when i fall in love

i won't fall.
it will come slowly,
quietly. until one day i will notice that i have drifted into it
and i never heard a sound.
he will have ideas. a mind of his own. long eyelashes. and he will be silly, probably.
we will share a softness. an overflowing love for the world.
for him, love will come first. love before questions. before judgments.
when i fall in love he will give me the eyes. he will laugh at my jokes. he will be nerdy but i prefer the term passionate.
our love is going to be sweet
and quiet and giant and calm and urgent and full and soft and natural
and before that and after that, it is going to be true.


four years

when i was fifteen, i walked through the streets of washington d.c. for the first time. this was the very first time i fell in love, and it was with matisse. this was also the very last time i ever saw my parents hold hands. that city was the start and the end of so many things.

it's four years later and a lot of forgiveness and loneliness and hard work has happened, and i am returning. and i will be staying for a while. when i was fifteen i came home and i stole a little blue jar from the cabinet and named it my wish jar. i placed dozens of folded up wishes inside that jar and one of them was to intern in washington d.c. i didn't know if i could do it then. now i am.

i'm twenty now. and it's funny how that wish jar worked. since then, my life has been a series of spontaneous but very important decisions. i mean, all of the big ones have been made in crunch time and within a matter of days. and it's working. i'm working too.

newness is my familiar. i feel very at ease now and i haven't been all year. the most important lesson i have learned in my life is that change happens and that the only thing that really stays is god. i should have known, but i forgot.

god has stayed with me. he has stayed with me when i have been selfish and stubborn and doubtful and resistant. and still he sees me fit enough to bless like this. i am so humbled.


and so i will become a refuge

i went to listen to a buddhist monk speak in salt lake city on a few weeks ago, and while i'll admit that most of it went over my head, his emphasis on compassion stuck with me. life is suffering and it is universal. we all suffer.  the good thing about it is that it enables us to understand and empathize with all other feeling beings on this planet. the more we feel, the more we can feel for others. the more we empathize, the more we become a part of the world family. and when we feel connected to each other, as family, as we are, we wish no suffering upon anybody else. the goal of buddhism is to push through adversity with determination and patience in order to find refuge and to become a refuge from others. while this monk said it was first necessary to find a refuge yourself and be perfected before you can act as a refuge, i'm taking a little bit of a different view on it. i will be a refuge and i will be one now.

i love you. i will love you. i will love you if you reject the norm and i will love you if you embrace it. i will love you for your successes but most importantly for your mistakes. i will do my best, as humanly possible, to love unconditionally.
i will not be afraid to disagree with you if i think that you are wrong, but i will never condemn you. i will try my best to listen before i refute. i will expect the same from you. i will treat you with respect and i will not call you names. we will be equals.

i will be a safe place and i will welcome you in. my heart can offer a lot of shelter.


love you for free

who knew that it would take so much more bravery for me to stay
than for me to go.
i have never before been the one who stays.
how strange it is to have the unknown be right here, where i already am.

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” 

Tom Robbins

i am trying to live this. i am trying to love for free. i am trying to love with no requirement for reciprocation. that's the only way to love and let go at the same time.


love says

Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says. ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now. So I love you. Go.’

Maya Angelou


today was all shades of purple

i feel
confident and sure and still i'm so afraid
i feel so young and i feel so old,
so young with this long lavender bow in my hair that made me look like lucy when i read mccalls this afternoon, you said
so old because people wrote me postcards in 1908 and my decisions matter more every day.
i feel like i have to choose which one i am.
i feel
dusty like the jacket of the sinatra record i bought today and
bright blue remembering that picasso sketch
and telling you about how i think in color.
so privileged, because, has there really been another woman on earth more privileged than me? white and middle class in 2013? how do i live up to that?
i feel like jazz.
i feel full of potential and thrilled at the thought of the future
i feel like the future never starts.


i know you.
you're my shadow.
you've been here all along, you have
your own space in my chest.
i know what it feels like to love you.
did you know i can almost see you?
you are always in my periphery. but i
am still not sure if i have seen your face.


