drink your water.

As I sit on my couch and wait for some photos to export and load (life of two careers), I feel myself thinking about how thirsty I am. I’m so thirsty, but I’m trapped under a laptop and two sleeping girls with their steamy blankets and heavy, drooling bodies. I’m stuck.

I wish I could reach over and grab it. But I can’t and I’m stuck. And I’m on day two of no coffee because JLO doesn’t drink caffeine and I started to re-think my intense, daily consumption of a full pot daily. A whole pot a day just seems like it’s probably too much. And it’s probably wildly dehydrating.

As soon as I realized I was thirsty, I was taken back to 5th period today when I was running around in circles complaining out loud that I was on “day two no coffee” basically chanting OMG over and over or at least acting in a way that translated over like that to my kids. And one kid pipes up and he’s like “just drink some of your water” in the most caring, loving, helping-me-balance-my-life kind of way. And I just stopped in my tracks and I was like “UGH you’re right. Thank you.” and he smiled at me. And it was beautiful.

I paused for a moment as I stood in one of three classrooms I use for my three classes and just took a breath and a few drinks of water. We’re in the middle of a huge (and probably really difficult) project that I created myself for my kids and I have a lot to prove. It’s hard. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work in a culture where we don’t always require kids to do a lot of work. And I’m trying so hard to get them to want to do a good job just for the sake of doing a good job. Many of them have never done something like this and the fear of the unknown is creeping in on them. I hold their hands a lot, but I still make them do it all on their own. And if you know me, you know I’ve told them how important this is to me. Translating heart of a 30 year old-aspiring-life and world changer to freshmen and sophomores in high schools is literally so hard.

So we say “I love you” a lot. And I’m 100% sure that’s not for everyone. But it works for me. It works for us. Nothing says I”m pushing you because I love you than having high demands placed on you by your teacher who then tells you she loves you.

Fast forward to 7th period. I’ve got a sweetie in the back row, no makeup, baggy sweatshirt, ear buds in. She hasn’t said a word to me and she was on time to class. Something’s up.

I let her make her way towards me as she works through her giant project. She has a question, but I think she needs me. She pulls up a chair and I answer her questions and clarify for her what she needs to do. Other kids come up to me with their own questions (some very anxious because ya know, HARD PROJECT LOTS OF WORK), and she says to me “Don’t they just get you’re trying to teach us how to do something like this? Like work for it and make sense of things on our own?”

heart in a puddle

I said “I’m going to tell you something. You are really smart. I don’t mean like 4.0 smart, I mean like business smart like CEO of companies, aware of the world smart and you have such a big and deep heart.”

And after that she told me what was wrong that day. And we talked about friends and life and hard days.

—-

This, my friends and readers, is my life. And I am going to start sharing more of it.

Writing brings me a sort of peace and collection of self that I have been yearning to share. I get so scared that what I have to share isn’t perfect. But almost always we can find love in every space, so I want to share with you some of mine.

evolution.

I have honestly had probably hundreds of ideas for blog posts in the last several months.

My life and my inner workings have been changing so much in the last year that I haven’t had time to process that brain work, let alone be able to paint a beautifully-worded picture of it to share with anyone.

The New Year has brought me much introspect. A couple of weeks before January began, I already decided what lifestyle and daily habit goals I was going to implement, and I have been going strong for about three weeks now. It really is as easy as that.

As I continue to get older, I feel more obligated to reach to the next level in terms of personhood. I feel like I am responsible for being a good person and for holding myself to a higher standard. As a parent, a teacher and a human being I really feel like I owe that to the world. I’ve spent a lot of introspective time nailing down my feelings and my behaviors as manifestations of my feelings and my life experiences, and I’ve always felt a strong notion of “living up to my potential.'‘ This time spent has drastically changed the way I view things and has really caused me to evolve. This feeling of living up my “potential” really just comes from somewhere within myself and has always caused me to be so self-reflective.

I’ve been back to Lincoln for about a year and a half now, and I’ve spent the majority of this time in survival mode. I am now able to really identify that, and while I was really deeply into that phase of my life, I was still continually attempting to analyze what I was experiencing, not even knowing that I was processing some trauma.

Now, I will never ever blame a single person for the way I have felt in life and I take full responsibility for being the type of person I am and for the decisions that I have made. But we can only run from the truth for so long. It’s hard to accurately analyze our experiences and our habits when we won’t identify them for what they are. And in this day and age it seems like we can’t do any of this without emotion or blame. Emotions are physical response and blame is a coping and processing mechanism. We feel pain and our sadness/anger is the response to alert our bodies that we may be in harm’s way. We are so quick to blame others for the things that go on in our lives, when if we would just take a step back take some time to process things, we would be in such a better place.

I see it slathered all over social media. Everyone on the quest to better themselves, and very few actually doing what it requires. It is simple, but it’s taxing. And honestly, it’s all a mind game with yourself that you are in the habit of engaging in. There is NO ONE who can change your life for you. There is no one who can build you up if you don’t already find some value in yourself. And if you think that you can do this and be surrounded by people who aren’t searching for betterment themselves, then you are really going against the current. I’m not saying it’s not possible to change in that scenario, but I am saying it will be difficult.

My promise to myself this year (aside from the smaller resolutions) is to be direct and true, painted in love. We are SO scared that we will offend someone and somewhere within that, we have lost the sense of excellence. We don’t want to hurt our friend’s feelings by telling them their behavior is toxic, so we don’t say anything and watch them slowly fade into a depression. We don’t interject when our friend is asking our actual opinion on something and we let them just go down the wrong road, and slowly watch as we could have helped them avoid making a poor business choice. Within this promise, is my promise to maintain a certain type of friendship and community. Being a people pleaser, it’s so hard for me to feel like I’m hurting someone in anyway. But the second downside to that mindset is that I am the one who takes the responsibility in my head of causing that negative situation. I feel bad about hurting them and then I feel bad about not standing up for what is right. It’s all about putting good into this world, and if we can’t be true enough with ourselves and one another, we will continue to avoid that.

There is no way I could securely make changes in my life without the community of people who I confide in with my deepest insecurities. I am able to share about where in my life I need to fix things, I am able to talk about goals, to talk about MONEY (if your friends are scared to talk about money and you’re a hustler then find new friends), to talk about raising kids and organizing my house and my lifestyle. I’m able to freely talk about the things that create the type of person I am working on becoming.

We are talking quality of life, impact, footprints, and legacy. This is not some stuff to prance around and not be serious about. I’m out of time for excuses, I’m out of time for reasons why not. I’m out of time for friends that can’t be truthful or open. I’m out of time for anyone around me who can’t shoot me straight.

