Honest

name your shields

Over the last week I’ve had to mark off “single” on forms and applications and surveys.

And each time I’ve cringed.

Today, sitting in church, about to do communion, I was waiting to hear a phrase I’ve grown to loathe “grab one other person”.

(99% of my friends are attached to one other person).

I am pretty great on my own. I’ve written about being single. I can sit at bars and restaurants by myself. I can travel by myself. I can make my own decisions. I got this.

But, if I’m being honest; being single isn’t a flag I wave.

I wear my singleness as a shield.

I wear my singleness as a shield because if I’m being honest- I’m terrified.

(My head is full of disclaimers right now and I’m choosing not to write them)

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier then having to admit that I still have stuff to deal with in regards to the opposite sex.

I wear my singleness as a shield because I know I’m enough for myself.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s less heartbreaking than feeling left out.

I wear my singleness as shield because I’d rather a shield than shame.

I wear my singleness as a shield because it’s easier to use it then have it use me.

The thing about it though is this: I am not the only one.

And it’s not just being single. It’s whatever box you have to tick, identifier that others place on you, comfort blanket you throw on your lap to protect you from what’s happening around you.

While those statements were hard to write, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that I’m not the only one.

I am not the only one who uses something that isn’t a bad thing as a protection.

Hell, there are times in my life that I use my Christianity as a shield.

And I can hear you out there.

Shield does NOT = excuse.

That’s not what this is about.

This is me choosing to tell you that there are things in my life that I am well aware I am doing. There are places that I haven’t gone and walls I haven’t scaled and journeys I haven’t chosen to walk into because I will have to set down that shield (whatever it may be) and be willing to take the arrows.

This is me choosing to tell you for as much as I am “man up or shut up” or “do the damn thing”, that you are not alone in needing to feel defended.

If this was Meghan circa 2012 I’d probably tie this up with a statement about Jesus. I’ve reached the point in my life, to know that Jesus is not the answer to the question.

Meghan of 2018 knows that I’ve been given the tools, the mind, the heart and the spirit to get through and work through the things

I am going to say to you- encourage you, to name your shields.

Name those things you use. Those words, those jobs, those people, those places in your life you need protection,

That’s all I’m encouraging you to do.

Name your shields.

I choose champagne, To dream, washington whimsy

at some point, ice has to melt.

I am sitting here for one last silent Sunday of the year at my favorite bar. I sit here as many Sundays as I can, at the table in the corner by the window (and the outlet) and drink 1 or 2 or 3 grapefruit mimosas and I write.

Sometimes other people join me in silence, but most of the time I just sit by myself attempting to verbalize thoughts in my head. This has become one of my most favorite times of the week. Without the people around me knowing it; this bar has become a part of my church. It’s become a safe place for me to choke back tears and form thoughts and have weighty realizations.

So, tonight, I’m sitting here and thinking about all that 2017 was. It was a lot. I’ve been trying to separate the good and the bad. The ugly and the uglier. The places of heartbreak and the places where my heart hasn’t even gotten the chance to break.

Many things stand out here and there, so many people and places and events.

June is a big one. In June I turned 32, I had about 32 people that I adore here in Bellingham over to my house for tacos and laughter and love. In June I ended my time with the two year olds and turned 3. In June I felt betrayal and hurt that I can’t match to any other time in my life.

In June I went to my other home for camp and was reminded that I can take joy in what I do.

If I am being honest- a lot of other things feel like an immense blur.

I want so badly to say that this year was good. I want so desperately to say that this year redeemed the year before it. But it didn’t

I want to say that I found ways this year to be who I am. I want to say that I’ve learned to apologize less and to not second guess.

I want to say that my heartaches less and that I am 100% happy in my own skin. That needing a space for one has gotten easier.

I want to say that I’ve been brave.

I want to say all of those things.

But, I’m just not sure I can.

It’s funny. I spend 40 hours a week telling tiny humans that they need to use their words. I hold their hands and look them in the eyes and take deep breaths with them. I say, “I understand that you are feeling frustrated. I understand that your body feels upset. But what I need you to do is take some deep breaths and tell me with your words whats wrong.”

I felt a lot of things this year. I felt lonely, I felt pain and anguish for myself and on behalf of those around me. I felt joy. I felt love that I can’t really articulate. I felt every single damn day for the 18 tiny humans who are on my class list.

But, ask me to articulate what I was feeling on behalf of my own self and I was never quite sure.

I don’t think I was the only one with that problem this year.

A lot of things happened this year. Things in our control or out of it. Things that impacted us or our neighbor. There was anger and hate and laugher from disbelief. It spilled into everything. Every aspect of our lives were impacted whether we wanted them to be or not.

I don’t have the words to describe all the things.

But, I think what I can say, is that in spite of all the things, in spite of the loneliness and the betrayal and the hurt I didn’t give up. In spite of my inability to use my words, I didn’t stop trying.

In spite of all the things, there was still joy.

And there it is my friends.

In spite of all the things- there is still joy.

There are still moments of joy.

I tried, so incredibly hard, in the midst of all things to find joy.

I think we all did. If we really searched through our memories, we tried this year to balance all the things with joy.

I was and still am numb to this year. I’m numb to the things that made me feel less like the person I know I am. I am numb to the things that added to my character.

But, at some point, ice has to melt. At some point an asleep leg has to wake up.

So, to 2017 I say this,

Thank you for the people in my life.

Thank you for my roommate.

Thank you for my work wife.

For my bosses and my coworkers and all those I would never know without the Y.

Thank you for my church, for the people who are scattered in the rows around me, who are family.

Thank you for my forever best friend.

Thank you for my OCfamily and that little blue house in Irvine.

Thank you for my family whom I grow to appreciate with every passing year.

Thank you for opportunities to speak and space to give love and be love.

And to 2018 I saw this:

Let’s thaw out the numbness and find places each day to wake our words up a little more.

Dear 2018,

Please, I beg of you.

Use your words.

With love,

Meghan

Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

Honest, ramblings

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes

All I wanted to do today was sit in my favorite bar and write about how I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. I wanted to write about not liking them and fall and the darkness that it brings.

I wanted to write about the changing of seasons.

But, all I can think about right now is the bridge I have in my written words.

I’ve learned a lot in my life from mentors and fatherly figures. I have nuggets and advice and wisdom that cycle through my brain.

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am incredibly fortunate to have people who choose to make space in their lives to speak into mine.

One of those I reference often is Andrew.

Before I met Andrew I was slightly terrified of him. For multiple reasons, but one main being I didn’t used to/still don’t sometimes, feel comfortable around men in authority.

The first time I met him, a story I’ve told many times in writing, was in a pub in Mijas, watching a World Cup game. I was alive with nerves to start my first day of class and the last thing I wanted to do was meet this man.

But my friend Tiffany made me.

And the first words Andrew ever uttered to me were “Welcome home”.

I say this because I had chosen to trust Andrew because Tiffany did. I borrowed some trust from her just to get to Spain.

Andrew has since then given me a lot of wisdom and even more so he’s given me love.

He taught me a lesson in trust that has stuck with me for a long while. Trust is a bridge. Some hold more weight. Some hold less. But they still hold something.
I had to build a lot of trust in Spain. I had to learn how to trust men in authority. I had to learn how to trust my voice and myself. I chose to trust people that I didn’t think I would and those humans have made my life more full than I could have imagined.

But, the thing about bridges is that they need maintenance.

I was having a conversation with my friend Krys in a loud, karaoke-filled, restaurant about my ability to trust people.

And I have come to realize that I’ve let my bridges get pretty threadbare.

Vulnerability and trust take more practice and maintenance than I have been giving them

I’m not saying I don’t trust people.

What I am saying is that I struggling lately to extend my ability to trust.

I am great at borrowing trust. I am capable of trusting humans because someone I trust, trusts them. Hell, the sole reason I am in Bellingham is because people I trust, trust the people here.

I think the problem is I’ve been living on borrowed trust.

I’ve been building bridges on top of other people’s already built bridges because that, my friends, is the easiest way to not get hurt. I am pretty discerning about who NOT to trust. I know when not to share.

But, that moment where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need to share a little more, be a little more, give a little more, I know that I am not walking on the bridge that is built.

When you are in a season of building something, be it muscle, or skills for one thing or another, you can’t just keep doing the same thing. You can’t do the same exercise for weeks on end and expect a different result.

You have to find ways to stretch yourself.

You have to push your comfort zone and create new ones along the way.

And believe me, I know it’s hard.

I’ve been in more anxiety filled conversations than I’d like to admit these days, I’ve been in situations where I push past the curl up in a ball feeling to be present.

I WANT to trust.

I want to build bridges and practice vulnerability.

I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. That’s surprising to some. It’s surprising that I, Meg, one of the most basic white girls some people know, doesn’t like the most basic beverage of all.

And it’s surprising to some that I walk in anxiety, and a lack of vulnerability.

But, I’m working on it. Again, still, probably always.

I am not working on liking pumpkin spice lattes though.

It’s not going to happen.

Honest

The mold that kept returning.

To those new to my blog, or to those who don’t know why I blog. 

I blog (not all the things) but a lot of them to remind you, that the things you feel inside or hear or want to act on–are probably not true. The things that feel the most ugly or hopeless or cause you to want to head for the hills, most likely aren’t your truth. They are distracting you from it like a con-artist duo who just want your wallet.

I’ve felt more ugly in my life of late–most that I haven’t shared on this platform. 

But today, today I want you to know you aren’t alone, that whatever you’ve been feeling or struggling with doesn’t make you less than, that if that thing has come back on a few occasions and tried to get you to be silent because you just must be crazy and no one wants to listen anymore, you are still you–growing and changing and figuring it out.

This is what has been my ugly lately and today I’m choosing not to let it beat me up.


I’ve realized that as much as I’ve tried over the past few years to continually work on who I am as a human there are spots I’ve missed along the way. 

It reminds me of our master bathroom in A3. Our walls kept getting covered in mold and every time they’d clean it, it would just come back. They missed tiny parts of it, so it would grow back or find a way to show up again. I think it didn’t even start in the bathroom. It was the wall outside of the bathroom. And then when that was cleaned up the ceiling up the shower. Then somehow the opposite wall. And it turned out the shower pan of our upstairs neighbor was cracked.

We fought with that mold for what felt like too long without knowing where it was coming from.

I’ve fought with insecurities and disbelief in myself and inability to believe I am loved or wanted for what feels like too long, 

It doesn’t make sense in my brain not to believe those things. I choose to believe them, but don’t naturally do so. And sometimes in life it’s like they all reach up to connect to this one thing that keeps returning to me.

I think, I believe, there is this tiny spot within me that pops up when everything aligns and it causes me to want to run.

This piece inside of me is small, like the first ant you see in your kitchen before you wake up to a kitchen sink full of them.

It comes with a fierceness and it clouds every other part inside of me that has felt true and real.

There are a couple situations that have come up in my life over the last five days that have stirred A LOT of those feelings up. 

I know, that in these situations, there are reasons I want to make choices and decisions that are based on that desire to run. To run from people, emotions, being known. There are pieces of the situations that build to me just want to throw up my hands and say “all done”.

I don’t think I’ve physically ran away from things a lot. But emotionally, spiritually I have closed off and shut down and checked out. I know when I’m doing it and how. I even know how to be “present” without my heart showing up to get stepped on.

I’ve realized I’m much more guarded than I ever thought.

And now, I’ve sat here for ten minutes trying to tie this up for you. Trying to find a way to give you hope. 

But I’m a bit in the middle. I’ve tried to become a human who writes from the middle so that I can truly celebrate the end. Replicating emotions in an afterthought never really works for me.

I think though, what I CAN do is paraphrase something my pastor said this morning that hit me between the eyes and gave me hope. He talked about how we are always changing. We don’t reach a point where who we are marks all the boxes of our identity and we can stare at this to-do list that says who we are and be victorious that we did all the things.

We just keep becoming.

And today, when I still feel words and thoughts and phrases tumbling in my head I have hope that it’s a good thing. That I keep choosing to delve into the ugly to find the beautiful. The bitter to find the sweet.

I can’t tell you right here and now that I feel enough to belong. That I feel peace.

But I have and I will again.

And so, my friend, will you.

Honest, washington whimsy

what the snow taught me.

The snow was incredibly discombobulating. It was stressful. It was in no way, shape or form an easy low week. It wasn’t restful. It was full of questions and worry.I am trying to figure out how something so peaceful was full of anything but peace.

The snow caused me to feel a little lost. 

One of the days that I was walking to and from work I was being very careful not to step where someone else had walked. Walking in fresh powder is one thing. Walking where one or two people have walked is fine too.

But once all the people have trudged down a path and compacted the snow and turned it into an ice rink, the worst life choice you can make is to walk where someone else has walked. 

That’s where we fall.

I only fell once last week and it didn’t even have anything to do with the snow (I blame Trevor).

But that fall caused me to walk with even more timidity and care. It caused me to be cautious of all of my movements. Even holding my tiny humans seemed like more work than normal. 

I learned something in all of my steps through the snow this week.

I needed to trudge my own path.

There were days when I could hop on those only slightly walked on paths, but as the week got further in I had to find the spots where no one had walk. Or the spots where people had given the sidewalk a fresh start and there was no longer ice.

Have you ever reached a fork in the road and had to come to terms with the fact that you didn’t want to choose either path?

It’s funny because I actually don’t know what’s down either road–I just know I don’t want to go down them.

I’m heading just off the path. 

But currently my feet are pretty much cemented to the ground.

And I have no clue what to do.

I was, I think I still am, incredibly hopeful for this year. I think that I am going to make some big, life changing decisions this year. I feel the change in my bones. I feel as if I am about to trod my own path.

And that slightly scares me. 

I remember a very real conversation I had with myself back in college. It was in the year after Joe died and I was very much still mad at God. I was lost. But I decided I wasn’t going to wait for someone else to be who I was anymore. I had met this human who made me laugh and feel cherished and loved. And I hadn’t gotten him for long enough to see what could have been.

I knew in that moment I had to walk my own path.

I feel that lost feeling again.

Like I am living the life I am supposed to be, not the life I could be.

This isn’t bad people. It’s ok. It’s this edge my seat antsy-ness that will propel me into new.

I just don’t know what it is.

Have you been there? At that place where you know in your knower that change is on the horizon. And you are waiting for it with bated breath. 

I’m right there too. Walking towards the horizon to see if it will get closer. 

Because we can’t really pause waiting for change. 

I would love too. I’d love to take a week and sit at a cabin and stare at water. I’d love to go to a foreign country for a month. I would love to stop showing up.

But I hate to tell you this, the change won’t come if you stop moving. 

That’s what I’ve come to realize. It’s like in a video game-you physically can’t get to the end of a level if you stop. Eventually the monster or the villain will walk up to you and eat you. But, if you move forward, you can collect things that help you finish the level and vanquish the monster. 

So, I am going to keep moving. I am going to collect tokens along the way. I’m going to be hopeful. I am going to put myself forward in each day.

I’m just a little lost.

And that’s ok.

Honest, Spain g42

I hate change.

I’ve sat in front of my computer and feel like I’ve started multiple blogs and most times I’ve written, “I don’t know what to say”.

But of course that’s a major lie.
8 times out of 10 I know what I want to say.
What I’m learning is when or when it is not the time to say them.

Right now there are an incredible amount of thoughts, plans, stories stocked piled in my brain that I want to share. It’s so much that I don’t really know where to start. My mind flits from topic, to tangent and I end up sitting in front of my screen deleting full paragraphs of what I have started, shutting my computer and calling it a day.

Today I’m choosing to write about one I’ve been thinking on for awhile.

I have a word that I realize I despise almost as much as “process”.

CHANGE.

I despise the word change. Every day we are attacked with things we need to change.

Changing how you eat.
Changing how you act.
Changing who you are.

But is it really about change?

About 4 years ago I got this tattoo.
image-22
I got it after year of battling, surging through and living in depression.

Restored is finalized. Done. Finished.

That’s what I wanted to be. I didn’t want to have a present tense word tattooed on me for eternity; I wanted something that spoke of an act already completed.

In the process of life I wasn’t “changing” into a less depressed person, I was become restored into something I was already.

Take a painting for example; it’s battered, torn, ripped. A person doesn’t look at it and decide well, it has done its job, might as well scrap the thing and move on. Nope, they call in someone who restores. Who will take the pieces that are there and bring it back to its original likeness.

And that is why I hate the word change.
God doesn’t want to CHANGE us. For heavens sakes, he CREATED us. He saw us in our original beautiful form. He wants to bring us back to where we once were.

He wants to bring us back to the original likeness he created.

I think that we so often think we need to “change” because we don’t actually know what we are supposed to be.
I don’t know how many times I can say it: We don’t need to change. Change means scrap the whole thing; it means take nothing of ourselves. And God gave us so many crazy talents, gifts and desires to use.
So many to keep.

God wants to restore the world. He wants to show us what He really made us to be. That’s why it never works to go into a third world country and try to get them to act like America and do life like America; that’s not how they were designed. We can help them find what they’ve lost in themselves.

I will never ask you to change who you are. Because deep down in all of us is the foundation of encouraging, of service, giving, and love. It’s all in there. We just need to chip away at the things that hide them.

We need to bring in the one who does an amazing job at restoring masterpieces and have him work on the rips and the blemishes.

So as I walked to Spar today and especially over the last few weeks of the new term; I’ve realized that God is restoring me to what I am supposed to be. I’m different. New, strong.

My joy has been restored.

And it’s not from asking God to change me or make me into some new. It’s from walking with Him each day, in the good and the bad and seeing who HE is and in that seeing who I am.

I’m not new. I’m just me. Restored. Realizing passions and dreams that are becoming a doable reality right out in front of me.

Restoration isn’t easy. It’s hard work, it’s allowing some tears to be torn a little more. It’s not about scrapping and starting over.
It’s about doing the work that needs to be done.
It’s about living like you were made for something.
Not like you were made to be something else.

Let’s stop changing.
Let’s get into the business of restoration.