Honest, hope is a verb

That’s not love.

I have a barometer for myself that I think I’ve had for a long time.

I am someone who comes off as giving a lot of her story away. I read as an open book and will mostly share everything that is going on in my life or that I’m unpacking.

There’s that 20% though. I tell 80% of my life to 100% of the people around me. But there is that 20% that’s limited to barely even a percentage. I give that 20% to those who I have deemed safe and for the most part that I’ve deemed safe back.

I’m honestly unsure if this is a 20% moment but I think it’s something that needs to be said.

I’ve realized probably in the last year (honestly thanks Tiktok), that I have a lot of trauma and unpacking to do from my late 90s early 2000 youth group.

And a lot of instances and experiences and moments that in no way, shape, or form line up with the character of God that I know.

To start, I would like to say that I am not an advocate for throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have so many experiences and moments and memories that I am so grateful for.  I learned about worship singing on my church worship team, I laughed pulling pranks on our youth pastor my junior/senior year, I can still smell the tortillas in the park in Mexicali.

But just because you have beautiful memories with something doesn’t mean there can’t be things that don’t settle.

I think I should begin with the fact that I never felt like I belonged. This might be less a youth group thing and more a small hometown thing, but I didn’t. I felt like I was too loud, too big, too much. I felt like I was never going to be the first choice and that I just didn’t fit.

But even though I didn’t grow up going to church I quickly felt the incredible pull that I had to be at church on Sundays. I had to show up. I had to have my bible. I remember getting shamed once for not having it. (Sword drills anyone?)

I would feel guilty if I didn’t show up at church.

Then, there was the fear. I remember watching the rapture movies of the early 70s-80s and being told that America wasn’t mentioned in the book of Revelations, that we didn’t know the day or the hour. I remember not sleeping for weeks because I was so afraid. I remember each morning I’d wake up slightly relieved.

There was the IMMENSE purity culture. Being modest. Saving yourself for marriage. Splitting up the guys and girls to give them separate talks and the girls almost always talking about how we needed to “protect our brothers”.

Now as an adult realizing that we were essentially being told to take all the responsibility for the boy’s thoughts. And without saying it to not take up space.

Now, if you know me, you know that I can be aggressively stubborn. I’ve yelled at more than one guy for opening my door or walking on the outside of the street.

But, when I was in high school, I didn’t feel empowered to yell. And yes, I was in high school- I get it. But I’m realizing more and more that I wasn’t empowered by the mostly male leadership. I didn’t think I should have a voice and when I did- I felt looked down on.

I’m realizing that the part that was hardest was that it didn’t feel like I was supposed to be empowered. I’m trying to think of all my time at my church in high school (besides youth Sundays or “missionary” Sundays) if I ever saw a woman preach. I’m pretty sure a man always lead worship (with a few exceptions- and I was on the worship team too).

And that, I feel, was standard for churches in that time frame. I know that wasn’t just my church- but it was in a lot of places.

Now, a bottom line, the reason I want to say all this and the reason I’ve concluded that I have trauma from it is that none of it- none of the shame, the fear, the purity driven culture, the male lead teams and the not belonging- none of that is the Christ I know today.

The Jesus I knew in high school was damn small. He was mean. He was terrifying. I could never do enough for him or be enough for him.

He thrived off fear and forcing people to look and be the same.

That. Is. Not. Christ.

I have a quote from Andrew Shearman that I will honestly never forget. He said once that God didn’t create earth to fill hell. And I believe that with my whole heart.

I believe God is so much fuller of love than anyone can comprehend.

And God doesn’t keep score.

He doesn’t have a white board or a checklist.

God doesn’t care that I like crop tops or that I have authority. (He made me for authority so there’s that)

Now, I’m not here to get into a theological debate or have you tell me the 100 reasons why your youth group was great. If it was, man, I am so happy for you. But our experiences don’t have to be compared.

I’m going to leave it at this: I’ve concluded in my now almost late 30s- almost 20 years out of high school youth group- that at the end of the day; if it doesn’t look like love it isn’t Christ. So, I’m going to say thank you to the experiences that aren’t Christ and love for what they brought me too and then I’m going to not kindly ask them to leave.

 That’s all.

With love,

Meg.

(And as a PS. Something I am putting in the Facebook, Instagram captions. If you want to ask me a follow up question, I’d ask you to not put it in the comments but to shoot me a message. Thank you. This is a space where I honor my own story and I’m putting a lot more out there than I might normally.)

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships, smash the cardboard

Untangling some yarn

I wish I were braver.

I wish I had the ability to say exactly what I wanted to say and to do exactly what I wanted to do.

I wish I could just jump.

I wish I could push past the anxiety and the insecurity and throw myself exactly in to the thing I needed to do.

I wish I could fully comprehend my own capability.

(Those statements above have very little to do with the words below and normally I would delete them but they felt important regardless of their connection.)

I was scrolling my email today when I say a newsletter from the “Naked Pastor”. He’s someone I follow on social media who talks a lot about deconstruction and ‘controversial’ topics in the church. Today he wrote something that I realized is something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

“We’ve been trained to stay on the straight and narrow. But when we stray, we are terrified because of all the bad things that will happen to us that we were warned about.”

