Honest, relationships

To whom it may concern; we’re not all waiting

I read a list on Instagram couple days ago that was entitled “What I wish I would have done while I was single”.

I had a small inking of hope that maybe it wouldn’t be a list of things that have nothing to do with actually being single.

Maybe it would be like “travel more. Felt less shame going out to dinner alone. Not put my entire personality into being single and waiting for someone”.

Obviously I was wrong.

The list had nothing to do with any of that.

One line read “being alone is a lonely, depressing confusing and rough place to be” and to “trust god- it’s worth it”. And “He will come through”.

Might I counter that with maybe don’t put that on single people?

Life can be rough and lonely and depressing and confusing and while yes sometimes it does have to do with being single it’s not the whole story.

And do I believe that God will “come through”? Yah, I guess kind of. I don’t know if I would use that language.

I would say that I’m walking in the path that I’m supposed to and I’ll pick up the things set down for me as they come for me.

If that’s a relationship than great.

If it’s not-great.

God is still “coming through”.

I think I could go on to list more things about how problematic I feel the churches response to singleness is.

How much we are targeted in all the wrong ways and how we feel less than on a daily basis for not being in a relationship.

(I could easily go on a rampage about single childless woman but that’s another word for another day)

This string of Instagram post about guarding your eyes for another person and choosing to better yourself in listening for another person and leaning on God for another person.

You should do all that for yourself.

There’s that moment where I realize that there are people who there whole existence is finding a partner. That they want to do all those things.

But not all of us do.

I honestly don’t know where I’m at in the life of relationship.

(I would say that I’d be fine with a cat and some plants and a good library but I’m gonna be honest I kill plants)

But at the end of the day I do want to better myself, I want to trust the spirit inside me more, I want to be kind to myself.

So…

To whom it may concern:

We’re not all waiting.

We’re not all sitting on our hands using our time to prepare for a person to come into our lives and make us whole.

Honestly we’re not making ourselves better for someone else.

We’re making ourselves better for our own selves.

With love,

A single woman

Honest, notes on grief

Simply: trying.

I’ve been trying.

I’ve been trying to move through my days and not let anything I’m feeling leak out into the humans around me.

I’ve been trying to be strong.

I think it can go without saying that I haven’t been doing the best. I’ve been trying too. I’ve been attempting to deal with this thing called grief and struggle against the voice inside my head that says I should be over it.

I’ve been attempting to deal with feeling like not enough a lot of days of the week- like I don’t measure up and am physically incapable of doing so.

I’ve been attempting to not feel like a third wheel- attempting to try so hard to not shut down and be an island.

I’ve been attempting to not feel like less than- which is different than not feeling like enough- trying not to feel like my pain and grief and lack of hope makes me weak.

I’ve been attempting to not give in to all these things.

And it’s really fucking hard.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again: I don’t like writing from the middle.

I don’t like putting things out into the world that feel hopeless or lacking the spirit I have inside.

I don’t like placing what I feel inside for everyone to see.

But what I’ve realized is my ability to see it- to fight it- even when I don’t feel like I’m winning- that’s hope.

My ability to show up even when it feels like it goes beyond what I’m capable of doing- that’s the spirit inside me.

And writing from the middle? That’s me fighting.

Choosing to write from the middle and choosing to call out the things that want me to hide and cry (which I’ll still cry- I’m only human) is me remembering that I’m stronger than I think.

When I was in church this morning God clearly reminded me that I was built for this.

Now, don’t get me wrong- you will never hear me state “god only gives me what I can handle” because I call bullshit.

I’ve many moments in life but prime example: I was not in anyway shape or form able to handle losing my mom when I was only 36.

What I am saying is that, the hard, hopeless seaming things; the grief, the singleness, the feeling lost- it may (it has) knock me down. It may push me under.

But, I will rebuild.

I’ve talked a lot about ruins lately. My letterboard still reads “the city will be rebuilt on her ruins” and well, to be honest, a lot of my life still feels like ruins.

But, I’m working on cleaning it up. On finding the foundation.

On rebuilding.

I’m trying.

I don’t know where you are.

I don’t know if you feel like you’re surrounded by ruins.

I don’t know if you feel like you don’t know what to do with your hands.

But I do know that all we need to do is keep trying.

I’m here with you.

You got this.

With love,

Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings

Nice is different than good

I’ve realized that lately I’ve gotten really bothered when people give a situation more credit than it is meant to have.

I’m a words person (obviously) and I believe in the power of assigning meaning to something that doesn’t merit that meaning.

Like chaos. I used to have an assistant in my classroom years ago who would say every moment of every day was chaotic. I finally stopped them and reminded them they needed to change their meaning of chaos or a simple transition gone slightly awry was going to wreck them.