The more I put truth and excellence on the front lines in my life, the more it is reflected back on me. And the BS has no place here. In terms of what I want for myself, my kids and those who are in my life is that we live our truths, set examples for others and hopefully ignite change or at least minimally make a positive impact, and that we create safe and honest communities of people who are working together to help each other.

As I continue to evolve, this will be my promise to myself and to those who follow along.

All laced with love. xo

you don't get to choose.

The last two years have taught me more about myself than I could have ever predicted.

It was two years ago around this time that I made the decision that what I wanted for my life was not what was happening. That the person I thought I loved and myself were bringing out the worse in each other. I had internally admitted my failures and had come to terms with the notion that the goal for my life was not achieved, and the goal I once had would not be possible: To be the married wife to my best friend and build our family, growing together as one. My actions must have made this decision visible as a couple short weeks later my ex-husband sat on the edge of our bed and asked me if I didn’t want to be married to him anymore. I answered to confirm his question with a simple and direct “No, I’m sorry but I don’t.”

Verbalizing this defeat did not come with a cleansing of stress or a feeling of freedom, because I knew what was ahead. I would have to rebuild from the ground up.

I’ve said before that if I had known what would go on the next two years, that would have changed a lot, but it is often better that we not know what lie ahead for us, so that we can go forward in our conquest for betterment regardless of the breakdown that might happen before we get there.

If you know me, you know I used to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I would feel it and share it and encourage you to do the same.

In the last two years, that is no longer who I am.

I am strong, though guarded, distant and opposed to what makes me feel vulnerable. Do you know that I used to cry every single day? And one day, I realized I hadn’t cried in months. I became numb. I wouldn’t feel and if i did it would hurt so badly that I’d button myself right back up again.

I found myself praying and chanting to myself that “I never want to feel like that again. I don’t want to feel like this.” I would tell people that I wanted a life where I didn’t ever have to feel that way.

Those closest to me tell me how hard I am on myself so often that you might think I would have thought to listen by now. But I haven’t. I constantly check myself, several times a day, to make sure that I’m being the person I want to be.

I turned into an emotional control freak. I would avoid situations that would trigger emotion, like mature relationships, conversations, friendships, even a text back. (To all my friends, I’m so sorry and thank you for the multiple check-ins <3) I couldn’t get myself to let go of the order I had finally maintained.

I poured myself into my work, into trying to build a two-adult life for my children with just one adult, and attempted to maintain friendships and even try to build a couple romantic ones. And while I’ve gotten better at mostly everything in my life, please understand that none of it really worked. It’s all been a series of coping mechanisms that I’ve pursued while I’ve put myself and my life back together.

Today, I turn 30.

I’m so not disappointed. Ever since I can remember being younger, I’ve always looked forward to this point in my life. I love getting older, and though I don’t love some of the things that go with it (wrinkles and a lame dating scene), I could NOT be more blessed with what has unfolded without my influence or control.

Today, I walked in to my first school with the white board decorate with “Happy Birthday Mrs. Schernikau!” kids singing, and ended class with the most reserved student bringing me a sign that said “World’s BEST spanish teacher” and a coffee gift card. I went to my next school and come around the corner with the door to the room decorated with balloons, got sprayed with silly string, then entered the room to see a TRES LECHES cake with a sign saying “29 again” and we played a game with questions about me. Kids in the hall telling me Happy Birthday, and dedicated facebook posts from all of my closest friends.

So the thing here is this:

You don’t get to choose the people you have an impact on. You don’t get to choose where your life is going, per say, but rather you get to choose what you are going to do with the ingredients that you have in front of you. You’re given choices and some of them are really hard to make. Some of them don’t have great options to choose between. And some of them are easier. The difficult ones, though, are usually the ones you grow from.

What’s most important, though, is that if I would have chosen the life I “wanted” I would have missed getting sprayed with silly string and seeing the price tag for the tiny tres leches cake my student bought for me, and realizing that as a human being she chose me to spend her time and money on. These kids might forget me, but they might not. And this moment might be one that they never forget.. it’s definitely one that I never will. So when we think about things bigger than ourselves, we can really try to see things for what they are.

Be glad that you don’t get to choose.

As hard as it is to do, have faith in where you are. Life will bring you exactly what you need to get you where you are meant to go.

To the people who have not done right by me- thank you.

To the friends who check in on me, you are the greatest human beings on the earth.

To the people who get to know my feelings and my secrets and hear about it all, life would be meaningless without you. Know you are so special.

HERE’S TO THIRTY.

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My first real memories, like the congruent, continuous, make sense and seem-like-real-life ones, are from my late elementary years. My first memories involving emotions are of me sitting in my bedroom, listening to The Marshall Mathers LP, with Stan on repeat. I felt, so seen and so heard and so understood. By Marshall Mathers, (and truly Dido) who told these stories, emotionally (albeit generally by anger) charged, and full of life. I would listen to that disc on repeat, every single day of my eleven or twelve year old life. The existence of this moment in my life was the first key, adult-like, moment of my life that I can remember that I can truly attribute to pruning the development of my own unique person-hood. It drove something straight into my heart and hit my soul in an instant. This stark reality of a memory is why, to this day, I have quite the soft spot for the pre-teens through young adult aged human beings. Gosh, it’s so hard to feel all of that and not know where to put it.

I have always felt a lot. As I am writing this, literally this exact moment, a pang of fear rushed across me. I exited the page, not knowing how to proceed and knew I needed to return to figure out how to do so.

I have a strong believe in my purpose. In my heart of hearts, I know I am here for a reason. I know it’s a really big reason, but for the last couple of years, I’ve really been questioning what that may be. The BIG PICTURE for me doesn’t have many questions surrounding it. I know there is a big purpose, I have faith in that. I trust the process of life and that all of the things that go on within me or surrounding me have their functions. I believe that the universe is working in my favor, that the good I do will not go unnoticed. I honestly believe that one million percent.

But, I look around me and some days I struggle to see selflessness (which I know is totally selfish) in others. I believe that the great things in my life have come to me simply because I try to be kind and gracious, even when I don’t feel like being that way. I often think that all you have to do is work hard whether you want to or not, and be kind, and that will get you further than most.

When I got divorced, I thought that the level of loss I experienced (though a healthy choice for all involved) could never be topped. I felt like my world fell apart and I hit the ground pretty dang hard. I expected that, even though I didn’t know how I would feel exactly. I expected to be sad, to have a time of transition, and so I was open to it and to letting Jesus take the wheel and pray for no more sharp left turns on His part.

