My Sacred Scared, Inspired by Glennon Melton @ Momastery.com

Last week, one of my favourite writers and secret soul-mates, Glennon Melton, birthed a phenomenal blog series called “Sacred Scared.”  It’s this groundbreaking idea that we as people tend to look up to bestselling authors and bloggers, thinking that they all have their lives together — so that must certainly mean that we cannot use our own voices until we’ve got our shit together too. Glennon asked 10 different authors to share an untouched photo of themselves, along with their deepest, secretest fear. She wanted to inspire everyone else to know and believe that EVERYONE has no idea what they’re doing and EVERYONE can still show up and start changing lives with who they are and what they have to say. (You can read about it here.)

It’s working. So many others are sharing their Sacred Scared, and now I’m joining the club. I feel awkward and complain-y and definitely more than a little shaky, but I trust that I belong here.

2013-05-25 16.05.00

Hi, I’m Carly Butler Hutton, or Button, if I’m being cutesy. I live and blog and make music near Vancouver, British Columbia with my husband Steve of 17 months, and I’m afraid that when it comes to marriage and God and life itself, I’m doing it wrong.

I was raised in a single-parent, only-child, fundamentalist Christian, God-is-coming-to-judge-us-all-by-the-year-2000 family. Not a man to be found. We girls had only ourselves and our wits, and it was up to us to survive the coming Apocalypse. I honestly thought I would not live past 13 years of age, maybe 16 if I was lucky. I was prepared to live off the grid, off the land, and off the love of just my mom and maybe God if he was generous.

And I did, for 4 years. To the locals, I was “that child living with her crazy mom out behind the mountain.” To me, I was just a dead girl walking. If The Hunger Games had been a thing when I was growing up, I would have changed my name to Katniss and learned how to use a bow and arrow instead of a gun and a snowmobile. A small part of me still wants to do just that.

In keeping with such fears, I fostered no hopes, planted no dreams. What was the point of making plans for the future, fantasizing about love, when it was all going to dissolve to ash anyway?

I lived in this state of half-awakeness for a long time. It wasn’t until 2008, after a decade of delusion, that I finally woke up and said, “ENOUGH! I am going to make my own life, and if you and God don’t like it, Mom, then you can both just lump it!” 3 years later, after a head-aching debacle with the Canadian and US immigrant governments (which I’m TOTALLY going to write a book about one day!), I was off and running.

You might think that this is my Sacred Scared, this weird past of paranoia and neglect.

But it’s not. Because of that weird past of paranoia and neglect, my Sacred Scared is right now.

I got married?
I have a real car and a real house and a real cat and a real man to look after?
I live in a city that I have to drive around in?
I have friends, near and far, that care about me?
I have a wireless internet connection and an iPhone and food available to me whenever I need it?
I help babies come into the world for a living?

It’s so normal and terrifying and I’m going to screw it up.

My Sacred Scared is that one day, the other shoe is going to drop, and I’ll realize that the old way, the apocalypse way, the depend-only-on-yourself-because-the-world-is-the-enemy way is the ONLY WAY I know how to live. That this little life I’ve managed to carve out here is my very own Matrix and I’m the glitch that will crash the system.

I want this life. I want it so bad. I want my husband, I want to have his babies, I want to write a book, and eat FroYo, and make music, and walk along the ocean, and see new movies, and sing in church and help other people give their babies life! It’s a dream come true.

But living with a man can be hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. He is a delightful noise with lovable dirt all over it, and if I accidentally feed him anything nutty, he will turn blue and maybe die. Together, we create a beautiful mess that I don’t want anyone to see, but I’m sure everyone can recognize.
He adores me, and I think I adore him back…what do I do with that?
And babies…well, babies are just precious little rolls of goo that steal your heart and drain your life away, so I’ve heard. I’m petrified of them and in love with them at the same time?
Then there’s God, who I am pretty sure has rescued me from a lifetime of crap, but who I am also pretty sure is 1000% done with my lifetime AND my crap – and He’s just waiting for me to do something good with it.

Fantasy is manageable. Real life is terrifying.

But every day, I’m going to do my best to show up to my own tiny, normal little life. When I wake up in the morning, I want to look into my husband’s sleepy face and kiss his dry lips and tell myself I am out of the woods. For real. Steve is good, and God is good, and this day is going to be Scary, Sacred and Good too.the next right thing

Brutifully Yours,

Carly

How to “Let It Go” (Without Making the World Hate You)

Hi there.