I also realize I have a high capacity for stress (which I understand is not always a beneficial thing) but it’s also helped me realize that frustrating does not equal hard or rough.

I think in the last few years I’ve worked at trying to describe things in such a way that I can understand them.

Giving a blanket statement to something and assigning it a word that has no descriptors isn’t helpful.

(As an example one of my PET PEEVES in working with children is the use of the word “nice”. It means nothing to a a child. Telling a three year old to “be nice” tells them nothing what you want their actions to do.)

When I started pondering these words this morning I had a Sondheim lyric in my head “Nice is different than good”.

A frustrating situation is different than a hard situation.

A stress-filled situation is different than a stressful situation.

Choosing to start to understand what in the situation is actually hindering us instead of just giving a blanket statement and walking away.

It’s work that feels hard.

(And work that feels hard is different than work that feels bad).

I’ve come to a realization that will not be brand new information to anyone that knows me well: but I’ve allowed my capacities for stress and hard work and chaos get so big they very rarely phase me.

And when they do it’s probably already too late.

So, right now, I’m trying to pull my bubble back.

I’m trying to redefine what all those words look like and I’m trying to reframe how I see them for myself.

It’s lot of work and it will involve boundary setting and it will be hard and also good.

(See what I did there?)

So if you needed a reminder that you are allowed to change sometime at almost 37 that you’ve operated in most of your life you are absolutely 100% allowed too.

Deep breathes to your toes 💛

With love,

Meg

Honest, notes on grief

The shame of falling apart

I don’t remember when I told him this but at some point I told my pastor, that my room was a direct reflection of my mental health. And it’s something he remembers and every now and then will ask me how my room is- asking me how I’m doing in a different way.

My room has been in disarray since August.

August was when I came back from first surprising my parents in Kingsburg (I left with a sense of foreboding that it would be the last time I saw my mom alive) and then had been in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding for about a week.

I was emotionally drained and on the edge of absolute physical shutdown. It was during that week in Hawaii that I realized I had to quit my job, I needed to make the leap, move on and try to breathe again.

I needed to try to find myself in what felt like the chaos I created.

I’ve talked about this before, but I started to breathe again.

I emptied my closet out to go through it, I was beginning to piece by piece put myself back together.

Then my mom died and the chaos stayed.

The effort it feels like it’s going to take to put it all back together still sometimes feels absolutely overwhelming.

I feel as if I had a perfect storm of grief, burnout, teaching in a pandemic, anxiety and so many other things. And I have to remember something in all of it:

It’s going to take more than a few months to heal.

Today in church, I was reminded by someone that I was important and that I needed to take care of myself.

Woof.

And right now, all that’s trying to run through my head are the ways I’m horrible at taking care of myself. All the ways I’ve been a bad, absent friend. The giant pile of clothes in the corner of my room, the fact my calendar still says January. The ways I’m incapable of doing enough. How I’m unable to do what people need me to do because I am fearful of crashing again.

But, if I sit I can also see tangible ways that I am taking care of myself and I have to remember that.

The pile of clean clothes means that I am doing laundry.

The plate on my bedside table means I have eaten today.

My cleaned off desk that now houses my vanity and makeup means that I am taking time to sit and do my makeup and I had to buy more moisturizer today because even if I don’t wear makeup, everyday I sit in my chair and put moisturizer on.

I had to scrounge for shampoo because I ran out, so I’m showering.
I had to refill my water bottle because even though I usually suck at it, I am drinking water today.

And the tears currently running down my face remind me that I’m still allowing myself to feel.

I’m well aware of all the ways I don’t take care of myself. I’m well aware that I’ve not been doing well.
I’m well aware of all the ways I don’t feel like I’m showing up for the people around me.

But with all that I have to remember the ways, even in the midst of the bad days where I don’t feel like I’ll ever feel whole again, that I’m still moving forward, I’m still creating habits that take care of myself even in little ways like putting moisturizer on my face or listening to podcasts while I get ready..

I have to remember that it wasn’t just my mom dying. It was also the end of a time of life living in high stress. It was living and teaching kids in a pandemic. It was friendships ending.

It was a lot.

So, if right now, if keeping my bed and my desk clear and my floor mostly clear is all I can do, so be it. If for this season my white board calendar stays on January and I just use my google calendar, so be it. If I mostly eat bagged salads and bagels and frozen things from Trader Joe’s, so be it.

Taking the shame out of the things I don’t feel capable of and putting the focus on doing what I can to be human, to live and to move forward in my day.

This is hard to even say but I think I am actually proud of myself. I’m proud that I show up. I am proud that I’ve realized I actually have to eat in the day.

I’m proud that I’ve found new ways to self care.

I’m proud that I let myself cry,

Because I am important and I need to take care of myself.

back to the barre, Honest

On being an island

I just did a thing where I actually didn’t delete the 400 words I had written to write something new but I opened a new document.

