Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings

Nice is different than good

I’ve realized that lately I’ve gotten really bothered when people give a situation more credit than it is meant to have.

I’m a words person (obviously) and I believe in the power of assigning meaning to something that doesn’t merit that meaning.

Like chaos. I used to have an assistant in my classroom years ago who would say every moment of every day was chaotic. I finally stopped them and reminded them they needed to change their meaning of chaos or a simple transition gone slightly awry was going to wreck them.

I also realize I have a high capacity for stress (which I understand is not always a beneficial thing) but it’s also helped me realize that frustrating does not equal hard or rough.

I think in the last few years I’ve worked at trying to describe things in such a way that I can understand them.

Giving a blanket statement to something and assigning it a word that has no descriptors isn’t helpful.

(As an example one of my PET PEEVES in working with children is the use of the word “nice”. It means nothing to a a child. Telling a three year old to “be nice” tells them nothing what you want their actions to do.)

When I started pondering these words this morning I had a Sondheim lyric in my head “Nice is different than good”.

A frustrating situation is different than a hard situation.

A stress-filled situation is different than a stressful situation.

Choosing to start to understand what in the situation is actually hindering us instead of just giving a blanket statement and walking away.

It’s work that feels hard.

(And work that feels hard is different than work that feels bad).

I’ve come to a realization that will not be brand new information to anyone that knows me well: but I’ve allowed my capacities for stress and hard work and chaos get so big they very rarely phase me.

And when they do it’s probably already too late.

So, right now, I’m trying to pull my bubble back.

I’m trying to redefine what all those words look like and I’m trying to reframe how I see them for myself.

It’s lot of work and it will involve boundary setting and it will be hard and also good.

(See what I did there?)

So if you needed a reminder that you are allowed to change sometime at almost 37 that you’ve operated in most of your life you are absolutely 100% allowed too.

Deep breathes to your toes 💛

With love,

Meg

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, 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.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, it takes a village, relationships

The grey purse is still in reach

Here’s the thing:
I should be writing my Christmas letter right now. I should be writing it and compiling all the addresses I have and preparing to literally ship out the cards the minute they come in the mail.

But, I’m not ready yet.

I feel as if most of my thoughts lately have not been suitable for audiences. As if the thoughts in my head are somewhat inappropriate and also a little mean, mostly to myself.

What I’m trying to say, in the words of my work wife, is that my brain has “no chill”.

My brain doesn’t realize it’s Christmas fully. It doesn’t know that I need to be wrapping up my thoughts on 2019 and attempting to piece together what feels like failure in order to close this chapter.

I normally love the end of the year. I love reminiscing on what happened and where I went and what I accomplished.

I am trying with every damn fiber of my being to not throw everything of this year into a dumpster and light in on fire because I feel like I failed myself.
Because, to be honest, this year brought so many good things, and people and food and trips and self-realization.

But, instead of focusing on those things (which will happen, but first I gotta get through this week) right now, I am focusing on this simple phrase that I wrote last week that has been coursing through my blood for most minutes of the day since.

I’m NOT over yet.

Just because we’re leaping into a new year and decade, just because I can no longer admit I’m in early thirties doesn’t mean I’m done or over or don’t have more beautiful life to live and relationships to have and adventures to go on and more songs to sing.

Folks, we’re not over yet.

I think I spent a lot of this year believing I was. I think I spent a lot of 2019 standing behind those who were winning at life and applauding them and cheering them on and lifting them up and celebrating each and every monumental occasion. I think that caused me to believe I had no more victories until I had certain victories happen.

And it makes me think of my perpetual list of things I want. Back in I think about 2009 or so I desperately wanted a grey purse. But I’m picky and knew that not just any purse was going to cut it. I spent months and months looking for a purse. I had a color of grey in my head and a shape and a type of strap and pockets.

And I had a really hard time buying anything for myself until I found that purse. And then one day, at a Kohl’s in Huntington Beach, I found a Vera Wang grey purse. It was like it had been created for me.

2019 has felt like I’ve been looking for a grey purse again. I have a specific purse in my brain, that’s really abstract to describe and I feel as if I don’t find it before the clock strikes midnight on December 31rst then I will have failed miserably.

But, that’s not how it works.

It’s not over yet.
I still have more stores to go to.
I haven’t failed.
I still have victories and celebration left- they might not look like I want them too- but they are still there.