—Now, I’d like to pause for effect here, because I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR, and we can’t really forget that. Like ever. I am the strongest, most confident, most in control I have ever been or have ever felt in my entire life and it’s incredibly important to lace this transparency with that sentiment. —

But with that, my heavens my lord, it’s been a rough couple of months friends. I’ve made choices to protect myself, to put my well-being at the forefront of all that I’ve chosen to take on in life, and it hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve felt guilt for placing distance between myself and most people. I’ve felt selfish, rude and void of love. You know, love, like the one thing I have coursing through my entire body in all moments. Many times in life, I’ve felt that my emotions or my love levels have been out of my control. The way I would feel about situations or people felt out of my control. And I didn’t like that. I have never liked that and I still don’t. But now, it’s almost like without my pain, at times it feels like there is no love. No deep, connected, unconditional love.

I’ve always been transparent. I mean, within reason. Whatever I’ve gone through, I’ve worked to share my experiences as a means of love and acceptance. It’s important to me, in this life, that no one feels alone. I never want anyone who feels a lot or who is going through something to feel that they are alone.

So that’s why I’m writing tonight. I yearn to share. I yearn to connect with the world, to be seen, heard, understood, and to be accepted for all that I am and all I may never be. But sometimes, life is hard. You think you have it all under control, and then something (or maybe twelve things) come in your direction and you never expected them. As it goes with life, we can prepare and plan, and the universe will always have its own agenda in mind. Honestly, for that I’m thankful. I may have no idea where I am going in this complex and beautiful life, but I believe something out there certainly does.

I’m still here, still feeling lots of feels, overflowing with a lust for life, and fielding all of the heaviness of life however it feels like testing me that day. And this chapter of life I feel like is never-ending.

So now a pep talk (also to myself)- don’t let anyone or anything win against you with you losing-sometimes you can both "win”- Never take the easier road. Never stifle your spark, or dim your light or prune yourself in a way that is more digestible for others. At the same time, love others with patience at the forefront, knowing that if you truly love them, you will be patient with them as people and with the processes you may be in with them. Be patient and trust. Love will never have an ultimatum or a last chance. That goes for love to others and love to yourself. Be patient with yourself, you sweet, beautiful human. You are doing great. Just look at you. Every experience is an opportunity to grow, and sometimes having all of these trials is just like a free boot camp for life’s next chapter. The world thinks you can handle it, so you’ve gotta pass the tests. Wherever you are, know that there is much beauty to be found, even if it’s not where you wish you were. Be thoughtful and cognizant of how you can improve the lives of those around you, and do it selflessly, just to be helpful.

Love patiently. Act selflessly. Protect you. Decide what you need and do it for maintenance.

Continue to grow in who you are and who you will still become.

Be strong and be bold in who you are right now, your uniqueness is a gift. It is your power and beacon into the world. Be confident in it.

Especially if it started with Marshall Mathers.

to fall in love with you.

I am that person with so much always going through her mind.

And I've spent a lot of time lately working fiercely on making sure I am becoming the woman I want to be. 

If you know me, you know that I often share a lot about myself and what I go through. Any adversity I experience will make itself public, by my doing, at some point or another. When this happens, I often think of one of my dear high school friends who would watch me learn the lessons, take the knowledge, and avoid any of the adversity herself. I hope that my sharing has done that and will continue to do that for anyone who is in the beautiful audience I have somehow been so blessed to accumulate. 

I want to share, though, that as I have spent the last year uprooting my life, changing it all, and settling back into a new normal, it has required me to introvert myself. I am so guilty of reaching out for external validation, or someone to tell me that whatever I am doing is smart, good enough, or that what I am doing is making someone proud. I love to accomplish. I know that I have the ability to do great and grandiose things, so it's important for me to continue to do that. Doing that, pursuing "success," achieving... all of that, for so long, was directly connected to me running from the lack of peace and the unhappiness that existed in the core of who I was. 

For many years, I could not be okay. I could not get settled. I couldn't find my place. I was a young mother, a new wife, and I was literally itching and covered in true discomfort. Every single day of my life felt wrong. And as I pushed so hard for it to be right or to feel right, I just couldn't get comfortable. Long story short, I spent all of my time looking outside of myself for ways to make myself comfortable without listening to me. 

I didn't trust me

I didn't value me.

I was not confident in me.

I never looked in the mirror or spent time on or with just myself.

 

If you are out there and reading this, make a vow right here and now that you will begin or continue to create a space to get to know who you are, what you need, what you value, what is important to you and what isn't. Promise yourself that anything that does not serve you will no longer have space in your life, no matter what it might be

When my discomfort hit at an all time high, I hit rock bottom. I felt that I was swimming in failure. What I did not realize was that I was grieving immensely, and through that process I would need to take a close look at everything that had gone on in my life up to that point, and decide to forgive myself when I was ready. 

 

This self-forgiving process is long, ugly, lonely and tedious. In whole, it has taken over a year to process the bottom line of my sadness: the general notion that I was not good enough. This manifested into unsuccessful interactions with anyone close to me, and in turn, I closed myself off completely in terms of letting anyone in to see what had really been going on. I believe we all have a certain amount of fear when it comes to our vulnerabilities being exposed, and personally my level of fear was crippling.

In all honesty, this was and continues to be the single best chapter of my life so far. It's like I've spent my whole life being eggs, sugar and flour, and now I'm finally a delicious cake. ;)

It's so easy in life to live in our sadness and wallow in the depths of our lack of confidence. Because there, we are comfortable. It sounds crazy, but look around and note how many miserable people are around you, how many people seemingly lack confidence, happiness, peace. There are a lot of them. The thing is, it takes a lot of mental strength to face yourself and the mess that you are. It is hard to one day discover that you are where you are because of what you have done. You have to let go of everything you've held on so hard to, because the real truth is that if you aren't where you want to be or who you want to be, you are probably a big reason why. You are your own anchor, docking your boat in whatever ugly place you might be stuck. 

The good news is. It's so completely okay to be a disaster. It's okay to be in progress of something. In fact, I hope that any singular person I find is in progress or process or going somewhere. And I hope that wherever you are going, you meet yourself along the way. I hope you find yourself and choose to strip away anything that holds you down and doesn't serve you. I hope you understand the importance of your existence; more importantly, I hope you understand that your existence includes the adversity, and that it is often more defining and strengthening than any good thing ever is. Savor these seemingly awful moments, knowing that you are gaining knowledge, strength, confidence and at some point, you will use all of this and flourish.  

What I discovered is this: I am capable of being anyone and doing anything I want. I get to choose. Falling in love with myself has been really magical, in that I have learned to cherish the time I get to focus on who I am. I've started to take care of myself again, push myself simply to get better at things, and learn to be open and let life do its thing. It's provided me with a sense of peace and more confidence in who I am and my life in general than I ever thought I could possess. Learning my value and seeing how dope of a human I was capable of being. And the value of reaching that dope human status is mostly valuable for me and the people I involve myself with. I hope to match my journey to the people who value these same things, and share my life with them. I aim to be a light in someone's dark and spend the rest of my life connecting with others in the quest for betterment. 

