I'm Just Saying

Today is August

Every time I sit down to blog, a small part of me feels like a very wise all-knowing being sitting here having experienced all of these things in life. And now I get to sit here and write about all of it and bless your lives.

Like I said, it is only a small part of me that feels this way.

Then I am hit with the reality that I tend to blog about the same things over and over again. But when you really think about it, I think that’s a lot of what life is. Routines tend to fall into place and we sometimes have to do things over and over again. I don’t think it’s so much about learning the same lesson over and over again as it is about applying what we already know to each new situation.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote several blog posts about the things I thought were going to happen, and how I felt about the year in general. This year has been so many good things. I wrote about how I wanted to apply one word to my life this year:

Clean.

I wrote about how I wanted to emulate that word because I felt it. And I wrote about how it was going to impact my life this year. And because I wrote about that, I feel the need to update all of you periodically throughout the year.

I have honestly never been this successful in the realm of New Year’s Resolutions. To be fair, applying this word/concept to my life wasn’t necessarily a resolution, but it is the closest I’ll ever get. I chose this word because it is how I felt at the beginning of the year. I felt clean and fresh from everything that I had experienced beforehand. It was a new beginning in a way that the new year should always be.

It was interesting because it wasn’t like I had forgotten everything from before that I even really felt different from before, but I just felt as though this year would be different. I felt that pieces would fall into place that had been hovering over the board for some time. I felt that happiness would bloom in unexpected places. I felt that my path would be both solid and exciting.

So today, halfway through August, I just want to revisit all of these ideas.

And I still feel clean. There have been hard times. There have been moments when I was very scared. No doubt those aren’t over, that’s just kind of how life works. But there has been an insane amount of hope and light as well. I have found strength beyond my own to help me understand what to pursue and what to leave behind.

I have learned a great deal about life in general. And I’ve learned even more about love. I write about life and love A LOT, so I know that many of you are already aware of my many and various opinions on both subjects. But the one thing I want to focus on tonight is how love and life are both very evolving forces.

There are many things about them that stay the same, but even more things about them that change. And I think that the trick to being successful in both is understanding that, and being able to apply the things that stay the same to the things that change. Being able to understand that even though things change or have their own timeline, what is real and true and good never changes.

I'm Just Saying

Can You See Right Through Me?

There is quite a bit that I need to say in this post, and honestly, none of it is really new or groundbreaking. However, it has been a really long time since I’ve been this excited about a post. I’ve been thinking about it for at least a week now and waiting for the right time to post it, and honestly, I just feel like it’s time. So here it goes.

So many of you may remember that for the last few years, every time Taylor Swift releases a new album I write a post about it and what themes stick out to me and what the album means to me as a whole. (You can find more about that here and here.) Your personal opinions on this mean very little me unless they are positive, and I mean that with all of the love and kindness in my heart. If you aren’t a fan and aren’t interested, you don’t have to read those posts. There’s that. So, we all know Taylor’s new album is dropping on August 23. And if this were normal I’d wait until a little bit after the album came out to do my post.

But then.

She released “The Archer”.

And I have so, so much to say. I have had this song on repeat for the last week and it’s killing me. In the best way possible this song ended my life and began it again. It is so lyrically rich it rewired my brain. So this post is all about this song. I want to highlight some of the lyrics that have touched my heart deeply and what they mean to me. And the song as a whole, for that matter.

“I never grew up, it’s getting so old.”

This lyric is in the first pre-chorus, and the first time I heard it my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t probably write entire papers about each of the lyrics I’m going to highlight, but I’ll do my best to keep my thoughts concise. To me, this lyric is talking about how sometimes, no matter how old we get or what we go through, it feels like we just never grew up. How it feels like we’re stuck in this phase of not being able to learn and grow, or that we just can’t face the world in a realistic way because we could never grow up. But the next lyric is what finishes this thought off:

“Help me hold on to you.”

The tears that gathered in my eyes in the last lyric fell at this one. You have to understand that right now Taylor is dating Joe Alwyn, and their relationship is the stuff of fairytales. He is her rock and her support through all of the darkness she has to go through. So to understand this lyric, she is essentially saying that because she never grew up and life gets so hard sometimes, it can actually be hard to hang on to Joe. Even though he’s the best thing and their relationship is beautiful and at the end of the day it’s what they both want, it’s still hard for her to hold onto sometimes. And she needs his help with that. I am not being too bold in saying that we’ve all been in that situation in some form or another. Sometimes life gets really hard and even when we want something and we know that it’s what we want and that it’s what will bring us true joy, we will still need help holding on to it.

“And I cut off my nose just to spite my face, then hate my reflection for years and years.”

We all have self-destructive patterns. And sometimes the worst things we do, we do them to ourselves on purpose. And then we can’t stand to look at ourselves in the mirror after that. Because after you do something like that you have to look at yourself and wonder who that person is looking back at you, and what happened to the person that used to be there. And that is when we need to hold on.

“All of my heroes die all alone, help me hold on to you.”

Sometimes the things that have gotten us through or the people we have looked up to fall apart, or die alone. Whatever that could mean. And that is a hard pill to swallow, especially when you wanted to be like that. That’s when we need help holding on.

“Can you see right through me? They see right through me. I see right through me.”

Again, this part made me so emotional. There are going to be moments in your life when no matter what anybody says or does, you feel like a failure and a fraud. You feel like everything you’ve ever done or said has been a lie or has been fake. And you feel like everybody can see you for what you really are. And in your eyes, what you are isn’t good. And you feel like they can see it all. But what does this thought end with again? Help me hold on to you.

“Who could ever leave me, darling? But who could stay? Who could stay? … You could stay.”

This is how the song ends. Over and over throughout the song, she asks who could actually stay by her side through everything. Who? And then at the very end, she realizes something: you could stay. You could stay.

Because that’s what love is.

It isn’t about flowers, chocolates, kisses, and candlelight. True love is about staying when everybody else leaves. It is about holding on or being honest about needing help holding on. When life gets hard and you feel like you’ll never grow up or like you want to jump from the train and ride off alone, that’s when you hold on the hardest. Even if you need help.

I'm Just Saying

Gus Knows

My three-year-old nephew Gus begins every single story he ever tells with the phrase, “Once upon a time ago…” It is the most adorable thing in the entire world. And usually, not always, but usually, he will finish his stories with the following sentence, “But he can’t know.” It doesn’t matter what the story is about or who the characters are. “But he can’t know.” Is his way of ending things. The very first time I heard this was several months ago when he told me the following story:

“Once upon a time ago, there was a bear! And there was a spaceship case! And a man. And he was running to the moon. But he can’t know.”

I’m convinced that someday when I’ve reached a level of wisdom that I hope to reach, I’ll understand what that story really means. Until then, I must be content with the blessing of having heard it.

I wish there was a way for me to explain how absolutely amazing that little boy is. Oh, he’s just as crazy and can be just as difficult as any other three-year-old, but on the other side of that, he is one of the sweetest souls I have ever encountered. The things he thinks to say, the feeling he shows, it is all incredible. I was babysitting him and his older brother one night several months ago, and when I tucked them in bed I was laying beside Gus as he fell asleep. Sometime later, his parents came home and I went back to my apartment. I had been home only a few moments when my sister started video chatting me, and as I opened the chat, there was Gus, his face red from crying.

“Jordan,” he said, “I was crying. I couldn’t find you.”

I had neglected to tell him that I would be going home that night. He had fallen asleep with me laying beside him and then woken up in the night to find me gone. So he had to video chat me to see my face and make sure I was okay. I had to reassure him and say a prayer with him, and now I always let him know that I’ll be going home.

Gus and his brother are spectacular little boys. To be fair, I love all of my nieces and nephews so much they might as well be my own children. But Gus and I are particularly close. He reminds me that life is full of so many wonderful things. He gets excited about the smallest things, and because my sister always has her nails painted he’s always checking mine. He’ll say things like, “Your nails aren’t painted. My mom’s nails are painted.” And then if my nails are painted he’s genuinely proud of me. It’s beautiful. When he eats ice cream it gets absolutely everywhere and he is the happiest person in the world, and he smiles and his blue eyes light up. The other day he was having a hard moment, and then when he got through it he said to me, “Jordan, I feel so much better. Nothing can stop me now.”

But more than anything, Gus reminds me of what unconditional love is. And he reminds me of what is really important. Of what life is really about at the end of the day. He reminds me of how simple the real things are. He reminds me to do things even when I’m scared. Little kids are honestly so inspiring that way. They do things all the time that are truly terrifying for them. Can you imagine how scary it must be learning to walk? Or jumping in a swimming pool when you are that small? It might not seem like much to us, but they try new and scary things every single day. And still they do it. They keep going to enjoy and experience life.

And at the end of the day, Gus still needs a hug and a kiss before I leave the house. He still needs a bedtime story. He still understands that his family is the most important thing in the world. He knows what life is really about, and it’s inspiring.

He knows

I'm Just Saying

Summary

I have had a few different ideas for a blog post over the last several days. A few of them would have required a lot of courage. Actually, most of them would have. I’m actually a little bit disappointed in myself because for a long time I’ve wanted to write a post about mental health. I was going to do it for Mental Health Awareness month, but guess what? That’s in May.

Not that I’m going to wait a year, that would be ridiculous. But it also isn’t a topic I just want to write on for the sake of it. I need to do it correctly and so for that reason, it’ll have to wait a bit longer.

There has been a lot happening in my life recently. Like. A lot.

I can sum all of these things up into two words: exciting and scary. If I’m being completely honest, I think that most of life is like that. Or maybe it should be if we’re living it correctly. I feel as though I am at a bit of a crossroads in my life. Simply because I feel that there is a lot coming up, and my life will probably change very drastically by the end of this year.

