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True life: 90s Diet Culture

I am a child of 90s diet culture.

Atkins, weight watchers, Tae Bo VHS. I took step aerobics classes and played sports and constantly felt like I was supposed to be losing weight.

Foods were morally good and evil. I felt shame for eating chips and hid to eat an entire bag of popcorn. At friend’s houses I wouldn’t finish food because no one else was.

I remember once in 6th grade I competed in a poetry festival, and I got too small of a size because I had no concept of my body.

7th and 8th grade I was in school musicals and remember the costumer eyeing me up and down- unsure of what they were supposed to do with me.

(Though, thank god for choir robes).

Going into high school and playing tennis and short skirts and trying to find prom and formal dresses in plus sizes that weren’t grandma style.

(I dreamed of the day to shop in the same stores as my friends).

It just seemed that whatever I did nothing worked and none of the weight stayed off.

Everything felt worse. The doctor felt terrifying (honestly still) because it felt as if every single one of my problems would have been solved if I lost weight.

Shopping for clothes was absolutely no fun. Trying piece after piece on because plus size clothing in the late 90s/Early 2000’s was atrocious (on top of women’s sizing being a dumpster fire).

Looking back on my life from 5th grade to graduating high school, I realized that there are very few moments where I felt strong, powerful, beautiful. The ones that come to mind right away are all from my senior year of high school.

As I went to college, I realized that something had to change. Maybe I had to change? Maybe I needed to be a different person? Maybe I was just boring as my own self? Maybe I just needed to come out of my shell?

So, I tried.

I ended up living with beautiful women, who had all the boys coming at them and quickly fell into step as the fat friend who constantly felt like a third wheel.

I was just never enough. Not talented enough of a singer, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough.

Not enough coupled with a helper personality trait led me to try to earn love and friendship and honestly probably be used for my kindness more than I like to admit.

And then, I remember stepping on a scale somehow the end of my first semester junior year.

I hated the number I saw.

I hated myself a lot.

When I came back from winter break, I went head on into losing weight.

Aggressively.

I burned every single calorie that went into my mouth and then some. If I could go back and find calorie counts I’m sure what I would find was that on a normal average day I was only allowing myself maybe 1,000 calories. I was tracking everything I ate. I was starving myself. I was working out at least twice a day and if I didn’t work out-I didn’t eat.

Because I was 19-20 I obviously lost weight.

I continued over the summer and when my senior year in college started, I was the thinnest I had ever been (and have ever been).

And I started to take up some space.

I hated it.

I had spent the entirety of my life being told to not take up space. To make myself as small as possible. Every time I had taken up space in my big, oversized body throughout my life it had ended in tragedy. It had ended in me being made fun of, or being less than, being not picked, not enough, still being too big.

Since my senior year in college, which was at this point 14 years ago, I’ve gone up and down in my weight. I’ve lost weight traveling and living internationally. I’ve gained weight through stress and moves and *cough cough* pandemics.

But now, I’m realizing it’s not about good and bad food. It’s not about fat= not healthy.

It’s about knowing who you are and what you need to do for your own self.

(and honestly what I usually need for myself is to actually eat food.)

It’s still a journey. I’m still not the best at it. But I’m learning. I’m also learning to eat what I want to eat. Like tonight I had a salad in a mixing bowl and two pieces of toast and now I’m eating green olives and drinking a glass of wine.

I don’t currently have a scale. I’m still a little terrified of going to the doctor. I’m still affected by fat shaming.

But if something doesn’t fit- it doesn’t fit.

If I want to eat chips- I’m probably going to eat them.

If I am not feeling beautiful- I try to realize why.

If I want to buy the damn two piece or short skirt…I buy it.

It’s still a journey. I still have food anxiety and have to remember not to call food good and bad.

But I’m learning.

That’s it.

Bottom line:

I am a child of the 90s diet culture and I am still learning.

Honest, hope is a verb

That’s not love.

I have a barometer for myself that I think I’ve had for a long time.

I am someone who comes off as giving a lot of her story away. I read as an open book and will mostly share everything that is going on in my life or that I’m unpacking.

