Honest, hope is a verb

Avocado toast to help me see

I’ve had a busy life the last few weeks (months, years) and yesterday I officiated my second wedding and it was a beautiful ceremony and celebration of two people who love each other an incredible amount.

I can’t tell you the last time I took a moment to write on a Sunday.

My phone is filled with so many notifications of messages and emails and my brain is filled with dates and things I’m supposed to be at and trips I want to take and deadlines and everything in between.
But, today as my body finally allowed me to sleep in a little (8 am) and I decided to save some adulting for tomorrow, I feel a little blurry.

(And, I feel a little stuck- but that’s another story for another day)

Part of that is physically blurry. I sat down in front of my computer screen and adjusted the brightness and moved my body so I wasn’t in the sunlight and I still had to squint to see my screen.

(Katie-shark says I’m tired–she’s probably not wrong)

Even now my vision is coming a little more in to focus, it’s still a little blurry on the outside- but I think that’s a lot more internal.
Have you ever had that happen?
You’re moving and grooving and stressing and even enjoying life but at the end of the day you sit and everything feels a little blurry.
You can’t quite focus and even though you just want to sit and watch a movie that even seems like too much?
You want to dream but that takes too much space.

I want to create but none of my words feel hopeful.
They just feel blurry.

I’m trying to decide what I need to see again.

I think one of the things I need to do is take some advice from my college choir director (but maybe re-frame it a bit), Joni used to always encourage us to choose joy. It didn’t mean you had to be happy all the time or couldn’t have bad days- but it meant to me, to choose good. Choose to see it, feel it, walk in it.

I think that one of the things I need to do is choose joy.

I need to choose what brings me joy, who brings me joy and moments that fill my heart (such as the avocado toast I just devoured and letting my body sleep in).
To me choosing joy is saving my adulting for tomorrow and going to laugh with friends for a couple hours.

To me choosing joy is what is going to save my blurred eyesight.
It’s what’s going to help me cultivate hope.

It’s not about avoiding things that need to be done- it’s about not choosing things and people and events that don’t add to your joy.

We have so much noise in our life. We have so many things telling us what to do, what not to do, what to believe, what to support, what to spend our time, money and voice on.
It gets pretty damn loud.

And, just as loud are the voices that tell us to take care of ourselves.

And to me, it’s in that tension that we find our lives can become a little blurry.

So, today, as I sit here for a few more minutes typing words and figuring out what I need to make my world a little less blurry- I want to ask you that question too: what makes life a little less blurry?

We can do the things friends, we can walk in the tension and dissipate it. We can choose things that bring us light and joy ( even if it’s avocado toast) and we can set the things on the side that don’t bring us cultivate joy.

The Marie Kondo method isn’t just for jeans that are too tight folks.
Let’s step into this week and find the joy, But, more importantly, let’s toss aside the things that don’t add to us, that maybe, just maybe, we don’t actually need.

 

Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village, ramblings, tiny human teacher

I am 34

I am 34 and I want you to know I work hard.

I am 34 and I want you to know that my hard work looks different than yours.
I am 34 and I know I probably COULDN’T do your hard work neither could you set foot in mine.
I want you to know that I am someone who deals with mental health issues and with burnout and I still keep showing up.
I want you to know I am 34 and I don’t expect life to be easy.

In actuality I expect that life isn’t easy and that when something good happens than apparently something bad is around the corner.
I am 34 and I’m cynical.

I am 34 and I have lost people I have loved and have been unsure I could love like that again.

I am 34 and I have held the hands of my parents while they were laying in hospital beds and gotten phone calls half a world away that my mom was really sick.

I  am 34 and I spent a week of spring break from teaching changing my mom’s depends.

I want you to know that I’m 34 and I care more deeply for humans than when I was 24.
I want you to know that even though I don’t expect good things I still, as much as I can, expect people to be good.

I am 34 and I don’t expect to get married or have kids.                                                                I am 34 and I wish all the goodness for all of my friends.

