Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village, ramblings

How do you hope?

I’ve been contemplating these words I’m going to write since Friday.
It’s been a hard thought process because I feel like they are uncharacteristic of me, but in the same breath feel very tangible and real to me. And weirdly important.

On Friday (which mind you, I had to scroll through and see if it was indeed Friday, because who knows what day it is), Katie, Victoria and I were texting, as we do, and Victoria said the following phrase which struck something in me.
She said, “because hope feels dangerous”.

And as I’ve been thinking about that phrase and talking it through, I’ve come to truly realize that hope is a word that fits most parts of speech.
In this, the word hope feels like a descriptive word. And the word it’s describing is danger.

Now, don’t stop reading, I know that feels weird. It sounds like I’m fearful and hesitant to expect hope to be good. And in some ways I am. But I am also someone who adamantly believes that peace is not easy and doesn’t necessarily feel “good”. It just is that: peace.

I guess I should explain a little more. Even as I think about typing the words I’m writing I can hear the rebuttal or the explanations of what I am doing to make hope feel this way, but I need you to know that even when hope feels dangerous I am trying my damnest to walk in dangerous hope.

Hope feels dangerous because the other shoe keeps dropping. My floor is littered with them. Now, that sounds defeatest and victim I realize. But, what feels more tangible to me is seeing that something bad won’t maybe happen, it probably will. In my life, in the lives of my friends.

That’s not saying I don’t see the big, beautiful good things in my life, I do. If I didn’t I would absolutely without a doubt in my mind, be laying in my bed in darkness right now, not sitting in a bright room. I wouldn’t have tears rolling down my face thinking about how much my crew has stepped up for each other and watched out for each other.

If I didn’t see the beautiful, good things I wouldn’t be able to function at work right now with the anxiety I feel.

Because I’ve been there before and I know what it’s like to live without hope.

Right now though, I’m not living in bright shiny hope. I’m not living in the hope that the world will be bright and shiny and I’ll get everything I want.

I’m living in a hope that hurts a little. I’m living in a hope that I hold onto with tears running down my face. I walk to work every day, a little tense, but knowing that even without trying I can be hope to some.

I’ve realized over the last two years, hope is not easy.

I didn’t learn about this hope in Sunday school, I didn’t teach it in Sunday school. I didn’t learn about this hope in Bible classes. I wasn’t able to see this hope around the world because I hadn’t lived in this version of it.

Hope to me used to be all or nothing.

Hope was never scary.

But, like my lovely work wife said, hope feels dangerous.

It’s dangerous because choosing to hope, with the knowledge that it probably won’t look like what you thought.

Choosing to hope anyway, is choosing to walk through a season knowing that you won’t come out of it the same.

I know, I know, that’s literally any season ever.

But right now, feels monumental. And it feels more unknown than anything I’ve personally walked through.

Hope feels dangerous because I really don’t know what I’m putting my hope in. And as I typed that the hymn lyric “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”.

And once again I KNOW.
HOPE CAN STILL BE HARD.
HOPE CAN STILL FEEL UNKNOWN.

I think right now I am holding on to the dangerous feeling hope for myself and giving the hope that’s light to my tiny humans because in all honesty they need and deserve it.

I am holding on to dangerous hope because I believe it will teach me to be able to hold onto the lighthearted hope again.

I’m holding on to dangerous hope because in all reality out of everything flying around it’s the one I can grab.

I think I wanted to write these words, push back or not because they struck such a chord in me that I knew they were important.

I think I wanted to write these words because I wanted to vocalize that even though hope might feel dangerous and even scary and wrong, it doesn’t make you any less than.

I wanted to write these words even though I’ve literally been crying the entire time writing them because I am not less than or less of myself or less of someone who believes in God.

It does not make me less than.

Whatever you feel, however you are coping, whatever feels like or doesn’t feel like doesn’t make you less than.

But what I want to ask is that you write it down. You need tell someone. You need to speak it out loud.

You name things you don’t need and toss them out.

And however this looks, please for the love of everything, find some way to show up each day. However, that make may look.

