Friday, April 8, 2016

Timing


It all comes down to timing. 

Because that's the thing. People aren't pieces in the puzzle of your life that you can pick and force into corners they weren't supposed to be in. It was like finding the perfect corner piece for the upper right side, but not having any of other hundred pieces needed to connect that perfect corner to the left half of your slowly-constructed puzzle. 

It all comes down to timing.

One of my friends in her mid-twenties said during a phone conversation, 'I really like him and I think he really likes me, and we have a great connection, but we're both about to move elsewhere. The timing's awful...so I don't think anything will happen. But he's the guy that, if we met up again in five years and we're both still single, I'd marry him.' 

Timing. 

I've been thinking about it a lot. About how there's this fear of running out of time. Of finding something - or someone - wonderful and not having enough time together.

Act now, my mind whispers. If you don't, you'll lose this chance forever. 

Your time is running out. 

But I don't control other people. They're not chess pieces or pieces in my puzzle. They have lives and hopes and dreams and plans of their own...and maybe I'm not a part of that. Maybe my puzzle doesn't look like their puzzle. 

Just because I think I've found a perfect puzzle piece, one that makes sense and makes my picture complete, doesn't mean I have to grab it now. It doesn't mean it's mine.

'I'll see you in the future
when we're older
and we are full of stories to be told
cross my heart and hope to die
I'll see you with your laughter lines'
~Bastille~

Because timing's a funny thing. And if you're very quiet and still...and listen carefully and honestly, you can hear when it's off, even just a little bit. 

You can meet the right person, be at the right place, have the right job offer...and it might not be the right time. It's hard to put it into words because it's not easily discernible or explainable.

But life isn't full of dramatic running through airports to catch planes or professions of love right before someone moves away. Choosing not to say anything right now does not close off a future conversation. 

You never know what will happen, what the future will bring. But you can know and accept and understand when the timing isn't right.

And the world doesn't end. If anything, it's a little bit sweeter. Because the only thing holding you back is time. Not a lack of emotions, or fear, or rejection. 

Just the quiet knowledge of...it's not the right time. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tenebrae


Holy Week has always been a deep favorite of mine in the liturgical year...and yet somehow I'd never attended Tenebrae (the Wednesday candlelight service) until last night.

We gathered in the church, clustering closely, the Divine Office in our hands, and gazing at the the ascending fifteen candles nestled in a wooden, triangular stand. The solemn rise and fall of Latin prayers, Matins and Lauds, filled the air as we listened to the grief and lamentation of the Psalms + Jeremiah. 

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God." 

With each reading, a yellowed candle and the overhead lights were extinguished until only the center candle, white to represent the Christ, was the only light. It flickered calmly and quietly. 

We gazed at the Light that stood alone, the entire church shrouded in darkness and shadows. 

Then a clamor arose - knocking and drumming, wild noise of clangers and our hands beating against the wooden pews - symbolizing the chaos and tumult that arose in Nature itself when the Light of the world went out. 

And then...silence. 

Pure, deep, and profound silence such as I have never heard before. 
Tenebrae. Shadows. 

The mourning of our Lord. 

His Calvary begins. 

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Current Thoughts






  :



(warning: brain dump or stream of consciousness post ahead)

-I'm typing away in my cozy little nook of a room in lamplight while the Chet Baker radio station on Spotify plays (instrumental is the only kind of background music I can study to, and jazz is always always my jam). It's been a while since my last post and I actually feel inspired to blog again which is a rather foreign feeling lately.

-I've been shaking things up around here to help transition into some big changes that are either coming or have already happened. I'm finding myself reaching for tea more than coffee now...I've started bullet journaling (which has, to my complete shock, been so therapeutic and calming), listening to lots of contemporary film soundtracks (Lost in Translation, You've Got Mail), making more of an effort to roll out the yoga mat or doing 5 minutes of meditation before bed (the free app Ritual is what I've been using, so sleek and simple), and I'm doing a lot of reading for my soul...blog posts about faith, about the ordinary moments in life. I've also been binge-reading Brain Pickings about the psychology of mastery in creativity, Ursula K. Le Guin, Edith Wharton on being alone, and other brilliant reads.

