Honest, relationships

To whom it may concern; we’re not all waiting

I read a list on Instagram couple days ago that was entitled “What I wish I would have done while I was single”.

I had a small inking of hope that maybe it wouldn’t be a list of things that have nothing to do with actually being single.

Maybe it would be like “travel more. Felt less shame going out to dinner alone. Not put my entire personality into being single and waiting for someone”.

Obviously I was wrong.

The list had nothing to do with any of that.

One line read “being alone is a lonely, depressing confusing and rough place to be” and to “trust god- it’s worth it”. And “He will come through”.

Might I counter that with maybe don’t put that on single people?

Life can be rough and lonely and depressing and confusing and while yes sometimes it does have to do with being single it’s not the whole story.

And do I believe that God will “come through”? Yah, I guess kind of. I don’t know if I would use that language.

I would say that I’m walking in the path that I’m supposed to and I’ll pick up the things set down for me as they come for me.

If that’s a relationship than great.

If it’s not-great.

God is still “coming through”.

I think I could go on to list more things about how problematic I feel the churches response to singleness is.

How much we are targeted in all the wrong ways and how we feel less than on a daily basis for not being in a relationship.

(I could easily go on a rampage about single childless woman but that’s another word for another day)

This string of Instagram post about guarding your eyes for another person and choosing to better yourself in listening for another person and leaning on God for another person.

You should do all that for yourself.

There’s that moment where I realize that there are people who there whole existence is finding a partner. That they want to do all those things.

But not all of us do.

I honestly don’t know where I’m at in the life of relationship.

(I would say that I’d be fine with a cat and some plants and a good library but I’m gonna be honest I kill plants)

But at the end of the day I do want to better myself, I want to trust the spirit inside me more, I want to be kind to myself.

So…

To whom it may concern:

We’re not all waiting.

We’re not all sitting on our hands using our time to prepare for a person to come into our lives and make us whole.

Honestly we’re not making ourselves better for someone else.

We’re making ourselves better for our own selves.

With love,

A single woman

Honest, notes on grief

Simply: trying.

I’ve been trying.

I’ve been trying to move through my days and not let anything I’m feeling leak out into the humans around me.

I’ve been trying to be strong.

I think it can go without saying that I haven’t been doing the best. I’ve been trying too. I’ve been attempting to deal with this thing called grief and struggle against the voice inside my head that says I should be over it.

I’ve been attempting to deal with feeling like not enough a lot of days of the week- like I don’t measure up and am physically incapable of doing so.

I’ve been attempting to not feel like a third wheel- attempting to try so hard to not shut down and be an island.

I’ve been attempting to not feel like less than- which is different than not feeling like enough- trying not to feel like my pain and grief and lack of hope makes me weak.

I’ve been attempting to not give in to all these things.

And it’s really fucking hard.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again: I don’t like writing from the middle.

I don’t like putting things out into the world that feel hopeless or lacking the spirit I have inside.

I don’t like placing what I feel inside for everyone to see.

But what I’ve realized is my ability to see it- to fight it- even when I don’t feel like I’m winning- that’s hope.

My ability to show up even when it feels like it goes beyond what I’m capable of doing- that’s the spirit inside me.

And writing from the middle? That’s me fighting.

Choosing to write from the middle and choosing to call out the things that want me to hide and cry (which I’ll still cry- I’m only human) is me remembering that I’m stronger than I think.

When I was in church this morning God clearly reminded me that I was built for this.

Now, don’t get me wrong- you will never hear me state “god only gives me what I can handle” because I call bullshit.

I’ve many moments in life but prime example: I was not in anyway shape or form able to handle losing my mom when I was only 36.

What I am saying is that, the hard, hopeless seaming things; the grief, the singleness, the feeling lost- it may (it has) knock me down. It may push me under.

But, I will rebuild.

I’ve talked a lot about ruins lately. My letterboard still reads “the city will be rebuilt on her ruins” and well, to be honest, a lot of my life still feels like ruins.

But, I’m working on cleaning it up. On finding the foundation.

On rebuilding.

I’m trying.

I don’t know where you are.

I don’t know if you feel like you’re surrounded by ruins.

I don’t know if you feel like you don’t know what to do with your hands.

But I do know that all we need to do is keep trying.

I’m here with you.

You got this.

With love,

Meg

Honest, notes on grief, ramblings

A letter to 36

Dear 36,

I don’t really know what to say to you.

As I look back through memories and pictures and words I’ve already written I’m trying to find kind things to say that aren’t seen through a filter of just trying to see the good in a situation.

About 7 weeks after I turned 36 I got to hug my mom for what I knew in my bones would be the last time.

Soon after that I made a decision out of necessity for my incredibly burned out self that I needed to quit the job I’d been at for a little over 6 years.

About 5 weeks after I started that new job; my mom died.

Now, I can say something about you 36; you set me up to make some choices before I needed to make them.

You pushed me to make some hard decisions I didn’t want to make.

You allowed me to make space before I knew I needed it.

In my letter to 35 I wrote these words

“thirty-five feels like the end of the chapter that leads into an entirely different part of the story”.

And 36 has indeed been an entirely different part of the story.

But to me 36 feels like one of those montages of a movie where life is just happening and you aren’t quite sure what to do.

And then then main character opens the door and gets blinded by the sun and the fact that it’s spring again after what felt like too long of a winter.

36 has felt like winter.

I don’t know if I can say I’m grateful for it.

I’m grateful for the people in my life who have showed up for me in the most beautiful, kind and loving ways and to those humans there is no way I’ll ever be able to repay you for the love and support you’ve given me.

I’m grateful for the bright spurts of joy; like trips with friends, performing on the Lincoln stage for the first time, family shot Friday and the hilariously wonderful humans I work with.

But I can very easily say that I’m ready for a new year of life.

I’m ready for winter to be over.

I’m ready to open the door and be blinded a little bit by the sunshine.

I’m ready for you 37.

Please, be kind.

With love,

Meg

Honest, notes on grief

The shame of falling apart

I don’t remember when I told him this but at some point I told my pastor, that my room was a direct reflection of my mental health. And it’s something he remembers and every now and then will ask me how my room is- asking me how I’m doing in a different way.

My room has been in disarray since August.

August was when I came back from first surprising my parents in Kingsburg (I left with a sense of foreboding that it would be the last time I saw my mom alive) and then had been in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding for about a week.

I was emotionally drained and on the edge of absolute physical shutdown. It was during that week in Hawaii that I realized I had to quit my job, I needed to make the leap, move on and try to breathe again.

I needed to try to find myself in what felt like the chaos I created.

I’ve talked about this before, but I started to breathe again.

I emptied my closet out to go through it, I was beginning to piece by piece put myself back together.

Then my mom died and the chaos stayed.

The effort it feels like it’s going to take to put it all back together still sometimes feels absolutely overwhelming.

I feel as if I had a perfect storm of grief, burnout, teaching in a pandemic, anxiety and so many other things. And I have to remember something in all of it:

It’s going to take more than a few months to heal.

Today in church, I was reminded by someone that I was important and that I needed to take care of myself.

Woof.

And right now, all that’s trying to run through my head are the ways I’m horrible at taking care of myself. All the ways I’ve been a bad, absent friend. The giant pile of clothes in the corner of my room, the fact my calendar still says January. The ways I’m incapable of doing enough. How I’m unable to do what people need me to do because I am fearful of crashing again.

But, if I sit I can also see tangible ways that I am taking care of myself and I have to remember that.

The pile of clean clothes means that I am doing laundry.

The plate on my bedside table means I have eaten today.

My cleaned off desk that now houses my vanity and makeup means that I am taking time to sit and do my makeup and I had to buy more moisturizer today because even if I don’t wear makeup, everyday I sit in my chair and put moisturizer on.

I had to scrounge for shampoo because I ran out, so I’m showering.
I had to refill my water bottle because even though I usually suck at it, I am drinking water today.

And the tears currently running down my face remind me that I’m still allowing myself to feel.

I’m well aware of all the ways I don’t take care of myself. I’m well aware that I’ve not been doing well.
I’m well aware of all the ways I don’t feel like I’m showing up for the people around me.

But with all that I have to remember the ways, even in the midst of the bad days where I don’t feel like I’ll ever feel whole again, that I’m still moving forward, I’m still creating habits that take care of myself even in little ways like putting moisturizer on my face or listening to podcasts while I get ready..

I have to remember that it wasn’t just my mom dying. It was also the end of a time of life living in high stress. It was living and teaching kids in a pandemic. It was friendships ending.

It was a lot.

So, if right now, if keeping my bed and my desk clear and my floor mostly clear is all I can do, so be it. If for this season my white board calendar stays on January and I just use my google calendar, so be it. If I mostly eat bagged salads and bagels and frozen things from Trader Joe’s, so be it.

Taking the shame out of the things I don’t feel capable of and putting the focus on doing what I can to be human, to live and to move forward in my day.

This is hard to even say but I think I am actually proud of myself. I’m proud that I show up. I am proud that I’ve realized I actually have to eat in the day.

I’m proud that I’ve found new ways to self care.

I’m proud that I let myself cry,

Because I am important and I need to take care of myself.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, ramblings

I don’t actually know how I feel about this

I’ve been battling with technology for about 40 minutes. I’m currently in possession of two computers-one won’t work and the other I can’t find the charger too and then my ipad was refusing to open a new document and I just kind of wanted to give up and go about my day, with some banana bread making, Guinness float drinking and watching “A discovery of witches” season 3.

But then my Microsoft word opened and I realized I probably actually needed to talk about the thing that I’ve been dancing around talking about for a few weeks.

Hope.

I’ve mentioned it here and there. Alluded to it in instagram posts and tried to come to terms with the fact that hope wasn’t going to bite me in the ass.

This morning I wrote the following words while at church and they hit me a bit and came with the footnotes that I needed to chose to have hope in myself again and hope in life.

Hope in its noun definition is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”.

What if hope has been so hard because without realizing it we’ve been so far on the other side of hope that we’ve been hoping for the bad things to happen?

What if we’re so focused on the fact and the truth of life that bad things will happen that we don’t free up any space in our brain for the fact and truth of life that good and beautiful things will happen.

Now, please don’t read that as we are somehow a part of the awful things in our life happening. (Well, we are sometimes but that’s a different story). What I’m trying to say is what if we’re putting our hope in the fact that bad things will happen so might as well not hope for the good and because of that we’re choosing to place our hope in the bad.

I always joke that my brain is so full of children’s worship music and choral music from my whole life that I frequently have a “no room in the inn” sign up.

I think we do that with experiences that prove to us we shouldn’t hope that the good and the beautiful will come.

I started my new job on September 7th last year and 4 weeks later I was starting to feel alive again.

4 weeks and one day later my mom told me she was sick. And five weeks and 3 days after September 7th she was gone.

I had started to feel hope again. Started to feel like I was able to breath. Started to feel like I could focus on things that brought me back to myself.

And then it all came crumbling down.

But, I think that that was a turning point for me.

I could have truly chosen to believe and file that away as another time where hope failed me. Where the good was coming and the. The other shoe dropped and knocked me unconscious.

Where hope looked me in the eye and said “pass”.

I think I’m in a frame of life where I’m desperately trying to change the way I see things about hope. I’m trying to be an active participant in what is looks like to hope for movement and good and things being built and an active participant in showing people that the only person who is fit to walk out their story is themselves. And whatever cards they’ve been handed they can pull something from them if they’re just willing to try to live a life wherein hope is for them too.

I don’t what your level of choosing to be hopeful these days. For me, some days it’s just choosing to hope I won’t wake up at 345 and will be able to go into the day rested.

And I know that the world doesn’t feel hopeful right now. I know that the concept of being hopeful for yourself feels trite and small.

And I know some days it’s a no bones day and hope is not only impossible but unhelpful.

And I know what it’s like to feel like hope hasn’t been in play for awhile.

I just want you to know that I’m here trying to figure it out today.

And if you need to borrow some hope from me; I will willingly share it.

With love,

Meg

Honest, notes on grief

From behind a wall

To actually sit and force myself to write- to just let words flow feels incredibly anxiety-provoking right now. But it also feels like one of those things that if I don’t sit in front of a computer and just let my thoughts out for others to read, I might be stuck on the other side forever.

I don’t want to get stuck, but I feel almost as if I am stuck in a perpetual wheel that causes me to be unable to just write. To pull out thoughts and share them.

Most days, I think, I am doing pretty ok. I am living in this new view of life with a lot of things on my brain- some I don’t really talk about (that’s the 20%) and some I don’t want to talk about because it makes me cry. I am a little bit fearful that this is just how life is now. That I am going to be sad forever and that there isn’t really anything to do to fix it. I know that isn’t the case. I know there isn’t anything to fix.

I know painful things happen and we just must keep walking in the direction that we are meant to walk.

I’m supposed to be writing a piece for the website I write for about the hope I find in choosing to trust my own balance. In choosing to know that I’ve been through some shit and that I am stronger and more capable to withstand things than I think I am.

I’m supposed to be writing about the hope I have in the strength I’ve been given.

You know that word I hate, “resilience”.

 But all I want to do right now is delete the 275 words that came before this sentence.

This though is my reality.

Some days, I am truly ok, some days I’m just not and some days are like a little fruit salad of all of it.

But I don’t want to get stuck with an inability to write down my words.

I know I’ve shared this here before, but when I was little, I was so terrified to confront people when I had hurt feelings or was scared. And I would write my mom notes and tuck them in the chair she was sitting in and run away.

I’ve always used writing to communicate my emotions, articulate what is in my brain and conceptualize the thoughts that are tricky for me to decipher.

I write to untangle.

And currently, I am still actively untangling grief, untangling the relationship I had with my mom, and untangling some things that I don’t necessarily feel ready to communicate.

And I’m grappling with the fact that I don’t feel strong enough or capable enough or old enough to be dealing with any of this.

Normally, at the end of a string of words with a lot of questions, not a ton of answers, and what feels like a lack of hope I’d usually tag a PS to my mom who read every word I wrote, to let her know that I am in fact; ok.

Because at the end of the day, I am. I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living. I’m just a little less than sometimes.

So, Mom, I’m ok. I’m moving forward, I’m living, I’m just a little less than right now.

And that is ok.

With love,

Meg

notes on grief

Beginning notes on grief

I have been wanting to write the last three weeks but if I’m being honest the thought of writing has seemed heavy and has seemed like it would make the world around me more real than I was capable of dealing with.

For those of you only follow me in this corner of the internet I have yet to share this here: three weeks ago my mom died.

She died in her home, the one I grew up in, surrounded by her husband, us three kids and ¾ of her grandkids- one being away at college and a handful of her nieces and nephews. More family came in that night and over the course of the next week or two that lead up to the memorial we had for her last week.

I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about my mom or see the words on a screen but I knew that if I didn’t begin to write something it would get progressively harder to do so.

This morning I opened my journal in church and aggressively wrote out my thoughts on writing before the tears threatened too quickly.  I tend to write around what’s going on in my life. I tend to write to work things out, to untangle them, to remind anyone who might be in the same space as me that they aren’t alone.

I can easily say that of all the grief I’ve ever dealt with or felt I’ve never met this monster in my life. I’m doing my best to be kind to myself, to take help, to ask for hugs, to cry- but it’s really, really hard. Even right now as I write this I’m blinking back tears.

My mom commented on everything I wrote. She would make sure to call and tell me she had read things and I usually got a text after I posted a blog that she “loved my ‘she writes on Sundays’”.

I’m sure I will write more. I will write with tears down my face, I will write through anger and now, I am writing out of exhaustion and the desire to put words on a page.

Grief is a lot. More than any human can actually fully grasp.

I miss my mom a lot. It’s still not real that I won’t be able to hug her or call her or have her nag me to go to the doctor.

But here I am, to the best of my ability, moving,

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

hope is a verb

Let hope.

Hope seems to be one of my catch phrases right now.

And if I’m being honest, I kind of hate that about myself.

I’m searching, aggressively for hope. Something tangible, something I can hold. Something that might do the job of pulling me out of the pool that seems empty of it.

But, also, here’s the thing: I used to look at the search for hope as finding the end of something. I used to look at hope as the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am finding that it isn’t the case. Hope isn’t the end- it’s the beginning. Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s stepping into the tunnel and seeing the light.

At church yesterday I wrote some words that I shared, words that seem to spill out about hope as I tried to roll my eyes and write at the same time.

Hope is here

It’s in the wings

It’s waiting.                     

It doesn’t need a clean spot or for your laundry to be folded.

Hope doesn’t need your calendar to say the right month or for all the cups in your room to be in the dishwasher.

Hope just wants to be invited in.

Hope just wants you to choose it. It doesn’t even care if it’s not the first choice.

Hope stays.

It percolates.

It gets better.

Hope won’t be ignored.

Hope can be built upon the ruins. It WANTS to be built upon the ruins.

It doesn’t need you to have it all together.

Hope just wants you to seep in.

So let it.

Let hope move in.

Let hope fill every corner.

Let hope persist.

Let hope Live.

Let it build on what you thought was ruins.

Let hope move.

Let hope.

Hope is a buzzword for me these days.

And I kind of hate it.

I’m continuing to choose to believe it exists.

I’m choosing to believe it’s for me.

I’m choosing to believe it’s not the end of something but the beginning.

I’m choosing to let hope do the damn thing.

So; watch this space for when I meet hope.

And if you ever forget- hope is for you too.

With love,

Meg