Dear world,
My name is Meghan.
I miss my people more than I can even say.
I am more tired working with 6 kids than 15.
I am grieving things that may never happen.
And hope feels dangerous.
But I am going to try to hope anyway.
And keep fucking going.
Sincerely,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, tiny human teacher

I didn’t want to write this

I don’t really know where to start.
It feels like a little over a week ago the world started crashing down. And it feels as if its been at least 3 weeks since then.
I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t wanted to look for hope. Not because I didn’t want it but because I am tired.

And I specifically haven’t wanted to write because what I am feeling and going through seems petty in the big picture. BUT what would happen if we all chose to share how we are actually doing?

So, I’m gonna take a deep breath and try.

I’ve been trying to eek out some hope and positivity each day- especially at work. Yes, I’m still going to work each day, caring for tiny humans. But, that’s another story for another day.

A little over a week ago on a Thursday, we found out that our production of the Music Man had been canceled. We joined so many shows across the globe who have been working for months on end to share some joy and love and theater with the world.

We had a lot of tears that night. My two besties and I curled up on the couch after all working that day and we cried. We cried for the Saturdays spent rehearsing, for the moments we wouldn’t get. We cried for the parts of ourselves that felt dead and for what theater had done for all of our mental health.

At some point in all of our tears, I called my mom to tell her.

And the following is what I want to share with you guys.

I found out that my parents, who live in California, who don’t fly or really travel much were going to start driving on Thursday the 26th to be in Mount Vernon for the Saturday night showing of Music Man.
(I’m getting teary-eyed right now thinking about it).

For those that know my mom, you know that this is a huge, huge thing for her.
On the phone that night my mom told me she was doing this for two reasons:
1. She’d never missed a show I’d been in so she wasn’t going to start now.
2. She wanted to come to Washington to prove to me I could do anything.

My mom was going to do a very hard thing for me to prove to me that I could do anything.
I can’t confirm or deny that all of the baeby sharks were crying at this moment.
But right now, even with tears streaming down my face, because I can cry on the weekends, is that we are going through a hard thing.

And please don’t comment that we’ll be fine. We will. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. We are allowed to say things aren’t ok. That we aren’t ok.
That the world feels painful.

But!

We are going through a hard thing and it’s going to prove to ourselves that we can do anything.
What are those anythings?

Some of them are small. It could be being more kind, or checking in on a neighbor. It could be staying put when your anxiety keeps you moving.
Some are big. To some parents homeschooling is hard. To some working at home without human interaction is hard.
The list goes on and on and on.

My anxiety is larger than life right now. It’s amped up and tangible. I am watching movies with my phone upstairs, I’m cleaning and I’m leaving my window open. I’m giving grace to myself for showers and naps and tears.

The world is a lot right now.

But I want to leave you with the words from Patt Reeve again slightly changed, who was going to come to watch a play two states away.

We are doing hard things right now to prove to ourselves we can do hard things.

And if your hard thing is getting out of bed right now. That’s ok.

Get out of bed and take deep breathes.

Shoot me texts if you actually know me or find me on Instagram @megmagnolia or just comment with what your hard thing is right now.

You got this.

Keep fucking going, however that looks.

Honest, I choose champagne, relationships, smash the cardboard

I did this for me.

I just deleted about 500 words.
500 words of a spiral into not being enough. To being an island. To feeling lonely even when surrounded by people. To wanting a person for myself. To being a burden for the people around me.

