Call It What You Want

They ask about you sometimes and look at me in a weird way as if they are asking you instead of me. They ask me if we’ve talked. They ask me if you’re coming back. That’s probably because they can still see you in my eyes. It’s probably because they can still feel you. I know I can. I know that you come and read this. I’m not sure how often. And, to be honest, I’m a little shocked.

I expected you to be gone. Like before. I expected that feeling that you were gone forever, completely out of my reach. I expected that feeling that you had somehow died. That everything between us had died.

But it doesn’t feel that way. And I can’t figure out why.

I can’t decide if my intuition is really telling me this, or if it’s just wishful thinking, but I have gotten the vibe that this has been incredibly hard on you. If that’s true, I’m sorry.

But I learned something about you. About us. About all of this. I can’t fix it. I can’t change anything. Only you can do that. Did you know that? Sometimes I have these incredibly wonderful things come to me, things that I think would change the whole world, and if you just knew them then maybe life wouldn’t attack you so fiercely. But then I remember that there is a good chance that you already know them.

I realized that if you are ever going to follow the path that our Father in Heaven truly wants for you, you’ll have to make that choice yourself. If you’re ever going to be bigger than the things that challenge you, you’re going to have to make that choice. If you’re ever going to be truly happy, you’ll need the Savior and you’ll need the strength that only He can give you. I can’t give that to you. Nobody can. It’s a choice that you have to make.

You told me once, not so very long ago, that we were what you wanted to fight for. I was eating a cornbread muffin at the time, completely delicious, and I remember that it dried up and stuck to the sides of my mouth when I heard those words. Words I’d been dreaming of hearing for a really long time. And you had that air about you, the one that you get when you’re genuine. Your eyes shine and you get excited and nervous and a little shy. And the rightness of what you’re saying, no matter what it is, glows out of you. That’s how I have always known when you were telling the truth. No matter what that truth was.

But then, a little over a month later, you decided you didn’t want to fight for it anymore. It didn’t take very long. And I knew that it wouldn’t. I knew that just as much as I knew it was right. And I tried to talk to you about it, long before it ever happened. And you either didn’t understand or didn’t want to believe it would happen again. I tried to tell you that you’d get that way. That you’d retreat behind your walls where I have no hope of reaching you. And I tried to talk about a way we could fix that when it happened again. But we didn’t talk about it. You just said a lot of words I’d heard before, and I prayed I would know what to do myself.

The truth is that I’m doing better than I ever was.

There was a certain amount of relief in realizing that I no longer had to worry about any of it anymore. Because I was tired of sitting on fences. I was tired of everything else being more important than me. I was tired of you saying you were ready to fight and then retreating at the first sign of danger. And I’m willing to believe that some of this sounds harsh and that it isn’t accurate because I don’t have all the information. I was just tired of it never being about me.

I’m sorry. This post is nothing at all like I wanted it to be. It’s nothing like I had planned. Let me start over.

They ask me about you sometimes. They ask me if we’ve talked. They ask me if you’re coming back. There is this look in their eyes when I tell them, “I don’t know.” As if they know something I don’t. When I told my dad he looked at me in a way he hasn’t looked at me in a very long time. And his eyes said something very different than his, “I’m really sorry.” Then he kept talking, and what they had to say came out, “He misses you.” I nodded. “I know.” There was more, but he didn’t say it.

I told my mom I can still feel you. Right in my heart where you have always lived. I told her I can’t figure out why you’re still here. I told her I miss you very much. She hugged me. And her eyes had a lot of things in them, too, things she didn’t say.

I do miss you. More than I even knew I would.

And yet I am doing so, so well. Really. I have so many plans for my future and they are all a little scary and exciting. I haven’t thrown anything away. I haven’t deleted anything. I cried a few times and then moved on. It’s strange because it feels like it’s been a million years and also no time at all. If you were to call me, half of me thinks I’d answer it cheerfully, ready to hear about your day as if nothing had changed.

I need you to know that my heart is just fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. It’s brand new. And I feel incredible. I feel brave. And clean. Though I’m not invincible or anything. I’m still very, very much me. Writing this post is actually kind of scary.

I don’t know how you’re doing. But I hope you’re doing well. I don’t know where your choices are leading you, but I hope it’s to the right places. You’ve got this.

