I'm Just Saying

Today is August

Every time I sit down to blog, a small part of me feels like a very wise all-knowing being sitting here having experienced all of these things in life. And now I get to sit here and write about all of it and bless your lives.

Like I said, it is only a small part of me that feels this way.

Then I am hit with the reality that I tend to blog about the same things over and over again. But when you really think about it, I think that’s a lot of what life is. Routines tend to fall into place and we sometimes have to do things over and over again. I don’t think it’s so much about learning the same lesson over and over again as it is about applying what we already know to each new situation.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote several blog posts about the things I thought were going to happen, and how I felt about the year in general. This year has been so many good things. I wrote about how I wanted to apply one word to my life this year:

Clean.

I wrote about how I wanted to emulate that word because I felt it. And I wrote about how it was going to impact my life this year. And because I wrote about that, I feel the need to update all of you periodically throughout the year.

I have honestly never been this successful in the realm of New Year’s Resolutions. To be fair, applying this word/concept to my life wasn’t necessarily a resolution, but it is the closest I’ll ever get. I chose this word because it is how I felt at the beginning of the year. I felt clean and fresh from everything that I had experienced beforehand. It was a new beginning in a way that the new year should always be.

It was interesting because it wasn’t like I had forgotten everything from before that I even really felt different from before, but I just felt as though this year would be different. I felt that pieces would fall into place that had been hovering over the board for some time. I felt that happiness would bloom in unexpected places. I felt that my path would be both solid and exciting.

So today, halfway through August, I just want to revisit all of these ideas.

And I still feel clean. There have been hard times. There have been moments when I was very scared. No doubt those aren’t over, that’s just kind of how life works. But there has been an insane amount of hope and light as well. I have found strength beyond my own to help me understand what to pursue and what to leave behind.

I have learned a great deal about life in general. And I’ve learned even more about love. I write about life and love A LOT, so I know that many of you are already aware of my many and various opinions on both subjects. But the one thing I want to focus on tonight is how love and life are both very evolving forces.

There are many things about them that stay the same, but even more things about them that change. And I think that the trick to being successful in both is understanding that, and being able to apply the things that stay the same to the things that change. Being able to understand that even though things change or have their own timeline, what is real and true and good never changes.

I'm Just Saying

Can You See Right Through Me?

There is quite a bit that I need to say in this post, and honestly, none of it is really new or groundbreaking. However, it has been a really long time since I’ve been this excited about a post. I’ve been thinking about it for at least a week now and waiting for the right time to post it, and honestly, I just feel like it’s time. So here it goes.

So many of you may remember that for the last few years, every time Taylor Swift releases a new album I write a post about it and what themes stick out to me and what the album means to me as a whole. (You can find more about that here and here.) Your personal opinions on this mean very little me unless they are positive, and I mean that with all of the love and kindness in my heart. If you aren’t a fan and aren’t interested, you don’t have to read those posts. There’s that. So, we all know Taylor’s new album is dropping on August 23. And if this were normal I’d wait until a little bit after the album came out to do my post.

But then.

She released “The Archer”.

And I have so, so much to say. I have had this song on repeat for the last week and it’s killing me. In the best way possible this song ended my life and began it again. It is so lyrically rich it rewired my brain. So this post is all about this song. I want to highlight some of the lyrics that have touched my heart deeply and what they mean to me. And the song as a whole, for that matter.

“I never grew up, it’s getting so old.”

This lyric is in the first pre-chorus, and the first time I heard it my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t probably write entire papers about each of the lyrics I’m going to highlight, but I’ll do my best to keep my thoughts concise. To me, this lyric is talking about how sometimes, no matter how old we get or what we go through, it feels like we just never grew up. How it feels like we’re stuck in this phase of not being able to learn and grow, or that we just can’t face the world in a realistic way because we could never grow up. But the next lyric is what finishes this thought off:

“Help me hold on to you.”

