The Blooming Heather

The first time that my parents visited Scotland, they brought me home a necklace. It is a very special kind of necklace. It’s called a heather gem. It is made from heather, that beautiful, purple plant that grows all over in that magical part of the world, and as such, each piece of jewelry is completely unique and individual.

all gems.jpgI was 14 years old.

It also happened that at that time in my life I was also in a very, very dark place. It was the first time I can remember feeling completely and utterly broken.

To make a long story short, my best friend decided one day that I wasn’t worth it. One day she was my best friend in the world. More of a sister to me than my own sisters. Closer to me than anybody in the world. In a way, she was my entire life. And then very quickly it was over. She was gone.

The story is long and not very complicated, but honestly, it was just hard. Plain and simple, it was so hard. I had to rethink my whole life in so many ways. We had been friends for so long and our lives were so tied together that I didn’t really know how to exist without her. To add to it, I didn’t really get any explanation. I didn’t get any discussion. She just turned off.

I remember my parents taking this trip to Scotland, and how excited our whole family was. Many of you will remember that my family is Scottish. It is something we’re very proud of. So when my parents finally took this trip, it was almost like the completion of something for our entire family. Even though we didn’t all get to go, we were all so happy about it.

I remember holding the necklace in it’s purple and white box. I looked at the shiny stone that had once been a plant. It was beautiful.

I wore that necklace every single day for years. It came to symbolize a lot of things for me. Mostly it helped me remember that I was more than the black moments. It helped me remember that there is something inside me that reaches further back and further forward than so many shattered pieces. It helped me remember every day that I didn’t need to be a different version of myself than I was. I only had to be me. And that was enough. heather in highlands

Years later, I got the amazing opportunity to visit England. Sadly, I wasn’t able to go to Scotland on my visit. But it was beautiful. If it were a poem, I’d say that my soul recognized the land.

And for some reason, I’ve had all of these thoughts on my mind tonight. I remembered the first time I learned what it feels like to be completely broken by the one person you thought you could trust. I remembered when I first got that necklace and the way it was somehow able to bring me back to life with all it symbolized.

Even though that time in my life was hard, I honestly don’t remember much of the hurt.

I just remember this incredible feeling of emerging. Of becoming somebody I could be proud of. I found dreams and let myself bask in the hope of them. I think that was the moment when I really started to become who I truly am.

And it was beautiful.

 

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Not-So-Open Notes

Dear L.P.,
Please stop sliding into my DM’s unexpectedly.
A small sliver of my heart wants you to stay there.

Dear Rosebud,
Let yourself bloom, baby. I can’t wait.
The world’s not ready but that doesn’t
matter. You are.

Dear Team TB,
Get out of your own way. Don’t be afraid
anymore. Just shine.

Dear JH,
I get you. Not everybody does.
Not everybody will. And that’s
okay. Forgive and grow. Be brilliant.

Dear Fellow Fangirl,
I love you more than all the things. I
love watching you conquer the world.
Don’t stop, okay?

Dear JHH,
It’s okay to feel. You’ll never do it. You’ll
never be that person. And that’s okay.
Keep being unashamedly you. But someday
I hope you understand that if you do feel its okay.
I love you.

Dear Former G.I. Joe,
I just want you to have joy. Real joy. There
is a difference between fun and true joy.
True happiness. And someday I want you
to remember that the truth isn’t easy,
but it’s worth it.

Dear Track 10,
Just shaking my head for many reasons. And
smiling.

Dear Pocket Square,
Hope is never lost.

Dear Superhero,
Everyone falls. I know you can get back
up. The little girl in me still fearlessly
believes that you can do anything.

Dear Dreamer,
There’s a reason you’re here and that you
are who you are. Please don’t doubt the
beauty and goodness in you. You know how to
fix anything. It wasn’t a mistake.

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.

“Don’t Even Get Me Started”

This phrase – don’t even get me started – is a very well known and well-used member of my vocabulary. Call it the veteran if you will.