There’s that 20% though. I tell 80% of my life to 100% of the people around me. But there is that 20% that’s limited to barely even a percentage. I give that 20% to those who I have deemed safe and for the most part that I’ve deemed safe back.

I’m honestly unsure if this is a 20% moment but I think it’s something that needs to be said.

I’ve realized probably in the last year (honestly thanks Tiktok), that I have a lot of trauma and unpacking to do from my late 90s early 2000 youth group.

And a lot of instances and experiences and moments that in no way, shape, or form line up with the character of God that I know.

To start, I would like to say that I am not an advocate for throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have so many experiences and moments and memories that I am so grateful for.  I learned about worship singing on my church worship team, I laughed pulling pranks on our youth pastor my junior/senior year, I can still smell the tortillas in the park in Mexicali.

But just because you have beautiful memories with something doesn’t mean there can’t be things that don’t settle.

I think I should begin with the fact that I never felt like I belonged. This might be less a youth group thing and more a small hometown thing, but I didn’t. I felt like I was too loud, too big, too much. I felt like I was never going to be the first choice and that I just didn’t fit.

But even though I didn’t grow up going to church I quickly felt the incredible pull that I had to be at church on Sundays. I had to show up. I had to have my bible. I remember getting shamed once for not having it. (Sword drills anyone?)

I would feel guilty if I didn’t show up at church.

Then, there was the fear. I remember watching the rapture movies of the early 70s-80s and being told that America wasn’t mentioned in the book of Revelations, that we didn’t know the day or the hour. I remember not sleeping for weeks because I was so afraid. I remember each morning I’d wake up slightly relieved.

There was the IMMENSE purity culture. Being modest. Saving yourself for marriage. Splitting up the guys and girls to give them separate talks and the girls almost always talking about how we needed to “protect our brothers”.

Now as an adult realizing that we were essentially being told to take all the responsibility for the boy’s thoughts. And without saying it to not take up space.

Now, if you know me, you know that I can be aggressively stubborn. I’ve yelled at more than one guy for opening my door or walking on the outside of the street.

But, when I was in high school, I didn’t feel empowered to yell. And yes, I was in high school- I get it. But I’m realizing more and more that I wasn’t empowered by the mostly male leadership. I didn’t think I should have a voice and when I did- I felt looked down on.

I’m realizing that the part that was hardest was that it didn’t feel like I was supposed to be empowered. I’m trying to think of all my time at my church in high school (besides youth Sundays or “missionary” Sundays) if I ever saw a woman preach. I’m pretty sure a man always lead worship (with a few exceptions- and I was on the worship team too).

And that, I feel, was standard for churches in that time frame. I know that wasn’t just my church- but it was in a lot of places.

Now, a bottom line, the reason I want to say all this and the reason I’ve concluded that I have trauma from it is that none of it- none of the shame, the fear, the purity driven culture, the male lead teams and the not belonging- none of that is the Christ I know today.

The Jesus I knew in high school was damn small. He was mean. He was terrifying. I could never do enough for him or be enough for him.

He thrived off fear and forcing people to look and be the same.

That. Is. Not. Christ.

I have a quote from Andrew Shearman that I will honestly never forget. He said once that God didn’t create earth to fill hell. And I believe that with my whole heart.

I believe God is so much fuller of love than anyone can comprehend.

And God doesn’t keep score.

He doesn’t have a white board or a checklist.

God doesn’t care that I like crop tops or that I have authority. (He made me for authority so there’s that)

Now, I’m not here to get into a theological debate or have you tell me the 100 reasons why your youth group was great. If it was, man, I am so happy for you. But our experiences don’t have to be compared.

I’m going to leave it at this: I’ve concluded in my now almost late 30s- almost 20 years out of high school youth group- that at the end of the day; if it doesn’t look like love it isn’t Christ. So, I’m going to say thank you to the experiences that aren’t Christ and love for what they brought me too and then I’m going to not kindly ask them to leave.

 That’s all.

With love,

Meg.

