November 30, 2015

The Word(s) I Didn't Expect

Reverb: The time of year where I sit down for the next month or so, reflecting on the past year and manifesting what's next. Part of me is already feeling raw and exposed enough as it is, but this writing exercise has become a tradition that I don't plan on backing out of any time soon. Some of the prompts will be of my own devise, while others will come from other hosting websites

A number of people are now opting out of New Years Resolutions, and instead meditating on one word or theme for the year. Looking back, what was yours for 2015?

As I typed out a final reflection for the current year, my mind kept coming back to the concept of hope. Hope for all things made new, for the past to die away, and for the possibilities to come. I experienced it in waves: when I finally found work, Mom and sister moving into a new house, and meeting some pretty great people inside and out of my comfort zone. But there were times when hope seemed superficial, a buzzword coated in cliches for what I could not guarantee to actually happen. It felt shallow, as though I was chasing after something I could never quite catch (which from a certain perspective, I was). 

The more appropriate word would have been emotional. 

Good Lord, 2015 was quite an emotional year. A year filled with a few big changes that were a long time coming, including my parents finally going their separate ways. I was literally on a pendulum of feelings, literally hitting everything on the spectrum from complete and utter happiness to all out rage. I found joy in the little things, the every day and mundane. It was my way of focusing on the here and now, rather than get all worked up about what may or may not happen eventually.

And of course I was sad that a part of my life was coming to an end, even if it was unhealthy and dysfunctional in the grand scheme of things. I had to come to terms with the nature of certain dynamics, that some relationships might not be what I so desperately wished and prayed for since I first became aware of it. 

Yet, the more obvious factor, anger, was actually a misconception. I was more pissed at the way things were being handled, as opposed to what was actually happening. I couldn't be genuinely honest without someone making comparisons as to who was suffering more, or completely invalidating what I had seen and heard for so many years. And when I can't communicate what I'm feeling, I start lashing out and become resentful. It will build until I'm literally on the verge of taking somebody's head off.

It all was very much a disguise for helplessness. It was one thing to not have any kind of control, but to have very little influence was a different story entirely. It seemed like nothing I did or said mattered, and eventually resign myself to the fact that this was a train wreck in which I couldn't get away from. 

But I've learned a lot from it, having become more aware of how I express myself, communicate, and ultimately relate to others. And that is what I call progress. 

On the outside, it's not particularly monumental. However, I have battled with my sense of self-worth for close to thirteen years, and I am finally in a place where I've comfortable with the way that God made me: 

I am an expressive person, and it's literally impossible to hide it. Whether I'm in a good mood or a bad mood, most people that know me well enough can tell. 

I'm a sensitive, and toughening up is not in my vocabulary. Yes, some things will initially hurt at first, but I try to be an advocate for letting it out and then letting it go. When you name something, you give it less power over your mind and over your life.

I am a deep feeler; love, pain, everything. As uncomfortable as it is to feel like an outsider to both my peers and dear ones, I'm grateful for it. I consider it a gift to feel, as we now live in a culture that continually glorifies busyness and keeping it casual. It's scary as hell and kind of weird, but I'm leaning into it...slowly. 

There's so much more to discuss and expand on, but I'll save for that for the coming days. For now, I welcome this journey with open arms, and I give thanks for all that join me.

Photo Credit

November 23, 2015

Standing In The Season

We’re on the cusp of the holiday season, and I admit that I feel apprehensive about it. This time last year, I struggled with getting into the spirit of togetherness; I was still job searching and adjusting to “the adult life” as it is sometimes called. Add in the grief over what was happening my family, and no amount of Michael Buble, cinnamon candles, or cookies could get me out of the funk. The circumstances are somewhat different this year and the changing waters have begun to calm, but I’m still not sure how to approach it.

 How do I embrace the possibility of feeling strange and awkward without slipping into depression?

 How do I find joy in this season of anticipation, without forcing or sugarcoating anything?