i am strength

i woke up this morning already missing. missing people, missing myself.
if every year i have lived was to have a title, 2011 would be "young" and 2012 would be "love" and 2013 would be "lost" because let's face it, i have no idea what to do with myself and all my struggles this year have been in figuring that out.
but after i woke up i checked my inbox, forgetting that is was monday, you know, the day you get emails from missionaries, and ari said this to me: 

Stop that! You always know what to do. You may not know the course or the exact thing that will happen next or the career you want in life, but you KNOW who you are and you know that you will do the very best you can in anything you do. Yes, College sucks and doesn't give any help in the "what should I do for the rest of my life" department. BUT you are going to graduate with a degree in something, proving that you can do HARD things! and you can. Because you are Hannah FLIPPIN Kroes. You are strength.

and i share this with you because, how true! it doesn't matter exactly what i do, it matters how i do it. and how will i do it? well the same way i've done everything: with love.

just like the heart has no limit for love, the heart has no limit for missing. which is at once very sad but very comforting, because there's room, and i won't lose anyone in there, even if i don't see them for months or for years.

my whole life i have been pulled along by little tugs. tugs to china, tugs to people, tugs to certain classes. and it has not failed me yet. right now i am scared because i don't feel any. i feel like all the strings connecting me to destiny have been cut. no tugs to serve abroad anywhere this fall. none to move somewhere else. none to live in provo, none to go on a mission, none for any classes to take, none to live at home, none to meet any certain people. so i have no plans. and in a way i guess that's nice, because i can decide all by myself, but also it's not because i don't know what i want. i have a few weeks to figure this out, so wish me luck.


i'm still living

in fact, i'm very much alive.
i am looking at the tops of trees again
and noticing flowers. and tasting rain and singing loud to norah jones.
i spent two hours in front of one norman rockwell in the museum the other day. right next to it was two photographs of louis armstrong and ella fitzgerald, and there was a sensor there so when you moved it would start playing "dream a little dream of me",
so i sat there on that stool and stared at that painting of a church in new york city and dreamed a little dream and it was absolutely perfect.
i'm so happy and so full and so me. and so capable.
and life is good.


3rd wave

there are honestly no words inside me. i try to blog sometimes. the result is about 6 feminist drafts.
i am trying to figure out what this means for me. am i settling? 
i've been thinking about my future from a different perspective and it has changed everything. 
what kind of woman do i want to be?
not what kind of person; i know almost exactly what kind of person i want to be.
but what kind of woman? a stay-at-home mother? a working one? an academic? a wife? a teacher? a leader? i am trying to create my own definition of what womanhood will mean for me (something i think every girl has to do at some point) and the answer will change all of my decisions, but the answer is not an easy one to come by.
but it has been helpful that despite what they say this is not an either/or. for me, it isn't. i don't have to grow up and become a wife and NOT a leader; i don't have to grow up and become a mother and NOT engaged in a career; i don't have to pursue a career wholeheartedly and NOT pursue a family. we all know that love should be the number one priority but i don't have to write NURTURE on every line on my list. i can write whatever the heck i want to on my list, no matter how small those priorities may become once my perspective gets a little bit bigger. as much as i'd like to, and as much as i feel i'm supposed to, i will never be comfortable choosing one with the exclusion of the other. 
coming to a conclusion about my own personal womanhood is miles away but it has been quite a process to even begin considering it. i guess the one thing i've figured out so far is that whatever i choose on the spectrum of womanhood will be my own personal choice, not a result of somebody else's and definitely not a settlement.

look, it turned into another feminist post. that was unintentional.