(And as a PS. Something I am putting in the Facebook, Instagram captions. If you want to ask me a follow up question, I’d ask you to not put it in the comments but to shoot me a message. Thank you. This is a space where I honor my own story and I’m putting a lot more out there than I might normally.)

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I’m not doing well.

I wasn’t going to write today.

I didn’t want to stare at a blank screen and try to figure out something motivational or hopeful to say. I didn’t want to try to make everything work together when it doesn’t feel like it’s going too.

I’m really, really tired. They are currently tears streaming down my face and I had to breath myself out of a full blown anxiety attack.

I wasn’t going to write today and say all these things because it feels as if right now I have nothing hopeful or helpful to say.

I feel like an incredibly heavy stress ball of a burden to everyone in my life and I am trying to figure out ways to actively change that.

I just want to give up and quit and all of the talk in my head is just telling me I’m not strong enough.

I wasn’t going to write because I didn’t want to push all this out into the world.

But not saying them doesn’t make them any less true.

Not admitting that my heart is feeling heavy and broken and “faking it til I make it” doesn’t change the fact that I’m drained.

(And this I guess is were it turns hopeful- because even though my roommate is across the world I can still see the look on his face when he read the words “I have nothing hopeful to say”)

Writing as tears fall down my face and out of exhaustion is absolutely ok. Sharing a part of who I am that feels ugly or messy or what have you is ok.

The pieces of us that feels the most covered in muck are usually the ones where we are going to find our strength and power.

I always want to write from whatever place I’m in to remind myself that my words are there- even if they are buried deep down at the bottom of tears and exhaustion.

I have my own hope that I can use in my life, I just have to state the things that are getting in the way so I can clear them out.

I’ve been told from so many different facets of life that my emotions aren’t valid. That I’m too sensitive. That what I feel doesn’t matter.

Now, what I feel isn’t everything. It’s not what I should base all decisions off of and I shouldn’t live in them.

But, man sometimes we just need another person to say “It’s ok”.

So, that’s what I’m here to do today.

I have tear-stained cheeks and I napped too long and the thought of work this week makes me want o crawl in a hole.

BUT

I took this span of time to write these 500 words and remember that in spite of it all I still have hope for myself.

And that’s why I chose share all the things that felt ugly today.

I still have hope. I still have the ability to realize all the ugly things aren’t me.

You aren’t all the ugly things.

You aren’t too much.

You aren’t weak.

It’s hard to read and to say; but it’s true.

We’ve got this.

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships, smash the cardboard

Untangling some yarn

I wish I were braver.

I wish I had the ability to say exactly what I wanted to say and to do exactly what I wanted to do.

I wish I could just jump.

I wish I could push past the anxiety and the insecurity and throw myself exactly in to the thing I needed to do.

I wish I could fully comprehend my own capability.

(Those statements above have very little to do with the words below and normally I would delete them but they felt important regardless of their connection.)

I was scrolling my email today when I say a newsletter from the “Naked Pastor”. He’s someone I follow on social media who talks a lot about deconstruction and ‘controversial’ topics in the church. Today he wrote something that I realized is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

“We’ve been trained to stay on the straight and narrow. But when we stray, we are terrified because of all the bad things that will happen to us that we were warned about.”

Woof.

I remember being in church when I was in high school and even in college and hearing things that terrified me to my core.

I went to a Christian university. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things.

(Spoiler alert: I did MOST of the things I wasn’t allowed to do).

But, it gets me thinking.

 When I taught one-year-old kiddos, I had a new tiny human come into my classroom and her dad worked downtown and would visit a lot. And he was a little intimidating.

I was outside with all the one-year-old kiddos and I was talking to the dad and his tiny human was in a push car and was going to fall off the deck. It was maybe 4-6 inches. I caught the car and pushed them back up.

But the dad said to let them fall next time.

The funny thing is if the dad wouldn’t have been standing there, I would have let the back wheels fall and let the tiny human plop down.

I knew they were safe, but the presence of the dad caused me to react differently.

The presence of someone I deemed with more authority than me (which in that case it was kind of true) caused me to react differently.

