Because you might need to read this today…

I know my blog has been a happy place for a while now, when I do make these fleeting posts. But, I know, life isn’t always a happy place. And that is precisely why I’m so grateful for these days, for these people, for this sunshine, to feel loved – by family, by friends, by new people who bring such light into life with just their refreshing presence. I feel like my appreciation for this time, for these days comes from the times when it wasn’t exactly there…and it’s not that the love wasn’t around me, but you can’t always feel it. It wasn’t an absence, it was more of an invisible barrier between me and all that positivity. And sometimes darkness creeps in, and it’s so much harder to see the light that’s peeping from under the cracks. It’s a battle to fight the inner demons that so badly want you to just give in. I know what those times are like when it’s hard to remember the days that have a light an airy weight in living, laughter that flows freely, and a clear mind. And oh those battles are so difficult to fight, but I’ve been thinking lately, (especially over the past few days with the loss of Robin Williams and the social media world abuzz with mental health discussions) about the feeling of exuberance that washes over me when the curtain is lifted and light shines again after times like those…

I guess I just didn’t want to keep letting these thoughts float around in my head without sharing them. How everyone is fighting their own battle each day, and you might not have any idea what those around you are dealing with on the inside, and they might not have an idea what you’re dealing with either…but you’re not alone. And there is hope. And there is light.

A few years ago when I was doing a series on the blog called “Spend Less, Give More” spotlighting my favorite give-back organizations, I featured one called To Write Love On Her Arms. (You can see my original post, here.)  There’s a shirt my parents gifted me with the following quote from Jamie Tworkowski,

 

This past week I’d seen the quote from Rob Bell on Twitter: “It is as if the smallest amount of light is infinitely more powerful than massive amounts of dark.” which just instantly resonated with me, and I’ve thought about these words each day since then. When I get to my dark place my coping mechanisms for life usually have to do with writing, reading, prayer, music, and movies. Art. Creating. But what else I’ve found? Big changes happened to my life when I started letting people in. When I started saying yes, when I embraced who I was and I met people who not only accepted me for myself, but appreciate what makes me, me. Coffee, putt-putt, scary movies that make me squeal in the theatre, hanging out with a friendly acquaintance that could turn into a great friend, phone conversations that make you feel love despite distance, spontaneity…openness, that vulnerability can be so so worth it in this life. We do need other people, and when we find the right people, man it’s like more lights turn on in the world.

I guess what I’m getting at here, is that if I felt on my heart strings that I needed to put these words into the universe, than there was probably a reason for that. Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of, or kept secret, or to write-off. You know how you can scroll through someone’s instagram and it’s all happy pretty stuff? (Here I’ll point out my own: flowers, sunsets, icecream, smiles, puppies, music festivals,…all the good stuff.) But in between all the really great little moments that make life so darn beautiful – the soulful conversations, the forehead kisses, the friendly “good morning, how are you?”s from people that you encounter each day, the joy that comes with singing along to your favorite song with the windows rolled down and a breeze on a summer day, a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven, a text message that puts a smile on your face, bear hugs, hand written mail, tired lungs and legs from a long run outside, laughing ’til your stomach hurts, cotton candy colored skies…in-between all of these absolutely wonderful things can be some really rough times. Days when your friends feel far away, or you don’t feel like getting out of bed, or listening to your favorite song, or really doing much of anything…They might not show up the way the good stuff does on our social media networks, but there’s no avoiding that the twisty-thought days are there.

So I guess I’m saying, don’t be afraid to talk about it, don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed about it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help (resources)…Sending so much love and hugs into the universe right now…

National Hopeline Network: 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255)

 

xoxo

I saw this video from the Harper’s Bazaar Facebook page yesterday, and I was memorized. Twenty strangers, meeting for the first time, and their first kisses captured in an artistic experimental video. Sound a little creepy? I found it to be the opposite. Maybe it’s the black and white approach. Maybe it’s the beautiful people. Maybe it’s those magical moments of hesitation before two people make contact, captured on film…whatever it is, I found myself smiling at the screen. Also, perhaps it goes without noting (but it’s me, so I’ll note it) the music – perfect song choice.

 

 

Words for Thought

(Sunset over Doak Campbell taken Monday night – too beautiful to capture correctly.)

I stumbled across this quote on Tumblr this morning, and it so eloquently words thoughts I’ve tried to express for years. Word to the wise: don’t allow toxic people to consume you and the happiness in your life. It’s ok to let go.

“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

Daniell Koepke

Georgia Roads Bring Us Home

Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.

Why Not?