Advertisements

The Silver Locket

The Silver Locket

Though he was the one who came to say goodbye,
she was the one who walked away.
She had already begun the walk
weeks before when she realized that he
had never left the war.

She heard in his voice the remnants of
who he had once been.
The man who had very carefully
unlocked her heart and claimed it.
The man with the heart of gold.
Who challenged her to be better.
And kept her safe.

When he was with her now,
that man shone from his eyes.
And she knew he was still there.
Waiting to be rediscovered.
To come into the light once again.
But for now, he was different.
The war had changed him.

The mistakes were all jokes.
And the black words were too ready.
The people around him let him
stay in the shadows.
She watched it and it broke her heart.
The way he was now.
How she couldn’t seem
to bring him back.

So when he came to say goodbye,
it should’ve been a storm.
But it wasn’t.

They spoke of all the things
that bound them together.
And she knew that wouldn’t change.
She held his hands in hers.
The way they had always done
when they couldn’t bear to part.

Everything between them
poured together, strong and true,
just as always.
And when they pulled away
their hands held silver lockets.
She held hers in her hand and knew
it contained everything.
She pressed a kiss to the silver and
put the chain around her neck.
It settled against her heart.

As she walked away from him,
she imagined that he kept
his locket with him.
In his pocket, perhaps.
Or maybe he left it there.

But the world is round.
The storms were all cleared.
The road before her was strong and true.
There was joy.
And freedom.

 

I Am Here Now

I have had the urge to write a blog post for several days now, and no matter how many times I have sat in front of my computer or tried to come up with something to say it has failed. Even now I’m having quite the time. My creative juices have just been having some struggles the last few days. Which is frustrating, especially when I have this urge to write and get something out of my head and can’t seem to.

It has been a really wonderful week, though. I started the last semester of my undergraduate degree this week, and honestly, it has been really wonderful. I have so many stories of things that have happened to me this week, most of them a little outrageous. But it has been so much fun. I always thought that when I got to this point in my life I would outrageously scared and have no idea what to do next.

But I couldn’t be further from feeling that way.

I am so excited for all of the possibilities coming my way. Earlier today I discussed the possibility of going to London for a week with some of my best friends in May, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been longing to go back since my last visit in 2016. It would be like going home. There are so many other things coming that I’m excited for as well. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of uncertainties in my life right now, too. But I’m just so excited for all of it.

Life has been so interesting lately.

I feel like I keep using that word, and in general when I use that word it doesn’t necessarily mean something good. But that’s really the only word I can use to describe it accurately. And it has been good. Life has been very, very good to me lately.

There have been some hard things. And if I’m being honest, how I’ve been dealing with those things and how I feel about them now has me SHOOK. (To use a modern slang term.)

One thing happened to me this week that I’ve been thinking about a lot. My sister-in-law Kaylee, whom I love dearly, has been really revamping her life recently. She’s made a lot of changes that I’m super proud of. She introduced to me an idea this week. The idea is that no matter what we’ve been through we are here. No matter what pain you have endured, no matter what mistakes you have made, no matter what darkness you have faced, you are here now.

It did not break you. It did not kill you. It did not win. Because you are here now.

I absolutely love this. I love this because there have been so many times in my life when I felt broken to a degree that it seemed I couldn’t possibly ever be whole again. We all have moments like this. But no matter how many times you have felt that way, you are still here. You are here right now.

You have not been beaten.

It is never too late to be brand new. It is never too late to start over. It is never too late to remember what you really want and to commit to chasing it. No matter what you’ve faced before. It’s absolutely incredible.

Last night as I was doing my gospel study, I decided to go with an old technique that is very tried and true for me. I’ll begin with a prayer, pour out all that I’m feeling, and then I turn to my scriptures and let them fall open. And the first thing it lands on has always, without fail, been exactly what I needed in my life.

Last night I came upon Ezekiel 22:14. It reads:

“Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.”

I absolutely love this scripture with my whole heart. It was everything I needed and more. One thing I love about this technique is that I often don’t know the context surrounding the verses I come upon. Sometimes I’ll read on and the context will help me even more, and other times it is just the one verse that makes the difference.

This time all I needed was this one verse. I love it because it reminds me that God’s timing is different than my own. His plans are different than my own. But He does not lie. Ever. Not ever. It reminds me that even when hard times come or I’m faced with a myriad of unknowns (kind of like now) that the Lord is always with me. He has a perfect plan for my life that I have always done my best to follow, and I always will.

