Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, it takes a village

We are stronger.

2020 has quickly become the year that I don’t write when I should.

Today, after church, I had pulled our couch covers off of both of our couches because they desperately needed a wash. I was going to wait to vacuum the floor til after I reput the couch covers back on (we have molting couches) but, instead I sang a little ditty.
“Sometimes I clean to hide from my emotions…”
Whoops.

I cleaned, I made lunch, I laid in bed scrolling tiktok. I took a nap. I woke up foggy and cloudy. I ordered dinner and then decided to just sit at my computer and stop running from the words that were attempting to topple out of my brain.

I’ve hinted at this a couple of times in the few blogs I’ve written this year, but I’ve basically been crippled by anxiety on multiple occasions in the past four months.

It’s ebbed and flowed. It’s caused me to stay in bed and hide, or not hang out with the small group of humans that I’ve surrounded myself with.

It’s caused me to cry a lot.

Talking about and posting about anxiety in the way that I want to feels like putting myself out there in a way that feels like people are going to worry- they don’t need too.

I think talking about anxiety and the causes of it and how it feels is so incredibly important.

And it’s so different for everyone.

Just because I go to work every day and function and have a smile on my face doesn’t mean I’m not a high functioning basket case of anxiety. Just because I show up doesn’t mean my skin isn’t crawling or that I physically have to force myself to stay present for the kiddos in my room. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t had to run into my storage closet at work and rip off my mask.

It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes try not to fall asleep because then I have to wake up again and keep going.

I’m a person who shows up for other people.
But sometimes, I realize that is something I just can’t do.

The past few weeks were exceptional hard. I’ve been overcome with a lot of sadness for my camp kids. I took a few days off because I had to use vacation time and it was really hard and I spent any moment alone in tears.

And in the week leading up to July 4th, I just battled daily voices in my head telling me I was failing or no enough or not worth it and then to add to that I had some really haunting memories crawl out from under the bed.
It just made me so damn tired.

I realized when I woke up on the 4th of July, I didn’t want to go to the small barbeque I was invited too, I didn’t want to people.
My heart hurt.

I think I was tired from the anxiety, I was tired from the sadness.
I was tired of all the memories that come up around the weekend of July 4th.
So I stayed home.
And that was a good choice.

I cried I slept, I watched food network.
I took a lot of deep breathes.

I’ve come a long way in my journey through dealing with and having anxiety.
This journey started about 11 years ago. It involved hitting rock bottom, not knowing what the hell was wrong with me, going into therapy and getting on incredibly strong antidepressants. It involved weeks of not sleeping and literally living in life in fear of being a burden or not doing something correctly.
I literally stopped going to work. I was crippled by darkness and anxiety. The voice inside my head was winning whatever game it was playing.

My journey included grappling with suicidal thoughts and sobbing on the phone to my therapist in a parking lot and terrifying myself in the process.

I came to the understanding that my brain just was a little out of wack and the meds I was on needed time to settle.
The hope in my life wasn’t gone- it was just very dim.

2020 is not 2009.
But 2020 is a game of its own.
I’m stronger now and honestly just more stubborn.
I have facts in my head that I can list through when I’m feeling especially out of wack.
And I live in a lot less shame from on me from those around me that say my anxiety is because I’m doing something wrong or I’m not “close enough to God” (yes, that’s a thing).
I’m less prone to listen to someone who says my anxiety is shameful.

If I’m being honest, in 2020 my anxiety has shown me how damn far I’ve come.
It’s showed me I can keep moving forward.
It’s reminded me that I can listen to my body and know when I need to stop or when stopping would be detrimental.
It’s reminded me that crying is ok.

I want to remind you that just like me, you’ve probably come a lot farther than you think you have.
Just like me, you’ve gotten stronger.
And just like me, it’s ok that your battle isn’t over.

I wanted to sit here and write these words and admit to the sadness and the thoughts the run through my head sometimes because I wanted you to know that you have nothing to be ashamed of when you feel like you aren’t winning the battle with those things.

And honestly, the world is not making it easy for those of us who have feel as if they have no control over the balance in our brain spaces.

You’re doing better than you think you are.

I am doing better than I think I am.

Let’s keep fucking going.

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships

Will you save the baby?

It’s been a minute.