(I am 34 and I’m a 2 on the enneagram).
I want you to know that I’m 34 and I have trust issues.
I want you to know that I’m 34 and the words “put on your big girl panties” and “fake it til you make it” have lost their meaning.

Because, I am 34 and I don’t think we should have to tell people to show up- I think they just should.

I am 34 and I love avocado toast and cold brew.
I am 34 and if my paycheck doesn’t meet to the other end I eat cereal 4 nights in a row.
I am 34 and if my paycheck doesn’t meet to the other end but I have a friend that needs dinner and safe place, I would share my cereal.                                                                            I am 34 and even if I didn’t have PTO I would still spend a week volunteering with foster kids.

I am 34 and I was raised in a time that you went to college.
I am 34 and I have a lot of student loans.
I am 34 and I wouldn’t wish away the experience of college.

I am 34 and a preschool teacher and I had to have active shooter training in the event a shooter comes into my classroom with my 15 tiny humans
I am 34 and in the event of an active shooter I will do everything in my power to keep my 15 tiny humans safe (and let’s be completely honest the rest of the tiny humans in the building).
I am 34 and I worry about my nieces and nephews setting foot on their high school and college campuses for the same reason

I am 34 and I am doing my best.

My generation has been taught a lot of things. We’ve been taught to be kind, to strive for our dreams, to care for our fellow man.
We’ve been told over and over that we can have more than the previous generations.
(And that? That is a lot).
We’ve been taught to fight and raise our voices louder and we’ve created platforms to do so.
I don’t know what it’s like to have lived through what the generations prior to me have had to live through. I wouldn’t even be able to fathom.
All I know is what I’ve been given, what I’m dealing with and all I can do is do my best to understand and have compassion and empathy for those with different lives than me.
All I know is that there are people older than me that I can garner knowledge and people older than me that can garner knowledge from me.
All I know it is my job to not only give to those younger than me, but have the ability to listen as well.
I am 34 and I am doing my best.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow, I will probably try harder.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

At last, Sunrise

My favorite track on my favorite instrumental CD (“We were Legends” by Maree Docia) is entitled “At last, Sunrise“.

I listen to it every morning as I walk to work. Sometimes I just repeat that two minute track 5 times. I listen to it as I am walking and writing, at lunch while I’m scrolling through Instagram.
There is just some immense beauty in the chords and the instrumentals. And there is something about the hope of sunrise.

I think part of it too is that I am a cheesy teen drama aficionado (like, as I’m reading this I’m contemplating going home and rewatching Riverdale). BUT in the shows I love like Riverdale and The Vampire Diaries they are so often waiting for the night to end and the sunrise to come.

And when it does, they take a big breath and they walk away from the night into the places the lightening sky touches. When they do, I can just hear the characters saying, “At last (DEAP BREATH COMMA) sunrise.”
I think that a part of the reason I love the cheesy teen supernatural-esque shows it because, I am reminded, eventually sunrise comes. Eventually the sun will come up and shine itself upon all the things that were dark.
What doesn’t happen on those supernatural shows, for the most part, is they never show the clean up the sun brings. On TV all the devastation and gore happens but once the sun comes up the town square is miraculously cleaned off of blood and oh wait the football games tonight- but our quarterback is dead, oh well.
But, in our lives when the sun comes up after a night of turmoil, the relief the sun brings is also matched with the fact the light is shining on the chaos.
Right now, in my life, I feel as if the light is coming and the pinks and the light blues and the purple is filling the sky and as it does I’m starting to see things that happened in the dark.
I think right now, I am choosing to believe that the sunrise is happening in my life. That I am finally developing the space in my life to take a breath and say “At last, sunrise”.

I think that sometimes we have to remember to let the sun come up.

We have to take our black out curtains off of our windows and allow the sun to come up.
And then we have to go feel it on our faces and believe it will stay.

I think we have to choose to face the mess in town square and clean it up and throw a party anyway.
As a people we focus on the negative so often, we focus on the dark and the chaos and we miss the sunrise when it happens. It’s like we put up black out curtains so we can pretend it’s light out when it’s not and then we miss the light.