Have you been living under a rock for the past 3 months?

Are you a soulless robot that doesn’t care about Disney?

If neither of these things apply, then you’ve probably noticed that the newest animated installment entitled Frozen has taken the world by storm. *ba dump shhh!* *that’s a rim shot and cymbal crash to accentuate my excellent joking skills*

A million YouTube covers (some of which you’ll see later) – not to mention that two friends of mine made a Facebook video of them singing “Love Is An Open Door” to each other, so that they could use the impromptu proposal at the end as a way to announce that THEY WERE ACTUALLY ENGAGED.

Saaahhhh Kyewt!!!

A thousand and two blog posts (Two belonging to my site, thank you very much!) all about Disney making a brilliant comeback, family, sisterhood, LGBT equality + metaphors, the twist they didn’t see coming, and all the questions Frozen left us so they better freaking give us a sequel.

It’s big. It’s huge. It’s Oscar-nominated x2, and for all the best reasons. Even though I love movies, whenever Oscar season comes around, I always find myself having watched only one or none of the films that have been nominated, and catching up later.

This year, I’m rooting for Frozen all the way, because at this point, it’s the only team I’ve got! I’m already clearing a spot in my shelf for that beautifully frosty blue DVD case to make a permanent home, counting down the days until March 18th, when it’s finally legal to buy.

I have never done that before. My passion for this story is a completely new territory. It might make sense to me if I had a sister I’d grown up with, or an abiding affection for swallowingly deep snow (I do not, on both counts.).

Ultimately, I think it’s mostly to do with this scene here:

Elsa Lets Go

Are you surprised?

I am either listening to, playing, or just singing this song at least once a day – Steve has been known to hum it around the house, which is by my pure osmosis because the poor, unfortunate soul hasn’t even seen the movie yet.

Those lyrics and that melody set fire to my soul. It’s my battle anthem before I go conquer my world that is dirty dishes and cat hair and insecurity.

As a woman and human being, I, too, want to let go, let my soul shine, let my voice be heard without fear of being judged or disregarded when I have emotions and words that other people sometimes don’t get.

Because I’m weird and unprecedented and dangit, I didn’t come with a manual. Only because I can’t be owned or used; that’s really all manuals are for, anyway.

I am always clawing to be free, to be unstoppable, to beautifully create my own life without hesitation.

Clearly, the 100 million+ views of that scene indicate that I’m not the only one. Something about Elsa and her vows to change her own life have resonated with the rest of us. Here are my favourite people who have bravely followed in Elsa’s footsteps.

I live vicariously through them because I myself cannot make a cover of this song to save my life. I’ve tried karaoke, piano, ukulele and acapella – it’s all one big, fat, NOPE. My fingers stumble over the passionate simplicity, my voice cannot communicate the power of its message.
To make a totally nerdy, totally brief Supernatural reference, I feel like a human that so badly wants to be possessed by an angel – but when they are, it turns out that their “vessel” isn’t strong to contain such a perfect being, so they eventually explode.

I don’t know how these people got their shit together enough for this, because I can’t even.

Intense Beard Man

Africa Babies

Impersonator of Perfection

Vivaldi Lets It Go Too

That Perfect Girl (aka Zac Efron) Is Gone

Yet, despite this song being my everything right now, there’s one thing that keeps it from being perfectly perfect. I hate that fact so much.

It’s just this one little phrase: “…no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free…”

*uuuurrrcccchhh* *those are my imaginary car brakes fiercely tasting the road*

I despise myself for saying it, but this declaration of freedom, this character depicted not to actually be a villain but a victim with a gift, is slightly marring the complete abandon that I want to give over.

Okay. I get it.

It’s 2014. Things are not as black and white as they once were. You can’t live your life by rules, ’cause then you’ll miss out on life itself.

soooo get it.

But as anti-2014 as the idea may seem, I still believe that right and wrong are real, and that being free doesn’t equal you getting to do whatever the heck you want.

Whyyyyyyyy

Unfortunately, I can give two very obvious answers.

justin bieber arrested

miley-cyrus-topless-rolling-stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two people are the current leaders of the “YOLO-I’m-rich-and-hot-and-only-God-can-judge-me-bitches” attitude of pseudo-freedom. They’ve been constantly assured of their flawless invincibility, while our world has given them money to burn. And they’re so young it’s scary.

