2018

I used to be good at this.  At writing.  At collecting my thoughts and putting them somewhere.  And I feel like I don’t even have thoughts anymore.  I keep trying to be the person I used to be, but maybe it’s time to realize that I’m not.

I never became the person that I thought I would be.  But maybe I like the person that I am even better.  Even though I’m secluded.  Even though I never go to church because I haven’t found one that I belong at.  Even though I sometimes drink too much.  Even though I don’t write enough and I almost never touch my guitar.  I like cuddling my dog.  I like eating dinner with my boyfriend.  I like adventures, and most of my bad decisions aren’t bad at all.

I know that I’m probably always going to wish I had done life differently.  So maybe 2018 is going to be a year of acceptance.  Accepting that I am who I am because of the choices I made.  I am who I am because of who I love and who loves me.  I am who I am because I was created this way.

I’m going to try to take more time for myself this year.  I’m going to try to work on things when they’re still stirring.  I’m going to try going back to school and getting my masters in something that I actually care about, and maybe giving myself a new focus.

I’ll try not to disappear as much or for as long.

But I’m going to stop trying so hard.  I want to be more than content.  I want to be more than happy.

So here’s to 2018 I guess.

I hope my neighbors aren’t as loud this year.

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Being Thankful in These Trying Times

I usually write some post about Thanksgiving and what I’m thankful for, but I’ve had no time or energy to write lately.  This is a season of thankfulness, but I’m not sure that I’ve felt very thankful.  Sometimes I feel so pessimistic that I forget that my life has been far more privileged than that of a lot of people.  I have a family that loves me.  A boyfriend that makes me smile a lot.  A job with benefits and great coworkers.  I have my own place and a really cute dog.  I have a car that I don’t have to make payments on.  And for the most part, I’m healthy, except for the current moment, because Bobby gave me his cold.

And maybe I find these times trying because I don’t have the community or church that I had back home.  And I thought I didn’t have community there, when I did.  Life never really turns out the way you expect it to.  Thus, I complain too much.  I complain, and I don’t make enough effort to make things better, because I’m too tired or too lazy or just too… too much myself.

So I had a meeting with someone from the counseling department to get my masters in counseling at UNA.  And it seems like a real possibility.  So maybe I should be thankful that I moved to a college town, and even though I really want to move out of it sometimes, Florence is not a bad place.

People, be thankful.  You’re not starving.  You’re not a victim of genocide.  You have a roof over your head.  And things can always get better.

White Carnations

I need to write.  I’ve been meaning to write.  I’ve been meaning to set time aside.  I’ve been meaning to.  I’ve been meaning to.  But there are so many things that have almost lost the words.  Or maybe just one thing.  Because I’ve felt a little numb.  Or maybe I’ve felt as though something was missing and it’s not a space I can fill.  And I haven’t even been trying to fill it.

I’ve missed my mother lately.  I always thought that we never learned to love each other right.  I thought we were too different to understand each other, but I have realized that we were almost too much alike.  She raised me to be strong and independent.  She raised me to value intelligence and adventure.  She raised me to never say no to the possibilities.  She raised me to value my own opinion, but to learn the opinions of others.  I am who I am because of who she raised me to be.

I find that I talk about her more now than I ever did before.  She was always a fixture in my life, even when I moved thousands of miles away from her.  She wasn’t everything that I thought a mother was supposed to be, but she was a thousand times better than her mother could have ever hoped to have been.  She was everything she knew how to be.

And maybe I’m just angry.  Maybe I’m angry that I never got to show her my new home.  I’m angry that I can’t ask her questions about living on my own that a daughter should get to ask her mom.  I’m angry that I’ll never get to introduce her to Bobby and ask her how she likes him.  I’m angry that I can’t travel with her anymore, even though she’s who put the love of travel in me.  I’m angry that life goes on, even when it doesn’t.

And I think I’m allowed to be angry.  And I’m allowed to not talk about it, because there’s nothing for anyone to say.

On Sunday, while I worked, Bobby spent mother’s day with his family.  He told me that his dad had gotten me a white carnation, because that’s a southern tradition.  You get someone a white carnation if they don’t have a mother on mother’s day.  It was my first mother’s day without her.  It was my first carnation.

Love is Scary

Valentine’s Day was last week.  I don’t know much about the origin of Valentine’s Day, and I’ve never really fully partaken in the holiday, because it’s become a hallmark holiday to sell merchandise and make single people feel lonely.  However, this year was my first year as part of a real couple on Valentine’s Day.  Not that I find the holiday important, but it has gotten me thinking.

How does one know that they will love someone forever?  How do we trust that our partner will love us forever?  What is forever?  Love is about trust.  Love is about loyalty.  Love is a choice.  I’m in a relationship that I could perceive lasting forever.  I have zero desire for it to end.  It’s just sometimes hard to wrap my head around someone wanting to be with me forever.  People are constantly changing and evolving.  But my parents were together 43 years and would have been together another thousand if possible.  I want that.  Maybe I have that.  Giving your heart to someone is just a little terrifying.

But is it the same with God’s love?  Because he is love and will love me forever.  His love is not dependent on whether we’re in the same place or like the same things.  It just is.  As long as I can trust that, nothing else really matters, I guess.

So what if love is scary?  It just might be worth it.  God’s love brought me all the way across the country, didn’t it?  And there are probably a thousand more adventures to be had.

Goodbye 2016

I think most people would say good riddance to 2016.  It hasn’t been the worst year, but it’s been quite a year.

I started out the year working far too much and being home not enough and tired quite often.  I was spending time with someone who didn’t value me. I didn’t make priorities of the things that I should have.

In March, I made the biggest decision of my life so far and decided to pack up and move across the country, with no job, very little savings, and no place to live.  But I’ve fallen in love with my home here in Alabama.  I have great friends and my heart is finding somewhere to belong.

2016 will always be the year my mother died.  It’s not fair, how much this year has claimed.  The door is about to close here, and there’s nothing we can do to make 2017 the same.

I want to do great things in 2017.  I want to be healthy again.  I want to be even happier.  I want to adventure and try new things.  I want to learn to save and plan, while still having time to explore.

I want to fall in love with 2017.  Maybe fall in love in 2017.  We’ll see, I guess.

I wish that I had more to say.  There are a lot of words in my mind, but they tend to get stopped before they reach fruition.  So maybe writer’s block is weeds.

Here’s to 2017.

Christmas (A Poem)

Christmas.
Family.
When the air is filled with cheer
A time you want your loved ones near

Christmas.
A time we’re prone to forget
Wrapped up in the mess of present wrapping
Though its reason is all about the presence

Christmas.
A time for remembering
A God most powerful, became so humble
A child in a stable, came to save mankind

Christmas.
Unwrap new beginnings
It doesn’t matter what your tree looks like
There wasn’t even a tree at the original

Christmas.
Wisemen, shepherds, nativity.
So much more, though our small minds might make it less
King, creator, Lord of our hearts

Christmas.
A time to be found
Don’t get lost in this
Find time to be merry

Christmas.
Let your heart be warmed
No matter how cold it may or may not be outside
It was never about the weather anyway

Christmas.
Remember.
Be humbled and bring praise
Its every reason is so you could be saved

Christmas.

On Santa and Christmas Traditions

Working in customer service has taught me that people get meaner during the holidays.

I’m almost positive that I’ve never taken a picture with Santa.  My parents didn’t really teach the Santa thing.  I don’t remember ever really believing, but maybe I stopped before my memories began.  I vaguely remember logical conversations with my dad about how Santa wouldn’t fit down our chimney, but I’m pretty sure I knew it was always pretty much a fairy tale.
We focused more on the original Christmas story.  Yes, we did the tree for most of my life, but we opened at least one gift on Christmas Eve, and as my brother and I got older, we started to follow my dad’s family tradition of opening all the gifts on Christmas Eve, which pretty much takes Santa out of the equation entirely.
Sometimes my mom would write “from Santa” on certain gifts, but we always knew it was from her, plus, those gifts were under the tree days, if not a couple weeks, before Christmas.  Thus, it was really hard to actually believe in Santa.  And that’s okay.  I don’t really feel like I missed out.

Every year since I can remember, apart from the random years we were spending the holidays out of town, my family has gone to a Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in.  Even after I moved away and my parents stopped going to that church, we still went to the service.  It was tradition.  Afterward, my parents would drive around and look at Christmas lights.  As I got older, I kinda got over that tradition, and started going home to wait for them.
The four of us would gather in the living room and usually eat a dessert or something and then give gifts.  It was nice.  It was pretty anticlimactic.
This year, I’ll be away from family for the first time.  I’m okay with it, I’m not complaining.  It’s just different, like almost every aspect of my life in the south.  I was expecting to work on Christmas, like I usually do, but this year I have it off.  So I’m going to cook and spend the evening with one of my favorite people.  I’m going to drink champagne.  Maybe I’ll start a new tradition.