The tears that gathered in my eyes in the last lyric fell at this one. You have to understand that right now Taylor is dating Joe Alwyn, and their relationship is the stuff of fairytales. He is her rock and her support through all of the darkness she has to go through. So to understand this lyric, she is essentially saying that because she never grew up and life gets so hard sometimes, it can actually be hard to hang on to Joe. Even though he’s the best thing and their relationship is beautiful and at the end of the day it’s what they both want, it’s still hard for her to hold onto sometimes. And she needs his help with that. I am not being too bold in saying that we’ve all been in that situation in some form or another. Sometimes life gets really hard and even when we want something and we know that it’s what we want and that it’s what will bring us true joy, we will still need help holding on to it.

“And I cut off my nose just to spite my face, then hate my reflection for years and years.”

We all have self-destructive patterns. And sometimes the worst things we do, we do them to ourselves on purpose. And then we can’t stand to look at ourselves in the mirror after that. Because after you do something like that you have to look at yourself and wonder who that person is looking back at you, and what happened to the person that used to be there. And that is when we need to hold on.

“All of my heroes die all alone, help me hold on to you.”

Sometimes the things that have gotten us through or the people we have looked up to fall apart, or die alone. Whatever that could mean. And that is a hard pill to swallow, especially when you wanted to be like that. That’s when we need help holding on.

“Can you see right through me? They see right through me. I see right through me.”

Again, this part made me so emotional. There are going to be moments in your life when no matter what anybody says or does, you feel like a failure and a fraud. You feel like everything you’ve ever done or said has been a lie or has been fake. And you feel like everybody can see you for what you really are. And in your eyes, what you are isn’t good. And you feel like they can see it all. But what does this thought end with again? Help me hold on to you.

“Who could ever leave me, darling? But who could stay? Who could stay? … You could stay.”

This is how the song ends. Over and over throughout the song, she asks who could actually stay by her side through everything. Who? And then at the very end, she realizes something: you could stay. You could stay.

Because that’s what love is.

It isn’t about flowers, chocolates, kisses, and candlelight. True love is about staying when everybody else leaves. It is about holding on or being honest about needing help holding on. When life gets hard and you feel like you’ll never grow up or like you want to jump from the train and ride off alone, that’s when you hold on the hardest. Even if you need help.

I'm Just Saying

Paralysis

When I was growing up, one of my biggest fears was becoming paralyzed. I think it had something to do with the fact that I used to watch “Remember the Titans” with my family all the time, and my favorite character in that movie gets in a terrible car accident and becomes paralyzed from the waist down. And as little kids do, I started to worry pretty constantly that something was going to happen to me and I would also become paralyzed.

This has not happened to me. (I’ve also come to be much more respectful of the situation as a whole. For the record.)

But something occurred to me the other day. One of my best friends in the entire world, Kaleigh, has a phrase that she says quite often. She says, “You cannot be paralyzed by possibility.”

I have always loved this phrase, and quite honestly it hits me right in the face almost every day. I think that we all get stuck in a position of being paralyzed by the possibilities of what could happen in our lives. I am so, so guilty of doing this. Though I’ve been working on it in past years, something that I’ve generally always had a hard time with is living in the moment. But that’s what this phrase is talking about.

We cannot let the possibilities of what could happen paralyze us in the moment. There are always endless possibilities of things that could happen, both good and bad. But that should never ruin the beauty and goodness of the moment. If you have to dwell on the possibilities, think about all of the good. Think about the good that is here now, and don’t ruin it by being worried about the horrible things that could happen.

Why not take the good and go with it?

Do not be paralyzed by possibility.

 

I'm Just Saying

Gus Knows

My three-year-old nephew Gus begins every single story he ever tells with the phrase, “Once upon a time ago…” It is the most adorable thing in the entire world. And usually, not always, but usually, he will finish his stories with the following sentence, “But he can’t know.” It doesn’t matter what the story is about or who the characters are. “But he can’t know.” Is his way of ending things. The very first time I heard this was several months ago when he told me the following story:

“Once upon a time ago, there was a bear! And there was a spaceship case! And a man. And he was running to the moon. But he can’t know.”

