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.

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The Things We Learned Last Summer

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetFrank Sinatra has a song entitled, “The Things We Did Last Summer.” Of course, music being what it is, he’s not the only one who ever sang that song, but as we’re all aware he’s the most important.

I’ve had the title of this song on my mind for quite a while now. You see, the last four months or so of my life have taught me a lot. Particularly the last two months. And for some reason, every time my writer mind tries to make sense of all the lessons I’ve learned this song title comes to my mind. But with a twist. And I’ve decided that if I were to ever write a book about everything I’ve learned in the last two months, I’d title it, “The Things We Learned Last Summer.”

I personally think it’s a pretty great title. It would also be a very good book, too, for that matter.

All of you are aware that this blog has been an interesting place lately. I, Jordan, the queen of keeping my readers in the dark about what’s going on in my life, have been very, very open about my recent heartbreak.

My life just came to the point where I truly and honestly did not care anymore. Every decision was prefaced with a, “Well. Why not?”

So all of you got to see very clearly and deeply into some of the blackest moments of my life. Congratulations. I’m sure it was thrilling for you. (Please note the sarcasm, I’m sure it wasn’t that fun.)capacity

But goodness, I’ve learned a lot. God has been super enthused about teaching me lessons, and I’m doing all that I can to absorb them like a sponge. Tonight I’m feeling a little more introspective than usual, which can only spell disaster to be honest but we’ll roll with it. I’d like to here record a few of the lessons I’ve learned. I’m doing this more for myself than for any of you, so I apologize for that, but hopefully you can take something from this post and not have to learn through experience the way that I did. So, here we go.

The Things We Learned Last Summer:

