I choose champagne, To dream, washington whimsy

at some point, ice has to melt.

I am sitting here for one last silent Sunday of the year at my favorite bar. I sit here as many Sundays as I can, at the table in the corner by the window (and the outlet) and drink 1 or 2 or 3 grapefruit mimosas and I write.

Sometimes other people join me in silence, but most of the time I just sit by myself attempting to verbalize thoughts in my head. This has become one of my most favorite times of the week. Without the people around me knowing it; this bar has become a part of my church. It’s become a safe place for me to choke back tears and form thoughts and have weighty realizations.

So, tonight, I’m sitting here and thinking about all that 2017 was. It was a lot. I’ve been trying to separate the good and the bad. The ugly and the uglier. The places of heartbreak and the places where my heart hasn’t even gotten the chance to break.

Many things stand out here and there, so many people and places and events.

June is a big one. In June I turned 32, I had about 32 people that I adore here in Bellingham over to my house for tacos and laughter and love. In June I ended my time with the two year olds and turned 3. In June I felt betrayal and hurt that I can’t match to any other time in my life.

In June I went to my other home for camp and was reminded that I can take joy in what I do.

If I am being honest- a lot of other things feel like an immense blur.

I want so badly to say that this year was good. I want so desperately to say that this year redeemed the year before it. But it didn’t

I want to say that I found ways this year to be who I am. I want to say that I’ve learned to apologize less and to not second guess.

I want to say that my heartaches less and that I am 100% happy in my own skin. That needing a space for one has gotten easier.

I want to say that I’ve been brave.

I want to say all of those things.

But, I’m just not sure I can.

It’s funny. I spend 40 hours a week telling tiny humans that they need to use their words. I hold their hands and look them in the eyes and take deep breaths with them. I say, “I understand that you are feeling frustrated. I understand that your body feels upset. But what I need you to do is take some deep breaths and tell me with your words whats wrong.”

I felt a lot of things this year. I felt lonely, I felt pain and anguish for myself and on behalf of those around me. I felt joy. I felt love that I can’t really articulate. I felt every single damn day for the 18 tiny humans who are on my class list.

But, ask me to articulate what I was feeling on behalf of my own self and I was never quite sure.

I don’t think I was the only one with that problem this year.

A lot of things happened this year. Things in our control or out of it. Things that impacted us or our neighbor. There was anger and hate and laugher from disbelief. It spilled into everything. Every aspect of our lives were impacted whether we wanted them to be or not.

I don’t have the words to describe all the things.

But, I think what I can say, is that in spite of all the things, in spite of the loneliness and the betrayal and the hurt I didn’t give up. In spite of my inability to use my words, I didn’t stop trying.

In spite of all the things, there was still joy.

And there it is my friends.

In spite of all the things- there is still joy.

There are still moments of joy.

I tried, so incredibly hard, in the midst of all things to find joy.

I think we all did. If we really searched through our memories, we tried this year to balance all the things with joy.

I was and still am numb to this year. I’m numb to the things that made me feel less like the person I know I am. I am numb to the things that added to my character.

But, at some point, ice has to melt. At some point an asleep leg has to wake up.

So, to 2017 I say this,

Thank you for the people in my life.

Thank you for my roommate.

Thank you for my work wife.

For my bosses and my coworkers and all those I would never know without the Y.

Thank you for my church, for the people who are scattered in the rows around me, who are family.

Thank you for my forever best friend.

Thank you for my OCfamily and that little blue house in Irvine.

Thank you for my family whom I grow to appreciate with every passing year.

Thank you for opportunities to speak and space to give love and be love.

And to 2018 I saw this:

Let’s thaw out the numbness and find places each day to wake our words up a little more.

Dear 2018,

Please, I beg of you.

Use your words.

With love,

Meghan

Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

Honest, ramblings

a letter to those who have no hope for the holidays

Dear friend, 

I want you to know I get you.I don’t understand or know your circumstances. I don’t know the deep places of your heartache.

But on a soul level; I get you. 

There are a lot of times in life that dealing with a gamut of heartache sucks.

Anxiety, grief, loss, singleness, depression, estrangement.

All of those are magnified during the holiday season.

Even just finding a template for a Christmas card was a glaring reminder of my relationship status. Every template featured a happy couple, a new home, a new baby, a diamond ring.

But, this isn’t a blog about that.

It’s just an example to you.

I get heartache.

On so many levels.

And I know that yours is oh so different. 

Your story, your heartache doesn’t match mine.

And mine doesn’t match yours.

But I guarantee that there are at least two people around the table with you who could say the same thing.

Who get you.

What I am trying to say is that you are not alone.

And I know that’s hard to read without rolling your eyes.

(It’s hard for me to write).

Because when you are physically alone it’s hard to remember. When you feel alone it’s hard to remember that. 

But it’s true. The beautiful thing about humanity is that even if it’s just the person in front of us at the grocery store, or the barista who makes are coffee- we are not alone. We all have stories and frown lines and spots on our pillow from tears.

We just have to fight the battle to remember that.

I have to fight the battle to remember that.

So, here’s the deal: I want to challenge you.

I want to challenge you to find a new way to infuse joy into your holidays. Make a new tradition, revamp an old one.

I want to challenge you to laugh. 

And be ok with laughing.

And lastly, I want to challenge you to be ok with crying. To not feel shame in telling a story around a fire.

To not feel shame in taking moments to yourself or sitting in the dark with just the Christmas tree on.

Because when there is a heartache so great that it comes to you in times of joy, I believe, for the most part, you can find joy on the other end of that heartache.

Don’t put yourself in a box of heartache this holiday season. 

You aren’t defined by that heartache. You aren’t ruled by it. It’s just one of the colors in your picture of life.

It’s not all that you are.

Even if it feels like it.

And if you ever feel alone, just remember me, in rainy, blustery Bellingham. I’m with you.

I’m for you.

This holiday season will be new. It may still have heartache but if you need some I am holding some hope for you (and cinnamon sugar almond bars).

With love,

Meghan 

Honest

please stop calling my singleness brave 

A friend sent me a blog to read last week that was a letter to single Christian women.

I’m going to be honest, I almost didn’t read it.

But I thought, maybe this one won’t tell me that when I least expect it the “right one” will come along.

Maybe it won’t tell me my singleness is brave.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

I have been, for the past couple of days, trying to figure out why I get so up in arms when I read these blogs or books or hear podcasts on the topic.

But I guess, what it is, is that I am only not ok with being single in the moments where I feel like my singleness is a disease. And, if I am being honest, when I read those very lovely, well-meaning blogs about “being brave” and listing a lot of rules for being single, I feel less whole than I should.

When I get told to “live in spite of” I feel as if there is something wrong with having lived without thinking of the fact that I am single.

And it’s funny because I know that this isn’t just a single-married person thing, it’s a kids-no kids, run of the mill job-dream job thing. I get that.

But today, for me, it’s a single person thing. Specifically, a single Christian woman thing.

Being single in the church is not easy.

Sometimes it seems as if we are standing on one side of the street waiting to cross over. Staring at the party on the other side where couples do couple things and get to minister together and have a partner in crime and go to marriage classes and double date.

Then, there are all of us singles. Male and female, watching, living life.

Just on the opposite side of the street.

It’s quiet on this side.

Trying our best to not be defined by something that most in our culture define as being “not quite there”.

So what do we do?

We read the blogs and books and we listen to the podcasts and we join the small groups.

And we don’t feel better.

There are over 2,000 books on Amazon when you type the words “single Christian woman”.

2,000.

That’s a lot of words and thoughts and ideas and advice that people have given and put out into the world.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We are meant to learn from each other’s stories. And take pieces for ourself and figure it all out as we go.

But just like married humans can never fully be prepared for every possible emotion and feeling they will have in that phase of life, us single humans can say the same thing.

Because we could be single the rest of our lives.

I could be a single Christian woman for the rest of my life.

And it won’t mean I am brave. I’m brave for many reasons, and one of them is not for being single.

I am grateful for those around me in relationships that I trust. That I can talk to about these things.

But most of them will never know what it is to be a 32 year old Christian single woman and all of the connotations that brings. I am talking about contemplating owning a home by myself, being an island of a human making decisions by myself and pondering about the moral implications and qualms I have about sex outside of being married.

And I wouldn’t know right know what it’s like to manage a budget with two people in my late twenties or make decisions as a whole or decide on birth control or no birth control.
Neither thing is lesser.

Neither thing is brave.

It’s life.

Let’s save brave for actually brave things.

Let’s encourage people in the paths of life they ARE going down, not where they are lacking, or moreso where we BELIEVE they are lacking.

Let’s not create story for poeple.

Or give them false hope.

Because spoiler alert: I don’t neccesarily want to be single.

But I am choosing to keep walking out my life as who I am.

And that’s not brave.

It’s just exactly who I am.

A mimosa-drinking, tiny human wrangling, story-telling, cake-baking human.

Not brave. Just me.

Honest, I choose champagne

You were only waiting for this moment to arrive

I’ve been in Bellingham for two years this weekend.

That’s insane. I kind of can’t even fathom it. That I’ve been here for two years with all the ups and downs and tantrums (by myself and by toddlers). I’ve learned more here then I can articulate. 

The main thing being, I am very, very glad I have decided to the best of my ability to not just “get through” this season.

It was something I noticed being the two year old room. The two year olds were rough. I would find myself counting down the moments til nap and then the moments til three pm.

Trying to force yourself through moments, trying to just get through days is not a way to live.

There was a time in my life that I didn’t want to sleep at night because I didn’t want the sun to come up. I was working in a pretty hostile classroom and I was in an incredibly deep dark well of depression. I would stay up ‘til one or two in the morning just to have more hours in the day to myself.

If I slept then I would have to do all the things again. 

I remember hitting my breaking point, knowing that for myself and for those around me I could no longer just “fake it ‘til I make it”. Something had to give. I couldn’t just put my head down and try to get through.

It wasn’t working.

So, I made changes, I moved out the classroom, I started therapy, I went on antidepressants.

I tried to find joy again and I worked really hard to do so.

There are times, chunks of the last two years, when I know in my knower that I was sitting in a pit of depression. That I didn’t want to go to sleep at night because then the day would come again. 

And I would have to do all the things.

I’m thankful for the people around me who remind me to be present and for the tiny humans who demand it.

I don’t know what this third year in Bellingham holds and I don’t know how many years will follow it; but I’m going to choose, still, to the best of my ability to be present. I’m going to choose to try not to live of faking it ‘til I make it. 

I have parts of my life that I can say without out a doubt that I’m trying to get through. I’m pretty sure most of us would be lying if we said we weren’t trying to get through something.

A season in a city, a season of singleness, a season before marriage, a season of a job.

Days, weeks, months that we are so desperately trying to get past, to get to the next season.

But why?

Why do we deem these moments less important than the ones we are trying to get through? Who are we to decide what moments we can learn from?

If I allow myself, I can learn from everyday. I can learn from the tantrums and the laughter and moments when I feel less than myself. 

But the instance I put my mind in forward, the instance I decide that minute I want ahead of me is less important than the minute I am in, is the instant I decide that my present doesn’t matter

During one of my object lessons I did at camp a couple weeks ago I talked about how there is a plan and a purpose for our lives. There are big, awesome things ahead.

That’s hard to stomach sometimes.

More, is hard to stomach.

But, this minute you are in right now? The one in which you’ve decided to read this collection of words?  

This is a part of your more.

And so is the next and the next.

Let’s start with tomorrow. Let’s start with not getting through tomorrow, but for living every moment of it.

Let’s create joy and growth and hope and light.

So, when we get to the next day and the day after that, we won’t have moments lost in the abyss, but days we can build upon.

Let’s do the damn thing each and every day.

And when we need to- take a deep breath to our toes, and dive back in.

 

Honest

a letter to those that lack 

This is written to those occupying the same stage of life I am in, but if you are a human who has ever found themselves identifying what they lack over what they have have, my Sunday morning thoughts might help your brain too.

Dear single woman,I get you.
No, really I do.

See, I’m not writing from the other side of the thing, or writing from a different phase in life. You won’t click on my bio and see I’m now a married woman with two kids and a house in the suburbs or find an Instagram with me sporting a diamond. I’m in what some would call “the waiting” or “the before”

 (I just call it life.)

I am not going to tell you to “enjoy this time” because you should enjoy everything. I am not going to tell you that you aren’t ready, because you are the only human who knows that.

I am going to tell you that I know. I know that you have eyes and a heart and a mind. You see, you feel and you think.

