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, 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, 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

I think I’m about to yell.

I have a lot of things I’m not saying these days, which honestly is probably shocking to some. I have a lot of things I’m not ready to say or do, even though I should 100% be ready to say them and do them.

I’m realizing that I’m INCREDIBLY good at staying silent.

I’m amazing at suffering in silence and letting myself boil over and then getting more angry than I should.

I’m super talented at knowing what I need but not wanting to vocalizing it at all.

I know, I know why am I saying this?

I’m saying it because I’m realizing more and more that we all have a lot more in common than we give ourselves credit for.

Last week, I posted an Instagram of myself with tears in my eyes, with words saying that I felt a lot of things, but I kept moving.

I posted it because I didn’t want to just hide in my messy room. I wanted to reach out and say, I feel this and if you feel it, it’s okay.

And I was shocked at the response. My comments and messages weren’t filled with pity or sad face emojis at all.

They were filled simply with this:

“I get it.”

I don’t speak up as much as I should. Sometimes it feels as if my words don’t matter or they fall flat.

I don’t write for the accolades.

I write, I speak, I share, because I want other people to know that they are not alone.

And I, myself, want to know I’m not alone.

I want to know that amidst all the words I don’t say, or all the things I don’t yell out over all the noise, that I’m choosing not to vocalize that I’m not alone.

And that too, that moment is to tell you that you aren’t alone in your silence. You aren’t alone in your deciphering of what is or isn’t being said or done.

I think I’m about to get loud. I think I’m about to yell, whether or not someone is listening.

I think I’m going to speak my truth, even when my voice is shaking.

And, I’m terrified.

But, I’m grateful for it because I can almost be 100% positive that I’m not alone in that.

So that, that is why I write.

I just want you to know that you are’t alone. Even if the only other human that feels the things you feel is me.

I’m here.

Sitting in this coffee shop.

About to yell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honest, I choose champagne, ramblings

But I’m not.

I had about 200 words of “I’m not”.
200 words of the reasons and the people who have said and the places where I haven’t been enough.
200 words of the inability to breathe down to my toes without catching myself somewhere on the reasons I shouldn’t be still.
200 words of why I shouldn’t have hope that things will get better, that things won’t change.
200 words about how I don’t deserve more, don’t deserve joy, don’t deserve new.
I spend my days teaching tiny humans and giving staff language that might not have it.
In a classroom that is a little harder than easier right now giving feedback on language isn’t very easy to do when I’m trying to keep things moving and grooving. BUT one of the ones I catch with new staff or subs in my room is this:
Let’s say you have a kiddo jumping on a chair or a bed. Your response?
“Stop jumping on the bed”
Sorry but that’s not super effective. Why?
All the kiddos hear is “Jump on the bed”
So instead say, “Sit on the bed.” (hence the phrase I sing most “Feet on the ground. Feet on the ground- where do our feet go? Our feet go on the ground”)
You have to tell kids the action you need not the action you don’t want.
My 200 words were a whole lot of actions I don’t want.
My language has been REALLY hard to change for myself these days. My body hasn’t had space to change my own language or give myself hope. I just text a friend who is in a VERY similar life state to me. I told her that I had hope for her when she couldn’t.
Because cheering ourselves on is all but impossible sometimes.

But, as I was writing the 200 words full of nots and can’ts and lack of hope I imagined I was having beers with two of the older brothers(but-actually-younger-because-I’m-the-old-one) in my life and what they would say to me if I listed all of the “I’m nots” (which as an aside I probably wouldn’t do because I wouldn’t want to do the next thing that I know they would have me do.)
They would tell me to tell them who I was.
And I roll my eyes at them, probably tell them to shut up and then because I am who I am, I would do that very thing.
Last week I wrote a blog about identity and I encouraged you to ask someone to tell you who you are, or for you to tell someone who they are.
And I said to write down real, lovely, true things about yourself.
I did # 2. I gave people words and responded to some texts. But, I didn’t ask anyone- though my beautiful roommate sent me a beautiful text that peppered my eyes with tears and reminders.
So.
I’m actually going to complete this challenge on this Monday. And tell you, the reader, who I am.
I’m Meg.
I’m a really good friend. I care. I take care of people and desire to see people live their best life.
I feel for people incredibly hard.
I’m funny. I’m a good baker even when I’m not the best.
I have something to say- I’m good with my words, written and spoken.
I’m understood.
I have a beautiful singing voice.
I’m a good listener. I hear people to the best of my ability.
I am a connector of people.
I am a single- it doesn’t define me- and I don’t care most of the time, but it is still part of who I am.
I am a basic white girl who loves pretty things, good coffee (PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE’S ARE NOT GOOD COFFEE), champagne, but also I kind of don’t care what you think about that.
(the next one I’m saying with INCREDIBLY gritted teeth).
I’m a really, really good teacher. Not just to tiny humans but to the people who come into my classroom to learn how to do what I do.
Woof.

