Honest

you didn’t do this to yourself.

It’s a thundering heart, shaky hands, trying to avoid looking at my computer screen kind of Sunday, so let’s just go.

I had a dream on Thursday that didn’t set in that I had had it until I was walking to work on Friday. The dream was I was in this mall which was half a trendy mall and half an indoor southeast Asian marketplace (if you know, you know).

I’m in this mall FREQUENTLY in my dreams. It’s not a real mall, but I always know cognitively in my dream that it’s the mall I’m always at, be it in the SE Asian street market area or the trendy area.

This time, I was wandering in the mall by myself when I felt a man’s hand on the small of my back. I froze and glanced over as he pushed me forward and told me to hand my phone to someone and he just kept pushing me forward.

We ended up in a food court area sitting in a corner, he had his back to the wall and mine was to everyone else and he just kept telling me how this was my fault; that I must have wanted this.

He repeatedly told me the following:

“You did this to yourself.”

Over and over and over.

And I just sat there. Letting those words wash over me. The loud sounds of the food court became muted and I just heard this guy telling me that I had chosen this. I had been complicit.

I had done THIS to myself.

When I remembered the dream while walking to work Friday, I physically stopped, took a deep breath, and shook it out of my brain. When I was telling my roommate about this dream, I didn’t truly realize how much those words hit me. And when he got Pastor Benjamin with me, I was tired and didn’t want to feel how much they hit my heart.

“I did this to myself” crosses so many lines in my life, so many places, so many choices.

It pushes into my belief that people will leave. It pushes into my belief that I’m not enough. It pushes into my belief that I’ll always be alone. It pushes into my belief that I’m not capable.

It pushes into me.

I’ve come a long damn way in the last five years of my life.

I do my best to not allow toxic influences in my life, I have leaned into who I am as a human, not caring if it goes against what people think of me.

I try to brush off the bullshit and not let myself anxiety spiral into oblivion.

It’s just hard sometimes.

And it truly does feel on some days that I did this to myself. That I allowed words to hurt and actions to sting me.

It feels somedays that I’m not strong enough.

A week or so ago I was working in the kitchen at my early learning center. It was a chaotic day, my classroom was full and I wasn’t there, I was attempting to prepare 2 other meals separate of the one for that moment and a little voice wormed it’s way into my brain.

It said, “Well maybe you just aren’t a hard worker if you can’t do two jobs at one time. Maybe, you aren’t good enough for this.”

And I stopped cutting bananas, set my knife down and stepped back.

I gave my brain a harsh, ”Hell no.” and I kept working.

Because it’s literally ridiculous to think, specifically in that moment where I was doing a job that isn’t in my job description and also my own job, that I wasn’t a hard worker.

I’ve been told that I’m lazy, that I don’t work hard and those things stir up every once in a while to tell me I’m not doing enough.

Those words I feel like I brought on myself.

I let them stay.

I let them happen.

I let them bring me pain.

I did it to myself.

Some days it’s harder to grapple with than others.

(and here’s the “but”)

BUT, damn, watch me keep moving.

Watch me keep remind you that we can get through this.

Watch me remind you that you are stronger than those voices in your head.

Because you are.

We are.

And that’s exactly why I share the words that sometime feel cringy or too much to share for me.

I want you to remember you aren’t alone.

That you can stop chopping bananas and tell that voice in your head that it’s a liar.

There are days the memories and the voices and the words of my past are too much. There are days that there is practically a skywriter following me simply with the words above me telling me that I did this to myself.

That I made the choices to believe lies for so long that now they are just a part of who I am.

And that if I don’t hold it the fuck together than it’s all going to fall apart.

I became the glue myself.

I did it to myself and I must live with it.

And that’s just not true.

It’s not true for me, it’s not true for you.

There’s a lot of noise these days, a lot of people around us telling us to be more. A lot of comparison and a lot of measuring up.

There are a lot of people telling us what’s wrong with you and that whatever it is; we did it to ourselves and they are the only ones who have the magic formula to fix it.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the way it works.

I’m here to tell you who you are.

I’m here to tell you that you bring good into the world.

I’m here to tell you that you’ve been resilient and sometimes it was hard but look at what you’ve done.

Look what you can do.

We got this.

Tears and all on a Sunday morning.

