If You’re Reading This At 4 A.M…

I have almost written this post probably 20 times in the last year. Every single time I have obviously not, for various reasons. I just want to tell all of you a few things that I’ve learned. And a few things I believe. And a few things I’m holding on to. And a few things I am still trying to figure out. 

I have learned that human beings are infinitely complex. And that we have the capacity for so much. Whether that be good or evil. I have learned that the older you get the more gray areas emerge. Nothing is black and white. I have learned that life is messy. And that no matter where you go or who you meet, everybody as problems. And everybody has baggage. I have learned that the worst pain in the world isn’t physical. I have learned what it is to be connected with other people. To feel what they feel. To know they are in pain that you cannot heal. 

I have learned what it is to love. To love with every fiber that makes you who you are, and every infinite thing that makes up the spaces inside you. And I have learned what it is to fear that even that isn’t enough to heal the broken pieces. 

I have learned what it is to give second chances and to be given second chances. I have learned what it is to be so broken inside that you look in the mirror and can’t believe you are still put together. I have learned what it is to be so whole that you feel as though you couldn’t possibly contain all of the joy and rightness that is bursting through your heart. 

I believe in God. I believe that He speaks to us. And I believe that He always keeps His promises. And that He doesn’t lie. And that sometimes He asks us to be patient. Sometimes He asks us to wait. And sometimes that is hard. But He is always, always there making the same promises over and over again. Reminding you of the things He’s told you before. Reminding you that you aren’t alone. Reminding you that He is in charge. Reminding you that all things are possible. Reminding you that true joy and peace comes from Him and Him alone. 

I believe that life is different for everybody. And no story is exactly the same. But also we are all intricately connected. And it is absolutely vital that you find the path that God wants for you and stick to it, no matter what voices pull you in other directions. No matter what the world throws at you. That’s where true joy is. That’s where true peace is. 

I believe in love. That it will conquer everything if you let it. 

I’m holding on to answers whispered to me by the wind. And answers thrown in my face like a billboard. And answers spoken to me as if there was an actual person saying the words in my ear. I’m holding on to hope. I’m holding on to dreams. I’m holding on to love. Because it turns out that this love is stronger than every broken moment I’ve ever had. And it refuses to go away. It refuses to break. Maybe that’s the point of love. 

I’m trying to figure out how love really works. And how to use it to help fix the dark days. I’m trying to figure out if I really can use love like a weapon, or if it really is just a matter of feeling it and pouring it out of my heart. If it is the latter, I am more than capable of that.

I had a therapist teach me a visualization exercise once. You imagine somebody standing before you. The person in your life that you love most, or that you are having a hard time with, or the person who you want to express your love to the most. And you imagine the color pink, which represents love, pouring from your heart into theirs. And you let it flow freely, and you allow them to receive it freely. And if you do it correctly, you can actually feel a connection with that person as if they are standing right in front of you actually receiving all that love. 

And if you’re reading this at 4 a.m., please know that you’ve been that other person a million times. 

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Religion, Macklemore, & Wine

Today I did something completely insane.

I scrolled all the way to the end of my blog. All the way to the very first post. Published on November 12, 2013, and titled “Fear No More” this post was about how it’s okay to love Shakespeare. To embrace the wonderful things he gave us and not shy away from his work, even in this day and age.

shakespeare loveWhy did I do this, you may ask?

Because I have been thinking about this blog incessantly lately. If I posted for the very first time in November of 2013, that means that we hit our five year anniversary this year.

What?

And I’ll be the very first to say it: this blog has been through SO many ups and downs. One of the great things about reaching my very first post, which took a lot longer than I’ll here record, is that I got to see how I’ve evolved in my writing in the last four and a half years. I got to see the things that I used to blog about. The things that used to excite me.

I used to be a very exuberant writer.

The number of exclamation marks. The language. Oh, glory. What a ride we’ve been through to develop the writing style that I know pose on this blog of mine. If you think it’s a little crazy now, scroll back a few years. I dare you.

My blog has been struggling recently.

I won’t deny that. In fact, I’ll be even more honest and admit that my blog has been dead for about a year now. I have blogging friends that I haven’t heard from in a million years. Do you suppose they’re still alive? hello neon

The reasons behind the death of the vitality of my blog are probably many and various, and to be honest I’m not sure if this post is the correct way to go about fixing it. I’ve admitted before how dead this blog has been for a while, and none of that seemed to do much.