Most of those, if I’m being honest, were harder to type than to say out loud- mainly because I know I’m going to post this and people will read it.
Saying who you are IS NOT EASY. Mainly. because we live in a world that tells us who we aren’t ALL THE DAMN TIME. And it reminds us to be better, be more. It reminds us that we’re not there yet if we don’t have a ring or a house or a title.

Well, sorry not sorry, but screw the world.
You’re enough for right now.
I’m enough for right now.
The following is going to be incredibly hard for me to put into practice BUT I’m going to say it anyway:
Let’s be enough for ourselves and see what happens.

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meg: taking photos solely for the gram and not giving a care.

If you are finding this blog via wordpress or twitter and not a social media link like instagram or facebook please leave in the comments why YOU are enough and who you are. Take a moment and jot a few things down. Let’s put who we are out into the world.

I choose champagne, it takes a village

Broccoli IS good: words on identity

The concept of identity is so damn weird.
We spend our childhood, for the most part, doing whatever the heck we want. We make choices and we try activities and we more or less do what feels good, fun or what we are forced to do by the adults around us. Through that we begin to find our likes and dislikes, what makes us happy and what we are good at. We little by little find out who we are.
Then, at some point, people start telling us who we are.
And here’s the kicker: we believe them.

We spent how many years of our childhood never believing our parents when they said broccoli was good (it is) and that we’d have fun at school ( for the most part truth), but the minute someone said “You are not…” or “You are too..” it was automatically engrained into our person.

What was I told that I believed?

I was: too sensitive, not normal, a silly talker, too fat, a nerd, four eyes, not cool, not popular, not talented, not worth it.
The list, in this moment, seems endless.
And yet, I didn’t believe that broccoli was good.

Then as we get older and become a teenager and go into high school the voices get louder and louder.
And all we are told is that “sticks and stones make break your bones but words will never hurt you”
Sorry not sorry that’s BS.

I want you to close your eyes for thirty seconds and I bet you can think of AT LEAST 3 phrases that have hurt you. If you can’t that’s great!
And I get the fact that words shouldn’t have power over us. And you give people permission, etc. etc.

But that’s not my point.

My point is that as a child and a teenager we are told a LOT OF WORDS involving our identity.
And really, shouldn’t we be the only ones who decipher who we are?

It reminds me of that scene in Runaway Bride where the main character is figuring out what type of eggs she likes. She’s only ever like the type of eggs that man she is with likes and she doesn’t know that piece of herself.
She’s probably a woman in her mid to late 20s and she doesn’t know what type of eggs she likes because she’s spent the last few years letting other people tell her what she liked.

So here’s my question: why don’t we teach kids how to find who they are? Why don’t we let them explore and fail and not try broccoli, but instead we tell them they’re too loud or too quiet or too sensitive?

Identity is defined as the of being who or what a person or thing is.

The weird part about identity is we are already thing we are supposed to be, but it’s just been bogged down and covered and marred by phrases and traumas and statements that other people believed were true. Just because something is a lie to me doesn’t mean it’s not truth to another person.

Just because something started as a lie to me doesn’t mean it can’t become a truth I walk in.

That’s not great I realize, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen or hasn’t happened.

Identity is weird because AS MUCH as we need people to not tell us who we are, and to not define us, we also need other people to tell us who we are.

We need people to remind us of the beautiful undeniably true things.

Take my work wife Victoria.

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Pure joy of pre summer 2k18

I met her four years ago and we didn’t really become friends til a few months later, but she is without a doubt one of the kindest, giving humans I’ve ever met.
She gives more grace than she believes she is capable of, she loves harder and more authentically than most humans.
Victoria cares so much.
But I don’t think she’d ever say that about herself. So, I make sure to try to tell her and remind her. I am not perfect at it, but I know she doesn’t always believe those things so I just want her to know that I see her and I see her beauty.
Identity is weird because we do sort of need the world to tell us who we are. We need them to see the beauty we are sometimes incapable of seeing and the nooks and crannies we’ve been told so often aren’t there.

Identity is weird because we need to filter what people tell us and toss out what we don’t need and keep what we do.

Identity is weird because we are already who we are- we just have to figure out who that is.

We have to make the choice to believe broccoli is good and what kind of eggs we do or don’t like (like: scrambled, fried, poached, over easy. don’t like: hard boiled, egg salad). We have to reframe things that have become truths in our life or toss them out all together.

And we have to actively remind people of the good in them, because that stirs up the good in us.