PEOPLE WE NEED TO STOP MISSING THE LIGHT.

(MEG YOU NEED TO STOP MISSING THE LIGHT).

And when the light comes we need to take a breath and thank it for showing up.
We need to not be afraid of the blood on the pavement (sorry, that’s totally gory, but like shows about vampires are in my brain).
I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know if you don’t want the light because you don’t want to see what mayhem happened in the dark, I don’t know if your future is so filled with it you got to wear SPF 50.
I don’t know if you’re afraid of it, or don’t believe it’s ever coming again.
I do know though that the sun will rise again. I do know it might shed itself on things you don’t want to think about.
I do know being in the dark changed you and the light might no longer seem safe.
I do know that we need who you are- even the parts that were changed in the dark. And I do know those changes that happened in the dark feel hard to explain. And that the sunrise might not feel welcome in this moment.

And I do know that you can’t tell someone else what their light looks like. You can’t see light for other people. You can remind them to look- but you can’t see it for them.

But I do know the light is coming, it’s turning the sky beautiful colors and we need to take a deep breath and walk forward into it.

IMG_6227
one of my favorite sunrises I’ve ever seen in my life: angkor wat in cambodia

At last, sunrise.

 

 

hope is a verb, it takes a village, Uncategorized

the one in which I talk about 33

Have you ever looked back at a season of life and wondered what the hell happened?
Have you ever looked back and wondered how you got where you are and wondered what it is going to take to get out of the hole you feel like you might be in?
That’s what I feel right now.
I’ve been holding a lot of words back lately.
I’ve been holding things in that feel dark and scary and don’t feel like they are for the 80% of the world and they have barely been for the 20% that I tell all the things too.
But as I’m sitting here and attempting to find words to fit with what the last year of my life was and what I think the next year will hold an old switchfoot lyric passed across my brain:
“The shadow proves the sunshine”
Woof.
I’ve felt as if I have a lot of shadows right now, a lot of darkness and a lot of inability to find the light.
I’ve tried my hardest to hang on to hope, to hang on to joy and to find the way to keep going even when I have to do it with gritted teeth and a clenched fist.
In the last year of my life I learned a lot about myself. I learned I have absolutely no time or grace for those who give up and call it health, I learned that I can completely feel when I am not being myself, I learned that I am worse at saying no than I thought but still better than I used to be. I learned that I don’t always know what makes me happy but I when I find it I grab it and cherish it.
I learned that I can power through most anything.
This year I learned that I still remember what to do when I have a panic attack and that I can feel it coming on and take myself to a safe place.
This year I learned that I am much stronger than I think. This year I learned I can crush demons and giants and everything in between.
This year I learned I was warrior.
And I can weild an ax with the best of them.
This year I learned that I do and will stand my ground.
This year I learned that I am capable of making hard choices and decisions.
This year I learned that I am capable.
And that, my friends, is the sunshine.
This year I met the crossroads of where I could have gone and where I did go. I met the person I could have become and the person that sunk into herself and didn’t fight and I feel I chose to walk away from her.
When you chose to walk into the the shadows and dark and find who you are in those places. When you don’t shy away from them you learn who you are and you can begin to realize you are stronger than the darkness is dark.
I say this all to remind you of this:
Keep fucking going.
Don’t stop moving forward.
Rest isn’t passive- it’s active.
Choosing to find what you love and doing it isn’t selfish just as choosing to hunker down and stay isn’t not taking care of yourself.
Quitting isn’t self care.
But taking a breath to realize what your life is becoming and what you want to do to change it if there is something you want to change.
You are doing just fine.
You’ve got this.
Keep fucking going.

Honest, hope is a verb

a late april easter

My faith has been elastic the last few years.
It has stretched out to fit big truths that need to be held and it has been scrunched down to fend off words that don’t need to be kept.
I believe that there has been times where it has broken and torn and then stitched back together to try again.
My faith has for all purposes, changed and I’ve been given a fresh perspective on what it looks like.
I know it seems incredibly stereotypical of me to write about Jesus on Easter but, the Jesus I’m going to talk about is one I’ve found never in a place Jesus “should” be.