I wonder though; how frequently have I acted differently or had a different response because of deeming someone with more authority than myself.

I’ve discussed this next topic in my life a few times. It ebbs and flows out of meaning and out of my own personal reality.

I have a very strong reaction to men who are in authority or “authority” in my life (and yes the quotations are two different types of people).

It stems from a lot of years and a lot of men in and out of my life deeming themselves someone who had the power to tell me what to do.

(And this isn’t just inside the church).

But, because of the people with “authority” in my life, basically the ones who don’t have it but assert it anyway, I have truly lost a lot space to actually give people with more wisdom, life and what have you the ability to speak to me.

 And also, because of that, I sometimes feel that I have lost the space.

Because of the ways other people have hindered who I am and what I’m about, I have lost the ability (sometimes) to believe I can be that person.

It’s funny how different life can be when we live in the verbiage of what we can’t do versus the verbiage of what we can.

I know that I come across as an extraordinarily strong independent woman. I come across as someone who knows what she’s about and does what she needs to do.

And even saying all of the things I said in this collection of words, I still believe the sentence above is who I am.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes it isn’t a battle to move past the giants that like to wake up from sleeping and stomp around and shake the trees.

Here’s the thing about me:

I’m going to keep going in spite of all of that. I’m going to keep showing up and choosing to speak even when I feel things around me want me to be silent. I’m going to ask for help from people who are a little wiser than me (men and women) when I know they are safe in my knower even when my brain hasn’t caught up yet.

I’m going to try to the best of my ability to not be an island.

And I’m going to try to not be afraid of what is or isn’t off the path.

I’m not little red riding hood and I won’t mistake grandma for a wolf.

If you’re afraid of things that people have told you to be afraid, if you have been told you aren’t the right person and you don’t say the right things, if heaven forbid you’re a woman who’s been told you are less than- I want you to know that I’m here for you.

I’m with you.

Let’s do the damn thing.

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When God drinks scotch

I’ve started writing about 5 different things at this point and I don’t feel settled in any of them. I’ve deleted a lot of words and backspaced and ate queso and pondered and stared at people as they walk around downtown and wished words might just come flowing out and inspiration might hit me.

But as I sit here and write that sentence- why the hell would it?

Why would the perfect topic, or statement or thought process suddenly become so tangible and real?

Writing has not felt like myself these days. It hasn’t felt as it used too, it hasn’t felt like a place where I meet God and flesh out whatever thing is going in my head.

It’s felt more like I’m staring at a screen and some form of God is sitting across from me drinking a scotch (it seems right) and every time I think I’m onto something I pass them the computer and they gently shrug their shoulders and go “if that’s where you want to go”. Normally they sort of look bored and usually attempt to steal whatever snack I’m eating.

So the process starts again and they shrug again.

Sometimes I just say screw it and post words that still hit me between the eyes but don’t necessarily go all the way down to my toes.

And then they just say “it’s a piece of it”.

Because that’s true- it is a piece of it. It is SOME of it.

It’s not all of it.

I look at them at that point and say “Of course it’s a piece of it. It can’t be all of it”.

There’s always an eyebrow raise and then I want to cry because that seems like the only reasonable response to whatever is happening.

Not that I don’t want to deal with all it. I do and I am. But it’s not time yet.

It’s kind of like I’m completing one of the puzzles in my classroom with the kids. We have some that have the picture on the back of them and some that don’t and those ones are sometimes tricky to decide which frame it is. And sometimes when all the puzzle pieces have gotten put in a basket (I learned I have a new pet peeve this week) and I have to put them all back together; I don’t always choose the right puzzle frame the first time because they are just close enough and I get almost all the way through before I realize that I am putting the puzzle in the wrong frame. And then I have to restart it.

I feel like I’ve been using the wrong puzzle frame lately. Like I’ve been putting everything in what I thought it was supposed to be in.

So, the picture is right, but I didn’t give myself enough room.

I don’t have the space for all the pieces.

So, when I sit here, across from God, them drinking their scotch and stealing my queso and me drinking some champagne-based cocktail, we usually have a stare down.