The words I was saying weren’t bad- they just weren’t it.

The 400 words I had typed out were moreso dancing around something that I was trying not to say because even just the thought of saying the thing that’s in my head is currently making me cringe.

Today, I feel rested.

I had a beautiful weekend, that started just sitting and chatting with my best friend at her desk because I wouldn’t see her all weekend and those moments began a weekend where my soul and heart and all the insides of me got rested all the way down to the toes in ways I haven’t been in a while.

(that’s not the thing that makes me feel cringy)

And after I sat and wrote the prior 400 words that were filled with a lot of me stating that I sometimes just want to be an island, I realized that while there was truth in that, it wasn’t thing that I needed to say.

After I wrote the prior 400 words and I realized that they weren’t it; I realized what actually was.

This weekend I found rest, peace, hope, family and light.

And today I realized that all of that reminded that I am a leader in the ability to give those things to others. I am meant to do that in a bigger way than I am now.

And honestly, that terrifies me.

I know that sounds ridiculous. That I should know that. (As my roommate Benjamin would have said to be in a text if I text him that: ThAt Is BrAnD nEw InFoRmAtIoN)

That I’ve done it before.

But this feels bigger. This feels more wobbly and new.

I am the person who is going to nag you into believing in the fact that you have something to say. That someone needs to hear the things you have to say. That regardless of what you believe or who you believe in that you have hope and light and a story that the world needs.

That you are on this earth to connect to even just one other person who needs your story.

That, even if we desperately want to be and even it feels less painful, we are not meant to be islands.

I am not meant to be an island (honestly I hate that sentence).

And honestly, there is still a lot of myself that is the most epic cheerleader because being in the background just works for me.

But I know in my knower that it’s not where I’m supposed to live.

Have you ever had those moments where you come to a moment in time and you know that one day down the road, it’s going to be a defining moment?

Well, this Monday afternoon on my couch just turned into one of those for me.

This weekend I realized that God has been repeatedly telling me not to worry. He’s been reminding me that I have what I need.

He’s been reminding me that I need to look in a mirror when I remind people that they are more than they think they are.

I know there is more to me. I can feel it, beneath the surface. I know that I’ve spurred on a belief in myself by setting boundaries, by choosing my personhood and mental and emotional health over those who would say I didn’t do enough to earn their love. I know there is more because I’ve spent a lot of time making space for it.

I don’t know what is next but damn. Something is.

That’s it.
Well, that’s not it, but it is something.
Here’s to the reminder that we can always find pieces of ourselves when we’ve believed for a long time they are just pieces to give out- not to keep.

(But I will always, ALWAYS, remind you that you are more than you think you are.)

With love,
Meg

Honest, notes on grief

From behind a wall

To actually sit and force myself to write- to just let words flow feels incredibly anxiety-provoking right now. But it also feels like one of those things that if I don’t sit in front of a computer and just let my thoughts out for others to read, I might be stuck on the other side forever.

I don’t want to get stuck, but I feel almost as if I am stuck in a perpetual wheel that causes me to be unable to just write. To pull out thoughts and share them.

Most days, I think, I am doing pretty ok. I am living in this new view of life with a lot of things on my brain- some I don’t really talk about (that’s the 20%) and some I don’t want to talk about because it makes me cry. I am a little bit fearful that this is just how life is now. That I am going to be sad forever and that there isn’t really anything to do to fix it. I know that isn’t the case. I know there isn’t anything to fix.

I know painful things happen and we just must keep walking in the direction that we are meant to walk.

I’m supposed to be writing a piece for the website I write for about the hope I find in choosing to trust my own balance. In choosing to know that I’ve been through some shit and that I am stronger and more capable to withstand things than I think I am.

I’m supposed to be writing about the hope I have in the strength I’ve been given.

You know that word I hate, “resilience”.

 But all I want to do right now is delete the 275 words that came before this sentence.

This though is my reality.

Some days, I am truly ok, some days I’m just not and some days are like a little fruit salad of all of it.

But I don’t want to get stuck with an inability to write down my words.

I know I’ve shared this here before, but when I was little, I was so terrified to confront people when I had hurt feelings or was scared. And I would write my mom notes and tuck them in the chair she was sitting in and run away.

I’ve always used writing to communicate my emotions, articulate what is in my brain and conceptualize the thoughts that are tricky for me to decipher.

I write to untangle.

And currently, I am still actively untangling grief, untangling the relationship I had with my mom, and untangling some things that I don’t necessarily feel ready to communicate.

And I’m grappling with the fact that I don’t feel strong enough or capable enough or old enough to be dealing with any of this.

Normally, at the end of a string of words with a lot of questions, not a ton of answers, and what feels like a lack of hope I’d usually tag a PS to my mom who read every word I wrote, to let her know that I am in fact; ok.