  • The only one who knows exactly how you’re feeling is God. He knows every aspect of your life, and He’s right there for you. No matter what type of heartache you are facing, He understands. He gets it 100%. I can’t even count the number of times I sat crying and felt Him right there, or the number of times I was suddenly assaulted by memories that caused a jolt of pain and heard Him whisper very love is powerfulsimply, “I know.” He knows. I promise.
  • As scary as love is, it is absolutely worth it. I spent such a long time being terrified of love, and swearing that I’d never let anybody in so far that they’d have power to destroy me. But that’s what love is. You let somebody in further than you even let yourself in, and you give them all of your love and trust. Every single infinite wave of it. And sometimes it hurts. But it is worth it because at the end of the day, love is absolutely beautiful. And it conquers all. It really, really does. Love comes from many different places, and in many different forms, but it can heal wounds and transcend all hurts.
  • Never give up on anyone. Including yourself. God will never, ever give up on you. And you shouldn’t give up on others, either. Or yourself for that matter. We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to do things that hurt others. We’re human, that’s just the way it works. never give up
  • But we forgive. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. We forgive because we want to be forgiven. We forgive because it is the only way to heal. Forgiveness requires love. They go hand in hand.
  • Listen to God. I’ve been taught this so, so much over the last year or so, and it has really been driven home the last two months. When you receive an answer from God, when you know what you are supposed to do: DO IT. It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems, it doesn’t matter how ridiculous. It doesn’t matter how hard. JUST. DO. IT. If He has given you the answer, He will also provide a way for you to accomplish it. Just listen. Just do it.
  • Be patient. Life is a process.
  • Avoid slamming doors. Literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, slamming doors is just not good for them. In a figurative sense, it is not good for you or others. Believe me, my personality is the queen of slamming doors. It is a defense mechanism that I may or may not have expressed pride in before. I’m quickly learning it’s not something to be proud of. When something horrible happens to me, my very first instinct is to slam the door as hard as I can right pathand run away as fast as I can. To get rid of anything and everything to do with that situation, to treat it as though it is dead to me, and completely move on as though it never existed or occurred. This is not only very complicated (you have no idea how irritating it is when you think you’ve gotten rid of all the evidence of something only to find more evidence weeks later when you aren’t as angry and can’t decide what to do with it) but it’s just not really healthy. And doesn’t promote growth and learning. Most of the time, you’ll be slamming a door prematurely and burning a bridge that wasn’t ready to be burned. And then it takes a little bit of time to reestablish things all because you got a little too hasty to run away from what hurt you. So just don’t do it.
  • Stay creative. It fills a lot of empty spaces, and enhances the full ones.
  • There are, in fact, some things that Frank Sinatra can’t fix. I know. I was just as shocked as you are. For years and years and years I not only wholeheartedly believed Frank could fix anything, he always had fixed anything in my life. No matter what I was going through, it was nothing that Frank Sinatra couldn’t fix. Not this time. Not this time. I tried it, believe me. I played his music and willed it work away the grief, to pull away the emptiness. But it didn’t. Not this time. I even angrily asked him about it and his picture seemed to answer back, “I can’t fix it this time, baby. I’m sorry.” hands of god
  • Never stop turning to God. I needed to learn the previous point in order to better understand this point. My love for Frank Sinatra has brought a lot of happiness into my life, really, and despite how melodramatic I can be about it I’m very grateful for it. His music makes me happy, and I enjoy sharing facts about him. It’s always been a blessing. I have a firm belief that God gives us things like this to enhance and brighten our existence, to help us in good and bad times. But these interests that fill the corners of our lives are not a substitute for God. They make us happy, they are wonderful, but at the end of the day it isn’t our passion for cooking or our love of black and white film that will save us. It is God. Never stop turning to Him. On good days as well as bad, talk with Him. Tell Him everything. Review the plan of your life. Let Him know how you’re doing on the things you’ve agreed to do. Give Him a report. Make sure you’re still doing what He wants. Thank Him. Praise Him.
  • Trust your own journey. God has a different plan for each and every one of us. Nobody’s story is the same. What works for some people won’t work for others. Everybody has a different journey because we all need to learn differently. This is why it is so, so incredibly crucial to stay close to God and to listen to Him when He waygives us answers and direction. To be faithful.
  • Believe in happiness. Never, ever let go of hope. Never let go of love. In the darkest pit of despair, remember that you are never, ever alone because of God. If you can’t see the sunlight, and can’t remember how it feels to have it shine on your face, if happiness is so far away that it is only a cruel memory, just have hope. Hope that you’ll feel it again. Hope that it does exist. Believe that whatever you’re going through will be worth it one hundred times over when you feel the happiness awaiting you. Because when we get to that darkness, complete joy and happiness are closer than we think. Just around the corner. And when the sun finally comes out again, it will be worth every moment. I promise.
  • We all face hardship, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, and telling people that you need it. There is no shame in sleeping on lots of couches or spending too much time with your friends if that’s what it takes to bring you into a new day. Take advantage of the love and support that you have around you. Gather those people around your heart and let them love you. You’ll be able to return this love someday.never walk alone
  • Discover new interests, and rediscover old ones. Like I said, God gives us these things to enhance our lives. It is such a great experience to make room for a new talent or hobby, to feel that passion starting up in your life again. Take advantage of the beauty the world has to offer. Rediscover something you love. Pretend you’re seeing it for the first time. (Frank and I are on good terms, by the way. I’m listening to him right now and all is well. So, there you go, proof of the rediscovery process.)
  • Believe in goodness. I have this personality flaw where I sometimes say that I hate people. And when I say that I usually think I mean it, but somebody very close to me recently let me know that this isn’t the case. I don’t really hate people. In fact, I love people. I love humanity. I love every aspect of what makes us human. I love being human. And I have this overly optimistic view of what that means. Honestly, I do. I love to believe in the better side of people and things. It really takes a lot for me to just think of somebody as downright horrible. I love to believe in beauty and goodness. I love to believe in the good. That’s just who I am. And it is honestly a blessing. We are surrounded by enough negativity as it is. We face enough hardship and sorrow as it be stillis. Just choose to believe in the better side.
  • Don’t look back. When you’ve gotten your answer from God, no matter how scary, ridiculous, or insane it might seem and you decide to just jump and go for it, go all the way. Jump and do not look back. DO NOT LOOK BACK. God has got it covered. He’s led you to that cliff for a reason, and given you that answer for a reason. And He will not let you fail if you just have faith. There will be no hitting the bottom. You’ll jump, and you’ll land in happiness. I promise. Don’t look back. Not for one second. Jump.
  • Trust God. This is just a lump way of summing all this up. Just trust Him. I know it can be hard. Believe me, I know. I’ve got a rich history of trust issues. But He is God, and He created all things. He will not give you answers you cannot follow. He will not let you cry tears He can’t wipe away. He will not give you wounds that can’t be healed. He is capable of ALL THINGS. And through Him, we are capable of ALL THINGS. So no matter what, stay close to Him. Believe Him. Listen to Him. Trust Him. He’s got it under control. Just believe me. Follow Him, talk with Him, and trust the path He sets before you. He wants you to be happy and He’s got a plan to make that happen. Trust Him.

