Head Starts On New Starts

I’m starting to believe less in coincidences and more in an eternal plan.

Looking at where I am now and where things are going, it’s hard to believe that it all just happened. I am now more inclined to believe that it was all planned out to happen from the beginning, and that all the things that have happened in the last year or so happened for this time, so that this new life could about. It makes much more sense to believe that it all happened so this could happen rather than that this is happening because of it.

Life is hard. It’s hard to live and it’s darn hard to understand. Half the time I don’t even know what I’m doing, but I’m starting to better understand that there is someone who does. There is someone who knows where my life needs to go and what needs to happen in order for me to get there. I am starting to see His hand not just in the big things that occur in my life, but all the little things as well. Each day has been filled with getting me one step closer to where I need to be.

I suppose that I could dive into great detail about all the things that have happened and how they’ve all connected to this point, but that would be something better suited for a novel rather than an amateur blog post. The point is that is has all connected, and that I couldn’t really see how until now. It’s rather amazing to look back and see how each step has been something that needed to happen – even though I may not have seen it that way at the time. In order to get to this point, everything had to start so long ago, and I didn’t even realize it.

Last night I thought about all the people in my life today. I thought about the person that I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I truly believe that a year or a year and a half ago I would not have been able to sustain this life. I don’t think I would have been mature enough (in many different ways) to deal with a lot of what I do on a daily basis. I don’t think it’s that I take life too seriously now, but rather that I’m serious about life. I have a different attitude and perspective on a lot of things. I am grateful for so much more. I don’t want things just handed to me, I want to earn them (or at least feel like I did). I am certainly not anywhere near understanding everything about life and the world – I don’t expect I ever will be – but I honestly feel like I’ve progressed. That’s the best I can do, right?

As I reflected on the people I surround myself with now as opposed to a year ago I’m reminded of when I studied Emerson’s Circles.  In essence, it’s proposed that we must all work to expand our various circles in life. I’m not talking about social circles, though the same principle may apply. In a social setting, one wants to expand their friends and contacts in order to get further ahead in life. From an academic standpoint, we must do the same to get intellectually further in life. There are circles for everything in our lives: books, music, friends, travel, food, religion, love, technology, etc. When we can draw new lines around the circles we are currently living within, then our circle expands and we reach new levels of understanding and appreciation. This is of course a very basic explanation, and hopefully it will suffice with what I am trying to say.

My “friend” circle has expanded rather interestingly. I am very grateful for all the people I associate with these days, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. I had been stuck in my previous, smaller circle boundaries for so long that when I was forced to draw new boundaries it was frightening to say the least. However, getting over the initial jump has done wonders. The thought that so many of my closest friends will be moving away or pursuing different lives in the next few months isn’t as terrifying as it might have been before. I’m excited to meet new people; to expand my circle even further. That’s not to say that I want everyone to leave, but I am prepared to deal with it because of the things I’ve learned from all of them.

It’s just another one of the things that has required so much planning to the point where any coincidences landing me here are impossible.

I’ve always believe that God has a plan for me. I used to think that it was a general (and maybe even flexible) outline had a lot of blank spots where anything could happen. I’m starting to believe less and less in that. Instead I see His hand everywhere, guiding me to where I need to be.  Whether it be my friends, family, or even where I go to school, He is there. With each step my circles expand and my appreciation and love of Him grows exponentially.

I am so grateful of where I am, and I’m excited to see where I’m going to be.

 

Promises

I promise that I will be happy with myself. I won’t be so critical of every curve or flaw I have. I’ll learn to love that little mole right on the tip of my nose. Furthermore, I will even try to like my nose. I’m tired of feeling self conscious whenever I walk into a store or have to go to the fitting room to see if something will flatter me. I sick of feeling uncomfortable whenever I have to wear a swimsuit to work and of constantly comparing myself to every girl who can walk confidently in her bikini. I’m tired of being that girl. So I’m going to promise myself these things.

It’s not that I’m fat. I really don’t consider myself overweight or unfit. I don’t believe that I stick out in a crowd, and I’ve never had any need to wander into the plus size section of any store. But I don’t have the sort of body that allows me to buy anything knowing that I can pull it off. I’m not looking to start a diet, and I’m definitely not looking to start a workout regime that will leave me so sore and exhausted that I’ll barely be able to walk.

