If You’re Reading This At 4 A.M…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Is It Cool That I Said All That?

Something happened to me today that hasn’t happened to me in a very long time. I was sitting with my family, enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, and suddenly I got the very strong feeling that I needed to write a blog post. 

I have had this blog for five years now. And it has been through many highs and many lows. But through everything, it has always been the place I’ve gone to that houses all of my thoughts. It has been there for me through thick and thin. I’ve gone through times when my views and comments have exploded and I’ve made tons of new friends, and times when nobody ever visits. Which I think is a normal thing. 

It’s just always been my place to come and let everything out. And it’s been a while since I’ve done that. 

The problem that I’m facing tonight is that I have so much on my mind. The last several weeks have been a really interesting time in my life, and there’s a lot going on in my head. But since it is Thanksgiving, I feel this obligation to write about the things I’m grateful for and all of that. But to be honest, the last weeks have been really hard and being grateful has been something I’ve had to give an active effort towards. (An effort that hasn’t always been successful… or successful at all, really.)

You know something? SO much of life is unsure. I think that’s just the nature of life. There’s always going to be something we don’t know. There’s always going to be something we don’t think we’re ready for. This happens to me a lot, actually. I have had several experiences in my life when I thought that I was set and everything was going to be fairly steady for a while. And then all of the sudden everything changes and it’s all unsure again. 

When this happens, my strategy is usually to just hang on to what I know to be true and ride the wave. But it isn’t always as simple as that. 

I am at a time in my life when I have a lot of really big decisions before me. And if I’m being completely honest, my absolute ideal for the next year of my life would probably shock everybody that I know. But I’m not sure what’s going to happen. It’s almost like I’m living day to day right now. Just waiting for whatever life decides to hand me next. 

As a very spiritual person, this is sometimes hard for me. I have this relationship with God where He will tell me something about my life in an incredibly powerful way, and then tell me to trust Him. In order to explain this a little bit better, it’s almost like somebody really, really influential and powerful in your life telling you that all of your wildest dreams are going to come true. Absolutely and completely. But you have to just trust them and they’ll take care of it. And they’ll let you know what to do every now and again. Your job is simply to believe what they’ve told you and do your best. 

It sounds really great, I know, but it’s more frustrating in practice. I think it’s God’s way of teaching me that I can’t control everything and that ultimately He is in charge. I think it’s His way of letting me know that He’s aware of my life and the things I want in the deepest part of my heart, and showing me that He’s ultimately got everything taken care of. 

Trust is hard for me. It always has been. I’m not exactly sure why. I’ve gotten much better at patience, but trust not so much. 

In learning patience, I have learned that it is something you have to continually work on. And ideally, you should never run out of patience with anyone. I have only had to deliberately cut somebody out of my life one time. And honestly, it wasn’t my favorite thing. I wish I hadn’t had to do it. I don’t think that’s the way we should have to live our lives.

Maybe trust is kind of the same way. There are definitely people in our lives who betray our trust. There are a lot of circumstances, I understand, and in the end, I think we just have to be the judges of what we are patient with and what we trust. But when all is said and done, I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t trust. I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t have patience. I don’t want to be the kind of person who can’t trust God to fulfill His words. 

There is a sentiment that’s been floating around my life recently. Essentially it’s that you should remain breakable, but be strong. If I’m being honest, I only agree with this in theory. The truth is that I’m tired of being breakable. Because I’m actually a very breakable person. I’m tired of that. But I don’t want to have an ice castle for a heart, either. And as a person who feels a crazy amount of emotions ALL THE TIME, that would be the alternative. 

Another thing I’ve learned, and I’ve written about this a lot, is that life is very individual. It’s actually really hard for somebody to say: this is how life goes, live your life this way. Because everybody’s story is different. For example, one of my older sisters got married at 18 and now has 6 children. She and her husband have been married 10 years. They love each other very much, and they are very happy. They’ve had a great life together and will continue to.

And because this is her story and she’s been so happy, she has the tendency to think that everybody should have the same story as her. I think we all do this to some degree. But that just isn’t the way that life works. She and her husband didn’t date for very long before they got married, and to be honest, we were all a little worried about the whole thing because of that and because they were so young. But that is their story and it’s been great for them.

My other older sister does the exact same thing. She’s even more forceful about the whole, “This is the way love works…” thing. But I am with somebody right now who I care about very, very much. And our story couldn’t be more different than either of my sisters’ stories. The point is that everybody’s story is different. But that doesn’t make one story better than another. It doesn’t mean that there is a way that everything has to play out. Life is just different for everybody. 

Sometimes when I post on my blog a lot of the thoughts that are rolling around in my head I expect some kind of repercussion. I write things out that feel incredibly bold to say, and it’s like I wait with bated breath to see if anything’s going to happen. Nothing ever does, but I always wait to see if it will.

