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)

 

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Life’s Little Surprises

You know how sometimes life just makes you tired, and then you start not wanting to do things after work or make plans or whatever just because you’re so sleepy all the time? (No? Just me?) I’m someone who completely enjoys my time of decompressing, whether that means reading or writing, watching Netflix, laying on the floor listening to music, practicing guitar (not exactly relaxing, yet) cooking…whatever it is, I just enjoy being still and alone and not having anyone try and rush me around. That’s great, when it’s needed…like Sunday and Monday this week were for me. I ran tons of errands, took care of my little check list of things I wanted to get done before the semester starts and things are crazy at the store again.

My point in all of this is the flipside to that. All the things I said to say yes to? Even when you’re starting to get tired. I’m the kind of person who thrives off the momentum of all that activity. Until I hit a brick wall of exhaustion. But then I just need a little recharge, and it’s time to go again.

Last week I went to Food Truck Thursday out at Lake Ella with my friend Jamie. We hadn’t seen each other since the beginning of summer, so there was so much to catch up on. We decided to forgo real food, and skipped right to dessert with Big Easy Sno Cones. It was a nice evening because we sat on the front porch and watched the sunset across the street, and had time to just talk and talk. Which is basically my favorite thing to do. On my way to meet her though, I ran into another friend on the sidewalk who I’d known for years for but we never really hang out. We’d mentioned it a couple times at the beginning of summer, but never really made it a point to make plans. We decided to put an end to that last week, so yesterday we met up at one of my favorite little bars in Tallahassee, (Fermentation Lounge that’s over in the All Saints District.) Oh my goodness. Such a good time. We were there for a few hours just talking and talking, swapping life stories, and similarities, and a shared appreciation for our college friends, and adventure and travel and lots of laughter mixed in.

Even though my weeks lately have been packed with activity, it just reminded me of the little surprises life can through in throughout the days. If I hadn’t made my initial food truck plan with Jamie, I wouldn’t have run into my other friend and probably wouldn’t have been so intentional about making plans for us to hang out.

It just reminded me that as the easiness of summer starts to fade away in a couple weeks that I need to remember all these great evenings, and mornings, and mid-days, I’ve had these past few months. The time carved out from the days, even when the other compartments of life seem to drain the energy, quality time with people is so refreshing and rejuvenating in itself.

So, there you have it. That’s my encouragement for now. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Don’t spend too much time psyching yourself up to do things, just go do them. Find new friends. Invest in the relationships that click in life. And just enjoy yourself and make the most of the time you have, whatever that may be.

a little note, for a happy monday.

Yesterday I went to the gym and I did laundry and I packed a bag and I drove to the beach. I turned the AC off, opened the sunroof, and cranked the music up. I felt my heart beat with the rhythm, and the sunshine from above warmed my soul. I forgot how therapeutic that drive can be. I forgot what it’s like to be alone in the car with myself, my thoughts and not be consumed by a grief that was waiting to sneak up on me. The Avett Brothers sing, “I’ve got worries to give to the sea,” and I was thinking that I might. But then I got here and I realized that I left all my worries behind. Life is too short to be caught up in the drama. Say what you feel and be done with it. Treat everyone around you well. Keep your heart open. I had a good long talk with a new friend a few weekends ago, and it only reminded me how important it is to live in the moment. We don’t know what’s ahead, and there’s a reason that the past is behind us. So, I won’t let my mind go to a twisty place of confusion or nostalgia when I realize that the first person I had a gigantic, heart-wrenching crush on in college when I was just 18 and impressionable and wide-eyed about everything ahead of me in those years, just got married. Closing some weird sort of chapter of the majority of people I spent years in life pining over, married off. And I hope they have happily ever afters. I thought I’d feel old, or weird, or unsettled but I still feel like a bird. I feel light and content and I know myself. I know my heart and I’m okay with where I am. I feel like I’m finally really growing up, and growing up doesn’t have to mean settling down because I’m still not quite sure how to do that and I still don’t know when I’ll want to. But I can communicate my emotions without raised voices, and I can listen – truly listen. And I can have a moment of frustration but not let it consume me. I can wake up and be in a totally different place with my feelings and it’s good. Basically I feel healthy. Really healthy. I’m not running like a maniac because I’m not trying to escape anything right now. And I was thinking about times when I wasn’t in such a healthy place, when my mind wasn’t full of sunshine and things were a little (or a lot) dark and twisty – and I’m grateful to not be there, right now. I’m grateful for the distance I have from feeling like that. Incredible that it’s a Monday, isn’t it?

3-2-1…SMILE!

Last weekend Kaylynn came to visit me in Tallahassee. It was her first trip back since graduation! (Far too long if you ask me.) It was basically as epic as we could’ve imagined. Full of showing her what’s new, visits to some old haunts, good people, good food, and lots of laughs and love.

One of my bucket list items for the weekend was to check out the photo booth in the new Urban Outfitters, (which oddly enough is in the exact spot I used to work in.) Of course she was down. I have a mild obsession with photo booths. (Who am I kidding? None of my obsessions are mild. But I digress…) So, after showing her the fabulous hidden gem that’s Woodchuck’s breakfast, and a mini family photo shoot at the sorority house we ventured over to UO at College Town. Because technology is awesome they had this nifty little video from the whole shenanigans I thought I’d share with y’all:

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

Throwback: The Weekend my Peter Pan Heart Turned a Year Older

I’ve been slacking on the updates, I know so I thought I’d do a little throwback to my birthday weekend. For the first time in a long, long time my birthday didn’t fall on the same weekend as Thanksgiving so I decided to make the most of it and roadtrip to Athens! The Cherry Blow Dry bar in Tallahassee was having a grand opening special, so that Friday I decided to get my first blow out. OhMyGoodness all the people who rave about them on Twitter aren’t lying. It’s fabulous to feel like…put together for a snippet of time.

The drive to Georgia that afternoon was just what I needed. There’s something healing about those country roads, even if you’re not broken.

When I arrived, Kaylynn and went to get dinner at Taco Stand. It’s this little mexican restaurant that’s super random, but really delicious. And it worked well for our pre-going out meal the last time I’d been in town. (Under much better circumstances this time, not in a state of turmoil over pending transitions in my life – though there were still plenty of transitions to come.) Afterwards we went next door and hung out with her neighbor Brady and his younger brother Drew. We jammed out to some Billy Joel (I’m not even kidding – how reminiscent of sophomore year of college is that?!) and some country music while we played Cards Against Humanity (my first time!) Later on we went downtown, which just turned into an epic evening, even if it started raining on us. We bar hopped, we celebrated one of their friends finding out he was having a baby, and of course birthday celebrating ensued. We rode UGA’s version of Night Nole, and there was a group celebrating a guy’s birthday and the bus broke out in song and also football chants. I love spirit like that. We laughed, and drank, and ran around town talking and dancing. It was one of those nights where we stayed up til 5am. When we got home there was a random kid’s debit card with us? Who the heck knows. The next morning started off kind of rough when I poured Kaylynn’s chemical solution in my eye and freaked out I might go blind. But it’s nothing a little Bojangle’s breakfast couldn’t remedy. We took the dogs out to play in the parking lot, and the poor neighbor’s dog accidentally knocked it’s tooth out on the curb! See what I mean about the types of ridiculousness that automatically ensue?  Later on we tailgated, and made delicious mixed coffee drinks and mingled and played corn hole. Then we borrowed the neighbor’s student ID, and I went to my first UGA football game. That was a totally fun experience. Then we went downtown and stayed up late into the night again.

It was a weekend that was full of my favorite things. I love meeting new people, but feeling instantly connected – like you’ve known each other forever. I love walking in groups on city sidewalks, and I love laughing til my stomach hurts. I love great conversation, the kind where you can say “oh my gosh! You too?!” rambling on about vinyl, film, running, and all aspects of life. These are the kind of times that make me feel totally alive. It’s the most simple, purest way to inject love into life. It was one of the most fun birthdays I’ve ever had.

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This was my hair post blow-out. Thanks, Cherry Dry Bar!

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Love those Georgia roads.

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Classic: The Taco Stand.

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The Blue Moon sampler pack my dad gave me!

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Story of our lives. (Big/Little pic.)

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This is Drew! Pretty sure I took this when we went back to Sand Bar after we temporarily lost the group. (Brady went to get pizza by himself!)

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It was a Snapchat filled weekend.

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Bojangles!

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Beautiful fall foilage.

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Perfection: getting to hangout with my little AND my grandlittle in the same day. Happy heart.

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Family line photo.

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Bob – love this kid!

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Kay got me a cookie cake!

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Tailgate randomness with the dogs.

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Brady and I at the game.

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Me, Kay, and Drew at the game.

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Another Snapchat.

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Group photo!

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Snapchat snapchat snapchat.

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Kaylynn showed me the magic of a curling wand.

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And to close it out, the gorgeous sunset on my drive back to Florida.

It turns out, this year my birthday happens to be the week before Thanksgiving once again! We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into then, but this was a fabulous start to kick off 26!

So, This Is the New Year.

Like I said: it all works out. It’s mid-January, and here I sit on the other side of town from where I typed out that last entry. There was a very tear-filled goodbye, a few roadtrips, and lots of boxes in-between and now for the first time in my life I’m living in my very own little apartment. All by my self. It’s kind of strange, after all these years, but it’s also completely liberating. And right now I’m using it to my advantage. I’m delving into the little niches of my brain where my writing thoughts wait, and I’m digging into the little pockets with brainstorming ideas and I’m trying not to let the flame of current creativity blow out. My friend Kylan was right when he told me you truly get to know yourself when you live alone. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but apparently there’s more to know. That’s exciting, in a way – at least I’m not bored yet. The past year is going to be hard to top, but I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store. There are adventures to be had, friends to be made, curiosity to be followed, spectacular memories to create.