Words from the Wise

  • It may not happen the first, or second, or hundredth time. But it will happen. -SWS
  • Your safe place and person will find you if you keep yourself open. -SBS
  • Doesn’t matter how it got there, just being there at all is exhausting. -ABJ
  • You do deserve to be a priority. -CSL
  • It is hard but you deserve so much better and to be treated and cherished for the wonderful person that you are. -MK
  • If [they] can’t make it work at the beginning when it should be sunshine and rainbows, what’s going to happen when the shit gets real?! -BH
  • It can hurt and still be the right choice. It’s okay to walk away from someone unable or unwilling to give you the basics. -SMS

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I’ve put myself in therapy. I’m not sure if a I’ve written about this yet, or only crafted words mentally. But here we are nonetheless. I absolutely adddddoreeee my therapist. She’s real and relatable. And just such a good fit for me. And for this, I am thankful. Here’s why I think it’s important to share I’m in therapy:

  • As a helping professional in the counseling field, sometimes folks think we have all the answers. We don’t, and we need space to process as well.
  • I talk a lot about my struggles on this blog, or what I’m wading through at any given moment. It became time not to do that “alone” and I want to be transparent about that.
  • There is a stigma around therapy and I want to do what I can to help normalize that.

So why, why did I decide therapy was a necessary thing to add to my life? Well, first, there has been a lot of grief and loss in my life in the last ten years. Two uncles, my grandma, my mom, and two aunts all passed. and in there has been many family dynamics that have been heavy to sort through on top of the grief. Couple that with an uncomfortable work environment that I stayed at for way too long. And add in a dash of a roller coaster dating experience over the last two years and it all just felt like too much. I was overwhelmed and really needed help processing and moving forward. Thankfully the job aspect worked itself out on its own. But the grief and the dating are daunting and emotionally charged to say the least.

Much grief never goes away. It sticks with you and you learn how to deal with it. I like to say, and tell others who need to hear it “you get through it, you never get over it”. And it’s so true. You live with it your whole life. And sometimes it feels less present, or you forget for a moment. But it’s still there. It’s a part of your story and you’ll carry it forever.

The same is true with relationships: romantic or platonic. They enter our lives and some are short and some are long. But all are important for the time they are with us. One of my biggest flaws is that I hate goodbyes. I’ll let people stick around (or I’ll stick around rather) for much longer than I should just because I don’t want to let go. I’m working on it. And I admit how difficult it is, and how I’m learning boundaries because this flaw has affected my own well-being and mental health on more than one occasion. I’m trying to be clear about my boundaries. Because if others don’t know, they can’t accommodate or act accordingly. But here’s the thing, boundaries don’t work unless you stick to them.

Mind. Blown.

And when people can live inside of the boundaries you set, and you can communicate, and compromise—it’s wonderful. And when they can’t, we’ll damn. You better assess whether you need to move on (likely) or compromise the boundaries you put in place. For me the recurring theme (though I don’t like it, and sometimes don’t listen) is to move the eff on.

These things I’ve learned, and I am continuing to learn. And learning is all a part of the growth journey. and I believe in growth, I believe in us becoming more and more ourselves. I believe in mistakes and failures and heartbreak and grief. Because it makes our stories ours. I believe that how we deal with our brokenness shows our true character. And I believe none of us go it alone, whether we realize it or not.

I don’t regret any of what I’ve been through, though sometimes I wish I had acted or reacted differently. But I am who I am because of each moment and experience. And for that I am truly thankful on this day.

Grace, Under Fire?

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time you’ll know there are certain themes that come up here often: grief, faith, relationships, honesty/vulnerability, etc. But recently I’ve found my mind circling (and circling and circling) back to the idea of grace.

I offer the people in my life a lot of grace. Sometimes admittedly maybe more than I should (meaning I sacrifice bits of me in the process). But my faith tells me to have grace (because God gives me grace every day of my life). And I was raised to have grace toward others as well.

But here’s the thing. There is a limit to grace. Or maybe rather, you can have grace and still have boundaries. This is admittedly difficult, for me at least. It takes me a while to figure out what my boundaries need to be with others (they are usually not the same). And then it can be a bit before implementation. I’m getting better. Mostly because I’ve let others mistreat me enough to know I don’t like that for my life trajectory. I’m better at saying “no”. I’m better at expressing my needs. And better at walking away if those needs can’t be met (or just blatantly aren’t). I’m not perfect. But I’m better. Because grace and understanding where another is coming from is important. But making it clear people can’t walk all over you or take advantage is essential.

But Where Is She?

I don’t like November. I don’t like March. I don’t find that ever changing. I’ve been distracted, and to some extent disconnected. I admit it, even though I don’t like it and it feels uncomfortable. Work has been hectic (and stressful–but not in a debilitating way). I’ve been trying to navigate a relationship that came back around briefly (and I put more effort into it than it was worth). I have been swamped with school work and projects and having a lot on my plate to complete before the end of the semester. And if I’m completely honest, it’s the first time in a long, long, long time that I haven’t felt her all around. Well, what does that mean??

There are many things that I have chosen to take a hiatus from through the end of the year: church, dating, Facebook…Have I somehow also lumped her in with the others? In no way has that been my intention. The last few years have been so strange, I can’t imagine what she would have been like through this whole pandemic, whether at home and thriving, or in her care facility just getting by. So for that, I am thankful…that this hasn’t been her experience.

I’m afraid she is slipping through my fingers, little by little. I’m afraid my job, and my friends, and my dating antics, and my school work are taking over all of my brain power and pushing her out. November is a heavy month. And it feels heavy because: there is endless testing for our students, it’s cold and rainy, people are navigating (yet again) what the holidays and their traditions look like in this pandemic world, I’m navigating what my faith and faith community looks like or needs to look like, I’m figuring out relationships or the absence of relationship and if/how I’m okay with that. It’s a lot. It’s heavy. But the usually heaviness of her birthday right around the corner hasn’t hit me. I haven’t embodied that like the previous years. And I’m not sure if I’m sad and appalled by this, or if some how I’m grateful and relieved by it. Nevertheless, it is strange.

Perhaps I just need to do a a full life assessment/evaluation. Am I where I want to be? With so much growth in the last two years, where do I want to head next? What should my focus be? How do I want to keep her central to me? And what else takes center stage along with that? I’m not sure I know any of those answers in this moment. And that is okay. I am more and more okay with the unknown. But I also need to have a skeleton of a plan. And so, it’s time to get to work, dig deep, discern. It’s time to bloom.

Credit: The Avett Brothers