Honest

it’s not about the breakthrough

I’m starting therapy again this week.

Well, actually I am going to therapy consult, but I’ve filled out the longest intake form of my life and made an appointment and it’s on my calendar.

And I keep forgetting and then I remember and my whole body tenses and I get anxious and I already feel one hundred percent exposed even though I’m not even in the therapist office yet.

I went to therapy from the beginning of 2009 to when I moved away from Orange County before the world race. I went to therapy when I was at my most exhausted, most depressed and with the least ability to take care of myself. I was on antidepressants and had moments of suicidal thoughts and didn’t want to sleep because I didn’t want to wake up and have to do it again.

I would walk into my therapist small windowless office and sit on the corner of the couch and put a pillow in my lap and be anxious for the first 15 minutes out of our 50 minute session.

That was the same for every single session that I saw him. Sitting in the small windowless room I was safe, but the prospect of combing through the areas of my life that were dark and hard and sad stressed me out.

I’m starting therapy again this week but I am so different from the first time I went to therapy 10 years ago. I’ve discovered so much more about myself and how I work and what I need and I’ve gone places and had hard conversation and sat in rooms filled with anxiety but still manage to function through it.

Therapy did wonders for me ten years ago. It allowed me to open my eyes to myself and see what I needed to do and allowed me to learn how to SIT in my anxiety and feel it.

But, I’m not looking for breakthrough.

I had this realization today that my actual breakthrough is for everyone around me to physically see it on my face and in my decisions but the breakthrough isn’t as important to me. What is important is the novel of experiences and stories and decisions that gets me to the point of outward breakthrough. What is important to me is the heartache and the fear and the ability to knock down walls inside and unpack boxes and throw them in the cardboard crusher.

I decided today that I’m not going to place my hope in the fact that I can get to the next, and that something is coming.

I am going to place my hope in my ability to figure it out.

I’m going to place my hope in my ability to sit with anxiety and fear until it all untangles.
I know it’s all in verbiage. I know that you may hope for breakthrough and to you that means every little thing along the way.

But, I say all this so you remember that when someone HAS a “breakthrough” and it feels like its out of left field, or they make a decision or are suddenly in a relationship that there is more than just the breakthrough.

There’s the anxiety and the fear and all the other damn things that lead to the fireworks.

So, maybe stop praying for breakthrough.
Stop speaking breakthrough into others lives.
Start speaking the untangle.
Start speaking the very next step instead of the horizon.
Offer a shoulder so someone can climb over their walls.
Give a cozy chair to sit in discomfort.

And (pardon the following expletive)
Remind them to keep fucking going.

Because whatever word you wanted to use for it: you can’t have breakthrough or untangling if you don’t keep moving down a path.

I am a person who struggles with anxiety and depression. My brain doesn’t always treat me nicely. I don’t always treat myself nicely.
And while I do pause to look at the horizon, into the hopes and loveliness of the what’s next. I’m still going to dream and find beauty.

I am going to start facing down more walls and giants and unpacking more boxes than I was before.
So, when I hit that place, when I hit the next, when I make decisions that feel rushed and out of the blue I want you to remember that breakthrough is the end of one story and the beginning of another.

Breakthrough is one moment on the timeline-not THE timeline.
Breakthrough is not the answer.
The answer is in the untangle, and the mess.

Breakthrough is in the keeping fucking going.

Honest, hope is a verb

Five years of wind and writing on Sundays

I just reread the first piece I posted on this website five years ago.

I can’t help but chuckle at the person who wrote those words. Now not in a bad way, because everything leads us to where we are.

But, even though that girl had more hope, that girl had dreams that hadn’t been left on mountains to be forgotten about, that girl still felt like she had so much more to give, I chuckle because I am so far from her.

And that’s not a bad thing.

And I want to tell you where I am right now to remind you of something very important: it’s ok.

Because the truth is, I feel a little dead inside right now. It’s almost as if I needed New Year’s Eve to actually be two weeks of me being able to take deep cleansing breaths and wash away all the things that piled on from the last few years.

That isn’t life though. That’s not how the world works. So the year went from 18 to 19 and I was just there with a champagne glass and wondering how I was going to brush myself off and keep going.