This verse was incredible because it acknowledges that waiting on the Lord isn’t always easy. Being patient is hard. Trying to understand the twists and turns of life can be confusing. But God is always constant.

The very last phrase is the most powerful to me: I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.

Clean

I have so much on my mind tonight. Usually, when this happens to me and I decide to blog about it, I try and bring all back to one theme. I think it’s my way of trying to make sense of it all and put it together in my brain into something that I can process. And then I just happen to publish it and let all of you read it.

But this time I just want to get everything that is on my mind out there. And I’m hoping and praying that I can communicate it in a way that conveys exactly how it is all going on in my head.

I’m not one for New Years. I never have been, and honestly, I can’t say that I ever will be. It has always frustrated me that we have this one time when the entire world decides to start over, but then none of us actually do. That’s why I never make New Year’s resolutions. Not because I don’t think I can keep them, but because if I’m going to make a life-changing promise to myself I’m going to do it whenever I please. Any day is a day when we can start over.

My sister-in-law was trying to explain it to my nephew on New Year’s Eve that the next day was a new year. And his little five-year-old brain could not fathom it. He just couldn’t understand what that meant. So much so that later that night at our family party he remarked to my sister, “Hey, Aunt Jamie, did you know that tomorrow is a new day?”

And while that story is incredibly adorable, it is also incredibly profound.

He couldn’t understand the idea of a new year because in his mind every day is a new day. Every day is the beginning of something else. I think we should all have this perspective in mind. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a New Year’s resolution or anything like that. It’s a great time to start over, and I’m starting over in many ways. But every day is a new day. Every day is a moment when we can make new promises to ourselves.

We’ve been doing this thing in my family, and by that I mean it’s been my mother, my sisters, and I, where we have been choosing one word for our 2019. The word that is going to be our year, the word that is going to define who we are and what we do and how we feel going into a year that promises a lot of change for all of us. It has been really fun to hear everybody’s different words.

My younger sister Josie burst into my room last night – I’m still home for the holiday break – and roused me from my almost-asleep state to inform me of her word. It came to her in the shower, as all good ideas come to most people, and it was my privilege to be the first person she told. She turns 18 this year and is going to be starting all sorts of adventures. It is only fitting that she chose the word: Fearless.

What I love about this choosing a word exercise is that it hasn’t just been something we all decided. It has taken prayer and meditation and thought. It has been a process of figuring out where we are and where everything is going to take us. My word wasn’t something I decided or came up with. It came to me and felt right and perfect for the year ahead of me.

Clean.

This word came to me because I have had so many incredible experiences this last year that have seemed to cleanse me from several years of very hard experiences. For the longest time, I felt like all of the hard things I’d been through, all the pain and suffering and personal trauma, had made me somehow dirty. I felt used. Broken. A patchwork of parts that somehow still had a heartbeat.

But that is not me anymore.

I had an experience several weeks ago where my emotions did this crazy thing and it felt like I was literally walking through a freezing fire. And when I came out on the other side I was completely clean. And I felt powerful and fierce and free. Free in a way that I had never known I could feel.

And so here I am. I feel completely new and different, and yet I am exactly the same. I am still so much me. So completely myself.

I realized that I still want all of the things I ever wanted before I walked through that fire. But it all feels different now in a way that is hard to explain. I do not need things like I did before. I have always been one to hold on to things so tightly. I have depended on things and people. I have needed them. But I no longer feel this way.

In my head, love has always been tied with need.

I realized that this is not right. That is not the way love works. No matter what kind of love you are talking about, love is not about need. When you love somebody, anybody in any way, it is not about you needing them or them needing you. Now the bottom line in life is that we do need each other. We can’t survive this life without each other. That’s why we have friends and family and significant others.

But saying that you need somebody takes away your own ability to be there for yourself. It takes away your own strength and power, and it puts them in a position that they can never fill. They can never fill this position because it isn’t their job.

The only one you really need is God.

He is the only one who can fill that position. He is the only one who can be there for you all the time, 100%, completely and truly. It is far more important that you keep people in your life not because some part of you thinks it needs them, but because you want them there. Because it makes sense. Because it feels right.

Life is such an interesting thing.

