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

Honest, hope is a verb

Five years of wind and writing on Sundays

I just reread the first piece I posted on this website five years ago.

I can’t help but chuckle at the person who wrote those words. Now not in a bad way, because everything leads us to where we are.

But, even though that girl had more hope, that girl had dreams that hadn’t been left on mountains to be forgotten about, that girl still felt like she had so much more to give, I chuckle because I am so far from her.

And that’s not a bad thing.

And I want to tell you where I am right now to remind you of something very important: it’s ok.

Because the truth is, I feel a little dead inside right now. It’s almost as if I needed New Year’s Eve to actually be two weeks of me being able to take deep cleansing breaths and wash away all the things that piled on from the last few years.

That isn’t life though. That’s not how the world works. So the year went from 18 to 19 and I was just there with a champagne glass and wondering how I was going to brush myself off and keep going.

I got a picture today while I was walking. It was of a parched desert with hard packed dirt. Then the rains came. They came and they came and the water sat on top of the dirt and couldn’t sink in. It found nooks and crannies and valleys but the water had no way of infiltrating the surface. It had no where to go but to flood the life that was already growing.

Hard packed dirt that gets flooded quickly can handle the amount of water that comes. It doesn’t have enough time to saturate or sink in or make mud.

Now, I have some of the most amazing friends who give me love and support and joy and encouragement. I have parents who support me even from two states away.

But, I realized today I’ve been a hard packed desert for awhile.

So all the people in my life who have yet to give up on me I want to say for that I am sorry. I am sorry for an inability to receive goodness and joy and hope. I am sorry to you my friends and to myself.

But the dirt and the soil is hard packed and susceptible to flooding and to killing what is good.

And that’s a little bit how I feel these days.

It’s funny because I think of that girl from 5 years ago and the joy and hope that were running off of her.

And she had seen things and had heartache and hurt. She had felt lost and lost who God was, she had been there and back again.

But then, she got older.

And she questioned more and found new words and lost hope and refound it.

And now, she’s here. She’s me.

She’s a little dead inside, she’s forgotten how to laugh a little, how to smile.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because it’s a part of moving and growing and living.

It’s not shameful or wrong.

It doesn’t mean I can’t love or give out life or hold space for someone or laugh or smile.

It doesn’t mean I’m not me.

And it doesn’t mean I need rescuing or that I am sending up signal flares.

My word for this year is release.

And among some other things I am choosing to release out of myself words so that you know you aren’t alone.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am in hopes that you will release that it’s ok to not be ok.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am so that you know that you can be not ok and still keep living and showing up in spite of it.

You can still be you.

I am that girl from 5 years ago. Parts of her built who I am today.

I haven’t failed her, I haven’t let go of her.

I’ve just learned a little more. I’ve gotten some rough edges.

I’m a little dead inside.

And that’s ok.

Honest, hope is a verb

I cleaned my room

Damn.

So, this isn’t something I have wanted to talk about again. It seems that there are a few topics that when they swing back into my sphere of life I desire to do everything but write about them.

I don’t really like to feel like a broken record.

But the fact of the matter is words and I haven’t really gotten along in 2k18, so I best move along with the ones that are hitting against my heart.

Before I move on I want to just leave my bottom line up here at the top, just in case you want to stop reading and go eat a taco:

Your anxiety is not a burden.

Your depression is not a burden.

Your burn out is not a burden.

Your mental health is not a burden.

I don’t know what it is with summers (well, I do but we don’t need to go into it) but this summer has been for lack of a better word; weird.

That’s been really the only word I can come up with.

Because nothing has been bad, nothing has devastated me, but I’ve been tired, drained, burnt out and much more susceptible to the anxiety that finds ways to creep up my spine.

I am surrounded by people just like me or similar to me in one way or another.

I work with people who care. You literally would not survive in my job if you didn’t care. Even the tiny humans that drive me the most up the wall occupy space in my heart.

But, what you find in my line of work is a lot of humans who don’t have the space or ability to put themselves first, you find people who want to help others, take care of others.

When I was in grad school I did a lot of research on burn out in pastors and church leadership mainly because that is what I was going to school for. And I found a lot of pieces of research, a lot of books and statistics on burn out in pastors. A lot of stats on mental health issues and breakdowns as well.

I haven’t done the research but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was the same type of findings in early learning.

And I already hear the responses, and I already can see comments being typed about needing to take care of ourselves.