I had reasons and lists and slips of paper in a piggy bank of every situation and action of others and myself that proves that point.
Sometimes, I wish I could be more vulnerable and open. I wish I had the ability to truly share the depths of who I am.
To eek out that last 20%.
I don’t like to write when I don’t have anwsers. I don’t like to write depressing collection of words that lack hope and movement and color.
I don’t like to let on that I’m not as strong as I come off.
I don’t like to write things that cause my friends to think that they’ve done something wrong- they haven’t.
I don’t like to put that on anyone.
But, I do like you, whomever is reading this to know that you aren’t alone.
I want to remind even one person that your struggles and battles and moments of insecurity don’t make you weak.
And I do want you to know that you are capable of changing parts of your story.
I want you to know that you are capable of being vulnerable and someone out there is willing to listen.
I have this friend who I’ve ironically only met once in passing, but due to the weird lives we’ve both lived and the fact that we are both Garmon birds, we have become really good friends.
Her name is Amanda and she lives across the country and we are the same person.
I never feel bad about texting Amanda about having a lonely moment. She knows most if not all of those. We send each other novels back and forth and sometimes it’s just for the knowledge that someone else knows.
She’s a person who gets the 20% of my story that not a lot of people get.
That this screen usually doesn’t get.
Because (as my friend Patrick will tell you) I hold on to that 20% with a tight, tight fist.
So, that comes down to the point of all of these words.
I believe I’m deconstructing a brick wall right now. I’ve been given that image by multiple people and I’ve seen it for myself so I know it’s true.
Each brick is a story, a moment, a hurt, honestly even a victories that I’ve placed on this wall.
Now, it’s time to dismantle it.
And some of them have been like ripping off a bandaid and others have reopened a wound.
Today, on my way here I decided to take a certain brick off.
Eight years ago on February 9th (a Thursday), I was hit by a car. I can still see it, feel it and typing these sentences have taken me at least three minutes.
Today I decided that February 9th is no longer going to be the day I was hit by a car.
The brick though weighty and full of a lot of hurt and anger and emotional trauma no longer had a place in my wall.
Febraury 9th will now be a day I decided to take a different path and a day while sitting there bruised and beaten eaten cinnamon toast crunch out of a mixing bowl, it became a day that I decided to take a leap and start living.
Am I terrified to give that brick up?
Yes.
Am I scared what might come through the hole in the brick wall?
Yes.
Am I afraid because I believe the wall is the only way to protect myself?
Yes
But, am I choosing to believe that light is going to come through the hole in the brick wall?
Yes.
I don’t know what parts of your story you don’t tell. What parts you don’t see clearly and what parts still bring you pain. I don’t know what parts of your story you hold onto with a tight fist and what parts you’ve made a wall out of.
What I do know is that somewhere along the way we’ve done all of this to protect ourselves from something.
And honestly, at some point, we probably did need protection.
But, at some point, what I’ve come to realize is that the armor has to come off, the wall has to come down and we have to take a step out and know that we are safe, even though we might get hurt again.
I want you to know that I believe in your ability to do that. I’m choosing to believe in my own.
You got this.
Let’s all just keep fucking going and see what happens.

I choose champagne, ramblings, smash the cardboard

145,659 + these words

I just spent a good 20 minutes scrolling down my blog. Scrolling through the 200 posts and almost 146,000 words. I’ve gotten a little teary. I’ve felt some rage. I’ve seen where I’ve come from.
I’ve felt kind of proud.
I’ve also backspaced a lot in the last hour. I’ve written what I’ve now realized are disclaimers and excuses. (They are also full of my eye-rolling a lot which I’ve been told to stop)
Because the bottom line is that the words flitting through my brain all have to do with identity.
The words flitting through me all have to do with me peeling labels off of myself and remembering that I am more than.
I’m working on getting out of a box I placed myself in and figuring out ways to do that.

I am more than.

I am more than a Christian.
I am more than my stamps in my passport.
I am more than a preschool teacher.
I am more than the single friend.
I am more than the friend that says yes.
I am more than a two on the Enneagram.
I am more than a doormat.
I am more than the youngest.
I am so much more than the lack of a ring on my finger.
I am more than a strong independent woman who needs no man.
I am more than all the things I feel I owe my friends.
I am more than a plus-size female.
I am more than my inabilities.

I am more than.

This list could keep going and going.
But, what I’ve realized is for every box I’ve been put in by someone else I’ve also put myself in probably the same box.
Just because I’ve decorated it with word art and pictures of my friends doesn’t mean it still isn’t a box.
This year I’m working on remembering I’m worthy enough to take myself out of boxes.
Because the thing about a box is that eventually, it’s gonna break down. It’s just up to us whether we are the one that does the breaking.

I don’t 100% know what all these words are for. I don’t know what is springing out of these reminders to myself.
But, I do know that we have the ability to move. We have the ability to choose to believe that we are more than.

And it’s fucking hard.

