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.)

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.

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

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

Honest, tiny human teacher, To dream

A letter to my future children

To my future children,

I don’t have you and I’m going to be completely frank: I don’t really want you.

I have struggled on Mother’s day in the recent years. And each year I find myself thinking of you- of the fictional children that people believe I so desperately want.

But back to that honesty; I have no desire to replicate myself at all.

I don’t really want you.

I know you are wondering why I am writing this letter to you and what’s the point of me telling you I didn’t really want you-I’ll get there, I promise. Just stay with me.

Over the course of the last 15 years I have taken care of, pastored, mentored, coached, taught over 1,000 kiddos from all ages. I’ve worked for preschools and churches and non-profits. I’ve known a lot of kids. I also know all the names I will NEVER call you and the ways I will and won’t raise you.

But, you don’t exist and that’s ok.

I have changed diapers, cleaned cuts, cuddled toddlers with 104 fevers. I’ve been puked on, pooped on, peed on, bit, hit, cussed out.

While I have the ability to go home and drink a glass of wine in silence every night I still have voices in my head and worries and stress from so many different kids.

And that’s why the last few years, especially on Mother’s day, I’ve been stuck between worlds. The world of feeling like a mom but not being one. The world of wanting to take care of my own tiny humans and the world of having absolutely no desire to do so.

Not to mention the fact that as I write this letter I am almost 36 and have no possible husband material in front of me.

(And before anyone reading this says I could have children on my own, please just don’t)

So, back to the point:

Kids, I don’t want you.

(Here’s the but)

BUT

If you are actually reading this, as my daughter or son 15 or 20 years from now, you need to know something desperately important.

You are so loved.

The fact that you are alive means that something occurred in my life that was incredibly lovely and possibly surprising.

The fact that you are alive means I have gotten the chance to see how I am as a parent. I probably got frustrated that my nap techniques didn’t work or felt relieved that I’ve given the Heimlich to toddlers more. It means I was sufficiently grateful for all my knowledge of child development and that children are far less breakable than we think.

The fact that you are alive means I’ve met a love I’ve never known.

But, if you aren’t reading this, if you don’t exist, If this just stays on the internet to read by random strangers who pass by my corner of the internet, I want the random stranger to know that I am not less whole because you don’t exist.

I don’t feel as if I’m not leaving a legacy.

I don’t feel as if I’m not giving all the love into the world I can.

I guess, my point it, my dear non-existent future children is that you are whole.

No matter what relationship you are in or not in. Whether you want children or not.

And I just ask, that out of that wholeness, you give something away, you create something, you love something.

Figure out how you are going to put yourself out into the world.

Figure out how you are going to leave your footprint on the world.

How you are going to love yourself despite what the world may or may not say you need in order to do that.

To my future children,

You are already loved- even if you don’t ever exist.

With love,

Me

Honest

you didn’t do this to yourself.

It’s a thundering heart, shaky hands, trying to avoid looking at my computer screen kind of Sunday, so let’s just go.

I had a dream on Thursday that didn’t set in that I had had it until I was walking to work on Friday. The dream was I was in this mall which was half a trendy mall and half an indoor southeast Asian marketplace (if you know, you know).

I’m in this mall FREQUENTLY in my dreams. It’s not a real mall, but I always know cognitively in my dream that it’s the mall I’m always at, be it in the SE Asian street market area or the trendy area.

This time, I was wandering in the mall by myself when I felt a man’s hand on the small of my back. I froze and glanced over as he pushed me forward and told me to hand my phone to someone and he just kept pushing me forward.

We ended up in a food court area sitting in a corner, he had his back to the wall and mine was to everyone else and he just kept telling me how this was my fault; that I must have wanted this.

He repeatedly told me the following:

“You did this to yourself.”

Over and over and over.

And I just sat there. Letting those words wash over me. The loud sounds of the food court became muted and I just heard this guy telling me that I had chosen this. I had been complicit.

I had done THIS to myself.

When I remembered the dream while walking to work Friday, I physically stopped, took a deep breath, and shook it out of my brain. When I was telling my roommate about this dream, I didn’t truly realize how much those words hit me. And when he got Pastor Benjamin with me, I was tired and didn’t want to feel how much they hit my heart.

“I did this to myself” crosses so many lines in my life, so many places, so many choices.

It pushes into my belief that people will leave. It pushes into my belief that I’m not enough. It pushes into my belief that I’ll always be alone. It pushes into my belief that I’m not capable.

It pushes into me.

I’ve come a long damn way in the last five years of my life.

I do my best to not allow toxic influences in my life, I have leaned into who I am as a human, not caring if it goes against what people think of me.

I try to brush off the bullshit and not let myself anxiety spiral into oblivion.

It’s just hard sometimes.

And it truly does feel on some days that I did this to myself. That I allowed words to hurt and actions to sting me.

It feels somedays that I’m not strong enough.

A week or so ago I was working in the kitchen at my early learning center. It was a chaotic day, my classroom was full and I wasn’t there, I was attempting to prepare 2 other meals separate of the one for that moment and a little voice wormed it’s way into my brain.

It said, “Well maybe you just aren’t a hard worker if you can’t do two jobs at one time. Maybe, you aren’t good enough for this.”

And I stopped cutting bananas, set my knife down and stepped back.

I gave my brain a harsh, ”Hell no.” and I kept working.

Because it’s literally ridiculous to think, specifically in that moment where I was doing a job that isn’t in my job description and also my own job, that I wasn’t a hard worker.

I’ve been told that I’m lazy, that I don’t work hard and those things stir up every once in a while to tell me I’m not doing enough.

Those words I feel like I brought on myself.

I let them stay.

I let them happen.

I let them bring me pain.

I did it to myself.

Some days it’s harder to grapple with than others.

(and here’s the “but”)

BUT, damn, watch me keep moving.

Watch me keep remind you that we can get through this.

Watch me remind you that you are stronger than those voices in your head.

Because you are.

We are.

And that’s exactly why I share the words that sometime feel cringy or too much to share for me.

I want you to remember you aren’t alone.

That you can stop chopping bananas and tell that voice in your head that it’s a liar.

There are days the memories and the voices and the words of my past are too much. There are days that there is practically a skywriter following me simply with the words above me telling me that I did this to myself.

That I made the choices to believe lies for so long that now they are just a part of who I am.

And that if I don’t hold it the fuck together than it’s all going to fall apart.

I became the glue myself.

I did it to myself and I must live with it.

And that’s just not true.

It’s not true for me, it’s not true for you.

There’s a lot of noise these days, a lot of people around us telling us to be more. A lot of comparison and a lot of measuring up.

There are a lot of people telling us what’s wrong with you and that whatever it is; we did it to ourselves and they are the only ones who have the magic formula to fix it.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the way it works.

I’m here to tell you who you are.

I’m here to tell you that you bring good into the world.

I’m here to tell you that you’ve been resilient and sometimes it was hard but look at what you’ve done.

Look what you can do.

We got this.

Tears and all on a Sunday morning.

With love,

Meg

Honest, I choose champagne

I miss writing in bars.

The title really hasn’t nothing to do with this blog. It’s just really true.

And I’m tired.

And I’m kind of sick of saying that.

Now, before you come at me with SO MANY obvious ways I could have more energy-I want you to know that I know them all. (please don’t come for me MLMs)

My tired isn’t a physical tired. (I mean it is. I am physically tired and no amount of espresso helps that.)

My soul is tired. My insides. And I know I’m not alone.

I don’t state I’m tired, or that I’ve had a long day, week or that 3 year olds are depleting the Miss Meg magic out of me for sympathy.

I state it because all I’ve wanted in my adult life is for other people to know that they aren’t alone.

That’s honestly in my unwritten mission statement that you, my friend or whomever is reading this, is not alone.

I spent a lot of my growing up feeling incredibly alone.

I was made fun of and picked on so much it was honestly easier to just be alone. If I had my 7th grade year book with me I could take a picture of a picture inside. I had on an oversized polo, my probably slightly permed hair was in a pony tail and my bangs were shaggy over my face and I had big glasses on and I was holding a book at lunch. I decided after too many lunches of feeling outcast from the people I knew from youth group that it was just easier to have a book with me from the library and find a quiet corridor that didn’t have a lot of people that normally passed by and eat my lunch alone.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve obviously come out of my shell more, I’ve gained and lost friends and gained some back again. I have beautiful people in my life from all walks.