I’m convinced that someday when I’ve reached a level of wisdom that I hope to reach, I’ll understand what that story really means. Until then, I must be content with the blessing of having heard it.

I wish there was a way for me to explain how absolutely amazing that little boy is. Oh, he’s just as crazy and can be just as difficult as any other three-year-old, but on the other side of that, he is one of the sweetest souls I have ever encountered. The things he thinks to say, the feeling he shows, it is all incredible. I was babysitting him and his older brother one night several months ago, and when I tucked them in bed I was laying beside Gus as he fell asleep. Sometime later, his parents came home and I went back to my apartment. I had been home only a few moments when my sister started video chatting me, and as I opened the chat, there was Gus, his face red from crying.

“Jordan,” he said, “I was crying. I couldn’t find you.”

I had neglected to tell him that I would be going home that night. He had fallen asleep with me laying beside him and then woken up in the night to find me gone. So he had to video chat me to see my face and make sure I was okay. I had to reassure him and say a prayer with him, and now I always let him know that I’ll be going home.

Gus and his brother are spectacular little boys. To be fair, I love all of my nieces and nephews so much they might as well be my own children. But Gus and I are particularly close. He reminds me that life is full of so many wonderful things. He gets excited about the smallest things, and because my sister always has her nails painted he’s always checking mine. He’ll say things like, “Your nails aren’t painted. My mom’s nails are painted.” And then if my nails are painted he’s genuinely proud of me. It’s beautiful. When he eats ice cream it gets absolutely everywhere and he is the happiest person in the world, and he smiles and his blue eyes light up. The other day he was having a hard moment, and then when he got through it he said to me, “Jordan, I feel so much better. Nothing can stop me now.”

But more than anything, Gus reminds me of what unconditional love is. And he reminds me of what is really important. Of what life is really about at the end of the day. He reminds me of how simple the real things are. He reminds me to do things even when I’m scared. Little kids are honestly so inspiring that way. They do things all the time that are truly terrifying for them. Can you imagine how scary it must be learning to walk? Or jumping in a swimming pool when you are that small? It might not seem like much to us, but they try new and scary things every single day. And still they do it. They keep going to enjoy and experience life.

And at the end of the day, Gus still needs a hug and a kiss before I leave the house. He still needs a bedtime story. He still understands that his family is the most important thing in the world. He knows what life is really about, and it’s inspiring.

He knows

I'm Just Saying

False Alarms

Today I did something that I’ve always wanted to do. I did blackout poetry. I know that it’s a super trendy, hipster thing to do, but I have always wanted to give it a go. And today I got the opportunity to do that. So, the very first blackout poem I ever created reads:

We may like to believe our fears but most of these have turned out to be false alarms.

If I do say so myself, I really like it. And I’ll tell you why. Here’s why: fear has been quite a thing for me lately. I’ve had lots of experience with it. Obviously fear has its time and place in our lives. Fear is important for a number of reasons.

But I think that more often than not, fear gets in our way. Fear stops us from doing what we know is right, what we know we need to do. It stops us from being happy in the moment. It stops us from all kinds of things that it shouldn’t stop us from.

And even though that is a battle that we all fight in our lives, and definitely more than once, I think it’s important to remember that we don’t have to be ruled by that fear. In fact, there are a lot of emotions we don’t have to be ruled by. As somebody who feels emotions on a level that isn’t even possible to describe, I will be the first to say that I am very, very, very often ruled by my emotions. I let them control me ALL THE TIME. It is something that I’ve wanted to get better at because emotions can be so fickle. It is something that I’m trying to overcome. I’m working on still feeling my emotions, but not letting them wreak havoc on the things that I know when moments of anxiety attack me.

