first thought was: fire, intruder, apocalypse. As is normal for the eternally paranoid.

Instead of any of those things, he said, “I think that’s a dead bird.”

I was way sad face about it because we’ve had a few dead rabbits turn up lately and this is more proof that we do indeed have a neighborhood problem. I know what you’re thinking. Werewolves. I know, that was my first thought, too.

I know nature works its way for a reason, but I’m kind of a pro at mourning strangers and animals I just met.

We get out of the car and it turns out, it’s not a dead bird at all!

It’s a baby!

Meet Little Bird. Named after the television show Little Bear.

birds, cute, animals, baby birds, Kinley Baker, Author Kinley Baker, Romance Author, choosing to believe the best

“My parents left me on your doorstep. They said they’d be back later…”

Isn’t he adorable? I will love him forever.

Of course my husband was like: “Don’t touch him!”

My response: “It honestly never occurred to me!”

Selective germaphobes do not touch random wild animals.

But anyway, so this baby bird hung out there for a while.

Then he was gone. And this is the core of the post.

I choose to believe his parents came back for him. I choose to believe that he’s off in another part of the neighborhood causing adolescent mischief. I choose to believe these things, even if that does make me naive or optimistic.

Did it occur to me another animal might have eaten him? Yes.

Did it occur to me that Little Bird didn’t get a happy ending?

Yes.

But I choose to believe he’s with his family in a happier place.

Because life is hard. Life sucks. Sometimes, you just have to choose to believe the best. No good comes from dwelling on the bad.

I doubt I’ll see Little Bird again, but I won’t forget him.

He showed up in my driveway, and that makes him part of my life.

He’ll grow older and have a good life. I choose to believe that.

-Kinley

 

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Because life is like a chore chart

29 Apr

Some of you might not know this, but I get an A+ at adulthood.

Grade, Letter, Kinley Baker, Romance Author

Also, I’m completely joking. I’d give myself a C-. Maybe.

Grade, Letter, Kinley Baker, Romance Author

The good and bad thing about life is that there are no grades.

This was very disconcerting after I graduated college. I started working for a company and after a while I just looked around and wondered, so how am I doing at this adulthood thing?

No one answered me.

I started thinking about this because I recently made myself a chore chart. That’s right. I’m so horrible at cleaning, that I need a chart to keep track of my house.

I asked my husband if we could get stickers and print out a fancy, laminated poster, but the response I got to that was moving past sarcasm into I’m not dignifying that with a response land.

Basically, life is like a chore chart without the fun stickers. We go through our days this way, planning out what we need to do and checking everything off our lists.

It’s not bad because we get things done. We also forget to pause and just appreciate the simple things.

I want to focus on the simple things and be thankful for the people I have in my life. I get too caught up in the small details and don’t often enough appreciate the larger gifts like my family.

The great thing about a chore chart is that at the end, you get a prize. If you do what you need to do, and check everything off, you get praise and a feeling of self-satisfaction.

In this example, I suppose the prize for all our daily struggles is life. In all its toughness. In all its glory. In all its pain. In all the contradictions that make up something very, very complex.

I can’t always think of the right thing to say when horrible things happen. Sometimes no words seemed strong enough to express my condolences. But I think that’s okay. Thoughtful silence can be okay.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not right there with you. We can’t always relate to every event, but compassion bridges the gap of understanding.

As long as we have compassion, we have hope.

You’re never alone, especially with the way communication travels across the world now. You have a lot of people sending you prayers. You have a lot of people with you in their thoughts.

You have a lot of people forgetting about their chore charts because what they care about more than that is you.

-Kinley Baker

A world where I can look like a damsel, swear like a sailor, and party like a rock star

11 Mar

I wish we could live in a world that didn’t judge us for the shadows of who we’re supposed to be. People are too intricate to be defined by something that offers no clarity.

Shadows, Kinley Baker, Romance Author, The Realm of Shadows, Shadow Shifters, Sun, Grass

A shadow of yourself.

I’m fascinated by the relationships that form the solid threads of the world we live in. I could read for hours or days—and sometimes do—about what gender roles mean and how they reflect the lives we embrace as men and women.

I can see the strengths and weaknesses of the roles we’ve constructed for everyone. At the end of the day, my wishes are pretty simple.

I wish I could live in a world where I can like Star Trek and rock out to Taylor Swift in the mornings. I wish I could live in a world where I can cheer on a good tackle in football, but will forever appreciate the grace of figure skating.

A world where something as different as football and figure skating can be viewed with equal athletic strength.

No one would ever call me domestic. No one would ever call me a hip hop dancer, either. Yet I dance, just as I force myself to clean the house. I made a commitment to my family unit, and while my husband does the cooking and cleans the kitchen, it’s really only fair if I handle the laundry and the upstairs (to be honest, I’m the one in the relationship who struggles to pull my weight in the domestic sphere).