-my head feels like a jumbled mess of feelings, literary terms, characters, deadlines, names, emotions, over-analysis, and constant thinking. I think for the first time, I'm really trying to gently sort through it, organize and lay things out to look at them properly rather than trying to deeply understand them.

-I bought my first piece of what feels like grown-up jewelry from Old Navy the other day during a sale. It was one of those days, where I got some bad news and then I dropped my glass coffee pot which shattered everywhere, so I said "Screw it," and drove myself to buy a donut and then went shopping. In most stressful instances I don't resort to spending money to make myself feel better, but this was a particularly stressful day and I just needed to take a "personal day" and cheer myself up. It worked.

-I have a secret board for this year, because it feels like a year to keep things a little more private and personal. I'm learning you don't have to share all of your creativity with the outside world. I highly recommend it (having your own secret board, that is - not boasting about my board, ha). It's good to have inspiration and outlets that are just for your eyes alone without worrying about validation or getting likes/repins, and it means I can pin WHATEVER without worrying about offending someone or someone getting worried about whether I'm being passive aggressive or trying to garner self-pity.

I look at it as a self improvement board where I pin things about emotional health, physical health, mantras, and things that really speak to me during what I've dubbed my "Adele year." What does that mean? It means taking control of my life, learning to stop apologizing and worrying about what other people think of me, and just being proud of who I am, who I've become, and the natural personality I have.

-also can we just take a minute to talk about how wonderful secret boards on Pinterest are? I have. so. many. Mostly storyboards for various books and screenplays I have in the works, but also for gift ideas, for fangirling purposes, and for really private things like love + relationships. I'm a huge visual person, which is why Pinterest + Instagram are my favorite social media platforms, and I love words/sayings, especially ones that describe what my emotions as they change over the months and years, but I don't always want to broadcast that to all of the internet. Enter...secret boards. Ahhh. So lovely.

Thank you, People in Charge of Pinterest. Thank you.

-this semester was supposed to be my "Yes Hiatus" one...meaning that this was the semester I gave myself permission to not say yes to things and people if I didn't want to/need to. As always, when it comes to setting boundaries, I've been pretty sub-par and found myself panicking last night at 2 am thinking of certain things that I needed to get done today and then realized I didn't have to do them. They were all things I had decided I should do. Not things I needed to do. 

In other words, the world was still going to keep turning if I didn't them. So I sat up in bed, grabbed the small journal and pen I keep on my bedside table and made four lists.

What I Can Say No To Right Now
 -saying yes to a weeknight commitment
-certain circumstances of negativity 
-submitting an application for something no longer time-sensitive

Things I Will Do
-study for test this week
-do homework
-do yoga/workout
-save energy
-answer emails
  
Things I Have to Do 
-go to work
-go to class
-prep for an upcoming retreat I'm staffing 

Things I "Should" Do (But Won't Right Now)
-volunteer
-go to events on school nights
-say yes 

And instantly I felt so much better, and my shoulders truly felt lighter as if weight had been lifted off of them. Gotta love a good list.

So that's things currently.  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oh, Hello

Long time, no? 

I am such a contradiction and truly one of those girls who always wants what I've previously eshewed or can't have. It happens all the time with coffee orders, buying clothes, haircuts, and now with this. My 'blog hiatus.'

Life is just funny (by which I mean odd, not humorous) and strange and surreal right now and so I have no coherent, organized thoughts. Just a constant stream of emotions and thoughts and impressions that are all over the place. 

And it's all piling up in my head and not always making its way out into the world through words from my lips. It's all getting a bit much and piling high and filling up my mind, and I do feel tired, but I don't think keeping in my words is helping. 

And I can't escape the fact that I only have two months left of this season, then it will be gone, never again to be had and I will never again feel or think or be like I am right at this moment. 

So yes. I'm here. And I will be from time to time...no scheduled posts, no formality or minimum amount per week. 

Just whenever the words come.

Come two months from now, things might even out and seem more professional and streamlined and polished. 