And as much as I’m stubborn and could very easily win the stare down (I know, I couldn’t whatever), I realize that all the God sitting across from me wants is for me to take my space I’m supposed to take.

And choose the things that bring me life in that space.

And until I do that, they are going to sit across from me drinking scotch and wondering why I keep typing things that I don’t need to type.

Sometimes, I will start those words and then usually throw my hands up and just say “I can’t”.

And they take a sip and say “I know”.

And we stare a little more.

At this point for the 20th time in this writing process I usually ask, “So, what should I write about?”

Normally they shrug and say “Just the piece of it”.

Or “Not that.”

It could end with me slamming my computer and just dealing with the fact that I have “nothing to say” or deleted all the words.

Or, like today. Sitting in the discomfort of knowing that this is just a piece of it. That it’s just a puzzle piece I’m choosing to move into the frame that’s big enough for it. And that singular piece looks small and insignificant.

 But it’s not.

My story. All of the little pieces that I have to flesh out, all the things that feel messy or small or even seemingly unimportant are not.

I’m not.

Then I take a deep breath and finish the rest of my mimosa and God looks at me and finishes their scotch.

“How do you feel?”

I ponder it for a moment.

I’m always afraid of the words I write on Sunday because without fail they show up through the rest of the week, as if they are trying to remind me all week what I said.

“It’s gonna be ok”

They raise their glass for me to clink.

“Well, tell them.”

This is for you. This somewhat messy stream of conscious weird conversation I have with God while writing is for you. It’s to know that wherever you’ve been, wherever you are going, whatever you’ve done or haven’t done- you are existing in your story.

And sometimes you just need a bigger puzzle frame.

If you’re feeling small right now in the space you’re in or you are absolutely like too much, it’s probably a reminder that you need to be in a different space.

The space doesn’t tell you who you are- you tell the space who you are.

Right now, that’s where I’m living. I understand I am being absolutely defined by the spaces I am in to a point where that’s all I’m defined by.

If you need a new space than go find it.

I can tell you right now that there is a space and a place and home that is absolutely waiting for you to bring all that you are into it.

And if no one has told you lately- you are enough for those spaces. Not too much, not too small.

Just enough.

With love,

Meg

Honest

My chair is clean.

I don’t think I have anything to say today.

But, I cleaned off my chair and it’s raining and really I just want to go get ice cream, but rain.

I don’t think I have anything to say today.

I feel full of a lot of emotions, exhaustion and maybe sentences that are currently too twisted to form.

So, I am here. Writing and hoping that maybe by just continually putting words onto a screen I will figure out what I need to say.

Or get brave enough to say what’s in the back of my head.

Today in church, I sat and wrote out a list.

It was kind of a scary list because I had to face that I actually felt that way.

I feel, as if, I am person who has it together in her not-togetherness. Like, I in no way, shape or form, have it all together.

And I know this about myself.

I am mostly ok with it.

I’ve honestly really been having to be a self talk ninja these days. A lot of what is going on around me is communicating to me many things.

That I’m not enough, that what I have to say actually doesn’t matter. That I’m not good at my job. That I’m a terrible mean teacher that doesn’t know what she’s talking about. That I am just not strong enough to work during a global pandemic.

That I’m not going to accomplish anything.

That I’ll always be alone.

And folks, even though I know all of that isn’t true, it feels pretty damn real sometimes.

It feels tangible and like I have examples for all of those things.

I feel like a heavy, burdensome broken record.

I can admit, that in the last year, I’ve contemplated just running more than I’d like to even say.

Because what good do I even bring?

Now, before I lose you, before you pull out your phone (if you know me) to text me all the reasons why the things I said above aren’t true: just give me a minute ok?

I know none of that is true.

I’m not sharing any of this because I’m in a dark hole (because let’s be real than I wouldn’t be sharing it).

I’m sharing it because we have to chose not to give those things power in our life.

We have to chose to remember where we’ve come from, what we’ve done and know that all of those things are coloring where we are going.