It is so interesting because it is so short. It goes by so incredibly fast. And yet everything that happens is so important. Crucial. When you believe in the afterlife as I do, you have to understand that the things you do every day, the decisions you make, impact your eternity. And it’s crazy because this life is just a blink of an eye, really. And yet we have all that forever. It’s a little bit scary but also so amazing. It means that any hardship, any struggle, any black moment will not last. It can’t. Our souls are much bigger than that. It’s incredible because it means that no matter what complications or hardships arise, we are capable of making the correct decisions that will bring us true happiness literally for eternity. It’s an absolutely spectacular thing.

I hope that at least some of the things I’ve written about have made sense. Whoever you are, reading my blog, thank you. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for being here if you’ve been here for a long while. Thank you for being here if you’ve only just arrived. Thank you for reading my words.

This one is for all of you:

I hope that your 2019 is a spectacular one. I hope that you break free from any chains that bind you. I hope that you find the strength you never knew you had. I hope you become clean from any parts of the past that haunt you. I hope that anything that you have lost that is meant for you comes back at the perfect moment. And that it is more perfect than it ever was. And it isn’t something you need, but something you want. I hope that you always remember that anything worth having in life, any happiness worth achieving, is worth working for and hoping for. I hope that great things flow into your life. I hope you have wonderful adventures and so many laughs.

Bless you.

What Shuffle Said…

My younger sister Josie is easily one of my best friends on this earth. I might even go so far as to say that she is my #1 best friend on this earth, but then I’d have to do a post about alL my beliefs on best friends and that’s nOt why we’re here. The point is that Josie is one of my best friends, we’re Very close and wE have been for quite a while.

Before I moved out to go to college, Josie and I didn’t really get along very well. But after that, we got closer and closer as the yearS wore on, and now there usually isn’t a day that we don’t Talk even if I am away at school.

IMG950845What’s fun about my relatiOnship with Josie is that she and I veRy, very, very different. And at the same time, we are so, so, so similar. It’s absolutely hilarious to hang out with her because we find ourselves doing and thinking the same things one minute, and then being completelY opposite the next.

One of the things I love most about my relationship with Josie is that we have very similar taste in music, so we bond over that a lot. And though there are some differences, in general, we like all the same tunes and have so much fun jamming out together.

So yesterday we did a thing.

We’ve been thinking about the New Year since… well, you get the point. (Though usually, I try to stay clear of all the New Year stufF because it’s so maInstream and bleh, but I digress…) So we’ve been thinking about the New Year. Yesterday I decided to make homemade bRead because in our family Christmas Break means that we wear our Christmas pajamas for two weeks, get all of our sleep schedules thrown off, and all around party. So I thought that maybe making brad would be the way I contributed to society for the break. But again, I digrEss.

As I was making bread, Josie came uP to me and showed me the music on her phone. Our two favorite playlists, to be specific: One Direction and Taylor Swift. (Now I don’t have time to justify why I like these people and it’s my blog anyway to suffice it to say, I love them. A LOT.) AfteR letting me view these playlists, Josie said, “I’m going to hit shuffle on each one of these playlists, and whatever song cOmes up is what your 2019 will be like.”

She hit shuffle on each playlist twice: once for me and once fOr her.

And I mean this with all of the seriousness and sincerity with which it can possibly be meant: but I firmly believe that the songs that came up or us mean something. It isn’t just because some great songs came up for both of us or anything like that, though that is certainly the case, it is that I had this feeling that I get sometimes when I know I’m living in a signiFicant moment. Time slows down just a little, a thick feeling enters your chest, your mind gets incredibly clear: and you know that what is happening means something very important.

I have had the very strong feeling for several weeks now, and still do, that 2019 is going to be out of this world. I’m so incredibly excited.

Now you may say that it’s just a feeling and that it means nothing. But I will tell you right now that when it comes to my feelings about things that are coming I am very, very, very rarely wrong. It’s my superpower. I’m not kidding even a little bit. Even if things are surprising or shock me a little when they happen, there is always this little thing inside of me that goes: yep. I told you. You absolutely knew that this would happen.

And it’s true. I always know.

Like I said, it’s my superpower. So, when it comes to the very special moment that I shared with my little sister yesterday, I’m ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong, 2019 holds A LOT of unknowns for me. There is so much that is going to change this year and if I’m being honest I’m not completely sure where everything will take me. But I know it will be fantastic.

Oh, what were the songs?

Wouldn’t you like to know.