But for now, I really am going back to the old way...and things will be messy and real and honest and random on here. Snippets of life and love and solitude and seasons and growing and changing and mourning an old life while learning to grow in quiet, content anticipation for a new one. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

23


Dear 2016, 

want you to be a good year. 

I don't mean good in the sense where everything goes well and according to plan. 

I want you to be a good year. Full of growth and unexpected adventures and change, because change is what both scares and exhilarates me the most. 

I want you to be a year that romances me, as HB says. A song full of life and love (not necessarily the romantic kind) and laughter. 

I want you to be my Adele year. The year that I stop singing my sad songs and writing about heartbreak and love and loss, and stop thinking about that boy I fell in love with, and the couple others whom I loved and who taught my heart how to love. I want to sing about water under the bridge and about the man who looks like a movie + sounds like a song and about the pain of growing older + saying hello to the younger you and about the carefree days of childhood + being a teenager that seem like a million years ago. 

2016, I want you to be a love song that serenades me. A love song - not about any man or boy, because I've tasted love and romance and dating and I've had my fill for now - for me. 

About me.
 
I want this year to be the year I give myself permission to serenade myself. 

Because I can do good all by myself. 

And 2016, this 23-year-old survivor is ready. I've survived almost a quarter of a century - and most importantly, I survived being blonde and the entirety of 2015 and lived to tell the tale.

This is a year to be brave. 

23. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

It's Not Adieu, But Au Revoir

'Dear Jane, 
Michael had the compass so the picture is for you. Au revoir. 
Mary Poppins. 

She read it out loud until she came to the words she couldn't understand. 
"Mrs. Brill!" she called. "What does 'au Revoir' mean?"
"Au revoir, deary?" shrieked Mrs. Brill from the next room. "Why doesn't it mean - let me see, I'm not up in these foreign tongues - doesn't it mean 'God bless you'? No. No, I'm wrong. I think, Miss Jane dear, it means To meet again."
Jane and Michael looked at each other. Joy and understanding shone in their eyes. 
Michael have a long sigh of relief. "That's all right," he said shakily. "She always does what she says she will." He turned away. 
"Michael are you crying?" Jane asked. 
He twisted his head and tried to smile at her.
"No, I am not," he said. "It's only my eyes."'

Never, ever did I think I would be writing this post. 

"Blog hiatus" was always something other bloggers did (ones who went through a personal season of grief or who outgrew their blog or decided to take the public focus off of their families). None of those apply to me. 

I'm just tired. Life is a lot right now (not in any major upheaval way, nothing horrible has happened, don't worry). It's just a lot. And I've felt tired since November and that's never really gone away. 

These last few weeks I kept thinking, "I haven't blogged in a while, I need to post," or "I should post." But I don't have much in me right now. 

Life is very tender and full and busy right now, and I need to live it during the next few months. Just looking ahead in my calandar reveals what I already know in my gut: I won't have time - or energy - to blog. 

I'm a full-time college student at a demanding liberal arts college, with an 18-hour semester, and a part-time job who is trying to do well in classes and enjoy this last precious semester, and most importantly, graduate. 

I've learned by now that something has to give. And for right now, unfortunately, that's this little spare oom. So until the last bit of this particular season is over, I need to say goodbye. 

Better to announce it rather than resolving to post regularly and then fail, no? 

I will miss this space and the sweet readers who still check in despite my silence lately. Know that this is not the end, I'm not disappearing forever like Bilbo from the Shire. I'll still be posting over on my favorite social media platform, my Instagram account (and let's be honest, mini-blogging with my paragraph-long captions). 

And of course, I'll still be reading your blogs. There's so much inspiration and encouragement and support in this lovely blogging world, so I haven't any intention of cutting myself off from the community. I just need to keep my words to myself for a while. And retreat from this dear old corner for a bit. 

As the words from Lucy's song sing, 

I'll be back. 