Now the reason behind this is pretty self-explanatory.  You see when you first meet me it’s pretty easy to mistake me for a shy person. I’m an introvert, and as such, I hate meeting new people. My biggest thought when it comes to meeting new people is usually, “But wait. I already know people. My people capacity has been reached.” Unfortunately, the universe has consistently seen fit to ignore my people capacity.

So if you’re persistent enough to actually get to know me, you’ll come to understand a few things.

  1. I’m really not shy. Like…at all.
  2. I actually have quite a bit to say about life in general.
  3. And as a general rule, it’s best not to ask me what any of those things are because I will tell you. And it will be rather emphatic.

So here’s how it normally goes: some kind of topic will somehow come up in the natural flow of a conversation. And I will immediately say, “Don’t even get me started.” Now the fact that I have developed this self-regulating mechanism is actually a source of pride for me. Truly.

However.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where it continues to be self-regulating. Let me explain: after I say this phrase it is totally up to whoever I am talking to to decide whether or not I actually get started.

Those closest to me generally respond in one of two ways:

  1. They think it’s hilarious when I “get started” so they sit there very patiently in silence, waiting for the topic to begin bubbling under my skin so as to drive me crazy until I explode. And therefore “get started” anyway.
  2. They change the subject as quickly as they can, saving themselves from the very passionate rant that will surely follow if they don’t act immediately.

I’m telling you all of this because today I’ve got the blogging itch. I’ve got this itch to blog and it’s been driving me nuts ALL DAY LONG. I’ve had at least 47 topics all vying for attention in my head today. If I were a better writer, I’d think of some very clever way to connect all of these topics into a glorious blog post that would existential your mind to pieces.

But that’s not going to happen because I’ve gotten started and this is where it ends people.

  1. I have a friend who pushes herself too hard. Plain and simple, she pushes herself too hard. She holds herself to an impossibly high standard because in her head if she isn’t working so hard that she nearly dies then she isn’t doing her best. If she isn’t working so hard that she can’t see straight then she’s a failure. If she doesn’t spend at least 10 hours studying for the test that we both have to take this week then she’s not doing all she can do. And as much as I love her, and I do with all my heart, I can’t tell her enough times how absolutely absurd this is. Nobody can live life on 150% all the time. Nobody can and nobody should. We have to give ourselves some grace and decide what is and is not worth our time. And not be so hard on ourselves.
  2. Do you ever have those days when you are just drowning in memories? Every now and again this happens to me, and it usually isn’t the same memories or the same times. Some days I feel like I’m reliving my religious mission all over again. Other times it is memories from my time at my previous university. And no matter how hard I try I just can’t escape them. I spend the entire day in a memory field. Honestly, it doesn’t happen that often. But I’m not the only one this happens to, right?
  3. The Prince in Snow White. OH. MY. GOODNESS. There are very, very, very few things on this earth that I have such passionate negative feelings about. But this character is one of them. And I’ll tell you why: he is the most WORTHLESS character that was EVER created in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD. He shows up for five minutes, sings a song, leaves, and then at the end, he shows up and is all, “Oh, I sorta remember her. She looks dead. Maybe I’ll kiss her and see what happens.” Then he gets the girl – because he did absolutely nothing except smooch her – like he is the hero of the day. He is worthless and stupid and stupid. He got way better than he deserved. He is worthless and stupid. The dwarves were totally the heroes of that story. The prince is worthless and stupid.

So I know that I said there were about 47 topics in my head, and that – though a slight exaggeration – was quite true. Has been true, in fact, all day. But now that I’ve written this out, I think those were the most important.

As far as all the other ones go, though, don’t even get me started.

Say It In Writing

biggerWhen I blog, what I’m really doing is writing down all of the things I wish I could say out loud. I think it’s probably like this for most of us. Especially the writers. Writing is the way that we say the things of our soul. The things that we are thinking, feeling, and knowing, but can’t actually say.

I’m not sure what it is about our world, but none of us ever say what we really think. It’s much too raw. It’s much too real. And when we look back on it we have a tendency to be embarrassed. We have a tendency to wonder what we were thinking when we were so unabashedly ourselves. Or at least that’s what happens to me.