I got this picture in my brain in church today, and now, I sit and type it’s reminding me more and more of the book “Harold and the purple crayon” where Harold enters a world that he gets to draw what he needs. He isn’t held back by parameters or anything. He also doesn’t always draw the right thing the first time and he has to figure how to make what he’s drawing better.

Mentally and emotionally the last year and a half have been hard.

Teaching tiny humans every day in a global pandemic and not getting paid enough to do so and being told your essentially but then essentially being forgotten about takes a really damn big toll on your brain.

But, that being said:

I see the blank page.

I see it and unlike the list of all the other things that I wrote today that I’m afraid of, a blank page doesn’t necessarily scare me.

 The blank page (and yes the thing about to type has caused me to roll my eyes) gives me hope.

So, like I said, I don’t write about hard things to make people worried. I write about hard things and hard thoughts and things that don’t feel pretty because whether we like it or not, they exist.

Whether we like or not, we have to deal with our perception of things.

Whether we like it or not, we must remember where we’ve came from and that we can indeed get through what we’re currently in.

Whether we like it or not, we have to keep fucking going, even if (especially if) it doesn’t look how you think it should.

So, no, I don’t have anything to say today.

And that’s alright.

We got this regardless.

With love,

Meg

hope is a verb

Let hope.

Hope seems to be one of my catch phrases right now.

And if I’m being honest, I kind of hate that about myself.

I’m searching, aggressively for hope. Something tangible, something I can hold. Something that might do the job of pulling me out of the pool that seems empty of it.

But, also, here’s the thing: I used to look at the search for hope as finding the end of something. I used to look at hope as the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am finding that it isn’t the case. Hope isn’t the end- it’s the beginning. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s stepping into the tunnel and seeing the light.

At church yesterday I wrote some words that I shared, words that seem to spill out about hope as I tried to roll my eyes and write at the same time.

Hope is here

It’s in the wings

It’s waiting.                     

It doesn’t need a clean spot or for your laundry to be folded.

Hope doesn’t need your calendar to say the right month or for all the cups in your room to be in the dishwasher.

Hope just wants to be invited in.

Hope just wants you to choose it. It doesn’t even care if it’s not the first choice.

Hope stays.

It percolates.

It gets better.

Hope won’t be ignored.

Hope can be built upon the ruins. It WANTS to be built upon the ruins.

It doesn’t need you to have it all together.

Hope just wants you to seep in.

So let it.

Let hope move in.

Let hope fill every corner.

Let hope persist.

Let hope Live.

Let it build on what you thought was ruins.

Let hope move.

Let hope.

Hope is a buzzword for me these days.

And I kind of hate it.

I’m continuing to choose to believe it exists.

I’m choosing to believe it’s for me.

I’m choosing to believe it’s not the end of something but the beginning.

I’m choosing to let hope do the damn thing.

So; watch this space for when I meet hope.

And if you ever forget- hope is for you too.

With love,

Meg

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thank you thirty-five

Oh man.

Thirty-five.

I’ve been pondering the words that might spill out of my brain for a week or so now. I sat in a cabana during a storm in the Bahamas last week wondering what I might say.

I’ve also ran away from the words that I might want to type.

I’ve chosen to not think of them or write them down.

Thirty-five feels like nothing and also everything at the same time.

Thirty-five feels the end of the chapter that leads into an entirely different part of the story.

(I cannot tell a lie; I didn’t know that sentence was going where it was going and then it did.)

Thirty-five feels like a year wherein I have chosen to let things fall off because I just couldn’t allow them to be a part of who I am anymore.

Thirty-five feels like a year wherein I chose to believe for myself and not let go of beliefs because of others.

And also, honestly, thirty-five feels exhausting.

I think I ran from a lot in thirty-five. And those around me, who love and care for me, let me, to a point run.

Then they cornered me in an RV or yelled things up the stairs at me until I listened.

And I knew.

I knew what I was doing.

At the end of it; a week out from thirty-six, I don’t regret those choices. I don’t regret all the times I chose to run.

I don’t regret all the times I got called out on the church livestream and chose to plug my ears or all the times I threw something at Benjamin as he poked his head in my doorway.

