Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Not Being a Kid Person

So, I'm not a kid person.

I've kind of mentioned this here or there in the past, but I've never written a whole post about it. And then the other day, my Chrissy wrote this beautiful post all about her transition from single gal to live-in girlfriend of a man who has two children, and her journey to being a mom in that regard, and I just loved her honesty about the whole thing. So here's a whole bunch of my own honesty (don't worry, it has a good ending).

So as I said, I am not a kid person.

I have friends who are kid people. You know what I mean.....they gravitate toward children, could play for hours, are really good at pretending, etc. I think about pretending to be a pony for a couple hours (or a few minutes) on end and I want to poke my eyeballs out with the nearest capable object. (OK, dramatic. But it falls into the same category of hating improv games and karaoke -- you could say role playing is not my thing.) I don't know kid things. What snacks they can't eat, how to put a carseat in a car, how often they're supposed to nap, etc.

I kind of approach children like little adults. I like to ask them what books they're reading, how school is going, etc. I don't do well with kids who need to be constantly entertained. Or kids who whine incessantly. (I mean, we all whine sometimes, but, you know the type.)

After a few less desirable babysitting experiences as an early teen, I swore it off.

I got a job at age 15 in a shaved ice hut in a parking the I could make money some other way. I would turn down babysitting requests when they came in through family friends. The idea of being trapped in a home for a few hours with a few littles I didn't know at all ignited all kinds of anxiety in my insides. (Still does, even now, just thinking about it.) I'm not always quite sure how to talk to or interact with a kid I've just met, which is especially awkward because their parent is usually watching as I fumble through that initial scenario.

I had a f'reals complex about this for a long, long time.

The religious culture I grew up in places a lot (see: all) emphasis on the ultimate female role of motherhood. And every time I heard people talk about that subject, it kind of put a weight in my chest. I felt so unworthy, incapable, broken, flawed, etc. I'd watch my friends gravitate toward children and I just felt like something in me wasn't adding up right. Like somehow I was missing a fundamental piece of myself that I was being told I was supposed to have.

Imagine it this way: think of something you don't feel like you're good at, e.g. math, sports, science, etc. Now imagine that from an early age, you were assigned to a career in that particular field. And you were told on a weekly basis that this was THE most holy option for you, and THE only right way. Kind of feels like impending failure, right? A little bit like being trapped into something you're totally incapable of and totally afraid of.

So yes, I had a complex. I felt like other women were better than me, in some fundamental way. I felt like I had a stupid, dirty secret, that, if the nice Mormon boys I went out with knew about, they'd realize how much I was lacking and they wouldn't want me anymore. I'd think about meeting their families and be filled with terror at the idea of the guy seeing me awkwardly interact with his nieces and nephews without a chance to warm up to them or get to know them. Yikes.

But then...I became an aunt.

And suddenly, I discovered that I could like children. Not *all* children....but I liked those children. I liked the ones I knew. I could talk to them how I wanted and however much I wanted, I knew their personalities, they didn't fall into the categories of whiney or we got along. And I discovered just how much I love being Aunt Katie (which is A LOT). And that gave me confidence that I'd someday like my own children, too. And occasionally, I come across other children I'm not related to who I get along with (like my roommate's nephew, who left me this note outside my door last weekend). It's usually the smart, self-entertaining-yet-quirkily-chatty-when-they-want-to-be type. (So, pretty much what I enjoy in adult humans as well :)

I appreciate the candid honesty of other women who can admit to not liking children that much, either.

I had a teacher in high school, who had two teenage daughters of her own, who openly owned up to not being a kid person....but that she loved her own children. Is that possible? I'd wonder to myself if maybe that would be my own saving grace. And I think it will be.

One thing that really helps me is to remember that not all good, effective mothers are the same.

Some moms play with their kids every hour of the day. Some moms work full time. Some moms are good at being silly and playing pretend, and are highly involved with entertaining their children. Some moms let the siblings or little friends entertain each other while they get other stuff done. Some moms like to have book clubs and science projects with their children. Some moms like to hang out at home with their kids in the backyard or living room. Some moms like to go on adventures and field trips.

There's all kinds. It takes all kinds. And so many kids, from so many different types of moms, are still turning out normal and wonderful.

I've learned to believe that it's not about being one type of woman so that I can be one type of mom.

And once I realized that, I began to realize all the traits that I have that are going to make me a kicka$$ mom.....despite my non-love of make-believe and role-playing and all cheesy things in general :)

And since we're being all open and honest, here's a few of them:

  • Insatiable curiosity
  • Delight in simple things (like a ceiling full of glow stars at any age)
  • Sense of humor
  • A love of any and all babies (I'm all about that starter phase :)
  • Celebrating people's big and small achievements
  • Empathizing easily (my heart's all full of secondhand squish)
  • An ability to forgive quickly when people disappoint me
  • A general aversion to yelling or snide remarks
  • Validating people's feelings, big or small
  • Going out of my way to make people happy
  • Love of travel, adventure and exploring
  • Deep desire to bedazzle/create something every day
  • Little need for things to be overly classy/perfect (Will I put your odd, finger-painted masterpiece above the mantel and wear that macaroni necklace in public? You bet I will.)
  • Love of sports (both playing and cheering my people on)
  • Endless encouragement of others' dreams
  • How much I love being a big sister (overlaps with mom-hood, in my mind)
  • A willingness to just BE with my people. (If my kid has a bad dream or a bad day and just needs someone to sit on their bed with them and cry, or giggle, or pet their hair and quietly count those glow stars on the ceiling? I'm all over that. I already am all over that for my grown-up people.) that's just a few. And no, those might not be some of the more "typical" traits that I always equated with motherhood and measured myself as lacking. But I eventually learned to look at myself and realize that, if I had a mom like me, I think I'd be OK with that. And that took a lot of soul-searching to finally realize.

You know....square peg, round hole. Good mom? I believe so.

Now here's several photos of me and my children. And by that I mean, my siblings' children. And therefore mine. You know.

Monday, May 26, 2014

$300 Summer Road Trip Giveaway!

My name is Katie and I believe in road trips amen.

Some of my best life memories involve hitting the road with family or a group of friends. I mean, who didn't love the days of strapping an old TV-VCR to a crate with a bungee cord so you could watch Sandlot and What About Bob with your siblings on a never-ending drive to Texas? (Just me?) ANYWAY. I'm happy to be teaming up with a handful of bloggers to set you up with some summer cash so you can hit the road yourself. (Or buy like 20 Sandlot DVDs and a six-pack of DP because 'MERICA!)

Summer Roadtrip Giveaway

Let us help you out with your first road trip of the season by making your financial situation a little easier. How does $300 sound? Entries can be submitted until June 3rd. Open to international followers. All entries will be verified.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Break-Up Ledgers

If you ever want to know how I'm feeling, check the scraps of paper hiding in my bedroom and pockets.

I always write it down. All of it. All my feelings, thoughts, ramblings, when something big happens....that's how I process it. Sometimes I start writing with the intent to send it to someone or publish it here, but then realize by the end of writing that just getting the words out of me in the first place was all I had needed. It's like an emotional, literary purge.

Anyway, while poking around earlier today, I discovered a few things I'd written during the crumbled, burnt-ember ends of a few past relationships. I guess I never posted them know...what if the subjects of these pieces had checked my blog and seen them? No bueno.

But now that sufficient time has passed on each of these, I figured, why not share? So just in case you needed a little damper on your's two ghosts of broken hearts past :)

You are the first smudge on a clean slate.
The first almost, maybe, I'm trying, I tried, I'm sorry
The first tense shoulders and ducked head
My fault, your fault
We share this one.
We shared it til we split it
At the part where I wanted to bury the sword
and sink until the ground pinned me at the elbows
And you wanted to keep carrying it
And I'm sorry to leave it heavy in your arms like that
But what more was I ever good for?
For the record, I'm not that kind of girl.
Never, wasn't, aren't, won't be.
Even still,
You are the first smudge, but it's my guilty hands bearing half the ink.

It's almost like there is no name to you.
But you're everything, all at the same time.
I carefully practiced the way it should be. The way it would go.
I breathed in with steel toes
I had a system and a plan and a steady purpose
And I was winning. I was winning. I was winning.
I was winning and there was no room to slip or slide.
And then I woke up one day and realized I'd slipped anyway.
I didn't even see it coming but it blew right through me.
And my chest curved around the ache like a cannonball wound.
I breathed in with steel toes
but caught myself exhaling with weak knees
And it wasn't fair
It wasn't fair
It isn't fair
I did this right. I did this right. I did you right.
I filled in the lines and put things in their places
I filled in the lines and checked the boxes
I filled in the lines and dotted the i's
I filled in the lines from top to bottom and left to right
But I'll be damned if the spaces weren't always yours.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Say What You Wanna Say

First, I want to tell you about the photos in this post. Then I want to ramble about my life a bit.

My talented amiga Lydia of Photography Hill snapped these shots last weekend at Newport Beach. I love love love the colors/light in these photos. She's good at that kind of thing.

If you're a friend in AZ, tune in for this paragraph: Lydia offers this awesome one-year membership deal. Basically, you can subscribe to her photography services for a certain amount of hours, which you can spread out over the year however you please. Her goal is to help you capture those little life moments -- graduation, head shots, playing at the park, a reunion at the airport, birthday parties, your home being built, etc. Basically, all those times you wish you had someone following you around with a camera to capture memories. Sign up for a subscription with Lydia, let her know about your event/moment a week in advance, and she'll be there. And then you'll get lovely photos like the ones below. Cool idea, right? Right.

Camille said I looked like Sara Bareilles in the outfit I was wearing (and demanded that I sing snippets from that "Brave" song all day) (not mad about it) (love me some Sara B).

And now some rambly stuff about my life. 

Life is really good. I'm just really happy and calm. What's funny is that, in the past, I'd go through "happy" phases that mostly depended on my personal life, and work was mostly a thing I *had* to do. But lately, it's the 8-9 hours I spend at work every day that is feeding a large part of my happiness. So even when the inevitable little hiccups occur in my non-work hours, it feels good not to dread getting up in the morning and going to the office. So when work is already good AND I have a good day/evening/weekend of other stuff? It's like a bonus on an already good thing. It's working wonders on my overall calm and happy zen. The weather is warm, my days are good, and my soul is at rest. So much at rest that it makes my eyes leak a little now and again, for no good reason at all.

I have good things on the horizon.

I have Iceland in 12 days (!!!!!), and my best friend's wedding a week after I get back. I'm officially in the "mental packing" zone for Iceland, where I glance at sweaters and things in my closet and think, "I'll take that to Iceland!" The countdown is officially ON.

I would give you a juicy update on my dating life but there isn't much to say, other than heart feels more open than I expected it to feel right now. I had a weird winter (and OK, generally a weird couple years in that department) that gave me a crusty heart, to some degree. That's unlike me, so I didn't take well to the phase. I kept waiting for some bitterness and a sour attitude to hit me after my last go-round with matters-o'-love, but it never did. My heart just......handled it. I credit half of that to my stalwart little ticker, and the other half to some divine intervention, probably. I feel like I've been sorting some things out with God these last few months, and I still have a lot left to sort, but I love the moments when I can feel sure of things. And I do feel sure that there is someone watching out for me upstairs. And that maybe matters more to me right now, after a year of ups and downs and sideways and whatever, than all the other details I need to work out.

It's good to be in somebody's hands. (And very capable, heavenly, knows-me-better-than-I-know-myself hands, at that.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Interviews, Driving Stick & Doing Stuff that Scares Me

Yesterday a friend said to me, "You've worked harder at finding a job than almost anyone I know."

It was one of those really validating moments. I also really needed to hear it -- because I'm a month into my 5-month Google contract, and since interview processes around here can take close to 2 months, it's about time for me to start putting some feelers out to make my push to stay long-term.

When I realized last week that I could be headed into more rounds of interviews, my chest got a little tight. I don't love interviews. I mean, I love the hope they represent, and I was always grateful to have them during the last year amid all the many many (MANYMANYMANYMANY) job applications I submitted, but the actual interview experience makes me feel a little anxious. And sweaty. (Swanxious? No? I'll go now.)

Sometimes I wish interview processes could consist more of "let's hang out for a few days and actually work together, then you'll see that you like me and I'm good at what I do! I promise!" rather than "TELL ME WHY YOU'RE GREAT AND BE READY TO THINK FAST AND SOLVE HARD PROBLEMS IN 30 MINUTES READY GO ALSO DON'T MOVE YOUR ARMS TOO MUCH OR THEY'LL NOTICE YOU'RE SWEATING WHY DID I WEAR A SILK SHIRT ANYWAY DO I SWEAT MORE THAN OTHER PEOPLE I THINK I MIGHT." .....something like that.

Anyway, but that comment from my friend Bryce (thanks, if you're reading this!) gave me a little boost in confidence. All those job apps. All the interviews. All the late nights neurotically stalking job boards at 2am....I did all of that. For a long time, I gritted my teeth, day in and day out, and I did that. And it's gotten me to a really good place, even if it took a year and a lot of rejections along the way. And now it's like the top of the (ginormous) mountain is in sight and my legs are jelly and I'm just like "Do I have this in me?" but I've gotten a small taste of victory at my current vantage point and I'm ready to seal the deal. My jelly legs have a little juice left in 'em, but even if they don't, there's always army crawling up the last part of the trail.

I'm now 10 days into driving manual in my new car. Trying my very best.

What's amazing is that, 10 days ago, I was terrified of the whole mystique of learning to drive stick. And the first couple times I tried it wasn't easy at all. It was awkward, and made me not want to do it anymore. But since I signed the papers and owned the car......I kind of forced myself into just doing it. haha.

I bought the car on a Thursday night and decided to drive it to work on Friday morning. And you know what? I stalled a few times. And you know what else? The world kept turning and life went on. And that continued for a couple days. And after some feedback and more practice with a couple friends......suddenly, I could do it. My gear transitions are still a little struggly (is that a word? It is now) sometimes, but I don't stall anymore. And that was a huge step after just a few days.

More importantly, I'm not afraid of it anymore. And that's an even bigger step.

I could have kept driving my old car, because I currently own both, and put off the stick thing....and after 10 days, I would have still been afraid of driving June Cooper. But I jumped in with both feet and made myself just do it, so I'm not afraid anymore.

Basically I'm tying the two halves of this blog post together, the parts about my car and then the parts about stepping back into the ring for another match with job world, by saying that......I don't have to be afraid of these things anymore. Because sometimes all it takes is just diving in, taking a few knocks in the head (or stalls at intersections), and then one day you realize....I can do this. Something I couldn't do a few days or weeks or months ago, or something that I thought would never pan out.......I can do it, and it is panning out. And I can keep doing it, and things will keep panning out.

Sometimes I guess it just takes a few of those knocks in the head to realize the hits aren't as scary as you make them out to be.

Sometimes I think the fear is worse than the actual thing itself, really. And if there's one thing I've gotten good at in the last year, it's that whole "brave" thing. I can do brave. I'm good at brave. I'm ready for more brave.

Time for a relevant Rocky photo because ROCKKYYY:

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Why was I blogging?"

Today I am getting on a plane to head south for blogging purposes. Last year, almost to the day, for the same reasons, I hopped in a car with Chrissy and drove from AZ to California.

During the six-hour drive, we discussed everything from relationships to shoes to country music to my current job woes to Chrissy's photography dreams to buckets of chili to that amazing beef jerky place on the side of the road. In short, it was a good road trip.

We were headed to the Elevate Conference, a small (yet amazing!) blog gathering in Huntington Beach. After a joyous reunion with our Utah pals, Elise and Nichelle, we spent a day at Disneyland, followed by a day at Elevate.

And Elevate made me think: why was I blogging?

I'd been doing it for a few years, with varying levels of diligence, and in every style from "this is a journal of the last month of my life that only my family members will enjoy" to "kind of actually blogging some of my real thoughts, etc." to "planning meetups with Camille and using it for social purposes."

At Elevate in 2013, we talked a lot about vulnerability.

About being more honest. About being openly flawed. About being willing to put into words what other people are afraid to say, or didn't know how to say, but can relate to in a big way.

I pondered that the whole way home. And then I sat down and wrote this post. It was maybe my first really HONEST one, where I was worried about what people might think. The response was incredible -- suddenly people I didn't know were sharing my post on Facebook, and perfect strangers were emailing me directly to say thank you, or just to chat. (And of course there were the haters, as there always are with the honest posts -- that's the lame side of the vulnerability stick, but, shrug, whatevs.)

And that was just the beginning.

Before I knew it, I was laying my heart out all over my blog. And the responses and emails just kept coming. It's like I could finally see what it was that I really wanted out of my blog -- I wanted to put things into words that other people were afraid to say, or didn't know how to articulate. I wanted to be brave enough to say honest things, even if they were unpopular or uncomfortable. I've got words, and a platform to put them on, and that feels like a gift that I wanted to use positively and intentionally. I started discovering that the best way to do that was to check my inhibitions at the door and get REAL.

If you look over on the left sidebar of my blog, you'll see a list of Featured Posts.

Those posts mean the most to me, because they are the most honest and real ones. It's like a tidy little lineup of pieces of my heart right over there. (I always think, though I don't usually say it, that if a boy ever really wanted to know me or date me, that left sidebar is where he should start. I usually wait to see if they figure it out themselves ;)

It didn't hurt my new vulnerability kick that my life somewhat imploded just a couple weeks after Elevate last year. In some ways, heading back to Elevate this weekend feels like some kind of marker or milestone, because it was one of the last "stable" weekends of my life last year. From there came a series of life-drama, job-quitting, condo-leaving, parents'-house-living, soul-wrestling, northern-California-moving, job-finding, more-job-losing, many-months-of-unemployment-ing, scraping-by-on-savings-and-freelancing, praying-praying-praying, adventuring, new-life-finding, heart-breaking, heart-swelling, eye-opening......STUFF. My world just kind of split open for awhile there, and is just finally starting to settle into some kind of shape again. (And a really really good, worth-all-of-it shape -- I can tell.)

And I blogged so much of it.

I finally got brave enough to publicly talk about leaving my job, and getting on a plane to northern California with no real plan in mind, and then moving there a month later with only kind-of-a-real-plan in mind, and how humbling and soul-wracking all of it was. And every email or comment that said "thank you, I needed that" was like fuel that kept lighting the fire. My experiences and words meant something to someone, and the taste was addictive.

Elevate Conference last year was like a spark that lit something inside me, at a time when the universe seemed to know I really needed a spark to be ready for all that was coming my way.

And so, I'm heading south again to see my blog people, and to re-stoke that fire! Because while I'd like to say that maybe my life is settling down and the next year of my life might not be as eventful or full of risk and vulnerability as the last year.......the point is, you never know. But whatever it is that's in store for me, I've got all these thrumming words in my head and heart and hands, and all kinds of experiences ready to spill them out of me and into the blogosphere.

It's that particularly delicious kind of feeling.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I bought a car!

World, meet June Cooper. She is allllllll mine :)

A couple months ago when my beloved ol' CR-V started giving me guff, I decided it was time to cut my losses and move on to a new car before it all went to hell in a handbasket. I've never been a car person, but suddenly I was NEUROTIC about spying on cars on the road, looking at Autotrader until 2am, etc. I pretty quickly decided that I like hatchbacks (hot hatches, as they are lovingly called). I like the general size of the smaller ones, the shape of 'em, etc.

Truthfully, I knew in  my heart that the MINI Cooper was the one I wanted most.

I even said to my friend Scott, "I wish I could have the off-white one with the black hood stripe." After poking around at used prices, I quickly realized having such a specific dream was kind of tricky. So I moved on to other cars....Mazdas, VW's, Nissans....and most of them were OK, but none were ringing my bell or weren't in my price range.


After test driving a Mazda the other night and not loving it, I walked by a MINI and was all torn up inside again. I told my friends Ted and Scott (my car-shopping gurus) that the feeling was like when you are going out with a pretty good guy but you secretly love someone else and it just really messes with you.

So in a fit of hope and exasperation, I got on Autotrader that night and decided to glance at the MINIs. And LO AND BEHOLD..........there was my car. My elusive unicorn car. Somehow, she magically only has 39K miles even though she is a 2008. She also has a brand new clutch, tires, brake pads, etc. And not only is she the EXACT COLOR I wanted, she includes extra a sunroof (two!), heated synthetic leather seats, and that hot-as-hells-bells roof rack that I'm all kinds of nuts about.

I spent the next two nights on mini roadtrips 2 hrs away to go see her. Oh, and she's a manual.....and...I only kind of know how to drive a manual. But I am so committed to learn! And I drove myself to work this morning, and only stalled a couple times. Baby bird (me) is out of the nest! Go big or go home, I say.

So anyway, there's the story of how June Cooper and I came to be.

Also.....something about not giving up on what you really want. The universe will bring your best magic to you. I'm now even more ready for my summer of dreams.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Summer of Dreams, 2014

You know that one season of Saved by the Bell when they took a time-out from Bayside High and The Max and went and worked at the club on the beach all summer....?

I could really use one of those alternate reality, amazing, play-like-it's-1999 summers. And hooverdammit, I'm making it happen! Last summer was full of adventure, but more in the "I'm making big scary decisions and everything is a frenzy and I'm moving to California and then job hunt job hunt job hunt." What I want right now is a SUMMER. And you know, go big or go home, so....

Here's what I have to look forward to in the next 4 months:

  • Living in northern California (it is eternal paradise weather)
  • Working at the Googz (going insanely well, btdubs)
  • Traveling to Iceland (28 days! AHHHH!!)
  • Many trips to the beach, you better believe it
  • My bestest friend's wedding in SLC in June (Bridesmaid Round 14!)
  • The Elevate Conference in SoCal with all my blog bestiesz (10 days!)
  • The two-story Target that is by the hotel in SoCal (worth mentioning)
  • The 4th of July (specific plans TBD, but it is my favorite holiday)
  • Training for the Napa Valley Ragnar in September (my 4th Ragnar!)
  • Hopefully playing frisbee a lot after wayyy too many months off
  • Several trips to Oakland A's games (because baseball = summer)
  • Monthly book club meetings with the smartest gals ever (see our books here)
  • The following concerts, thanks mostly in part to my country megaticket: Ingrid Michaelson, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Sara Bareilles, Paul McCartney (TBD, fingers crossed!), Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan......and probably more, especially if my favorite band ever decides to go on tour near me (yes PLEASE).
Seriously, I am just tickled with hope for good things to come.

By the time October rolls around, I hope I'm sun-soaked and starry eyed with a whole bucket of good memories and a heart all full of goodness the size of Texas.

Dear Summer: Let's do this.

 (That's my roommate in the blue hat. She's a good egg.)

p.s. Congrats to Tamara S. for winning the Alison Storry necklace giveaway! Check your email, girl :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Oatmeal inside my pajamas.

At 3am, I awoke with dry oatmeal all inside my shirt. Let me 'splain.