Sometimes I’m tempted to think negatively about this and think that my thoughts just aren’t worth commenting on, but other times it actually helps me to know that my thoughts aren’t so uncommon. I think a lot of people feel uncertain. A lot of people are worried about things. A lot of people hope that everything in life works out. A lot of people are waiting with patience and trust and putting their thoughts out there for the best version of their story. 

Is it cool that I said all that?

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.

 

The Green Field

The Green Field

If I close my eyes
and open my mind
I always see a green field

The sun is shining
and the air is crisp
a white dress reaches my heels

Sometimes there are leaves
the color of Fall
piling around my feet

Piano music plays
I always walk on
and for what am I searching?

I don’t come often
to the rolling field
it hides behind slabs of life

Every so often
it comes to the front
so vivid before my eyes

Sometimes it changes
this green rolling field
at times I walk down a path

Sometimes there’s a fence
it guides me forward
I never, ever look back

I don’t ever know
what is waiting here
in this place inside my mind

I’ve never made it
too far down the path
looking, but never to find

Some few days ago
when I closed my eyes
I saw something very new

I sat on the ground
on top of a quilt
the sky was vividly blue

I wasn’t alone
there was no white dress
different than other times

Still my same green field
but so very new
what I saw, such a new sight

Too precious to write
the things that I saw
a life I hope awaits me

I will keep it close
and pray to live it
changes in the field of green

All The Broken Hearts

heart-noteThere is a five year old child inside of me that gets really, really into 80’s music. This is, of course, because I was raised on 80’s music due to the fact that I have very wonderful parents. On the days when nothing seems right, when I can’t get any of the pieces of my life to fit together, when I can’t figure anything out, there is always Journey, Boston, and Def Leppard. To name a few of the greats.

Every now and again, my sharp wit and sarcasm get me into a world of trouble.

Seriously, the only time I ever make huge, glaring errors in life is when I say exactly what I’m thinking. Most of the time it’s not a big deal and I can be the funny one, other times I get snarky and…well.

I’ve done quite well over the past few years at limiting this type of thing. I have worked very, very hard on thinking before I speak and this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too much anymore.

But it happened last night. And even though I apologized and everything is okay, I’m still shaking off the feelings of guilt and shame.

And you’re probably thinking I’ve said something absolutely horrible to rend the relationships of my life, and truthfully I have been in that position before and it was just the worst, but this isn’t what happened last night. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Oh-My-Gosh-How-Do-I-Have-Friends-I’m-So-Cruel, it was more of Oops-I-Could-Have-Said-That-Differently-Sorry.

But I’ve been doing this thing lately where it’s like I’ve never learned anything or had any balancebouts of self discovery ever and all the sudden I’m relearning all the things. I’ve been torn between optimism and pessimism, despair and hope, happiness and sadness, caring and indifference. I’m just going to say it: balance is hard. Not only that, but it’s never been my forte in…anything.

I’m an all or nothing type of person, and totally not into this half way crap.

Last night I was driving to my apartment from my sister’s house, this was before the incident in which I forgot to think before vomiting my thoughts, and I was feeling rather lost. The truth is that my mind can be a little bit of a scary place but I frequently get lost inside of it, and as a result I turn into a philosopher who get easily overwhelmed. (And I’m not even a coffee drinker which poses a problem because I’m pretty sure that’s some sort of necessity for people who dare to get lost in their own mind.)

At this point, the wonderful band Boston decided to remind me to Hold on Loosely. Bless their hearts, they always know just what to say. And this isn’t a joke because I’m really, really good at clinging to things and spiraling out of control as a result. (I have an entire, really awesome blog post about this that you are more than welcome to read if you so desire. All you have to do is click here.)

It could possibly be because I’m 21 and in a phase of life, but life has decided to teach me about love recently. Recently meaning the last year especially. I’ve written quite a few posts about my findings on love, but one thing I’ve never talked about is how I’ve come to realize that love is love no matter what. You could be talking about romantic love, familial love, or the love you feel for your favorite food. Love is just love. And because that is the case, it encompasses everything, it connects everything. Love is the undercurrent of our lives.

heartWhen I was a little girl I used to think that a “broken heart” could only be the result of a romantic relationship gone wrong. Life very quickly showed me that this isn’t the case. Broken hearts happen all the time, with many different things. Sometimes we break our own hearts, sometimes our friends or family break our hearts. Sometimes we want a bowl of cereal and there’s no milk. The possibilities of heartbreak truly are endless.

What intrigues me about heartbreak is that it is the surest sign that you felt something. It is the surest sign that you did the purest thing in the world: you gave of yourself and you poured your love into life. Being heartbroken, then, is quite possibly the most noble thing to be. Especially when you keep on loving anyway.

