I'm Just Saying

Jane Eyre & Tea

I was 13 years old when I read Jane Eyre for the first time. And like countless young women before me, I absolutely loved it. I loved Jane’s determination and faith. I loved Rochester’s wildness and passion. Its a wonderful, beautifully told story with just the right amount of gothic darkness to make it more interesting.

But one of my favorite things about the book is one very small aspect that ends up being very important. Rochester talks to Jane about a special connection between people. If I remember correctly, he’s never experienced it but believes that it exists. He talks of a connection between two people that is so strong you feel like you can still feel each other when you are apart, and in some cases your souls can reach out and speak to each other.

At one point in the novel, after they’ve been separated, Jane suddenly hears Rochester’s voice in her mind, clear as day, saying her name and calling out for her. That is when she knows she must go back to him.

Because I am, in my heart of hearts, a hopeless romantic, I have always believed this kind of connection could exist. And because I’ve been very lucky, I have experienced it for myself. Not the actually hearing their voice part but everything else.

So, anyway, I’m in London right now, and it has been the most spectacular thing ever. Everything I needed and more. I’ve seen things I loved before and new things I love just as much.

But last night, as I was laying in bed beside the open bedroom window, something happened. I was listening to the distant sounds of the city, excited for what today would bring, when I heard a voice, clear as day in my head. And it just said my name. That was it. And because I am who I am I immediately thought of Jane Eyre, and because I’m in England I let myself believe it could be true. Just maybe. So I answered back and went to sleep.

Today we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as afternoon tea for my best friend’s birthday. It was the perfect day.

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What A Time

It is now past midnight as I’m beginning to write this post, and that means that I leave on my trip to London tomorrow! I know I’ve talked about this the last several posts, so many of you are probably really excited for me to just go on the trip. But I wanted to post one last time before I leave.

Obviously, I’m excited. I haven’t been to London since August-September 2016, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to go back to the city and revisit my favorite spots. I have also written lots of letters to lots of people, and now I’ve been given the crazy wonderful opportunity to visit a place in Westminster Abbey that is usually closed to the public. I am absolutely thrilled.

I’m thrilled about a lot of things. I’m thrilled to be back in a city that feels like home to me. I’m thrilled to tour my new grad school. I’m thrilled to be a tourist again and completely look like it. I’m thrilled to see places I didn’t get to see last time. I’m thrilled to take touristy photos and explode all my newsfeeds with my adventures. I’m even thrilled to not get free drink refills at restaurants. (Apparently, that’s just an American thing…)

But something has happened to me in the planning and preparation for this trip that I didn’t see coming. Honestly, I really should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t. As I’ve been planning and preparing for this trip, I have been thinking constantly about the last time I was there. I think that’s normal. But the part I was unprepared for was the kinds of things I’ve been remembering.

There are various things about the person I was then, things that were going on in my life, that I have been thinking about so much. It’s been interesting.

I just want this trip to be the most amazing thing ever. I’ve been dreaming of going back to London for nearly three years. I am excited to see how it will be different from and the same as my previous trip. I am excited about all of the experiences and insights.

I am so different now than I was then.

But at the same time, I am still just me. The same person that I have always been. I still love all the things I’ve ever loved. I still want all the things I’ve ever wanted. I just feel as though I’ve gotten better and stronger. I guess that should be the goal with time.

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flying, flying, flying

I have been having this really weird form of writer’s block lately. It’s not really writer’s block, actually, but I can’t think of another way to describe it. I have had my blog on my mind so, so much. And I keep having this feeling that I need to write. And even more than that, I have come up with several different ideas for things I want to blog about.

And then I get here, write a few paragraphs, and know that I absolutely can’t post it.

This has happened to me every night for the past three or four nights. So, the conclusion that I’ve come to is that there is something specific that I am supposed to be saying to somebody in particular. And I figured that when I was supposed to know what that was I’d be able to blog again successfully.

So here we are. Maybe tonight’s the night.