 

The Enlightenment of Pierre Ventoux

Recently, every person in my university who is in the English Department was invited to submit work into a writing competition. Now, for reasons that allude me I generally don’t participate in things like this. (I really need to get over my fear of sharing my writing if I’m ever going to be an author.)

Another reason I have a hard time submitting work to these things is because I’m, in general, just a novelist. I don’t write much of anything else, and usually all the other things are what you submit to things like this. However, this time I conquered all of that and I actually wrote a short story.

Let me tell you, short stories are basically my biggest fear because they are so, so incredibly difficult to write. Give me a few months and 50,000 words or so and I’ll crank out a novel for you. No problem. But a short story???? Sure. Let’s cram everything we need to say into a few pages and try and make it change the world. That’ll be fun.

That is why I’m actually quite proud of myself and more than a little intrigued about how all of this will play out. Quite honestly, this short story could be complete garbage for all I know, except for the fact that I actually wrote one. That’s exciting in and of itself. And since I never, ever, ever share my writing on this blog (Don’t even get me started on that little bit of insanity. How ridiculous is it that I can’t even share my writing on my own blog?! Besides the occasional poem. I do feel okay sharing those.), I’ve decided to share my short story with you today.

Feel free to comment if you wish, tell me what you think! But mostly just thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy it!


The Enlightenment of Pierre Ventoux

Every morning at a quarter to nine, Pierre Ventoux rode his red bicycle up the lane to the bookshop. It wasn’t a new bicycle, but kept in good repair and therefore still a very shiny red, with only one scratch near the front tire.

As soon as he reached the bookshop, known simply by a sign that read Books in faded gold letters, he settled his bike against the red brick of the building and walked inside.

The shop was never exactly neat and never exactly cluttered. Stacks of books sometimes teetered precariously on the end of old pine tables, some with bright colors and new faces and others with faded pages and cracked bindings. Each of them, however, were equally loved by the proprietor of the establishment. He was known only as Paul, and most singularly recognized for his failure to believe in any one thing. His greatest passion was the pursuit of knowledge without the finality of finding answers.

Pierre generally found Paul lost somewhere near the back, ever reorganizing his philosophy section while others lived with less avid attention. Paul was always thinking of new ways to arrange the section, by author, by topic, by the chronological flow of philosophy. His ideas never ceased to end, but one would expect this from a man who refused to believe anything with conviction.

Some days Pierre would sit in the corner of the bookshop in a faded chair so stuffed he was often afraid it would burst. He’d rest his feet on the old braided rug in front of him and consume whatever prose Paul had waiting for him. Pierre often left the bookstore even more contemplative than when he’d entered, and usually with more books to add to the piles he was accumulating. There were days when he was never entirely sure exactly why he went to the bookshop, but it had now become an irrevocable habit.

On one particular morning, a Thursday, Pierre entered the shop a bit more cast down than usual. Storm clouds were gathering beyond the gray rooftops of the town, threatening to choke out the sun that was for the moment shining brilliantly.

“Looks like rain’ll be coming soon.” Paul observed, startling Pierre from his sullen thoughts only to shove him right back inside them.

“Yes.” He answered a bit tersely, following the old man back into the shelves. Pierre had never been able to figure out how old Paul was, for on top of what looked like years of living sat cheery green eyes and a jet black beard.

“No need to get moody now, young man.” Paul reasoned, shuffling through some old books in a corner. “You can’t control the weather. I’ve been trying to figure out that secret for years.”

“Not that you’d act on it if you did.” Pierre hadn’t meant it to come out so reproachfully, but was surprised when Paul simply laughed and nodded at the accuracy of the statement. Pierre sometimes wondered if the man ever became exhausted at the continual pursuit of truth without any destination. Weren’t they all attempting to get somewhere?

“What are you looking for today?” Paul surprised him by asking, usually he had a pile of books waiting for Pierre.

“Something to cheer me up.”

“Then I suggest you stick to the front of the store, with the fiction. Truth and cheer are two entirely different things.” Pierre bit back a sharp comment on the edge of his tongue, not entirely understanding why Paul’s belief system suddenly irritated him. But surely the man had to believe in something.

The shop was quiet for several moments while Pierre perused the shelves, every once in a while hearing the sliding and thudding of Paul’s reorganizational efforts. Pierre saw many different titles jump before his eyes, but none of them seemed anything he needed that day. It was almost as though a thought was forming inside his mind, an ember of desire, and any moment it would burst into flame. How long it had been there Pierre didn’t know, but the sensation was uncomfortable.

