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

I am not too much

A letter to those who feel as if they are too much,

I don’t know where I was, probably in a Van Zandt class in college where she reminded us that women are allowed to take up space. But I remember looking at how I was sitting.
You see, I’ve always been bigger. I’ve had moments where I thought I was big, that now I know I wasn’t.
I’ve always been afraid of physically taking up too much space.

That day though, in the moment, I remember looking at myself and looking at my body language. I was sitting against a wall as close I could be with all my stuff in my tight little area.
And I thought, why am I doing this? There was plenty of space in the classroom, I was at my own table.
I was allowed to take up space.

But, of course, in the back of my mind, I heard I small voice say, “Don’t take up too much space…”.
And the battle continued.

This isn’t about me though. This is for you. The one sitting here reading this. Either a human I know who clicked this link out of kindness or someone who followed the tag I posted.

You are allowed to take up space.

Taking up space looks literally different to everyone.

For instance, long ago I decided I was allowed to take a table by myself at a bar to write. I’m a good customer. I tip well, I order multiple things. I take an appropriate table. I’m kind.

I can take up this space.

You are allowed to take up space.

I’m not saying push yourself on people or sprawl out across a table meant for ten humans.
I’m saying you don’t have to walk around like you don’t matter.

Because, holy hell, you do.

I’m not saying to verbal vomit on a person who clearly doesn’t have the ability to hold your story.

I’m saying to remember that there are people who do.
Feeling you are too much is so hard. It’s a lot of apologizing for existing, it’s choosing to not share an opinion or even offer a suggestion on where to eat.

It’s feeling as if you aren’t allowed to move on to the next because what you leave in your wake would be too much.

Feeling like you are too much makes you feel as if you are not entitled to the space around you.
It’s feeling like every problem you have is something that you must solve alone because you are a broken record.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.

I’ve spent a lot of my life being told I’m not enough by people and factors around me. I’ve been physically told I’m too much, too sensitive, too depressed, that I’m doing it for attention.

I’ve gotten looks on airplanes from seatmates as I try to lean as far as possible away from the humans around me.
I’ve been told from across a store that something won’t fit me by an employee as I reached up to grab it.
I’ve lost friends over my emotions and been ghosted for my opinions when I choose to share them.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.
I want you to know, you ARE NOT too much.

And you, human being reading this, whether I know you or not, YOU are allowed to take up space.
With love,
Meg

Honest

it’s not about the breakthrough

I’m starting therapy again this week.

Well, actually I am going to therapy consult, but I’ve filled out the longest intake form of my life and made an appointment and it’s on my calendar.

And I keep forgetting and then I remember and my whole body tenses and I get anxious and I already feel one hundred percent exposed even though I’m not even in the therapist office yet.

I went to therapy from the beginning of 2009 to when I moved away from Orange County before the world race. I went to therapy when I was at my most exhausted, most depressed and with the least ability to take care of myself. I was on antidepressants and had moments of suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want to wake up and have to do it again.

I would walk into my therapist small windowless office and sit on the corner of the couch and put a pillow in my lap and be anxious for the first 15 minutes out of our 50 minute session.

That was the same for every single session that I saw him. Sitting in the small windowless room I was safe, but the prospect of combing through the areas of my life that were dark and hard and sad stressed me out.

I’m starting therapy again this week but I am so different from the first time I went to therapy 10 years ago. I’ve discovered so much more about myself and how I work and what I need and I’ve gone places and had hard conversation and sat in rooms filled with anxiety but still manage to function through it.

Therapy did wonders for me ten years ago. It allowed me to open my eyes to myself and see what I needed to do and allowed me to learn how to SIT in my anxiety and feel it.

But, I’m not looking for breakthrough.

I had this realization today that my actual breakthrough is for everyone around me to physically see it on my face and in my decisions but the breakthrough isn’t as important to me. What is important is the novel of experiences and stories and decisions that gets me to the point of outward breakthrough. What is important to me is the heartache and the fear and the ability to knock down walls inside and unpack boxes and throw them in the cardboard crusher.