I do my best to distinguish between real fear and false fear. Between the fear that is meant to help me and fear that is trying to hold me back. And if I am being completely honest, most of the fear in my life recently has been the latter. And even though that isn’t an easy thing to put aside, especially at the moment you are feeling it, the best thing to do is remember that it isn’t the good kind of fear. It’s the wrong type of fear. And even though it feels incredibly real, and it’s scary, and it makes you want to do all kinds of crazy things: don’t. Let is pass. Remember what you really know, underneath all of that false fear.

Remember that these fears are just false alarms.

I'm Just Saying

Got These Scars On The Same Ground

What I want to say today is pretty straightforward. This is the kind of post that I could drag out for a long time and make some grand lead up to the point, but I don’t want to do that this time. What I have to say is really simple, and I want to say it and explain it in the simplest way that I can.

We all have scars.

We have all been through hard things. We have all been a victim of life. And along with that, we have all made mistakes. We have all done things that we shouldn’t have done. We have all made poor decisions. That is just the way that life works.

And guess what?

It is okay to move on. It is okay to leave the past in the past. It is okay to understand that even though we’ve been through bad things or done bad things, it is over. It’s over now. And you are not that person anymore.

Stop letting your regrets keep you from your future.

One of my roommates says a phrase often that I absolutely love. She says, “Do not be paralyzed by possibility.” There is always a chance of something going wrong. There is always a chance of shadows, but that doesn’t have to run your life. It is okay to leave it behind you.

Believe in yourself. Believe in who you are now. And leave the old you where they belong.

I'm Just Saying

Summary

I have had a few different ideas for a blog post over the last several days. A few of them would have required a lot of courage. Actually, most of them would have. I’m actually a little bit disappointed in myself because for a long time I’ve wanted to write a post about mental health. I was going to do it for Mental Health Awareness month, but guess what? That’s in May.

Not that I’m going to wait a year, that would be ridiculous. But it also isn’t a topic I just want to write on for the sake of it. I need to do it correctly and so for that reason, it’ll have to wait a bit longer.

There has been a lot happening in my life recently. Like. A lot.

I can sum all of these things up into two words: exciting and scary. If I’m being completely honest, I think that most of life is like that. Or maybe it should be if we’re living it correctly. I feel as though I am at a bit of a crossroads in my life. Simply because I feel that there is a lot coming up, and my life will probably change very drastically by the end of this year.

Most of you know that I’ve been accepted into the graduate program at King’s College London. I’m so excited! I start in September, and I just applied for housing this last week. (Which I actually should I have done much sooner, but that’s a different story for a different time.) The whole grad school experience thus far has been really amazing, and so, so much different than I thought it would be.

Especially after visiting the campus last month and getting to tour it, I really feel as though it is where I need to be. I feel like all of the things I have left to work out will fall into place and it’s going to be beautiful.

However, there is a “but”.

I am actually a little scared to write this down because even though it’s something I feel very strongly about, it will be different to have it written down and published. “Out there” if you will. Because there is always a chance I could be wrong. Anyway. Let’s carry on: I know that it is where I am supposed to be. I know that. But I also feel, very, very strongly, that something is supposed to happen before that.

I suppose we’ll see.

I feel like I blog about life a lot. Like. A LOT. And I think that most of the time I pretty much end up saying the same thing in a variety of ways. I have had a lot of interesting experiences this week at my apartment. A few of my roommates have been going through some hard things, and it has honestly been such a great opportunity to be able to be there for them.

This last semester of my undergrad has been one of the best I’ve ever had in college. I have great friends and so many other blessings. It has been so wonderful to see how Heavenly Father has blessed me. I can see so many things in my life coming together, and other things beginning to grow.

It is one of the times in my life when I am in this wonderful situation to be very happy and content with where I am at because there are so many lovely things. But to also be very happy and excited about the things that are developing and could come.

I’m hopeful.