Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

my 2020 confession

I have a confession to make which should surprise no one who knows me at all.

I am a doormat.

And, before you stop what you are doing to text me (if you know me, don’t text me if you don’t- how do you have my number?) I want to say, I don’t say this in self-hatred or belittling. It’s just true.

I sit here grappling with a quote I’ve heard and read over and over again:

“You are what you tolerate” or “What you allow will continue”

(I’ve tried to find some original sources for those, so if you have them let me know- mostly I just find them as a Michael Scott quote where he quotes himself quoting Wayne Gretsky.)

I want to talk to you about what goes on inside my head when I am a being a doormat.

I believe that people who aren’t doormats, who don’t understand what it’s like to be a doormat, what it’s like to have the trains of thought running in your head of what you might want to say or do versus what you actually say or do. I want people to understand that this is sometimes an hourly battle in my brain.

I also want to note that I am a 2 on the enneagram- not an excuse but just a note to remember. Twos are the helper. They get fulfilled by being needed (obviously not always healthy). Twos build resentment easily when others don’t meet the needs that they don’t ever verbalize. They also on the flip side don’t want to be a burden or allow others to help them.

My brain is a tangled web guys.

For instance, last week, I was sitting on my couch texting my work wife/ love of my life Victoria. And at one point as she told me some hard things that I needed to hear, I said that I loved her for dealing with me.

(This was the wrong thing to day to Victoria and she immediately called me out on said statement).

So let’s say someone asks me if I will help them with something that will take all day on a Saturday. But, I am exhausted, tired, burnt out and also just don’t want too.

The following is my circle in my brain:

“Well, they helped me that one time..”

“Well, what if I’m the only one that can do it…”

“Well, they are probably more tired then I am..”

“Well, they are going to be mad if I don’t..”

“Well what if no one helps them..”

“What if I say no and they think less of me..”

I would like to say that’s the end of it. But it’s not. It just keeps going and going. And as it keeps going, my anxiety builds (as it is right now writing these words).

It keeps going and going until 8/10 I help with whatever the person needs. It keeps going in my head until I talk myself out of taking care of myself and I help the person and say yes.

And I know…you’re probably sitting there thinking…just say no! It’s not that hard!

I’m sorry to tell you this random person reading the blog, but it’s actually very, very damn hard for me.

I’ve gotten better at saying no in the last five years. I have a sufficiently small amount of FOMO (I’m really good at saying no to going to events or going out on the town.)

But, I am still, for all purposes probably more of a doormat than I should be.

And it’s starting to get to my heart.

(Also known as me, crying silently on my couch on a Thursday night, while watching Chopped).

And I am starting to realize that people do in fact treat me like a doormat because I let them. I have allowed people to know it’s ok to step on me and use me for my yes, even humans I would deem as friends.

That’s a really damn hard thing to grapple with.

I guess I wanted to write this for a few reasons.

One being, I wanted people to understand, people who love me and don’t know why I don’t stand up for myself more often how fucking hard it is to talk down the circles in my brain about how I’m a horrible person if I don’t do x, y, z.

It is in no way, shape or form easier to be a doormat.

I also wanted to write this because committing words to paper helps me truly think where I’ve come from and where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten to where I’m at.

And I’ve come farther friends than I give myself credit for.

And lastly, and honestly why I write most words and put them up for people to read- I want you to know that if this is you- you are not alone.

If you are a human that questions stating your needs because you feel like a burden: I’m here for you.

If you are human who on those odd moments that you do say no feel like you’re a horrible person: I’m here for you.

If you’re realizing the people stepping on you are doing it because they know they can: here’s a rag to clean off the dirt- I get it.

I believe in us.

I believe we have the ability to shake off guilt that we create, to be able to help out of a healthy place and to stand up for ourselves and not feel bad about it.

I also believe we have the ability to stand up for ourselves, not feel bad about it and not succumb to the guilt that others try to use on us because it’s always worked before.

If I’ve learned anything in this damn year it’s this: what used to work doesn’t anymore. What used to heal wounds just makes them worse and words that sounded like love have become band-aids over cuts that probably need stitches.

To my fellow doormats;

I see you. I get you. I’m here for you.