I stared down at the phone in my hand, and I couldn’t help but smile as I scanned across the names that appeared in all of my recent messages. The majority of these people came into my life within the past few months, and the ones who didn’t – they’ve been in it for the long haul. I smiled because the phone in my hand, wasn’t the same phone that was in my hand the last time I got on an airplane a month before. I smiled because if you think about it, flying is weird. We trust one human being to direct this gigantic piece of machinery soaring through the SKY. Moving a katrillion miles high in the air, like birds, except we’re not birds. We carry tons of junk with us everywhere we go. Our hair is loaded with hairspray and gel and the jewelry some of us have on probably weighs more than your common bird. It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? We walk across this carpeted tacky hallway, and we step on, and we secure those flimsy seat belts, and we take a peak out of the corner of our eyes at this stranger sitting next to us. What a strangely intimate experience an airplane ride is – when else are you going to see a stranger sleep? Notice all their little weird habits, sometimes mirroring our own. (More often than not – not, because doesn’t it always seem our seat assignments are paired by opposites?) I watch the feet that glide down the aisle, strong calves and neon sneakers and I ache to be running. And I think about those new friends, the ones I met from running, the ones who I’ve only shared conversations with in the middle of the woods, ducking beneath branches, sweating in the Florida springtime humidity, or through the winding sprinkler soaked neighborhood roads. I think of the new friends I’ve met in hotel lobbies, or in a dark concert venue waiting for a show to begin. I think about how it only takes the initial strike up of a conversation and the world opens up ten fold. I think about the endless possibilities, how there are dozens of millions of people on this planet who I will never have the pleasure of meeting, never have a chance encounter with – but there are so many that I will. And what stops us from hearing the stories of those around us? From sharing a few words, a deep laugh, a sincere smile, making some new memory? Why doesn’t everyone do that more often? I’m compelled to not live any other way now because I just can’t stand it. That person that you just passed up, who’s been sitting across from you in the terminal for three hours charging their phone, sipping a coffee, and taking long glances at each person walking by, or the one at the other end of the row who sparked your attention as they leaned over a notebook in their lap diligently scrawling notes across the pages – how do you know that person isn’t your new best friend? Your lover? A musical soul mate you just haven’t met yet? You don’t. We never do and that’s the beautiful surprise of life. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as being too friendly, maybe? I’m not sure. But with all the different new bonds you could be making at any given moment, why not? Why not?

Friday Favorite

Okay, okay I’m trying to scale back on the Maroon 5 coverage. Tumblr is awful for obsessive habits, but last weekend since I couldn’t get up and run in the morning and I need a few more minutes to be able to get ready to go to the gym (where you actually have to bring stuff and can’t just hop out the door) I laid in bed for a few minutes. Of course I found myself perusing YouTube and of course I started watching all these Maroon 5 music videos. Wellll, I just wanted to share with you the one for “Daylight.” This will be my Friday Favorite. Look, I’m able to be concise today! Also, who really cares if the radio plays this song like multiple times a day? Not me! Every time I go, “oh! This was just the song I wanted to hear!” haha. So much for “overplay.” Anyway, this is a really great project – kind of in the vein of the “It Gets Better” campaign. It made me smile, it made me feel feelings and get all emotional, but it’s just really cool and totally worth 9 minutes of your time. Yeah, yeah I’m a little behind the times but better late than never:

Trail Run Thursday

In lieu of Throwback Thursday, I’m making it Trail Run Thursday (even though I went trail running on Monday.) Also, Monday night’s location was Tom Brown Park so this post is just full of alliteration. I know people occasionally read this blog who are also runners, and if you live in Tallahassee I suggest you try out the Trailblazers group through Gulf Winds that meets on Monday nights each week up until June with a “graduation” run at the Great Potluck Bash 4-Mile Trail Run. (I’ve never run Potluck but it’s one of those where participants try and predict their times!) So, Monday night was the first meeting of this group. I was kind of nervous because my only trail running experience was when I did the Miller’s Madness last August, and a few trail runs out at the Greenway (which kick my butt every time!) I knew it required the ability to let your body adapt to the different terrain and granted I haven’t been out on the trails in a while. Sunday morning, following Saturday’s 10K I just did an easy 2.5 mile recovery run. Monday night I was planning on doing the 3ish miles with the beginning group because I knew it’d be a bit taxing. Tsigy one of my running buddies from the Springtime training group was like, hey! we’re already here, we’re already gonna get sweaty – let’s do the six! (She’s such an encourager.) So, I might’ve struggled some but we did the six miles out there (the most I’ve done on trail,) and oh my goodness I forget what an awesome feeling of empowerment trail running gives you. There’s something about jumping over limbs and pushing yourself up hills, and being surrounded by trees and rocks and leaves. I love being able to look over to my left or right and see this gorgeous swampy scene,  a sunset reflecting off the water (I’ll admit – this reminded me a bit of Central Florida/Home, and that made me smile on the inside.) Seriously, the views out on those trails are just breath taking. It was a tough run, but exhilarating. Completing a challenge like that without giving in, makes me feel so on fire about life. So thankful that my friend pushed me that extra length, and didn’t let up! It’s such a motivator! I’m looking forward to exploring other trails of Tallahassee over the coming months, and getting to know more people in this group. It was an awesome turn out and as always a fun experience and adventure. It takes a lot out of me at the time, but I know it’s only making me stronger. I was glad to trade the roads for the day, and I know I need to discipline myself to do it more often!

I did yoga on Tuesday and just a few reps of weights yesterday morning (the evening was spent getting new tires, running a last minute trip errand, and finalizing my packing.) I ran a four miler in the dark of the early morning today, it was about 60 degrees, and the neighborhood was pretty quiet. It was nice to just be me and the pavement. And it’s also been nice to give my body a break lately. I’m thinking it’s probably needed it more than I know.

Run the Edge Facebook shared this photo in my News Feed this morning from Paws and Pavement, and it’s so true:

“Running is like celebrating your soul. There is so much it can teach you.”