The way I see it, there are all of these fine little lines connecting us and this year, I’ve been focusing on illuminating the paths between me and you, between me and the world. For the past four months, the word “relationship” has taken root in my heart and dictated my thoughts and actions. I have tried to call more, to write more, to text more, to show up more. I have worked on fostering new relationships, nurturing old relationships, and repairing broken relationships. I want to be intentional with my love and energy; I want to cherish each piece of twine that links me to everyone in my life.
But resolving to work on relationships is exactly that: work. And it’s hard work at that. One tether pulls on me harder than another and suddenly I’m neglecting one of the many precious people I’m connected to. Or I’ve ignored one path for so long that it’s hard to find my way back to that lovely soul. Or connections tug equally and I’m forced to make a choice between two people that I love.
I’ve found myself wishing for more hours in a day so that I can be everywhere, be everything, for everyone. I have this horrible habit of focusing on failure instead of success and, if I’m grading my current relationship work, I’m struggling somewhere at C level. I forget to reply or write back or return a call. I cancel plans or I make the wrong choice or I shirk my responsibilities. It feels like I’m failing.
I have to remind myself that resolving to change, to be better, is never easy. And failure is part of growth. And the simple fact that I care about my perceived failures shows that I am indeed changing and growing. The challenge now is to learn to handle the guilt that comes with loving so many people and not being able to be everything for them.
At the end of the day, it’s so easy to shut people out but it has been so much more rewarding to work on reaching out instead. And yeah, I fail sometimes (most times), but I’m trying, I’m learning, I’m growing and I’m better for it. By focusing on the wonderful web of relationships in my life, I have found my roots, my footing in this unsure world. And to whoever is on the other side of this string, I hope you feel that connection too and hope you know how glad I am to be connected to you.
Today you are 8 years old. It simultaneously feels like an eternity and no time at all since you were born. I still vividly remember standing at home in my kitchen and getting the call from our dad that you were almost here.
I was baking cookies. And I was terrified. I didn’t know how to be a big sister. I didn’t know if I could open my heart up to a little brother. I didn’t know if I could handle the changes you would bring to our family.
Oh how silly I had been. You have filled a spot in my heart I didn’t realize was missing. You are the most magical combination of all the things I love; of Daddy, of your mama, of Rebecca, of Molly. I see so much of myself in you, too, but thankfully only the good bits.
I hate more than anything that I haven’t spent every day of the past 8 years with you. Life is weird and families are complicated, but somehow you’ve always known that and you’ve always understood. Thank you for that.
It has been, and will continue to be, the greatest privilege to grow up with you. I am at my weirdest when I’m with you, and I mean that in the best way possible. Never change.
This week has been very soul-searchy for me. Two of my personality traits have been crossing hairs in the most unfortunate way. I am widely and easily fascinated on one hand and fiercely in need of a plan on the other. I want to know my steps 5 in advance, but that’s really hard to do when you’re not sure which direction you’re going.
Things I do know for sure: Uggs and a cardigan will always be comfortable. Loving my lazy Friday OOTD. Instead of focusing on the future, I spent the morning working on the here and now. There’s something so grounding about tackling short-term projects. I may not know where I’ll be in a year from now, but I do know that my education portfolio is going to look amazing!
In addition to working on school projects, I took some time to do a little bit of redecorating. I want to fill my whole wall up with pictures and quotes; I love being surrounded by things that make me happy. (Honestly, it’s so illogical to decorate more when I’ll be moving out in a few months, but here we are.)
“Do what you love” is a scary statement when you love so many things but life is a grand adventure and I intend to take full advantage of it.