With love,

Meg

Uncategorized

faith is not ikea furniture

I’m currently working on a fiction story.

I’ve been working on it since 2014 when my faith and the church around me felt like it was crumbling.

I had just come home from the World Race which was this intense year of life where I pushed through things that I probably shouldn’t have just pushed through. I was carrying stories in my backpack that I didn’t need to be carrying.

I didn’t know how to start processing through the things I was carrying. I didn’t know what I felt.

All I knew is that my faith felt broken and I needed to figure out what to do about that.

So, I started writing.

My story begins with the end. It begins with the main character Vera, walking away from the church. Filling up boxes and moving away from a life that she had always lived because she realized that all it had done was hurt her.

She packed things up though because she wasn’t throwing everything away. She knew that there were parts of her that had been made with that life that she didn’t want to get rid of. She wasn’t going to throw the baby out with the bath water, but she was going to for sure change the water.

I wrote that story more throughout my time in Spain and over the years I’ve revisited it here and there.

This past three weeks I’ve worked on it every single day.

And it’s been bringing up stuff that I didn’t realize I held onto.

Here’s the bottom line: I didn’t realize the depths of my church/religious trauma.

Because this is the thing about writing fiction (at least for me); the story comes from the places deep inside that need to be made sense of. They come from the places that are twisty and the only way in which I can untwist them is to put them outside of myself and start writing.

Then, like the lights that you put on your Christmas tree, they slowly start to become a string of lights and not a tangled mess.

And you begin to see what lights are out from the last Christmas, places where the garland wouldn’t untangle or even maybe remnants of last year’s tree.

You can’t discover those things unless you sufficiently detangle the lights.

Sometimes you don’t realize something is broken until you put it next to something that isn’t broken.

Sometimes you don’t realize something hurt you until you start talking about it in a fictional sense and realize that you feel deeper about it.

When the storytelling begins to not be storytelling anymore.

I haven’t really decided what I’m going to do with the stories I have that feel heavy or who I might need to talk to.

I know I have situations and people from my past that I need to let go of. I know there are people I need to write letters to that I will never send.

I know that there are spaces where I was told to be quiet and I was and I still am.

There are things that I believed to be true, that aren’t.

There are words that have shamed me into believing I wasn’t enough that are all the way from when I was a teenager in high school youth group.

Or moments where they sat high schoolers in a room and had them watch a terrfying movie about “the rapture” so we lived in fear of not living up to a standard that was even there.

There are farfetched relationship ideals that I don’t believe I can ever reach too.

There are intense shameful parameters around sex that have warped my brain.

There has been church leadership that never supported me and told me to just listen to God.

Spiritual “authorities” that told me my depression was sinful and that I didn’t trust enough.

Men who told me I shouldn’t speak, or that I didn’t hear from God and that I should just stay in women’s ministry or children’s ministry.

And sometimes these things make me angry. Not all the time, just sometimes and in very specific instances.

But I’m choosing, as I chose for my main character, to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I just need fresh water.

Because there are things that I want to keep and hold.

And things I just don’t need anymore.

So Vera and I are walking this together. When I write out a scene I go back later and meet with it.

I see if we have anything in common. I see if it hits me between the eyes. And if it does? I sit with it. If it doesn’t? I still sit with it because it came from somewhere.

So that’s where I am today. I wrote this at the end of watching church from couch and I currently have worship music playing and it isn’t causing a reaction within me.

Do I still ferociously scroll past jesus tiktok? Yes. Do I swipe away from men who talk about ‘Jesus’ in their dating profile?

Also yes.

My faith has dramatically changed since Meghan the high schooler who sang on the worship team and went to youth group every Sunday night and went on mission trips to Mexico on spring break, and attending Christian concerts and music festivals.

I’ve been on mission trips to 13 countries and attending a Christian university, I’ve worked at three churches at one time.

And even though parts of those things hurt me and changed pieces of me in ways I might not get back, there are moments that I don’t want to give away either.

The beautiful thing about something breaking is that when you put it back together again you can choose different.

You can choose to see the pieces in a different way and create something new.

Faith is not a piece of Ikea furniture.

You can get creative.

So, this is where I live now. Continuing to write a fiction story that is helping me unearth and replant things, that’s help me to clean up and see the beauty in certain places.