Not that I’m complaining.

I love blogging and I always have. My blog has often been a great place for me to go to in order to create and express myself. It’s been invaluable to me for so many reasons.

When I first started blogging, one thing that I loved to do was write posts about specific things about myself. I’d tell people fun facts about me, or overall just try to be funny, in order to attract more followers and feel a little bit more validated.

So I thought I’d do that again today. Just for old time’s sake.

  1. I love God. I love Him so much. It’s not enough to say that my religion is important to me. It’s everything to me. It influences most of my decisions, if not all. My relationship with God is central to my life. I’d be completely lost without it. I love it that I know He is always there. That He loves me unconditionally and knows me perfectly. There is no greater comfort than that. I know that He has a plan for my life. And when I am following Him and doing the things I know I need to be doing to very best of my abilities, there is such a safety and comfort to life. God is so good. He is so, so good.
  2. I am a huge Macklemore fan. I am. Most people would never, ever guess that about geminime in a million years. But Macklemore is one of my most favorite people who has ever lived on this planet. I not only love his music, but I think he’s a great person. If you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should. It’s a treat. I love Macklemore.
  3. I love wine. I have never had wine. In fact, I’ve never drunk at all. No joke. Not a lie. 100% honesty. For religious reasons, I have never drank and I never will. It’s a belief that I hold very close to me, no matter how ridiculous it might sound to the outside world. But all of that being said, you will have a very hard time finding anybody in this world who loves wine more than me. I’m absolutely fascinated by it. If it were in any way possible, I’d be a key figure in the wine industry. I’m fairly certain it’s impossible to do that and also keep my religious standards, so that will have to remain a dream. But I think wine is totally amazing and incredible. I study it whenever I can. I have books about wine that I’ve read a million times. I study every wine menu I ever come in contact with. I love wine. I think it’s beautiful.

No Control

Becoming a part of the One Direction fandom is a little bit like I imagine falling down a mountain would be. You get a little bit too close to the edge just to peek at the view, and before you know it you are plummeting into a place from which there is no escape. The only difference, I think, is that once you get to the point of no return there’s absolutely nothing you regret.

Actual footage of me entering the 1D fandom

You’re broken a lot, there are a lot of feelings, and you may even be dead in some ways. But you do not regret it. In fact, you’d do it all again.

I have been a serious blogger for four years now. Some of the biggest pride in my blog comes from my very well thought out and deeply emotional posts. I’ve spilled my soul to all of you a lot of times.

Imagine my shock then, when I found myself pulled rather roughly in the One Direction world last summer, and with that was pulled into a world stereotypically labeled as that of fifteen-year-old girls.  And it is not only the fact that I was pulled into the fandom, it is the fact that I am more than happy to be here now.

I regret nothing.

Here’s the deal: I’m 22 years old. And One Direction is currently on hiatus.

midnight memoriesSo there are a few problems with me joining the One Direction family when I did. Namely, I have to make my way through their whole library of songs as well as enjoy their solo music as it comes out. That is a lot of phases to navigate through all at once, people. Another problem is that I feel like such a proud mom…even though I’m basically the same age as all of them. I’m not sure why that is, but that is the way it is. The final problem is that I find myself missing One Direction so much. Very much, even though I wasn’t around when they were making music together.

You can think or say anything you want about One Direction, obviously, though I respectfully submit that if you don’t like them you didn’t have to read this far. One thing that I would like to say about One Direction, or maybe just about music in general, is that they helped me in a time when very little else could. Call it what you want, but the boys helped me through some very, very dark times. I think that is the true beauty of the music we love, or whatever it might be. The power these important things have to help us through the dark times. explain why

It obviously isn’t a secret that I love One Direction, I have blogged about them before. But I guess that the difference in this post is that I just wanted to highlight the beauty of loving something. The One Direction fandom is huge and extensive, and there are moments when I find myself simultaneously terrified of the lengths my fandom will go to to get information about the boys or proud of the lengths we will go to to protect them. But in the end, there is a very real, if sometimes strange, connection that binds us all together as One Direction fans.

I think one of the greatest things about being human is that we have the opportunity to find things like this that we love: music, movies, sports, art, or whatever it is. Whatever it is that brings you this joy or helps you through the dark moments. It could be one thing or many things, but whatever it is it’s beautiful.