I got a picture today while I was walking. It was of a parched desert with hard packed dirt. Then the rains came. They came and they came and the water sat on top of the dirt and couldn’t sink in. It found nooks and crannies and valleys but the water had no way of infiltrating the surface. It had no where to go but to flood the life that was already growing.

Hard packed dirt that gets flooded quickly can handle the amount of water that comes. It doesn’t have enough time to saturate or sink in or make mud.

Now, I have some of the most amazing friends who give me love and support and joy and encouragement. I have parents who support me even from two states away.

But, I realized today I’ve been a hard packed desert for awhile.

So all the people in my life who have yet to give up on me I want to say for that I am sorry. I am sorry for an inability to receive goodness and joy and hope. I am sorry to you my friends and to myself.

But the dirt and the soil is hard packed and susceptible to flooding and to killing what is good.

And that’s a little bit how I feel these days.

It’s funny because I think of that girl from 5 years ago and the joy and hope that were running off of her.

And she had seen things and had heartache and hurt. She had felt lost and lost who God was, she had been there and back again.

But then, she got older.

And she questioned more and found new words and lost hope and refound it.

And now, she’s here. She’s me.

She’s a little dead inside, she’s forgotten how to laugh a little, how to smile.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because it’s a part of moving and growing and living.

It’s not shameful or wrong.

It doesn’t mean I can’t love or give out life or hold space for someone or laugh or smile.

It doesn’t mean I’m not me.

And it doesn’t mean I need rescuing or that I am sending up signal flares.

My word for this year is release.

And among some other things I am choosing to release out of myself words so that you know you aren’t alone.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am in hopes that you will release that it’s ok to not be ok.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am so that you know that you can be not ok and still keep living and showing up in spite of it.

You can still be you.

I am that girl from 5 years ago. Parts of her built who I am today.

I haven’t failed her, I haven’t let go of her.

I’ve just learned a little more. I’ve gotten some rough edges.

I’m a little dead inside.

And that’s ok.

Honest, ramblings

Practicing my practice

It’s an interesting place to be in when you sit still for the first time in awhile.

Not on my bed, or in front of Netflix or paperwork or a project. But just sitting, still, with nothing in front of you but space.

I have a new tradition in my life that may sound sad, but really, it’s not.

The new tradition is this: every Friday I have to change into my bathing suit to go swimming with my tiny humans. It’s normal at about 9:30 and I take my coffee into my storage closet and close the door.

But, I don’t turn on the light. I stand, in pitch blackness for at least two minutes. Breathing in and out and drinking my coffee. I did this for the first time on accident. I shut the door without turning the light on and was quickly enveloped in darkness and an intense sigh escaped my body.

The absence of light brought me completely relief.

That sentence sounds like a conundrum really. But in my overly sensory laden environment I’m in every day, being in a pitch black room is heaven.

I’ve been sitting here, at redlight, for over an hour. I’ve started numerous different blogs, I’ve started text conversations, I’ve only had one mimosas and I’ve stared a blank screen.

But now, I came back to this one, these first words I wrote.

Here’s what it is: I’m struggling with depression right now. Depression, coupled with anxiety, with some winter blues to mix it all up.

I don’t like to talk about depression and anxiety because people have opinions.

(Including myself)

There are so many schools of thought on depression and anxiety. So many books and methodologies and experts.

Now, as a human who lived with two people who were in grad programs for clinical psychology (shoutout to A3), I know that there is hope and help and all the things dealing with depression.

But, that doesn’t make me any less prone to talk about it.

There a few types of seasons that come up in my life that cause me to want to shut my mouth.

Because I’ve been through it before, because people have helped me before, because shouldn’t I be able to solve my own problems.

We live in a society that tells us to figure out our own issues.

Fake it til you make it.

There is a time and a place for faking it til you make it.

Because, yes, we just have to get through the day. I have tiny humans who need me to show up for them each day. Routines and a schedule and transitions that have to happen every day.

But, what are you going to do when you stop?

I binged watched a show on Friday. I haven’t done that for awhile. I watched the entirety of the first season of the reboot of Queer Eye. (No but really watch it)

And I cried.

It was the loveliest reminder of what it looks like to care for ourselves. To do things that bring us life. To take time to fill ourselves up. To take time to live.