“Aren’t you ever tired by the continual journey, Paul?” He finally asked, turning to meet the man’s eyes across his armful of Plato. “Isn’t there anything that you know for certain?”

Paul approached him then, weaving through the shelves of his world, and without saying anything reached behind Pierre to take a small book from the shelf behind him. It was small, about the size of a volume of poetry, with a cover completely faded to gray. The old man smiled a little looking at it, as though it was a friend he’d not seen in a long while, and placed the book carefully in Pierre’s hands.

“The secret is to understand, without a shadow of a doubt, what it is you are actually looking for.” His voice held a smile. “Perhaps that is what you need to know first.”

Pierre stepped out of the shop moments later, just as the bells of St. Edward’s Cathedral rang the hour. One could always see the tower of the cathedral anywhere in town, but as he looked at it that day it seemed taller than he’d ever seen it.

“Nine o’ clock. Right on the nose.” Pierre turned abruptly to see Giselle, the owner of the shop next to Paul’s. It was so close to the bookstore that the two buildings seemed mashed together.

“How are you today, Giselle?” His voice sounded shaky and unsure, and it made her laugh and shake her brown curls.

“You’ve been with Paul only moments and look what he’s done to you.” She said it cheerily, and all but pulled Pierre inside with her. “Come in and have some tea.”

Giselle’s shop was a mix of tea and all things knitted. In the front of the store the walls were lined with racks of intensely colored scarves, hats, gloves, and even blankets. Beyond the brightness of that stood a clean bar with four stools adorned with brilliantly colored cushions. At this bar Giselle only served tea, though occasionally coffee, and a variety of baked goods.

“Put philosophy and the pursuit of undeniable truth to the side for just a moment, Pierre.” Giselle said, setting a cup and saucer decorated with purple swirls in front of him. “There is very little that tea cannot fix.”

Pierre was silent for a moment as he sipped the tea, still holding the small gray book in his hand. He often felt a huge shift in life when he went from the bookstore to Giselle’s little shop. Paul thought of life on grand, deep, and unfathomable terms, and to Giselle life was simple and happy.

“Paul believes that truth and cheer are two entirely different things.” Pierre said, finishing his tea only to have her refill it. “What do you think?”

“I think you worry too much.” Her voice was strong and without hesitation. “Since you arrived here, all you’ve done is visit that little bookstore and sometimes come here for tea. I see this sort of desire in you for something more, but yet I don’t think you even know what that is. And truthfully, Pierre, life is much simpler than you’re making it out to be.” Giselle poured herself tea into an indigo colored cup and reached for the sugar. “I think the answers are closer than you realize.”

It had been a very long time since Pierre had traveled further up the road than Giselle’s shop. He stepped outside and continued walking, leaving the mashed buildings on their corner while he wound his way through the streets. He did not walk with purpose or direction, and yet was unsurprised when he found himself just outside the cathedral grounds.

St. Edward’s rose before him tall and grand, the building falling outwards from the tower that stood in the center. It was surrounded by a lawn of brilliant green grass, so brilliant it almost hurt his eyes, with a black rail fence marking the edge. The gates were always flung wide open, beckoning in the troubled soul. But Pierre had never walked past them. He had only ever stood at the gate, looking in. It was strange to think of when he remembered that this building was the reason he was even in this place to begin with.

He remembered vividly the day he’d seen the tower from the road, and had almost been magnetically pulled into town. He had come and stood just like this, right outside the gate, and stared at the building. Magnificent it surely was, and beautiful, but more than that, it was peaceful. That day as well as this day, Pierre had only to stand at the gates of the grounds to feel a peace so overwhelming it nearly knocked him over. And yet he’d never been able to understand this feeling, and had come to almost fear it. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d allowed himself to get this close.

Once again he looked down at the faded gray book in his hands, turning it over to see both sides of the ragged cover. It didn’t even have a title anymore. Pierre tucked it inside his jacket and looked back up towards the cathedral. And then he took one step forward, and another, and yet another, until he found himself walking quietly through large doors and into a building that was both beautiful and frightening.

The very first thing he saw was the ceiling, highly arched above him and painted with circles depicting different saints. The knave seemed very long, stretching out before him towards the altar. For a moment, he nearly turned around and left. It was so large, and yet so full of something that he almost couldn’t endure it. But that was when the music began.

He could see nobody nearby, in fact at first he’d imagined he could hear his own breath echoing throughout the vastness, but yet organ music began filling every empty corner. And suddenly he couldn’t take all of it in quickly enough. Not the beautiful side chapels or places to light candles, or the monuments and statues.