Because at the end of the day, I am. I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living. I’m just a little less than sometimes.

So, Mom, I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living, I’m just a little less than right now.

And that is ok.

With love,

Meg

notes on grief

Beginning notes on grief

I have been wanting to write the last three weeks but if I’m being honest the thought of writing has seemed heavy and has seemed like it would make the world around me more real than I was capable of dealing with.

For those of you only follow me in this corner of the internet I have yet to share this here: three weeks ago my mom died.

She died in her home, the one I grew up in, surrounded by her husband, us three kids and ¾ of her grandkids- one being away at college and a handful of her nieces and nephews. More family came in that night and over the course of the next week or two that lead up to the memorial we had for her last week.

I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about my mom or see the words on a screen but I knew that if I didn’t begin to write something it would get progressively harder to do so.

This morning I opened my journal in church and aggressively wrote out my thoughts on writing before the tears threatened too quickly.  I tend to write around what’s going on in my life. I tend to write to work things out, to untangle them, to remind anyone who might be in the same space as me that they aren’t alone.

I can easily say that of all the grief I’ve ever dealt with or felt I’ve never met this monster in my life. I’m doing my best to be kind to myself, to take help, to ask for hugs, to cry- but it’s really, really hard. Even right now as I write this I’m blinking back tears.

My mom commented on everything I wrote. She would make sure to call and tell me she had read things and I usually got a text after I posted a blog that she “loved my ‘she writes on Sundays’”.

I’m sure I will write more. I will write with tears down my face, I will write through anger and now, I am writing out of exhaustion and the desire to put words on a page.

Grief is a lot. More than any human can actually fully grasp.

I miss my mom a lot. It’s still not real that I won’t be able to hug her or call her or have her nag me to go to the doctor.

But here I am, to the best of my ability, moving,

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

My chair is clean.

I don’t think I have anything to say today.

But, I cleaned off my chair and it’s raining and really I just want to go get ice cream, but rain.

I don’t think I have anything to say today.

I feel full of a lot of emotions, exhaustion and maybe sentences that are currently too twisted to form.

So, I am here. Writing and hoping that maybe by just continually putting words onto a screen I will figure out what I need to say.

Or get brave enough to say what’s in the back of my head.

Today in church, I sat and wrote out a list.

It was kind of a scary list because I had to face that I actually felt that way.

I feel, as if, I am person who has it together in her not-togetherness. Like, I in no way, shape or form, have it all together.

And I know this about myself.

I am mostly ok with it.

I’ve honestly really been having to be a self talk ninja these days. A lot of what is going on around me is communicating to me many things.

That I’m not enough, that what I have to say actually doesn’t matter. That I’m not good at my job. That I’m a terrible mean teacher that doesn’t know what she’s talking about. That I am just not strong enough to work during a global pandemic.

That I’m not going to accomplish anything.

That I’ll always be alone.

And folks, even though I know all of that isn’t true, it feels pretty damn real sometimes.

It feels tangible and like I have examples for all of those things.

I feel like a heavy, burdensome broken record.

I can admit, that in the last year, I’ve contemplated just running more than I’d like to even say.

Because what good do I even bring?

Now, before I lose you, before you pull out your phone (if you know me) to text me all the reasons why the things I said above aren’t true: just give me a minute ok?

I know none of that is true.

I’m not sharing any of this because I’m in a dark hole (because let’s be real than I wouldn’t be sharing it).

I’m sharing it because we have to chose not to give those things power in our life.

We have to chose to remember where we’ve come from, what we’ve done and know that all of those things are coloring where we are going.

I got this picture in my brain in church today, and now, I sit and type it’s reminding me more and more of the book “Harold and the purple crayon” where Harold enters a world that he gets to draw what he needs. He isn’t held back by parameters or anything. He also doesn’t always draw the right thing the first time and he has to figure how to make what he’s drawing better.

Mentally and emotionally the last year and a half have been hard.

Teaching tiny humans every day in a global pandemic and not getting paid enough to do so and being told your essentially but then essentially being forgotten about takes a really damn big toll on your brain.

But, that being said:

I see the blank page.

I see it and unlike the list of all the other things that I wrote today that I’m afraid of, a blank page doesn’t necessarily scare me.

 The blank page (and yes the thing about to type has caused me to roll my eyes) gives me hope.

So, like I said, I don’t write about hard things to make people worried. I write about hard things and hard thoughts and things that don’t feel pretty because whether we like it or not, they exist.

Whether we like or not, we have to deal with our perception of things.

Whether we like it or not, we must remember where we’ve came from and that we can indeed get through what we’re currently in.

Whether we like it or not, we have to keep fucking going, even if (especially if) it doesn’t look how you think it should.

So, no, I don’t have anything to say today.

And that’s alright.

We got this regardless.

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