And as I come to the close of this blog post in which I’ve talked about a plethora of different subjects, I think that all I’m really trying to say is that sometimes we do things we regret and we need to apologize, and sometimes we get our own hearts broken, and sometimes the only wisdom we can find is in the songs we grew up listening to. But I guess that’s coffee-less philosophy.

Thank you for exploring my thoughts with me today.

What Are You So Afraid Of?

The subject of fear has been on my mind quite a bit recently. And I will be completely honest and tell you exactly why: I’m a pretty frightened person.

This is not something that I’ve known about myself for very long. Mostly because I try very hard to be brave. But lately I’ve begun to realize that there are so many things in this world that I’m afraid of. Fear seems to drive just about everything that I do. It is very tempting for me to succumb to fear, and very often I do.

fear-indicationInterestingly enough, I think that the thing I fear the very most, above anything else in the world, is being happy.

Can you even believe that?

I have met so many people who fear being happy, and it is always for different reasons. I have some relatives who are so comfortable with their misery (health problems, financial problems, etc) that being happy would almost be worse. Because trust me, folks, being “comfortable” and being “happy” are two very, very different things. After a while you become comfortable with just about anything, but being happy is something else.

But like the human that I am, I never stopped to look inside myself and wonder if I was doing the exact same thing.

This isn’t to say that I’m not a happy person. I have so many blessings: wonderful family, great friends, a job, ambitions. Overall my existence is a very happy one. But I think that every one of us, no matter the stability or goodness that surrounds us, all have at least one dream we are reaching for.

But being happy is, oddly enough, a scary thing. All sorts of questions come up for me when I think of what it would be like to be truly happy. Questions like: do I dare? What would happen? Where would I be? What would that mean for me or my family?

Most of these questions stem from the fact that I, like many others, have a really hard growthtime trusting others. To be truthful, I’m not exactly sure where this trust thing started with me. I grew up in a large family with lots of older siblings who made really dumb choices, and as a result I learned to just rely on myself. It is infuriating, even to me, how hard it is for me to trust others. I am your classic “I’m afraid of getting hurt” human. Talk about cliche. Gag. (I usually avoid being cliche anything. I hate being like everybody else. Don’t even get me started.)

So if I were to be truly happy, if I were to live these dreams I have stored away in my heart, I feel like I’d always be waiting for something bad to happen. I’d always be looking for the catch. I’d be tempted to wait for the dark places, and then be all “I told you so” when I ended up crying in my room over something I felt like I ruined.

When it comes to fear, I honestly believe that we are our own worst enemies. And for that matter, this also applies to happiness. It can get so frustrating and I just want to shake myself and yell:

What are you so afraid of?

But I think the curse of the human soul is that we are so infinitely more than a body that we occupy. And whether we realize it or not, we’re pretty deep. So the whole “I’m afraid of getting hurt” thing is quite valid. There’s a lot of unknowns in the soul that we’re trying to work with, and getting hurt is definitely an over complication.

believe-thinkI often have these exhilarating moments where I throw all my fears out the window and decide to just go at this life thing. Unfortunately, they never last long. I’m too much of an expert at getting inside my own head.

I wish I could end this post by saying that I’m not going to be afraid anymore. That I’m not going to fear happiness, that I’m going to stop retreating into myself at the slightest sign of danger. But if I say that then I probably will not do it on purpose because this is the type of personal contradiction that I have to navigate daily.

So I’ll just end it by putting the question to you:

What are you so afraid of?

I Rise

The world has whispered many things in the places we call home. Sometimes it tells you glittery lies and others dark truths. It whispers of excitement and exhilaration in deep kisses and strong drinks. It lures you into cold water. It tempts you to regret the black corners when you walked without a light. It lurks you into fog where you cannot see the sun.

But the world never whispered of the ashes you arose from. It never hinted of the strength you possess. It makes you think you can only get so far before the regretted moments catch up. You are dependent on me, it says. You are dependent on this hurt for happiness.

I stumble and fall because at times I follow the whispers of excitement. I want to live, live like they say. Fully, and in each moment. I want to give my love generously, and believe in the fairy tales. But we all carry inside us a heart as deep as the ocean, as vast as the universe. So strong, and yet so fragile. We allow our hearts to be tinged with blackness. We put them in strange, wrong places and call it love.

And perhaps it is not the fault of those we thought we loved. We are all vast universes looking for a star, and that journey is not an easy one. So how silly of us to think that in our vastness we could fit inside this world. How silly of us to listen to the dark things it says. How strange that the world and the earth are two different things. I think sometimes that the earth is mourning the use of its beauty for so much destruction. I look at the beauty of the earth and wonder how the world became so cruel inside of it.

I am not the world, but neither have I overcome it. I work to rise above the black regrets, to move past the need for hurts. I don’t want to wear them like badges. Each day I work on rising. Rising. Rising. From the ashes. I work on renewal. I rise.