you don't need to live there

IMG_3103Tuesday was an off day. It was just weird. And truthfully, there was no reason for those feelings. I have so many good things on the horizon. Like a conference in Chicago [tomorrow!], a flight to San Francisco on Friday to head on to Australia; a trip we've been planning for over a year now.

And we’re finally able to do it. I am so excited, truly.

It was also one of those perfect Fall days. It was glorious really. I had a morning all to myself to write and cook and clean.

Can you see my hesitation to be honest when folks asked, “How are you?! Aren’t you SO excited?”

Yes, yes I am. I feel abundantly blessed and completely undeserving. But if you leaned a little closer and really had the time to sit and stay a while, I would have said, “I feel a little insecure today. And I don’t really know why.”

I would’ve told you I felt like a bad friend, like maybe folks were going to desert me. I felt like I was back in elementary school and the only one not invited to Susie’s birthday.

I would have told you a complete stranger asking about Chinese food was the sweetest interaction I had all day.

I'll explain.

Two women were asking another lady if there was a Chinese restaurant close by. They were so cute and sweet and so excited to share a meal together. I jumped in and provided another option - a sushi place at the other end, since Chinese food was nowhere to be found.

I quickly apologized for being nosey and interrupting. As I clearly eavesdropped on their conversation while walking by. Something I NEVER do.........

The lady asking looked at me with bright eyes and a warm grin, “What? NO! You are PERFECT. And we just so appreciate you for it!”

Perfect? Me?

I know she wasn’t really saying that to me, rather to the information I provided but for some strange reason, it was exactly, EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that moment on that day.

Because if I am being honest, on that perfect, blue sky, sunny day I felt like I was losing, like maybe I was failing. I felt so small and insecure.

I felt like old wounds, memories from the past were creeping to the surface and seeping into my day and trying to steal all the joy. They were sneaking in and making me believe things that weren’t true.

Have you had that happen, friend?

We heal from past bruises but I’m not sure if we ever really forget them.

Like, I'll never forget how my best friend from first to third grade picked on me daily. And how I just wanted her to like me so bad that I took it. I took the mean words and awful looks because being beside her, having someone to play with at recess, was better than being alone.

I can’t forget that time in the bathroom. How the girls I spent most of my time with were talking about me. I put my feet up in the stall and pretended I wasn’t there so I could hear those awful, mean words.

I’ll never forget being told, “Yeah, I know we were friends yesterday and the day before. But I have a new best friend now."

Over and over again.

I know, out loud, this might seem foolish and silly. You might be thinking, “That was so long ago. Kids are mean. Get over it.”

And I don't say these things to have you join a pity party with me. As painful as those moments were I am fully aware some folks had it way harder. My heart aches for those stories.

And I am grateful for what those moments taught me. You better believe I have a zero tolerance for bullying and unkind words and will tell you about that.

I am grateful I notice the person standing by themselves or hiding by a wall at a party. My husband giggles at the way I smile at people when they walk into public spaces, like a coffee shop or gym, it's not even my home.

But something in me wants that person to feel like they are welcome here.

The truth is, when we dig real deep to those parts of our insides, the ones we don’t always want to see, we realize so many of our insecurities in the now, are a result of those times long ago.

In so many ways, I am still that little girl begging for other people’s approval. I still want to belong, be accepted just as I am and fear so much that a friend will find someone better.

And Tuesday, for reasons unknown to me, felt like that.

But Wednesday feels a heck of a lot brighter.

So maybe you needed to hear its okay if today’s weird. Maybe, you needed to hear – you are more than who you've been.

You are more than what’s happened to you.

And despite our culture shouting, just get over it – pull your boot straps up and keep on trucking. Sometimes, all we need is to feel the muck and sit in it for a little.

We don't have to live there. But we do need to visit once in a while.

Sometimes we need to hear we’re perfectly enough just as we are. We don’t need an upgrade or filter or shinier model.

You’re winning dear one, even if you feel like a total failure on a Tuesday. And those things that happened to you – it’s okay if you aren’t over it. It’s okay if you're still working on it. You take your time friend. You take all the time you need.

I’ll be here waiting on the other side.

xoxo

happy birthday wee spoon

spoonful 7I've missed this little space. My head was a little fuzzy with planning and dreaming. All the while, thoughts jumped out at me and I so wanted to share them but I struggled to get myself back here. I had so many thoughts, so many lessons to sift through, that I got stuck. I got stuck on where to begin.

But today is really special to me. Today the wee spoon turns one. I know that might seem really small; it might seem like nothing big. But it's huge for me.

All you mommas out there know [God bless you by the way] that so much growth and change happens in just one year. Your little one starts so helpless and sleepy, so in need of you all the time but with each day they learn to smile and reach and crawl.

They still need you but they start to form into a person apart from you – they start to grow little wings.

It’s a miracle, really.

I started this little space four days after my 26th birthday. It was a present to myself; a present to be bold and brave and try something that had been nudging and yanking at my heart.

I figured people are typically nice around your birthday. If I ever wanted to be super vulnerable and share what was on my heart there's no better time than around the day I was born, right?

I mean, no one would tell me my blog was poop on my birthday.

I had a rush of anxiety after that first post. I specifically remember driving in my car, a few days later and my hands were wet with sweat. My stomach flipped upside down. I thought I might faint.

I was having a vulnerability hangover.

It’s a phrase I’ve borrowed from an author I love and admire. It’s that moment you wonder, "Did I say too much? Did I really just share my pain and struggles and hit publish for anyone to see?”

You’re thoughts revert from “Good job, you did it lady!” to “think anyone would notice if I crawled in a hole and never came out?”

I haven't committed or stuck with hardly anything for more than a year, other than marriage of course. Though this space is different. I didn’t vow in front of God and the most important people in my life that I’d love this blank white space for better or for worse. That I’d show up – even on the days I didn’t feel like it.

I don't have anyone telling me I have to write.

I come here because I want it and need it. 

Truth is, I’ve always been more of a dreamer than a doer. I think that's what made starting this space so difficult because I knew if I dove in, my head would tell me to just give up when it felt hard, when I felt like I had nothing to say.

But my heart is stubborn and wouldn't let me turn around. My heart wouldn’t let this be a thing I did once and just let fizzle. It meant too much.

You, dear reader, mean too much. 

Because when it comes to words, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

I also knew when I showed up here, I had to give you my real heart, total transparency. I couldn’t just give you stories of things I’ve heard, the leftovers on my plate. I had to give you my experiences, my trials – my skinned knees and broken heart too.

And that meant not simply sitting behind a screen. It meant actually leaving this space to live with arms stretched open wide, it meant stepping outside my comfort zone and trying, verse never starting out of fear of falling.

It meant getting to know our neighbors by name and having honest talks with my husband in the thick of it instead of running to our room, closing the door and writing how I felt in my journal.

It meant getting out of bed and facing the day when I didn’t really want to.

I wish I could say the flu like symptoms subsided after writing here for a year. I still have moments of wanting to go into hiding after hitting the publish button or feeling like I just walked out my house with no clothes on.

But as quickly as those flu symptoms come so do all those good feelings too, feelings of freedom and strength and openness. Feelings of unlocking the parts of me that are begging to break through and be shared.

Feelings of connecting with a friend or stranger over our shared experience, story and struggle.

Feelings of learning that we really aren’t all that different.

We both want to be known and loved fully. We both want safe spaces to be vulnerable and share stories of shame. And we don’t want just a head nod or someone to say, “I’m sorry” we want someone to grab hold of us tight and walk with us through it.

This little space on the web has been my place to let all those thoughts and feelings rise to the surface. It's been a place to wrestle through struggles and dreams. It's been a place to connect and uplift and encourage.

It's been a place to finally recognize the parts that have been hiding.

I hope you know dear one, there is room for you here too. There is room for your voice, your ideas, and your dreams.

Don't think the mold has been voted on, we need you just as you are. Don't think the web is already crowded with voices; we need your voice too.

Don't think your story is small or insignificant. You're living a grand adventure, a beautiful romance, a story of forgiveness and getting up to try again.

Thank you for being here dear one, thanks for helping this space grow. I love you so much for it.

xoxo


p.s YOUR TURN. Tell me friend, what have you committed to lately? What have you stuck with, even on the days of doubt and uncertainty?

How has it felt to not give up? I want to hear about it.

On Sunday, November 1st at 9pm [EST] I'll pick one comment and send you a gift in the mail.

You see that journal way up top? You'll get that beauty. And even better, that journal features original artwork from a student in Kosovo.

That journal helps a woman go to college.

Check out Flora Stationary & take a peek at their bio below. I just adore what these women are doing.


 

flora stationaryFlora Stationery started in mid-2014 after one of the founders, Ashley VanBuskirk, travelled to Kosovo to work and study abroad. After meeting an inspiring young woman who was struggling to pay for a college education, Ashley and her sister, Victoria decided to start Flora Stationery. The goal of Flora is to create a sustainable scholarship fund for young women in developing countries who would otherwise not have the option to attend college. Since launching the organization, nearly 20 women have been supported on full-tuition college scholarships. 

Mission statement: Flora Stationery does not rescue women from poverty. Rather, we empower them with an education while enabling the consumer to be apart of this inspiring process of funding futures.