Well, at least it feels like it has. I feel like my life just went into overdrive and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing I can do to stop it. My brain feels too exhausted for words and my Sundays have been overtaken with sleep and the inability to make it out of my house.
Today, while at work, I made the decision that I was going to go home and not sit and move my body down to one of my current favorite writing spots and sip champagne and write.
And then it started raining and my phone wasn’t charged and I had leftover pad thai in the fridge.
But, I did it.
I put my rain boots back on and plugged in my headphones and put my computer in my bag and walked out the door.
So, now I’m sitting here with probably too much champagne for a Monday. The same amount of champagne honestly as there are thoughts and topic sentences and beginnings in my head. I have two pieces I need to work on and no words for them and…

Instead, I’m just rambling.

About three weeks ago on the first of January (sidenote: how the HELL was New Years Day ONLY three weeks ago? Why is January always five years long), I spent some time pondering what might my word of the year be. Now, words of the year aren’t a resolution. They aren’t a goal or an end or honestly even a theme.

To me, when a word comes into my brain that I deem my word of the year I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that its a word that needs to sink in. And usually, it isn’t easy.

A couple of years ago my word was rest. Last year, release. Both not easy for me. Both I fought against.
I’ve had other words. I’ve had themes. I’ve had verses.

But each year I’ve metaphorically labeled the beginning of the year with a word I’ve watched it morph and change and provide dissonance and not a lot of resolution.
(which is ok)
The dissonance though is why the word that popped into my brain and moved from my head all the way to my toes scares the hell out of me.

Because, if you know me, you know this isn’t a word I use.

My word for 2020: Worthy.
(insert vomit emoji here)

In the 20 days of 2020 I’ve already grappled with my worthiness more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been communicated that I’m not enough. That I’m too much. I’ve been communicated to that I’m the single friend. That my weight causes me to be less than. That what I do isn’t good enough or that I need to do more.

And I’ve kept that damn word on my letterboard above my bed.

We live in a world where, whether we like it or not, we strive to be worthy.
Worthy of a job. Of a relationship. Of a child. Of a role. Of a pay increase. Of a phone call. Of a hug.
Worthy of each other.
Worthy to occupy the space we are in.
It might not be the word you think of, but it’s all the same.

I remember about 10+ years ago when I was struggling with depression. When each day was a battle and I had stopped sleeping at night. When I dreaded any human interaction.
When my life didn’t feel WORTH living.
When I didn’t feel as if anything I could bring to the table was of value.
That was it. I didn’t feel like I could do anything right, or be right, or contribute to society so what was even the point of breathing?
But, I chose to survive and move and jump.
(and cry a lot of tears).

Something deep down inside, something that was just kindling then, reminded me I had something inside that made me want to breathe another breath.
Something inside reminded me that I was a badass- though at that point in my life I would have probably used the word worthy.

So, what do I think worthy is going to do for me this year?

I think that it’s going to remind me to choose myself even when no one else does.
I think it’s going to remind me to not feel guilty for choosing myself.
I think being worthy is going to remind me that I need to save my own damn life.

Worthy is going to remind me that I don’t need to fit into a box.
Hell, worthy reminds me I need to crush the boxes.

Now, this all sounds well and good.
I can shout this out. I can preach it. I can shake my fist to the sky.
BUT,
Worthy is going to test me.

It’s going to shake its fist back.
Worthy is inevitably going to cause me to cry.
Probably sob or have a panic attack.

Because the road to worthy isn’t easy.

The road to worthy is like the movie The Labyrinth. It’s speckled with twists and turns and things and people and creatures trying to move you off course. There’s the little wormy things trying to invite in you in for tea so you forget that you are trying to save your baby brother and in all reality save yourself.

And before you dismiss this whole blog as something with underlying Christian themes: I want you to remember worthy isn’t about who or what you believe in.

It can be influenced by, peppered with and colored by faith of any kind- but it isn’t the whole story.
And before you dismiss worthiness as selfish, need I remind you of all the time the heroine in Labyrinth wasted getting off track. Worth is staying on track. Because getting to the damn goblin king quicker saves the baby and saves yourself.

This season terrifies me a little. Just like David Bowie terrified in the Labyrinth.
I was freaked out and given the heebies jeebies by the weird 80s vibes of the Labyrinth- but I had to keep watching.
I’m a little weirded out by the creatures I might find along the way. The words, thoughts, and emotions that have and will distracted me and led me off my path because they did and still do feel right.
This next year freaks me out because, in all reality, this momentary lapse of crazy in referencing the Labyrinth has just cemented the fact that this year is about movement.
You can’t get through a maze if you don’t keep fucking going.

