Honest

you didn’t do this to yourself.

It’s a thundering heart, shaky hands, trying to avoid looking at my computer screen kind of Sunday, so let’s just go.

I had a dream on Thursday that didn’t set in that I had had it until I was walking to work on Friday. The dream was I was in this mall which was half a trendy mall and half an indoor southeast Asian marketplace (if you know, you know).

I’m in this mall FREQUENTLY in my dreams. It’s not a real mall, but I always know cognitively in my dream that it’s the mall I’m always at, be it in the SE Asian street market area or the trendy area.

This time, I was wandering in the mall by myself when I felt a man’s hand on the small of my back. I froze and glanced over as he pushed me forward and told me to hand my phone to someone and he just kept pushing me forward.

We ended up in a food court area sitting in a corner, he had his back to the wall and mine was to everyone else and he just kept telling me how this was my fault; that I must have wanted this.

He repeatedly told me the following:

“You did this to yourself.”

Over and over and over.

And I just sat there. Letting those words wash over me. The loud sounds of the food court became muted and I just heard this guy telling me that I had chosen this. I had been complicit.

I had done THIS to myself.

When I remembered the dream while walking to work Friday, I physically stopped, took a deep breath, and shook it out of my brain. When I was telling my roommate about this dream, I didn’t truly realize how much those words hit me. And when he got Pastor Benjamin with me, I was tired and didn’t want to feel how much they hit my heart.

“I did this to myself” crosses so many lines in my life, so many places, so many choices.

It pushes into my belief that people will leave. It pushes into my belief that I’m not enough. It pushes into my belief that I’ll always be alone. It pushes into my belief that I’m not capable.

It pushes into me.

I’ve come a long damn way in the last five years of my life.

I do my best to not allow toxic influences in my life, I have leaned into who I am as a human, not caring if it goes against what people think of me.

I try to brush off the bullshit and not let myself anxiety spiral into oblivion.

It’s just hard sometimes.

And it truly does feel on some days that I did this to myself. That I allowed words to hurt and actions to sting me.

It feels somedays that I’m not strong enough.

A week or so ago I was working in the kitchen at my early learning center. It was a chaotic day, my classroom was full and I wasn’t there, I was attempting to prepare 2 other meals separate of the one for that moment and a little voice wormed it’s way into my brain.

It said, “Well maybe you just aren’t a hard worker if you can’t do two jobs at one time. Maybe, you aren’t good enough for this.”

And I stopped cutting bananas, set my knife down and stepped back.

I gave my brain a harsh, ”Hell no.” and I kept working.

Because it’s literally ridiculous to think, specifically in that moment where I was doing a job that isn’t in my job description and also my own job, that I wasn’t a hard worker.

I’ve been told that I’m lazy, that I don’t work hard and those things stir up every once in a while to tell me I’m not doing enough.

Those words I feel like I brought on myself.

I let them stay.

I let them happen.

I let them bring me pain.

I did it to myself.

Some days it’s harder to grapple with than others.

(and here’s the “but”)

BUT, damn, watch me keep moving.

Watch me keep remind you that we can get through this.

Watch me remind you that you are stronger than those voices in your head.

Because you are.

We are.

And that’s exactly why I share the words that sometime feel cringy or too much to share for me.

I want you to remember you aren’t alone.

That you can stop chopping bananas and tell that voice in your head that it’s a liar.

There are days the memories and the voices and the words of my past are too much. There are days that there is practically a skywriter following me simply with the words above me telling me that I did this to myself.

That I made the choices to believe lies for so long that now they are just a part of who I am.

And that if I don’t hold it the fuck together than it’s all going to fall apart.

I became the glue myself.

I did it to myself and I must live with it.

And that’s just not true.

It’s not true for me, it’s not true for you.

There’s a lot of noise these days, a lot of people around us telling us to be more. A lot of comparison and a lot of measuring up.

There are a lot of people telling us what’s wrong with you and that whatever it is; we did it to ourselves and they are the only ones who have the magic formula to fix it.

I’m here to tell you that’s not the way it works.

I’m here to tell you who you are.

I’m here to tell you that you bring good into the world.

I’m here to tell you that you’ve been resilient and sometimes it was hard but look at what you’ve done.

Look what you can do.

We got this.

Tears and all on a Sunday morning.

With love,

Meg

Honest, I choose champagne

I miss writing in bars.

The title really hasn’t nothing to do with this blog. It’s just really true.

And I’m tired.

And I’m kind of sick of saying that.

Now, before you come at me with SO MANY obvious ways I could have more energy-I want you to know that I know them all. (please don’t come for me MLMs)

My tired isn’t a physical tired. (I mean it is. I am physically tired and no amount of espresso helps that.)

My soul is tired. My insides. And I know I’m not alone.

I don’t state I’m tired, or that I’ve had a long day, week or that 3 year olds are depleting the Miss Meg magic out of me for sympathy.

I state it because all I’ve wanted in my adult life is for other people to know that they aren’t alone.

That’s honestly in my unwritten mission statement that you, my friend or whomever is reading this, is not alone.

I spent a lot of my growing up feeling incredibly alone.

I was made fun of and picked on so much it was honestly easier to just be alone. If I had my 7th grade year book with me I could take a picture of a picture inside. I had on an oversized polo, my probably slightly permed hair was in a pony tail and my bangs were shaggy over my face and I had big glasses on and I was holding a book at lunch. I decided after too many lunches of feeling outcast from the people I knew from youth group that it was just easier to have a book with me from the library and find a quiet corridor that didn’t have a lot of people that normally passed by and eat my lunch alone.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve obviously come out of my shell more, I’ve gained and lost friends and gained some back again. I have beautiful people in my life from all walks.

But, every once and awhile that lonely feeling cuts through me and I see that 7th grade girl who was never anyone’s first choice. I see a someone who lived as a perpetual third wheel. I see someone who was never enough.

I see someone who has this tiny voice in the back of her brain that tells her that this will be the thing, this is the thing where they leave. This tiny voice that reminds me that I am not the first choice. I am just good old reliable single Meghan who will always be there.

And once again; I don’t say for sympathy or for “oh that’s not true” (I know it’s not true, it just FEELS true in my brain sometimes).

I say it, for the reminder that whatever narrative plays in your brain from past or current situations that you believe states something about who you are is not who you are.

You are not the lies that come from the actions other people have done to you.

And I know.

I know believing those lies is so much easier than forcing them away.

Believing that you were hurt because of not being enough or because you did something to cause that person to act that way is so much easier.

Believing that people will run away like the girls did in fifth grade and will talk behind your back in high school is easier than getting hurt again.

Believing that we can never be more than we are is easier than trying to be more than we are.

Believing you are alone or single or without is much easier than allowing yourself to be loved.

And being invisible is much easier than being seen.

So…what do we do?

This morning my pastor brought up questions. Questions we ask God, questions we ask ourselves, each other- etc. But he also asked what questions is God asking you.

Now, I’m going to be honest, my moments with God and time in prayer is few and far between. I’m a questioner, a challenger and many other things in those conversations. I struggle with having a hope for a God that people use for hate. Because, that isn’t my Jesus and it’s something that’s a current ongoing conversation in my brain and heart.

But, clear as day, this morning I heard. “Well, will you keep going?”

And I thought for a moment- maybe it’s in terms of current life. Maybe it was my ability to keep doing the damn thing, day in and out. Even when I don’t feel like a badass preschool teacher. Even when I don’t feel like I have any Miss Meg magic. Even when I feel like I’m doing everything but my job.

As I began writing these words that apparently had a life of their own, I heard it again: “Well, will you keep going?”

Sometimes (a lot of the times) I feel as if I am too much. Like, people don’t want to walk along this with me and people know they aren’t alone and I should just stop wasting words.

So, will I keep going?

I can see myself not always being a Miss Meg.

I can see myself not always being in Washington.

I can see myself (this is a stretch) not always being single.

But, for the life of me, I cannot see myself choosing to bring myself to a place where I stop reminding people they aren’t alone.

I cannot see myself coming to a place where I stop putting pieces of myself out there in an effort for even just one person to know they aren’t alone.

And I can state without a doubt that you have things inside of you that you’ve stepped back from or though t was too much or didn’t want to do anymore because you felt it has no point.

It has a point.

It’s who you are.

It’s as simple and complicated as that.

So, I guess I pose my question from God to you.

Will you keep going?

And I really, really hope you do.

With love,

Meg

I choose champagne, ramblings, smash the cardboard

145,659 + these words

I just spent a good 20 minutes scrolling down my blog. Scrolling through the 200 posts and almost 146,000 words. I’ve gotten a little teary. I’ve felt some rage. I’ve seen where I’ve come from.
I’ve felt kind of proud.
I’ve also backspaced a lot in the last hour. I’ve written what I’ve now realized are disclaimers and excuses. (They are also full of my eye-rolling a lot which I’ve been told to stop)
Because the bottom line is that the words flitting through my brain all have to do with identity.
The words flitting through me all have to do with me peeling labels off of myself and remembering that I am more than.
I’m working on getting out of a box I placed myself in and figuring out ways to do that.

I am more than.

I am more than a Christian.
I am more than my stamps in my passport.
I am more than a preschool teacher.
I am more than the single friend.
I am more than the friend that says yes.
I am more than a two on the Enneagram.
I am more than a doormat.
I am more than the youngest.
I am so much more than the lack of a ring on my finger.
I am more than a strong independent woman who needs no man.
I am more than all the things I feel I owe my friends.
I am more than a plus-size female.
I am more than my inabilities.

I am more than.

This list could keep going and going.
But, what I’ve realized is for every box I’ve been put in by someone else I’ve also put myself in probably the same box.
Just because I’ve decorated it with word art and pictures of my friends doesn’t mean it still isn’t a box.
This year I’m working on remembering I’m worthy enough to take myself out of boxes.
Because the thing about a box is that eventually, it’s gonna break down. It’s just up to us whether we are the one that does the breaking.

I don’t 100% know what all these words are for. I don’t know what is springing out of these reminders to myself.
But, I do know that we have the ability to move. We have the ability to choose to believe that we are more than.

And it’s fucking hard.

It’s hard to live in a world that tells you that you belong in a category to not believe you belong in one.
It’s hard to live in a culture that makes you check so many boxes so that they know how to deal with you.
It’s weird to live in this world and not do it to yourself without even knowing.

But, I’m deciding today it’s going to be possible.

I’m deciding that I am going to do my damnedest to not stay in the boxes I’ve put myself in.

They aren’t my whole identity, they color and highlight parts of who I am and they are beautiful and heartbreaking parts of my story.

But, I am more than them.

You, human reading this, are more than something too.

If you’re feeling brave, shoot me a comment or a message on Instagram (@megmagnolia). Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #smashthecardboardboxes
Let’s remind each other that the people who put us in boxes most often are simply ourselves.

Let’s remind each other that we are more than.

Let’s smash some cardboard boxes.

Honest

words I’ve already written

(this is a poem I wrote on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. It was my second to last flight on the adventure I took last year. It was a small glimpse at the woman I became in the last year. I’ve felt pulled to post it here because it’s something that always strikes a chord inside me. It’s a reminder of who I’ve become, what I’ve seen and where I am going)

I am a women.

strong

bold.

filled with knowledge of her own beauty

Someone who has seen the diversity of this world

and longs to walk in it even more

Someone who has walked the red light districts of Bangkok

the dangerous streets of Peru

bought tomatoes from the women in Mozambique who have joy

in the midst of their dark country.

I’m a woman who has been able to witness babushkas see clear for the first time

I’m someone who worshipped alongside brothers and sisters of different tongues

and from different nations

and it better because of it.

I am someone who longs to sit with someone

through their journey

but now knows not to stand in their gaps.

A woman who has learned the value of

rest

tough words

and community

I am woman who has a clear view

of her future

(as it’s one that involves nothing normal

and everything Christ)

There is more to me know than there EVER was then.

I’ve learned to let go of the darkness and wield the words

God has given me

as a sword.

There is so much more that I don’t even know

Thank you for walking with me in the unknown and the uncomfortable.

For journeying with me in the unthinkable.

For holding my heart up

and bringing me joy in the midst of sadness

And blessing me so incredibly well.

(to read more about my adventures around the globe last year go here. To partner with me in my next adventures you can go here.)