Emptying my head of the Christmas lights to find out which are broken and deciding which strands can be fixed and which need to be tossed.

If you’re on this journey and need to throw all the lights out and start fresh- do it. If you need to be like me and replace the broken bulbs with new ones- do it.

There isn’t a science to building up what was broken.

Once again; faith is not a piece of Ikea furniture.

Be creative and kind to yourself.

With love,

Meg

Honest, I choose champagne

I miss writing in bars.

The title really hasn’t nothing to do with this blog. It’s just really true.

And I’m tired.

And I’m kind of sick of saying that.

Now, before you come at me with SO MANY obvious ways I could have more energy-I want you to know that I know them all. (please don’t come for me MLMs)

My tired isn’t a physical tired. (I mean it is. I am physically tired and no amount of espresso helps that.)

My soul is tired. My insides. And I know I’m not alone.

I don’t state I’m tired, or that I’ve had a long day, week or that 3 year olds are depleting the Miss Meg magic out of me for sympathy.

I state it because all I’ve wanted in my adult life is for other people to know that they aren’t alone.

That’s honestly in my unwritten mission statement that you, my friend or whomever is reading this, is not alone.

I spent a lot of my growing up feeling incredibly alone.

I was made fun of and picked on so much it was honestly easier to just be alone. If I had my 7th grade year book with me I could take a picture of a picture inside. I had on an oversized polo, my probably slightly permed hair was in a pony tail and my bangs were shaggy over my face and I had big glasses on and I was holding a book at lunch. I decided after too many lunches of feeling outcast from the people I knew from youth group that it was just easier to have a book with me from the library and find a quiet corridor that didn’t have a lot of people that normally passed by and eat my lunch alone.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve obviously come out of my shell more, I’ve gained and lost friends and gained some back again. I have beautiful people in my life from all walks.

But, every once and awhile that lonely feeling cuts through me and I see that 7th grade girl who was never anyone’s first choice. I see a someone who lived as a perpetual third wheel. I see someone who was never enough.

I see someone who has this tiny voice in the back of her brain that tells her that this will be the thing, this is the thing where they leave. This tiny voice that reminds me that I am not the first choice. I am just good old reliable single Meghan who will always be there.

And once again; I don’t say for sympathy or for “oh that’s not true” (I know it’s not true, it just FEELS true in my brain sometimes).

I say it, for the reminder that whatever narrative plays in your brain from past or current situations that you believe states something about who you are is not who you are.

You are not the lies that come from the actions other people have done to you.

And I know.

I know believing those lies is so much easier than forcing them away.

Believing that you were hurt because of not being enough or because you did something to cause that person to act that way is so much easier.

Believing that people will run away like the girls did in fifth grade and will talk behind your back in high school is easier than getting hurt again.

Believing that we can never be more than we are is easier than trying to be more than we are.

Believing you are alone or single or without is much easier than allowing yourself to be loved.

And being invisible is much easier than being seen.

So…what do we do?

This morning my pastor brought up questions. Questions we ask God, questions we ask ourselves, each other- etc. But he also asked what questions is God asking you.

Now, I’m going to be honest, my moments with God and time in prayer is few and far between. I’m a questioner, a challenger and many other things in those conversations. I struggle with having a hope for a God that people use for hate. Because, that isn’t my Jesus and it’s something that’s a current ongoing conversation in my brain and heart.

But, clear as day, this morning I heard. “Well, will you keep going?”

And I thought for a moment- maybe it’s in terms of current life. Maybe it was my ability to keep doing the damn thing, day in and out. Even when I don’t feel like a badass preschool teacher. Even when I don’t feel like I have any Miss Meg magic. Even when I feel like I’m doing everything but my job.

As I began writing these words that apparently had a life of their own, I heard it again: “Well, will you keep going?”

Sometimes (a lot of the times) I feel as if I am too much. Like, people don’t want to walk along this with me and people know they aren’t alone and I should just stop wasting words.

So, will I keep going?

I can see myself not always being a Miss Meg.

I can see myself not always being in Washington.

I can see myself (this is a stretch) not always being single.

But, for the life of me, I cannot see myself choosing to bring myself to a place where I stop reminding people they aren’t alone.