3rd wave feminism (where we are right now, my friends, contrary to popular belief) is about reclaiming female agency and using choice to make yourself into exactly what kind of woman you want to be, while respecting the choices that other women choose to make no matter how different they may be from yours. am i the only one that thinks about this so deeply? is there anyone that can shed light on their own personal definition of womanhood? i would certainly like to hear it.



well, blogging just doesn't seem to be my thing anymore, does it?
is it anyone's?
i've been doing a lot of thinking for the past few months. a lot. my mind is constantly going about sociology and feminism and poststructuralism art theory and manet, the painter of modern life, and borromini and japanese botany. this is the first time that i've had to stretch my mind this far. it's very empowering, actually, to learn how to really think. and man is it hard work.
i feel a lot more directed in my career path and opportunities, and i feel a lot more assurance that i can actually do this. there is a lot of judgement passed on majors and i know that when i tell people i'm studying art history, a very small percentage of them actually respect that. but it doesn't matter, does it? because i know what i'm doing and why i'm doing it, and i have never set out to be practical, anyway.
what i am setting out to do is to work hard and to give art more voice and make an personal impression on people that just simply can't be done by good business or whatever else is a "smart" major.
let's not judge people based on things like this. it's hard, because even i do it to others, and i'm in the same situation. but i'm glad when people follow their dreams, whether it is in economics or the arts or science, it's such a great thing to be passionate. i thank the heavens that there's people who want to be doctors and accountants and laborers because if the world was filled with people like me, we wouldn't last a day, would we?
but also thank the heavens that there are people like me, or people like i'm trying to be. thank the heavens that there's people who are so very invested in beauty and truth.


what travel means to me now

i remember as a young girl that i felt different when i traveled. i remember being electrified with the streets of chicago or new york; feeling a sizzle in my veins when i saw street dancers in boston or cirque du soleil in montreal.
it has been a long time since i've felt that new aliveness when i've traveled somewhere. i am drawn in by the beauty of places i visit, but i feel peace, not excitement. not even the eiffel tower made me feel like i was in a movie. it was another day of reality: a beautiful, memorable one, but still real.
maybe that's how growing up works. maybe things lose their magic.
in any case, i'm not torn up about it. i also remember, wherever i traveled, feeling a keen sense of notbelongingness. i was very conscious of looking like a tourist. something i should not have been ashamed of; having the opportunity to travel is something to be proud of. i felt the urgency to walk fast, to jump on metros without a sign of confusion, and to absolutely know where i was going.
in all my travels, every single one of my most memorable experiences are not about the places i saw. everything that had a profound impact on me was because of a person i met.
in montreal i bonded with an entire ward of immigrants and learned how to do the air kiss and gained a deep true love for the world cup, because everyone in the ward was so passionately rooting for their home country. in france i met missionaries in their wards and explored the latin quarter with my cousin michael. in new york city i got to meet and stay with the coolest married couple i've ever met & fall in love with a primary full of chinese kids.
i am not a jetsetter, nor do i wish to be one. i will always welcome the opportunity to go someplace new and expand my comfort zone, and see the beauty the world has to offer. but the reason that i go places is not to tour them. i want to understand them.
i want to stay. i want a home in the places i go to. the exciting thing about the world to me, now, is the people who are living in it, the stories they can tell me, and the love we can share.
i have seen a lot of places. i haven't traveled extensively, but i have more than most my age. i have done this because it is my priority. seeing the world is much greater than having things, but knowing people is much greater than seeing the world.
the word china means very different things to my head and to my heart. my head still has a notion of china that it's had my whole life--a country of little space. full of people, factories, a communist country, "asia", and all the generalizations of the kind of people who live there. what my heart feels about china is absolutely independent of their asianness, of communism, overpopulation. the entirety of what i feel for china is what i feel for home: a place full of people that i love from the bottom of my heart. a place of comfort and nostalgic memories. it is my home. one of them.
i learned none of that by climbing the great wall or walking through tienanmen square.
the power of travel is that, when done right, the traveler comes out of it with a greater understanding of the human race. because we really aren't all different races, we are one. and when people urge us young people to travel, i think, it isn't so that we can look at places we've never seen. it is so we have the opportunity to become a citizen of the world.
i really do believe that it doesn't much matter where you go; it matters who you meet and what you feel. settings don't change people. people change people.



it has been 39 days since i saw their faces
and my heart feels so small