So, if you have made it through my ramble and my epic 80s movie references; I have some homework for you.
1. Make a list of why you are worthy. Or enough. Or a badass.
2. Send it to me. (If you aren’t friends with me in real life you can message me on Instagram @megmagnolia)
2a. If you are friends with me in real life and you don’t know why you are worthy or enough or a badass text me and ask.
3. Watch the Labyrinth. Seriously. It’s so weird and great.

And please, please, please always remember that it’s your choice if you save the baby from the Goblin King or if you get lost along the way.
And remember that even if you get lost for a moment, you can still find your way again.

Just keep fucking going.

Honest, I choose champagne, relationships

Damn it, you’re enough.

When I was in college I was in an all women’s chorus for all four years. Hands down, best part of my college experience.

My senior year (cough 2006-2007 cough) I had the privilege and honor of being the president of that beautiful group of women. One of my many jobs that year was that I was in charge of the truck crew- which just meant at concert we unloading and loaded the equipment and then other teams set them up.

The largest pieces of equipment we had were the risers. They were clunky and awkward and heavy. But, they were on wheels and it really wasn’t that hard.

Sometimes, we would have combined events with the concert choir and the orchestra and all the teams for all different ensembles would work together. Now, our choir didn’t have a vice president which was essentially the position that handled set-up, so I being the president, would deal with set up for our choir.

And the concert choir VP Johnny Rocha and I would ALWAYS argue about the fact that he didn’t need us to help with the risers. That the guys had it. (He and I went head to head a lot but that’s another story).

And if anyone knows me, you know that, that is a not a thing that I do well with, because I am highly capable of doing it myself.

I thought of this story today because, yesterday in discussing our upcoming move, I told my friend Benjamin that I might ditch my green chair. It’s so great, but it’s heavy and cumbersome and I don’t necessarily want to haul it up stairs.

He looked at me like I was ridiculous and said, “You know Shawn and I are going to move it up the stairs. It wouldn’t be you”.

(And I’m sure when he reads this he is going to know that I was inwardly- he’ll say outwardly-seething.)

Because, I am a strong independent woman. I can move my own chair up the damn stairs.

Now, I am grateful that I have a really good group of guys  (and gals) in my life. I am so lucky that I have people who watch my back, who don’t think twice about helping me with something, who would fight for me and who make sure I get home safe and that are going to move my cumbersome heavy green chair up the stairs to my bedroom.

But spoiler alert: there might be a day where there isn’t someone to make sure I get home safe, or I might carry a heavy green chair into a new house by myself. OK I know that like honestly in reality this isn’t true because I have an amazing community of humans, but what I’m trying to say is that I might be alone one day in an empty house and be a little more island-y while my friends go home to their families and their own homes.

But, in all of my talk of identity and figuring out my life right now and where I want to go and what I need to do, I am very much coming to terms with the fact that I only feel lonely sometimes and that I can deal with that.

I think we don’t talk enough about the fact that it’s ok to be ok being single. I had to scroll back into 2017 on my blog to find the last blog I wrote on this topic (Don’t call my singleness brave).

I think I don’t like to talk about it because it’s just another thing that the world says I haven’t accomplished. It’s just another thing that says I haven’t reached where I need to be. Now, not that I believe any of that, BUT when someone is yelling at you eventually words are going to break through.

And I’ve reached the point where I’m getting sick of the narrative that is being written about this topic. Especially in regards to single women.

WE ARE NOT LESS THAN IF WE DON’T HAVE A RING.

Whoops, sorry. Let’s do that again:
We are not less than if we don’t have a ring.

Does it always feel good?
Nope.
Does saying “no, I’ll take a separate check” feel like a spotlight is on you?
Yep.
But are we going to be ok?

Hell yah.

I don’t know why I felt so inclined to say these words today. I don’t know if I’m more riled up than not, or if probably more likely, I’m feeling some feels about not being enough based on this topic.
Because, those feelings? They’re normal. It would be weird if I had no emotions in this area of life as I’m mostly surrounded by couples and I’ve been in more weddings than your average human.

I want you to know this about getting out into the dating scene or not. It’s not about not “putting yourself out there”.

It’s not about listening to one story after another after another of people who “stopped looking and then found who they are married too”.

It’s about being who you are.

If who you are is someone who just wants to not be single, I’d encourage to look for the things you are.

If you are someone who hides being some fear, (cough me cough), I encourage you to keep speaking out against the things that battle inside of you and settle into yourself.

