Home for the holidays

As Christmas lights twinkle and wink
And the scents of pine and spruce fill the air
Joy bubbles out of me like a champagne bottle free from its cork.

All these traditions and memories that a year ago were so distant.
Now I’m here again,
Hugging my loved ones and skipping to holiday tunes.

A year ago, I never thought I would be back with my family, baking my favorite Christmas treats, and enjoying our holiday traditions.  A year ago I was isolated, missing my family, trapped in a situation I didn’t know how to get out of.  I barely remember my Christmas Eve last year. But I remember struggling to be happy.  I remember missing my family and my home.

This holiday season has meant the world to me.  I’ve realized now more than ever the importance of family and friendship and cherishing the people you are blessed to share life with.

To some people, the holidays are hard and painful.  I get that. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is rejoicing while you are stuck living in a world of grey. Trust me, I’ve been there.

But now I’m here to tell you that the sadness doesn’t last.  The hardships won’t stay forever.  You are strong enough and capable to get either out of or fight through whatever situation is pulling you down. No season stays the same forever, no matter how long it may seem to drag on. It does get better.

As 2016 – arguably one of the most difficult years this world has seen in a while – comes to a close, let’s look at the beauty around us.  Let’s tell our loved ones how much they mean to us.  Let’s stop and look at the lights and cheer around us, and rejoice in the fact that we are here, we are alive, and we get to share this beautiful season together.

Merry Christmas! May you days be merry and bright from here on out.

 

Growing Pains

Guilt and regret loom like mountains

Sadness drowns like a crashing wave

Confidence shrivels like a dead rose

Someday I will stand tall and strong like a tree

But for now my frail branches stretch and twist towards any faint ray of sunlight, parched and stripped bare of greenery 

The last few weeks…

Have been weeks of barely being able to convince myself to get out of bed some days, and other days being so anxious to get outside and explore this beautiful world.

Of reading voraciously and crying in the bathtub over beautifully written words.

Of writing about 10 different blog posts and not posting a single one because the voice in my head whispers, “not good enough.”

Of making lists of things to do to keep myself motivated, and lists of things I’m grateful for to keep myself thankful.

Of remembering the good memories that sting so much more sharply than the bad memories. Of sadness and regret trickling in again.

Of rehashing the past and talking about purpose with friends for hours. 

Of letting go.

Of waking up in a good mood and being sad by the time I make it to work. Or conversely, being sad in the morning, and leaving work thankful for my life. 

Of canceling plans because I just need to be alone for a little bit.

Of repeating over and over to myself, “it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay,” like a mantra.

It’s okay that some days are hard. It’s okay that some days the bed and my books are my only company. It’s okay to sit in sadness for  a little while. It’s okay to be a little lost. 

It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay

I’m going to be okay. 

Sitting by a river in Utah

The river flows steadily on

In some places crashing over itself, rushing to jump over rocks and logs

In others, gentle and slow, quietly whispering through the trees.

Months ago it was bursting with life, children screaming and playing, birds diving and singing.

Now….silence

Only the canopy of orange and yellow leaves to keep it company.

In the summer, the excitement of the river matched my exuberance. I was happy and healthy and free and so excited.

Now, fall has come. And as the cold bites my hands and the silence sits heavily, I again feel in unison with the river. 

It is quiet. And lonely. Not a loneliness that brings sadness, just… solitude. But still restlessly churning, as I hunger for answers and seek to make my own path.   

The walk along the river reminds me that each season is unique. And as each season looks and feels different, so it brings new beauties. 

I wonder…what the river might look like in the winter

It’s a Journey

I’m learning to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.

The last two weeks were straight up awful.  And I could list a few reasons why here and there.  There were some tangible things that happened.  Some stuff that saddened me or disturbed me or stressed me out.  A lot of it was just emotional driftwood that finally made it to shore after the past few months.  It was bound to wash up and hit me someday.

And it hit me in the face. Randomly. Unexpectedly.  My eyes a little dazed and a sharp pain shooting through my nose.  Strong enough to make my ears ring a little bit and make me wonder if I should sit down for a minute or else I might fall.

I did sit.  In my car.  And teared up to music that had nothing to do with my situation, but made me emotional none the less.  I sat on my couch and journaled frantically, the words barely legible as I scribbled away.  When I couldn’t sit, I distracted myself at work.  Thankful for my second home.  Still, I fought tears in the hallways in the bowels of Disneyland as I frantically tried to find my way through construction, both literally and figuratively, feeling so so lost and incapable and wondering what on earth I was doing and where I was going and how I could make it through the next hour let alone day let alone week let alone year.

I asked a friend for a hug that somehow both calmed me down and didn’t at the same time.  I wanted to fall apart in that moment.  I wanted so badly to collapse.  But that hug kept the pieces in place.  For a little while.

A few days later, I did collapse.  I cried and cried and cried on my couch for hours, for so many reasons. I talked to two of my best friends about one of the reasons, but it wasn’t until this moment that I’m typing this that I realized there were so many other insecurities and fears quaking and shaking inside of me.

And I realized at the tail end of these two weeks that were Lindsay’s Personal Fourteen Days of Hell, when things were finally calming down, and my friend asked me how I was doing, that a huge driving force behind all of this chaos was fear.

Mostly fear about the future.

I’ve seen what mistakes can do.  I’ve seen what the consequences of actions can be.  I have personally witnessed how so many small choices lead to giant choices that cause a ripple effect that cascade out to so many facets of a life. I’ve felt regret that stabs you in the chest repeatedly, with tiny sharp knives, that sting and twinge and don’t leave you alone.

So I’ve feared my future, which makes my present miserable. I’ve been afraid of making the wrong choices.  Of letting moments slip.  Of missing out again.  Of making mistakes again.  Of missing opportunities and feeling another jab from Regret.

And when my friend asked me how I’m doing, I told her that finally, finally, I realized the future actually doesn’t look so bleak.  That it actually excites me.  That I’m retraining my brain to not fear the future and what it may hold, but actually look forward expectantly, knowing it may just be beautiful. She fired back with that quote at the top of this post, which said exactly what I was trying to say in such a beautiful and simple way.

Regret and fear. Such powerful forces.  They are crippling.

But not so powerful as hope. Determination. Courage. Joy. Faith. Compassion. Love.

And these are what I will hold on to.  I choose to look to my future with excitement.  I choose to be inspired by growth and change. It won’t always be easy.  Of course it won’t.
But it will be worth it.

Jumbled Thoughts

I’ve sat down so many times to write a new post in the past few weeks, but nothing seems to come out right.

How can you put into the words the pain and insecurities and hundreds of thoughts and feelings that skip through your brain in a single day?

How do you describe the inexplicable restlessness? Pensive and anxious, so deep rooted your skin crawls. Nightmares that startle you awake because you are crying so hard, text a friend to get some comfort, push through the day still haunted from the dreams that were too close to reality. Now feeling unsafe, looking over my shoulder, fearful that he could be around any corner. That somehow he knows where I go to church and went looking for me. Feeling betrayed wondering if someone told him how to find me. Thank God for the days I was working or just too exhausted to go, because what would have happened if I was there?

Or the frustration at being so far behind, feeling so lost and aimless, no clear direction. The path has grown over with weeds from neglect, and the task of clearing the way is so daunting. One root at a time, and it seems like I will never be able to rebuild. Dreams float in the distance like wispy clouds – one gust of wind and it seems they will dissipate into the sky. Will I miss out on what could have been? Doomed to regret past choices that haunt me daily. I wish I could change my answer on the night he asked if we could be together. 

And a God that I feel I don’t understand anymore. All I can cling to is His love. Love, love, love – that’s all that matters in this world. God’s love. Love for one another. Because I’ve seen what a life devoid of love can do, and it creates a catastrophe.

Heavy hearted, yet joyful for this new shot at life again. Thankful for the people that keep me going from day to day. Excited for a future that once again has endless possibilities. Blessed to be in the people’s lives that I love.  Hopeful to love again. 

A constant mingle of emotions that I can’t sort out. Putting myself on a limb by attempting to put it into words that probably just don’t make sense to anyone but me. Hoping to make a difference somehow.  

And reminding myself that this is my journey. I must allow it to take its course as I let the hurts slowly but surely fade away.

Remember This

Why is it
that we struggle so much
with our worth?

Why is it
that when he doesn’t respond
and doesn’t make an effort
we tremble with fear and question our value
instead of saying
“That’s enough”?

Why is it
that we tolerate being treated
anything less
than the best?

We get so used to voices
that shout how small we are
from our parents, our peers, our lovers
ourselves.

Why do the words of destruction
vibrate so much louder in our ears
than the words
of love?

Let me tell you something.

You are worth so much more

than raised voices, pointing fingers, slamming doors,
than unanswered texts and the moments when he makes you feel
insignificant.

You deserve to be treated
like the queen that you are.
You deserve smiles
not question marks.
You deserve dreams
not shackles.
You deserve comforting words
not piercing blame.

Your worth is defined by more
than whether or not he decides
to invest his time, energy, and love into you.

You are worth so much more
than you give yourself credit for.