It all started with a trip to the beach...which was a perfectly fantastic trip to the beach, but resulted in a smallish sunburn on my shoulders, chest and back. As I was about to get in bed, I looked in the mirror and began to worry about the potential for lizard-like skin peeling down the road. I'm not opposed to some good ol' hippie natural remedies, and since there's no way in hell-o I was going to go to Walmart at such an hour for aloe vera, I wondered what I might have on hand to make it better.

So, I googled natural sunburn remedies.

It was as I stood nekkid before the bathroom mirror at midnight, slathering my body in handfuls of cooked oatmeal, and then peeling on my pajamas over my oatmealed body, that I paused and thought to myself, "I am a really weird kid."

The result?

As of 8am this morning, the sunburn was still a bit pink but definitely hurt less than yesterday. But let me tell you, never put oatmeal on your body then cover it with pajamas. Because when the oatmeal dries as you slumber blissfully away, and you happen to roll over at some point, you'll realize that you suddenly have a shirt full of dried oatmeal flakes that scratch your sunburnt flesh every time you move. When oatmealing one's body, what one must do is skip clothing altogether and sleep on a towel or something that can get oatmeal on it. You can make that decision late, or you can make it early. I can tell you that at least one of those paths will result in you tearing your shirt off at 3am, thus flinging bits of dried oatmeal about the room.

Oh, and the next morning when you have to explain to your roommate why the rug from the bathroom has been banished to the laundry pile (because sometimes you drop a little oatmeal and then sometimes you step on it and smash it into said rug beyond repair), she might laugh at/with you, and then proceed to say, "That lotion right there on the counter has oatmeal extract in it."

And there you have it.

Also, texts with my sister on the matter:

Friday, May 2, 2014

That's how the light gets in.

I had a tough week.

My heart got a little dented and bruised. Honestly, it felt like the last thing I needed when I already didn't much believe in the goodness of dating/relationships. One of those "well, seriously?" sucker punches from the universe at an already fragile heart.

Long story short, the emotional roller coaster kind of stopped throwing me around and coasted into the loading dock this afternoon.

I was reminded, yet again, of the power of choosing to forgive. And there is so much weight that's lifted off your shoulders, often quickly, when you even just voice the words to someone. "I forgive you." Sometimes it takes longer for all the feelings to truly go away (been there), but other times the blessing feels more immediate. And I'm glad that has felt like the case this afternoon.

And I'm reminded, yet again, that often it's the breaking that builds you.

Every time I have to pick myself back up off the floor, there are little moments where I can look and see how it's making me better. Sometimes that isn't until a year or several years later (some I'm still waiting on), but other times I feel like heaven opens up and shows me, right then, even before I'm done healing, some of the "why" for all the hurt.

We don't always publicize the tough stuff, and we gotta remember that about each other.

I'm all about being vulnerable on the blog, but there are some things you just can't blog about, for whatever reason. And I think that sometimes causes us to think that each other's lives are all unicorns and roses and trips to the beach. Because, yeah, sometimes my world can be turned upside down and it's not something I want to share with the world -- so I post a picture of the beach, or my bicycle, or whatever random whimsy is around me (let's all remember how much risk I took and how freakin' hard I worked this last year to make it in a place where I can pick up and go to the beach). I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I think about my friend Camille, whose blog consists largely of stories about her dates and adventures with her husband, and how any outsider might think her life is all sunshine and sparkles. But I talk to Camille almost daily, so I hear about her struggles and ups and downs. Sometimes we just can't see that stuff about each other -- and we should be careful not to assume someone is lucky (often implying they didn't earn their success), has it easy, has no trials, etc., just because some stuff is too personal to share. I think it gives us all reason to pause before we feel jealous of someone's life or resent their good things. There's so much you don't see.

But yes, today my heart feels lighter again. The sun is out. My shoulders feel less heavy. And yeah, I am going to the beach tomorrow.....and that is probably what you'll see on Instagram :)

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen