Because I owe it to you…

There’s a person here who needs to hear this. Who needs the whole story. But the thing is, I’m not ready to share it. Yet.

I’m not ready to be that vulnerable. To let everyone know what has really happened, how bad things have gotten. What you need to know is that I made it. I made it to the other side, and I came out stronger.

The truth is that things have gotten ugly and real before. I’ve sought help, received help, and can say that help saved me. My people saved me. I saved myself.

In lieu of recent events at my high school, I feel compelled to share my story. Who I am and what I experience on a daily basis. But I can’t. I’m too scared and I’m too embarrassed. There is a stigma, and in my profession it’s unacceptable to be less that 100. No one will understand because even I don’t understand.

What I can tell you is that you should stay. See your tomorrows. Your tomorrows are so full and bright. And we need you. We need your brand of crazy and fun and real and beautiful. Graduate. Get married. Have babies. Experience it all. Only connect.

In saying all of this, I guess what I’m trying to get to is that my real real story will be saved for now. I will tell you in person if you ask, but I will not publish it on the internet. Because not everyone is ready for it, and I’m not either.

I love you. You that is reading this and understands what I’m talking about. You that writes and feels too much and seeks a remedy. You that prays for help and you that hurts. You know who you are. And I love you. And I see you. And know that tomorrow is worth it. You are worth it. Everything.

Stories are sacred, but living life in the light is brave. I try to live life in the light and not cover everything with a smile. I hope this makes sense, and that you understand that just because people seem okay doesn’t mean they are. It’s okay to hurt, and it’s even more okay to live with that hurt and push to tomorrow. Emotions are essential to our being, and I don’t want to live life afraid of them. I want to embrace them. It is what it is. Ride the wave.

I think a lot of us are grieving right now. For a girl and for a feeling. A feeling we know all too well. It hurts deep and will for many days to come, but we can find our hope in God. I can’t help but feel that Jesus embraces it all. He loves the parts of us we don’t understand and has wide open arms for us despite everything we do.

Here’s to living in the light and embracing it all. I love you and I see you and I’m here for you.

XX

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And so it goes…

Right now? I’m eating candy in the bathtub. This time last week? I was checking all the things off my to-do list. Life be like that.

And so it goes. Since I last updated you all, I had some health issues (I’ll talk about those when I’m ready) and some life changes. I’m thankful for the adversity and deciding to use every bump in the road as a learning opportunity.

As things stand now, I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I’m thriving and enjoying the ride. I no longer let obstacles stop me in my tracks, but rather embrace them. I am living.

I now wake up at 3 am to get a workout in at 4 to leave for work at 6. I work my ass off and don’t apologize for being who I am. I let go of what doesn’t benefit me. I appreciate the time I have with family at the end of the day. And I rest. I take my medicine and supplements like I should, and I drink plenty of water. I eat well, and I’m not afraid of carbs. I only connect.

I’m not the best at keeping up with this blog, but I hope that changes in the days to come. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I am constantly molding this platform to what it needs to be and I thank you for walking beside me as I work out all the kinks.

Here’s to balance and new beginnings. I hope to see you here more often.

XX

Life’s Hard Seasons

I’m writing this from the comfort of my bathtub while I have a glass of wine and a leftover birthday cupcake. I’m using my blog as a diary tonight. I’m not coming here to whine; I’m coming here to document so that I can look back in six months and know how strong I am for getting through this.

This is a hard season of life for me right now. Sometimes life is just like that. It’s trying and and full of questions. Nothing exponentially terrible is going on, just a lot of little hardships.

For starters, I’ve spent the last week in and out of the ER with Cooksey. All is well now, but he had a big bad asthma attack and then got bronchialitis (something like RSV) which is harder for asthma kids to get over. He is healthy now and we are on a good amount of medicine to keep him that way, but as a parent there is nothing harder than seeing your baby in distress. The poor kid couldn’t breathe well, and he’s too little to tell me what hurts. So we spent some sleepless nights monitoring his every move, and lots of long days doing the same. He is on the mend now, and not that it really amounts to anything, but I had to miss 5 days of work this week and that’s been really hard on me. I’m not saying I would have rather been at work, but as a teacher it’s a little different. You miss lessons and events; I missed deadlines and presentations. I just feel frazzled after a week away, and that doesn’t do my stress level any favors. I am so thankful I was able to be with Cook and that he is doing much much better now, but this Sunday night is a little harder than most. Not only do I have to take my baby back to daycare tomorrow, but I have to return to work where I have a lot to catch up on. Add to this all that my mom had to leave yesterday and I miss her like crazy. We’ve talked on the phone three times today because we’re both mopey about it.

Secondly, Chad and I will soon both be commuting 30 minutes (which I know isn’t terrible). This is news because it leaves us both 30 minutes from Cook. It would be the same way if we lived in the city but we don’t and it stresses me out. I love where I work and so does he, and we can’t make a move til our damn house sells so I feel stuck. We can’t decide where to go or what to do. I know God’s timing and plan will be perfect. But the waiting is hard.

Lastly, I feel like I’m failing. My house is never clean, I’m overweight, and I just can’t get anything together. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong and I also feel like others are noticing that. I mean to say I don’t think this is all in my head. I really think it’s taking a toll on me and my relationships with others. But I work and I commute and I try my hardest to be everything for everyone. But it’s still not enough. I just feel a little lost and hopeless.

Please don’t get me wrong. The good outweighs the bad and I have so much I am thankful for. But you can be thankful while going through a tough time. I’m even thankful for the tough time. I know I’ll come out on the other side and I’ll look back on this all and think “I knew you could.” But right now things just kind of suck. And that’s ok.

There will be more hard seasons in life, and mine is by no means the hardest. But my heart is a little achy and I feel a little lost.

So what I want to do is list what I’m working towards. If you feel so inclined, feel free to pray for these things for me. Comment your prayer requests and I’ll do the same for you.

1. I need our house to sell.

2. Chad and I need a plan for our lives.

3. I need to take care of myself and my health.

4. I need Cook to stay happy and healthy.

5. I need to get my priorities straight.

There’s plenty more to add to the list but I already sound whiny enough so we’ll stop there. If you’re reading this I am thankful for you. I know this was a crappy post, but I needed to write it. And I am thankful you took the time to read it. Go be blessed and I will do the same.

XX

To Hell with It All

That’s my attitude. To hell with it all. Let me explain.

Three very life-changing things have happened/come into my life in the last month. I want to detail them in this post, and I hope you will find encouragement in them as well.

The first: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Incredible book. Incredible title. Incredible change in my mindset. This book is not about becoming a nihilist or flipping everyone you meet the bird. It’s about choosing what you give a fuck to. See, you’re given so many fucks (or cares, sorry Mom and Dad) in your life. It’s up to you to decide what you give a care to. For example, that bossy team member at work that seems to critique your every move? Don’t give that your fuck. Someone thinks ill (and probably wrong) of you? Don’t give that your fuck. Your fucks should go to you and yours, not them and theirs. Get your priorities straight. That’s my shift lately. I give all my cares and effort to my husband and child, myself, my God, my family, and my students. Not to an offhanded comment, not to someone else’s perception of me, and certainly not to anything that has the potential to bring me down. This book is so rich, and is about way more than bad words and cool attitudes. It’s about an outlook on life that will get you through life, sane and whole.

2. homecoming queen? by Kelsea Ballerini

I’ll link the video below because it’s that important to me that you give this song a listen. For the record, I was not homecoming queen of my high school. That went to a junior my senior year (conspiracy theory) but I digress. This song resonates with all the good girls, the try-hards, the yes men, the people pleasers. We hide behind a smile, say “fine” when things are not, and spend every ounce of energy on other people’s emotions and validations. My favorite line: “what if I told you the sky wouldn’t fall if you lost your composure, said to hell with it all.” Abso-freaking-lutely. To hell with it all. To hell with social media and doing everything for everyone else and fitting into a box I’ve outgrown. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for truth and honesty even if that’s ugly and can’t be influenced. I’m sacrificing my composure to be true to myself. Taking off the metaphorical crown and replacing it with the ball cap of authenticity. To hell with it all.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PC0nSbgwAqw

3. Teachers, Write! in Houston, TX

Somehow, I conned some people into letting me take two days off work to go to a writing conference. At said conference, we were encouraged to take off our teacher hats and think of ourselves solely as writers for two days. Easy enough. But it challenged me in the best ways. I wrote pieces about my sweet husband that brought tears to his eyes. I wrote about my own disorder, read it to a group of forty strangers (while convulsing), and also made my mom cry. I cried too. It was an emotional experience. It made me grow as a writer and as a teacher. It truly changed me.

The most noteworthy occurrence of the whole conference happened on day two. Day one was spent writing fictional works, which isn’t my strong suite but was fun. Day two was spent writing nonfiction narratives. My cup, nay, my kettle of tea. However, the instructor made it quite clear through her text selection and response to my writing that she is less than fond of white women. Probably white people in general, but I got the feeling that she wasn’t impressed with the story I had to tell. After I vulnerably shared my piece on my growth as a wife, she responded with a simple “okay” and moved on. However, when the outspoken, young, black female shared her story of being a Southern Baptist who wore jeans to church, she gave a response worthy of Maya Angelou herself. “The shift in your perspective was phenomenal. I don’t know if that was on purpose but wow incredible job.” Okurrrr.

I understand that as a white person I have no room to talk about oppression or being a minority or being under or misrepresented. But in a society (or from a person) that preaches inclusion and acceptance, it would have been nice to have felt heard in this space. It felt the opposite of safe. It felt hostile and judgmental. I’m assuming she thought that because I am a young white woman I have no true burden to bear, no hidden scars, no story to tell. But boy is she wrong. My story is hidden in the depths of my heart. Not everyone gets to hear it yet. But it’s a story worthy of recognition and acceptance. It needs to be told and it damn sure matters. Not just to other white women but to humanity in general. She could even learn a thing or two from my story.

I exited the conference leaving only one comment on my evaluation form: “Represent ALL stories. Hear ALL stories. Acknowledge ALL stories. They matter.”

I am charged now more than ever to write and tell my story. I’m pretty sure the piece I shared with the large group today will become part of my memoir. My story.

These blessings and this mental shift have lead me to a new direction. Last week, I felt like the world’s worst mother, wife, teacher, you name it. I considered not teaching anymore to pursue an online boutique for boys clothing. (I know, right?)

But after I shared today, one of my group members said these words: “I could see you writing a whole book on that story.”

Whoa. Hey, God.

That was a God move.

I am right where I need to be, doing what I need to be, and making a difference. I need to stop worrying about what people think or expect of me and start being true to myself. I am a writer, a damn good one, and I have a story that needs to be told.

I hope you’ll look into the things I’ve mentioned, maybe spend a few of your fucks on them, and do something for yourself. You matter. Your story matters. And despite what anyone else says or thinks, you’re doing an incredible job.

Lose your composure and say to hell with it all.

XX

Be Spiritually Rich

What does it mean to be spiritually rich? To understand being rich, we need to know what it means to be poor. And chances are we’ve all been poor in one way or another.

Being spiritually poor means being depleted. It means having no source of hope and guidance, no love to look to, and no helping hand. It is being emotionally and mentally exhausted. It is your mind wandering to places it shouldn’t. Your feet going down a path not meant for you. It is searching for yourself in things that can never fill the void. It is feeling washed up, used, empty. I’m sure you can think of a time you’ve been in this pit. Maybe you’re there now. Being spiritually poor means living in nothingness.

In contrast, being spiritually rich is an ocean of prosperity and love. It is knowing who you are and what you’re worth. It is trust and honesty. It is meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships. It is enjoyment in the simple things, the things that make you happy. It is being a source of light and a guiding beacon of hope for others. It is a fountain of good. It is having a foundation that cannot be shaken.

Our culture seems to put being financially rich over being spiritually rich. I, too, am guilty of placing my focus on worldly things rather than my spiritual life and wellbeing. With the start of school approaching and things like the Nordstrom sale happening all over social media, it is easy to say “I will be happy if I have these things.” These “things” cost money, and sometimes more. Being so caught up in owning certain things or looking a certain way can be detrimental to our spiritual health. How quickly we forget that God looks at our inward appearances over outward beauty. How quickly we forget that it is more important to be kind than to be trendy.

I am so guilty of this, and I let social media consume me. I think “I need a new Tory Burch bag to start the school year right, and I have to have the cutest classroom.” In reality, those kids don’t care if I use my backpack from last year and don’t have a brand new accent chair in the corner. They want someone who shows up every day ready to love on them and teach them and be an example for them. Same goes for the adults in our lives. They couldn’t care less what you wear, only how you treat them.

I want to be spiritually rich. I want to be a women so on fire for God that it shines outward. I want to be that beacon for hope and love. I want to be interesting and inspiring. I want riches, but of the eternal kind.

Let’s focus on our spiritual well-being over our closets and bank accounts. Those things are also fine to be aware of and interested in, but not at the expense of your faith or stability. I still love shopping and love reading fashion blogs, but I also need to love quiet time with God and love reading my bible. It’s all about balance and priorities.

Be spiritually rich.

XX