Photography: Chris Clinton
Hair Creation: Dennis Lani
Makeup: Devra Kinery
Model: Ruby June @Marilyn
VERTICAL • WORLD
When Chris and Dennis asked me to pick a word or phrase I had no idea they would be writing it out above my head. “Sucks to Suck,” “Shower Pickle,” & “Vertical World” were the first phrases that came to mind. While sucks to suck would’ve been fun, “Vertical World” has always meant something to me.
Every day it’s my goal to live in a vertical world. I want to see people, obstacles and opportunities with a vertical mind. WTHeck does that mean exactly? It means I’m living with my eyes up on the heavens and taking my directions from Jesus.
Every so often my head starts drifting down. Before I know it my chin is pinned to my chest and my eyes are frantically scanning the ground in front of me trying to decide where to go next. I’m running through this crazy maze we call life and more concerned with avoiding dog crap and finding quarters than actually making the right turns and finding my way out. Eventually I always realize my life is in shambles because I’m trying to fix everything myself and I pick my chin up, look up at the big J in the clouds, smile and say “yikes, sorry!”
And every time he scoops me up in a bear hug and says- “RUBY, don’t worry about it. We have so much to catch up on! Follow me!” and my silly stresses and anxieties melt away. I look up and trust that my Dad in heaven is not only leading me on the right path, but is also divinely moving dog crap from where my feet fall and planting $100 bills in the bushes he knows I’m running my fingers through along the way.
And YES, it really is that simple. Except that if giving your 100% trust and attention to a being you’ve never seen was a piece of cake we’d all be happy and healthy! If you’ve never felt this kind of peace before, let me tell you- it’s the most relieving, satisfying, exciting feeling you could possibly feel on this earth. It’s a taste of heaven. It’s finally being able to trust that someone is taking care of you-thinking about everything you could possibly need and then working overtime 25/7 to surprise you with incredible gifts you wouldn’t have even thought to ask for.
Maybe you have some beef with God, maybe you’ve seen people use “God” and “religion” as an excuse to do horrendous things. I can tell you this-if it’s not rooted in LOVE, it wasn’t God. And if you’re mad at God because you feel like he hasn’t been there for you-then talk to him about it! If you need to scream at him and punch a pillow, by all means go for it! He can handle it. Whatever you got, he can take it. And not only can he take it, but he appreciates it. Because he wants to have a REAL relationship with you. Not just a Easter Sunday -Christmas Candle Light service relationship with you.
He wants to be best friends with you in a real, tangible way. He wants to listen to big things like “God, I’m graduating this year and how am I going to survive as a real human being in the real world??!” and small things like “God, why does this McDonalds NEVER have it’s ice cream machine running, will I ever get my Reese’s McFlurry??” No issue is too big or too small for him.
Years ago I started writing in my Prayer Journals to God. I honestly couldn’t tell you all of the miraculous things that have happened because of these books. I write to God like I would write a friend. “Hey God,” “SUP J,” “UGHHH R U FREAKING KIDDING ME,” are some of the ways I start out. And from there I just fill him in on life. I ask him questions. He shows me where I’m wrong, gives me new ideas, answers riddles I didn’t know could be answered-you name it. The more I write him, the more he writes back. I’ve gotten a twin brother back – found the my dream man – and gotten countless jobs from talking to my best friend in these books. I’ve painted, cried on, cursed on and collaged on these pages. Because if my God only wanted the dainty, sweet and loving sides of me he would’ve made me an angel, not a human.
So short story long, my life would be dismal, depressing and dark if I lived it horizontally. In fact, it is when I let life bring my head down. But thank God, I have a God who isn’t counting the number of times I’ve stepped in dog poop because I was double tapping on Insta. Since I’ve made the switch to vertical I’ve seen what life can be and horizontal living will never even scratch the surface of satisfying me.
If you want to try living in this crazy Vertical World just say this to yourself: