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, notes on grief

The shame of falling apart

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

My room has been in disarray since August.

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

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

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

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

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

Then my mom died and the chaos stayed.

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

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

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

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

Woof.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a lot.

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

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

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

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

I’m proud that I let myself cry,

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

back to the barre, Honest

On being an island

I just did a thing where I actually didn’t delete the 400 words I had written to write something new but I opened a new document.

The words I was saying weren’t bad- they just weren’t it.

The 400 words I had typed out were moreso dancing around something that I was trying not to say because even just the thought of saying the thing that’s in my head is currently making me cringe.

Today, I feel rested.

I had a beautiful weekend, that started just sitting and chatting with my best friend at her desk because I wouldn’t see her all weekend and those moments began a weekend where my soul and heart and all the insides of me got rested all the way down to the toes in ways I haven’t been in a while.

(that’s not the thing that makes me feel cringy)

And after I sat and wrote the prior 400 words that were filled with a lot of me stating that I sometimes just want to be an island, I realized that while there was truth in that, it wasn’t thing that I needed to say.

After I wrote the prior 400 words and I realized that they weren’t it; I realized what actually was.

This weekend I found rest, peace, hope, family and light.

And today I realized that all of that reminded that I am a leader in the ability to give those things to others. I am meant to do that in a bigger way than I am now.

And honestly, that terrifies me.

I know that sounds ridiculous. That I should know that. (As my roommate Benjamin would have said to be in a text if I text him that: ThAt Is BrAnD nEw InFoRmAtIoN)

That I’ve done it before.

But this feels bigger. This feels more wobbly and new.

I am the person who is going to nag you into believing in the fact that you have something to say. That someone needs to hear the things you have to say. That regardless of what you believe or who you believe in that you have hope and light and a story that the world needs.

That you are on this earth to connect to even just one other person who needs your story.

That, even if we desperately want to be and even it feels less painful, we are not meant to be islands.

I am not meant to be an island (honestly I hate that sentence).

And honestly, there is still a lot of myself that is the most epic cheerleader because being in the background just works for me.

But I know in my knower that it’s not where I’m supposed to live.

Have you ever had those moments where you come to a moment in time and you know that one day down the road, it’s going to be a defining moment?

Well, this Monday afternoon on my couch just turned into one of those for me.

This weekend I realized that God has been repeatedly telling me not to worry. He’s been reminding me that I have what I need.

He’s been reminding me that I need to look in a mirror when I remind people that they are more than they think they are.

I know there is more to me. I can feel it, beneath the surface. I know that I’ve spurred on a belief in myself by setting boundaries, by choosing my personhood and mental and emotional health over those who would say I didn’t do enough to earn their love. I know there is more because I’ve spent a lot of time making space for it.

I don’t know what is next but damn. Something is.

That’s it.
Well, that’s not it, but it is something.
Here’s to the reminder that we can always find pieces of ourselves when we’ve believed for a long time they are just pieces to give out- not to keep.

(But I will always, ALWAYS, remind you that you are more than you think you are.)

With love,
Meg

notes on grief

Beginning notes on grief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honest, 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.

royal family kids camp

To my Royal family: 1+1+1=1

To my Royal family,

I started writing this on Friday in the gazebo around 7am which turned out to be a horrible idea as I swatted away multiple mosquitoes (I rounded out at 19 bug bites).

Before I get into it I want you reading this to take a deep breath with me and say the following statement (which you can obviously edit if you don’t like my word choice):

“We did the damn thing”

I don’t know about you but this was my most exhausting year at camp. It’s Sunday and I barely did anything yesterday and I might feel rested now. Maybe.

Since Friday morning I’ve been contemplating what I learned this year from the kids and from you guys. I’ve been trying to think about what my first thoughts of take away are from this year.

Every year there is a small piece of me that thinks I might hit a point where the magic wears off. Where my love for this kids and this camp won’t be enough to push through. I came into this year of camp probably at the lowest I ever have. I’m pretty burned out, fresh out of ideas for things happening in my own classroom and just plain tired.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the week but the moment I got out of the car at Pinecrest I felt new again.

And then the week began.

And as I am every year- I am amazed by the way all of you love and serve the kids.

Obviously we aren’t all perfect and there are things that happen that I don’t agree with and that frustrates me, but it’s those moments that you all think no one sees. It’s when you bend down to listen to a tinier camper or when you give an older, tougher boy a chance to be a kid.

It’s when you get into the pool with the kids and see the look on their faces that you would get in the water. Or when you get up on stage to dance and it lights up their faces.

The thing about a week at camp is that the effects last a lifetime. Five days can change the course of everything.

Even just one of those five days.

I think we know that, somewhere deep inside, but I think sometimes we forget that each year of camp changes us and leaves a mark on us.

This year camp changed me more than others. And even as I sit here on Sunday morning I’m overwhelmed with just how much I love those kids. Even more than I thought possible.

I’m not quite sure how it changed me yet if I’m being honest, but this year left a mark on me (and not just the bug bites and the two bruises I got in the pool). I’m not ready to go back to life yet, I’m not ready to leave and I’m not sure how to take what I have now into my life.

But, in that, I want to remind you to take a moment or two or three, today and next week and the week after and jot some things down about camp. What you learned, what you didn’t want to learn and what you are holding on to. I want you to shake off things you don’t need and place things at His feet that you don’t need to carry.

I want you to remember that you are amazing. Whether you are a teen staff, a counselor, a staff member stationed at activities or a staff that was constantly moving locations, a grandma or grandpa, aunt, uncle or a dean. If you are someone who can’t come to camp but in hours with quilting or fundraising or the birthday party. If you were my team coach or work with the LIT. If you were one of our amazing staff counselors or last but certainly not least- if you are Becca or Susan:

You are amazing and out of this world.

Every year I am blessed, excited and beyond words with getting to work with, laugh with, and say all the words or no words with.

We did the damn thing for the kids.

We learned what worked. (The pool system)

We learned what didn’t go well ( #ripvarietyshow2k19)

And we on top of all of the that: we loved, we WERE love and I think we received more love than we can comprehend.

Every year I’m in awe of the kids and every year I’m in awe of you guys.

Another year in the books.

So let’s take a breath, write some reminders for next year and take what we learned into Monday and see how we can bring a little bit of camp to ourselves each day.

I love you all.

Until next year,

Meg

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

Honest, ramblings

It’s time for gold shorts

I have a Bellingham tradition.

It’s a moment every winter. I stare at my pants and socks and boots and layers and I just say screw it.

It happened yesterday.

I was getting ready to leave for a few hours and I was staring at my pants and boots and socks and legging and layers and I saw them. Tucked into my closet, long since worn.

What was it you ask?

Why my gold shorts.

Because even though it was 42 degrees out and there is still snow in my yard that hasn’t had enough concentrated sunshine to melt, I am READY for spring.

It hasn’t been a hard winter beside our snap of snow the last few weeks, but it’s still been winter.

It’s funny because as I sit here I think of how there are SO MANY WAYS that people use the theme of winter in their stories. I mean I’m share I’ve done it numerous times. You can talk about darkness or the lack of light and the absence of movement and things dying away and hibernation and all of those lovely ways you can paint a picture of the season.

And then when spring comes there is new life, rebirth, resurrection, light.

For me?

There are gold shorts.

When I bust out my gold shorts even when I have literally no reason to be wearing them because it’s still actually cold out, I am saying NOPE ALL DONE. I am saying to the world around me, let’s bring the color back, I am saying, let’s move on to the next.

Let’s take a deep breath and go.

I’ve spoken in church the last two weekends. (Insert eye roll here) and I’ve been reminded that I have something to bring to the table. I have words to say and give out and be apart of.

I’m more prone to forget that in winter.

I’m prone to forget to I have purpose and movement and can do more than I am doing.

The winter make us forget. It blankets our brain. It scoops up all the lies we’ve ever heard or been told and pushes them under the doorframe with the cold.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday all the lies crammed under the door and hit me. The anxiety started rolling over me and I felt it. I felt the thoughts pour over me. All the lies and anxieties and life struggles started to aggressively taunt me and remind me of everything I had and hadn’t done.

It was a completely familiar feeling that I’ve experienced so many times before.

I did what I needed to do, I took deep breathes and I laid on the floor and I talked to friends and eventually calmed my body down.

But since then I have been trying to push off shame and figure out why my anxiety has been spiking recently and figuring out what I need to release out of my life.

And then I put on my gold shorts again.

I put on my gold shorts and stood for spring. I stood for light and hope and for the ability to keep moving. I remembered that what I do is important. That I have a voice. A strength. And an ability to make change, bring change and bring peace.

I put on my gold shorts and took a breath because it’s coming. A breath, a push, the wind.

I put on my gold shorts and decided that spring was going to be here.

Spring is not coming, it is here. Spring is inside of us. The ability to make new, to bring light and hope and realness to all that is around us.

I did something I haven’t done in a long while today. I grabbed my bible off of my shelf.

(I know right?)

Anyway, there’s a passage in Nehemiah that came to mind today while I was thinking about things I give space to in my life.

“I am carrying in a great project and can’t go down”

Nehemiah didn’t have space for things. He knew he was carrying on a great project and couldn’t step away.

My anxiety that sprouted this winter isn’t because I can’t control something. It isn’t because I am not trusting God. It’s something that sometimes stirs up more and keeps me up and opens drawers that I try so hard to shut.

And then, then I put my gold shorts on.

And I am reminded that I am carrying on a great project.

That what I am doing is good and meaniful.

That anxiety and winter will come, but they won’t stay.

Did you hear that?

Anxiety and winter will come, but they won’t stay.

So do me a favor.

Put on those (metaphorical or not) gold shorts and show up for Monday.

Show up for Monday and remember you aren’t winter or darkness or anxiety.

You are spring.

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 )