So, if you’re feeling that right now. If the build-up of everything ended and beginning again is too much for you.
If you feel like you haven’t had a win in a while I just really need you to remember that you aren’t anywhere near over yet.
You aren’t alone.
You aren’t over.
You can still find your perfect grey purse.
2020 is a new decade and year but January 1rst doesn’t make dreams and desires and pain go away.
All we have to do is keep fucking going.
with love,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

I am not too much

A letter to those who feel as if they are too much,

I don’t know where I was, probably in a Van Zandt class in college where she reminded us that women are allowed to take up space. But I remember looking at how I was sitting.
You see, I’ve always been bigger. I’ve had moments where I thought I was big, that now I know I wasn’t.
I’ve always been afraid of physically taking up too much space.

That day though, in the moment, I remember looking at myself and looking at my body language. I was sitting against a wall as close I could be with all my stuff in my tight little area.
And I thought, why am I doing this? There was plenty of space in the classroom, I was at my own table.
I was allowed to take up space.

But, of course, in the back of my mind, I heard I small voice say, “Don’t take up too much space…”.
And the battle continued.

This isn’t about me though. This is for you. The one sitting here reading this. Either a human I know who clicked this link out of kindness or someone who followed the tag I posted.

You are allowed to take up space.

Taking up space looks literally different to everyone.

For instance, long ago I decided I was allowed to take a table by myself at a bar to write. I’m a good customer. I tip well, I order multiple things. I take an appropriate table. I’m kind.

I can take up this space.

You are allowed to take up space.

I’m not saying push yourself on people or sprawl out across a table meant for ten humans.
I’m saying you don’t have to walk around like you don’t matter.

Because, holy hell, you do.

I’m not saying to verbal vomit on a person who clearly doesn’t have the ability to hold your story.

I’m saying to remember that there are people who do.
Feeling you are too much is so hard. It’s a lot of apologizing for existing, it’s choosing to not share an opinion or even offer a suggestion on where to eat.

It’s feeling as if you aren’t allowed to move on to the next because what you leave in your wake would be too much.

Feeling like you are too much makes you feel as if you are not entitled to the space around you.
It’s feeling like every problem you have is something that you must solve alone because you are a broken record.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.

I’ve spent a lot of my life being told I’m not enough by people and factors around me. I’ve been physically told I’m too much, too sensitive, too depressed, that I’m doing it for attention.

I’ve gotten looks on airplanes from seatmates as I try to lean as far as possible away from the humans around me.
I’ve been told from across a store that something won’t fit me by an employee as I reached up to grab it.
I’ve lost friends over my emotions and been ghosted for my opinions when I choose to share them.

I want you to know you aren’t alone.
I want you to know I’ve been there.
I want you to know, you ARE NOT too much.

And you, human being reading this, whether I know you or not, YOU are allowed to take up space.
With love,
Meg

Honest

I think I’m about to yell.

I have a lot of things I’m not saying these days, which honestly is probably shocking to some. I have a lot of things I’m not ready to say or do, even though I should 100% be ready to say them and do them.

I’m realizing that I’m INCREDIBLY good at staying silent.

I’m amazing at suffering in silence and letting myself boil over and then getting more angry than I should.

I’m super talented at knowing what I need but not wanting to vocalizing it at all.

I know, I know why am I saying this?

I’m saying it because I’m realizing more and more that we all have a lot more in common than we give ourselves credit for.

Last week, I posted an Instagram of myself with tears in my eyes, with words saying that I felt a lot of things, but I kept moving.

I posted it because I didn’t want to just hide in my messy room. I wanted to reach out and say, I feel this and if you feel it, it’s okay.

And I was shocked at the response. My comments and messages weren’t filled with pity or sad face emojis at all.

They were filled simply with this:

“I get it.”

I don’t speak up as much as I should. Sometimes it feels as if my words don’t matter or they fall flat.

I don’t write for the accolades.

I write, I speak, I share, because I want other people to know that they are not alone.

And I, myself, want to know I’m not alone.

I want to know that amidst all the words I don’t say, or all the things I don’t yell out over all the noise, that I’m choosing not to vocalize that I’m not alone.

And that too, that moment is to tell you that you aren’t alone in your silence. You aren’t alone in your deciphering of what is or isn’t being said or done.

I think I’m about to get loud. I think I’m about to yell, whether or not someone is listening.

I think I’m going to speak my truth, even when my voice is shaking.

And, I’m terrified.

But, I’m grateful for it because I can almost be 100% positive that I’m not alone in that.

So that, that is why I write.

I just want you to know that you are’t alone. Even if the only other human that feels the things you feel is me.

I’m here.

Sitting in this coffee shop.

About to yell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village

How you stand

I write fluffy words a lot.

I write words that ask you, the reader, to step into the next. To be encouraged, to grab onto your own strength.