What they think is freedom is actually a very sneaky form of slavery. They wholeheartedly serve money, fame, their own pleasure and happiness. They’ve made themselves their own gods, and as much as the world would like to insist that this is okay, there are still laws and hopefully consciences in place that insist otherwise. Not to harsh our vibe, or make us miserable, but to keep us alive. When we are our own gods, we self-destruct. Maybe not right away. ..

young-bieber    Young-Miley-miley-cyrus-7396196-268-399

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…but every sad newspaper headline has an origin story of innocence and boundaries. True freedom, in the hands of the unwise and inexperienced, can court true disaster.

On the one hand, they’re celebrities. I’m not, and I don’t really know any. But on the other hand, unfortunately that line can and has been smudged to include the other 98%.

This story broke my heart and made me angry. Essentially, this kid took 4 people’s lives with his drinking choices because his parents didn’t put any boundaries on him growing up. In response, the court let him go free with only a probation sentence because he’d never been disciplined in his life, so he couldn’t be blamed.

I’m sorry…so this kid obviously needs structure and discipline and help, and your logic is…to not to? You’ve basically just continued his parents alleged legacy and undermined the fact that 4 people died. I hope it doesn’t take another fatal accident for this guy to look at his life, look at his choices.

Yeah, okay, I’m such a mom, whatever.

Back to happier, Disney-er things!

Ultimately, I think that Elsa learned this same lesson by the end of the story. Originally, she didn’t know that her “letting herself go” was killing her entire kingdom. That’s some pretty serious biz. Arguments could be made that she was so shamed and abused and sheltered and orphaned, that she couldn’t possibly be blamed for what she did. But in the end, she realizes that she does have a responsibility to her people and she does have a choice in how she channels her emotions – and in the end, her gift blesses her kingdom.

That’s the difference.

In light of the Frozen craze hitting the planet right now, I pray for these children and adults alike whose hearts are coming to life as they hear Elsa’s anthem – that their cry for freedom would be tempered with love and compassion and justice, not only for themselves but for others too. Maybe my opinion on this is not that popular, maybe I’m the only one would say it (and I hope I’m not), but in that, I am letting it go too. And one day, when my kids experience this movie (which they will), I want to make sure that they know early on the importance of being themselves and not caring about what other people may think WHILE not just doing whatever the heck they want as long as they’re happy.

fallon smith interview

Jimmy: “I was just wondering, you’ve been famous since you were a teenager – do you have any advice for me, how to handle the pressure?”
Will: “…I tell them [my kids] all the time, you just keep LOVING PEOPLE. Right? The thing is to make sure that your art is a gift to people, to help their lives to be better, to be brighter…you see, a lot of times, people fail in this business because they’re in it for their ego and they start doing it for them. And it’s just NO, you help people get through the day and you do it really well.”

PS: I apologize for being so incredibly generic and “old news” when it came to choosing privileged celebrities. I am also thinking of people like Woody Allen or Kanye West – really, anyone who’s a douche because they have enough money or talent to make themselves into a brand name with no consequences.

All the warm hugs,

xoxo Carly

How Frozen Changed My Life (And Made Me Jealous)

The other night, I got an email from one of my former roommates/regular partners in crime, asking if she could make a !!!GUEST BLOG POST!!! because she had something she really wanted to say.

Her name is Natalie. She’s awesome. Nay, stellar. In fact, she’s the coolest Natalie I know, second only to Natalie Portman. (Who I don’t actually know…so…thanks for bringing that up! Ugh.)
I’ve always known Natalie to be a fairly “inside voice” operator. You’ll think that you know what she’s thinking, but really, she’s just letting you think that. And then, when you’re least expecting it, BAM! She lays all her cards on the table and squeezes your heart into a little ball with all the emotions. She might sing you a little song she wrote or introduce you to The Hunger Games novels and Tangled and Once Upon a Time, or give you a Christmas card poem that she wrote herself or make you a huge bowl of Kraft Dinner and “walk” it for you to the bus stop when you fail to organize your time efficiently enough to eat something before you rush to work.

Image

And today, I’m excited to share her thoughts and revelations that were collected towards God and her sister after she watched Frozen.

BRB, crying. Again.

A Jealous Love by Natalie W.

