I'm Just Saying

When The Night Is Coming Down

Today I want to talk to all of you about anxiety and depression.

This post is something that I have had on my mind for a really, really long time. For a few years probably, if I”m being honest. I have mentioned this kind of this vaguely in some posts or posted about it indirectly in others, but today I want to be open and honest about it. True to Jordan fashion I’ll probably remain a little vague, but I’ll share the most important facts of my story with you.

Mental illness is a pretty touchy subject for a lot of people. Despite the growing understanding of it in recent years, I think that it still remains a largely taboo subject. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, honestly, but one of them is because mental illness is really hard to understand. And until you’ve dealt with something like anxiety or depression it is really hard to wrap your mind around what it does to your brain. Another thing that makes it hard to understand is that even though there are common symptoms or feelings, it honestly does different things to everybody. But today I want to tell you my story; or give you as much of a glimpse as I can.

I grew up in a family who operates by ignoring the deep issues. My father was severely boxesabused as a child and to this day has never sought any kind of professional help for the things he experienced. We are a farming family: hard workers who believed in getting the job done. Because of these many different factors, any kind of emotional struggles we ever had as children were dealt with with a “get over it” mentality.

Before I continue let me just say that I don’t think this was any fault of my dad or his experiences. Or my mother for that matter. The older that I get the more I realize that the generations before mine simply dealt with hard things that way in general. If there wasn’t a physical problem or a physical way to fix it, then it is easier to forget about it. Box it away in your head. And even though we’ve discovered that this isn’t necessarily healthy, I understand it. Maybe because I was raised that way or maybe because sometimes it just makes sense, there are days when boxing away the emotional baggage is incredibly tempting.

Anyway, with this background as context, this was the mentality I grew up in. Looking back at my childhood now, I recognize one period of time in particular when I was very depressed and needed help and didn’t get it. After this experience, I followed in the tradition of boxing things up. A lot of other factors played into this, factors I won’t get into, but eventually, my mentality was to either deal with my issues by myself or act like they didn’t exist. I didn’t feel like bothering anybody with things because I didn’t like asking for help. I didn’t like inconveniencing anybody with my problems. So if I couldn’t deal with it alone, I simply ignored it.

For me, anxiety and depression go hand in hand. I think that’s the case with a lot of people. (I will also say as a quick aside that there are way more people in this world that deal with anxiety and depression than we even know.) As a general rule, I think I deal with depression more than I deal with anxiety, but anxiety is still very real and usually triggered if I’ve had a bad day depression wise.

All of this information about myself was hard learned. If I’m being completely honest, the words “anxiety” and “depression” did not exist in my vocabulary in reference to myself until I was 19 years old. I was serving my religious mission when all of that happened, which is really where everything came to a head.

I will never forget the moment that I broke.

I remember where I was and who I was with. I remember what time of day it was – 9 brokenp.m. I remember every detail of how it felt. Like a giant cavern had opened inside of me and I was falling inside of it, falling forever and ever and ever and smashing into the sides along the way. After several weeks of intense pressure, one single moment not only cracked open the emotional boxes I’d packed on my mission itself but every emotional box I had ever packed ever. Every single one split wide open all over inside of me.

To date, there have been two such moments in my life when this type of thing happened inside my head. And both times my very first thought was, “Well (insert expletive of choice), this is going to hurt.”

I’m not sure if this practical/joking approach to emotional decimation is healthy, but nevertheless, that’s what my brain decided to say in that moment. The last moment of sanity before the madness, apparently. But I digress.

The aftermath of this first breaking moment was not good, to put it mildly. For months afterward, every moment of my life was a constant battle to try and figure out what was going on inside my head and how to fix it. It was the hardest thing I’d ever dealt with up to that point in my life. Looking back on it now, depression was probably the main thing I was dealing with, but anxiety was close on its heels.