He stood in awe at the sight of a courtyard which housed two magnificent trees one couldn’t see from the outside of the building. And yet they stretched their limbs and grew inside their perfect square of bright grass. They knew something he didn’t know, and Pierre acknowledged that with a serene sort of ache. It seemed hours before he could pry himself away from such a sight and enter back inside the main cathedral.

Above the altar rose three pointed arches, and beyond them three stained glass windows with hues so vividly blue it was nearly unbearable. He sat quietly in the very front row of chairs, hardly worthy to kneel before such a place. Though the organ music had now stopped, the essence of it seemed to still be breathing throughout the room. He could almost see it.

Several times he took the little gray book out of his jacket, turning it over and over in his hands, but never opening it. The book had certainly been well loved throughout the years, though was surprisingly intact. He finally tucked the book back inside his jacket one last time, looking beyond the altar to the sunlight pouring through the stained glass. He couldn’t make out the scene being portrayed in the glass, but the shadows it cast were stunning.

Pierre sat in this way for long moments, utterly absorbed in his thoughts and yet unable to think much of anything. He sensed, rather, that he was soaking everything in as he’d never been able to before. And he felt something, just where that ember had been this morning, so akin to joy he knew it must be that. He was so unfamiliar with such a feeling. It had always seemed too real to be safe.

After some time, Pierre finally stood, breaking his gaze with the altar and stained glass as he walked in a straight line back to the doors of the cathedral. His steps, though not hurried, made sure sounds against the stone floor. As he left the building he worried for just a moment that perhaps all of this might leave him once he’d passed the sanctuary of the gates, but it didn’t happen. He stopped for just a moment and stood where he had before, staring at the building before him and wondering how he could’ve never gone inside until now.

The streets greeted him some moments later, but they didn’t hurry him along. He had a view of the cathedral for a long while, each time he glanced back. Briefly he felt the shape of the book in his jacket and thought that he’d have to return it to Paul the next morning. Pierre turned to his right and began walking home then, just as he heard the cathedral bells ring twelve times.

 

The Process Of Life

As you may or may not have noticed, poetry has been a really big thing for me lately. I find poetry really interesting, because I think that in many ways it explains everything we breathingsattempt to explain with novels or essays or speeches. Poetry expresses the deepest things in the simplest way, and I really love that about it.

But I go through phases with poetry.

As with the last week or so, sometimes I can sit down and write a poem in about 20 minutes that comes directly from my soul. Everything I’ve been thinking or feeling just comes pouring out of me and all of the sudden I’ve got a poem. Other times I sit down, wanting to write a poem, and stare at a blank screen or piece of paper for what feels like hours and nothing is ever accomplished.

I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again, I am first and foremost a novelist, which is why my poetry isn’t often featured. However, I enjoy writing poetry so much for the above mentioned reasons. I find it fascinating how you can communicate so much in so few words.

I think that is probably why I love writing in general.

For me, it is such a process of discovery. I learn so much about myself, about life, and hopesabout others when I let things go and sit down and create other stories. It has always been wonderful to me how much I can learn from studying the lives of others, from trying to make sense of the little things.

For some reason, I sense a bit of change ahead for me. The paradox I constantly live with in my life is that routine absolutely drives me crazy, and yet change has always been hard. Don’t ask me how that works, because I honestly have no idea. I have this thing I do where I find something and then I hold onto it for dear life, hoping it won’t slip away. But I’ve realized recently that this probably isn’t the best way to go about life. I have realized that what is meant to stay will stay, and if I let go of something and it is meant to be it will come back.

In short, I think I need to work on trusting the process of life. Yesterday I got to speak with my brother, who lives quite a ways away from our family, and it was so great. I don’t get to see him often, or talk to him for that matter, and it was so good to be able to talk with him. When we were younger he and I were absolutely inseparable. Because of things that happened as we got older, just life I suppose, I feel as though it has been years since I’ve really seen him. Since I’ve really talked to him.

processAnd as hard as that time as been, it has been worth it. Talking to him yesterday was like drinking a glass of water on a hot day. I felt comforted about a lot of things, and hopeful about life. At the end of our conversation he said to me, “I believe that things happen the way they are supposed to, and everything happens for a reason.”

I believe that, too.

So for me, it is more of being patient and letting life do what it is going to do. To work hard, have fun, laugh a lot, love a lot, and have faith. Trust.