And those don’t always connect. You logically know you are good, solid. You feel about 95% whole. But your eyes always lead you astray. The land on the differences, the missing pieces. Your eyes don’t know how to outline what you have, they only know how to outline what “should” be there.

I know you have days that are harder then others.

And those hard days make you feel a lot of things. Filled with shame because you feel like “that girl”, upset at yourself because you don’t want to feel that way, you want to be whole and independent. It might make you feel more determined to be whole and independent.

I want you to know that I truly believe in the bottom of your knower that you know that you are good. That you aren’t less of a person because you don’t have something you want. 

I see you.

I see into your insides. I see that you are reminded of what you lack, you are reminded of the step in life you have yet to take.

And I’m writing this because I want you to know aren’t alone.

You are in a world, daily, of people who feel so similar to you.

That couple you see in the coffee shop every Saturday wants kids.

The dad who wants to coach the little league team but can’t leave work early.

That family of five just wants to buy a house in the same neighborhood as their friends.

And you might of just thought the same thing I did even as I typed those words: “but at least…”

At least they have each other.

At least he has the job.

As least they have the family.

We live in an “at least” world and sometimes being a single woman feels very bottom of that food chain.

But, IF we don’t want people to belittle us with “at leasts” we should work on the same.

If we want to choose to see what people have, we need to decide to do that for ourselves.

Let’s stop living in lack.

Let’s stop living in lack WITH the knowledge though, that some days are harder than others.

I am not great at focusing on what I have. 

I never thought I struggled with comparison.

I was wrong.

So, for me, it’s going to be a mind overhaul. I’m not talking about making lists or writing in a gratitude journal, though if that is how it works best for you, go for it. I’m going to attempt to, whenever I see something I lack in the picture of what someone else has, I am going to remind myself that for everything I see they have, I have something too. I’m going to remind myself that we are different humans, with different journeys and lives.

I repeat again: I’m going to try.

And I know that doesn’t and won’t always happen.

So now, at the precipice of a new week, I raise my can of sparkly wine;

I raise it to the couple who wants kids,

To the dad who wants to coach the team,

To the family who wants the house,

And to you, my single friend.

I raise my wine to you all. We forget so often in the midst of comparison and haves and have-nots, in the midst of constantly feeling less than or lacking, that we are all in this together.
Our commonalities are far greater than the things that separate us.

Let’s be kind to our minds this week.

Let’s see what happens.

Sincerely,

Meg

Honest, washington whimsy

Sitting in the dark.

I’ve been hemming and hawing over grouping these words into sentences for an hour or so mainly in my brain but also over text to my friend Amanda.
During the holidays there are articles and videos and news segments about dealing with this or that or the other thing. There are lists of coping with depression or grief or being away from home or being alone or being single or divorced and literally everything in between.

I don’t like to add to white noise.

But the nagging in the back of my brain reminds me that there’s probably something I need to say for myself anyway.

I live a full life.

An always-busy-never-see-my-roommate-have-no-clean-clothes-survive-on-espresso-and-la-croix full kind of life.

I honestly couldn’t count on one hand the amount of completely free weeks I had in 2016.

Sometimes I overdue it and I’m learning to say no.

The holidays are like my normal schedule on crack. Presents to buy, presents to wrap, cookies to bake, parties to throw, parties to attend and also sleep and sanity.

I came home Friday night after having beers with coworkers and just sat in my dark house watching tv. Because, along with all the things that the holidays brings it also brings anxiety.

I think all of the lists and articles are good.

But I also think it’s ok to take a moment to sit in the dark. It’s ok to take a breath. It’s ok to miss a party so that you don’t have to “make it through” the holidays but so you can enjoy them.

For me, sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I have anxiety. Something being a single person during the holidays is hard.

Sometimes I need to sit in the dark.

So I did.

And it helped.

Because I live a full life.

I have people that love me and I love them back.

I have a job and a life and traditions that I am creating regardless of my marital status.

So my mantra for the holidays is this: choose to sit in the dark with some Christmas lights on. Choose to slowly drink your coffee or catch up with a friend while baking. Choose to cry if you need to and wipe your tears off so they don’t freeze on your cheeks. Choose to do what you need to do to enjoy the holidays not just survive them.
Choose to have this be the year that redefines how you live during the holidays.
Savouring, laughing, and maybe, just maybe, sitting in the dark sometimes.