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.
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?
Does saying “no, I’ll take a separate check” feel like a spotlight is on you?
But are we going to be ok?
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.
The concept of identity is so damn weird.
We spend our childhood, for the most part, doing whatever the heck we want. We make choices and we try activities and we more or less do what feels good, fun or what we are forced to do by the adults around us. Through that we begin to find our likes and dislikes, what makes us happy and what we are good at. We little by little find out who we are.
Then, at some point, people start telling us who we are.
And here’s the kicker: we believe them.
We spent how many years of our childhood never believing our parents when they said broccoli was good (it is) and that we’d have fun at school ( for the most part truth), but the minute someone said “You are not…” or “You are too..” it was automatically engrained into our person.
What was I told that I believed?
I was: too sensitive, not normal, a silly talker, too fat, a nerd, four eyes, not cool, not popular, not talented, not worth it.
The list, in this moment, seems endless.
And yet, I didn’t believe that broccoli was good.
Then as we get older and become a teenager and go into high school the voices get louder and louder.
And all we are told is that “sticks and stones make break your bones but words will never hurt you”
Sorry not sorry that’s BS.
I want you to close your eyes for thirty seconds and I bet you can think of AT LEAST 3 phrases that have hurt you. If you can’t that’s great!
And I get the fact that words shouldn’t have power over us. And you give people permission, etc. etc.
But that’s not my point.
My point is that as a child and a teenager we are told a LOT OF WORDS involving our identity.
And really, shouldn’t we be the only ones who decipher who we are?
It reminds me of that scene in Runaway Bride where the main character is figuring out what type of eggs she likes. She’s only ever like the type of eggs that man she is with likes and she doesn’t know that piece of herself.
She’s probably a woman in her mid to late 20s and she doesn’t know what type of eggs she likes because she’s spent the last few years letting other people tell her what she liked.
So here’s my question: why don’t we teach kids how to find who they are? Why don’t we let them explore and fail and not try broccoli, but instead we tell them they’re too loud or too quiet or too sensitive?
Identity is defined as the of being who or what a person or thing is.
The weird part about identity is we are already thing we are supposed to be, but it’s just been bogged down and covered and marred by phrases and traumas and statements that other people believed were true. Just because something is a lie to me doesn’t mean it’s not truth to another person.
Just because something started as a lie to me doesn’t mean it can’t become a truth I walk in.
That’s not great I realize, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen or hasn’t happened.
Identity is weird because AS MUCH as we need people to not tell us who we are, and to not define us, we also need other people to tell us who we are.
We need people to remind us of the beautiful undeniably true things.
Take my work wife Victoria.
I met her four years ago and we didn’t really become friends til a few months later, but she is without a doubt one of the kindest, giving humans I’ve ever met.
She gives more grace than she believes she is capable of, she loves harder and more authentically than most humans.
Victoria cares so much.
But I don’t think she’d ever say that about herself. So, I make sure to try to tell her and remind her. I am not perfect at it, but I know she doesn’t always believe those things so I just want her to know that I see her and I see her beauty.
Identity is weird because we do sort of need the world to tell us who we are. We need them to see the beauty we are sometimes incapable of seeing and the nooks and crannies we’ve been told so often aren’t there.
Identity is weird because we need to filter what people tell us and toss out what we don’t need and keep what we do.
Identity is weird because we are already who we are- we just have to figure out who that is.
We have to make the choice to believe broccoli is good and what kind of eggs we do or don’t like (like: scrambled, fried, poached, over easy. don’t like: hard boiled, egg salad). We have to reframe things that have become truths in our life or toss them out all together.
And we have to actively remind people of the good in them, because that stirs up the good in us.
About a year ago or so I was in a place where I kind of, sort of, wanted nothing to do with God. But I had made commitments to show up to different things, so I showed up.
One night I went to a prophetic worship night at my church and I 150% didn’t want to participate.
But, one of my humans ask me to go to a certain station to wherein you wrote words for the person in the picture that was covered up by a sheet. For other people, I realized I had beautiful words.
Then it came time to share- and I wasn’t going to and then another one of my humans asked me to (and I did, because it’s who I am to a fault) and then he asked me to take the sheet off the pictures.
(If looks could kill, he might have been dead)
Under the sheet was a mirror.
But, what I realized was I had stirred something up in myself for someone else, the words were clearly for me. Plain as day ( so I wrote them in “I” form- pictured below).
So, what I want you to do right now is 1 of three things (why not all three?).
1. (The least scary) I want you to write down good, real, true things about yourself.
2. (The next least scary) I want you to text, email, call, carrier pigeon, some words to a human in your life about who they are (look upward at what I said about Victoria- it’s that easy).
3.(The most scary-maybe) Text, email, call, carrior pigeon a friend and ask them if they can tell you three things about who you are as a human. If that feels weird, just say it’s for a job application because they always ask those kind of questions. Or honestly if you are someone that knows me you can 100% text me “Hey Meg, #3 please”
Identity is weird because we get told a whole hell of a lot of things that aren’t true to us but become true.
Identity is weird because we both need and don’t need people to find who we are.
Identity is weird because broccoli is actually good and I’m not too sensitive.
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.
Well, actually I am going to therapy consult, but I’ve filled out the longest intake form of my life and made an appointment and it’s on my calendar.
And I keep forgetting and then I remember and my whole body tenses and I get anxious and I already feel one hundred percent exposed even though I’m not even in the therapist office yet.