Sometimes all I want to do is yell and cry.

I had a moment on Friday, during nap time where I just wanted to walk out the doors. The why doesn’t really matter, but just know that I wanted to walk out. Instead I walked into the storage closet and shed a few tears and took a deep breath and walked back out.

Then later that night I had my second panic attack in the last month.

I don’t say this all to say my life is awful or for sympathy (because it’s not and I don’t need it)- I say it to tell you what I did next.

Saturday morning I went out to breakfast and read a book. I opened windows and cleaned my room, I drank a glass of wine and ate bean dip straight from the casserole dish on the floor of my friend’s house.

This morning I slept in and went to a coffee shop and did some prep for a bridal shower.

What I’m trying to say is I kept moving.

Sometimes I have shame that pops up from about ten years ago when I stopped moving. I didn’t go to work and I hid in a hole and my roommates pulled me out of the hole and gave me space all at the same time.

What I am trying to say is keep moving, in some way. Make some brownies or clean or read in a coffee shop or treat yourself to a delicious breakfast sandwich and a good book.

Walk outside, breathe, get vitamin D.

I spend 40+ hrs teaching tiny humans how to listen to their bodies. What it feels like to be mad, sad, happy or when you need to go to the bathroom. But how often do we as adults truly listen to our bodies unless our body is screaming at us?

Self care and soul care is so trendy these days. Not that it’s a bad thing. But what I want to remind you is that self care looks different for everyone. Self care to me is cleaning with my window open. It’s laughing with friends. It’s sitting across from someone at a coffee shop and not speaking.

I have made it a point to keep moving forward. To always show up. And when I don’t want to necessarily leave the house- to do something anyway.

It’s so important how you respond to the lows in your life.

I’ve learned over the last ten years what responses work for me and what responses don’t. What responses give me life and what responses cause me to drown a little more.

It’s an important value in my life to be as honest and open as possible in my writing. There are things I won’t talk about, not for lack of desire but in all honesty it’s just not everyone’s business.

But this, my response to my lows is something I want to share.

Knowing what to do when your body yells is just as important as what you do to not make it yell.

Responding when you fall down reminds you of ways to keep standing.

So to you, my friend reading this, know that it’s 100% ok to fall.

It happens.

But, start noting how you stand up. Note, how you stand up taller than when you fell.

You’ve got this.

Do the damn thing

Uncategorized

we’ve waited long enough

Today while doing some writing in church the phrase “we’ve waited long enough” came into my brain.

And I got so mad.

I got mad as the words poured out of my brain and as I let pen meet paper.

We’ve waited long enough.

Have you ever been waiting for something? A package or a pizza or a phone call and then you just get angry (or in the case of the pizza-hangry). That you start to tap your feet and clench you fists either from hunger or impatience or other emotion.

The anger isn’t always actual anger but a build up of waiting, a build up of being told one thing but it’s another.

A build up of the resolve with no actual resolution.

It’s funny because in one way or another we’re all waiting.

Waiting for a phone call or a pregnancy test to turn a color or man or woman to come out of the woodwork.

Waiting.

But, we are also waiting for the moment to be who we are.

We are waiting for all the things to fall into place that we can finally be the thing we are meant to be.

And that waiting can make you angry too.

It can make you clench your fists and rage against what might not be tangible.

You could be waiting for permission to be someone you know yourself to be.

Waiting to just try.

But nothing is happening because you are terrified of doing something that isn’t just waiting.

Nothing is happening because putting the thing out into the world we cherish is harder than holding it in our hands.

A few weeks ago I went to an all day conference for work.

And it was maybe one of the most soul crushing days of my life.

(No, I’m not being dramatic).

But, as I sit here I realize that I was getting angry because I was waiting.

That day, specifically, I (well, I could “We” this one-you know who you are) was waiting on hope.

The topic for 8 hours was on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and there was just absolutely no hope.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve gone to trainings on the topic and it won’t be the last. But, what was supposed to be a day that gave me a little bit of refreshment and a new tool or two for my classroom brought me nothing but despair.

It was a reminder that things have happened in my life, and my tiny humans lives and their parents lives that effect them. That change how we operate and learn and live.

But there was nothing at all that I tangibly took away. Nothing I could implement or help or bring change too.

I was waiting for hope and I got none.

I’m still trying to find ways to be my own hope in that moment instead of just feeling beaten down.

My waiting in that has gone from anger to exhaustion and the inability to find an answer.

But, in all of this, in the words I wrote today, I realized that sometimes waiting is good and sometimes it just keeps us from being who we need to be.