I decided today that I’m not going to place my hope in the fact that I can get to the next, and that something is coming.

I am going to place my hope in my ability to figure it out.

I’m going to place my hope in my ability to sit with anxiety and fear until it all untangles.
I know it’s all in verbiage. I know that you may hope for breakthrough and to you that means every little thing along the way.

But, I say all this so you remember that when someone HAS a “breakthrough” and it feels like its out of left field, or they make a decision or are suddenly in a relationship that there is more than just the breakthrough.

There’s the anxiety and the fear and all the other damn things that lead to the fireworks.

So, maybe stop praying for breakthrough.
Stop speaking breakthrough into others lives.
Start speaking the untangle.
Start speaking the very next step instead of the horizon.
Offer a shoulder so someone can climb over their walls.
Give a cozy chair to sit in discomfort.

And (pardon the following expletive)
Remind them to keep fucking going.

Because whatever word you wanted to use for it: you can’t have breakthrough or untangling if you don’t keep moving down a path.

I am a person who struggles with anxiety and depression. My brain doesn’t always treat me nicely. I don’t always treat myself nicely.
And while I do pause to look at the horizon, into the hopes and loveliness of the what’s next. I’m still going to dream and find beauty.

I am going to start facing down more walls and giants and unpacking more boxes than I was before.
So, when I hit that place, when I hit the next, when I make decisions that feel rushed and out of the blue I want you to remember that breakthrough is the end of one story and the beginning of another.

Breakthrough is one moment on the timeline-not THE timeline.
Breakthrough is not the answer.
The answer is in the untangle, and the mess.

Breakthrough is in the keeping fucking going.

Honest

There always is an end

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what to write about. I’ve started a couple different trains of thought and a couple of different ideas.
And just nothing.

Sometimes its hard to figure out what I want to say.

And yes, I want people to read what I write and I want to connect with people and have an ability for them to understand why I am who I am.
I am careful what I write and how I say it. Not because I’m worried someone will be offended (I’m welllllll past that) or because I’m afraid someone (cough cough my mom) will be worried about me.

I am careful about what I write and how I say it because words matter so much to me. And for as much as I do share so much about myself; I don’t share all of it because some of it is just for me.
But today, right now, the words that truly keep popping into my head are this:

I’m not happy.
And that’s heavy and dark.

And also, probably, a little dramatic.

A couple weeks ago I text my work wife that I felt like I had nothing for myself. That everything I do in some way, shape or form, is for another person. That my life right now is weddings, tiny human observation, tiny human day to day life, finding time to sit, trying to not lose my mind and trying to find pockets of laughter. My life has been a lot of trying to stir joy in the lives of others.

And (please don’t roll your eyes at me) it’s ok.

I have had two panic attacks in the last month or so and I’ve come close to another (in my bosses office) but one foot in front of the other.

You might be wondering why I’m saying all of this and why I’m telling you that I’m not happy.
Because, the tunnel may be so long and so dark, but I always, ALWAYS find the light at the end of it. I know it’s there. I know that I have found it and will find it again.

My light right now is in people. It’s in my roommate sitting across from me, and from going out to lunch after church and laughing. My light is from getting to celebrate those I love getting married and from laughing at the most ridiculous board games known to man.

I’m not happy right now but my life is full of a lot of love. My life is filled to the brim with people that I adore and humans that reminded me who I am daily.

I’m not happy right now but my life still has laughter and the light that is at the end of this tunnel is brighter here and there.

I’m not happy right now but I’m also not sad.

I write this so you know that we can still live in the midst of feeling darkness. That we can still move forward.

That we can still live.

I wrote a blog back when I lived in Spain on “processing”. I had watched people halt their lives for the sake of processing. And it bugged me.
I get it.
I get the stopping and looking at something to figure it out.
I don’t get when someone stops living.

So, I guess I am saying all of this to say; if you aren’t happy, if your life is full of life and people and laughter, but you are still not finding the happiness, I want you to know that there is a light at the end of your tunnel of this season.