I’ve been finding Jesus at bars or parties, I’ve been finding Jesus in my anger and confusion and loneliness.
I’ve been finding Jesus in my mess, my literal mess in my room.
I’ve been finding Jesus in moments eating taquitos and in text conversations with my roommate.
I’ve been finding Jesus in people who would never deem themselves people with Jesus.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog at a bar entitled “In the midst of it all” where I talked about being unsure in my faith. And in this last year I have gone to church less than I ever have and I think in doing so I’ve made space to find Jesus in places I didn’t think I could or ever would.
I’ve always been an advocate for choosing to see the good in everything everywhere. Of choosing to see the holy, the lovely and the Christ in everyone and everything.
Sometimes, that’s easier to me without the lenses of the church. I’ve always gone to church out of habit, out of requirement- not that anyone ever told me I had too, but I just thought I was supposed too.
And this year I felt the freedom to step back when I needed too and to take a breath when I needed too and to step back in when I needed too. And to choose to go when I didn’t want to but truly felt I should.

And it changed something inside of me.

I believe I changed in a way where I became capable of loving more, and loving with less borders and also giving more boundaries to my love out of protection of my own self.
I think of this on Easter for many reasons.
To me, this year, Easter is a reminder to keep going. To keep moving forward.
To keep living.
To keep choosing to see love in people and don’t be held up by walls.
To see people who they are.
To see people with eyes that aren’t full of hate but of hope.
To me Easter is a reminder to keep seeing people.
I have a bracelet on my wrist that I bought for my baeby sharks. The inside of it has in scripted “keep fucking going”.
I know that seems aggressive for words on Easter.
But, shouldn’t we all be doing just that?
I don’t know what you believe or don’t believe. I don’t know what you’ve been hurt by or who you’ve been hurt by. I don’t know if you feel like you belong or feel like you’re just out of the frame of the picture.

But, what I want you to know today is this:

Easter is a lot of things. It’s a day where dead things came to life. It’s a day where it was declared the last word has not been spoken.
It’s a day that’s signed with love.
BUT it’s also a day of newness and day to remind ourselves that we can stand up and keep moving forward.
Today, on this day, in this moment, you can keep moving forward. You can take a breath and choose to see what is lovely and good and hopeful around you.
It might be Jesus to you and it might not.
Find the good, the moments, find the hope in what isn’t hopeful and keep moving forward.
I think I’m still in the midst of it all. I think that I still have places where I’m coming from the middle and looking down into to it to see what’s happening but that’s ok. That’s more than ok.

It’s good.