Honesty has been hard for me lately. Not because I’ve been lying like crazy, but because the truth has been very painful. I have let fear get in the way of my life for the past several weeks. And when I made one tiny move to try and let go of this fear, it proved to be a little anticlimactic. Even stupid. Go figure.

I wish I could explain to you all of the times I’ve prayed and gotten amazing answers. One of my friends told me today that God has been spoiling me recently, and I couldn’t agree more. It really is true. He has been. I’ve never been this close to Him in my entire life. Which is actually really good because I’m carrying a lot of crap around inside of my heart right now. And it isn’t very fun.

But what I really wanted to do tonight is say a few things to the most important people inchapter my life. I want to say what’s in my heart, and let them know what I’m actually thinking. And when I come back and read this blog post I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be proud of myself for being this brave. I want to be okay with being vulnerable again. I want to be okay with saying what’s in my heart. Even if it hurts. So here it goes:

A: How could I ever explain to you how amazing you are? Seriously I’ve known you for such a long time and you never ever cease to blow my mind. I just want to be a fraction of your type of cool. You have so much strength in your heart and it honestly leaves me in so much awe. I hope that when you look in the mirror you see the woman that I see. We both know that I have a gift for seeing people as they really are, so don’t try and fight with me on this. I’m right. You absolutely shine. Thank you so much.

M: Thank you for teaching me how to be a dreamer. I wish you would stop dreaming and live your dreams now. Don’t be afraid anymore. It’s time to live. Just do it. Please.

perfect goodD: Thank you for teaching me to be a doer. I love you very much. Please don’t forget that sometimes your heart’s more important than your mind. In fact, I honestly think that that’s where all of our truth is. I wish you could see that.

H: Please never stop laughing. But also please remember that it’s okay to be sad. You don’t have to be perfect, and in fact you never will be. We’re all here to help each other. That’s the point. Thank you for holding me while I ugly cried, and smoothing my hair. And buying me Jimmy Fallon ice cream. And loving me through every disaster. You help me believe in the redeeming power of love, and that as long as we trust each other we can do anything.

S: You’re probably so tired of all that I have to say. And I wouldn’t blame you. So here’s all that I have to say this time: if God tells me to be patient with you one more time I’m going to lose my freaking mind. I’ll either have to actually do it or just be in open rebellion, harderwhich I don’t see ending well. Actually I tried that angle for a while, the angle of “oh my gosh I am so done because this bloody hurts” and suffice it to say… it didn’t end well. I laughed, but I’m pretty sure He was serious. I’ll tell you that story some day.

K: You’ve gotta trust yourself more than you do, girl. I wish you could see how incredibly bright your eyes are. There is so much there it kills me. Don’t let fear run your life anymore.

J: I love you so much. You teach me so much as our lives continue to unfold. But I wish you would stop treating me like an innocent child. I wish you could see that I have scars, too. The other day you told me that you kind of gloried in my pain, and that hurt more than I can ever say. I’ve experienced a lot of hurt, and a lot of things that have changed logicme. I’m not who I was in those days. And there were things about that person I was that you’ll never know or understand. She spent so much of her time being angry about love, but in her heart that’s all she really wanted. She wanted to believe in it. She wanted it to be real. It was all she really, really wanted. She prayed for it every day. That’s who she really was underneath everything you saw. I hope that someday you can trust me with every vulnerable part of you. That someday you’ll stop thinking that you have to change what you think because you’re with me. But dude, you’re a freaking rock star. Thank you for that.

homeJ: Just don’t be scared. Live your life as brilliantly as we all know you’re going to. And don’t you dare think for one minute that you have to prove us wrong or prove us right or prove anything. Do what makes you happy. Just let your awesomeness shine. And don’t you dare give up.