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No, what I want is to be comfortable in my own skin. To feel confident and comfortable when I go shopping, and to be okay with wearing a swimsuit to work. My desire is to be able to look at myself in the mirror and smile instead of comb over every inch of my body in search of even more flaws than I already think about. I don’t want to abuse myself like that anymore. I want to love who I am – all of me.

I promise that I will no longer look for the imperceptible  and minute flaws and instead focus on the things I like. I will work on learning to love the things I am not a big fan of. Wearing swimsuits and dresses or skinny jeans won’t be something that gives me a headache. The thought of having to go to a party full of beautiful people won’t make me run and hide. I won’t be afraid to give those close to me hugs because I’m too scared that they might feel what I like to call my “chub.”

I promise to love myself. I promise to be happy and to not let how I look be a defining factor of that happiness. I promise to see myself as the Daughter of God that I am and to appreciate all that He has given me.

These are the things I’m promising myself. I hope that I’m not bad at keeping them.

 

 

Thoughts On: Sympathy and Heart

“And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”

                                                                                                – George R.R. Martin

Perhaps my biggest problem in life is that I tend to feel things too deeply. I love too much, hurt too deeply, and sometimes I even hate too strongly. I’ve always cared about other people a lot. My mom would describe me as tender-hearted, and I don’t deny that. I tend to sympathize with others too much sometimes, and all that sympathy can get me in trouble.

I learned just how crippling a trait this can be last year. Maybe that’s why I was so torn when I couldn’t decide if I really liked this guy, or if perhaps I just felt sorry for him. He had been showing interest in me for months, and I kept putting him off telling myself that I just felt bad for putting him in the friendzone. I also blamed my sympathetic side and the empathy I felt for unrequited love. I was ripped in half between deciding if I had feelings or if I had the desire for such feelings.

It was a horrible eight weeks. Anyone who saw me during that time can tell you so. There were many rants and inner debates that made it to the surface. “No,” I kept telling myself. “You know this is a bad idea, and it’s not going to end well.” I rationalized that even if I did kind of like him now, there would be no way that those feelings would last long enough to matter.

Eventually it all became too much. I gave in. Perhaps if I’d held on a little longer and convinced myself otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. This post could be about the payoff of determination and perseverance – 0f sticking to your mind. But it’s not. Instead it’s about a totally different thing. It’s about following your heart.

Here’s what happened. After months of inner torment I decided that I was lying to myself. I was just scared of getting hurt or hurting again. I was scared of so many things. I’d just gotten over all that, and I wasn’t sure if I could make rational decisions yet. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I made a mess of things. This decision was going to require some serious thought.

During all this thinking  it hit me that I was thinking about this person constantly. I was thinking about how he made me laugh that real laugh I hadn’t laughed in so long. I saw that talking to him always made my day better and that I loved seeing that he’d thought of me, too. I realized that I was thinking too much about all the what-ifs and I wasn’t seeing all the positives. I decided to take a leap of faith and just go for it.

The fact is, I just couldn’t take the ache in my heart anymore. I no longer cared what anyone thought. I was going to do what I wanted and if it ended / ends horribly then it’s a result of my own choices, not anybody else’s. I won’t have to live with the lifelong question of what-if.

Now that ache is gone.

I smile all the time, and my heart is happy.

It’s very late here, and these thoughts aren’t very cohesive. Perhaps one day I’ll take the time to explain them all a little more fully. But for now I just wanted to get it out here. I’ve been thinking about how I got to the place where I am now a lot lately, and as far as I can tell this is the beginning of all that. Personally, I think that it’s a pretty good beginning.

 

Have Some Throwback

The weather has once again taken a turn for the worst, and it seems that I won’t be able to pull my lighter shirts out again for a little while. It would be nice if my legs could see some sun before I have to lifeguard again. After fighting the freezing wind to make it back inside the house I ended up making myself hot chocolate in order to warm up again. It just didn’t feel right seeing that it was April on the calendar while holding hot chocolate.

I haven’t written anything anywhere for the last few days. I’ve been busy with work and school and…life in general. Just when I was about to lay down for a 10 minute nap yesterday I remember that I had a work meeting in less than five minutes. Despite all running around an exhaustion, I still feel at peace. I feel happy.

The last few months have been really great for me. My friends (and even my sister) say that I actually look happy most of the time. I’m getting better at organizing my schedule while still finding time to focus on the things I love. Yes, I’m ridiculously busy and probably on the verge of getting too stressed out. But I’m still here, and I’m still kicking. I owe it to all the beautiful and fantastic people in my life.