Working full time and bringing home a wage gives me a sense of accomplishment. In the event that things change and I have the privilege to stay home with my (hopefully) future children, I don’t want someone to judge me for my choices.

All that should concern them is that the choices are mine. I don’t want to be told that I choose to stay at home because society decided that’s where I belong. If I make that decision, I feel I belong there. I’m much too restless to allow society to win with no arguments.

The worst part of the gender dynamics for me is when I fall into the stereotypes that people I respect speak out against. Activists want women to stand as strong and smart individuals. I’m not sure I’m a good representative of either.

It’s not very hard to make me look ditzy. I confess. My strength in life is not recounting facts of any kind. I tend to stare blankly if I don’t know the answer to a question.

If you want me to look uneducated, you can ask me who the seventh President of the United States was, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you on the spot without Google. The only thing I remember about history is that there were a lot of wars.

I graduated from college with honors though, which just adds to the irony of this post.

To me, equality is about having all the choices available, and not being judged for what we decide. Even if that means we fall into the stereotypes. Like it or not, we have expectations based on past experiences.

History has shown it repeats (I remember that much), so part of our perception isn’t wrong. The only way we’ll move forward is to embrace the past.

Let’s not force people to do what they don’t want just because they feel they have to rebel against established practices.

If I had my way, I’d be a mass of contradictions and I’d embrace them all. As much as I love the shadows and have explored their power in fiction, in the real world, shadows hide too much. I don’t want to hide who I am anymore. I don’t want society to decide who that is either.

I don’t want to be less, just because I’m complicated. I don’t want to lose respect, just because I like cheesy movies. I don’t want to act like I have all the answers, just to earn credibility.

If someone tells you they have all the answers, run. None of us do. Why can’t we make that okay? Ironies and contradictions are fascinating. How do we go about remembering that?

We can’t be everything. We can’t be one thing. We should be able to be who we are in peace without having to qualify the parts of us that don’t fit into the boxes.

I don’t fit inside boxes. But then, if I was in a box I’d probably get claustrophobic.

What do you think? Do you have two passions that completely contradict? Do you think we can get to a point where equality equals choice?

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

When your husband doesn’t understand you’re a sincere person

1 Mar

Okay, I know my faults. I’m very reflective, and I dwell on my shortcomings. I’m antisocial and struggle to relate to people on non-awkward levels. (Small Talk should be banned worldwide, am I right?) I could go on and on and often do in my mind.

Despite all my horrible attributes which I’m sure plague the universe (Not really. That’s giving myself way too much credit.), I have one saving grace.

If there is one thing I am, it’s SINCERE. To a disastrous degree.

My husband does not understand this. He thinks I’m some mad scientist with experiments that I probably don’t have the brainpower to conceive of or to manipulate.

He is a master manipulator. I swear. He pretends he has a job, but I think he sits up in his evil villain tower and plots. If you’ve never been manipulated by my husband, you don’t understand his stealth. He is tricky. One minute I didn’t want to get married, and then BAM. It was happening.

Which is really more a joke on him. When he decided this relationship was a good idea, he had no idea how far the strange train stretched.

Choo Choo. All aboard!

He doesn’t understand that when I say things, or think things, or feel things, it is ALWAYS sincere.

The problem is that I also tend to flake out when it comes to reality. I hate going places, and doing things. I’m lazy. Not when it comes to writing, because I can do that from the comfort of my couch, but when it comes to everything else.

I’m lazy, awkward, and a social misfit. Do you see how this is all a bad combination?

When I plan things, I really do want to see my best friend from college. When it comes to actually driving to get there…

Oh yeah, did I mention I hate driving? Like seriously have a fear of driving. OH, and also, I hate being in cars in general. This drives my husband insane. I’ve tried to change my habits, but I just can’t.

When he complains, it’s like, dude… I’m stuck on this train. You bought a ticket.

My sympathy dries up as the years and tracks continue.

None of that changes the fact that I’m sincere.

For the record, I did manage to go to lunch recently with my friend from college, Mara, who is currently out traveling the world. So I’m not the worst thing since sliced bread. Not that anyone is insulting bread.

I ventured out into reality. I survived. I thrived. I felt like a real girl, and I’m probably related to Pinocchio.

I wish my husband understood that I’m not a mad scientist, despite all my desires to the contrary. I really am just an average person, struggling through life. I have good intentions, but we all know how easily those get lost.

Maybe when we commit our life to someone, they see all the levels of us, and they can’t quite believe the simplest truths. They relate your words to this case or that thing, and not everything adds up. So they assume it’s all a big cluster.

Which it is, because that’s life. We are a mass of contradictions. I’m working on a post I hope to get out there soon. It’s about embracing contradictions and allowing us to live our lives without judgment.

Whatever your beliefs, whoever you think created the world, don’t you think they had a wicked sense of humor? They had to have. They made people like us.