And not being happy isn’t the end all be all.

I don’t have all the answers in my life and I don’t expect too. I don’t know what the next year will look like. I may meet a man, I may write a book, I may do a lot of things.

But I do know, that my life will always be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel for myself, for my friends and for those who read this.

The light is coming.

It always is and always will be.

And if you learn nothing from my writing or connect with nothing that’s all I want you to walk away with.

The light is coming.

It always is and always will be.

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

Honest, ramblings

It’s time for gold shorts

I have a Bellingham tradition.

It’s a moment every winter. I stare at my pants and socks and boots and layers and I just say screw it.

It happened yesterday.

I was getting ready to leave for a few hours and I was staring at my pants and boots and socks and legging and layers and I saw them. Tucked into my closet, long since worn.

What was it you ask?

Why my gold shorts.

Because even though it was 42 degrees out and there is still snow in my yard that hasn’t had enough concentrated sunshine to melt, I am READY for spring.

It hasn’t been a hard winter beside our snap of snow the last few weeks, but it’s still been winter.

It’s funny because as I sit here I think of how there are SO MANY WAYS that people use the theme of winter in their stories. I mean I’m share I’ve done it numerous times. You can talk about darkness or the lack of light and the absence of movement and things dying away and hibernation and all of those lovely ways you can paint a picture of the season.

And then when spring comes there is new life, rebirth, resurrection, light.

For me?

There are gold shorts.

When I bust out my gold shorts even when I have literally no reason to be wearing them because it’s still actually cold out, I am saying NOPE ALL DONE. I am saying to the world around me, let’s bring the color back, I am saying, let’s move on to the next.

Let’s take a deep breath and go.

I’ve spoken in church the last two weekends. (Insert eye roll here) and I’ve been reminded that I have something to bring to the table. I have words to say and give out and be apart of.

I’m more prone to forget that in winter.

I’m prone to forget to I have purpose and movement and can do more than I am doing.

The winter make us forget. It blankets our brain. It scoops up all the lies we’ve ever heard or been told and pushes them under the doorframe with the cold.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday all the lies crammed under the door and hit me. The anxiety started rolling over me and I felt it. I felt the thoughts pour over me. All the lies and anxieties and life struggles started to aggressively taunt me and remind me of everything I had and hadn’t done.

It was a completely familiar feeling that I’ve experienced so many times before.

I did what I needed to do, I took deep breathes and I laid on the floor and I talked to friends and eventually calmed my body down.

But since then I have been trying to push off shame and figure out why my anxiety has been spiking recently and figuring out what I need to release out of my life.

And then I put on my gold shorts again.

I put on my gold shorts and stood for spring. I stood for light and hope and for the ability to keep moving. I remembered that what I do is important. That I have a voice. A strength. And an ability to make change, bring change and bring peace.

I put on my gold shorts and took a breath because it’s coming. A breath, a push, the wind.

I put on my gold shorts and decided that spring was going to be here.

Spring is not coming, it is here. Spring is inside of us. The ability to make new, to bring light and hope and realness to all that is around us.

I did something I haven’t done in a long while today. I grabbed my bible off of my shelf.

(I know right?)

Anyway, there’s a passage in Nehemiah that came to mind today while I was thinking about things I give space to in my life.

“I am carrying in a great project and can’t go down”

Nehemiah didn’t have space for things. He knew he was carrying on a great project and couldn’t step away.

My anxiety that sprouted this winter isn’t because I can’t control something. It isn’t because I am not trusting God. It’s something that sometimes stirs up more and keeps me up and opens drawers that I try so hard to shut.

And then, then I put my gold shorts on.

And I am reminded that I am carrying on a great project.

That what I am doing is good and meaniful.

That anxiety and winter will come, but they won’t stay.

Did you hear that?

Anxiety and winter will come, but they won’t stay.

So do me a favor.

Put on those (metaphorical or not) gold shorts and show up for Monday.

Show up for Monday and remember you aren’t winter or darkness or anxiety.

You are spring.