If you don’t care but other people care for you- screw them (with kindness obviously).

I want you to know that obviously I’m not writing this from a place of typing this out with a diamond ring on my finger saying “Be enough for yourself, don’t mind me getting blinded by my sparkle”.

I’m writing this from a place of learning to be enough for myself and speaking out that I may have emotions and feelings but that’s what makes me human.

I want you to know, that if you are a single human reading this (or really, honestly any human in any part of life), that you’re enough for yourself. 100%. You are enough for the rest of your life, and you are enough for your friends without another human attached to you. You are enough for the child you might want to adopt and the business you might want to start and the house you want to buy.

You’re enough.

End of story.

 

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.

27FD965A-3E12-49D3-984A-6341A55479E6
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.

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

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

Uncategorized

we’ve waited long enough

Today while doing some writing in church the phrase “we’ve waited long enough” came into my brain.

And I got so mad.

I got mad as the words poured out of my brain and as I let pen meet paper.

We’ve waited long enough.

Have you ever been waiting for something? A package or a pizza or a phone call and then you just get angry (or in the case of the pizza-hangry). That you start to tap your feet and clench you fists either from hunger or impatience or other emotion.

The anger isn’t always actual anger but a build up of waiting, a build up of being told one thing but it’s another.

A build up of the resolve with no actual resolution.

It’s funny because in one way or another we’re all waiting.

Waiting for a phone call or a pregnancy test to turn a color or man or woman to come out of the woodwork.

Waiting.

But, we are also waiting for the moment to be who we are.

We are waiting for all the things to fall into place that we can finally be the thing we are meant to be.

And that waiting can make you angry too.

It can make you clench your fists and rage against what might not be tangible.

You could be waiting for permission to be someone you know yourself to be.

Waiting to just try.

But nothing is happening because you are terrified of doing something that isn’t just waiting.

Nothing is happening because putting the thing out into the world we cherish is harder than holding it in our hands.

A few weeks ago I went to an all day conference for work.

And it was maybe one of the most soul crushing days of my life.

(No, I’m not being dramatic).

But, as I sit here I realize that I was getting angry because I was waiting.

That day, specifically, I (well, I could “We” this one-you know who you are) was waiting on hope.

The topic for 8 hours was on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and there was just absolutely no hope.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve gone to trainings on the topic and it won’t be the last. But, what was supposed to be a day that gave me a little bit of refreshment and a new tool or two for my classroom brought me nothing but despair.

It was a reminder that things have happened in my life, and my tiny humans lives and their parents lives that effect them. That change how we operate and learn and live.

But there was nothing at all that I tangibly took away. Nothing I could implement or help or bring change too.

I was waiting for hope and I got none.

I’m still trying to find ways to be my own hope in that moment instead of just feeling beaten down.

My waiting in that has gone from anger to exhaustion and the inability to find an answer.

But, in all of this, in the words I wrote today, I realized that sometimes waiting is good and sometimes it just keeps us from being who we need to be.

I don’t know what you are waiting to do.

Take a vacation.

Quit your job.

Propose.

Write a book.

I don’t know if you are waiting because you don’t feel enough or you don’t feel ready or you

are just stuck in the waiting because you are unsure of how to start.

It might not be my place but I want to tell you that you have permission.

You have permission to leave the waiting.

To use the anger and the energy and the clenched fist to make something happen.

To choose to believe that you have the ability to do the damn thing.

You’ve waited long enough.

Honest, preschool, tiny human teacher

The other b word.

Fun fact ahead: I have an almost masters. I finished most of the components of a Masters in Leadership with an emphasis in spirituality.

I started the masters at a time in my life where I was desperate for something new but didn’t know what I wanted in my life. I was on a higher dosage anti-depressants that had at first just wanted me to be all done with everything and even though I was slowly learning through therapy- I didn’t really know how to feel better.

I had been working since with kids full time for only about two and a half years (little did i know). But between family illness and mental illness and volunteering and working in more than one place, I was running out of steam incredibly fast.

And I am going to be honest-back then I very much hesitated to say I was tired or busy or depressed.

I just would shut down when I was in a place that I didn’t have to people. I would go numb.

I didn’t have space for my own emotions or to say no to people around me. And I didn’t know who the hell I was.

So being in a masters program that involved pastoral leadership was a great choice.

(That was sarcasm).

Now even though I didn’t finish, it wasn’t because I completely crashed and burned. I learned a lot, about my passions, what I was good at, that I had a voice, that I had things I disagreed with, people I disagreed with.

