Two Years Later

On a mild September day two years ago, I sat down with a cup of tea and typed out my first post on this blog. I hadn’t tried blogging in a while, but there must have been something in my tea that day because the next thing I knew, I’d created my own little space to share thoughts, adventures, and whatever else might come to my mind. 

So much has happened over the last two years and the girl who created this blog has changed a lot. Thankfully the main things that drive me to write haven’t changed. My love of family, travel, the gospel, and humanity is a bright as ever, but a lot of the innocence and fun that came with those first few months have been lost. Hopefully it’s for the better, although I would like to start writing more creative essays again and bring that the spunk that always made my writing so ME. 

Writing has been getting harder lately. So much has been on my mind that any time I try to sit down and focus my thoughts I instantly remember an errand I have to run, or an appointment that I can’t miss. Writing is immensely hard for me when I’m caught in the middle of the tornado of life. But with school back in session I’ll have to be doing a lot of writing whether I like it or not, and I’m determined to take an optimistic attitude and make myself like it. I’m sure the next few months will be stressful and tough, but I won’t forget about this little website that’s grown so close to my heart over the last two years. 

Here’s to another year full of wholesome books, comfy nooks, and lots of tea. 

Journey of Entries

It was purple, fuzzy, and had an embroidered unicorn on the cover. I would store the matching fuzzy pen in the spiral binding on the side, and even though it didn’t have a lock, that journal (or diary as I called it then) was my pride and joy. I couldn’t have been more than seven. I barely knew how to put words together, but I knew that I wanted to. From the very beginning I had loved stringing words together to make my own sentences, and my parents had finally been gracious enough to gift me with the fuzzy, purple diary I’d pointed out in a Claire’s a few weeks ago. 

I believe I threw those 100 or so pages away about a year ago, and as I look at the row of journals I’ve accumulated throughout the years, I have to admit that I regret it. More than half the words were spelled wrong, and the handwriting was large, sloppy, and unsure. There were tons of scribbles and complete paragraphs that were illegible. I suppose I didn’t think there was anything worth keeping, and maybe there wasn’t, at least not from a world perspective. But when it comes to journals, who cares what the world thinks? 

I don’t write in my journal in the hope that someday they will be discovered and turned into a bestselling classic. If anything, I prefer hiding them away from any eyes, prying or not .The words I write, pictures I (attempt to) draw, and all the things that go into my journal are exclusively for ME and only ME. I once had someone ask that if I would be comfortable letting my kids read the journals of my youth someday, and I hadn’t thought of it before. I’m sure that my posterity will eventually read my writing, but it wouldn’t be very wise to censor anything in my eyes. I’m not going to make my life appear less difficult or prettier than it really is because that just isn’t real. If my words are seen by others someday, I’d much rather be presented as myself. I can’t be the only one going through these struggles, and maybe the way I handle or don’t handle something could serve useful someday. Perhaps seeing that way I change and grow will help others to do the same. 

Since the unicorn journal I’ve filled countless other pages with my babbling. About once a year I’ll pull them all out and read a few entries from years past. I laugh at myself and think about how naive I was, but I like being able to see the path that’s led to who I am now. I hope that years from now I’ll look back at how silly I was and that I can see the steps that led to the woman I become. I hope that I can see traces of who I am all the way back to the oldest entry I still have, and that I can be proud of whoever that is. 

Nobody can tell where time will take us or where we’ll be ten years from now. It’s nice to speculate and to make plans, but life rarely follows plans. Even now I can see how my plans and dreams have changed, how they still change. I once talked about how I was beginning to believe that everything was connected in some master plan, and I can now say that I fully believe that. In my mind, everything is connected though we may not be able to see why for a long time. Steps build upon steps, and soon we’ve reached the top of the tower without ever really knowing how we got there. To me, journals are a way of recording that journey and I look forward to the day that I can trace it all back to the beginning. They are a way to see God’s hand in my life and to see how He has helped to shape me into something far greater than I could ever hope to be by myself. 

I hope that someday I can look back and see how I’ve become the person I’m meant to be – not just the person I want to be. 

 

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Today is the Day

 

Today is the day I make the commitment to love myself, and to accept my faults. 

Today I promise to try my hardest in all that I do, and to never let down my guard when temptation rears its ugly head. 

Today I promise to be myself, and to be okay with still learning who that is. 

I promise I will try, I promise I will do. 

Today is the day that I will be happy. 

After a long talk in a parking lot last night, I decided that even though I’ve been feeling down and stressed for the last few weeks that I’m not going to let anything stop me from trying to be happy. I will appreciate what I have. The people around me make me happy, even with their shortcomings, and I would be a fool not to see how hard they’re trying. In return I will try to be happy for them just as hard as they are trying to make me happy. 

It will be hard. It will be challenging and exhausting, but I will be successful. Today I will be strong and remember who I am and what others have done for me. 

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For What I’m Worth

I have this little problem and it’s called self-loathing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never really been able to find anything about myself that I could actually claim to love. There are traits and features about me that I don’t mind, but I truly do not love anything about myself. 

My mom would tell you stories about me asking questions about the color of my skin and hair at an early age. I was always taller than the other kids until high school came along, and it was hard to feel like I fit in. So I slouched. My boyfriend thought I was three inches shorter than I really am for the longest time because I hate standing up straight. 

It was only a few years ago after an intense diet and exercise routine that I began to come to terms with my body, and I still haven’t come to really accept who I am when it comes to personality. It’s heartbreaking to look at yourself in a mirror and see that the girl you always thought of yourself as isn’t actually a possibility. What’s even more heartbreaking is trying to come to terms with this and finding that you just hate yourself instead. 

Maybe I have some sort of complex leftover from the scars of years past, or maybe I was just raised in a home that wasn’t particularly good at teaching me to love myself rather than constantly criticize it – but whatever the reason may be, the fact still remains that I don’t like who I am. 

In short, I don’t have a lot of self-worth. I am constantly at war with myself. I try to believe that I like who I am and that I am a daughter of God, but the words don’t reach. They feel more like a distant echo and worn out sentence that no longer holds any meaning. Ask me to list the things I like about myself, and I would be able to come up with a few bullets. But ask me to say what I would change, and I could write a series of lengthy (and hopefully hilariously sarcastic) essays about my many dislikes. I’m not going to lie – disliking everyone about oneself isn’t fun. It’s no way to live, and feeling like I don’t really have a purpose takes a toll not just on the body, but on the mind and spirit. 

I reflected on this topic in my journal last night. It was late and I was once again beating myself up over a dumb mistake that had been made earlier that day. I didn’t realize how idiotic it was until several hours later, and immediately began crying for another hours about how ridiculous I had allowed myself to be. I thought it might be the end for me; that I had finally crossed the line that would put all my plans on hold. 

In truth, although it was a dumb mistake and something that I should have know better about, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It’s not as bad as other things I’ve done, but it was the feeling of failing yet again at my attempts to be a better person that made it so hard for me. I’ve been trying extra diligently for the last few months to become a better person. To be the sort of person that would make a good wife, companion, sister, daughter, mother, and friend. I desperately want to be more Christlike and to emulate him in my actions and thoughts, but every time I seem to be headed down the right path I get lazy or something happens that sets me back. I have beat myself up about it to the point where I am so angry that all I can do is cry. It’s a little pathetic and depressing, actually. 

I don’t know if I’m worth anything, and I it’s one of those things that I know I’m going to struggle with my whole life. But I would like to believe that I am, though. Worth something, that it. I would like to believe that God does love me despite the stupid, stupid things I’ve done. I would like to find solace in the belief that His son made it possible for me to be with my loved ones forever, and to come back from such dark places. All I can do is give it time, and my impatient nature has a hard time with that. I’ll work on it, though. Just like I want to work on my Christlike attributes, my relationships, and my self worth. Time may heal all wounds, but what happens when the cause of those wounds is myself? 

I’ve mentioned before how hard faith can be for me. I have faith, but its strength waivers and is unpredictable. It’s frustrating and hard, not just on myself but on those around me. Especially when my lack of faith in myself and my inability to discern the spirit  (yeah, I still can’t do that) can get in the way of making important decisions. The sort of decisions I don’t want to make without some sort of guidance. 

Obviously I have a lot of inner struggles, friends. 

There are times, like last night, when I don’t know what to do any more. My efforts seem helpless and pointless. I feel like I might as well accept the fact that this is who I’m always going to be. Someone who struggles with things like self-worth, love, acceptance, and right and wrong. That may very well be true, but I don’t want to stop trying. My love for myself is sketchy, but my love for my Heavenly Father and His son is what keeps me going from day to day. I see the love they have for me every where, and sometimes I even think that maybe I’m not doing as bad as I could be. I’ve made mistakes, but so far I haven’t fallen from grace just yet. 

It seems that there is love all around me, just not in me. And yes, in case you couldn’t tell, I don’t really know where to go from here. I just want to cry a lot. 

 

Memoirs

I’m at The Lake again. 

I’ve written a number of posts about this place. Sometimes I just mention it in passing, and other times I’ve written pages about it. In fact, the only essay that I’ve ever received nothing but praise on was about this place. The Lake. 

My home away from my. My sanctuary. My therapy. My favorite place in the world. By the standards of the world it may not be the most gorgeous place, but because of all memories and feelings tied to it, I can’t think of any place more wonderful. 

A few years ago a wrote fifteen pages about a few of my experiences at The Lake. It remains to be the writing I am most proud of, but only a few people have ever seen the whole thing in its entirety. When I started writing it I never once had to reach for words or think about how I wanted the stories to come across. It was the most natural writing I’ve ever done, and I honestly think that it’s some of the best. 

I’ve been thinking about stories a lot lately. More particularly about the stories that we as writers (or wannabe writers) have to tell. There are times when I dream of being the author of several great and epic novels that will stand the test of time,but I always find myself lost as to what these novels will be about. I do believe that everybody has a story to tell, and that there are some who are lucky enough to have several stories. Maybe I am one of those who has only one (though I secretly hope not), and maybe my story is about this place. The Lake. 

Ever since those fifteen pages I’ve been wanting to write a compilation of my time here. That time may be ending soon, and the only way I can think of healing from that shock is to write about it. I want to be able to write everything about it. By the end, it would probably be the length of a book and I don’t know that anyone would ever see it, but that doesn’t matter. If I have just one story to tell and this is it, I think this would be a good one. 

This could be my last time here for a few years. I don’t want to think it will be my last time ever, but it’s certainly possible. The thought alone breaks my heart, but writing makes things immortal. Then The Lake can live forever as I see it. As a home away from home surrounded by mountains, winding roads, and pines that liven the air. I’ll always be able to hear the laughter and see the smiles of the people I love most, and I’ll never be able to forget crash after crash I took while trying to learn how to water ski. 

Christina Lake, you sure are a special one. 

For Kevin

It’s barely even 9:00, and I haven’t even left for my trip to Canada yet. My room is covered with things I should probably pack, and there’s a long checklist of the things I need to do running through my head of all the things I need to do before 6am tomorrow morning.

None of that really seems to matter right now though, because I’m all hooked on this feeling and impression I had when we said goodbye tonight. I didn’t think that it was going to be that big of a deal. I’m only going to be gone for a week, and I’m sure we’ll find some way to talk to each other, but still – it’s only a week. But when we stood out on your driveway and I said goodbye realizing that it would be that last time I would see you for a decent amount of time, my heart had an very unexpected drop. At the exact same moment the thought came to me that I didn’t ever want to have to say goodbye to you ever again.

Let me repeat that none of this was expected. I’ve honestly just been looking forward to this trip all week. I need a vacation and I’m going to my favorite vacation spot in the world, but now I’ve got this unexpected sadness that you’re not coming and that I won’t be able to see you. It kind of sucks.

I just wanted to be able to leave without feeling anything. Even eight months (!!!) into this relationship, I keep trying to convince myself that if it were necessary I would be able to detach myself from you without any sort of pain and that I’d be able to move on. It’s starting to become apparent that I’m just fooling myself.

I know we’ve already talked a lot about my own insecurities and problems that I have to deal and why it makes it so hard for me to just let myself be happy for once despite what anyone else thinks, but I get so frustrated with myself sometimes. I get frustrated because I can’t seem to let myself love myself. You’ve made it easier, but there’s still this part of me that just hates who I am, and I wish that it wasn’t so. I know that you love me, but my own doubts about myself make me try and find doubts that you love me. I get frustrated because I just want to be normal, but maybe normal is impossible for me now. And the more time I spend with you (and consequently learn about myself) the more I think that perhaps I was never meant to be “normal.”