So I know I’m probably a little bit behind the times when it comes to the revelation that is the movie Frozen. I just saw it a week and half ago, and since then, have had some time to think about it and process it.

There is no doubt in my mind that Frozen is an amazing movie, with charming characters, and songs that make you smile while feeling a huge range of emotions all at the same time. I enjoyed it immensely, and as an older sister, I felt like I could relate to both Anna and Elsa because of their struggles with their feelings towards themselves and each other.

I could completely comprehend Elsa’s desire to protect Anna, even if it meant pushing her away, especially after their shared childhood incident.
Yet, at the same time, I identified with Anna and her need to know her sister, to simply “be” with her – all the while, wondering if Elsa still felt the same way.

These are all the things I have felt with my own sister, and I understand how, at times, sisterly love can be both confusing and amazing. It is a lot to contemplate, and that is exactly what I was doing recently after listening to the soundtrack again. These thoughts about relationships and sisterhood aren’t exactly new or significant for me, but little did I know that somewhere underneath all of this contemplation, something was stirring.

It’s funny, sometimes, when and where things choose to happen that just completely break you down. In this case, I was making toast.

I stood in my dimly lit kitchen, listening to TV chatter, while thinking about Anna and Elsa’s relationship and comparing it to my own life. I’ve always had a protective (and often jealous) nature over the people in my life that I really care about, the most significant person being my younger sister. We are not that far apart in age (almost exactly a year and a half), and because she has been in my life for almost its entirety, I have always considered her to be one of the closest to me – and yet somehow, also the farthest at times.

If you know anything about sisters, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that sisterly love is, in all truth, a fairly irrational love. We see each other at our worst, our best, and everything in between – and yet, over all of that time, still choose to love each other.

ImageI don’t know if it’s because of that nature, or blood-ties, or my simple desire to be close to someone, but the truth is that I love my sister fiercely, and I know that I would do anything in my power to protect her. And while I realize that this kind of love might seem a bit over-the-top to some and maybe even downright incomprehensible to others – if there’s one thing you can trust me on, it’s that it is there and it is real.

So there I was, in my kitchen, wondering about this crazy love that means being a sister, and I had a thought:

There is no comparable love that I can think of, to the love that I have for her.

And right after that thought, I had a moment. One of those realizations that hits you like a tidal wave, that you know can only come from God. It went a little something like this:

“Do you see and feel that amazing love for your sister? Well, that is NOTHING compared to the love that I have for YOU.”

It was a revelation. I experienced a part of God that I had not thought about or believed in for a long time. And in the REALNESS of that moment, in knowing the raw honesty of the love I have for my sister, I was brought to tears by the love I know God has for me.

Image

The jealous, protective, unconditional love that is only possible through amazing grace.

And the fact is, to deny Jesus’ love would be like denying the love that I have for my sister, my family, and my friends. I can’t imagine mine ever changing, so how could His ever change? This jealous love is everlasting.

 

Carly’s Thoughts:

I love Frozen for all of these reasons mentioned above, and more. I love God for using our own family bonds to help us relate to how he cares about us – or, if we have no family bonds, to give us new, unbreakable ones! And I love Natalie, who was brave enough to open her heart and share this with me.

And maybe you’re confused at what appears to be a contradictory idea: God is Love, and Love is not Jealous, so how can God be Jealous? But if you look back through AAAAALLLLL THE TRANSLATIONS into the original Hebrew (which, perhaps, we all should do anyway?), we find that there are two kinds of jealousy: the kind that leads to anger and violence and broken relationships, which we tend to associate with any mention of the word “jealousy” in our culture – and the kind that is expressed when something/someone you are devoted to is hurt or compromised or unprotected in any way. This someone/something belongs to you, and you’ll be damned if anything happens to them on your watch. Think of anything you’ve ever created, from a Lego house to cupcakes to a novel to a baby. And now…

“Multiply it by infinity, take it to the depth of forever, and you will still have barely a glimpse of what I’m talking about.” (Meet Joe Black)

That’s God, and that’s you, baby. Take it in. And then use it. To love and protect the oppressed, the bullied, the outsiders, the poor, the widow, the orphan, and your family, whether they feel the same way about you or not. Cause Love isn’t Love until you give it away, right? For free, with no guarantee of its return. And for Pete’s sake, throw that dirty Prince Hans on a boat and sail him away! Your kingdom don’t have time for that.

 

Image

All the warm hugs,

Carly & Natalie