It’s not sadness or excitement, but rather a “blahh” ambivalence that normally doesn’t hit me until January. I’ve noticed that with summer, there’s more risk-taking with an “anything can happen” mentality attached to it. Autumn brings the change of colors, and I always experience a sense of closeness and intimacy, as there is a lot of nostalgia involved. I enjoy winter up until Christmas, and then afterward get cranky because of the bleary skies and not having the motivation to get out as much. (Do we even have spring anymore??)

As far as why I’m feeling that way sooner rather than later, I don’t know exactly. My best guess at the moment is because of how intense this year has been, which I’ll reflect more on in the coming weeks. I want to connect, to be around people and be involved, but lately it has become rather overwhelming and a little bit scary. I’ve opened myself up in a lot of different ways to where by now I’ve been rubbed a little bit raw. I’m glad for it, but simultaneously I’m also tempted to put up walls, if only to allow myself to breathe for a minute.

I imagine that I’m not the only one either.

Many of us are tired; tired of feeling sad, angry, divided, and flat out down and out. We know there are reasons to rejoice and celebrate, but it can be difficult to do that in the midst of all the recent horrors and realities that have begun to set in. We know that life is beautiful and that God is good, but we want to feel it in our bones and in our souls. We want to live, and we want to feel alive.

But how does one achieve that in light of tragedy, or reminders of what is and what isn’t? Is there a way to lean completely into one emotion without fully denying the others?

I don’t have a concrete answer, as this isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. I am starting my gratitude lists up again in my journal, and am writing every chance I can get. I’m trying to focus on literally taking each day as it comes, balancing the desire to go with the flow while still being intentional about putting plans and ideas into action. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from the likes of Christmas Vacation or The Holiday, it’s to embrace the craziness and chaos instead of trying orchestrate a perfect anything. My life has always been somewhat unconventional, and it’s about damn time that I accept it. I can savor the joyous moments and soldier through the uncomfortable, knowing that it just comes with the territory of changes and new chapters and not knowing where the pieces will fall.

It’s not complicated, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. This is mostly because I am afraid; afraid of getting my hopes too high, of missing out, and saying or doing the wrong thing. It’s normal to be conscientious, but to practically walk on eggshells is an entirely different story. I am not responsible for other people’s opinions, and neither are you.

While it’s definitely getting cold outside, that’s not to say I should feel the same way in my heart. I don’t have a plan, and I’m not going to predict what may or may not happen. If they say merry is what you make it, then I’ll make mine as tangible, memorable, and as stress and worry-free as possible.

Let go, and Let God.

November 18, 2015

What Shame Looks Like

What Shame Looks Like

She approaches like a ghost, and without warning

Beginning in the head

And settling in the heart

A five letter word; starting with S

And ending with E

She can cripple your spirit

And bring you to your knees

She’s a follower of perfectionism

A mirror image, perhaps

Screaming loudly whenever mistakes are made

Whispering stories and confabulations that carry on

Weeks, months, years

Try for an entire lifetime

The reason for walls and defenses

A raging, haggard, bitch

Bearing wretched gifts of unnecessary burden

That I am not strong enough

That I am not caring enough

That I do not love enough

I am less, because I operate differently

And differences should be banished, rather than celebrated

I grow tired of her clawing at my back

Her voice, cackling in my thoughts

For stumbling when it’s normal to stumble

And being only human

I miss the freedom that comes with confidence

And the courage to fully live

I name her shame

For denying the truth only gives her power

I name her

Because MY truth is stronger than her lies

THE truth

That I am a human being and a Child of God

No explanation or justification needed

I name her

Because I do not follow or answer to her

And though is not a once and done victory

It’s definitely a start

November 08, 2015

Music Monday

Break On Me-Keith Urban
-One of my new absolute favorites; not just by him, but also in general. I'm thankful for the people in my life that allow me to do this.

Hold Me Up-Conrad Sewell

Drink You Away-Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton 
-If JT ever collaborates with anyone on a country song, I will be one happy lady!

Lay it All on Me-Rudimental and Ed Sheeran

Smoke Break-Carrie Underwood
-A reminder the underneath certain labels, professions, or beliefs...we're all human here.

Have a great week!!