Tag Archives: memories

An old favorite returns

xfilescapSunday night, something happened that I was anticipating: I fell in love with an old favorite all over again. That old favorite: The X-Files.

I was a serious, legitimate, grade A super fan of the show back in the day. I still have my action figures. I had the video game. I have a box of probably every book written about the series. The only things I failed to finish collecting were the DVD sets. I think I only have up through Season 6. (Though I clearly remember scoring the Season 4 DVDs four days early because the Wal-Mart in Bryan, TX stocked them early and I happened to go by there after classes at TAMU.)

My computer was all X-Files, with the theme song playing on boot-up, and error sounds being clips from the show, etc. I had pictures on the wall. I had an I Want To Believe poster. I rocked my baseball cap.

The X-Files took me down the path of web design, photo manipulation, video editing, and all sorts of geektastic things that have served me well through the years. It was more than a show for me, when you get down to it. But ultimately?

12485985_10107590220229694_745167265892411921_oI. Was. A. Phile.

As the show returned on Sunday, two things came out loud and clear to me:

First, The X-Files wasn’t about the aliens for me. It was about the characters. Specifically, the characters of Mulder and Scully. They were the heart and soul of the show. Anyone who says it was the monsters or the mytharc missed the best part of the show, in my opinion. It was about these perfectly flawed characters that we all rooted for week in and week out.

When the series changed, and it introduced new leads, I was determined to keep an open mind. In hindsight, it was at that point that I quit truly caring about the show, but I was too stubborn to admit it. The series never should have continued without Mulder and Scully at the center of it, in my opinion.

I have never gone back and rewatched a single episode from seasons 8 and 9. Not even the ones that brought Mulder back near the end. My heart wasn’t in it as much any more… because the heart of the show didn’t seem to be in it anymore. As such, I was nervous going into this last weekend. Nervous I would be let down.

But Sunday, the heart was BACK. The Mulder and Scully dynamic brought that spark back for me that I missed so much. The spark that made me a fan way back in the day. As the episode ended I felt that old tingly feeling in the pit of my stomach… that feeling that only comes from a story you’ve become so invested in that they feel like old friends.

Instead of letting me down, with one episode it left me with that old excitement I had for the series I fell in love with. And that excitement continued through Monday’s second episode. I am already sad its only 4 episodes left. I’m definitely in the boat of the fans begging for more. I’m already not ready to let them go again…

Second, and more personally, this series became about the friendships I made within the fandom of the show. Friendships that are stronger today than they were 15 years ago. Friendships that have been through marriages, babies, heartache, loss, moves, and just about every thing that could be thrown our way.

Dug this out of the archives...
Dug this out of the archives…

It all started on a message board, and it migrated from listserve to Facebook group. It’s become real life. These women aren’t just a cryptic name on a message board any more. They’re women I text, have seen in person and who have stayed with me. We send each other Christmas cards, and are always there no matter how big or little the circumstance. I, quite frankly, can’t imagine my life without these “fellow Philes” who are fantastic women and amazing friends.

But, life gets busy and we find ourselves missing chances to chat, or we have to “check out” for awhile. But on Sunday? On Sunday without any prior planning, we found ourselves (MOST of us) in a Google Hangouts video chat watching the show together and dishing over it after. It was like we went back 15 years, only way more high tech.

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I’m going to enjoy the next few weeks, taking in the fun of this old favorite on my TV screen with new episodes, dishing about every single nuance with the girls. It’s a bit surreal, but I’m loving every second of it.

Anticipation

Does anyone else have memories as a child that are more like snapshots in a photo album? Or maybe they’re more like short Vine videos that when you click on them they play in a loop.

I click memories like that a lot at Christmas. Small, random memories that are so mundane and random, but that all mean so much to me. ALL of them have the same emotion: anticipation of the upcoming Christmas festivities.

Oh sure, as a kid it came down to being excited about getting presents. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. But as I got older the anticipation came less from presents and more from a peaceful place.

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I remember laying under the Christmas tree and looking up. I’d marvel at the different point of view, and the lights glowing above me almost like stars in the sky.

I remember putting the lighted nativity outside every year, and I’d carry the lighted baby Jesus like a real baby, taking it very seriously.

I remember helping my brother put the lights on the bush outside and not knowing he’d already plugged the strand in, and sticking my finger right into the socket I was about to screw the bulb into.

I remember new Christmas dresses, and feeling so pretty when I finally got to wear them.

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I remember my parents giving me books for Christmas and begging me to not read them all in one day.