Don’t you think we know?

I, personally, deal with depression, anxiety and burn out. It is not always present but it comes in waves, seasons and here and there it’s debilitating intense. But, every damn day, I show up for those kiddos. Yes, sometimes that might not be the best for me. But it’s what I do.

(The tears are freely hitting my ipad just for reference.)

I’ve been finding ways be it reorganizing my room, doing face masks, listening to pretty music, to lower my stress and to bring me back to myself.

I’m always working on it.

And I think, why I chose to write and allow my train of thought to freely take the lead is this:

Sweet lord, you my friend, in whatever you are dealing with, are allowed to deal with it.

I’m not saying to not be active. To not pursue health, to not find things that bring you joy, balance and hope.

Be as active as you can be, whether that’s calling a friend to lay on the floor with you while you cry, or bulking up your self care routine. Or getting help from someone who has a degree on the wall.

I don’t know where you are in life.

I just want you to know that we are all walking together whether we know it or not.

I want you to know that I very much have an Instagram filter on sometimes (& its 100% ok if you do too)

I want you to know I very much believe you are going to be ok.

I am going to choose to believe that all the things in life are not a burden.

I am going to choose to believe that I am not too much.

I want you to do the same.

Whether you are a stay at home mom. Or a teacher. Whether you have a corporate job or you are a pastor.

You’ve got this.

And we are here, together.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, To dream

33: a bit about me and a bit about you

I’ve become really good at writing short, quirky bios about myself. It’s fun to try to condense who I am into a small amount of words.

But, isn’t that an interesting concept? Condensing who you are into a small amount of words.

About four years ago at the end of my g42 term during graduation festivities one of the prophecies I received from one of the staff at the time was this, “Meg, don’t diminish yourself or shrink back or hide to make the people around you feel comfortable but just unfurl yourself to the fullness of who you are and force them to catch up.”

What’s funny is I haven’t thought about those words in a couple years. But today, in this moment, thinking about writing more than 140 characters about who I am feels overwhelming. Who I am feels like too much to describe.

We are each amazing, beautiful, individual humans. We have stories and experiences, we’ve gone on adventures and traveled through darkness and been on mountain tops and everything in between.

We should share with each other who we are and where we’ve been.

So, without further ado, here is a little bit about me, the “she” who writes on Sundays.

My name is Meghan. I go by Meghan, Meg, Megs, Teacher Meg, Miss Meg, Nina, Aunt Mega, Meglyn, Sox, Moses (it’s a good story, you can ask me later) and in a few weeks, once again, Junapera.

I am 33 and I’ve taught preschool in some way, shape or form since 2007. I’ve been to 15 countries and if around it enough I can speak Spanish pretty well. I have a BA in English, a minor in music and I’ve been singing since the 2nd grade and was the president of my University Women’s choir my senior year in college.

I’m a Southern California girl from a small central California town who lives in Bellingham, Washington.

I love my people.

My favorite week of the year is the last week in June up on the mountain in Southern California with Royal Family Kids.

I love beverages (of the bubbly variety especially).

I love avocado.

I love a really good croissant.

And tacos.

I’m a feeler. A 2 on the enneagram.

And the place where I feel the most peace is when I am sitting in front of blank screen.

I believe everyone has a story. Everyone has dark and light intermixed. Everyone has something for someone else.

I believe we need each other.

Everything I do in life or try to do in life or sometimes succeed at is about making connections. From the tiny humans to people I meet once, twice or see every day.

I went through a season, maybe I’m still in it a little where I didn’t want to believe that I mattered. I physically didn’t want to matter.

Mattering is heavy.

I honestly just wanted to be in the background. I wanted to move people along, lift people up and teach them.

I want control over my spotlight.

But, I think what I’ve learned this year is that sometimes someone else needs us to be in the spotlight for them. We need to say the words, or do the things or be put in the hot seat so that someone else finds what they need.

What I am trying to say is that it’s not all about you even when it seems to be just that.

So, I say all this, I give you a small glimpse into who I am, what I believe, to say that in my year of 33 I am going to try to be better at remembering I have things to give that push me to the edge of anxiety, that make me feel slightly uncomfortable, but those things are worth it.

On the other side of me wanting to shrink away or hide, there is someone who needs something I’ve been given.

AHEM.

On the other side of you wanting to shrink away or hide or think you aren’t enough, there is someone who needs what you’ve been given.