Until then, au revoir. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

When Advent is Painful and Messy


In so many ways, the end of this year has been downhill...the week after Thanksgiving until now (just three days before Christmas) has felt like sucker punch after sucker punch. Eight papers due over the span of a week, running on little sleep night after night, getting horribly sick right before and all during finals, dealing with all sorts of emotional junk, trying to find closure and write about the messiness of betrayal and forgiveness in a 12-page paper. Finding out that my little 10 year old baby brother has a tumor in his brain (the doctors think it might be benign but we won't know for sure until his next appointment in Jan). Leaving this semester feeling exhausted, alone, and emotionally empty. Driving six hours by myself. Arriving home to promptly turn around and drive my brother to Texas to take an in-house ACT at A&M. Arriving home from that to drive to Houston for a cousin's tournament and then straight on to Dallas because our grandfather fell and is currently in the hospital due to brain damage. Learning on the road that an old family friend lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 53, leaving behind grieving children and husband - her youngest is only 13. 

In so many ways, I feel as though I have nothing left. I've never felt so defeated and bone-weary and empty. 

This Advent has been one of darkness and tears and hardship. I love this liturgical season and always hope each year that my spirit will quiet and be hushed, that I will drink in the stillness and hopeful silence. 

That wasn't what happened this year. Instead, I felt smacked again and again. Smacked with God's goodness in the most painful way. Drained emotionally, drained mentally from writing so many words and  memorizing so many prices of information, utterly drained physically and so aware of my weak body and human fragility. I drove home tearful and yearning for more than anything to be home and safe where I could finally rest. And then life happened. Hospital visits and road trips and funerals. 

There's been much darkness and difficulty. Hard days, silent moments because sometimes there is nothing you can do. This Advent has been one of darkness and weariness and sorrow. 

And somehow, it feels fitting. As if I finally understand Advent. That it isn't a season of weeks to check off a preparation list for Christmas...that it isn't a series of Sundays to make us feel good and holy. Advent is about the mess. The cold. The aching sensation that comes during what is renowned as the "happiest" time of the year. 

I disagree. Christmas, for so many, has been and always might be the hardest time of the year. 

And in each moment of despair and quiet, when my soul wants to whisper no, not this too, I remember that winter is a time of darkness and cold. Winter is bitter, as is life, but it is also when we draw near to the flames. When nothing else is bearable, when the world is too much, when our load is too heavy, when even the light of our room or house is too bright, we retreat into the darkness and light a candle. 

The steadiness of the flickering flame is sometimes all we can bear...sometimes, our eyes are too wet and heavy, our hearts too full and hurting, to stand anything other than candlelight. 

And in the darkness, the flame burns. Calm and quiet. Unwavering. Gentle and steady. It does not eradicate the darkness, but softens it. Grants a peace somehow. Adds depth and warmth in a hollow of hope amidst the shadows. 

Haley of The Tiny Twig asked on Instagram what we're praying for (for ourselves) as the year draws to a close. I'm praying for a renewed spirit and a fresh start. Advent was dark and messy and overwhelming, and I find myself pausing each day, filled with gratitude for the coming of a Child. For a fresh start. A clean slate. For the hope of a new year and the promise of healing. 

In the midst of mess and pain, there can be joy, and there has been. One of my very best friends has been excepted to her dream school for a divinity program, and I've waited and hoped and prayed with her for this moment. One of my favorite bloggers and a lady near my heart (even though we've never met in real life) just revealed she and her adorable husband are expecting. It feels like Christmas to see people, that I root for and cheer on and care for, have their dreams come true. I told my friend that it feels like those are my Christmas presents this year...seeing their joy, the goodness that has been granted them. 

The flame in the darkness. The promise in the waiting. The hope amidst the despair. The Christmas rising through Advent. 

This isn't a "woe is me" post in the hopes of garnering pity. There are so many blessings and forms of joy in my life...but this IS a post for any of who are struggling too. Who feel weary and overwhelmed. Who haven't felt the holiday spirit yet. For the broken-hearted, the tired, the lonely, the empty. 

This is for those who have had an Advent full of pain and mess. 

Christmas is coming. The hope of a Child and of healing is drawing near. May this week be one of peace and stillness, even amidst the pain and mess.