I went to therapy from the beginning of 2009 to when I moved away from Orange County before the world race. I went to therapy when I was at my most exhausted, most depressed and with the least ability to take care of myself. I was on antidepressants and had moments of suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want to wake up and have to do it again.
I would walk into my therapist small windowless office and sit on the corner of the couch and put a pillow in my lap and be anxious for the first 15 minutes out of our 50 minute session.
That was the same for every single session that I saw him. Sitting in the small windowless room I was safe, but the prospect of combing through the areas of my life that were dark and hard and sad stressed me out.
I’m starting therapy again this week but I am so different from the first time I went to therapy 10 years ago. I’ve discovered so much more about myself and how I work and what I need and I’ve gone places and had hard conversation and sat in rooms filled with anxiety but still manage to function through it.
Therapy did wonders for me ten years ago. It allowed me to open my eyes to myself and see what I needed to do and allowed me to learn how to SIT in my anxiety and feel it.
But, I’m not looking for breakthrough.
I had this realization today that my actual breakthrough is for everyone around me to physically see it on my face and in my decisions but the breakthrough isn’t as important to me. What is important is the novel of experiences and stories and decisions that gets me to the point of outward breakthrough. What is important to me is the heartache and the fear and the ability to knock down walls inside and unpack boxes and throw them in the cardboard crusher.
I decided today that I’m not going to place my hope in the fact that I can get to the next, and that something is coming.
I am going to place my hope in my ability to figure it out.
I’m going to place my hope in my ability to sit with anxiety and fear until it all untangles. I know it’s all in verbiage. I know that you may hope for breakthrough and to you that means every little thing along the way.
But, I say all this so you remember that when someone HAS a “breakthrough” and it feels like its out of left field, or they make a decision or are suddenly in a relationship that there is more than just the breakthrough.
There’s the anxiety and the fear and all the other damn things that lead to the fireworks.
So, maybe stop praying for breakthrough. Stop speaking breakthrough into others lives. Start speaking the untangle. Start speaking the very next step instead of the horizon. Offer a shoulder so someone can climb over their walls. Give a cozy chair to sit in discomfort.
And (pardon the following expletive) Remind them to keep fucking going.
Because whatever word you wanted to use for it: you can’t have breakthrough or untangling if you don’t keep moving down a path.
I am a person who struggles with anxiety and depression. My brain doesn’t always treat me nicely. I don’t always treat myself nicely. And while I do pause to look at the horizon, into the hopes and loveliness of the what’s next. I’m still going to dream and find beauty.
I am going to start facing down more walls and giants and unpacking more boxes than I was before. So, when I hit that place, when I hit the next, when I make decisions that feel rushed and out of the blue I want you to remember that breakthrough is the end of one story and the beginning of another.
Breakthrough is one moment on the timeline-not THE timeline. Breakthrough is not the answer. The answer is in the untangle, and the mess.
I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what to write about. I’ve started a couple different trains of thought and a couple of different ideas.
And just nothing.
Sometimes its hard to figure out what I want to say.
And yes, I want people to read what I write and I want to connect with people and have an ability for them to understand why I am who I am.
I am careful what I write and how I say it. Not because I’m worried someone will be offended (I’m welllllll past that) or because I’m afraid someone (cough cough my mom) will be worried about me.
I am careful about what I write and how I say it because words matter so much to me. And for as much as I do share so much about myself; I don’t share all of it because some of it is just for me.
But today, right now, the words that truly keep popping into my head are this:
I’m not happy.
And that’s heavy and dark.
And also, probably, a little dramatic.
A couple weeks ago I text my work wife that I felt like I had nothing for myself. That everything I do in some way, shape or form, is for another person. That my life right now is weddings, tiny human observation, tiny human day to day life, finding time to sit, trying to not lose my mind and trying to find pockets of laughter. My life has been a lot of trying to stir joy in the lives of others.
And (please don’t roll your eyes at me) it’s ok.
I have had two panic attacks in the last month or so and I’ve come close to another (in my bosses office) but one foot in front of the other.
You might be wondering why I’m saying all of this and why I’m telling you that I’m not happy.
Because, the tunnel may be so long and so dark, but I always, ALWAYS find the light at the end of it. I know it’s there. I know that I have found it and will find it again.
My light right now is in people. It’s in my roommate sitting across from me, and from going out to lunch after church and laughing. My light is from getting to celebrate those I love getting married and from laughing at the most ridiculous board games known to man.
I’m not happy right now but my life is full of a lot of love. My life is filled to the brim with people that I adore and humans that reminded me who I am daily.
I’m not happy right now but my life still has laughter and the light that is at the end of this tunnel is brighter here and there.
I’m not happy right now but I’m also not sad.
I write this so you know that we can still live in the midst of feeling darkness. That we can still move forward.
That we can still live.
I wrote a blog back when I lived in Spain on “processing”. I had watched people halt their lives for the sake of processing. And it bugged me.
I get it.
I get the stopping and looking at something to figure it out.
I don’t get when someone stops living.
So, I guess I am saying all of this to say; if you aren’t happy, if your life is full of life and people and laughter, but you are still not finding the happiness, I want you to know that there is a light at the end of your tunnel of this season.
And not being happy isn’t the end all be all.
I don’t have all the answers in my life and I don’t expect too. I don’t know what the next year will look like. I may meet a man, I may write a book, I may do a lot of things.
But I do know, that my life will always be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel for myself, for my friends and for those who read this.
The light is coming.
It always is and always will be.
And if you learn nothing from my writing or connect with nothing that’s all I want you to walk away with.
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.
But, start noting how you stand up. Note, how you stand up taller than when you fell.