I am a human, who has for the past 10-12 years, struggled with depression and anxiety.

I’m not defined by it.

It’s not who I am.

It’s just something that rears it’s head in some seasons more than others.

The things that pop up here and there don’t define us. They don’t hold us.

We are still us.

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

Figuring out the silence

I don’t think I talk about my faith a lot. I think I try to live it, I try to let what I do speak for who I am. I try to be kind, try to treat people how I would want to be treated. I try, to the best of my ability to make good life choices that reflect who I am, not who others are.
And today, in church, everything felt electrifyingly silent.

This silence isn’t new to me.

A couple years ago I wrote a piece for a now inactive online journal about my faith becoming broken and sitting in silence.

“It was a weird silence. 

Like Jesus, playing the part of the creeper in a horror movie, when just after the power goes out, calls your house so you can hear him breathe and then when the police track the phone call you find that the call is coming from inside the house.

Jesus was apparently in the house still.”

Normally, I write in an effort to untangle something. I write to figure out how to get to homebase. 

Right now I am writing to remind myself that I do have Christ inside me.

I think that, for a while now, I’ve forgotten that.

I know the words to say, I have full confidence in my ability to access my faith and my spirit.

But, I’ve lost something.

Recently, I had a situation occur in my life that knocked a lot of faith and grace out of me. I’m realizing how much it effected me as an individual, as a Christian, as a human who tries to extend grace and love to those around me on a daily basis. I’m realizing now, how much it broke off a part of me and caused me, subconsciously, to want to step away from those parts of my life.

It has caused me to question the foundational things of my life. Those things that cause me to love and be kind are still in me, but activating them and using them has taken more effort.

I didn’t realize that it was causing me to question my faith and feel tangible silence, because I was stepped on in a way that I don’t believe I have ever been stepped on.

Back in 2014 while I was in Spain, I had an instance where Kellen, someone who was an adamant speaker of truth and life and hard realities in my life, told me during a stressful, somewhat overwhelming portion of my six months that “I was the leader and I needed to love them through their shit”.

I think that’s what I’ve done since then in different aspects of my life.

And about a month ago I text him to yell at him because I felt like I’d been kicked in the face because of it.

When I started writing today, this isn’t where I was meaning to meander. I just wanted to figure out what was blocking me, what was causing the world to feel shockingly silent.

And over the course of these 500 words or so, I’ve realized that I’m feeling more broken and hurt than I gave myself grace for.

I’ve realized that a new wall was formed and my actions and the way I love people, albeit probably not as much as I feel, has changed.

My whole heart isn’t in it.

But, in that regard, it pushes me on, to know that I am capable of big love.

My need to protect, to be wary, shows that it is still there.

You don’t protect something a castle if there isn’t anything inside.

And the silence I’ve felt isn’t bad.

It’s space-giving.

I guess, what I want to say, at the end of this is that even when it seems like something natural for me, loving people and being kind and giving grace is a choice for me.

Actively. Every day. 

Part of it is tied to my faith in Christ, part of it is just inside.

But it’s still a choice.

And that’s ok.

I believe I will get those pieces of me back. 

I believe that I will continue to choose love and grace and kindness even if I need a moment to make those decisions.

It’s who I am.

Please, give yourself space to feel. Space to figure things out. 

Space to be.

Deep breath to the toes friends.

Honest, Spain g42

Processing: a four letter word.

This week I asked this question on my Facebook:

photo 2-2

I asked it because I am sick and tired of the word “process”

So I thought I needed to replace the word. Because I need to process things and without a word how do I define and describe it?

But do I need to process things?

Or do I THINK I need to because that has been forced into my mind for so long?

As I’m not at scared to mention I am a woman who lived a season of 4 years in therapy. So for about an hour a week or every other week I sat in a room and talked about myself and my stuff.

Then I went on this trip called the world race where “processing” is on a list of buzzwords that every racer needs to know.

 And then it became an excuse.

“I really need to process that so I’m going stay back today”

“I don’t know how I feel- I haven’t processed it”

 People stopped living their lives and they lived in “process”. 

When I was first in counseling we spent time talking about my childhood- my past- but only if it collided with the present.