I remember the “Christmas program” we would do at Grandma’s house, singing carols and reading poems. I remember family pictures, documenting the years and the way the family grew year by year.

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I remember driving through the streets of the next town over, bumper to bumper with others looking at the Christmas lights.

I remember singing in the children’s choir before Christmas Eve mass, and then taking the nativity scene up piece by piece.

I remember driving home from mass late one night, and watching a shooting star cross the sky… and feeling the deep peace and contentment of that moment.

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It feels like through the years, as we’ve all gotten busier and Christmas has become more and more commercialized, that peace has gotten harder to find. The anticipation of the holiday has been replaced with stress. And instead of focusing on Christmas, we’re already worried about New Years Eve plans. Add into all of that, the extreme unrest in this world today.

This year… this year I’ve actually for one of the first times felt sad leading into Christmas. I’ve felt sad that I’ve had to force time to put up the tree. I’ve had to just decide to bake some cookies (store bought dough, because where on Earth am I going to find the time to make them from scratch?). I’ve sent out Christmas cards, but I already know many, many people won’t be sending any and my mailbox just isn’t as much fun to go check as usual. To pay the bills, my husband has to be away from home more than normal working, so I’ve watched all the Christmas specials all alone.

I’ve thankfully only missed one mass this advent — I’ve enjoyed the sermons on finding Joy.

I’m working on it…

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Christmas party surrounded by friends-like-family.

 

I’m looking forward to taking time to go see some Christmas lights with friends this week. And I’m excited my church is having a live nativity that my husband has no idea I’m dragging him to see. I’m looking forward to seeing my family soon. I’m looking forward to looking up to the sky searching for another shooting star.

Oh I’ll find my Christmas anticipation. I always do, its just a little delayed this year. I pray you find yours as well. Perhaps you already have it, and if so please do share it!IMG_1720

Don’t look back? Ehhh…

It’s often said to not look back. The future is ahead, not behind you. You can’t move forward if you obsess over the past. Etc. Etc.

For me? For me, looking back often propels me even better towards the future. Which is what this last week somehow ended up being all about. Even though it wasn’t the plan going into it.

Somewhere over Texas
Somewhere over Texas

I’m currently in my way back to Nashville after a, frankly, amazing week in Texas. I had traveled with the goal of seeing my neice graduate 8th grade, checking in on family affected by the storms, see my husband play a show in Oklahoma, and visit The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. If I got some relaxation in there, awesome. I was definitely at, “I need a vacation” point simply due to recent financial stress.

I made it to my niece’s graduating. I mused over how it was 20 years (probably to the day) that I myself graduated 8th grade. One of my classmates is junior high principal, which was cool to see but also admittedly a little weird. (I am not old enough for that, am I!?)

Go Jeni!
Go Jeni!

How far my town has come since my 8th grade graduation! New schools. State championships. Classmates now in the roll of teachers. Sometimes I marvel at it all.

Sometimes it’s good to look back and see progress as its come along.

I then traveled the four hours to see my husband play in Oklahoma. Like, old times, it was me and my parents, off to see this guy with crazy talent, and a heart of gold… Who stole mine a long time ago.

I’m pretty sure when a girl is willing to travel over 4 hours to see you for just a few hours of your time, she finds you pretty special. And if her parents tag along, they approve.

I'm his biggest fan.
I’m his biggest fan.

The artist has changed (a few times) since the last time I saw him play in Oklahoma. This was a different casino. And of course we are married now. I’m also no longer dazzled by the “famous” side of the life. If anything I’m cynical about it all. But I still love going to see my husband do his thing, and it’s more about supporting him than anything else.

Of all of this, however, perhaps the most powerful look back to go forward came when I visited Aggieland on Monday.

I know to some it may sound crazy, but I NEED to visit College Station periodically. Graduating from Texas A&M is one of my greatest accomplishments in life. Those years shaped me more than sometimes even I realize.

Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.

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But it’s going to the Association that meant the most. To discover people who I so greatly respect also respect me means so much. I left my meetings that day feeling like I did when I walked across that stage with my diploma:

I can do anything I set my mind to. I have been set up for success. I simply need to reach out and take it.

The trip ended with a visit to the Bonfire Memorial. I’ve gone a couple times before, but it never fails to quiet my soul all over again. As I read about each of the 12 amazing souls lost 15 years ago, I hear them whispering words of encouragement. You can do anything. Live your life to its fullest. Be not afraid.
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So yes, I did look back for awhile, and all it did was push me towards my future. My seat back and tray table are up and locked, ready for landing. Let’s do this.