But, every once and awhile that lonely feeling cuts through me and I see that 7th grade girl who was never anyone’s first choice. I see a someone who lived as a perpetual third wheel. I see someone who was never enough.

I see someone who has this tiny voice in the back of her brain that tells her that this will be the thing, this is the thing where they leave. This tiny voice that reminds me that I am not the first choice. I am just good old reliable single Meghan who will always be there.

And once again; I don’t say for sympathy or for “oh that’s not true” (I know it’s not true, it just FEELS true in my brain sometimes).

I say it, for the reminder that whatever narrative plays in your brain from past or current situations that you believe states something about who you are is not who you are.

You are not the lies that come from the actions other people have done to you.

And I know.

I know believing those lies is so much easier than forcing them away.

Believing that you were hurt because of not being enough or because you did something to cause that person to act that way is so much easier.

Believing that people will run away like the girls did in fifth grade and will talk behind your back in high school is easier than getting hurt again.

Believing that we can never be more than we are is easier than trying to be more than we are.

Believing you are alone or single or without is much easier than allowing yourself to be loved.

And being invisible is much easier than being seen.

So…what do we do?

This morning my pastor brought up questions. Questions we ask God, questions we ask ourselves, each other- etc. But he also asked what questions is God asking you.

Now, I’m going to be honest, my moments with God and time in prayer is few and far between. I’m a questioner, a challenger and many other things in those conversations. I struggle with having a hope for a God that people use for hate. Because, that isn’t my Jesus and it’s something that’s a current ongoing conversation in my brain and heart.

But, clear as day, this morning I heard. “Well, will you keep going?”

And I thought for a moment- maybe it’s in terms of current life. Maybe it was my ability to keep doing the damn thing, day in and out. Even when I don’t feel like a badass preschool teacher. Even when I don’t feel like I have any Miss Meg magic. Even when I feel like I’m doing everything but my job.

As I began writing these words that apparently had a life of their own, I heard it again: “Well, will you keep going?”

Sometimes (a lot of the times) I feel as if I am too much. Like, people don’t want to walk along this with me and people know they aren’t alone and I should just stop wasting words.

So, will I keep going?

I can see myself not always being a Miss Meg.

I can see myself not always being in Washington.

I can see myself (this is a stretch) not always being single.

But, for the life of me, I cannot see myself choosing to bring myself to a place where I stop reminding people they aren’t alone.

I cannot see myself coming to a place where I stop putting pieces of myself out there in an effort for even just one person to know they aren’t alone.

And I can state without a doubt that you have things inside of you that you’ve stepped back from or though t was too much or didn’t want to do anymore because you felt it has no point.

It has a point.

It’s who you are.

It’s as simple and complicated as that.

So, I guess I pose my question from God to you.

Will you keep going?

And I really, really hope you do.

With love,

Meg

back to the barre, Honest

Dear 2021: No, I’m good, thank you.

I’m sitting here plopping back and forth between two very distinctly different topics. One a soap box and one more personal.

Because ye gods, it’s been a frickin week.

I have a lot of anger, hurt and sadness. It’s not just from what’s happening in our world, though that’s a part of it. But, I think that I’m going to back away from the soap box and let that simmer a minute.

I had a moment this week where something happened in what felt like an instance and I’ve now had in the back of my head since said moment a couple tricky little sentence that used to haunt me much more than they do now.

I’m sure you’ve heard these sentences, these questions. I’m sure they have danced around your brain once or twice.

It’s “Did I not do enough?”

And then the follow-up: “Was what I did, what I do even worth it?”.

I’m a feeler, I’m a listener. I’m someone who tries to extend more grace than I think I’m capable of.

I desire for others to be better for themselves and I want people to know they can succeed. I want to encourage those around me. I want to help them find ways to show up for themselves.

I want to step back and watch them do all the things for themselves.

So, after this week, I had to take a moment to ask myself why.

And I as I sit here comfy on my couch, thinking about it and what I’ve learned in my life, and thinking about my word of the year (shift). I realize that this is one place I need to shift my thinking.

Shift is for a lot of things honestly. It’s a little aggravating, it’s a little bit empowering.

It’s active.

It’s something I can put into motion from a lot of different places.

I get told frequently; at times weekly that I need to have the amount of grace for myself as I have for other people.

I get reminded to “take care of myself” and to “rest”.