I remember waking up every morning. Waking up was the most horrible thing to ever happen to me for days and days and days. The instant I gained awareness, the dark cloud descended on me again. There was absolutely no escape from it. Have you ever woken up in the morning crying? I wouldn’t recommend the experience. Every single morning was the devastating moment of, “Oh, I’m still here. This is still my reality. I have to do this again.”

candleDepression is horrible. There’s no way around that. Nobody should have to deal with things like that. Nobody should be trapped inside their own head like that. There is something about depression, about the moments when it is the worst it gets, when you are in the darkest of places, and you sit and realize that nobody is coming to save you, that is one of the worst things a human can experience.

And as hard as it is for those of us on this side of it, it is also incredibly hard for the people who have to watch us go through it.

Because more often than not, they just want to help. They can see the value of life and the potential we have so much more clearly than we can. More than anything they want to be there for us and help us fix it. But when we don’t even understand everything that’s going on in our head, it’s so hard to let others try and figure it out.

For me, one of the hardest things about depression is that even when it is horrible, just downright terrible, and I’m in the midst of that kind of darkness, I still know what all the answers are. I know the value of life, I know there’s a point, I know great things are ahead of me, I know that God has promised me incredible things and that He does not and cannot lie. Everything motivational you could think of, I know. I know all of that. But in those moments that are the darkest of dark: I just don’t care.

And I honestly think that’s the greatest tragedy of all. Just not caring.

When you mix this mental illness that brings you to a state where you truly and honestly do not care with a mental illness that makes you care too much, you’re going to have issues. It is 100% completely immobilizing. And honestly a little bit humiliating. I have a hefty record of canceling plans, being unable to make it to work, and basically avoiding the process of life because of things that are going on inside of my head. It’s frustrating because you want to be fine. You realize how crazy all of it sounds, and that by all accounts you’re completely okay.

It’s hard because on the outside you appear completely fine.

But you’re just not.

To continue with my story, I eventually got things figured out. I say “I” but honestly I was not the one who figured it out. I was surrounded by an army of supportive people who refused to leave me alone, but not in a way that suffocated me. They were simply there. To talk when I needed it, to support me when I needed it, and to cry with me when I needed it. They figured it out for me. They carried me through. They taught me that love is the key.

I wouldn’t say that there just came one day when everything was suddenly okay. Because to this day, I still fight the same battles sometimes. And they are still just as devastating. But I will tell you a few of the things that helped me get to a point where I could entertain the notion of life again.

  • When I realized that the things I was dealing with were real, it became easier to move forward. I had spent so much of my life feeling like emotional things were fake, something to be pushed away. But once I came to terms with the fact that it was a real thing it was much easier.
  • For a period of time, I allowed myself to embrace the darkness. It is a risky strategy lightthat I’m not sure I’d recommend. But for a moment I let myself be completely immersed in the darkness, I embraced it, I lived in it. The hard thing about this strategy is that it is so easy to get stuck there. But for whatever reason, allowing myself to be in the darkness helped in the end. I didn’t stay there long, not at all, but getting to a point where I could admit the issues with complete honesty and face them head on helped. If you’re going to pull this kind of mental battle, you have to know when to retreat. If you fight it too long really bad things happen. You have to run away from the darkness before you’re ready. If you get too comfortable there that’s not a good thing.
  • I had to understand some things about my mind. I had to come to terms with the fact that I am a human being who feels things on an incredibly deep level. That goes for sadness or happiness and everything in between. Once I came to terms with this fact about myself – or was at least aware of it – it became easier to move forward.
  • I learned the difference between moving on and moving forward. I learned that “moving on” is pretty much a myth. Sue me, but none of us really ever “move on” from anything. Nobody just forgets completely about the things that happen to them and live life merrily like it never happened. To be honest, I felt dirty. I felt dirty and used after going through all of this. And when you feel dirty and used, moving on isn’t really a thing. You just do your best to move forward and cling to whatever whispers that someday you’ll feel clean again. You move forward, not on.
  • Along with this, I had to learn that being beaten up by the world doesn’t make me dirty. For reasons I don’t know, my entire life I’ve thought that if I remained untouched or innocent of certain things in the world then I was clean. But the moment I broke I was dirty, the moment I let the world hurt me I was dirty. To this day I still struggle with this and fall prey to it, but until I began struggling really badly with anxiety and depression I didn’t even know it was a thought pattern that I had. Becoming aware of it made a lot of things a lot clearer.
  • I learned to find joy in small or new things. I learned to dig the joy out of small moments. I went on this crusade to discover new things and find the joy in learning and discovery. This discovery of new things to love and find joy in is a great strategy that I still use.
  • I learned that sometimes we just have to go for certain things – even if we aren’t ready. A few months after this breaking moment the time came for me to move areas in my mission. I was terrified because even though I’d been struggling so badly, at least everything in my life was familiar. I felt I had come so far and I was scared that a move would take me right back to square one. But even though I wasn’t ready I went forward with faith, and it ended up being one of the best parts of my mission. I didn’t feel ready, I was still so trapped inside my own head, but I went for it anyway.
  • I learned to hang on to words. Because my brain/body is so crazy steeped in emotion, I had to learn how to hang on to facts. For me, this came in the form of words. That way, even in the black moments there were words I could remember. As a person who loves words, this was an especially effective strategy for me. Even when I wasn’t feeling great, when my emotions were so dark and so overpowering, I could remember words, comforting words from others or from God, and get through it.

