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

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

But I am grateful for THAT

I am not one to talk about what I am grateful for in the broader sense. I will text friends and write cards and buy coffees and double vodka tonics and constantly try to remind and tell those in my circle that I love them, I am so happy they are in my life, that they’re champions, that I’m proud of them, that I believe in them etc.

But, as I was getting to ready to come and sit and drink a coffee in this bright lovely space today I was thinking about what I really truly am grateful for.

You see, it’s easy for me to be grateful for people and memories and moments and inanimate objects (sparkly water and ice coffee I’m looking at you).

There is something that it is actually incredibly difficult for me to be grateful for:

Myself.

The past month I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up internally. I’ve spent a lot of time negating who I am and what I’ve done and what I believe. I have spent a lot of headspace telling myself I’m not worth a change, or something new, not enough.

I stood on the porch of my house for about 3 minutes debating and wondering if I should actually come write and put words down.
But, I locked the door and I started moving.

Because, when it comes down to it, I am grateful for myself.

I am grateful for the ability to love fiercely, even to the point of exhaustion because I never question my passion for something or someone.
I am grateful for my inability to be confrontational because it means I am constantly learning how to be better at that very thing.
I am grateful for the fact that I am good at my job. Grateful for the knowledge I have and my ability to be able to relate to parents and kids. I am grateful for my desire to ask questions and my ability to ask for help at work.
I am grateful for my ability to be stubborn. I am grateful for the times wherein it hinders me and helps me. I am grateful for it because it always reminds me that I can do hard things.

I am grateful for my relationship with God even in the moments where I didn’t want it. And my ability to be ok with doubt.
I am grateful for my ability to be friends with so many different types of humans.
I am grateful for my singleness because it has taught me constantly that I am my own person. I am grateful for the ache of my singleness because it reminds me that I desire something I might never have, but inspires me to be stronger than I think I can be.
I am grateful for the fact that I’m a basic white girl. That I love avocado toast and cold brew and not disgusting pumpkin spice lattes.
I am grateful for my extra weight and the curves on my body. I am grateful for how it has taught me to dress for who I am and own what I love.

I am grateful that I know what it feels like when I’m about to have a panic attack. I am grateful that my body and I have come to such a place where I know when it’s about to stop working.

I am grateful for the friendships that have come into my life and my ability to realize I need them.
I am grateful for the friendships I’ve lost. Because even though it sometimes still hurts- I will always remember the ways I grew because of them.
I am grateful for my inabilities because they have in more ways than one led me to where I am.

I am grateful for myself.

Now, this list isn’t all of the things I am grateful for inside of myself.

And you’re probably thinking “Meg, some of these aren’t awesome” and you’re right.

Some of these things that I have listed aren’t probably things to be grateful for. Like, maybe I should lose weight, or get more mentally healthy, maybe I should stop being stubborn or be a better friend.

Maybe.

But here’s a real talk moment: This is who I am today and who I will probably be tomorrow.

But each day I chip away at something and change the story.
Like confrontation: still not great at it, but better than I was 5 years ago.

My anxiety? I still have it but each day I learn the signs more and more and learn what I can do to breathe it out.

The more time we spend hating parts of ourselves; the more likely we will just hate all of ourselves.

I have spent a lot of my life thinking I didn’t need to matter- and if I’m being completely and utterly transparent I still have moments where I feel that. The desire to be invisible and just move the pieces for other people. The desire to blend into the scenery and cheer on from the audience.

I still just sometimes want to sink into the actions and deeds I do for others. Because it’s easier than being known and seen. I would still rather feel your feelings than give up my own.

I would still rather hold your purse of problems than let you sift through my own,
BUT
I’m getting better.
I’d still rather spend my time in the background and I would still rather hold my cards close at hand.
But I’m grateful for the growth I’ve made and the stories I’ve shared and the beliefs I’ve changed about myself and the space I inhabit.

I might not say what I’m grateful for or thankful for again this month- I’ll probably still show it in the purchase of coffee or vodka, handwritten notes, and hugs.

But for myself, here it is a reminder that my life is built on stories and pieces of myself that won’t go away just because I dislike them- but will be nurtured if I choose to see what they’ve done for me.

So as a final question: How are you grateful for the parts of yourself that for which you’ve spent a lifetime being not grateful?

 

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

I am not too much

A letter to those who feel as if they are too much,

I don’t know where I was, probably in a Van Zandt class in college where she reminded us that women are allowed to take up space. But I remember looking at how I was sitting.
You see, I’ve always been bigger. I’ve had moments where I thought I was big, that now I know I wasn’t.
I’ve always been afraid of physically taking up too much space.

That day though, in the moment, I remember looking at myself and looking at my body language. I was sitting against a wall as close I could be with all my stuff in my tight little area.
And I thought, why am I doing this? There was plenty of space in the classroom, I was at my own table.
I was allowed to take up space.

But, of course, in the back of my mind, I heard I small voice say, “Don’t take up too much space…”.
And the battle continued.

This isn’t about me though. This is for you. The one sitting here reading this. Either a human I know who clicked this link out of kindness or someone who followed the tag I posted.

You are allowed to take up space.

Taking up space looks literally different to everyone.

For instance, long ago I decided I was allowed to take a table by myself at a bar to write. I’m a good customer. I tip well, I order multiple things. I take an appropriate table. I’m kind.

I can take up this space.

You are allowed to take up space.

I’m not saying push yourself on people or sprawl out across a table meant for ten humans.
I’m saying you don’t have to walk around like you don’t matter.

Because, holy hell, you do.

I’m not saying to verbal vomit on a person who clearly doesn’t have the ability to hold your story.

I’m saying to remember that there are people who do.
Feeling you are too much is so hard. It’s a lot of apologizing for existing, it’s choosing to not share an opinion or even offer a suggestion on where to eat.

It’s feeling as if you aren’t allowed to move on to the next because what you leave in your wake would be too much.

Feeling like you are too much makes you feel as if you are not entitled to the space around you.
It’s feeling like every problem you have is something that you must solve alone because you are a broken record.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.

I’ve spent a lot of my life being told I’m not enough by people and factors around me. I’ve been physically told I’m too much, too sensitive, too depressed, that I’m doing it for attention.

I’ve gotten looks on airplanes from seatmates as I try to lean as far as possible away from the humans around me.
I’ve been told from across a store that something won’t fit me by an employee as I reached up to grab it.
I’ve lost friends over my emotions and been ghosted for my opinions when I choose to share them.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.
I want you to know, you ARE NOT too much.

And you, human being reading this, whether I know you or not, YOU are allowed to take up space.
With love,
Meg

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.