I recognize now what that season was in the midst of it all.

So, why do I bring this all up 10 years later?

Because, my friends, burnout is a bitch.

I am so apprehensive to be technically a “millennial” (I’m a different type of millennial because of when I was born in the 80s but like we won’t get into that) who is writing about being burned out.

I am apprehensive to be writing about being burned out as a person from a culture who is supposed to be “full in Christ”.

The reason I wanted to talk about being burned out wasn’t to get pity or 15 comments to take care of myself or that I “can’t pour from an empty cup” (sorry not sorry friends, I can and I do).

But it’s to tell you this:

Burnout will steal and take your joy. Even if you have a little joy in what you do or who you are, it will squelch it. Burnout will make you feel crazy. And you aren’t less than because of it.

This weekend I volunteered here and there at a conference at my church. When I got in my friend Patrick’s car when I got off work on Friday I was exhausted and numb. The absolute last thing I wanted to be doing was getting in a car with Patrick going to church to volunteer.

But I said I would so I did. (I’m a 2 on the enneagram just FYI)

A part of what I was doing on Friday was speaking out what wholeness is to me with some of my talented words friends.

When I wrote my simple sentence out about wholeness I showed it to my friend Romay. And then she responded with telling me she hoped no one ever tried to change me, that no institution tried to change me.

And I held it in. I held it in through actually saying the words on a microphone, I held it in until I got to Shawn and Victoria’s house and I looked at Victoria and she hugged me and I cried.

Not a lot, because no one as time for that. But a moment of tears and the realization that I am closer to the edge than I thought I was.

A moment of tears and a realization that it doesn’t make me weak or lazy or stupid to be burned out.

I had a moment of tears and realization that burnout is taking from me.

Burnout takes from you.

It takes pieces and you don’t know they’re gone until you search.

Being burned out causes you to question who you are and what you are doing and why you are doing it.

And if you are feeling burned out I want you to know YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.

You are not less than.

You can still be moving forward.

And there is still hope.

(I need you to know how hard that sentence was for me to write.)

That’s all I really wanted to get across.

Being burned out doesn’t always look the same.

It can still be showing up for your damn life because people need you and you need people.

It can be going until you collapse on Friday.

And if you just scrolled to the bottom of this because you didn’t want to read the whole thing:

Dear burnout,

You are not a badge of honor, even when the world and workplaces tell us you are.

You are not a badge of honor even when we choose to wear you like one.

You are not needed.

And you are taking pieces of us we didn’t give you.

You come because we expect more of ourselves than we have to give.

And yet we give it anyway because maybe someone or something needs what we have more than we do.

But, burnout, you will not win.

We will not let you.

We will take back what you have stolen.

We will regain pieces we have lost.

We will be whole.

We will keep moving forward.

We will find hope.

Peace.

Laughter.

Life.

Dear burnout,

You are a bitch and you will not win.

Sincerely,

Us

{if you are on the verge of burnout or are already there I’d love to hear your story. My Instagram and twitter handles are both @megmagnolia )

Honest, hope is a verb

Five years of wind and writing on Sundays

I just reread the first piece I posted on this website five years ago.

I can’t help but chuckle at the person who wrote those words. Now not in a bad way, because everything leads us to where we are.

But, even though that girl had more hope, that girl had dreams that hadn’t been left on mountains to be forgotten about, that girl still felt like she had so much more to give, I chuckle because I am so far from her.

And that’s not a bad thing.

And I want to tell you where I am right now to remind you of something very important: it’s ok.

Because the truth is, I feel a little dead inside right now. It’s almost as if I needed New Year’s Eve to actually be two weeks of me being able to take deep cleansing breaths and wash away all the things that piled on from the last few years.

That isn’t life though. That’s not how the world works. So the year went from 18 to 19 and I was just there with a champagne glass and wondering how I was going to brush myself off and keep going.

I got a picture today while I was walking. It was of a parched desert with hard packed dirt. Then the rains came. They came and they came and the water sat on top of the dirt and couldn’t sink in. It found nooks and crannies and valleys but the water had no way of infiltrating the surface. It had no where to go but to flood the life that was already growing.

Hard packed dirt that gets flooded quickly can handle the amount of water that comes. It doesn’t have enough time to saturate or sink in or make mud.

Now, I have some of the most amazing friends who give me love and support and joy and encouragement. I have parents who support me even from two states away.

But, I realized today I’ve been a hard packed desert for awhile.