I don’t know what you are waiting to do.

Take a vacation.

Quit your job.

Propose.

Write a book.

I don’t know if you are waiting because you don’t feel enough or you don’t feel ready or you

are just stuck in the waiting because you are unsure of how to start.

It might not be my place but I want to tell you that you have permission.

You have permission to leave the waiting.

To use the anger and the energy and the clenched fist to make something happen.

To choose to believe that you have the ability to do the damn thing.

You’ve waited long enough.

Honest, preschool, tiny human teacher

The other b word.

Fun fact ahead: I have an almost masters. I finished most of the components of a Masters in Leadership with an emphasis in spirituality.

I started the masters at a time in my life where I was desperate for something new but didn’t know what I wanted in my life. I was on a higher dosage anti-depressants that had at first just wanted me to be all done with everything and even though I was slowly learning through therapy- I didn’t really know how to feel better.

I had been working since with kids full time for only about two and a half years (little did i know). But between family illness and mental illness and volunteering and working in more than one place, I was running out of steam incredibly fast.

And I am going to be honest-back then I very much hesitated to say I was tired or busy or depressed.

I just would shut down when I was in a place that I didn’t have to people. I would go numb.

I didn’t have space for my own emotions or to say no to people around me. And I didn’t know who the hell I was.

So being in a masters program that involved pastoral leadership was a great choice.

(That was sarcasm).

Now even though I didn’t finish, it wasn’t because I completely crashed and burned. I learned a lot, about my passions, what I was good at, that I had a voice, that I had things I disagreed with, people I disagreed with.

I recognize now what that season was in the midst of it all.

So, why do I bring this all up 10 years later?

Because, my friends, burnout is a bitch.

I am so apprehensive to be technically a “millennial” (I’m a different type of millennial because of when I was born in the 80s but like we won’t get into that) who is writing about being burned out.

I am apprehensive to be writing about being burned out as a person from a culture who is supposed to be “full in Christ”.

The reason I wanted to talk about being burned out wasn’t to get pity or 15 comments to take care of myself or that I “can’t pour from an empty cup” (sorry not sorry friends, I can and I do).

But it’s to tell you this:

Burnout will steal and take your joy. Even if you have a little joy in what you do or who you are, it will squelch it. Burnout will make you feel crazy. And you aren’t less than because of it.

This weekend I volunteered here and there at a conference at my church. When I got in my friend Patrick’s car when I got off work on Friday I was exhausted and numb. The absolute last thing I wanted to be doing was getting in a car with Patrick going to church to volunteer.

But I said I would so I did. (I’m a 2 on the enneagram just FYI)

A part of what I was doing on Friday was speaking out what wholeness is to me with some of my talented words friends.

When I wrote my simple sentence out about wholeness I showed it to my friend Romay. And then she responded with telling me she hoped no one ever tried to change me, that no institution tried to change me.

And I held it in. I held it in through actually saying the words on a microphone, I held it in until I got to Shawn and Victoria’s house and I looked at Victoria and she hugged me and I cried.

Not a lot, because no one as time for that. But a moment of tears and the realization that I am closer to the edge than I thought I was.

A moment of tears and a realization that it doesn’t make me weak or lazy or stupid to be burned out.

I had a moment of tears and realization that burnout is taking from me.

Burnout takes from you.

It takes pieces and you don’t know they’re gone until you search.

Being burned out causes you to question who you are and what you are doing and why you are doing it.

And if you are feeling burned out I want you to know YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.

You are not less than.

You can still be moving forward.

And there is still hope.

(I need you to know how hard that sentence was for me to write.)

That’s all I really wanted to get across.

Being burned out doesn’t always look the same.

It can still be showing up for your damn life because people need you and you need people.

It can be going until you collapse on Friday.

And if you just scrolled to the bottom of this because you didn’t want to read the whole thing:

Dear burnout,

You are not a badge of honor, even when the world and workplaces tell us you are.

You are not a badge of honor even when we choose to wear you like one.

You are not needed.

And you are taking pieces of us we didn’t give you.

You come because we expect more of ourselves than we have to give.

And yet we give it anyway because maybe someone or something needs what we have more than we do.

But, burnout, you will not win.

We will not let you.

We will take back what you have stolen.

We will regain pieces we have lost.

We will be whole.

We will keep moving forward.

We will find hope.

Peace.

Laughter.

Life.

Dear burnout,

You are a bitch and you will not win.

Sincerely,

Us

{if you are on the verge of burnout or are already there I’d love to hear your story. My Instagram and twitter handles are both @megmagnolia )