Most of you know that I’ve been accepted into the graduate program at King’s College London. I’m so excited! I start in September, and I just applied for housing this last week. (Which I actually should I have done much sooner, but that’s a different story for a different time.) The whole grad school experience thus far has been really amazing, and so, so much different than I thought it would be.

Especially after visiting the campus last month and getting to tour it, I really feel as though it is where I need to be. I feel like all of the things I have left to work out will fall into place and it’s going to be beautiful.

However, there is a “but”.

I am actually a little scared to write this down because even though it’s something I feel very strongly about, it will be different to have it written down and published. “Out there” if you will. Because there is always a chance I could be wrong. Anyway. Let’s carry on: I know that it is where I am supposed to be. I know that. But I also feel, very, very strongly, that something is supposed to happen before that.

I suppose we’ll see.

I feel like I blog about life a lot. Like. A LOT. And I think that most of the time I pretty much end up saying the same thing in a variety of ways. I have had a lot of interesting experiences this week at my apartment. A few of my roommates have been going through some hard things, and it has honestly been such a great opportunity to be able to be there for them.

This last semester of my undergrad has been one of the best I’ve ever had in college. I have great friends and so many other blessings. It has been so wonderful to see how Heavenly Father has blessed me. I can see so many things in my life coming together, and other things beginning to grow.

It is one of the times in my life when I am in this wonderful situation to be very happy and content with where I am at because there are so many lovely things. But to also be very happy and excited about the things that are developing and could come.

I’m hopeful.

 

Just Writing

Heartbeats

The heart is a beautiful thing.

It grows and it thrives. It lives and breathes. It breaks and it heals. When you think it has plunged into the darkness forever, you’ll find instead that it let itself break to let the light in.

It keeps beating.

In the moments you think it won’t, it keeps beating. In the moments you think it can’t. It keeps beating.  It beats when you can’t figure things out. It beats when you are confused. It beats in the lightning moments when you realize you know what you have to do. It beats in the moments when you don’t know what the future holds. And in the very best moments, it beats. You feel it pounding in your chest as the air is thick with words neither of you say.

The heart is a beautiful thing.

Over the years it teaches you so many things. It teaches you what it thrives on. It teaches you what you really want after a million mistakes. It teaches you what you really want at the end of the day. It teaches you what love looks like. And that whether it means jumping off cliffs or just taking one step at a time, it will always beat.

It keeps beating.

I'm Just Saying

All At Once

If I have learned anything from my time as a human being, it is that there are so many different types of love on this earth. I could list them all, but that would take a while. So I’ll just mention my favorites.

The love you feel for family. Indescribable. The same but different: the love you feel for a niece or nephew. I have so many nieces and nephews, and I love each of them as if they were my own child. I’d do anything in the world for any of them.

The love you feel for friends. It’s amazing because they are the family you didn’t know you needed. And they come into your life and make it so much better and grander. And they make you a better person. They are there through the thick and thin, see you at your worst and your best.

And there is the love we feel for the things that we love. Books, movies, places. All of the things that make us who we are. That love is very special.

What I have found is that all love is the same and all love is different.

And then there is love.

And even within the realm of romantic love, there are so many different kinds of love. You will find that you run into so many people in your life that you click with. There are many people it could work with. People you get along with so well. People you could build a life with and be so happy. And choosing any one of those people would not be a poor decision.

But then there is that one person. You all know what I’m talking about.

The one person who wrecks everything, who mixes up your life in the most fantastic way. The person who scatters all the pieces you thought you had together, but in scattering them they put them where they are actually supposed to be. The person who makes no sense and yet all the sense in the world. The person who drives you absolutely crazy and yet is the only one who brings you home. The person that you love with every type of love there is to feel.

It is something beyond being human to love like that.

One of the only ways I can describe it is that when you find them, both of your souls jump out to greet each other after the time apart. As if you were born from the same breath of eternity. And then once your souls come back into your own bodies you have pieces of theirs and pieces of yours and you know you’ll never again exist without them. Perhaps you never really did.

And sometimes this love is wild and reckless and tumultuous. But at the end of the day, it is the truest peace you’ve ever felt. And sometimes love that like has a hard time fitting comfortably inside the world. So you choose to believe that there are other things that are wonderful, other things to love, and other things to make you happy. And you are not wrong.

But one day you will realize something.

You will realize that no matter what city you call home, no matter what other dreams you make come true, no matter what special pieces of paper qualify you for certain positions: none of it really matters if you have to do it all without them.

I have learned something interesting about life:

It is both incredibly long and incredibly short. We have an entire lifetime to learn all the things we want to learn, to master the things that ignite a fire within us. We have an entire lifetime to achieve things: to write a book, learn to play the shredding electric guitar, to hike some horrible thing, or whatever.

But when it comes to certain things, life is short. I look at my nieces and nephews, for example, and I cannot believe how fast they all grow. How much they are all learning. How quickly it all seems to go.

And I look at love and I understand that to love anyone or anything in any way is the greatest accomplishment of being human.

I'm Just Saying

What A Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am so different now than I was then.

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