I cannot see myself coming to a place where I stop putting pieces of myself out there in an effort for even just one person to know they aren’t alone.

And I can state without a doubt that you have things inside of you that you’ve stepped back from or though t was too much or didn’t want to do anymore because you felt it has no point.

It has a point.

It’s who you are.

It’s as simple and complicated as that.

So, I guess I pose my question from God to you.

Will you keep going?

And I really, really hope you do.

With love,

Meg

back to the barre, Honest

Dear 2021: No, I’m good, thank you.

I’m sitting here plopping back and forth between two very distinctly different topics. One a soap box and one more personal.

Because ye gods, it’s been a frickin week.

I have a lot of anger, hurt and sadness. It’s not just from what’s happening in our world, though that’s a part of it. But, I think that I’m going to back away from the soap box and let that simmer a minute.

I had a moment this week where something happened in what felt like an instance and I’ve now had in the back of my head since said moment a couple tricky little sentence that used to haunt me much more than they do now.

I’m sure you’ve heard these sentences, these questions. I’m sure they have danced around your brain once or twice.

It’s “Did I not do enough?”

And then the follow-up: “Was what I did, what I do even worth it?”.

I’m a feeler, I’m a listener. I’m someone who tries to extend more grace than I think I’m capable of.

I desire for others to be better for themselves and I want people to know they can succeed. I want to encourage those around me. I want to help them find ways to show up for themselves.

I want to step back and watch them do all the things for themselves.

So, after this week, I had to take a moment to ask myself why.

And I as I sit here comfy on my couch, thinking about it and what I’ve learned in my life, and thinking about my word of the year (shift). I realize that this is one place I need to shift my thinking.

Shift is for a lot of things honestly. It’s a little aggravating, it’s a little bit empowering.

It’s active.

It’s something I can put into motion from a lot of different places.

I get told frequently; at times weekly that I need to have the amount of grace for myself as I have for other people.

I get reminded to “take care of myself” and to “rest”.

But I don’t think I’ve ever been told repetitively to believe in myself like I believe in others.

Believing in yourself is a weird thing.

So, in the summer of 2020 I applied for a job.

It was a remote job that involved writing content for a company that deals in early childhood development. The job ad literally flew off the screen at me with the qualifications being a BA in English and early childhood development experience.

Umm, hi. What?

I submitted a resume and a cover letter and felt hopeful.

This job was made for me, right?

I had a phone interview the day before we went on our summer family vacation and I was stoked to leave on vacation after this interview because maybe that would cultivate some hope that I was lacking.

After the 30-minute phone interview I felt no hope. I felt like I had no writing experience, that all my EC knowledge was trash and that I wasn’t good enough. They asked me to write a spec, but before I could send said spec in, they let me know that I didn’t need to and they were going another way.

The light, the momentary spark I felt was gone.

I had a moment of “this is why we can’t have nice things”.

“This is why I don’t believe in myself.”

And I KNOW that sounds incredibly dramatic for one job, one time, one moment.

But, in all reality it’s probably something that holds me back more than I’d like to admit.

One of the things I’d like to do is shift back to believing in myself.

I still want to believe in others like I do. I still want to choose to show up for other people in a way that reminds them that they can do the damn thing.

I just think it’s time to remember that I can do the damn thing.

And just maybe, that will proof to other people that I can do it.

Take my bestie Tori. She is CRUSHING that taking care of her body thing. And each week, with each small victory she has, I am also reminded that I can accomplish things that feel hard too.

Her choosing herself reminds me to do so.

I want to choose belief in myself to remind others they can too.

So, even though this week I was hit with a dump truck of “you didn’t do enough” I am reminded that I did what I was supposed to do. I chose belief and encouragement and grace.

I am choosing to shift back from what I maybe didn’t do, to what I know I did.

And I’m choosing this year to believe I can do the damn thing.

And not just to believe, but to do it.

At the end of this year, I want to look back and see a sea of words that reminds me and shows me that I believed in myself.

How will you believe in yourself this year?

(And please, remember that believing in yourself is a daily choice. And it’s choosing to be active in that belief.)

For me being in active in that belief is as hard and simple as choosing to be words on a page in the form of a story that’s been in my head and scattered on papers for 7 years.

That’s how I’m going to believe this year.