The Post I Have To Write

Well, here we are. At the end of 2017. And those of you who are avid blog readers have already read a thousand posts like this one. You know, the “This-Has-Been-My-Year-And-Everything-I’ve-Learned-And-This-Is-How-Awesome-Life-Is-Going-To-Be-Because-I’ve-Been-Through-Hell-But-Look-How-Much-Stronger-I-Am-And-Please-Be-Inspired-By-My-Story-Here’s-Every-Good-Thing-You’ve-Ever-Needed-To-Read-Sunshine-Rainbows-Smiles” post.

eyesI’ve been thinking a lot about my blog recently and in particular this post. As a blogger, I kind of feel obligated to post something about the changing year. But honestly, as I’ve rewritten this post about 53 times in my head, it was vastly different every time. Some were long rants about specific things, others were lists of rants about specific things.

You see when I blog I just have to hope that if I pour my soul out there somebody will read it and it might actually do something. They might say, “Hey, what I read on that blog. That was good.” And maybe some small part of their life will change or they’ll think differently or do differently. Maybe that’s too much to hope for, but it’s what I hope for when I blog.

I’ll be the first to admit that my blog hasn’t been it’s finest lately. After four years of blogging on this same blog, believe me, I understand it’s not going to be chart-topping all the time. And I’m okay with that. When I began this blog I did it to enhance my writing skills, and if any of you have been around that long (which some of you have) you’ll agree with me when I say that my writing has indeed gotten much better. I’ve considered a lot of things when it comes to my blog: waving goodbye to blogging in general, creating an entirely different blog and starting over, taking a hiatus from this blog for a while. None of which I’m going to end up doing. This is just my blog and one aspect of my writing personality is that I’m a blogger. And that’s the way it is.

So. The changing year.

Oh, what do I say about 2017? If you’d have asked me that a few days ago, or even yesterday, I’d have had a whole lot to say about 2017. None of it good, all of it very angry and bitter. But as often happens in my life, I had a pretty intense conversation with God last night. And as only He can do, He pulled it all back together and set me back on the path He wanted for me.

One thing I will say about 2017 is that it began with me taking charge of my life. I was certain it was going to be my year. I wasn’t going to waste time on things that weren’t working out, I wasn’t going to wait around for anything to happen anymore. I made loads of plans for my future, and I decided it was my time to shine.

God had other plans, of course, as He often does. All of my carefully laid plans god is goddisintegrated pretty quickly when God followed through on some incredible promises. It was, in fact, my time to shine, but in a very different way than I’d planned for myself. It’s interesting how that is often the case with God.

There was one moment, in particular, this last year that I will never forget as long as I live. In fact, there were many, but I’ll just stick to this one because it was quite powerful. I was in a very beautiful moment, the kind where you’re about to burst because everything is so perfect that you wonder how God could be THAT awesome. And I remember a very soft voice in my head saying to me, “This is so right. But it isn’t going to happen the way that you think it is.”

To be honest, I ignored that voice in the moment, and to be more honest I kind of forgot about it as time passed and darkness fell.

But as I think back on this now, I realize that this statement doesn’t necessarily only apply to that one thing in my life. I think it applies to everything God puts in our life. It can be a little frustrating when God gives us a clear answer but then the way forward is hard and rocky. It is hard when we know something is right but we have to take a different route to get there. I’ve had that experience a few times, one, in particular, was with my schooling. And there are other examples, too. It’s hard, but often times when we’re given an answer from God, we are given the answer and then told to trust Him. Almost as if He’s saying, “This is what I need you to do, so go for it. But the way forward may be different than what you’re thinking so I just need you to trust me.”

That’s a powerful life lesson right there. I’m not sure why trusting God can be so hard, but I think it’s something many of us struggle with.

soul recognitionAnother thing I’ve learned is that life is different for everybody. In the continued spirit of honesty, I’ll just go ahead and say that this all began on Pinterest. My Pinterest feed is usually a great place, I mean with One Direction all over it I’m at least 15 again and it’s incredible, but Pinterest has been doing this thing recently that’s got me all worked up. It all started when I pinned one quote about love to my board which inspires my latest novel. I had to pin it because it accurately portrays the relationship between my main characters on a level that killed me. It simply had to be pinned.