The last week has been absolutely crazy at my apartment. I’m not kidding, and really not even exaggerating. Some things have happened to my roommates and other people I’m close to that have been insane. And to be honest, for a few days it was really overwhelming and I could only deal with it one moment at a time.

There are two concepts that have hit me very hard during this time: courage and love.

I have seen love overcome incredibly insurmountable odds in the last days. I think that we all at least want to believe that love can do that. But honestly, it can sometimes be hard to believe. But I’ve seen it up close and personal the last few days. Love does overcome things. Big mistakes, big hurt. Heartbreak. Things you never thought you could fix. Real love does fix it. It does overcome it. It has been amazing to watch.

For love to work like that, it takes courage.

So much of life takes courage. Real courage. True, true courage. One thing I’ve witnessed a lot through this is that things look different from moment to moment, day to day. On Saturday morning I spoke to a heartbroken roommate who only saw one option moving forward. And at the beginning of that conversation, I thought she was perhaps correct. But things changed rapidly. Because of love and courage. And tonight things are so, so different than we would’ve ever thought. Because of love and courage.

Life takes courage.

It takes courage to do the things that you know will bring you true joy and lasting happiness. And sometimes those things are very, very hard. And they seem so different from what you think you want at the moment. But true joy and lasting happiness are worth more than temporary contentment.

I think that can be a hard concept to wrap our heads around. A bigger perspective is something we don’t often have in 2019, let alone an eternal one. But love and courage in their real sense help us have that perspective and help us to make the decisions that we know are right. They help us through those moments when we think we can’t overcome things that have happened so that we can continue fighting for what is right in our lives.

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Dress

My dress for the opera came in the other day. It’s absolutely beautiful. I video chatted my older sister to show her, and her two-year-old Gus said, “Jord! You look so beautiful!” (My family very often calls me Jord, but my sister Jessie semi-recently changed this to JoRd. Essentially you just round out the o-r in a very exaggerated manner. So Gus actually said, “JoRd! You look so beautiful!” Either way, it was absolutely adorable.)

So the dress is pine green with a long skirt and lace sleeves. I’m so excited to wear it! We’ll be going to the English National Opera. I could die I’m so excited. My trip to London is in 12 days. I honestly have to force myself not to think about it too much or I am incapable of doing pretty much anything. It’s going to be magical.

I wholeheartedly believe that people come into our lives for very specific reasons. I wholeheartedly believe a lot of things about people.

I have had a lot of different thoughts recently, about life and about people in my life. Life has been incredibly interesting lately. That is honestly the only word that I can possibly think to describe it. Not interesting in a bad way. Just interesting. Things have been very different than I thought they would but in a great way. There are a lot of things that have fallen into place very weirdly in my life in the last months, and I have a feeling that that kind of thing is going to continue happening in my near future. I’m not exactly sure what that means, it’s just a hunch.

But I have learned quite a bit about myself recently, and one thing I’ve learned how to do very, very well is to trust my hunches. My superpower. I’ve written about this at least 753 times. I just have this weird ability to know things. And I’ve gotten much better at listening to that, acting on it, and using it to benefit myself, others, and my relationships. I’ve learned not to doubt my superpower.

I’ve written a lot about connections on this blog, and no doubt will do so in the future. I believe that connections are intense, perfect, meant-to-be things. There are certain connections that are just. Wow. You know? These special ones don’t come along often, and when they do they are absolutely phenomenal. Do you have one of those in your life? A person that you connect with just so much that it’s insane? You’re basically the same person? You can feel that connection even when they’re not with you?

Can I just say that I’m so, so, so excited to wear my opera dress? I think I’ll practice my hair tonight. I’m going to do it up and wear small stud earrings. The dress can speak for itself, for sure. The place where we are staying in London is in the best location you could ever ask for. It’s right by Victoria Station. It’s about half a mile from Buckingham Palace and three-quarters of a mile from Westminster Abbey.

Real talk: I’ll probably go to Westminster every day, maybe more than once a day, while I’m there. I can not wait to go back. I can’t wait for the feeling that’s going to wash over me when I step off the plane. I can’t wait for the bit of humidity in the air. The stone streets. The smell of the Tube. Just all of it. I’m thrilled.