Even if you just need someone that you can say;

“Hey, I’m a doormat too- and I’m trying to change”

With love,

Meg, a doormat, who is trying to change.

back to the barre, I choose champagne, ramblings

a beginning

Every year around this time of year I start to look back on the past year of my life and start to take into account things that happened, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and maybe who I think I’ve become over a year of life.

I turned 34 in California around my Orange County family. I turned 34 with some weighty statements inside myself that I carried from the new year.
I turned 34 with margaritas and sparkles.

I’ve been trying to, amidst all that is going on in the world and in my head and outside my front door, spin up what I’ve learned this year.
And really I just don’t know.
Honestly.

I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve been trying to read over past words and letter board statements and everything in between.

Here are some things I know:

I know without questions I have people that love me.
I know, with maybe some question, that I am really good at what I do because I do my job out of exactly what I am.
I know, without question, that I still face disappointment and failure and heartache.
I know, without question, that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for.

I think the funny thing that happened during 34 is that I’ve learned even more who I am and what I am about and where I should place my time.
I think I’ve gotten harder on myself in 34. I think I’ve called myself a failure this year more than any other year. I think I’ve felt the weighty heaviness of comparison much more than I ever have.
I think that ironically as I learned who I was even more and felt so comfortable in who I am, during 34 I’ve dealt with not feeling enough and have second-guessed friendships and relationships and my place among all of it.

I don’t say all this to sound depressed and sad. Because I wasn’t. Those aren’t the right descriptors.
And, because I needed 34.

Glennon Doyle posted a tweet today that rang so deeply in me.
She said, ” I have not written a word during quarantine. Just a reminder to worried artists- there are times for creating and times for becoming the person who will create the next thing. For many of us, this is a becoming time. Rest and become. Love you.”

I think in some way- 34 has been a becoming time for me. Yes, I have created and I have more firmly planted my feet and I have used my voice even while it shook.
And man, I’ve cried.
I’m going to another letter to myself of all the things that happened this year, of all the events and the laughter and the rose’ vodka.
But first, I take a deep breath and remember that I am still going. I am still moving.
I am still becoming.
And so are you.
Dear 34,
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Meg

 

Honest, I choose champagne, ramblings, tiny human teacher

a simple update

Once every season I send out a newsletter to my preschool families. Just a few categories about what’s going on in our classroom. Learning, working on, loving, what’s up ahead and reminders (which 9/10 is to clean out their kiddos art folders.) It’s an easy way for me to communicate and make sure that I cover all the bases.

Some newsletters are a little longer, some are one sentence per category.
While I was cleaning the bathroom today, I started to think about the week and what was going to be new and what was going to be happening in my life.
So, in order to organize my life and thoughts here is a newsletter update on Meg in the season of whatever the hell this is.

What I am learning:
Woof. With my preschoolers, this is always easy. It’s always the easiest thing to write, and I have pictures and images in my head of what they are doing each day.
For me? It’s kind of a blur. Right now I think one of the big things I’m currently learning is a lesson to still believe in myself, a lesson to slow down while I am still going and I’m trying to learn that I am not less of myself.
I’m learning that my friends and I are rule followers.
I’m learning that old anxieties can come back even though they haven’t been around in years. I’m learning that I’m much more passionate about things then I thought I was.
I’m learning that I love the routine of cleaning and cooking (even the simplest of meals).
I’m learning that I really miss hugs.

What I am working on:
I’m working on getting 8 hours of sleep.
I’m working on brushing off the shame of not accomplishing things. And I’m working on being proud when I do. I’m working on making my room a place of peace.
I’m working on not feeling guilty for feeling like a horrible friend. I’m working on being more reflective.
I’m working on playing more with the tiny humans.
I’m working on being ok with tears.
And also, I’m just…working.

What I am loving:
Weekly Antler Baking deliveries.
Rest.
Talking to people I haven’t in awhile.
I’m loving my daily conversations with whomever is manning “I Wana Moka” when I get my afternoon red bull spritzer.
I’m loving people waving.
I’m loving my shower I take when I get home every night that gives me space to breathe.

What is up ahead:
I have no idea. And I think, at this moment, that’s ok.

