Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

It FEELS like a lot.

I’ve realized lately it feels as if my anxiety is winning.

I know it’s not, but it FEELS like it is.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Why does it feel for every five steps I move forward the sucker punch takes me back ten?

Why does it feel as if I can do 9 things right but the 10th time puts me underwater?

And I’m wonder do you feel the same?

Do you feel as if you are unable to get ahead or celebrate the small victories?

Do your joys that you experience feel like things you can’t share because everyone around you feels like they are losing battles?

Are you the friend that’s losing a battle?

I’ve had a few friends have some really exciting things happen over the last week and it makes me PUMPED when they share it.

Because we can’t find celebration for ourselves these days unless we see celebration.

We can’t figure out how to find joy and hope unless we see it.

There is a shouting match happening in the world right now. 

And it’s exhausting.

It’s like with my tiny humans. If I have a staff who tries to just get louder to shout over the kids who are being loud I let them know it doesn’t work.

And it’s gonna drive you absolutely insane.

I had something happening the other day where there was loud chaos, no one could pick a place to play, I was just trying to clean up and I realized me cleaning up the mess wasn’t helping.

So, I used my loud teacher voice and stated “I AM GOING TO READ THIS SPOOOOOOKY BOOK” (my tiny humans are all about spooky books right now).

I sat on the floor of my library and at first just started leafing through the book.

Then one tiny human came over and I started reading it.

By the end of the story I had 7 of my ten kids in the library. 

Then we finished the book and I re-asked them where they wanted to play and they chose an area, I pulled out some new toys and we went back about our day.

There are a lot of things that need to be said right now (#govote). There is a lot of energy in the air that isn’t helpful.

There is a lot of the inability to feel as if we aren’t allowed to be joyful.

But damn, do we need it.

And joy isn’t easy.

And it sometimes feels like succumbing to anxiety is easier.

But sometimes we have to stop yelling at the chaos and we have to sit down and read a spooky book and let the chaos settle.

And yes, sometimes we have to fight.

I think right now we are more prone to fight.

I know I am.

If I don’t fight I feel like my body might just give up on me.

But I also know the more that I hear others celebration and joy I get more ability to fight.

I think we’ve stopped sharing joy because it feels wrong.

I think I’ve started feeling like anxiety is winning because it feels like celebration is losing.

It feels like we are shouting at the chaos when instead we just need to tell a story. It can be someone else’s story or even a spooooooky story. 

Stories don’t have to be celebratory but the more we speak out our own darkness the more it isn’t able to stay because we keep shining light on it. 

So, what I want you to do is (if you’ve gotten to the bottom of these words) to share a joy, a celebration, something exciting that has happened this week no matter how small it seems to you.

And lastly: if it feels like anxiety is winning, if depression and darkness is winning- I get you and also,

No, it’s not.

I can promise you that right now.

You are more than it.

It’s still valid, it’s there- but it’s not winning.

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, 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, 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