The last time I went to England, almost three years ago, I got to spend a few days in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I got to go see two plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company, one of which was Cymbeline. Now, I could probably write so, so, so many words on Oliver Johnstone and the white suit he wore in the play, however, that’s not where I’m going with this. There is one part in the play where they play an absolutely beautiful song. It’ll probably be playing over and over in my head for the foreseeable future.

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Socrates, New Dresses, & Risks

I have spent this last semester learning about Socrates. In my History of Athens class, Socrates has been a main theme we’ve studied. As my undergrad is winding down, it has been an interesting experience.

I don’t like Socrates.

And I’ll tell you why. Here’s why: he’s annoying.

I wish I had a better reason. After four months of reading Plato, Xenophon, Euripides, Aristophanes, and the Old Oligarch, you’d think I’d have a better reason. But I don’t. The last book we read was a book about the life of Socrates and how it tied in with the story of Athens. The short version is that by the time Socrates was tried and condemned to death, Athens was just tired of him. They had been damaged by plague, famine, and war and they were sick of some weird old guy telling them what to do. In modern language, they were just over it.

Today, I took the final and couldn’t remember who the queen of the Underworld is. So here we are.

It’s actually been quite a whirlwind week, but not in a bad way. There have been a lot of good things, though it’s been busy. It’s been good. I have a lot of super exciting things coming up. In fact, this week I bought my London Pass for my upcoming trip and today I bought a new evening gown for the night I’ll be attending the Royal Opera. They’ll actually be performing Romeo and Juliet the ballet, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be spectacular!

There is so much coming up in my life, and I’ve got this weird feeling about all of it. Not bad weird, just good weird. Let me explain, or at least try to. I think it’s all going to be beautiful and work out great, and I think some incredibly wonderful things are ahead of me. But I also think that it’s going to be very different than I think. And to be honest, I’m excited to see what that means.

Can I just say, I’m really excited about my new evening gown?

Maybe that’s silly, but I am so excited! Like I said, it’s dark green. It has lacy long sleeves and a high collar, and a long chiffon skirt. I have already started daydreaming about how I’ll do my hair and makeup and what statement earrings I’ll wear. It will be just one lovely evening in an entire week back in London. I can’t wait.

Tonight I asked my roommate what I should blog about, and she said, “Blog about taking risks. And blog about your new dress!” I’m not entirely sure how the two relate, but I’m also not sure how all this ties into Socrates and how my week has been going. So here we are, just giving you the rundown on my life that I’m sure you’ve been dying for.

I feel very peaceful tonight.

As far as my dress goes, I’m excited. And as far as taking risks goes, just go for it. If there is something in your life that you know you need to do, do it. Stop waiting. Just jump. You’ll never regret it. It will stop eating at you, and you’ll be able to get on with your life. And even if it isn’t life altering, do it. It could be as simple as buying a new dress. Or admitting that you don’t like Socrates because he’s annoying. Or it could be the biggest, scariest, best thing you’ve ever done.

You should probably at least give Socrates a chance, though.

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Paper Airplanes

The package was a bit unexpected. Mostly because it was a Sunday. I was on my way home from my family’s house after Sunday dinner, which I haven’t gone to in a million years. When I was about five minutes away from home I got a call from my roommate Kaleigh and she asked me if I was expecting a package.

Of course, I was instantly racking my brain trying to figure out what I could’ve possibly ordered. I mean, I am expecting a letter from the Dean of Westminster Abbey but I figured he probably isn’t going to send me a package. Then Kaleigh said, “It’s got a Niall Horan CD taped to it.” I didn’t have to hear the rest of the sentence, “And boy handwriting,” before I knew exactly what it was and who it was from.

I got home exactly 27 seconds later, walked into my apartment, greeted Kaleigh and her boyfriend and remarked, “Hey! Thank you! I just need a few minutes to open all this up.” Then I walked to my room, closed the door, and set the package on my bed. I took the CD off first, smiling at Niall (and the handwriting on the box). Then I took a deep breath and opened the package.