dream of sunlightThis is definitely my longest post to date, and if you’re still with me, thank you so much. The end of my story is an interesting one. And since I’ve dropped you this novel I’ll give you the short version – I mostly “recovered” from this breaking moment for a few really wonderful months that are very precious to me. I met great people and had so many wonderful adventures. I eventually experienced a relapse, however, and became so ill that I had to return home. I had to sort of begin again with my recovery process, but all the things I had learned about anxiety/depression and myself made it much easier.

Anxiety/depression aren’t things that you ever 100% recover from. They are things that you learn to live with and manage. Some bouts are more serious than others. And you do your best to move forward step by step even if you don’t care, even if you’re surrounded by darkness. Hang on to the words, the facts that you do know. Remember that you aren’t alone, even in the moments when you realize that nobody is there to save you. Because even if you can’t believe or feel that you’re not alone, it is still the truth. That’s the beauty of truth: it is the truth no matter how we’re feeling. That’s been a huge comfort to me in my own journey.

Much Love.

I'm Just Saying

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?

I'm Just Saying

The Way It Is

I have a secret love in my heart for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I wish I didn’t sound like such a typical woman admitting that, but I suppose that’s just the way it has to be.

balconyThe sad thing about Romeo and Juliet is how overdone it is. Pure and simple, everything about that play is overdone. The play is overperformed, there have been far too many movie adaptations, and the discussions surrounding it are also over much. Simply put, everything coming out of this play is just a little bit extra.

Which shouldn’t be surprising considering the fact that it’s about two people who would rather die than be without one another.

If you’re a human alive in this world, you know the story of Romeo and Juliet. And you also know everything that has been said about it. I believe that the most popular thing to say about this is: that’s just hormones.

Well. Okay then.

I’m sorry, but I’ve never bought this argument and I never will. I don’t really care how old Romeo or Juliet are supposed to be. Never have. Never will. Call me crazy, but I’ve just always looked at the play as a rather tragic love story. Kind of how Shakespeare wrote it. Shocker.

You can also attribute the reconciliation of a terrible feud to hormones, too. Probably.

A few years I ago I saw this play again, and even though I’ve always loved it, for some reason this particular time it really struck me. I mean, it really, really struck me. And I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I couldn’t fathom it, really.

Love.

They loved each other so much. They really, truly did. So much that everything they had always been taught or told didn’t matter because they had found their other half. And they were willing to throw everything away for that. Both of them had very bright futures within their families and sphere of influence.

I remember getting to the end and just crying.infinite love

And in my prayers later that I night, I was talking to God about it. And, bless His heart, I just sat there and cried some more. I remember praying about this story, about these characters. Even though it isn’t real. The lessons are incredibly powerful. I remember praying and asking that one day I’d be able to know what it was like to love that way.

A bold choice of words, coming from somebody who already feels things very deeply.

(Like super deeply. You guys don’t even know. It’s exhausting most days. There are so many times when I just want to look myself in the eye and be like, “Okay. If you could not feel so many feelings ALL. THE. TIME at this insane intensity that’d be great.” Unfortunately, I have a red hot don’t-tell-me-what-to-do streak and it also applies to myself. I’m working on that, though.) Looking back on it now I’m not altogether sure I really thought that one through. But hey, that’s life sometimes.

But I digress.

This last week I’ve had two very powerful moments that keep resurfacing in my thoughts. Both of them are just statements that really touched my heart. And I think the point of this whole post is to make sense of them. So bear with me.

The first was a statement from a book I finished reading this week. Now I have read this book at least 800 times. In fact, I’ve read this book so much that I can skip around and find all my favorite parts. I’ve read this book so much that I know the story as well as if I’d written it myself. I’ve read this book a lot. That’s all I’m saying.

But as I was rereading it this week, a phrase I had never noticed before hit me in the face.

second balconyThe main character is talking about the man that she loves. They have a very unique bond. One that surpasses your typical love story. Because all of the forces in the universe try and pull them apart. Literally, everything is working against them and both of them know that no matter what, even if they were to never see one another again, they belong to one another. That they were made for one another.

It is suggested to the main character several times that she ought to move on and forget him, to find somebody else and try and live as happily as she can. And in the course of these conversations she finally says something like:

Once you give your heart, you never get it back. Once given, it is gone forever.

The other phrase was something that my older sister said to me. I’ve been staying with her, her husband, and their two toddlers this week, helping out with the wheat harvest. Now my sister and her husband are an interesting story because on paper they shouldn’t work. But they do. Good grief, they are so perfect for each other it can be a little painful. Honestly. She was talking to me about it the other day as we drove through town, and she said,

We were just supposed to be together. We were meant for one another. That’s just the way it is.

And that is the truth. A lot of things were combining against them, and somehow they still pulled through. There was a moment when it got hard and they ended things. I don’t know the full story but I remember my brother-in-law said something like, “I just don’t know if I can be the man you deserve.” His past was haunting him, and he didn’t know if he could do it.

Obviously, things worked out because they are married now and have two beautiful boys. I think after a while he finally came back to her and said, “I know what kind of man you deserve and I know that with your help I can be that man. I’m a better me when I’m with you.” So they got back together and pushed through the unknowns and the past hurts as a team. And today they are the best example of a beautiful marriage that I’ve ever seen.

It’s so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes.

The reason I began this post with all my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet is that I think it never did run smoothillustrates these two ideas. They knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they belonged together. They were meant for one another. Once they had truly given their heart they weren’t going to get it back. But then again Shakespeare also wrote, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: the course of true love never did run smooth.

The tragedy of their love story lies in the fact that it took their death for love to win. I think it illustrates an absolutely beautiful point and was probably written to do so. It shouldn’t have taken that much for love to heal.

But at the same time, love like that isn’t easily found or given or maintained. Just like my brother-in-law realized, it can be really hard. And far too often a lot of painful factors get in the way and it can seem hopeless. But as he also realized, that type of love is also worth it.

That’s just the way it is.

 

I'm Just Saying

Ed Sheeran & Harry Styles

music heartbeatI am definitely one of those people who have so many feelings that sometimes I just have to be like: just this song. This song. Listen to this song and feel what I’m feeling, please. Listen to this song and you will understand.

Actually, I can pretty accurately break my life into musical phases.

If I had to name the musical phases I’ve been through this year, well, considering the title of this post it shouldn’t really come as a shock.

Ed Sheeran kicked off the year for me. 2017 held so many promises for me, and Ed edSheeran seemed to be the only one who truly understood what all of those promises were. My days were filled with his songs. His songs accurately portraying everything I felt, somehow touching the deepest things I was experiencing.

I think I died and got reborn all at once when his new album entered my life. I will say with absolutely no shame that I listened to “Perfect” on repeat for probably two weeks. (Though “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” and “How Would You Feel” snuck in for several days during this time.) I’d never had an experience like that before. It was like Ed just knew. He knew everything that was going on in my life and decided to contribute to my newest discoveries.

As 2017 ages, I don’t want to say that Ed lied.

perfect lyricsBecause I honestly don’t think Ed Sheeran is capable of lying.

(In fact, on a completely nonrelated note, I’ve decided that someday I need to write some sort of official essay on the cultural phrase “cinnamon roll”. For those of you who don’t know what this phrase refers to, quite simply it refers to a person who is a cinnamon roll to the human world. Very pure, very good. Genuine hearted. In this official essay, or maybe even a dissertation who knows, I will use three examples of the human cinnamon roll: Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.)

I heard once that if you are doing the right thing, your path will always be harder. If perfect lyrics 2you’re doing the right thing, it will always be uphill. I guess there is comfort in that, but still. Why do you suppose it has to be that way? Actually, don’t answer that. I know the answer. I’m just complaining.

The next phase of 2017 was, you guessed it, Harry Styles.

Now I could probably write a very lengthy post about all of the things that I used to think about Harry Styles. Back when I was doing my “I can’t do what everybody else is doing just because they are all doing it” thing. (I’m still working on that, by the way, and getting better.) In fact, earlier in the summer my roommate and I were driving around. I distinctly remember driving through Wendy’s to get a chocolate frosty, and she tried to turn on a Harry Styles song.

I distinctly remember saying, “Is this Harry Styles? Bleh. Turn it off, please.”

Karma, ladies and gentlemen, has been a close companion of mine this year. And it hasn’t always been fun.

HarryNevertheless, Harry Styles and I are on good terms now. I’ll avoid the specifics of my enamored feelings there because this post is actually supposed to be about music. So let’s continue.

“Sign of the Times” broke my heart wide open. Thanks, Harry. I honestly think I just cried when I first heard it. And then another time, my roommate and I went for another drive, and she played “Ever Since New York”.

I seriously doubt that she expected me to burst into tears and wail, “Who did this?? Who hurt him?? Why would you ever, ever, ever hurt Harry Styles??!!”

I’m not sure what it is about that particular British gentleman, but literally everybody I know has the fiercest urge in the world to protect him at all costs. Like, if I could protect Harry Styles from all of the bad things in the world then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything ever again.

Oh, right. This post is about music.

Anyway, after Ed was no more, Harry Styles swooped in to two hearts lyricsave the day. Harry’s new album is quite honestly just gold. Don’t even get me started on “Sweet Creature”. It is too pure for words.

Because my emotions are so intense, I have to find periodic times when I can give myself an allotment of feeling. “Two Ghosts” is usually the song I listen to. You may think I’m kidding but I’m not. I sit in my car, turn on that song, and say to myself, “Self, you may have all the feelings you want for the next three minutes and forty-nine seconds.” About…5.5 times out of ten it does the trick.

two ghostsOkay, but am I the only one who hears “Two Ghosts” and just dies a little bit for Harry???? I just want to be like, “Bro! Go after this woman! Go after her! You’ll remember how to have a heartbeat, I promise! Go get her!”

Alright, if this post has taught me anything it is that I obviously need to write a separate post detailing all of my feelings about particular songs by Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Maybe that’ll be coming your way soon.

I have been writing my novel fiercely the last few weeks. And if I keep at it, I’ll be finished with it very soon. That’s both exhilarating and frightening. But I can’t wait. Someday you’ll have to remind me to tell you what music I listened to the majority of the time that I wrote this book. It will blow you away.

And now I’ve come to the end of this post. Go listen to some Ed and Harry.

Just Writing

The Truth About Broken Things

The Truth about Broken Things

The Fullston’s lived at No. 9 Chaddick Drive, just around the corner from the recruiting office. In the days following the bold black headlines of the Lusitania lines of men extended well past the front door. Their eyes all held different stories. Frightened or yearning for glory, and always perched above gray coats.

Eventually the gray spread to trousers and boots, and bled into the streets. And soon everything was gray except the signs for bonds.

At first I thought that it wouldn’t find its way past the front door. We kept it out for as long as we could, or at least I did. Mr. Fullston embraced the war, and for his sake Diana did as well. I don’t even think they noticed when the gray touched the marble and mahogany.

In the hallway outside the library was a mostly empty china cabinet. A shelf behind the dull glass held a colorful variety of tea cups. Diana once told me she collected them on her travels. In the years before meeting Mr. Fullston.

The gray touched the cups one by one. Hand painted flowers and bright rims eventually faded. And as I watched it happen I knew it would eventually reach me. It seemed the war would scar every inch of our lives.

When the lines had shortened and the obituaries were much too young, I noticed that two cups near the back of the shelf remained untouched. Behind the faded glass and rows of gray, the weak light reflected off their gold rims. The porcelain was a clean white. It spoke of purer times.

Each day I walked to the cabinet and pressed my fingertips to the glass. Just to look and see. To make sure that it hadn’t touched them. That it wouldn’t touch them. I was never sure what I would do if it had. I just hoped that it wouldn’t. It began to seem as though everything was hung in balance by that single moment each morning.

Diana asked me about it once, right before she left for one of her war effort meetings. I answered without thinking, “It hasn’t touched these two yet.” For a moment I was paralyzed with the notion that she wouldn’t understand.

She put her fur muff to the side, next to the boxes of gray clothes that were to be donated to soldiers. Her eyes were misty with confusion until she saw the cups. And a soft smiled graced her lips then. “I got those two when I was away at school. They were so simple. Ordinary, even. But perfect. Incredibly perfect.” She brushed a graying stand of hair from her eyes. “I usually only collected one cup at a time. But I couldn’t separate them. They were made to be together. I think that is what made them special.”

“They seem so…clean from the world.” My voice came out in a ragged whisper. To my surprise, Diana merely nodded.

“I’ll be back shortly, my dear. We’ll use them for our tea this afternoon.”

Mr. Fullston left soon after her, a telegram in his hand and a cigar jammed in the corner of his mouth. No doubt he was heading downtown to one of the large buildings with marble floors. I was never to know what he actually did there. He left clouds of gray smoke behind him as he closed the door.

I decided to wait until Diana came home from her meeting to get the saucers out. I was both excited and frightened to remove them from behind the glass. I needed the perfection Diana had spoken of to remain. And yet I had a small hope of absorbing their purity.

Perhaps it was this hope that caused the accident. I’ll never be entirely sure.

Diana sat at the table, our tea set before her as I removed the cups. They were dainty, yet somehow strong in their light clinking. I wiped them clean of any gray dust and walked back towards the tea room.

But the cups fell.

They slipped from my hands and shattered into fragments on the gray floor. I screamed. And I could not get to the pieces before the gray began weeping into them.

“No! No, no, no!” My tears splashed onto the tainted porcelain. But they didn’t wash it clean.

“It’s alright, my dear.” Diana’s voice was suddenly beside me. But I couldn’t seem to hear it. I frantically began gathering up the pieces, hardly noticing when one of them cut me. Then I saw that even my blood looked gray. And that was when I realized that there was no escape. There was no remaining untouched.

“We will fix them.” Diana’s voice came piercing through my realizations.

“But we can’t.” My voice was as raw as my new reality. “They are broken. I broke them. They were perfect and now they are tainted.” I was finally able to meet her eyes. “Diana, it’s all broken.”

Diana smiled at me, and then carefully picked up the fragmented cups. At her silent invitation I followed her to the kitchen where she scrubbed the blood from my hands. Then we sat at the large table and I watched her repair the cups. Piece by piece, the porcelain fit back together and the gold rims returned. Though I thought I would be forever haunted by the cracks.

“Everything gets broken from time to time.” Diana finally said, “But you should learn now that brokenness is never final. I told you earlier that I’ve always felt that the perfection we sense here lies in the fact that they were made for one another. Tainted or whole makes no difference.”

One day, the gray was gone. Perhaps it left on its own or perhaps I simply stopped seeing it. For the rest of the war I visited the china cabinet every day. I pressed my fingertips to the glinting glass and peered inside at the two white cups. And I often heard Diana’s voice in my head, teaching me the truth about broken things.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve had this short story floating around in the gray areas of my mind for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, when I had a very wonderful conversation with somebody whom I love dearly, that I was able to put all the pieces together. I felt myself looking for some grand way to express the simplest truth I’ve learned this year. But it wasn’t until I stripped away the thoughts of grandeur that I could really see it before my eyes. Sometimes the grandest way to express our deepest truths is through simple means. It was a joy to write.

Just Writing

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

For Laughs

An Open Letter To One Direction

Dear One Direction,

carI did not fully appreciate you until you were gone. I wish there was a way for me to explain how this happened. I wish there was justification for my actions. But there isn’t. Just like Zayn, I threw away an incredible opportunity to be a part of something spectacular. I’m trying not to be haunted by this fact. This letter, while a deep window into my soul, must be written. I can’t contain this anymore.

I’m going through the phases of loving you in ridiculous amounts, being angry at Zayn, loving you more without him, and being sad that you’re gone all at once. And oh, so much later than the rest of the world. It’s actually quite beautiful in all of it’s tragic too late-ness.

I’m watching X Factor things years too late. I’m watching interviews years too late. Enjoying music years too late. I’m falling in love with Harry so much later than everybody else. (Which doesn’t diminish the love itself, Harry, I’m just saying.) But it’s just all too late. Much too late. If I tried to count each instance I’m sure it would feel like infinity.history

It has taught me a valuable lesson. It’s taught me that for some things, it’s never too late. But it has also taught me that when something good is right in front of you, you have to grab it and never let go. It’s taught me that sometimes it can be too late. And that you can’t pass by the wonderful things that life hands you. Maybe we all say it too much, but we should never give up. If you know something, go for it.

Perhaps if I had jumped on the One Direction bandwagon years ago with the rest of the world, I wouldn’t enjoy everything you all did as much as I do now. Perhaps it would’ve have the same influence as it does now. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as special.

In any case, I need to thank each one of you individually for your contributions to my life in the last few months. You’ve all contributed to a rather interesting time in my life in your own unique way.

suitsLiam: You’re such a drama queen. I love watching you in music videos, because you just pour so much of your soul into it. Thanks for teaching me that about life.

Niall: You’re just…perfect. And so cute. And so loveable. Just so Irish. You make the world a better place with your happiness.

Louis: You have a special place in my heart, Louis. You have such kind eyes. You really are so pure. Like a cinnamon roll. You make me believe in the purity of the human race.

Harry: We’ve got to stop meeting like this. It’s more than I can handle most days. That’s really all I can say for now.

Also, I would like to issue a blanket thank you to all of you for the following songs, which light of my life, comfort my heart, and speak all the words I wish I could speak:

  • Still the One
  • End of the Day
  • You and I
  • Infinity
  • Rock Me
  • Steal My Girl
  • A.M
  • Kiss You
  • Little Things
  • Better than Words
  • If I Could Fly
  • No Control
  • Perfect

Oh, these are only a few. Truly. But these are some of the special ones. The ones that have little thingshelped me through some hard times, which I honestly can’t be held responsible for. Just thank you. Thank you for making me happy, for helping me know that there really are words for how I’m feeling, and teaching me lots of life lessons. Lots of little things.

Probably the most important life lessons you’ve taught me are that life is meant to be lived, that we need to follow our passions, and that love is much too precious to let slip away.

Many thanks.

Love, Jordan