Reminders:
You’re doing just fine. I think I’m desperate for you to know that. It’s so very rare that we come upon things in life that no one has any idea how you’re feeling. There are events and moments with similar experiences but now, we are literally living this step by step together. And even in that, we are all having such different experiences.
People that are working 40+ hours a week, people who have kids, people who live along. We are all walking forward in such different ways.
AND THAT’S OK.
We all have ups and downs.

This morning I got teary-eyed at the thought of missing some friends I haven’t seen in a month. I’ve been grieving the ability to visit and meet babies who have been born.
Today would have been our closing show of the Music Man, but instead, I cleaned the bathroom.

We just have to keep fucking going.
However, that looks.
You’ve got this. You do.
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, I choose champagne, relationships, smash the cardboard

I did this for me.

I just deleted about 500 words.
500 words of a spiral into not being enough. To being an island. To feeling lonely even when surrounded by people. To wanting a person for myself. To being a burden for the people around me.

I had reasons and lists and slips of paper in a piggy bank of every situation and action of others and myself that proves that point.
Sometimes, I wish I could be more vulnerable and open. I wish I had the ability to truly share the depths of who I am.
To eek out that last 20%.
I don’t like to write when I don’t have anwsers. I don’t like to write depressing collection of words that lack hope and movement and color.
I don’t like to let on that I’m not as strong as I come off.
I don’t like to write things that cause my friends to think that they’ve done something wrong- they haven’t.
I don’t like to put that on anyone.
But, I do like you, whomever is reading this to know that you aren’t alone.
I want to remind even one person that your struggles and battles and moments of insecurity don’t make you weak.
And I do want you to know that you are capable of changing parts of your story.
I want you to know that you are capable of being vulnerable and someone out there is willing to listen.
I have this friend who I’ve ironically only met once in passing, but due to the weird lives we’ve both lived and the fact that we are both Garmon birds, we have become really good friends.
Her name is Amanda and she lives across the country and we are the same person.
I never feel bad about texting Amanda about having a lonely moment. She knows most if not all of those. We send each other novels back and forth and sometimes it’s just for the knowledge that someone else knows.
She’s a person who gets the 20% of my story that not a lot of people get.
That this screen usually doesn’t get.
Because (as my friend Patrick will tell you) I hold on to that 20% with a tight, tight fist.
So, that comes down to the point of all of these words.
I believe I’m deconstructing a brick wall right now. I’ve been given that image by multiple people and I’ve seen it for myself so I know it’s true.
Each brick is a story, a moment, a hurt, honestly even a victories that I’ve placed on this wall.
Now, it’s time to dismantle it.
And some of them have been like ripping off a bandaid and others have reopened a wound.
Today, on my way here I decided to take a certain brick off.
Eight years ago on February 9th (a Thursday), I was hit by a car. I can still see it, feel it and typing these sentences have taken me at least three minutes.
Today I decided that February 9th is no longer going to be the day I was hit by a car.
The brick though weighty and full of a lot of hurt and anger and emotional trauma no longer had a place in my wall.
Febraury 9th will now be a day I decided to take a different path and a day while sitting there bruised and beaten eaten cinnamon toast crunch out of a mixing bowl, it became a day that I decided to take a leap and start living.
Am I terrified to give that brick up?
Yes.
Am I scared what might come through the hole in the brick wall?
Yes.
Am I afraid because I believe the wall is the only way to protect myself?
Yes
But, am I choosing to believe that light is going to come through the hole in the brick wall?
Yes.
I don’t know what parts of your story you don’t tell. What parts you don’t see clearly and what parts still bring you pain. I don’t know what parts of your story you hold onto with a tight fist and what parts you’ve made a wall out of.
What I do know is that somewhere along the way we’ve done all of this to protect ourselves from something.
And honestly, at some point, we probably did need protection.
But, at some point, what I’ve come to realize is that the armor has to come off, the wall has to come down and we have to take a step out and know that we are safe, even though we might get hurt again.
I want you to know that I believe in your ability to do that. I’m choosing to believe in my own.
You got this.
Let’s all just keep fucking going and see what happens.

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, relationships

Will you save the baby?

It’s been a minute.

Well, at least it feels like it has. I feel like my life just went into overdrive and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing I can do to stop it. My brain feels too exhausted for words and my Sundays have been overtaken with sleep and the inability to make it out of my house.
Today, while at work, I made the decision that I was going to go home and not sit and move my body down to one of my current favorite writing spots and sip champagne and write.
And then it started raining and my phone wasn’t charged and I had leftover pad thai in the fridge.
But, I did it.
I put my rain boots back on and plugged in my headphones and put my computer in my bag and walked out the door.
So, now I’m sitting here with probably too much champagne for a Monday. The same amount of champagne honestly as there are thoughts and topic sentences and beginnings in my head. I have two pieces I need to work on and no words for them and…

Instead, I’m just rambling.

About three weeks ago on the first of January (sidenote: how the HELL was New Years Day ONLY three weeks ago? Why is January always five years long), I spent some time pondering what might my word of the year be. Now, words of the year aren’t a resolution. They aren’t a goal or an end or honestly even a theme.

To me, when a word comes into my brain that I deem my word of the year I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that its a word that needs to sink in. And usually, it isn’t easy.

A couple of years ago my word was rest. Last year, release. Both not easy for me. Both I fought against.
I’ve had other words. I’ve had themes. I’ve had verses.

But each year I’ve metaphorically labeled the beginning of the year with a word I’ve watched it morph and change and provide dissonance and not a lot of resolution.
(which is ok)
The dissonance though is why the word that popped into my brain and moved from my head all the way to my toes scares the hell out of me.

Because, if you know me, you know this isn’t a word I use.

My word for 2020: Worthy.
(insert vomit emoji here)

In the 20 days of 2020 I’ve already grappled with my worthiness more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been communicated that I’m not enough. That I’m too much. I’ve been communicated to that I’m the single friend. That my weight causes me to be less than. That what I do isn’t good enough or that I need to do more.

And I’ve kept that damn word on my letterboard above my bed.

We live in a world where, whether we like it or not, we strive to be worthy.
Worthy of a job. Of a relationship. Of a child. Of a role. Of a pay increase. Of a phone call. Of a hug.
Worthy of each other.
Worthy to occupy the space we are in.
It might not be the word you think of, but it’s all the same.

I remember about 10+ years ago when I was struggling with depression. When each day was a battle and I had stopped sleeping at night. When I dreaded any human interaction.
When my life didn’t feel WORTH living.
When I didn’t feel as if anything I could bring to the table was of value.
That was it. I didn’t feel like I could do anything right, or be right, or contribute to society so what was even the point of breathing?
But, I chose to survive and move and jump.
(and cry a lot of tears).

Something deep down inside, something that was just kindling then, reminded me I had something inside that made me want to breathe another breath.
Something inside reminded me that I was a badass- though at that point in my life I would have probably used the word worthy.

So, what do I think worthy is going to do for me this year?

I think that it’s going to remind me to choose myself even when no one else does.
I think it’s going to remind me to not feel guilty for choosing myself.
I think being worthy is going to remind me that I need to save my own damn life.

Worthy is going to remind me that I don’t need to fit into a box.
Hell, worthy reminds me I need to crush the boxes.

Now, this all sounds well and good.
I can shout this out. I can preach it. I can shake my fist to the sky.
BUT,
Worthy is going to test me.

It’s going to shake its fist back.
Worthy is inevitably going to cause me to cry.
Probably sob or have a panic attack.

Because the road to worthy isn’t easy.

The road to worthy is like the movie The Labyrinth. It’s speckled with twists and turns and things and people and creatures trying to move you off course. There’s the little wormy things trying to invite in you in for tea so you forget that you are trying to save your baby brother and in all reality save yourself.

And before you dismiss this whole blog as something with underlying Christian themes: I want you to remember worthy isn’t about who or what you believe in.

It can be influenced by, peppered with and colored by faith of any kind- but it isn’t the whole story.
And before you dismiss worthiness as selfish, need I remind you of all the time the heroine in Labyrinth wasted getting off track. Worth is staying on track. Because getting to the damn goblin king quicker saves the baby and saves yourself.

This season terrifies me a little. Just like David Bowie terrified in the Labyrinth.
I was freaked out and given the heebies jeebies by the weird 80s vibes of the Labyrinth- but I had to keep watching.
I’m a little weirded out by the creatures I might find along the way. The words, thoughts, and emotions that have and will distracted me and led me off my path because they did and still do feel right.
This next year freaks me out because, in all reality, this momentary lapse of crazy in referencing the Labyrinth has just cemented the fact that this year is about movement.
You can’t get through a maze if you don’t keep fucking going.