Last night, after explaining the story behind my Perry the Platypus pillow pet, I told my housemates “I hope I always love silly stuff like this.” That offhand comment got me thinking about growing up and changing and the Great Unknown and I think I sorted out what I’m really scared of: I’m afraid that I’ll stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
After years of not knowing who I was or who I wanted to be, I finally feel confident in my weirdness and I have a vision for my life. I finally feel good about where I am. I’m good at being a fledgling adult whose diet consists exclusively of Dr. Pepper, Mexican food, and whatever my sisters cook for me. I’m good at going to class and doodling Disney characters and writing hypothetical lesson plans. And I’m very good at wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
I’m afraid that, as I move away from a college kid and into a full blown adult, I will lose my sense of me-ness. Everyone talks about growing up as settling down, which is lovely sentiment, but all I hear is stagnation and conformity. I don’t want to settle down because when you settle down, you stop playing with Legos and you stop walking on the edges of curbs like a tightrope and you stop getting excited about really weird sunglasses. And you stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
I’m not so much afraid of the unknown; after graduation there’s a thousand and one different things that I could do and I’m sure that the right path will become apparent. But I’m afraid of losing myself in the process. Some people believe that we are constantly changing and becoming better but I’m not so sure about that. What if we’re just slowly loosing bits and pieces of ourselves, settling into a rut and leaving the more eccentric parts of us behind? What if growing up is just shaving off the parts of yourself that don’t fit into the mold of “adult”?
I never want to lose my eccentricities. I never want to settle. I want to be eighty eight years old riding Space Mountain at Disney World. I want to be that grandma with green hair. I want to be the crazy teacher who plays with her class at recess. And I want to never stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
This morning has been a luxurious exercise in slowing down. My only class was cancelled, replaced with a quick group assignment (that my partner I cleverly handled via email). I got to lazily drink my coffee and shower without rushing. I had time to do tidy up my room and do a load of laundry. After feeling meh for over a week, today’s slow pace was much needed.
It’s a glorious thing to spend the morning in your robe and I’m embracing the pants-less life quite well. OOTD: Pink polka dot robe and slippers.
This past summer, I broke my lifelong habit of biting my nails. Since then, I’ve been celebrating this achievement by keeping my nails painted in my favorite colors. I replaced my chipped magenta with a sweet pale pink.
This pressed juice y’all. It is easily my favorite drink in the whole world. Who knew ginger and lime could be so delicious!?! I can never find it in my regular grocery stores, so it’s always a special treat when I get my hands on some.
I’ve implied in other posts that I have the greatest Mama in the whole world, but now is the time to boast outright. She’s the queen of gifts, and last weekend when I went home, she had these great books waiting for me.
The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal and Savor by Shauna Niequist, a journal and a devotion book. Oh they are both just so lovely! I spent some time in both of them this morning, reading and reflecting. I am so blessed to be able to have mornings like this to rejuvenate and refuel. It’s been the perfect little reset to go break out of the fog I’ve been in.
I’m an avid journal-er. I’m practically swimming in beautifully bound pages, some nearly full, others waiting for inspiration to strike. I’ve got journals for lists and journals for bad days and one journal filled with an extended letter to someone I haven’t met yet. I have a journal full of original songs lyrics and poems and doodles. I fully embrace the fact that I’m sappy and nostalgic and have no plans of changing my journaling ways.
I also have audio journals. For almost a year now, I’ve been cultivating monthly playlists. Each one is a snapshot of a chuck of time, a record of what I loved for those weeks. Cheesy pop, twangy country, old songs, new songs; like all the good things in life, there’s no rhyme or reason to them.
Here’s my Spotify playlist for this past month: January 2016
I love that crick in your side you get from laughing too much and I love it when your face hurts from smiling all day and I love feeling so content that time seems to stop. I love those really really good days. And, more often than not, my days are really really good. Most days I’m giggling with my best friend and I’m doodling Disney characters and I’m scheming up some fantastic new dream.
But some days I’m not okay. Every now and then, my normal type-A-levels of stress and anxiety increase astronomically and find myself in a funk. Right now, my eye has been twitching nonstop for a week and I can’t quite muster up the gumption to go to a meeting that I really should go to. My hands jittery, my insides ache, and all I want to do is get in bed. I go from happy, bubbly me to a shaking ball of anxiety in an instant.
It sucks. It sucks to not be okay. It sucks to feel icky and lonely and bogged down. But that’s reality. Some days you aren’t okay.
There’s a silver lining to these junky days: I’m reminded how thankful I am for people who know how to love me. I’m surrounded by people who know to feed me and listen to me and let me be alone. I’m sure here in a few days, I’ll come out of this little funk I’m in and I’ll be back to laughing too loud in public places.
For now though, I’ll call my mom every three hours and watch movies that make me cry and eat the food my sister fixes for me.
Some days you aren’t okay. And that’s okay.