There’s a musical I love called Next to Normal. I know, I know, you’ve never heard of it (but I also know you’d watch and listen to it if I asked and gave you a Baja Blast ;) ). It’s basically about this family that’s had a very traumatic past, and a line from one of the songs says, “I don’t need a life that’s normal – that’s way too far away. But something next to normal would be okay.” Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be for me. My own personal doubts and self-criticism are always going to come into play. But being with you always makes me like myself a little bit more, and I always end up liking you even more.

So perhaps there were a couple reasons that I was so…pained to say goodbye to you tonight. I think the majority of it is because I love having you around so much and that you’ve become such an important part of my life. I think another, smaller part might be because I’m going to miss having my best friend around. I’m going to miss the person that I feel most comfortable around and that I can tell anything to, and who I trust the most. I’ll miss you, Kevin. That’s why I’m taking the time to sit down and type all this out. Well, that and because I need to sort it all out in my head.

Now, you know that I’m going to miss you. And I know you’re going to miss me. Even though we’ve both agreed that time apart will be good, I still didn’t expect it to freak me out so much. I promise that I’ll listen to our songs.

For Miss Aubrey

Whenever I hear a Marianas Trench song or find myself wandering the aisles of the local health food store and wondering just what kombucha actually is, it’s Miss Aubrey that I think about. Or when I have an unfortunate Freudian slip, or need somebody to tell my deepest and scariest thoughts to – it’s Miss Aubrey that I pull out my phone to text or talk to.

I’ve always thought of her as Miss Aubrey. The ‘Miss’ always just seemed to go with her name, and her personality begs a bit of class. So Miss Aubrey it is. With her hipster-esque glasses, genuine smile, bright eyes, and ability to pull off  hair that echoes Audrey Hepburn, Aubrey is the peanut to my butter. The Jane to my Lizzie. The Diana to my Anne.

We only live an hour apart, closer to 45 minutes now that I’ve moved. Yet that hour seems to feel a lot longer and like a much larger distance with life always getting in the way. Although we’ve never lived ‘close,’ there was a time when we would see each other multiple times a day. Now we’re lucky if we get to see each other once a month.

Yes, distance has put a bit of a restraint on our relationship. Our lives are very much our own, but somehow we’re still friends. We don’t talk all the time. I don’t feel the need to constantly update her on my whereabouts or decisions, but I know that she’s there. I know that Miss Aubrey is the sort of girl who always makes good decisions in faith, and I sometimes ask myself, “What would Aubrey do?”

I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like. In all honesty we don’t even talk as much as I’d like. I get frustrated with myself for being so busy and for letting things get in the way. Yet she’s there. She’s always there. I still think about her every day, even if it’s in just the smallest way possible and knowing that I’m lucky enough to call her friend.  That girl hasn’t seemed to give up on me yet, though heaven knows she probably should have a long time ago. I struggle with balancing my life and getting my priorities straight, but over the last year Miss Aubrey’s friendship has been consistent, and that alone has relieved me of so much stress.

I think we’ve both changed a lot since we first became (fast) friends. Actually there isn’t much to think about – it’s true. It’s a good change, though.We’re growing up and still trying to figure just what exactly that means. She’s the older and wiser one, and I look up to her example a lot. Her advice continues to make my transition easier. She’s never failed to be a perfectly classy example of maturity.

Yet even with all this change, we’re still friends. Friends in the very truest sense of the word. Miss Aubrey is my bosom friend. Life just sort of threw us together, and I’m very glad it did. Life continues to whip down on us each in very different ways, but I have no doubt that we’ll be laughing (and wheezing) about the good ol’ times when we have to soak our teeth in brandy and use canes to hobble around. As far as examples go, she is a pretty great one. I’m lucky to call her my best friend.

So here’s to you, Miss Aubrey: the classiest friend a gal could ask for.  And here’s to praying and hoping that I get to laugh with you again very, very soon.