It’s hard to live in a world that tells you that you belong in a category to not believe you belong in one.
It’s hard to live in a culture that makes you check so many boxes so that they know how to deal with you.
It’s weird to live in this world and not do it to yourself without even knowing.

But, I’m deciding today it’s going to be possible.

I’m deciding that I am going to do my damnedest to not stay in the boxes I’ve put myself in.

They aren’t my whole identity, they color and highlight parts of who I am and they are beautiful and heartbreaking parts of my story.

But, I am more than them.

You, human reading this, are more than something too.

If you’re feeling brave, shoot me a comment or a message on Instagram (@megmagnolia). Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #smashthecardboardboxes
Let’s remind each other that the people who put us in boxes most often are simply ourselves.

Let’s remind each other that we are more than.

Let’s smash some cardboard boxes.

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships

Will you save the baby?

It’s been a minute.

Well, at least it feels like it has. I feel like my life just went into overdrive and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing I can do to stop it. My brain feels too exhausted for words and my Sundays have been overtaken with sleep and the inability to make it out of my house.
Today, while at work, I made the decision that I was going to go home and not sit and move my body down to one of my current favorite writing spots and sip champagne and write.
And then it started raining and my phone wasn’t charged and I had leftover pad thai in the fridge.
But, I did it.
I put my rain boots back on and plugged in my headphones and put my computer in my bag and walked out the door.
So, now I’m sitting here with probably too much champagne for a Monday. The same amount of champagne honestly as there are thoughts and topic sentences and beginnings in my head. I have two pieces I need to work on and no words for them and…

Instead, I’m just rambling.

About three weeks ago on the first of January (sidenote: how the HELL was New Years Day ONLY three weeks ago? Why is January always five years long), I spent some time pondering what might my word of the year be. Now, words of the year aren’t a resolution. They aren’t a goal or an end or honestly even a theme.

To me, when a word comes into my brain that I deem my word of the year I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that its a word that needs to sink in. And usually, it isn’t easy.

A couple of years ago my word was rest. Last year, release. Both not easy for me. Both I fought against.
I’ve had other words. I’ve had themes. I’ve had verses.

But each year I’ve metaphorically labeled the beginning of the year with a word I’ve watched it morph and change and provide dissonance and not a lot of resolution.
(which is ok)
The dissonance though is why the word that popped into my brain and moved from my head all the way to my toes scares the hell out of me.

Because, if you know me, you know this isn’t a word I use.

My word for 2020: Worthy.
(insert vomit emoji here)

In the 20 days of 2020 I’ve already grappled with my worthiness more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been communicated that I’m not enough. That I’m too much. I’ve been communicated to that I’m the single friend. That my weight causes me to be less than. That what I do isn’t good enough or that I need to do more.

And I’ve kept that damn word on my letterboard above my bed.

We live in a world where, whether we like it or not, we strive to be worthy.
Worthy of a job. Of a relationship. Of a child. Of a role. Of a pay increase. Of a phone call. Of a hug.
Worthy of each other.
Worthy to occupy the space we are in.
It might not be the word you think of, but it’s all the same.

I remember about 10+ years ago when I was struggling with depression. When each day was a battle and I had stopped sleeping at night. When I dreaded any human interaction.
When my life didn’t feel WORTH living.
When I didn’t feel as if anything I could bring to the table was of value.
That was it. I didn’t feel like I could do anything right, or be right, or contribute to society so what was even the point of breathing?
But, I chose to survive and move and jump.
(and cry a lot of tears).

Something deep down inside, something that was just kindling then, reminded me I had something inside that made me want to breathe another breath.
Something inside reminded me that I was a badass- though at that point in my life I would have probably used the word worthy.

So, what do I think worthy is going to do for me this year?

I think that it’s going to remind me to choose myself even when no one else does.
I think it’s going to remind me to not feel guilty for choosing myself.
I think being worthy is going to remind me that I need to save my own damn life.

Worthy is going to remind me that I don’t need to fit into a box.
Hell, worthy reminds me I need to crush the boxes.

Now, this all sounds well and good.
I can shout this out. I can preach it. I can shake my fist to the sky.
BUT,
Worthy is going to test me.