 

So the abridged version is as follows: life can be really awful and feel like trash. See these moments as little nuggets of opportunity. Spend time alone. Alone in silence. Cry when you need to. Scream when you need to. Exercise. Make it known to yourself the ways you have gotten yourself where you are. Then be grateful for the chance to grow. Take it all in because it's all a part of this glorious life we get to live. Fall in love with you. After that, the rest seems to always fall into place. 

 

 

the choice to love

Often, I find people to be annoying. Certain personality traits, mannerisms, habits and tones of voice irritate me. I often question other peoples' choices and actions and reasonings. And it's actually within the last several months I've seen a change in my ability to be annoyed. 

This world has created the notion that we are the one who is right. The issue here is that specified notion is not specified, but more generalized. Our "rightness" has stemmed from the belief that every word we speak, we get to speak it and everyone has to listen to it and respect it. SURPRISE, please stop because no. This online life has made many of us think that it should be just our way or no way. And then lots of people start thinking that, and all those people think differently, and then we have a whole bunch of people with different ideas all thinking their idea is the only one with merit. PRY INCORRECT.

And when I was transitioning away from that mindset, I realized how often I had to actively remind myself to just stop. And this conscientious wave entered my life and has stayed. Because I realized that I am also annoying. I have personality traits, mannerisms, habits and tones of voice that are probably offensive and irritating to people. 

And then after I realized this, I realized how many people love me, care for me, check in on me, and show me so much love. They do all this even when I'm annoying. They do this even when I fall short. They check in on me when they know I'm not okay, but they I tell them I am anyway. 

Gosh, we are all messy here. We are loud, crabby, late, off-task, and rude. We are selfish and short with people. We complain and stay up late and take things out on people that maybe we shouldn't. And there are a lot of people who love us anyway. 

So when I look around at all of the unattractive qualities in other people, I don't really look too closely at that stuff. When we make a choice to look past the flaws in a person, we make the choice to love them unconditionally. And that's the kinda thing that holds us all together.

I never liked to be home.

Friends.

Sweet humans reading this.

Whomever you are. 

I have been struggling. The last several years. And while I shared this in some ways, to this day, I still don't believe I have ever come clean about it completely. To anyone. Ever. That includes myself.

I will never blame anyone for the course of my life. And while I have cursed the names of a few key people, I can honestly rest easy knowing that placing blame on anyone else is the coward's way to handle life. I've learned more, clearly the hard way, during my 20's than I would have ever imagined. 

Life is not black and white or cut and dry or yes or no. It cannot be quantified. When we hear the question "quality or quantity?" I hope that with life we step back to note that it is, most often, a quality-centered series of events. 

Divorcee's: Don't waste your time being angry with one singular person. That anger, while warranted, will eat you up from the inside out. It will pour out of you and maybe it did begin with someone else, but please look at see that it is now with you. 

Mourning, grief, trauma... they are awful. They manifest in each of us differently. The way something has made you feel requires no explanation. But once it is within you, don't let it stay there. Be conscientious. Dance with that grief and then send it on its way. Life is a series of events and processes, and whomever declared the opposite was wrong. They should tell you when you're a teenager that things will keep going wrong for the rest of your life. They should tell you that it's normal and while we often try our best in any given situation, there is a force larger than us that we couldn't persuade if we tried. Life is one trial after another trial, whether they are long-lived, or three minutes long... and we all feel our own individual trials in our lives. Whether anyone is sharing that or not, trust me they've felt something. 

Some of us yearn for more. We are the makers of crazy and the movers of mountains. Sometimes you see us moving the mountains, sometimes it's just that feeling within us that there is more we are meant to do than our current life includes. It's a sentiment, a mantra, for us that we can't shake. If you're one of these humans, know it is a blessing and a curse. 

The busy and mountain moving and the hustle... oh gosh. It's a way of life. And for me, it takes a lot of my energy. I love it. It's invigorating and challenging and ever-changing. Personally, that's what I need and what I'm constantly searching for in this life. But I was doing that because I never wanted to be in my house. I didn't like the way the my house felt. Not to a fault of any one singular human being or another, but because of the way we came together. Home did not exist. I remember always saying "the house" rather than "home." So when we talked it went like this, "I'll see you at the house." and never "I'll see you at home." 

I can finally tell you that it's water under the bridge. Every now and again it will frustrate me. It frustrates me that I could have allowed so many things to happen. But I really can realize that I had a lot of unworked muscles. A lot of damage.

My 20s were so sad, friends. My gosh I was so sad. I cried every day. I cried constantly. And after I quit crying, I went silent. No one could actually reach me. Nothing would actually come out. 

...

But that was my way of coping. I spent time with my grief. I learned that the world is big and giant and stronger than I am. It's also stronger than any one person's influence on the trajectory of my life. Not many people stay with you forever. Some have short stays in our lives and some longer. Do not worry yourself when their time has come to an end in your life. That's how it goes. Right now, I'm happy. I'm so strong. Some days I surprise myself with my maturity, my outlook on life and the way I interact with others. Often, I fall short of what I wish I could do or be. But the beauty of it is that I get another chance to make things right and to get better every time I turn around. I get opportunities to better myself, to learn, to grow stronger, to prioritize, to create a safe and happy and wonderful childhood for my children. 

I can't wait to get stronger and to continue to grow and figure out how I can be better. I have many more mountains to move, and much more light to shine and so much love to keep giving. I can handle the bottoming out, I can handle the sadness and hard days and stress. I understand that there is something bigger and greater and that I don't have control over much in this world, except for myself. I am finally okay. I'm strong and confident. 

And the best part of it all is that I like to be home. 

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a kind word.

Friends,

Life goes by so quickly. Some moments are etched in our brains and ears and hearts as they are filled with joy, grief, laughter and connection. Some chapters span for what seem like centuries, and yet we arrive to our temporary "destination" with the same sentimental feeling of a slowly-slamming-on-the-brakes arrival. We look forward to moments and when they arrive we wonder how many of the in-between ones we looked over too quickly or let slip away from us while we weren't even paying attention as our attention leaking sieve poured it all out somewhere else. What did we lose? What did we gain? Every moment and opportunity and choice always has an opportunity cost. So while some motions and emotions and actions are free, please always know that saying "yes" to one thing will always mean saying "no" to something else. 

We look forward to BIG things. For me it's most often a concert. Or secondly most often it's my arrival at my next destination. While that is painful to admit, I am so achievement based that I am constantly looking for the next thing to do so I can accomplish my next goal. While those goals are things that make me feel worthy, validated and strong, those large check-points are just bullets on the road map of life, with a lot of long sections of dashed line between them. What is it that we do while we are moving from one destination to the next on this road? 

The last several years of my life have been outlined with bullet points and most of the dashed line I have mentally erased because it hurt. I didn't want those dashed lines and I didn't want that journey because that journey was jagged and full of pin pricks of hurt and while I was actually, truly moving in a direction, I felt boxed in and stuck. So in that imperfect and messy space of travel and dashed lines and the mundane day-to-day where you feel like you aren't going anywhere, I was moving. But I was not in motion in that motion. I didn't move and I let the velocity of the storm of my life move me, for me. I did not feel because I finally figured out how to turn that off. Feeling nothing was better than feeling pain. At least for a little bit. 

Fast forward to where I am now and the time is gone. Friends, those moments slipped between my fingers and I don't have much to show for it. I lost that time. I felt nothing because after feeling everything, I swear my pain receptors were full and there were no more collection bins available to accept anything else. It's like the years were empty because they were so full. 

Please don't shut yourself off to life. Well, not for too long. What I see now, is that my gratitude for all of these little, tiny things just shoots through the roof of my being. Nothing falls through my fingers because they're clamped tightly next to each other with the pressure of potential loss and the glue of joy. I won't lose them anymore. I won't lose my daughter's belly laugh or her older sister's mid-week rendition of lady gaga or them both screaming at the top of their lungs "IF YOU KNOCK, KNOCK ME OVER, I WILL GET BACK UP AGAIN." I won't overlook that or innately choose to not latch onto that so that memory will never be forgotten. I won't casually turn my head as my mother hugs me goodbye, and I won't ignore my dad's latest youtube discovery. Or the stranger I just met that feels like that family. These are my people and the moments that make life worth living so that not only the bullets on the map but also the dashed lines of life are laced with God's love that He has given to me by way of those he has put here. 

I will not overlook the words written by teenagers or the sign on my head that tells many guarded souls that my light can re-light theirs because it can. I am not like a lot of other people and for that I am so blessed. I am blessed that strangers can so quickly become my family and their light can be my light and that I can love them within hours of knowing them or seeing their faces. I will not ignore the stirring in my soul that tells me how and when to love people as much as I can. I will not ignore the notion that to love is so hard but it is the only way to do this life. That love is found in bulleted places on the map of life and it is found in the winding road when you missed your planned exit and the dead end sign when you knew you went the "right way" and you are still lost. I will treasure the wrong turns and the closed roads and the anger in my heart turned to joy and opportunities to love those who can take my love and run with it because it is my certain type of love they needed. I will not throw away the last sentences in an email full of praise for the work I have done, because though I fall down the rabbit hole of those who give more love than they actually know how to accept, I will accept it. I will add it to the engravings of my soul and the etchings of the person that I get to become. 

Because maybe this is everything that is behind a person's face that you might know about when you look at them. This might be what is in their heart when you have no idea who they are. 

And that's a lot of joy you might be creating when you give you a kind word. And that's the kind of risk I'd like to take.

 

xo

love + crazy making

you: a letter to the teenagers

Sweet students:

I hate to leave you right now. But whether you will read this right now, before I leave you by my own doing, or if you read it in the future, know that at some point these parting words are necessary. I hope that you know me enough to know that I speak from a place of experience, a place of love, and a place of sincere hope for you and your well being and happiness. 

xo

 

Remember to always use your head. Think for an extra five seconds when you have to make hard decisions or are in any situation that makes you feel uneasy. That uneasiness is your body telling you to pay attention. So please do. Take your time. Don't rush anything if you don't absolutely have to. In anything. Do your very best in every situation. This is where your reputation originates, and outlines the way that people perceive you. Don't be a slave to what others think, but also don't make yourself look bad. You aren't, so why would you want to appear to be? Trust me, you want people to see you in the best light. This is where relationships are formed, where trust is developed and where your future is curated. It's important. I promise. You are what you consistently do and who you are consistently with. Be mindful of this. Do things in love, with compassion and understanding and grace. But always use your judgement to protect yourself and those around you. Some people need our love up close, and others, from a distance. Your love is needed, you just have to pay attention enough to know how it is best used. Know that you were made to be you. Yes, you will learn and grow and change. You will make mistakes. Let that guilt you feel in those moments paint a picture of the life you are worthy of living, and the life you do not want to have for yourself. Please know that everyone does things they aren't proud of. Life is one big muscle, and we get stronger and better at it by exercising our perseverance. Know that no matter what you do, or the mistakes you make, you are so loved and so worthy of great things. The right people will love you unconditionally. If a person is loving you with a condition, please understand that that is not a pure love. Most people give us the most they can give us, so if someone isn't giving you something you need, they probably don't have it. Move on from these relationships and people when you are able. Not everyone will "get" you, and they aren't all meant to. Have faith and be expectant that great things are always right around the corner. Your life can change in one minute. I know this because mine has. If things are not going how you want them to, be expectant that your time will come. Be joyfully expectant. It is not that the world owes you anything, but it's more that you attitude you project will definitely dictate what comes back in your direction. I promise. Be conscious of the fact that you will soon turn into an adult and that at some point, the reasons you give and the people and situations you blame for your shortcomings will only be seen as excuses. Life is not kind to those who make excuses. At the end of the day, you will be the only one who actually has to deal with the life that you have created and the things that you have done. So take care of yourself and respect yourself and value yourself. You are your own care-taker. You are your own advocate. You are your own decision maker. Stand strongly on your own two feet. But also know that it's okay to lean on the people who love you. Be smart. Be joyful. Be intense. Lay it all out on the table always, and be honest. Shoot people straight, and most importantly be that way with yourself. It's a long and treacherous life out there. So love it and appreciate it and let people know how you feel. It's long and short all at once. Love hard.

And hopefully think about me from time to time. 

Know I love ya <3

Señora

ISAIAH 43:19

A dirty, water droplet stained post-it note has been barely stuck to the backside of my cell phone (you know, where the most important messages stay so they get relayed) for the last three days. 

I've laid it in water drops, in coffee spills, and it's been squeezed and folded in the pocket of my sweater and slid between my planners/to-do list pads. And yes, in three days of my life, that's what will happen to you as a lowly post-it. 

I firmly, completely, adequately believe in the persuasion, movement and delicacy of the holy spirit. Though I curse it every single day, a thousand times a day, I believe completely in the force of it. I almost rely on it. Some people call this faith. 

The biggest lesson I have learned in the last several months of my life is patience. I have never been patient. I have never wanted to be. And then I did want to be and I just wasn't or couldn't figure it out. But now I have learned to wait on it. Rather than rely on myself to somehow "fix" all that is "wrong" in my life, I'm embracing the process of waiting. This is mostly due to the fact that I was not very good at getting myself where I wanted to go. I think this is where they coined the term "Jesus take the wheel." And if you know me, you have heard this out of my mouth probably more than any other utterance. 

So where I am currently is in the patience, like I'm just in it. I don't know what else to call it because I don't exactly log the periods of my life in happenings, but rather in emotions. I like to look at my life as a series of lessons, so this one is going to be titled "PATIENCE" rather than the plethora of awful, shame-inducing titles that many might give it (and that many probably are). But I learned a long time ago that a lot of people are kinda jerky and the only person you have to answer to and live with at the end of the day is yourself. You know, the only human being you can actually control.

So instead of wallowing in the patience I'm trying like REALLY SUPER HARD to make it the best that I can make it. Some days I do so great, and then some days I'm like wow. The worst. BUT knowing that I have faith and that my only real job right now is to get through this and that someone else is figuring out the rest, well that allows me to rest easy. I don't have to figure out what to do next because at this point in my life, patience is my only job. 

Okay so back to that gross sticky note that's still chillin' on the back of my cracked iPhone with a worn out case-

I finally paused today to breathe. Sometimes I have to mentally prepare myself for the waterfall of OH EM GEE that may come out as a result of this pause to breathe, so I specifically hold it back until the right time hits me. 

I look up Isaiah because I am new at this and have no idea what I'm doing so I thumb through the super thin pages to find it and I get there and realize like "WOW isaiah has a lot of chapters like 43 okay hmmmm wonder what his story is about..." and I page through and page through and get to 43 and skim down 15, 16, 17 and nothing really good is sticking out to me so I think it's just going to be a dud like ew no thanks. But I get to it and it reads:

BEHOLD, I AM DOING A NEW THING; NOW IT SPRINGS FORTH, DO YOU NOT PERCEIVE IT? I WILL MAKE A WAY IN THE WILDERNESS AND RIVERS IN THE DESERT.

....

....

after three quite heinous days, this message is sent to me at a perfect moment for me to receive it. like THIS IS WHAT IT SAID. 

And as with anything, when it's under construction it's usually messy. There's junk everywhere. It's not done, and we are impatient to get it there. 

Dear Jillian,

Girl, I'm proud of you. You broke apart, came undone and let me work in you. I know it's ugly right now, but BEHOLD GIRL I AM DOING A NEW THING. Easy come, easy go- remember that when you are moving in the direction of where you want to stay. Don't you see what I'm doing? I'm making a way specifically for you, in your specific wilderness. And in the place where there is no water and it is most dry, where there is nothing- I'm making something. I'm making a river for you in the desert that is your life. 

xo,

Jesus

 

-I bet he thinks that's funny, too ;)

 

so wherever you are, know that I FEEL YOU. I have been there. 

 

xo

love + crazy making

 

i love the way

that light hits a baby's face.

exhibit a:

I have been in this series of thoughts for several weeks now and there has been a certain stirring in my heart about why I am here.

As in, on earth.

Why am I on earth?

Knowing the answering or finding out the answer has been like the entire goal of my entire life forever and ever. It sometimes manifests itself in different manners, and I always seem to be satisfied with certain possibilities or scenarios for a short time, but it never lasts. It never lasts. I don't know why.

I can never be completely satisfied. I'll fill up with certain happenings, certain moments, tasks, ideas, certain people. 

But it's almost like those things are just drops of gasoline in my tank that will eventually run out. And I'll need more. 

So then being the person I am, I'm like "more of what?" "what are you doing?" "why are you doing it?"

And then I'm pulled back to wondering why I worry and think about so many things that I worry and think about. Thinking to myself I should stop. 

This push and pull has been my thing for a super long time. 

The problem is, though, that I have been placing my happiness in the hands of other people or outcomes or circumstances. Like if I can just book this certain wedding, I'll be happy. If I set out to do this many newborn sessions in a month, I'll be happy. If I make sure this one student can understand this one concept then I'll fill up. If I get all my laundry done, I'll finally be able to relax. If my girls can get to bed on time tonight, I'll finally be able to sit down and decompress. 

So I chase from one thing to the other, looking for something that will fill me up. And I know I do this because I'm searching. It's like I'm constantly trying to load this webpage and the server cannot be reached. So I never get there.

 

A lot of the things I'm trying to chase after have consisted of this direct correlation or causation between whatever it is and myself: two parties involved. 

 

But you see, what I can now understand fully is that I have been chasing after this purpose that is actually bigger than me

I'm looking for more. I want to experience the unexplainable. I want to grow, inspire, and love, and do it for more than just me. I want to do it to do it, and do it for the betterment of those around me. I can't live just for me. That's shallow. That's too simple for me. It's too easy to be let down. And in all reality, what kind of reality am I in that I can truly believe I am meant to live for just myself? 

For as unorganized as I am, I'm actually very particular and have very high expectations of myself. But I don't have much faith in myself. Which is really hard for me to admit. I kind of wait around to find the next thing that will make me feel full of love and complete and worthy. 

But I'm already worthy. I was created to do amazing things, things bigger than myself. And I get put through the ringer because God knows that I have to figure a lot of things out before I can get to where I need to be to shine. And luckily, He also created me with transparency, honesty and empathy, and allows me to share of myself and to pour love out. 

So I sit here and I work. I stopped on an image and was so full to the brim just by looking at it. I looked at this photograph and my heart swelled up. I said to myself "I just love the way the light hits his face." And there was a stirring in my heart. There is something inside me that emotionally and spiritually connects me to the things I do. Something that doesn't have a name. 

 

And then I remember how much I want to experience the unexplainable. I want to do things that even words cannot adequately justify, the things that you just feel. And even though you could type a whole blog post on it to try to explain it, you're never going to be able to verbally quantify it. 

Those things are magic. They are bigger than we are. It is bigger than I am.

I created this image of this baby and the way that the light hits his face is magical to me. And I did that. Something or someone worked through me to do that. I am a part of something that is more than me. My purpose is to be on this earth and hopefully be a door that opens to some magic... A door that opens to something that is bigger than I am, something that no one can adequately describe because you just have to feel it. 

 

xo

i never know where to begin.

i never know where to begin. 

and i've never been much of a waiter. like the patient type (not the food service type).

i've always been more of an "I know where I want to go" kind of person, and admittedly, i used to think i knew how to get there. 

the problem with "there" is that it's subjective. and really, so is the how, the what, where, when and definitely the why. 

and while i've got you... what exactly are we doing here? 

i'm definitely not a planner. in fact, one of my coolest attributes is that i can do things on the fly. i generally don't have a specifically outlined plan. this is because when i do that, it never goes that way and then i put in all of that work for nothing. i've acquired enough base knowledge for the tasks i generally partake in, and that's enough for me. 

what i am learning, though, that there is no beginning and there is no end that we need to reflect on. we are here.

and then we are gone. 

so in my estimation, that's just one. one start. one end. 

i have such a story. and if you don't know me all the way, it's hard to know where to begin. so you'll have to just catch me where i am. and i think right here is as good of a place as any. 

i share. 

i overshare.

but i turned old and i share in ways and times and moments and methods that i have already allowed myself to grieve and process ferociously. so what you are getting from me is the abridged version. it's filtered. because it's uglier and more painful the original way. but that is what we all do as human beings.

so tonight (this morning, whatever time it is) i urge you to relax in the moment you are in. if you are somewhere in your life that doesn't make sense or finding yourself in a mess, take a deep breath. as ugly as it may be or as painful as it may feel, just stop for a moment and allow yourself to feel some peace, even if it's for 30 seconds. i know that in the midst of grief and confusion, we scramble. we fret. we go faster than we need to because we want to get out of it. this is the fight or flight reaction to stress. recognize it.

if the statement "i don't know where to begin" applies to you right now, take one second to remind yourself that you are not stopping and starting. you are continuing. you hit a bump, maybe it slowed you down a bit, but you didn't stop. remember there is just one start and stop in our earthly lives. to continue, though, is to simply continue. disregard pace. instead, look for peace. forgive yourself. allow yourself to feel your pain. the sooner you recognize whatever it is you are feeling, the sooner you can own it and make it your story.  

you don't need to begin. you don't need to "start over" because all that is broken and all that is beautiful is what made you and will continue to make you. and know that with every downward motion, we learn to cherish to ascent. sadness makes us enjoy happiness, being without allows us to enjoy and cherish abundance.

and when you start to catch those tiny fragments of joy again, they will be so sweet

who you are is special. you have specific talents and gifts and destinies that have been matched to you perfectly. so even when you are not in charge, learn to look for peace and rest easy that someone else has it under control. (this part is hard so if you are like WUT I CANT EVEN, that's normal, just give it some time). 

oh, and be patient. it sucks, i know. but love yourself and put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing for yourself. these moments are here to teach us and prepare us for really, really, really great things that we know nothing about. so just think of it as a surprise party sometime in your future and not on your birthday. 

chin up, buttercup and LOTS OF LOVE and crazy making.

xo

the day I said goodbye.

When I first interviewed for my teaching position at Heartland, one of the questions during my interview was about respect within the classroom. I can't remember my exact answer or the exact question, but the idea was that to gain the respect of my students I had to give them mine. That was my theory. 

To me, the days of demanding or commanding anything from anyone are long gone. The youth and next generation coming up are sharp enough to know what they can get away with. They read us like books and act accordingly. I have always been aware of that in young adults. So while that was probably a great interview answer, it was also the belief in my heart. 

I love children. I love babies. I love relationships with any age of human being. But the relationships built with teenagers and young adults are by far the most precious relationships I can ever build or will ever build in my entire life. They are experiencing a fundamental time in their lives. They are growing and becoming young adults and are forming many of the characteristics, patterns, traits and habits that will guide the rest of their life. And I am just another adult. As a teacher, they can take or leave me. They don't need me, generally speaking. I am there to serve one basic purpose in many adolescent minds. I teach them.

I am their teacher. At least that's how I start. And I'm not really a normal teacher. That weird, unnamed phenomenon in classrooms where there is some barrier blocking out true human interaction and replacing it with all that is black or white, yes or no or right or wrong.. well that doesn't exist. We act and interact based on the other human beings in the room. The transition from where we start to where we end up is bumpy, ugly and makes me cry a lot. I lose sleep and LIKE A LOT OF TEARS because I know they don't get it yet. Yet. 

But they always get there. Some groups at different paces. Some take just a month or two to adjust to this new norm. Some take a year and a half. They are ugly around me. They don't listen the first time they are asked to do something. They talk over me. They tell me it's so comfortable in this space that I have created that they let go of all that stress and build up of the rest of their lives. So when I ask them to please listen to me for the one millionth time, they look at me with these eyes that tell me they hear me, they respect me, and then we get our work done. Once I'm through that brain barrier, they give me their all, and we get our stuff done. I know them. They know me. I'm as human as I can be, as transparent as possible, so that when they know me, they know a real human being was up there and giving so much of herself to them because she cares so much about them as people. 

I've answered boy questions, phrased professional messages to their employers, done hair for prom, done makeup for prom, I've hugged and cried, and gotten after a certain few of them a million more times than it seems like it should have been necessary. But it was. I have suggested prom dresses, shared outfit secrets, makeup secrets, hair secrets. I've suggested hair cuts and told many smelly boys to shower twice a day. 

I have been lost in learning, in laughter, in sharing life with these "teenagers" who have changed my entire life. On my worst days, I got to be held up by the simple fact that I felt like I was making a difference in their lives. Not just any lives of any teenagers. But in their lives. These most perfect human beings with the whole world at their feet just make me think of the abundance this life has to offer if we just look at it. 

They met me where they were at and I met them where I was. It took some time and some adjustments but I know in the deepest part of my heart and the richest part of my soul that we did good work and we made a lot of life magic together. 

Today I shared with them that I would not be coming back next year. I knew I had to do it in the moment I wasn't feeling as emotional about it all as I had been feeling. But the moment I saw faces turn and eyes get red and well up with tears, I knew that the good work I have been praying that I do, must have been happening even when it didn't feel like it. And so it was then they saw me cry for probably the millionth time. 

The moral of the story is this: Sometimes you don't do what other people do and that can make you feel like you aren't doing something right. I always did what felt right in my heart, even if it wasn't what everyone else was doing. And it worked. It worked

If you are an educator or thinking about becoming one. Priority number one: be a lover. Just love them how you love them (it might look different for everyone) and let them know you care about them and how special you think they are. Because they are so special, I promise you. 

To my big babies: I love each and every one of you so much more than you will ever know. You have made my life abundant, my cup runneth over and my heart burst with joy and happiness. Thank you for opening your hearts and minds up to me and all of my crazy. I know in my heart of hearts that you will do such amazing things in this world. Always know that I am always here in the same way I have always been. And please, make good choices. xoxo 

being close to people is ugly.