So all the people in my life who have yet to give up on me I want to say for that I am sorry. I am sorry for an inability to receive goodness and joy and hope. I am sorry to you my friends and to myself.

But the dirt and the soil is hard packed and susceptible to flooding and to killing what is good.

And that’s a little bit how I feel these days.

It’s funny because I think of that girl from 5 years ago and the joy and hope that were running off of her.

And she had seen things and had heartache and hurt. She had felt lost and lost who God was, she had been there and back again.

But then, she got older.

And she questioned more and found new words and lost hope and refound it.

And now, she’s here. She’s me.

She’s a little dead inside, she’s forgotten how to laugh a little, how to smile.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because it’s a part of moving and growing and living.

It’s not shameful or wrong.

It doesn’t mean I can’t love or give out life or hold space for someone or laugh or smile.

It doesn’t mean I’m not me.

And it doesn’t mean I need rescuing or that I am sending up signal flares.

My word for this year is release.

And among some other things I am choosing to release out of myself words so that you know you aren’t alone.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am in hopes that you will release that it’s ok to not be ok.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am so that you know that you can be not ok and still keep living and showing up in spite of it.

You can still be you.

I am that girl from 5 years ago. Parts of her built who I am today.

I haven’t failed her, I haven’t let go of her.

I’ve just learned a little more. I’ve gotten some rough edges.

I’m a little dead inside.

And that’s ok.

Honest

2018 was not silent.

To my friends,

We fucking did it.

I wanted to put that more eloquently. I wanted to have a better starter sentence but that’s all that really fits.

And really, truly we did do it.

I wish I could explain to all of you how intensely proud I am of all of us for continually facing what 2k18 brought to our table. Because it seemed every time we got to the place where we thought we’d gotten over that last thing, that last mountain, another one rose up in its place.

2k18 was drenched in our tears and our exhaustion. It was drenched in coffee and tequila and vodka and wine. 2k18 crushed dreams and held devastation and swung wrecking balls of hopelessness.

There was burnout and the feeling of being unable to catch up to life.

The absolute belief that the other shoe was going to drop followed every single moment of joy.

This year has been so packed full of disappointment for some of the humans in my life that the joy hasn’t been loud enough to break through.

And in some cases the lack of anything, joy, goodness caused us the inability to see those things even when they were right in front of our faces.

This year held good things, it really did.

(Like three words: 90’s themed birthday)

But honestly, at the end of the year I can look back and say that we fought. Maybe not all the time, maybe not loudly, maybe we laid our heads down at one point but we are still here.

Every single one of us.

I don’t what 2018 did to you.

I don’t know if you cried more or laughed more. I don’t know if this was the best year of your life or the worst or even in that dead middle where you don’t know tears from smiles. I don’t know if you wanted to give up.

I don’t know if you had sufficient amounts of rage (🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼) or joy (YASSSS QUEEN- never forget that 2k18 we met the FabFive and with them all things just keep getting better). I don’t know if you had love or loss or both.

I just don’t know.

But, my friend…

YOU ARE STILL HERE.

You are still moving and taking deep breathes and showing up for your life (even if you missed a few days here and there).

You may have a few more wrinkles or grey hairs or pounds. You may have given your body a beating this year; but you still did it.

2018 took a lot of my tears. A lot of my friends tears. 2018 tried to rob me of a hell of a lot of my joy. 2018 took some of my faith and replaced it with something different (and that I’m still figuring out).

2018 brought engagements and babies and weddings and friends moving here and there and everywhere in between. 2018 did bring a little bit of hope-but just not how we thought.

2018 was not silent.

But, honestly I don’t think we were either.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring. I can’t promise joy. I can’t promise everything will be fine. I can’t promise people won’t be haters.

But we can do the damn thing.

That I can promise.

I can promise that showing up isn’t always easy, but we can.

Because we have.

My planner is already getting full for 2019. I already have three weddings to go too, one that I am the officiant of honor in. My work life the next two months is going to be insane.

And in the midst of all the the things, that parts that aren’t the best in my life and in the lives of my friends don’t go away with midnight.

The struggles and things that aren’t great in your life won’t go away with midnight.

The battles and all those things don’t disappear from 11:59-12:00.

BUT there is something to it.

Something new, something more. Time to dust off the dirt of it all and step into the new year a little stronger than last. (Or in new Calvin Klein heels).

You can.

You will.

You have.

Let’s do that damn thing.

With love,

Meg