It’s going to shake its fist back.
Worthy is inevitably going to cause me to cry.
Probably sob or have a panic attack.

Because the road to worthy isn’t easy.

The road to worthy is like the movie The Labyrinth. It’s speckled with twists and turns and things and people and creatures trying to move you off course. There’s the little wormy things trying to invite in you in for tea so you forget that you are trying to save your baby brother and in all reality save yourself.

And before you dismiss this whole blog as something with underlying Christian themes: I want you to remember worthy isn’t about who or what you believe in.

It can be influenced by, peppered with and colored by faith of any kind- but it isn’t the whole story.
And before you dismiss worthiness as selfish, need I remind you of all the time the heroine in Labyrinth wasted getting off track. Worth is staying on track. Because getting to the damn goblin king quicker saves the baby and saves yourself.

This season terrifies me a little. Just like David Bowie terrified in the Labyrinth.
I was freaked out and given the heebies jeebies by the weird 80s vibes of the Labyrinth- but I had to keep watching.
I’m a little weirded out by the creatures I might find along the way. The words, thoughts, and emotions that have and will distracted me and led me off my path because they did and still do feel right.
This next year freaks me out because, in all reality, this momentary lapse of crazy in referencing the Labyrinth has just cemented the fact that this year is about movement.
You can’t get through a maze if you don’t keep fucking going.

So, if you have made it through my ramble and my epic 80s movie references; I have some homework for you.
1. Make a list of why you are worthy. Or enough. Or a badass.
2. Send it to me. (If you aren’t friends with me in real life you can message me on Instagram @megmagnolia)
2a. If you are friends with me in real life and you don’t know why you are worthy or enough or a badass text me and ask.
3. Watch the Labyrinth. Seriously. It’s so weird and great.

And please, please, please always remember that it’s your choice if you save the baby from the Goblin King or if you get lost along the way.
And remember that even if you get lost for a moment, you can still find your way again.

Just keep fucking going.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, relationships, Uncategorized

This is not the end.

All I want in the world right now is to walk away from my computer. I want to chug down the rest of this coffee and pack up and walk out of the coffee shop.
Because if I had decided to sit here and go through all the beautiful things that happened this year, it would be different. When I sit, even for a moment, I am inundated with goodness.

Amidst all the stress, confusion and anxiety there was so much beauty. I was welcomed into a wacky theater family, I officiated two weddings- one being the wedding of two humans I treasure more than I can imagine. I went to camp again and celebrated my 34th birthday in California. I moved into a new house, I saw my friends in way too many shows, I went to Leavenworth twice and found small semblances of peace there. I got to go to my cousin’s wedding in Kansas and see some Reeve family. I got many, many chances to celebrate people I adore.

There were so many twinkly lights of joy in this year.

10 years ago in 2009 I walked into what was then my hardest, most dismal season of depression. I lost friends, lost bits of myself that I don’t think have ever returned and walked very differently into the decade than I thought I would.

I walked into this decade having seen things and felt things I didn’t realize I was capable of feeling.

And likewise- I’m walking into this next decade in the same way. A little more weathered, beaten and with more open eyes than I had before.

I’ve lived in Bellingham for a majority of the 2010s since I spent a year and half (basically) overseas, I’ve taught in a classroom 8ish/10 of the decade. I’ve gotten 9/10 tattoos in this decade. I’ve set foot in 14 countries.

I’ve come to terms with certain aspects of my life that I’m choosing to be ok with it or else I’d go crazy.

2019 reminded me that without a shadow of the doubt ( and please don’t reprimand me for the following sentence): I’m the single friend. The one you can count on to be there. The strong independent woman who can just do the damn thing. (PS Amanda- more on this later).

2019 reminded me that I will show up. Even when it is the hardest thing for me to do- I’ll do it.

2019 reminded me that sometimes people aren’t going to choose me- and that’s ok.

It reminded me that I still, even when I don’t want to, hear the voice of God.

2019 reminded me that I don’t always have to agree with you.

2019 reminded me that it’s ok that I changed.

2019 reminded me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am 100% capable of the ability to keep fucking going and that , that ability isn’t a weakness but it is strength.

I’m looking forward now. Looking forward with the ability to move forward.