I don’t regret all the times where I had something to say and didn’t.

Why?

Because what’s the use of regret.

I have chosen to learn from thirty-five.

I have chosen to wear two piece bathing suits.

I have chosen to donate to political campaigns and write letters to politicians.

I have to chosen to speak, even when my voice shakes.

I have chosen to- although begrudgingly at times, realize and understand that I have Holy Spirit that resides in me.  (10/10 that line made me gag).

Thirty-five has caused me to believe that I am more than I think I am.

I am worth more.

(also made me gag- it’s fine.)

Benjamin- also known as the person that I want to throw stuff at the most, has in the last week telling me that my train needs to leave the station.

That I’ve been waiting long enough.

And damn it, he’s right.

Thirty-five has reminded me that I used to not be afraid to jump.

Thirty-five has reminded me that I am not over yet.

Because…I’m not.

So, that being said:

Thank you thirty-five.

Thank you for your anxiety.

Thank you for your darkness.

Thank you for reminding me that I have a heart.

Thank you for reminding me I have the ability to be angry and shake my fist.

Thank you for reminding me that I have other passions and hopes and dreams.

Thank you for showing me that hope isn’t easy.

Thank you for all the tears I cried and all the times I laid on the floor and sat in the kitchen with a shot glass.

Thank you for all the times I didn’t eat until 4pm and for all the judgemental looks I got from the living room while I scavenged for food.

Thank you for two pieces and clothes that make me feel like a bad ass bitch.

Thank you for theme parties and friends who’s carpet I’ve laid on.

Thank you for gin.

Thank you for the discovery plus app and food network.

Thank you for hype women.

Thank you for parents who have grown with me.

Thank you for friends separated by a pandemic who got closer in spite of it.

Thank you for random 2 hour conversation in the kitchen with my two guy roommates.

Thank you for people who believe in me.

Thank you for words.

Thank you for walking me through trauma I didn’t realize I had in order to walk into a human I didn’t know I could be.

Thirty-five; thank you for being another year in which I added to who I was.

Really, I mean it.

Thank you.

Honest, hope is a verb

living again

I got to hug my friend Joanna today for the first time in I don’t know how long and we both cried.

Joanna is someone I’ve known for almost 6 years and she’s a human being that I adore more than I can even describe. Joanna is a friend that is home to me. She tells me hard things, laughs with me and always reminds me of who I am; especially when I forget (this can also be copy/pasted to her husband who I let sit in my personal space today so that says a lot).

Moral of this story is everyone needs a Joanna.

But, the point of this is that I got to hug my friend Joanna, we cried and it reminded me that I’ve missed living.

I wrote the following words while sitting in church today.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived.

I function. I survive. I move.

I exist.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lived.

I show up. I smile. I laugh.

I am here.

But I’m ready to live again.

I don’t what It looks like or what it feels like. I don’t know what it feels like anymore to live outside of surviving. I don’t know how to be myself outside of aggressive positivity.

I just know that I’m ready to live again.

To take a deep breath.

To try.

To be ok with feeling like I’m failing someone.

To be ok with letting someone down.

To be ok with not being enough for someone.

To be ok with all the things I have no control over.

I am ready to live again.

So that was a big woof.

I know it’s true. Between work and things happening around me and exhaustion and bad dreams I’ve been on autopilot. Attempting to aggressively encourage myself into life.

Knowing that I can, and I will do the damn thing. I will keep showing up.

I will keep moving forward.

But, sometimes, that doesn’t feel like living. Having to amp yourself up to do all the things. Having to push myself to keep my feet moving forward.

Desperately wanting the season I’m in to end so I can just catch my breath.

I’m just honestly tired of having to catch my breath.

I want you to know that living isn’t all flowers and hope and margaritas on a patio.

I want you to know that I know life isn’t always easy.

But, I want you to know that you are allowed to start living again even if you feel, like myself, that you aren’t allowed to do so.

I don’t know if someone has told you that or you have told yourself. I don’t know if you’ve lost the ability to live life each day because everything you must do gets in the way.

