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

I didn’t want to write this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But!

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

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

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

The world is a lot right now.

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

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

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

Get out of bed and take deep breathes.

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

You got this.

Keep fucking going, however that looks.

Honest, I choose champagne, relationships, smash the cardboard

I did this for me.

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

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

I choose champagne, ramblings, smash the cardboard

145,659 + these words

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

I am more than.

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

I am more than.

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

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

And it’s fucking hard.

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

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

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

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

But, I am more than them.

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

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

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

Let’s smash some cardboard boxes.

Honest, hope is a verb, 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