I grinned at the necklace, holding it in my hands for a few moments. Thinking about the necklace and everything that’s gone on with that. Then I pulled the poster out and gasped. Out loud. Alone in my room. And said very loudly, “OMG he didn’t!!!” Then I laughed really hard and spent a moment thinking about Frank and how he was arrested for carrying on with a married woman. Ah. Those were the days.

And then, finally, I read the letter.

It made me laugh. (I KNEW you had a secret love for that joke. I KNEW IT.) But it was wonderful. Perfect, even. Exactly everything I could’ve needed or wanted. To my surprise, it didn’t make me cry. It was nice. So nice. I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it. And if I wanted to say anything at all. I know I already said thank you, but thank you. Thank you so much.

As far as the beginning of the letter goes, it was a little formal but not “ridiculously”. I was so happy to hear that things are going better. For forever and no matter what, I’ll always just want you to be happy. Really and truly happy. I know that you didn’t say, “Hey I’m crazy happy now,” but even if you aren’t I feel like you’re getting there. Reading that you feel like you again made my heart so full. If I’m being honest, though, I could feel that before I read it. I’ve always been able to feel when you’re you and when you’re not. Even through a letter or text. It sounds weird worded that way, but I know you know what I mean. You always have.

As much as I’ve always been able to know you like nobody else can, you’ve been able to know me. It’s the same intensity both ways. It’s just the way that it is with us. And yes, I completely agree, it still doesn’t feel like you’re gone. I don’t super understand it, but I’m glad, too.

 

 

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Right Now

Okay, let’s talk about my week. I know you’ve been dying to hear about it.

I’ve been wanting to blog like crazy, but honestly couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say everything going through my mind. There’s been a lot. Like so much.

Last Thursday I got an email. In this email, I was informed that I have been accepted to study at King’s College London. I start in September.

THERE.ARE.NO.WORDS.

If I’m being honest, I have absolutely no idea how much of this post is going to end up being published because I just have all of the things going on in my head and I need to sort them out somehow.

I’m going to school in London! LONDON! I get the incredible opportunity to get my master’s degree in LONDON, ENGLAND. It is more than a dream come true. It’s an absolutely incredible, beautiful thing. It is an answer to prayers. I honestly cannot wait. I have been accepted into the Medieval Studies program, and as part of my work, I get the incredible opportunity to work with the British Museum. I’m absolutely beside myself! I can’t believe it’s real, I can’t believe I have been accepted. I can’t believe I get this great chance. I’m so, so, so excited.

And yet, on Thursday night after my day had wound down and I was finally alone with my thoughts and soaking in everything all of that meant: I cried. And they weren’t happy tears. I sat on my couch in the living room and wept. I was trying to read about classical Greece but I guess my emotions don’t care about my homework. So I just cried. I felt overwhelmed and ungrateful. And sad. So, so, so sad.

Have you ever had a dream come true, a dream you’ve been dreaming for a million years, but it isn’t the dream? Living and going to school in London has been a dream of mine for over half of my life. It’s something I want so badly, something I finally get to experience. And yet, it isn’t my #1 dream. It isn’t what I want more than anything.

And so I sat and wept.

It was the strangest feeling in the whole world. I felt so ungrateful, and bad that I felt that way. I should’ve just been over the moon happy with no other thought. But that wasn’t the case. I was happy. I am happy. Crazy happy and crazy excited, but that isn’t the whole story.

It’s weird how life can be complicated like that.

The last few months have been really interesting for me. I have had a lot of different experiences. I have met new people and had so many conversations. That might sound weird, but I have had so many deep, intense, intimate conversations in the last months. It has been really, really good for me.

But it has been good.

A lot of good things have happened, and I have grown in so many ways. I’m not completely positive what the future holds. I have a feeling that it’s going to be very different than the way it looks right now, and I’m okay with that. I think the key is to just go one day at a time, being grateful for the small bits of joy that each one brings. And, of course, never forgetting that God has a plan and that nothing is powerful enough to stop that.