That’s how I’m going to shift.

We can do it.

I believe in us.

And, most importantly, I believe in myself.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

It FEELS like a lot.

I’ve realized lately it feels as if my anxiety is winning.

I know it’s not, but it FEELS like it is.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Why does it feel for every five steps I move forward the sucker punch takes me back ten?

Why does it feel as if I can do 9 things right but the 10th time puts me underwater?

And I’m wonder do you feel the same?

Do you feel as if you are unable to get ahead or celebrate the small victories?

Do your joys that you experience feel like things you can’t share because everyone around you feels like they are losing battles?

Are you the friend that’s losing a battle?

I’ve had a few friends have some really exciting things happen over the last week and it makes me PUMPED when they share it.

Because we can’t find celebration for ourselves these days unless we see celebration.

We can’t figure out how to find joy and hope unless we see it.

There is a shouting match happening in the world right now. 

And it’s exhausting.

It’s like with my tiny humans. If I have a staff who tries to just get louder to shout over the kids who are being loud I let them know it doesn’t work.

And it’s gonna drive you absolutely insane.

I had something happening the other day where there was loud chaos, no one could pick a place to play, I was just trying to clean up and I realized me cleaning up the mess wasn’t helping.

So, I used my loud teacher voice and stated “I AM GOING TO READ THIS SPOOOOOOKY BOOK” (my tiny humans are all about spooky books right now).

I sat on the floor of my library and at first just started leafing through the book.

Then one tiny human came over and I started reading it.

By the end of the story I had 7 of my ten kids in the library. 

Then we finished the book and I re-asked them where they wanted to play and they chose an area, I pulled out some new toys and we went back about our day.

There are a lot of things that need to be said right now (#govote). There is a lot of energy in the air that isn’t helpful.

There is a lot of the inability to feel as if we aren’t allowed to be joyful.

But damn, do we need it.

And joy isn’t easy.

And it sometimes feels like succumbing to anxiety is easier.

But sometimes we have to stop yelling at the chaos and we have to sit down and read a spooky book and let the chaos settle.

And yes, sometimes we have to fight.

I think right now we are more prone to fight.

I know I am.

If I don’t fight I feel like my body might just give up on me.

But I also know the more that I hear others celebration and joy I get more ability to fight.

I think we’ve stopped sharing joy because it feels wrong.

I think I’ve started feeling like anxiety is winning because it feels like celebration is losing.

It feels like we are shouting at the chaos when instead we just need to tell a story. It can be someone else’s story or even a spooooooky story. 

Stories don’t have to be celebratory but the more we speak out our own darkness the more it isn’t able to stay because we keep shining light on it. 

So, what I want you to do is (if you’ve gotten to the bottom of these words) to share a joy, a celebration, something exciting that has happened this week no matter how small it seems to you.

And lastly: if it feels like anxiety is winning, if depression and darkness is winning- I get you and also,

No, it’s not.

I can promise you that right now.

You are more than it.

It’s still valid, it’s there- but it’s not winning.

Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village, ramblings

How do you hope?

I’ve been contemplating these words I’m going to write since Friday.
It’s been a hard thought process because I feel like they are uncharacteristic of me, but in the same breath feel very tangible and real to me. And weirdly important.

On Friday (which mind you, I had to scroll through and see if it was indeed Friday, because who knows what day it is), Katie, Victoria and I were texting, as we do, and Victoria said the following phrase which struck something in me.
She said, “because hope feels dangerous”.

And as I’ve been thinking about that phrase and talking it through, I’ve come to truly realize that hope is a word that fits most parts of speech.
In this, the word hope feels like a descriptive word. And the word it’s describing is danger.

Now, don’t stop reading, I know that feels weird. It sounds like I’m fearful and hesitant to expect hope to be good. And in some ways I am. But I am also someone who adamantly believes that peace is not easy and doesn’t necessarily feel “good”. It just is that: peace.

I guess I should explain a little more. Even as I think about typing the words I’m writing I can hear the rebuttal or the explanations of what I am doing to make hope feel this way, but I need you to know that even when hope feels dangerous I am trying my damnest to walk in dangerous hope.

Hope feels dangerous because the other shoe keeps dropping. My floor is littered with them. Now, that sounds defeatest and victim I realize. But, what feels more tangible to me is seeing that something bad won’t maybe happen, it probably will. In my life, in the lives of my friends.