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings

To the man in 8B

To the man in 8B,
I did not want to talk to you.
From the second I sat down next to you though, I kind of knew I was going to end up talking to you but I didn’t know why.
When you got up about halfway through the flight I took a deep breath. I stretched out a little, but couldn’t get settled. Something was stirring up inside and I knew that even though it was something that I detested-I was going to talk to someone on an airplane.
You know this now- but I talk all the time. To my tiny humans, their parents, to my friends, to my boss.
All the damn time.
On an airplane I like to read or watch movies or sleep.
Not talk.
But, I felt the need to ask you about your book you had been holding in your hand for the whole flight but never opened.
And then the dam broke.
You proceeded to tell me story after story about your writing, your 42 years as a lawyer and everything in between.
And then you disagreed with me when I made the statement that we are all connected. You refuted my statement with story after story about people who were truly lonely.
But, man on plane next to me, I hate to break it to you; you are the reason none of those people were truly lonely.
In all of your stories about your days of being a lawyer and of standing in for those who had no voice, you frequently said that you were the one they trusted, that you minced no words with them.
I hate to break it to you man on the plane next to me, but you were their voice when no one else was.
You gave people the hope that it all would end, that there was a way out- even if that way out was death.
As we talked I saw your heart breaking for the people you had helped in your past. I saw your joy when you talked about the moment when you got to lift 13 years of shame off of someone’s shoulders. I saw you be grateful for a moment that you had the ability to tell long forgotten stories in your writing.
And I had this feeling for a moment, that you were passing something down to me, as I gathered you and your wife had no kids.
You said a few things to me that stuck with me and will stick with me.
You told me that I was going to get burnt out doing what I do. And that you and my mom were in it together in battling the sicknesses that had been dealt to you. You reminded me that it was ok to have two brains- a writing brain and a teacher brain and that I had to shut off the teacher brain to write. You told me that my parents had done one good thing and that was putting me in the world.
You told me that you normally don’t talk to people on planes either- that you normally just shut down on your flights to and from Seattle. That you’ve made 20 of those flights essentially in the last year and you always bring a book but never read it.
And the very last words you spoke to me were this:
“Good luck saving the world one child at a time- remember Obama was a three year old once”
I think you believed I might actually change something. I think you believed that I had that ability.
I think maybe, you thought I knew what the hell I was doing.
I think you thought that because all those things are true about yourself.
You have changed something.
You know you had the ability to do it.
And you knew and know what the hell you are doing.
To the man in 8B,
You have lived an incredibly full 67 years.
I know you don’t know how many more you have left; but I want you to know this:
You have changed people. You have slayed dragons on the behalf of those who were unable to pick up a sword. You have brought people peace who thought they had no ability to feel that feeling.
You have stood by someone and let them be lonely but not alone.
I wanted to tell you all of this- but I felt in my depths that you’d be overwhelmed by those words. That the plane was your safe space from everything that was happening and had happened in your life and the fact that you told me those stories and listened to my words meant more than I can say.
To the man in 8B,
You matter.
With love,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village

How you stand

I write fluffy words a lot.

I write words that ask you, the reader, to step into the next. To be encouraged, to grab onto your own strength.

Sometimes all I want to do is yell and cry.

I had a moment on Friday, during nap time where I just wanted to walk out the doors. The why doesn’t really matter, but just know that I wanted to walk out. Instead I walked into the storage closet and shed a few tears and took a deep breath and walked back out.

Then later that night I had my second panic attack in the last month.

I don’t say this all to say my life is awful or for sympathy (because it’s not and I don’t need it)- I say it to tell you what I did next.

Saturday morning I went out to breakfast and read a book. I opened windows and cleaned my room, I drank a glass of wine and ate bean dip straight from the casserole dish on the floor of my friend’s house.

This morning I slept in and went to a coffee shop and did some prep for a bridal shower.

What I’m trying to say is I kept moving.

Sometimes I have shame that pops up from about ten years ago when I stopped moving. I didn’t go to work and I hid in a hole and my roommates pulled me out of the hole and gave me space all at the same time.

What I am trying to say is keep moving, in some way. Make some brownies or clean or read in a coffee shop or treat yourself to a delicious breakfast sandwich and a good book.

Walk outside, breathe, get vitamin D.

I spend 40+ hrs teaching tiny humans how to listen to their bodies. What it feels like to be mad, sad, happy or when you need to go to the bathroom. But how often do we as adults truly listen to our bodies unless our body is screaming at us?

Self care and soul care is so trendy these days. Not that it’s a bad thing. But what I want to remind you is that self care looks different for everyone. Self care to me is cleaning with my window open. It’s laughing with friends. It’s sitting across from someone at a coffee shop and not speaking.

I have made it a point to keep moving forward. To always show up. And when I don’t want to necessarily leave the house- to do something anyway.

It’s so important how you respond to the lows in your life.

I’ve learned over the last ten years what responses work for me and what responses don’t. What responses give me life and what responses cause me to drown a little more.

It’s an important value in my life to be as honest and open as possible in my writing. There are things I won’t talk about, not for lack of desire but in all honesty it’s just not everyone’s business.

But this, my response to my lows is something I want to share.

Knowing what to do when your body yells is just as important as what you do to not make it yell.

Responding when you fall down reminds you of ways to keep standing.

So to you, my friend reading this, know that it’s 100% ok to fall.

It happens.

But, start noting how you stand up. Note, how you stand up taller than when you fell.

You’ve got this.

Do the damn thing