I had this picture fill my brain in church today. You know the scene in the “The Prince of Egypt” when Moses parts the Red Sea and they all start walking through it. And as they move deeper down they start to see all of the creatures in the water through this beautiful wall of water?
I was walking through the ocean, looking at the creatures, with this slight foreboding that the walls were going to crash down.
I think because I’ve lived this whole decade out of that fear, that any second the walls would come crashing down and I would drown in the thing that I saw as so beautiful.
But, today watching that picture play out in my head and seeing the water behind me urging me on, all I felt was peace. Like it was ok to move forward and soak in the beauty and the calm of the ocean around me.
And I’m going to be incredibly real with you: I don’t know if I trust it still.
Sitting here writing those words, feeling the hope that comes off of them, I am unsure if I can grab them.
But, I’m going to try.

Dear 2019,
I think if I could thank you for anything it’s that you tucked me in tightly with my people, you brought me moments and smiles and the ability to celebrate them and I thank you for that. I thank you for all the lessons and the tears, and the moments where I had to pause myself long enough so I could breath normally again.
I thank you for the good and not so good choices for my body and the laughter and stories each of those brought.
I thank you for my anger because it reminded me I could still feel it.
And I thank you, lastly for being an end of a season I didn’t even know I was in.
With love,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, it takes a village, relationships

The grey purse is still in reach

Here’s the thing:
I should be writing my Christmas letter right now. I should be writing it and compiling all the addresses I have and preparing to literally ship out the cards the minute they come in the mail.

But, I’m not ready yet.

I feel as if most of my thoughts lately have not been suitable for audiences. As if the thoughts in my head are somewhat inappropriate and also a little mean, mostly to myself.

What I’m trying to say, in the words of my work wife, is that my brain has “no chill”.

My brain doesn’t realize it’s Christmas fully. It doesn’t know that I need to be wrapping up my thoughts on 2019 and attempting to piece together what feels like failure in order to close this chapter.

I normally love the end of the year. I love reminiscing on what happened and where I went and what I accomplished.

I am trying with every damn fiber of my being to not throw everything of this year into a dumpster and light in on fire because I feel like I failed myself.
Because, to be honest, this year brought so many good things, and people and food and trips and self-realization.

But, instead of focusing on those things (which will happen, but first I gotta get through this week) right now, I am focusing on this simple phrase that I wrote last week that has been coursing through my blood for most minutes of the day since.

I’m NOT over yet.

Just because we’re leaping into a new year and decade, just because I can no longer admit I’m in early thirties doesn’t mean I’m done or over or don’t have more beautiful life to live and relationships to have and adventures to go on and more songs to sing.

Folks, we’re not over yet.

I think I spent a lot of this year believing I was. I think I spent a lot of 2019 standing behind those who were winning at life and applauding them and cheering them on and lifting them up and celebrating each and every monumental occasion. I think that caused me to believe I had no more victories until I had certain victories happen.

And it makes me think of my perpetual list of things I want. Back in I think about 2009 or so I desperately wanted a grey purse. But I’m picky and knew that not just any purse was going to cut it. I spent months and months looking for a purse. I had a color of grey in my head and a shape and a type of strap and pockets.

And I had a really hard time buying anything for myself until I found that purse. And then one day, at a Kohl’s in Huntington Beach, I found a Vera Wang grey purse. It was like it had been created for me.

2019 has felt like I’ve been looking for a grey purse again. I have a specific purse in my brain, that’s really abstract to describe and I feel as if I don’t find it before the clock strikes midnight on December 31rst then I will have failed miserably.

But, that’s not how it works.

It’s not over yet.
I still have more stores to go to.
I haven’t failed.
I still have victories and celebration left- they might not look like I want them too- but they are still there.

So, if you’re feeling that right now. If the build-up of everything ended and beginning again is too much for you.
If you feel like you haven’t had a win in a while I just really need you to remember that you aren’t anywhere near over yet.
You aren’t alone.
You aren’t over.
You can still find your perfect grey purse.
2020 is a new decade and year but January 1rst doesn’t make dreams and desires and pain go away.
All we have to do is keep fucking going.
with love,
Meg