That’s not saying I don’t see the big, beautiful good things in my life, I do. If I didn’t I would absolutely without a doubt in my mind, be laying in my bed in darkness right now, not sitting in a bright room. I wouldn’t have tears rolling down my face thinking about how much my crew has stepped up for each other and watched out for each other.

If I didn’t see the beautiful, good things I wouldn’t be able to function at work right now with the anxiety I feel.

Because I’ve been there before and I know what it’s like to live without hope.

Right now though, I’m not living in bright shiny hope. I’m not living in the hope that the world will be bright and shiny and I’ll get everything I want.

I’m living in a hope that hurts a little. I’m living in a hope that I hold onto with tears running down my face. I walk to work every day, a little tense, but knowing that even without trying I can be hope to some.

I’ve realized over the last two years, hope is not easy.

I didn’t learn about this hope in Sunday school, I didn’t teach it in Sunday school. I didn’t learn about this hope in Bible classes. I wasn’t able to see this hope around the world because I hadn’t lived in this version of it.

Hope to me used to be all or nothing.

Hope was never scary.

But, like my lovely work wife said, hope feels dangerous.

It’s dangerous because choosing to hope, with the knowledge that it probably won’t look like what you thought.

Choosing to hope anyway, is choosing to walk through a season knowing that you won’t come out of it the same.

I know, I know, that’s literally any season ever.

But right now, feels monumental. And it feels more unknown than anything I’ve personally walked through.

Hope feels dangerous because I really don’t know what I’m putting my hope in. And as I typed that the hymn lyric “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”.

And once again I KNOW.
HOPE CAN STILL BE HARD.
HOPE CAN STILL FEEL UNKNOWN.

I think right now I am holding on to the dangerous feeling hope for myself and giving the hope that’s light to my tiny humans because in all honesty they need and deserve it.

I am holding on to dangerous hope because I believe it will teach me to be able to hold onto the lighthearted hope again.

I’m holding on to dangerous hope because in all reality out of everything flying around it’s the one I can grab.

I think I wanted to write these words, push back or not because they struck such a chord in me that I knew they were important.

I think I wanted to write these words because I wanted to vocalize that even though hope might feel dangerous and even scary and wrong, it doesn’t make you any less than.

I wanted to write these words even though I’ve literally been crying the entire time writing them because I am not less than or less of myself or less of someone who believes in God.

It does not make me less than.

Whatever you feel, however you are coping, whatever feels like or doesn’t feel like doesn’t make you less than.

But what I want to ask is that you write it down. You need tell someone. You need to speak it out loud.

You name things you don’t need and toss them out.

And however this looks, please for the love of everything, find some way to show up each day. However, that make may look.

Dear world,
My name is Meghan.
I miss my people more than I can even say.
I am more tired working with 6 kids than 15.
I am grieving things that may never happen.
And hope feels dangerous.
But I am going to try to hope anyway.
And keep fucking going.
Sincerely,
Meg

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.

I choose champagne, ramblings, smash the cardboard

145,659 + these words

I just spent a good 20 minutes scrolling down my blog. Scrolling through the 200 posts and almost 146,000 words. I’ve gotten a little teary. I’ve felt some rage. I’ve seen where I’ve come from.
I’ve felt kind of proud.
I’ve also backspaced a lot in the last hour. I’ve written what I’ve now realized are disclaimers and excuses. (They are also full of my eye-rolling a lot which I’ve been told to stop)
Because the bottom line is that the words flitting through my brain all have to do with identity.
The words flitting through me all have to do with me peeling labels off of myself and remembering that I am more than.
I’m working on getting out of a box I placed myself in and figuring out ways to do that.

I am more than.

I am more than a Christian.
I am more than my stamps in my passport.
I am more than a preschool teacher.
I am more than the single friend.
I am more than the friend that says yes.
I am more than a two on the Enneagram.
I am more than a doormat.
I am more than the youngest.
I am so much more than the lack of a ring on my finger.
I am more than a strong independent woman who needs no man.
I am more than all the things I feel I owe my friends.
I am more than a plus-size female.
I am more than my inabilities.

I am more than.