So, if you have made it through my ramble and my epic 80s movie references; I have some homework for you.
1. Make a list of why you are worthy. Or enough. Or a badass.
2. Send it to me. (If you aren’t friends with me in real life you can message me on Instagram @megmagnolia)
2a. If you are friends with me in real life and you don’t know why you are worthy or enough or a badass text me and ask.
3. Watch the Labyrinth. Seriously. It’s so weird and great.

And please, please, please always remember that it’s your choice if you save the baby from the Goblin King or if you get lost along the way.
And remember that even if you get lost for a moment, you can still find your way again.

Just keep fucking going.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, relationships, Uncategorized

This is not the end.

All I want in the world right now is to walk away from my computer. I want to chug down the rest of this coffee and pack up and walk out of the coffee shop.
Because if I had decided to sit here and go through all the beautiful things that happened this year, it would be different. When I sit, even for a moment, I am inundated with goodness.

Amidst all the stress, confusion and anxiety there was so much beauty. I was welcomed into a wacky theater family, I officiated two weddings- one being the wedding of two humans I treasure more than I can imagine. I went to camp again and celebrated my 34th birthday in California. I moved into a new house, I saw my friends in way too many shows, I went to Leavenworth twice and found small semblances of peace there. I got to go to my cousin’s wedding in Kansas and see some Reeve family. I got many, many chances to celebrate people I adore.

There were so many twinkly lights of joy in this year.

10 years ago in 2009 I walked into what was then my hardest, most dismal season of depression. I lost friends, lost bits of myself that I don’t think have ever returned and walked very differently into the decade than I thought I would.

I walked into this decade having seen things and felt things I didn’t realize I was capable of feeling.

And likewise- I’m walking into this next decade in the same way. A little more weathered, beaten and with more open eyes than I had before.

I’ve lived in Bellingham for a majority of the 2010s since I spent a year and half (basically) overseas, I’ve taught in a classroom 8ish/10 of the decade. I’ve gotten 9/10 tattoos in this decade. I’ve set foot in 14 countries.

I’ve come to terms with certain aspects of my life that I’m choosing to be ok with it or else I’d go crazy.

2019 reminded me that without a shadow of the doubt ( and please don’t reprimand me for the following sentence): I’m the single friend. The one you can count on to be there. The strong independent woman who can just do the damn thing. (PS Amanda- more on this later).

2019 reminded me that I will show up. Even when it is the hardest thing for me to do- I’ll do it.

2019 reminded me that sometimes people aren’t going to choose me- and that’s ok.

It reminded me that I still, even when I don’t want to, hear the voice of God.

2019 reminded me that I don’t always have to agree with you.

2019 reminded me that it’s ok that I changed.

2019 reminded me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am 100% capable of the ability to keep fucking going and that , that ability isn’t a weakness but it is strength.

I’m looking forward now. Looking forward with the ability to move forward.

I had this picture fill my brain in church today. You know the scene in the “The Prince of Egypt” when Moses parts the Red Sea and they all start walking through it. And as they move deeper down they start to see all of the creatures in the water through this beautiful wall of water?
I was walking through the ocean, looking at the creatures, with this slight foreboding that the walls were going to crash down.
I think because I’ve lived this whole decade out of that fear, that any second the walls would come crashing down and I would drown in the thing that I saw as so beautiful.
But, today watching that picture play out in my head and seeing the water behind me urging me on, all I felt was peace. Like it was ok to move forward and soak in the beauty and the calm of the ocean around me.
And I’m going to be incredibly real with you: I don’t know if I trust it still.
Sitting here writing those words, feeling the hope that comes off of them, I am unsure if I can grab them.
But, I’m going to try.

Dear 2019,
I think if I could thank you for anything it’s that you tucked me in tightly with my people, you brought me moments and smiles and the ability to celebrate them and I thank you for that. I thank you for all the lessons and the tears, and the moments where I had to pause myself long enough so I could breath normally again.
I thank you for the good and not so good choices for my body and the laughter and stories each of those brought.
I thank you for my anger because it reminded me I could still feel it.
And I thank you, lastly for being an end of a season I didn’t even know I was in.
With love,
Meg

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, relationships

But I am grateful for THAT

I am not one to talk about what I am grateful for in the broader sense. I will text friends and write cards and buy coffees and double vodka tonics and constantly try to remind and tell those in my circle that I love them, I am so happy they are in my life, that they’re champions, that I’m proud of them, that I believe in them etc.