But I don’t think I’ve ever been told repetitively to believe in myself like I believe in others.

Believing in yourself is a weird thing.

So, in the summer of 2020 I applied for a job.

It was a remote job that involved writing content for a company that deals in early childhood development. The job ad literally flew off the screen at me with the qualifications being a BA in English and early childhood development experience.

Umm, hi. What?

I submitted a resume and a cover letter and felt hopeful.

This job was made for me, right?

I had a phone interview the day before we went on our summer family vacation and I was stoked to leave on vacation after this interview because maybe that would cultivate some hope that I was lacking.

After the 30-minute phone interview I felt no hope. I felt like I had no writing experience, that all my EC knowledge was trash and that I wasn’t good enough. They asked me to write a spec, but before I could send said spec in, they let me know that I didn’t need to and they were going another way.

The light, the momentary spark I felt was gone.

I had a moment of “this is why we can’t have nice things”.

“This is why I don’t believe in myself.”

And I KNOW that sounds incredibly dramatic for one job, one time, one moment.

But, in all reality it’s probably something that holds me back more than I’d like to admit.

One of the things I’d like to do is shift back to believing in myself.

I still want to believe in others like I do. I still want to choose to show up for other people in a way that reminds them that they can do the damn thing.

I just think it’s time to remember that I can do the damn thing.

And just maybe, that will proof to other people that I can do it.

Take my bestie Tori. She is CRUSHING that taking care of her body thing. And each week, with each small victory she has, I am also reminded that I can accomplish things that feel hard too.

Her choosing herself reminds me to do so.

I want to choose belief in myself to remind others they can too.

So, even though this week I was hit with a dump truck of “you didn’t do enough” I am reminded that I did what I was supposed to do. I chose belief and encouragement and grace.

I am choosing to shift back from what I maybe didn’t do, to what I know I did.

And I’m choosing this year to believe I can do the damn thing.

And not just to believe, but to do it.

At the end of this year, I want to look back and see a sea of words that reminds me and shows me that I believed in myself.

How will you believe in yourself this year?

(And please, remember that believing in yourself is a daily choice. And it’s choosing to be active in that belief.)

For me being in active in that belief is as hard and simple as choosing to be words on a page in the form of a story that’s been in my head and scattered on papers for 7 years.

That’s how I’m going to believe this year.

That’s how I’m going to shift.

We can do it.

I believe in us.

And, most importantly, I believe in myself.

back to the barre, Honest

I’m quitting.

It’s true.

I’m quitting in 2021.

And it’s a funny thought because I worked so hard this last year to not quit. I worked so hard to show up and to be present and to work through the tears and the panic and the exhaustion.

I worked so hard not to quit my life.

I worked hard not to quit my relationships.

Basically I worked really hard not to give up this year.

And I didn’t.

I’m going to be completely honest though: I’m kind of done with working so hard not to give up.

It’s exhausting, it’s taxing and honestly it’s just not worth it.

Why would I want to fight so hard to hold something together that might not even be worth it?

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure if I know how to quit. I’m not sure I know what I need or where I’m going, but I do know that I have picked up parts of myself in the last year that I really love and there isn’t space for those things to be in the same space as all the things I need to quit.

It’s a little terrifying. Making some distinctions and drawing lines and figuring out what I want to lend my time to even more than I ever have.

It seems vague but I think that we don’t always know the path we are walking on- we just must keep walking on it.

When I was in Ukraine so many years ago spending time around a group of Nigerian med students, one of them said something that has stuck with me all these years. He was talking about how he and his peers were discussing what it would be when they left the Ukraine. He made the point to say that he wouldn’t be going BACK to Nigeria. He wasn’t the same, the place he was going wasn’t the same. He couldn’t go back to it. He could only go forward home.

That’s sort of how I feel about 2021.

I have so many things that I picked up in 2020. Some I loved, some I didn’t. I have things I lost, things I cherish.

But I’m not going back into myself.

I’m moving forward into 2021 in so many ways. The year has already started a little topsy turvy but we’re going to roll with and keep moving down the path that I’m going.

I’m quitting the things that don’t give me life. That cause me to run away from myself. That cause me to lack hope.

I’m quitting the things that aren’t me.

I’m quitting in 2021.

So…watch this space.