Woof.

I remember being in church when I was in high school and even in college and hearing things that terrified me to my core.

I went to a Christian university. I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things.

(Spoiler alert: I did MOST of the things I wasn’t allowed to do).

But, it gets me thinking.

 When I taught one-year-old kiddos, I had a new tiny human come into my classroom and her dad worked downtown and would visit a lot. And he was a little intimidating.

I was outside with all the one-year-old kiddos and I was talking to the dad and his tiny human was in a push car and was going to fall off the deck. It was maybe 4-6 inches. I caught the car and pushed them back up.

But the dad said to let them fall next time.

The funny thing is if the dad wouldn’t have been standing there, I would have let the back wheels fall and let the tiny human plop down.

I knew they were safe, but the presence of the dad caused me to react differently.

The presence of someone I deemed with more authority than me (which in that case it was kind of true) caused me to react differently.

I wonder though; how frequently have I acted differently or had a different response because of deeming someone with more authority than myself.

I’ve discussed this next topic in my life a few times. It ebbs and flows out of meaning and out of my own personal reality.

I have a very strong reaction to men who are in authority or “authority” in my life (and yes the quotations are two different types of people).

It stems from a lot of years and a lot of men in and out of my life deeming themselves someone who had the power to tell me what to do.

(And this isn’t just inside the church).

But, because of the people with “authority” in my life, basically the ones who don’t have it but assert it anyway, I have truly lost a lot space to actually give people with more wisdom, life and what have you the ability to speak to me.

 And also, because of that, I sometimes feel that I have lost the space.

Because of the ways other people have hindered who I am and what I’m about, I have lost the ability (sometimes) to believe I can be that person.

It’s funny how different life can be when we live in the verbiage of what we can’t do versus the verbiage of what we can.

I know that I come across as an extraordinarily strong independent woman. I come across as someone who knows what she’s about and does what she needs to do.

And even saying all of the things I said in this collection of words, I still believe the sentence above is who I am.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes it isn’t a battle to move past the giants that like to wake up from sleeping and stomp around and shake the trees.

Here’s the thing about me:

I’m going to keep going in spite of all of that. I’m going to keep showing up and choosing to speak even when I feel things around me want me to be silent. I’m going to ask for help from people who are a little wiser than me (men and women) when I know they are safe in my knower even when my brain hasn’t caught up yet.

I’m going to try to the best of my ability to not be an island.

And I’m going to try to not be afraid of what is or isn’t off the path.

I’m not little red riding hood and I won’t mistake grandma for a wolf.

If you’re afraid of things that people have told you to be afraid, if you have been told you aren’t the right person and you don’t say the right things, if heaven forbid you’re a woman who’s been told you are less than- I want you to know that I’m here for you.

I’m with you.

Let’s do the damn thing.

Honest

My chair is clean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I know this about myself.

I am mostly ok with it.

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

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

That I’m not going to accomplish anything.

That I’ll always be alone.

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

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

I feel like a heavy, burdensome broken record.

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

Because what good do I even bring?

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

I know none of that is true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, that being said:

I see the blank page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s alright.

We got this regardless.

With love,

Meg

back to the barre, Honest

I’m quitting.

It’s true.

I’m quitting in 2021.

And it’s a funny thought because I worked so hard this last year to not quit. I worked so hard to show up and to be present and to work through the tears and the panic and the exhaustion.

I worked so hard not to quit my life.

I worked hard not to quit my relationships.

Basically I worked really hard not to give up this year.

And I didn’t.

I’m going to be completely honest though: I’m kind of done with working so hard not to give up.

It’s exhausting, it’s taxing and honestly it’s just not worth it.

Why would I want to fight so hard to hold something together that might not even be worth it?

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure if I know how to quit. I’m not sure I know what I need or where I’m going, but I do know that I have picked up parts of myself in the last year that I really love and there isn’t space for those things to be in the same space as all the things I need to quit.

It’s a little terrifying. Making some distinctions and drawing lines and figuring out what I want to lend my time to even more than I ever have.

It seems vague but I think that we don’t always know the path we are walking on- we just must keep walking on it.

When I was in Ukraine so many years ago spending time around a group of Nigerian med students, one of them said something that has stuck with me all these years. He was talking about how he and his peers were discussing what it would be when they left the Ukraine. He made the point to say that he wouldn’t be going BACK to Nigeria. He wasn’t the same, the place he was going wasn’t the same. He couldn’t go back to it. He could only go forward home.

That’s sort of how I feel about 2021.

I have so many things that I picked up in 2020. Some I loved, some I didn’t. I have things I lost, things I cherish.

But I’m not going back into myself.

I’m moving forward into 2021 in so many ways. The year has already started a little topsy turvy but we’re going to roll with and keep moving down the path that I’m going.

I’m quitting the things that don’t give me life. That cause me to run away from myself. That cause me to lack hope.

I’m quitting the things that aren’t me.

I’m quitting in 2021.

So…watch this space.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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 )