Well, Pinterest being the let-me-show-you-all-the-things-based-on-this-one-tiny-thing-you-looked-at site that it is, there were about 7,324 pins about love blasted all over my newsfeed for the next 100 years. I read quite a few of them before I felt my blood begin to absolutely boil. In fact, if I had read one more “real love is this” or “real love is supposed to be this way” quote I would’ve committed unspeakable acts against humanity.

And it made me realize something.

Life, love, or whatever you wish to apply this to, is different for everybody. And my version of “real” love is going to be different than your version of real love. True love is different across countries and cultures and what you view as a soulmate completely depends on you. (Now that I’m writing all this out maybe I should just write an open letter to Pinterest or something and call it good.) Anyway, the bottom line is that it’s all different for everybody. That’s why having a personal relationship with God is so important: so that you can do what is best for you personally. Regardless of what any person or site says is the right way to feel, think, or act. star

You know those moments when you’re looking at the ocean or the sky at night? When you look up at the blue-black and see all of those billions of crystal stars and it just takes your breath away? Those moments when, for just a split second, you are faced with the vastness of the world. Whoever or whatever comes into your mind in that moment is where your heart belongs.

I’m not sure what the new year holds. To be honest, I’m not even sure about the next week, but that’s okay. It’s a new year with new beginnings, but I’m still me. And God is still God. There are some things that never change.

Eggs & Fitzgerald

It is quite unusual for me to go this long without blogging. It’s been about two weeks since my last confession – I mean, blog post, and I must admit it has been a little weird. I’m used to posting quite often.

paperBut I hit a rut, you know?

Every now and again I hit a blogging rut where I’m positive that everything to do with this blog has been unutterably spent. So I have to take a break for a while. And when I come back I’ve absolutely convinced myself that I do, in fact, have loads more to say and so much genius to share with the world.

I’m not sure that any of that is true, however, I am back. And just spent a ridiculous amount of time explaining the whole situation that is really quite simple. So there’s that.

Anyway, let’s talk about eggs.

You may think it is random of me to bring up eggs, and you would be 100% correct. It was suggested to me to write about eggs in my next blog post, and I saw it as an acceptable challenge to my writing abilities.

I really have only a few things to say about eggs. They are as follows:

  1. I don’t love them. I’m sorry. I just don’t. Eggs aren’t my favorite thing.
  2. But as a person who loves to cook/bake, I’m very grateful for the existence of eggs.
  3. Every once in a while I enjoy a good egg white sandwich – which is basically just cooked egg whites on two pieces of toast. Creating an exceptional sandwich. With just the right amount of salt and pepper and butter, this is a really lovely breakfast.

Okay, mission accomplished. Let’s talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald now.

The other day I read the short story Winter Dreams by Fitzgerald – but wait. I’m gettingfitzgerald ahead of myself. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about Fitzgerald on this blog. But if I haven’t then shame on me. Because my love for Fitzgerald knows absolutely no bounds. As a writer, I can’t even begin to comprehend how he wrote what he wrote – the beautiful language he used, how he could say so much with so little. As a reader, I practically drool over his writing. It is so fulfilling to read, so pleasing to every sense. To put it as simply and succinctly as I can: F. Scott Fitzgerald is everything.

I love F. Scott Fitzgerald so, so much.

Winter Dreams was an interesting story because many believe it to be a sort of prequel to The Great Gatsby. The main characters, Dexter and Judy, are quite similar to Gatsby and Daisy.

Of course, the ending was incredibly sad. It wouldn’t be Fitzgerald if it wasn’t. But besides that, it left my mind turning with all kinds of implications. As Fitzgerald does. I believe that one of the main themes of the story is beauty. Dexter is so in love with Judy, and according to his description, she is strikingly beautiful. By the end of the story, Dexter hears through an acquaintance that Judy is alright looking, or pretty enough, or something to that effect. And it completely baffles Dexter that somebody could even begin to think this about the woman that he was in love with for so long.

I found the story tragic, but wonderful. I’ve come to believe that Fitzgerald’s language is just so beautiful that you can’t help but feel good after you read one of his novels or stories. Even though they tear your heart out. It’s a secret I think all writers should learn. You just wow the reader with your wonderful diction skills and then they don’t mind so much that you’ve caused them irreparable emotional damage.

So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a recommendation for the upcoming weekend, mine is this: an egg white sandwich and Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Just Do It, Please?