I also don’t know what living means to you; or honestly, to myself.

But, I’m going to keep moving forward and picking up the things that bring me hope and joy. I’m going to sit with the people that bring me life and remind me of who I am.

I am going to rest.

I don’t know if you need help living, I don’t know if you get a taste of life and then feel like you aren’t supposed too.

I don’t know if being hopeful terrifies you.

Or if choosing to live terrifies you.

But, I’m here with you. I’m an almost 36 year old who isn’t close to having any answers, but I’m just going to keep trying.

Just take a deep breath, make a list of things that bring you life and go from there.

Let’s show up for ourselves and see what happens.

Honest, hope is a verb

this ends with hope

I’m sitting here on my bed on a cloudy Sunday feeling a little foggy brained. I’m having one of those days in which I feel like I’m between so many thoughts, that I have emails I should answer and should write. I have laundry to do and trash to take out and lesson plans to write.

But I also feel like I have something to say.

It’s something I’ve said before and honestly, it’s something I say quite frequently. I’ve been realizing it more for myself recently and it’s starting to effect how I treat myself.

Here it is:

You matter.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: yah so? Or you’re thinking: what does that mean?

I spent a lot of my life/adult life believing the follow ‘truths’:

  1. My emotions aren’t valid.
  2. I could/should handle something on my own.
  3. Someone always has it worse so who was I to grieve or complain.

And if you’ve never lived like this or experienced this I just have to say that it is fricking heavy.

It’s heavy to believe you aren’t allowed to have feelings or that you don’t have space to process through a thing because someone has had a worse life.

Then throw in some incredibly toxic religious gaslighting about depending on God and to put things at foot of the cross and you never feel allowed to struggle.

I remember when I was going through some of the worst depression I ever had been through (About 12 years ago). It was the worst because I had never gone through it and also I believed something was wrong with me because crying at the cross every Sunday and praying for God to take it away wasn’t working.

I felt like there was something wrong with me and I had an inability to make it go away.

And because I had to fake happy and chipper because someone always had something much worse happening.

It was extremely hard for me in all facets of my life to believe that I mattered.

That was exactly what led me in the time frame to contemplate suicide. I felt like a robot. Like, what was the point of doing any of this if I just felt like I was being the shell of the person I was.

What was the point of talking about my feelings if they didn’t seem to matter to others or to God.

What was the point of talking through it if all I heard back was that I just needed to trust God.

What was the point of being alive if I felt that I was just put on the planet to help other people and be a shell of a human?

Thankfully in that season I had an incredibly good therapist who helped me answer some of those questions and gave me tools for battling through when it felt like I didn’t matter.

I have gotten so much better at boundaries and taking time for myself. I don’t do well with guilt, I don’t do well with people telling me to do something or to give something to God and it will go away (because spoiler alert: that’s not how God works).

Honestly, I usually don’t do well with people telling me to pray about something.

Let’s be honest: I can usually feel when I am being ridiculous. There is a twinge in my spirit that tells me “Just stop meg”. I also, thankfully have friends that tell me those things as well.

But the joy of being an elder millennial and an elder millennial who spent years in youth group and at a Christian college is that we spent a lot of time being emotionally manipulated and then told when we had those feelings that they were because we were sinful or had “opened a door” to something.

Essentially, we were told that we as humans, didn’t matter.

And if we don’t believe that we matter, then why should we think other people care or truthfully, why should we think God cares?

And if that’s the case: what’s the point of it all?

Well have no fear because I’m here to tell you some things to end this on.

You fucking matter.

You are loved immensely.

No matter what.

Your emotions are created, not a burden. They are for you but not the manipulation of others.

Your brain can sometimes be a douchebag and that’s not your fault.

You fucking matter.

Your story is needed.

It has a point.

Don’t compare trauma.

Take time to grieve.

And if you are around people who don’t give you space for that?

Leave.

Because, once again, you fucking matter.

And also; less aggressively so:

There is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, hope.

That’s all.

That’s it.

With all the love and belief in your belief in yourself,

Meg