C: Where would I be without you???? I just have absolutely no clue. You are the greatest human. The greatest. The purest of cinnamon rolls. Thank you for being an amazing friend and an incredible woman. Seriously, you are the big sister in our friendship. It doesn’t even matter that I’m older than you. You have so much in you and it is dazzling.

certain thingQ: You make me believe in the goodness of humanity. You are the human that I’ve always wanted to be, but will probably never be great enough to be. But I’m so grateful for you in my life. You are #goals. Thank you.

Love,

Jordan

Grateful Snippets

starsTonight I am grateful. For so many things. I’m grateful for cool summer nights and lots of stars. I’m grateful for so many good friends. I could write novels filled with what they teach me about unconditional love.

I got to see a friend today who I haven’t seen in over two years. We served our religious missions together, and spent about three months together during that time. We were best friends. And as life as worked out we just haven’t been able to see one another again until now. It was incredible, though, because in many ways it was as though we’d never been apart. We laughed about the craziness that our lives have been recently, the good and the bad. We talked and laughed through the time that had separated us.

I also did something today that I have always wanted to do. Seriously. On this, a perfectly normal Friday filled with a friend lunch and a shift at work, I crossed off a bucket list item.

I sat in Barnes and Noble in the Starbucks and wrote a poem.

Intellectualism was so heavy in the air it was almost touchable. I didn’t buy anything, didn’t order a drink or a muffin. That’s for next time. This time I simply at at one of the tables and wrote. I threw my inhibitions out the window, everything that usually stops me as I write. The things that say I shouldn’t write this or that. And I just wrote whatever came to me.

Whether or not the poem is any good, or even what I really wanted to say, I don’t really know. But it was something. And I’m grateful for it. flow

I’m grateful for snippets of happy that string themselves together. I’m grateful for newfound loves and discoveries. I’m grateful for pizza. Always pizza. I’m grateful to understand more of what it means to love others and be loyal to them. I’m grateful that I’m not perfect, but that I can continue to try every day. I’m grateful for friends who understand my sarcasm, as it gets out of hand pretty quickly at times. I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, who never ever stop teaching me the meaning of acceptance and love.

Even in the hard moments. The dark ones. Always love.

I’m grateful for that.

Connections & Coincidences

Two years ago I was hired at my job, along with a group of others. I remember being nervous, and hoping that I would get along with everybody.

In this group of people I was hired with, there were two girls named Haley and Adele. To be totally honest, we didn’t all get along at first. But now, two years later, these girls are my best friends. Even more than this, they have become my sisters.

I don’t even know how to explain how incredible these two ladies are. They have been there for me through thick and thin. They have picked up the pieces of my broken heart on several occasions throughout the years, and I’ve been lucky enough to do the same for them. They teach me so much every day. I honestly can’t believe how blessed I am to have them in my life.

Recently, all three of us have really been through a lot. We’ve all had different struggles, and have had to be there for one another.

Yesterday, we all came together and went to a support group meeting on campus that deals with some of the things we’ve all been exposed to lately. Overall, the experience was both scary and gratifying. It wasn’t the correct fit for all three of us, but we were grateful to all go together and have the experience. As experiences like that tend to do, it brought up a lot of emotions.

After the meeting, we sat in my car and talked for two more hours. There was a lot of laughter, as there usually is, but there were also a lot of tears. We got a lot of things out in the open that we hadn’t realized we were keeping from each other. There was a lot of wiping each other’s tears, holding hands, and smoothing out hair.

We were open and honest. We told about our insecurities and our fears. We talked about the things we are currently struggling with, and our hopes and desires.

Quite honestly, it was beautiful.

It was beautiful to have a moment like that with these incredible women. It was beautiful to realize that we are all human, trying our best to be there for one another in our struggles. It was a blessing to share a moment like that with them.

Their friendship means the world to me, and has saved me in countless situations. There is no way I could ever accurately explain it. But there is a bond between us that can’t be broken, and that is an incredible thing to have in this life. It is a wonderful blessing.

There are people in this life that we have connections with. They come into our lives almost by accident, but then they end up being so, so important. These relationships that end up being so important and enriching our lives could seem like coincidences.

But I don’t believe in coincidences.