At The End Of The Day

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Hello, everyone! And Happy Christmas Eve! If any of you have been around my blog for a while, you understand how I feel about Christmas. I love Christmas so much. And this year I am actually more excited for Christmas than I have been since I was a little girl.

Every year I try to write a Christmas post about what Christmas means to me and how special it has always been for me and my family. And every year I do this and it’s great. But this year I want to do something a little bit different.

I have had so much on my mind lately, and a lot has happened in my life very recently. And if I’m being completely honest, a lot of it has been shocking and also exciting. I discovered recently that I am more than my fears, even my very biggest ones. I also discovered that no matter what, at the end of the day, God is always, always, always in charge. We may not understand the twists and turns that He puts into our lives, but He has a purpose always.

One thing I love about Christmas is how absolutely magical it is, and that we get to end the year with that magic. I think it’s a way of reminding us that no matter what we’ve been through and experienced that there is always magic at the end.

Looking back on my 2018, it has been incredibly amazing. I got to travel to many different places, visit old friends, go to concerts, and overall: my life completely changed. It was a phenomenal year. I’ve loved every second of it. There have been some lows, and they have been hard, but the good has outshined them so spectacularly that I can hardly remember what they felt like.

I know that we have all had moments in our lives where we think, “If only I would have said this…” And that’s an idea I want to touch on for a bit. I find that every single time I have a very serious conversation when I look back on it I realize I said everything I meant to. But there are bits and pieces that were the most important, the most from my heart, and those are the bits and pieces that I hope that person remembers the most.

You see, I think we have it in our minds that if we would have just said whatever it was we felt like we didn’t say then things would be different. But that isn’t necessarily the case. I have learned that you can say everything in your head and in your heart, and even though it might mean the world to somebody else, it isn’t always going to change anything. Like I said before, God is in charge, and even though we don’t always understand the paths He puts before us, one day we will.

I also learned this year that hope is never, ever lost. I went through several experiences this year, some of which are ongoing, in which it would have been very normal for me to feel like all of the hope in the world was lost.

But I don’t feel that way.

In spite of everything in these situations with some very important people in my life, I am thinking of two in particular, I have come to feel that there seems to be even more hope than there was before. In fact, I will even confess to you that I actually feel closer to these people now than I did before.

You know how we have emotional connections to people? I feel mine in my heart, almost as if there is a rope that connects my heart to the hearts of the other people in my life. For one specific person in my life, this rope should have been completely severed about two weeks ago. And for reasons I don’t entirely understand and therefore cannot explain, the rope feels stronger than ever. It feels like I could reach out and touch them. For whatever reason that this connection still exists, I know that it does.

I know that the future is bright. And I know that no matter what happens, there is always hope. I know that we are bigger and stronger than our worst fears. I know that there is a plan for each of our lives, and as confusing as it can be at times, it will bring us ultimate joy.

God bless you all. Merry Christmas.

it feels like freedom

it feels like freedom

when the meteor came and destroyed my town, I lay
in the ashes with no skin. a broken soul threaded together
with the fire. very slowly I took the ashes and made new
skin. I took the fire and made a new heart. and after a long
time there was light in my eyes again. and the smoke cleared.
I could see a way through it. one day the ashes turned to
flowers, and the sun shone shyly upon them and whispered,
“please grow.” but ash is no kind of soil. rain began to
sprinkle very lightly. and I thought the clouds might blow
away, and the sun would continue to cautiously shine on those
flowers. but that didn’t happen. I walked through a field
while the rain poured down, and stopped in the very center.
the flowers didn’t shred in the downpour. and they didn’t stay
standing. they melted into the ash from whence they came.
I looked to the sky and faced the rain. and for just a
moment it hurt as it washed away my skin of ashes and
heart of fire. but when I opened my eyes and looked
around me, I saw a world that had never seen ashes
or fire. I felt within me a heart that had never known defeat.
I looked down and saw a white dress tickling my
ankles and the top of fresh green grass. and I saw my hands:
small, white, and free from the chains that I hadn’t known
bound them. I whispered, “I’m finally clean.”
below me on the ground lay a locket. it held one big
promise, a thousand small ones, a bit of hope, and a
resilient love. I held it in my clean hands and kissed the cool
silver before pulling it over my head and tucking it beside
my heart. as I walked I looked back at the field,
just once with a knowing smile.