I’m thankful though. As the days pass and I realize all the horrible things about myself, I also slowly begin to accept. It doesn’t matter that I fear zombies, or that I think an alien invasion is inevitable.

I’m also sincere. I care about people and I care about the world. I want less people to hurt and more people to love. There’s value there.

If you have to shift through all the other junk just to get to there, I’ll help you wade through the garbage. Virtually, because we’ve already discussed that I’m a flake in real life.

This also frustrates my husband because he thinks if I care about people I should be out there with my shovel.

My goals are more to offer comfort from right here.

That’s why I write romance. To make others feel, and love, and hurt, but then to tend their wounds and assure them everything will be okay.

Everything will be okay. I believe that. Sincerely. We can’t let the world take away our sincerity, because then we’ll never get it back.

Keep dancing to your own tune, and enjoy your weekend, or what I like to call THE SLEEP IN REVOLUTION.

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)

Fighting ignorance with compassion rather than anger

25 Feb

The world is full of a lot of pain. Deep rivets of fire in the very fiber of our being. Festering wounds full of so much agony, nearly anything can trigger the flashback to what harmed us.

Everyone has something that carves out their gut, every single time they’re reminded.

At least, I’m assuming so. I know I’ve got my wounds. My regrets. My pain.

I imagine that’s what causes so much anger. Every time we encounter something that dives under our skin, it’s so hard to control those emotions boiling right below the surface.

It’s so hard to think when all we can do is react. Everything inside us is too raw. With the internet and Twitter at our fingertips, the easiest thing to do is lash out.

We’ve all been there, our fingers hesitating over our keyboard or phone keypad. We’re quivering we’re so angry, so hurt, so outraged. We can barely contain the bile that wants to vomit out of our throat.

Yet we don’t see it as negative. We see it as positive because we are right. We are good. We are fighting for equality. We are fighting for safety. We are fighting for World Peace.

In our passion: we shout, we rage, we hurt.

In our need to rebel against the words spoken, we create a backlash all our own.

With anger, there is harm.

No matter what side of the battle we fight for, none of us are without responsibility.

A heavy way to start. But believe it or not, this is another one of those hopelessly optimistic posts.

We all carry our burdens. Some of us better than others. There are some days I lose the battle to fear and regret.

But I dream of a world that fights ignorance with compassion rather than anger.

The reason I dream this is because I grew up in a relatively small town. I was coddled in ways I couldn’t comprehend until adulthood. That is the very meaning of being coddled. You’re so engrossed in your own safety you don’t even recognize the possible threats.

Now, that’s not to say my town didn’t have its troubles. We had our losses, our own sorrows, our pain. Maybe not on the scale of the big city, but it was there, nonetheless.

If I offend you, it’s not because I want to. It’s because I’m not educated enough to understand why that particular subject would hurt you.

As much as I’ve tried to expand my horizons, I will always be constricted by my upbringing. I will always be a product of my past.

Unless I throw myself into the middle of nowhere and build myself up from scratch, I will never comprehend what that’s like. As educational as that promises to be, we can’t ignore that we’ve established responsibilities in this world.

Just because we aren’t throwing ourselves into a new environment to learn, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to grow. With the internet, the gateway is open.

Enlighten me. I am here to learn. The barriers are down, and I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to read about someone living there.

The world is valuable because of its diversity. But there is so much diversity that it’s impossible to relate to everyone. It’s impossible not to offend someone.

As the internet, we should come together as a community, but respect we’re all different.

There are people in the world who live to offend others. Although it might be naïve, I sincerely doubt the average person spends the time required to be that offensive.

A lot of what hits the news nowadays is thoughtless words founded on lacking education.

Just because someone believes something that hurts someone doesn’t mean they’re passionate about those beliefs. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sympathetic to your plight. It doesn’t mean they’ll never see your truth. It might simply be they’ve never been exposed to your beliefs.

I dream of a world that fights ignorance with education rather than anger.

There is already too much antagonism, too much pain. Even if we’re trying to do the right thing, let us not add to the burden. Let’s not allow the wound to fester.

Some people are stuck in their ways. They don’t know the definition of equality because they qualify it with their own beliefs.

Equality has no qualifications.

Those people might never change.

The leaders of hurtful groups are yelling the loudest, but that doesn’t mean everyone they represent is the same.

Show us the story of your journey. Show us the journey of your plight. We might decree one thing and justify it because of our upbringing.

But if you show me an emotionally charged editorial on the opposite side of an argument, I will be moved. You will change my heart, my thoughts, and my worldview.

There are people who will never be swayed, never be moved. Don’t believe that’s everyone. Don’t believe words mean nothing. They’re the most powerful tool of all.

Speak your truth. Some people will rage, but others will listen.

Let’s stop allowing the loudest voices to win us over. Let’s listen to the whisper of compassion.

Kinley Baker (@kinleybaker)