Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships, smash the cardboard

Untangling some yarn

I wish I were braver.

I wish I had the ability to say exactly what I wanted to say and to do exactly what I wanted to do.

I wish I could just jump.

I wish I could push past the anxiety and the insecurity and throw myself exactly in to the thing I needed to do.

I wish I could fully comprehend my own capability.

(Those statements above have very little to do with the words below and normally I would delete them but they felt important regardless of their connection.)

I was scrolling my email today when I say a newsletter from the “Naked Pastor”. He’s someone I follow on social media who talks a lot about deconstruction and ‘controversial’ topics in the church. Today he wrote something that I realized is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

“We’ve been trained to stay on the straight and narrow. But when we stray, we are terrified because of all the bad things that will happen to us that we were warned about.”

Woof.

I remember being in church when I was in high school and even in college and hearing things that terrified me to my core.

I went to a Christian university. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things.

(Spoiler alert: I did MOST of the things I wasn’t allowed to do).

But, it gets me thinking.

 When I taught one-year-old kiddos, I had a new tiny human come into my classroom and her dad worked downtown and would visit a lot. And he was a little intimidating.

I was outside with all the one-year-old kiddos and I was talking to the dad and his tiny human was in a push car and was going to fall off the deck. It was maybe 4-6 inches. I caught the car and pushed them back up.

But the dad said to let them fall next time.

The funny thing is if the dad wouldn’t have been standing there, I would have let the back wheels fall and let the tiny human plop down.

I knew they were safe, but the presence of the dad caused me to react differently.

The presence of someone I deemed with more authority than me (which in that case it was kind of true) caused me to react differently.

I wonder though; how frequently have I acted differently or had a different response because of deeming someone with more authority than myself.

I’ve discussed this next topic in my life a few times. It ebbs and flows out of meaning and out of my own personal reality.

I have a very strong reaction to men who are in authority or “authority” in my life (and yes the quotations are two different types of people).

It stems from a lot of years and a lot of men in and out of my life deeming themselves someone who had the power to tell me what to do.

(And this isn’t just inside the church).

But, because of the people with “authority” in my life, basically the ones who don’t have it but assert it anyway, I have truly lost a lot space to actually give people with more wisdom, life and what have you the ability to speak to me.

 And also, because of that, I sometimes feel that I have lost the space.

Because of the ways other people have hindered who I am and what I’m about, I have lost the ability (sometimes) to believe I can be that person.

It’s funny how different life can be when we live in the verbiage of what we can’t do versus the verbiage of what we can.

I know that I come across as an extraordinarily strong independent woman. I come across as someone who knows what she’s about and does what she needs to do.

And even saying all of the things I said in this collection of words, I still believe the sentence above is who I am.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes it isn’t a battle to move past the giants that like to wake up from sleeping and stomp around and shake the trees.

Here’s the thing about me:

I’m going to keep going in spite of all of that. I’m going to keep showing up and choosing to speak even when I feel things around me want me to be silent. I’m going to ask for help from people who are a little wiser than me (men and women) when I know they are safe in my knower even when my brain hasn’t caught up yet.

I’m going to try to the best of my ability to not be an island.

And I’m going to try to not be afraid of what is or isn’t off the path.

I’m not little red riding hood and I won’t mistake grandma for a wolf.

If you’re afraid of things that people have told you to be afraid, if you have been told you aren’t the right person and you don’t say the right things, if heaven forbid you’re a woman who’s been told you are less than- I want you to know that I’m here for you.

I’m with you.

Let’s do the damn thing.

Honest, 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.