He’d always reference a picture. It was a picture of a blimp(or a hot air balloon…let’s go with blimp) that had all of these ropes hanging off of it. Sometimes in life you have to pull a rope off and look at it. Sometimes you need to cut it without even looking. Most of the time? Just let them trail behind you.

It’s ok to let things drag.

The blimp keeps moving forward.

It never stops.

When I asked the question on Facebook I got these 14 or so responses. Here a handful:

photo 1-2

A good grouping of words and phrases and ideas.

Three of the responses I got are from people who I would deem teachers (or people who smack me in the face with wisdom).

In each their own ways and languages they said the same thing:

Be and Live.

Just like my counselor would say so many times: pull up what needs to get pulled up but keep moving

Have words along the way but keep living.

And that reminded me why I hate the word process so much.

Because I have seen too many people halt their lives.

I halted my life for a while.

I was in a place of hell.

All I could do was think.

Think about the bad things in life, my failures, where I’d gone wrong, what I’d done wrong.

I was in my head all the time.

 And I tried to get out. I tried to climb out of this hole.

But I’d forgotten how to live.

When you live in process for so long; when you dig yourself in a hole away from the light you forget how to tend to your spirit in a healthy, lovely way.

Because sitting with your journal and pen or a canvas and a paintbrush for an hour each day is good for your soul.

But then you close the notebook, drape the canvas and you move.

 We need that time. It’s healthy, beautiful and bears fruit.

So here’s my challenge:

Let’s stop processing.

Let’s strike the word from our vocabulary.

Let’s start being.

Let’s make a habit to prune and tend to our lives  just like a vineyard owner would do to his vines daily.

He doesn’t spend ever minute of every day cutting tiny pieces away. He has a concentrated amount of time that he tends to & prunes his vineyard.

And then he lives.

So my friends?

Let’s live.

 

Honest, Spain g42

and this is why I bake

Growing up with a mom who was in the business of helping others I picked up a smattering of advice.

  • you have to suffer for beauty
  • if you don’t wear clean underwear something bad will happen
  • always make your makeup look natural
  • never return a dish without something in it even if it is just some store-bought cookies.

The one lesson though that I heard my mom preaching day after day was when you were stuck in yourself, stuck in your addiction, stuck in whatever you are in: you need to do something for someone else. Bake something, clean something, DO something outside of yourself.

And that is something I have grabbed onto and ran with.

When I am too inside of myself, when I can’t figure why I am down or depressed or when there is LITERALLY nothing I can do to make myself feel better; I do.

I bake, I clean, I buy someone a present, write someone a card. Keep my hands busy. Not allow myself to go into a black hole of murky unknown without a way out.

And that has lead to many different trails of life.

It’s led me to loving better because I’ve learned to try to make peoples days a little happier. I’ve learned that I treasure loving others and helping them.

But it’s also led me to spiraling into a depression and anxiety and collapsing on the floor because I’ve chosen not to think but just to do.

It’s why I detest the phrase “fake it til you make it” because while it does hold value to sometimes it also leads us to walking away from feelings and emotions that are good to have and get through.

I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights in a row; waking up with my heart pounding and my chest heaving with anxiety. I’ve been unable to get into a restful regular sleep and I know it’s because things are being pulled up and I’m longing to run to places I’m comfortable that in all reality don’t exist here.

I’m having to force myself to sit in anxiety and I’m striving to find words to fit the feelings and emotions of sentences that lack explanation.

But I’m also baking. Cleaning. Doing. Creating. Walking.

Because as my mind spins around and around with no place to land my hands will continue to move. And I will continually learn to write and speak and be. I was told this week by our rocker, renaissance man of an instructor Herman Haan to continuing writing because people need my story. They need to hear what I have to say.

So I will continuing saying them and writing them and figuring them out.

But I will continue baking and doing.

So this is why I bake. This is why I show up places with muffins and cookies. Partly because I enjoy it, I love baking, writing, cooking, serving but also I do out of place of healing.

So maybe I need to do less and talk more, I’ll strive for a balance but I want to encourage you; if you are stuck in a circle, if you don’t what to do or where to go, make something, bake something, help someone and you will have a moment of clarity in the midst of the chaos. You will create something and not destroy a piece of yourself.

You will stand.