I’m still so excited for all the wonderful things that are coming up in the next few weeks. I’m sure that there will be a point where I’ll want to quit and regret everything, but I pray that I have the courage to make it through and to enjoy all the hurdles as they come.

 

Winds In The East

A lot of things are going to be changing for me in the next few months. I’ll have a lot of learning to do, and not a whole lot of time to do it. I’m excited, though. I’m ready to meet new people and try new things and expand my knowledge both academically as well as just about life in general.

I heard the news today, and I wasn’t scared like I thought I would be. Sure, there will be things about my current life that I’ll miss. I’ll miss having such a gorgeous and inspiring view in my backyard. I’ll miss having a beautiful deck and porch swing, and I will most definitely miss the luxury of having a pool to spend the long, hot summer days in. Despite all this, I’m excited.

I think that it’s good to be comfortable with where you are, but then you can also be too comfortable. Perhaps then it is time to move on in an effort to learn more about yourself and add to all that life experience.

For some reason I just keep thinking about Mary Poppins. The song at the beginning of the film is running through my head. It’s pretty relative to me right now. Things haven’t changed yet, but I can feel them comings. I see them on the horizon, I feel it in the wind. It makes me excited, curious, and apprehensive all at once. I suppose the best thing I can do is to simply embrace all this change as it comes along.

Something is brewing, about to begin.

A Walk

I took some portraits for a friend the other day. We walked around campus and found some great little spots. The weather was absolutely crazy. One moment it was sunny and warm, and the next we were running for cover from all the hail.

As I was walking around I thought about how Kevin is graduating is a little less than a month. He’ll be moving on and starting the next big phase of his life. As for me, I’m still getting used to these paths. I’m still discovering new parts of campus and meeting new people. I’ll be coming here in the fall, but he won’t. I’m so excited for him, but at the same time I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s just different, I guess.

There’s a lot of changes happening in my life in the next few months. A lot. But I’m not as nervous or scared as I thought I might be. I’m actually sort of excited for a new start and for new adventure.

For now, though, I’ll just stick with taking pictures of my currently mundane life.

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A Conversation on Possibility

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” I asked him.

He had a well thought out answer. He knew where he wanted to be, and what he hopes to have accomplished by then. And he told me that he could see me in the picture.  That picture didn’t scare me.

Not being scared by it frightened the heck out of me.

That ‘s not what I wanted. It’s not where I saw myself going. I didn’t see my life taking any sort of road like this. I have (had?) a plan, and it’s not a good feeling to watch that plan being weathered away by things that you never expected, but you also don’t want to trade the world for.

I’m happy. Actually, I’m very happy. I’m also very confused.

“What about you?” he asked. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I swallowed. Admitting this to myself was hard, let alone having him around.

“I….I don’t know anymore. I mean, I do. Just not for sure.”

“How so?” There is was. That look of concern and the fear of possibly being hurt that kills me. But it was too late to stop now.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot, actually. A few months ago I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to be and what would make me happy. It didn’t involve anyone else. But now…”

“Now?”

“I can see a lot of different scenarios. I see a lot of possibilities, and in just about every single one of them I am so, so happy.”

A little smile appeared. “I have to ask, do any of them involve me?”

“I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t considered that possibility.”

The smile is huge now. Huge and beautiful and adorable in every way. ” What about the other scenarios?”

“One is the original one, and it still sounds pretty good. One involves you. Another involves someone else – not anyone specific. Just not you. And I’m happy in that one, too. I’m happy in all of them.”

“Is there one that you’re leaning towards pursuing?”

“No. Not really. But I want to be cautious and make sure I’m making the right decisions. I don’t think that choosing a set plan is a wise idea. Look where that got me last time.”

A laugh. “True. I guess it’s a good thing I’m so persistent, or else you never would have considered those other possibilities.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“So…I’m a possibility?” He’s genuine and honest. He’s trying to make the question casual, but I know him well enough to see that it’s in earnest.

“Everyone is a possibility.”

“Yeah, but what about me?”

I know what he’s getting at. “Yes. You are.”

“That’s all I need to hear. I just need that ‘possibly.’”

Life, my friends, is full of possibilities. I think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t look at all of them. Even the most seemingly absurd ones. I don’t know where I’m going with all of this, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you never know what’s going to come along. So I guess it’s a good idea to entertain ideas.

The possibilities are endless.