life

5.

I still remember the ice-cold, melt-your-soul, kind of rain in New York City. When I was in college I interned for a couture fashion label whose office was right by the river. It was frustrating to have to walk almost a mile to the subway with 40lb garment bags bigger than me. All while trying to balance an umbrella, which did nothing to save me from the rain falling sideways from the wind tunnels.

Trying to get a day right when everything is going wrong feels like moving a freight train bare-handed. What makes it even harder is being frustrated with yourself about not being able to change it. I’m learning that sometimes the most frustrating things we deal with (or people) have to do with what we want to change, but it’s not actually changeable in our hands.

I couldn’t change the rain or that it was pelting me sideways or that I threw away countless umbrellas’. I could quit but, I didn’t want to give up on the dream. So the only thing I could change was my perspective. Now I could say I could’ve changed my attitude; however, attitude is a direct reflection of the way we see things. So if we don’t change our perspective, then our attitude won’t move.

I’d like to tell you that after I changed my perspective it got easier and sunshine and rainbows followed; however, that isn’t real life. I had to be okay with it not being okay. Sometimes it’s a frustrating day, sometimes it a frustrating season.

So here is what I pass on to you. Give yourself grace. Not every day will be okay, and that’s okay. It really is, I promise. If it were meant to be perfect, you wouldn’t need tomorrow.

Once you breathe and give yourself grace, find a place that makes you happy and find a reason to laugh. Why? Because it’s so good for your heart. If your heart has happy beating through it, it adds color to those rainy days.

 

x.

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life

4.

It took me several seconds to decide if I was going to laugh or cry the moment my face hit the ground. I’d never fallen so dramatically in all of my life – especially over something so silly as getting my heel stuck in a crack. At 22 I decided to give college a try, while maintaining a full time job (that I was not so enthusiastic about). Lugging enough bags to title me “the bag lady,” I walked my usual route to the train after class. I didn’t know what happened until my bags and I were sprawled across the sidewalk in front of someone’s house at 10:30 at night. Walking into a stranger’s lawn to pick up my flip phone and the pieces of my dinner that fell out of the container, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous that must’ve looked.

I laughed the entire ride home and laughed again when I told my co-workers. I re-enacted it several times just for the drama and laughed some more.

Looking back, it’s still one of my favorite stories to tell. Maybe because in that same time frame, I put so much pressure on myself to get my life together that there was no grace or space for cracks or falls. I was juggling school, work, trying to be healthy, starting my first fashion show, and to top it off, battling exhaustion.

Taking the fall relieved the pressure of perfection and laughter was medicine to my pride. Being human, it’s only a matter of time before we fall. (And truthfully, who walks a mile in heels? Not me anymore.) The story ended well. I still walked everyday back to the train, and giggled every time I passed the scene of the crime.

Here’s the truth: taking a fall is inevitable, but being able to laugh when you get up is invaluable.

x.

 

p.s. Remind me to tell you about the time I tripped on my pants running to get to my first basketball game and sprained my ankle in front of the huge crowd…

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Love

3.

Did you ever play hide and seek when you were little? I was the worst at playing the game. I got too antsy in my hiding spots and always gave myself away. Playing as an adult, I became more stealth in my hiding steak-outs. I was playing with a load of kids recently knowing I had the upper hand. I had the best spot in the house – the broom closet. I knew they would never remember it was there, plus I scored a seat on one of the shelves. Several minutes go by and then a few more continued to drag along. The hallway was too quiet, so I peaked my head out to see if they were coming. No. They were playing tag in the living room. Apparently they gave up their search and moved on without me. I thought I was winning the game, when really; I was the idiot sitting in a dark closet by myself.

Dating can be like the game of hide and seek. We want to be found, but we also want to hide our heart so it doesn’t get hurt. Growing up in church we were always told to “guard our heart.” I think it became a personal competition to see who could hide their heart the best. Some of us are so good at hiding we forgot we are supposed to be found.

I am the first person to admit I have been a winner at hiding my heart, and have lost a lot of opportunities because I didn’t let anyone find it. Pride welled up that I had successfully been single, but sometimes it felt like I’d been sitting in a dark closet peaking my head out 30 years later wondering where my rescuer has been. Church girl or not, winning the game of hiding can be proving our fear of being found. Truly being found is authentically being real. Maybe we aren’t hiding all of us, but parts of us. And maybe it’s not for a man, but relationships with people. Those are the same areas that crave to be found and loved.

Brené Brown ruined my hiding spot when she said vulnerability is true confidence. It may be messy and scary and at times it feels exposing, but it’s real. I’ve traveled the world, jumped out of boats into the sea, lived in crazy places and lived on a dime, but I realized the grander scale of courage is in being found. Letting our crevices be seen unadulterated and loving with all of us.

The truth is, there is something so magical about being found. Knowing someone is searching for us. I’ve learned it’s not going to be a rescuer of perfection, but by people who are searching to be found as well.

x.

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life

2.

My grandparents live in a storybook home tucked away in the mountains. Christmastime it is plush with winter white, as the snow never fails to dust its bare limbs. It’s truly a storybook come alive, especially when their red barn warms the frost bitten sight.

In the barn, I found time had stood still for 50 years. Dusty dolls from Japan stood frozen, suitcases retired with residue from far away lands, and then there were my childhood photo books and journals lightly laced with cobwebs.

I poured through the pages determined to find an answer to questions I hadn’t quite formed in my mind yet. There was a nagging sense I needed to find something. I think it was me I was looking for. As adults we are on the constant hunt to figure out who we are, yet as children we just are unapologetically.

My journals from when I was a kid far differed from those of my young 20’s. At 9, I talked about the pop tart I ate that morning, and wrote to my Diary as “Dear Jonathan” referring to my big celeb crush – Jonathan Taylor Thomas. As a young adult in my 20’s, my journals were heavy laden with not doing it right and not being enough. It was clear, I was waiting to get it “right” before I allowed myself to live.

Young hearts are sensitive, passionate and open. They are in wonderment of new experiences, yet equally navigating the growing pains of reality in front of them. The bruised parts of the past that were locked away, are also shadows begining to creep into the quiet spaces. It’s hard to let yourself breathe at times. But I urge you, young heart, don’t let the growing pains take your focus from your freedom. Freedom to be young. You have all the space to make mistakes, to take risks, and to fail. Regret is harder to wash off than mistakes being forgiven.

Life isn’t delicate, though it is short. Splatter on the blank canvas of life. I assure you it will make sense one day when you look back at your barn filled with treasures of memories.

x.

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