This list could keep going and going.
But, what I’ve realized is for every box I’ve been put in by someone else I’ve also put myself in probably the same box.
Just because I’ve decorated it with word art and pictures of my friends doesn’t mean it still isn’t a box.
This year I’m working on remembering I’m worthy enough to take myself out of boxes.
Because the thing about a box is that eventually, it’s gonna break down. It’s just up to us whether we are the one that does the breaking.

I don’t 100% know what all these words are for. I don’t know what is springing out of these reminders to myself.
But, I do know that we have the ability to move. We have the ability to choose to believe that we are more than.

And it’s fucking hard.

It’s hard to live in a world that tells you that you belong in a category to not believe you belong in one.
It’s hard to live in a culture that makes you check so many boxes so that they know how to deal with you.
It’s weird to live in this world and not do it to yourself without even knowing.

But, I’m deciding today it’s going to be possible.

I’m deciding that I am going to do my damnedest to not stay in the boxes I’ve put myself in.

They aren’t my whole identity, they color and highlight parts of who I am and they are beautiful and heartbreaking parts of my story.

But, I am more than them.

You, human reading this, are more than something too.

If you’re feeling brave, shoot me a comment or a message on Instagram (@megmagnolia). Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #smashthecardboardboxes
Let’s remind each other that the people who put us in boxes most often are simply ourselves.

Let’s remind each other that we are more than.

Let’s smash some cardboard boxes.

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

Avocado toast to help me see

I’ve had a busy life the last few weeks (months, years) and yesterday I officiated my second wedding and it was a beautiful ceremony and celebration of two people who love each other an incredible amount.

I can’t tell you the last time I took a moment to write on a Sunday.

My phone is filled with so many notifications of messages and emails and my brain is filled with dates and things I’m supposed to be at and trips I want to take and deadlines and everything in between.
But, today as my body finally allowed me to sleep in a little (8 am) and I decided to save some adulting for tomorrow, I feel a little blurry.

(And, I feel a little stuck- but that’s another story for another day)

Part of that is physically blurry. I sat down in front of my computer screen and adjusted the brightness and moved my body so I wasn’t in the sunlight and I still had to squint to see my screen.

(Katie-shark says I’m tired–she’s probably not wrong)

Even now my vision is coming a little more in to focus, it’s still a little blurry on the outside- but I think that’s a lot more internal.
Have you ever had that happen?
You’re moving and grooving and stressing and even enjoying life but at the end of the day you sit and everything feels a little blurry.
You can’t quite focus and even though you just want to sit and watch a movie that even seems like too much?
You want to dream but that takes too much space.

I want to create but none of my words feel hopeful.
They just feel blurry.

I’m trying to decide what I need to see again.

I think one of the things I need to do is take some advice from my college choir director (but maybe re-frame it a bit), Joni used to always encourage us to choose joy. It didn’t mean you had to be happy all the time or couldn’t have bad days- but it meant to me, to choose good. Choose to see it, feel it, walk in it.

I think that one of the things I need to do is choose joy.

I need to choose what brings me joy, who brings me joy and moments that fill my heart (such as the avocado toast I just devoured and letting my body sleep in).
To me choosing joy is saving my adulting for tomorrow and going to laugh with friends for a couple hours.

To me choosing joy is what is going to save my blurred eyesight.
It’s what’s going to help me cultivate hope.

It’s not about avoiding things that need to be done- it’s about not choosing things and people and events that don’t add to your joy.

We have so much noise in our life. We have so many things telling us what to do, what not to do, what to believe, what to support, what to spend our time, money and voice on.
It gets pretty damn loud.

And, just as loud are the voices that tell us to take care of ourselves.

And to me, it’s in that tension that we find our lives can become a little blurry.

So, today, as I sit here for a few more minutes typing words and figuring out what I need to make my world a little less blurry- I want to ask you that question too: what makes life a little less blurry?

We can do the things friends, we can walk in the tension and dissipate it. We can choose things that bring us light and joy ( even if it’s avocado toast) and we can set the things on the side that don’t bring us cultivate joy.

The Marie Kondo method isn’t just for jeans that are too tight folks.
Let’s step into this week and find the joy, But, more importantly, let’s toss aside the things that don’t add to us, that maybe, just maybe, we don’t actually need.