Somewhere between, a "then" somewhere in history and the "now" of right now, there has been a loss of connection. I am not that old, so I don't really have too much to attribute it to. I am sure it is a mix of the social media and technological aspects of the current time, but it really has to be embedded a little more further down in our psyches than that flat answer explains. 

"Relationship." The taboo word that no one wants to really say out loud for fear of drama or being official or, for me, being cliché. The truth is that we are all in relationships continually, throughout our entire days and lives. Some are more important than others, and some, even more important than those, so we name them "relationships." (Like the other ones aren't?)

What we have been led to believe is that a relationship is romantic, intense, easy, and aaahhhhhhmmmaaazzzzingggg. Am I right? 

First of all, they are not all romantic. In fact, I would bet the majority of them are not. Second, intense might be right, but not constantly. If it's constantly the focal point of your being, that is no good for you. And though it matches the "passion" we think we are after, it is a flame of dramatic lust that will eventually go out. I promise you. Easy. LOLLLZZZZZZ. If you think a relationship should be 100% easy at all times, sorry about your life. Certain aspects should sometimes be easy, in some scenarios. But definitely not always. Amazing. Yes. Generally. But maybe not how you think. 

The problem with connection is that it's not electrical in nature. Seriously. You don't walk up to a person and say, hey let's have this life changing connection with one another, press "ON" on three! Okay, ONE, TWO, THREE- THIS IS AMAZING. (sometimes this does happen, I'm sure! so YAY for you if you're one of those lucky humans)

It requires work, sacrifice, unconditional love (in the romantic or not romantic sense) and some humility. And for those of us who are obsessed with knowing every facet of the human beings we are interested in, it comes with some less desirable moments and interactions. You see, the thing is that we are all human beings and none of us are even remotely close to being beautiful, fun, a good conversationalist, gracious, or self-less all of the time. We have beautifully carved out versions of ourselves that we generally display on the surface, and then when the brave ones cross that threshold into our real-lives, they are going to see the whole picture of us at some point or another. 

I would like to say that is a good thing. The ability to connect with someone and make them comfortable enough to display their entire self-picture to you, well I think that is a gift. 

The thing is that it can be ugly. Allowing vulnerability and openness opens the doors to this great connection that we are all seeking somewhere in our souls. But most people don't want to go there. We keep our control when we attempt to only allow the beautifully carved out versions of people to join us. And while necessary in some instances, this is not a self-less love or act of caring. This is conditional. And in 2016 (almost 2017) we are so full of conditions that it would make our heads spin in unison if we were to list them all out. 

How would you change if you knew that the place you were was safe to be your true self? What if that person who was talking to you cared whole-heartedly about what you had to say and the intricacies of yourself and a person? 

I often think of my classroom. You would probably walk in most days and wonder what bomb went off, if anyone was learning, and why everyone was so loud. (I'm sure you're laughing if you've ever seen it) But I made a promise to myself to not coast as a teacher. It is easy to do, but if I did that, I would feel like my value as a person and educator was not existent. I don't always have their full attention. I don't always have the beautifully carved out versions of my students. They always start out really quiet and hoping to come in and coast through themselves. I work hard to kill that right away. They end up loud, opinionated, comfortable, and even some days happy. 

Sometimes to reach people, we have to get out our hypothetical shovels and do some digging. Sometimes we have to build a safe space where they can feel loved and accepted and comfortable. Whether that space is physical or emotional, I think its creation is more of what we need.

My goal from now on is to look at everyone the way I look at my children. I love them without reservation. Without a pre-determined outcome. With expectation. I want to welcome the quirks, talents, gifts and personalities of everyone I meet, especially my students and the people closest to me. 

Being close to people is ugly. 

It's also really nourishing to my soul and gives me value.

So when I leave this world, someone can remember me and the way I made them feel- loved, comfortable, and happy... and that's it. 

 

the day i became picky.

for as hap-hazard and less-than-hot-mess my life ebbs in and out of being, at one point, there really was an element of control and organization leeched onto the chaos. maybe it was transparent, or maybe it was hidden, but i assure you it was there. if it wasn't in my laundry method, or my color-coded newborn prop collection, it was at least in my bank account or my book collection. it existed somewhere, at all times, whether it transported or morphed itself, it never bothered me, so long as it was there.

and then one day, a sailor-mouthed, brilliantly crazy, newborn photographer was mentoring me and as i told her what i was doing she looked right at me and said "you can't do that." after a slew of my methods, processes, mantra and organization, my growth in short period of time from scary to more than acceptable, i began to talk about this one area of my life where i thought i was being sneaky and working smarter and not harder, but she looked at me and with a very familiar bluntness said "see, you can't do that." 

that thing she said i can't do just happened to be my morphed version of control of my life for the last several months. it was quite possibly the only thing that i could look at or do that made me feel like the chaos has some sort of anchor. or that there was something in the grand, thrown up, scheme of things that said "at least i have _______ going for me." so in that very moment, with a stranger, being further than closer to my home, i stared at her blankly as i rummaged through my barney bag of smooth things to say back to her. and she has my kind of people brain and could quickly sense my ill-preparedness and/or the weight of her insight to my specific life. in that moment, my last anchored, microscopic unit of control popped off of my life like a too-tight-shirt-button, and there i sat. 

word for word, i'm mostly screwed after that part because i kept honing into what else she was saying with a reference point of the above. 

you see, above anything else in the world, i am a girl with a good heart, good intentions, and a work ethic to go after what i want. i set a high bar for myself. like so super high that if anyone else tried to set it for me, i would hate them so hard. i mean so hard. but instead, that person is me. and the way we deal with ourselves is something that is so beautiful and so wrong and so rude of us. so when i mixed all of that with someone who happens to think about things in an eerily similar manner, i actually listen. 

mom, are you out there? you'll love this. 

i listened to her. her words are on repeat in my head as i take a moment or 4892734029834 to manage a mess that has been mostly created by me.

to allow life to happen to you is a detriment. if you haven't met me, you should know that i usually go against the grain rather than with it. and while never picky, i did, at one point, have my particulars. i stood for so much. and i've spent the last disgustingly long period of time (at least for me) allowing my life to happen to me more than i am happening to it. me reacting is probably the least favorite version of myself to date, and me acting... well it's scary and ugly, and so hard, but it's me. 

so on this one special day, i drove home for six hours by my lonesome and thought so much about the life that i have been creating for myself by reacting to things that happen rather than making things happen. if you know me, you know that is like soooooooooo not me. 

i'm not sure exactly what she said, but what i heard was this: if you are this amazing and magical and life-changing and world-turning-upside-because-i-met-you kind of person, then you have to do things that match that. 

and slowly, but surely, my particulars are making their way out of hibernation. 

they tag-teamed my laundry method, though, so just a heads up. 

 

<3