Dear Dallas,

Dear Dallas,

Last night I returned from a 6 day trip to your lovely city. It was a trip to go back and visit people that I had met on my texasreligious mission, people that I had taught and befriended. It was a trip that I was slightly scared of, and completely excited for. And it was also a trip flooding with a variety of different emotions and experiences. Dallas, you had a lot to say.

Where do I even start?

I suppose I’ll be totally honest and explain what I was scared of. While I was there I developed some health issues. It’s something that I’ve alluded to a lot in my writing, but I’ve never actually came out and said exactly what those were. I just don’t think I’m ready for that. You see, Dallas, while I like to be completely honest with people I’m also intensely private. It’s just one of the many ways I try and protect myself emotionally.

Anyway, I was afraid that I’d have some sort of relapse. I was afraid that being in those surroundings again would only bring forth bad and hard memories, that it would be terrible. And though there were some very hard moments, those moments had nothing to do with what I’d thought they would.

Overall, the trip was absolutely incredible. Being back there, I found the biggest sense of peace and belonging. I had many spiritual experiences in which I just knew that God was looking out for me, and that He loves me very much. What an amazing thing that is, to have such experiences.

We visited many museums, we shopped, we ate, we talked, we laughed, and we mingled with people who have come to be a very big part of my life. What I find so interesting about traveling is that we always seem to discover things, and not just in the obvious ways but within ourselves. Perhaps that’s why so many people long to travel.

While I was living there, Dallas, you taught me many things. And when I returned to visit this past week, I learned many more things. Things that I’d wanted to know, and wanted to feel, but hadn’t. You told me many things this week.

Dallas, you helped me discover that it’s okay to be me. It’s okay to have the struggles I have and to work on them at my own pace. I don’t have to justify my struggles or experiences to anybody because they are mine and nobody else can understand what they were meant to teach me. I discovered that sometimes you feel as though you’re full of holes in the best possible way – sometimes you leave bits and pieces of yourself behind when you go somewhere and that’s the best thing you could’ve done.

dalasI discovered that the parts and pieces of our personality, our loves and our passions, are completely crucial to who we are and that they are not an accident. It is so important to follow the things that tug at your soul. I discovered just how glorious and beautiful this world is, and that we have an equally glorious and beautiful part to contribute to it. And that in itself is a miracle.

I also discovered that sometimes it doesn’t work to try and fix things, whether within us or with others. It doesn’t always happen in just one conversation or one trip. And as hard as that might be, it is the way it is. We can only hope that with time, God will help fill the broken places until they are gone. I rediscovered what it means to have a truly enlightening conversation, one filled with ideas and hope and one that gets your mind going as opposed to a vulgar conversation that you are forced to listen to. I probably don’t have to tell you which experience I’d rather live through again.

I think, Dallas, what you were trying to tell me this last week, in many experiences and many ways, is that there is hope. Hope for a bright future, one of healing and happiness, hope for an immediate future with more strength and courage, and many happy moments. The trick is to just walk that path rather than any of the others, tempting as they may be. Walk the path of hope

This last week, I visited you, Dallas. And really, Texas hasn’t changed that much. But I have, for the better. So thank you, Dallas, for the things you told me this week.

Love,

Jordan

And The Crowd Goes Wild

I have a confession about myself not at all steeping in the waters of arrogance. It is truly something that I am fantastic at, and today I feel as though I need to make that fact widely known to the world outside of my immediate sphere. And here it is:

I am absolutely amazing at giving pep talks.

Yes, it is true. I am fantastic at it. I am so good at it, in fact, that whenever I am having a bad day I think back to all of my old pep talks I’ve given to others, roll my eyes, and wish I could take my own splendid advice.

When I began this blog, in the back of my mind I had this little inkling that if my blog ever made it big it would be due to this incredible gift I have. I’d write some amazing, inspirational post with an phenomenal title and before you knew it I’d be Blogger of the Year.

Well, not only was this fantasy jumping to a lot of conclusions (and right over the idea the awards don’t matter because my blog is, if nothing else, just a fun place for me to spend my time) but it was also that: a fantasy. I’ve yet to figure out why, but my really obscure posts that are generally about nothing at all are the ones that receive the most attention. When I actually put a great deal of effort into a post, wording it just so, formatting it, placing the right pictures, pouring my heart and soul into the project, I may receive a view from some person who wrote something in a search engine somewhere and ended up in my world.

Does anybody have the answer to this strange reality?

Because it has brought me to an interesting place in my life today. I’ve decided that if my blog ever does skyrocket and become this huge thing, it will be for a different reason entirely.

It will be because I am hilarious.

And that is all.