But, as I was getting to ready to come and sit and drink a coffee in this bright lovely space today I was thinking about what I really truly am grateful for.

You see, it’s easy for me to be grateful for people and memories and moments and inanimate objects (sparkly water and ice coffee I’m looking at you).

There is something that it is actually incredibly difficult for me to be grateful for:

Myself.

The past month I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up internally. I’ve spent a lot of time negating who I am and what I’ve done and what I believe. I have spent a lot of headspace telling myself I’m not worth a change, or something new, not enough.

I stood on the porch of my house for about 3 minutes debating and wondering if I should actually come write and put words down.
But, I locked the door and I started moving.

Because, when it comes down to it, I am grateful for myself.

I am grateful for the ability to love fiercely, even to the point of exhaustion because I never question my passion for something or someone.
I am grateful for my inability to be confrontational because it means I am constantly learning how to be better at that very thing.
I am grateful for the fact that I am good at my job. Grateful for the knowledge I have and my ability to be able to relate to parents and kids. I am grateful for my desire to ask questions and my ability to ask for help at work.
I am grateful for my ability to be stubborn. I am grateful for the times wherein it hinders me and helps me. I am grateful for it because it always reminds me that I can do hard things.

I am grateful for my relationship with God even in the moments where I didn’t want it. And my ability to be ok with doubt.
I am grateful for my ability to be friends with so many different types of humans.
I am grateful for my singleness because it has taught me constantly that I am my own person. I am grateful for the ache of my singleness because it reminds me that I desire something I might never have, but inspires me to be stronger than I think I can be.
I am grateful for the fact that I’m a basic white girl. That I love avocado toast and cold brew and not disgusting pumpkin spice lattes.
I am grateful for my extra weight and the curves on my body. I am grateful for how it has taught me to dress for who I am and own what I love.

I am grateful that I know what it feels like when I’m about to have a panic attack. I am grateful that my body and I have come to such a place where I know when it’s about to stop working.

I am grateful for the friendships that have come into my life and my ability to realize I need them.
I am grateful for the friendships I’ve lost. Because even though it sometimes still hurts- I will always remember the ways I grew because of them.
I am grateful for my inabilities because they have in more ways than one led me to where I am.

I am grateful for myself.

Now, this list isn’t all of the things I am grateful for inside of myself.

And you’re probably thinking “Meg, some of these aren’t awesome” and you’re right.

Some of these things that I have listed aren’t probably things to be grateful for. Like, maybe I should lose weight, or get more mentally healthy, maybe I should stop being stubborn or be a better friend.

Maybe.

But here’s a real talk moment: This is who I am today and who I will probably be tomorrow.

But each day I chip away at something and change the story.
Like confrontation: still not great at it, but better than I was 5 years ago.

My anxiety? I still have it but each day I learn the signs more and more and learn what I can do to breathe it out.

The more time we spend hating parts of ourselves; the more likely we will just hate all of ourselves.

I have spent a lot of my life thinking I didn’t need to matter- and if I’m being completely and utterly transparent I still have moments where I feel that. The desire to be invisible and just move the pieces for other people. The desire to blend into the scenery and cheer on from the audience.

I still just sometimes want to sink into the actions and deeds I do for others. Because it’s easier than being known and seen. I would still rather feel your feelings than give up my own.

I would still rather hold your purse of problems than let you sift through my own,
BUT
I’m getting better.
I’d still rather spend my time in the background and I would still rather hold my cards close at hand.
But I’m grateful for the growth I’ve made and the stories I’ve shared and the beliefs I’ve changed about myself and the space I inhabit.

I might not say what I’m grateful for or thankful for again this month- I’ll probably still show it in the purchase of coffee or vodka, handwritten notes, and hugs.

But for myself, here it is a reminder that my life is built on stories and pieces of myself that won’t go away just because I dislike them- but will be nurtured if I choose to see what they’ve done for me.

So as a final question: How are you grateful for the parts of yourself that for which you’ve spent a lifetime being not grateful?