I have so many things going on inside of my head tonight. And if I’m being honest I have absolutely no idea how to get any of them out. I have begun this post three or four times and gone back and forth about whether or not to post anything tonight.

Earlier tonight I had a really great idea about what to post. I think it was going to be really wonderful, and I was quite excited about it. And then after three or four hours of homework in which I read two very shaking short stories and a 23 page article about Confucianism, I could no longer remember what this blog post idea was.

But still, I felt the need to come on here and say some of the things that have been rolling around in my head the last few days.

I’m not sure why.

Sometimes I feel this burning need to get something out, to say something that has been nagging at me. And I just know that after I get it posted and somebody out there reads it, something in the world is going to change. Maybe I’ll change somebody’s life and they’ll be inspired to act on my words.

I can’t say that this has ever happened in the years that I’ve been blogging. I also can’t say that it hasn’t, but I digress.

I’m fairly certain that I wanted to post something spiritual. You are all aware of how religious I am, and that my religion plays a huge role in my life.

Do you ever feel like you just say the same things over and over again in your creativity? I don’t even want to know the number of times I have posted something to the effect of:

Just do it. If God tells you to do something, do it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, there are unknowns. Sure, it’s scary. But there will never be a time in your life when you’re completely ready for something. There will never be a time when you know all the answers. Life is too short to wait around for whatever it is you’re waiting around for. Trust that God has a plan and He knows what He’s doing. And if you happen to do something really stupid and not do what you’re supposed to do, then get back on the path of doing what He told you to do. It’s never too late with God.

And since my mind is now blank, I’m just going to trust that this was, in fact, what I was meant to write to you all tonight. Even though I’m quite sure this is just me giving you the same post I’ve given you a million times. But if I am supposed to write it again, I can only assume from a spiritual perspective that that means that one of you isn’t getting the message.

Whoever you are, just do whatever it is you’re supposed to do. Please?

Seeking The More

For at least three days now, I’ve gotten on my blog and just…stared. I look over past posts, or I literally just sit there and stare at the page.

ballpointI have felt the need to blog, obviously, which is why I come onto my blog in the first place. And then I sit here and can’t think of anything to say. I’ve written a handful of posts that never saw the light of publishing. Because I just don’t know what to say.

I’ve blogged about a lot of things recently, and have been very open about the goings on in my life. And now I sit here and wonder what I could say today that I haven’t already said a million times.

I’ve been working on my novel like crazy recently. It has been a really wonderful experience. When I write a novel, I’m constantly in a battle of quality vs. quantity. For some reason I have it in my head that in order for a novel to have an literary merit at all it must be long. Then I look at The Great Gatsby and realize that this opinion is rubbish.

Not that my novel is going to end up being pathetically short or any such nonsense. That would be ridiculous. But it has been quite liberating to just write like crazy and not worry about how long the novel might end up being. I remind myself often that I’m trying to communicate something on a much deeper level than word count.

I wrote one of the saddest scenes in the novel the other day. No matter how much I write truthsof a story, I never stop getting caught up in it. It doesn’t matter that I know what’s going to happen. I find myself getting scared or nervous or brokenhearted with my characters. I believe that this allows me to write them more accurately. If I can feel what they feel.

In this scene, the characters were faced with a very perfect maybe. There was an inevitability to the whole experience. My main character, Rosemary, understands this. And so her heart is not broken. She is not in pain. She just feels empty. It is the other character that my heart really aches for. It is the one scene in the novel when this character actually feels something real. When they really experience something. And you can just feel their pain.

Coming up are more scenes similar to this one. My characters come to a point where they break the surface of life and have to face everything they’ve been carrying underneath it all. Quite honestly, it is a pretty emotional journey.

My hope with it all is that I can communicate the simultaneous strength and fragility we all possess. I’m telling a love story in all of the ridiculous cliche-ness that is a cliche, but really I want to talk about something more than two people finding each other and deciding it would be a good idea to stick together. There’s more to love than that. There’s more to life than that. It’s that “more” than I’m seeking to tap into.

loveAlso, it’s set in the 1950’s which means I can reference Frank Sinatra as regularly as I wish and it is completely acceptable.

But mostly it is just a very beautiful, pure story about people finding where they belong and refusing to give up on it. They are afraid, and sometimes they run. But ultimately they don’t. They never give up on each other. It teaches me a lot.