About a year ago or so I was in a place where I kind of, sort of, wanted nothing to do with God. But I had made commitments to show up to different things, so I showed up.
One night I went to a prophetic worship night at my church and I 150% didn’t want to participate.
But, one of my humans ask me to go to a certain station to wherein you wrote words for the person in the picture that was covered up by a sheet. For other people, I realized I had beautiful words.
Then it came time to share- and I wasn’t going to and then another one of my humans asked me to (and I did, because it’s who I am to a fault) and then he asked me to take the sheet off the pictures.
(If looks could kill, he might have been dead)

Under the sheet was a mirror.

But, what I realized was I had stirred something up in myself for someone else, the words were clearly for me. Plain as day ( so I wrote them in “I” form- pictured below).

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So, what I want you to do right now is 1 of three things (why not all three?).
1. (The least scary) I want you to write down good, real, true things about yourself.
2. (The next least scary) I want you to text, email, call, carrier pigeon, some words to a human in your life about who they are (look upward at what I said about Victoria- it’s that easy).
3.(The most scary-maybe) Text, email, call, carrior pigeon a friend and ask them if they can tell you three things about who you are as a human. If that feels weird, just say it’s for a job application because they always ask those kind of questions. Or honestly if you are someone that knows me you can 100% text me “Hey Meg, #3 please”

Identity is weird because we get told a whole hell of a lot of things that aren’t true to us but become true.
Identity is weird because we both need and don’t need people to find who we are.
Identity is weird because broccoli is actually good and I’m not too sensitive.

royal family kids camp

To my Royal family: 1+1+1=1

To my Royal family,

I started writing this on Friday in the gazebo around 7am which turned out to be a horrible idea as I swatted away multiple mosquitoes (I rounded out at 19 bug bites).

Before I get into it I want you reading this to take a deep breath with me and say the following statement (which you can obviously edit if you don’t like my word choice):

“We did the damn thing”

I don’t know about you but this was my most exhausting year at camp. It’s Sunday and I barely did anything yesterday and I might feel rested now. Maybe.

Since Friday morning I’ve been contemplating what I learned this year from the kids and from you guys. I’ve been trying to think about what my first thoughts of take away are from this year.

Every year there is a small piece of me that thinks I might hit a point where the magic wears off. Where my love for this kids and this camp won’t be enough to push through. I came into this year of camp probably at the lowest I ever have. I’m pretty burned out, fresh out of ideas for things happening in my own classroom and just plain tired.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the week but the moment I got out of the car at Pinecrest I felt new again.

And then the week began.

And as I am every year- I am amazed by the way all of you love and serve the kids.

Obviously we aren’t all perfect and there are things that happen that I don’t agree with and that frustrates me, but it’s those moments that you all think no one sees. It’s when you bend down to listen to a tinier camper or when you give an older, tougher boy a chance to be a kid.

It’s when you get into the pool with the kids and see the look on their faces that you would get in the water. Or when you get up on stage to dance and it lights up their faces.

The thing about a week at camp is that the effects last a lifetime. Five days can change the course of everything.

Even just one of those five days.

I think we know that, somewhere deep inside, but I think sometimes we forget that each year of camp changes us and leaves a mark on us.

This year camp changed me more than others. And even as I sit here on Sunday morning I’m overwhelmed with just how much I love those kids. Even more than I thought possible.

I’m not quite sure how it changed me yet if I’m being honest, but this year left a mark on me (and not just the bug bites and the two bruises I got in the pool). I’m not ready to go back to life yet, I’m not ready to leave and I’m not sure how to take what I have now into my life.

But, in that, I want to remind you to take a moment or two or three, today and next week and the week after and jot some things down about camp. What you learned, what you didn’t want to learn and what you are holding on to. I want you to shake off things you don’t need and place things at His feet that you don’t need to carry.

I want you to remember that you are amazing. Whether you are a teen staff, a counselor, a staff member stationed at activities or a staff that was constantly moving locations, a grandma or grandpa, aunt, uncle or a dean. If you are someone who can’t come to camp but in hours with quilting or fundraising or the birthday party. If you were my team coach or work with the LIT. If you were one of our amazing staff counselors or last but certainly not least- if you are Becca or Susan:

You are amazing and out of this world.

Every year I am blessed, excited and beyond words with getting to work with, laugh with, and say all the words or no words with.

We did the damn thing for the kids.

We learned what worked. (The pool system)

We learned what didn’t go well ( #ripvarietyshow2k19)

And we on top of all of the that: we loved, we WERE love and I think we received more love than we can comprehend.

Every year I’m in awe of the kids and every year I’m in awe of you guys.

Another year in the books.

So let’s take a breath, write some reminders for next year and take what we learned into Monday and see how we can bring a little bit of camp to ourselves each day.

I love you all.

Until next year,

Meg