To The One Who’s Tired of Waiting…

Don’t sell out. I know that sometimes waiting can be hard and the work and time you’ve been putting in can start to feel like nothing more than a few more grains of sand falling through the hourglass, but don’t sell out. Don’t sell your dream for a hand-me-down or a knock-off that may bare resemblance but will never fulfill your purpose. Don’t sell your love for something that will leave you feeling more used than the running shoes you have barely broken in. Don’t sell your goals for something that may put you three steps ahead today but will leave you miles behind tomorrow.

And I know what it’s like to be tired. When the strain you’ve put on your mind and your body just to get through another day can add up to a pile so high that the path you walk has turned into a trek through the mountains that even the most skilled hikers wouldn’t dare tread. I know what it’s like to want results. To have waited so long that you wonder if the clock still works because the endless ticking has been so deeply engraved into your mind that it’s no longer an outside sound; it’s a part of you.

I know. I know how heavy your heart can get. I know about the lonely nights and the discouraging mornings. I understand that life is a game of give and take and sometimes it feels like the world isn’t just taking, but it’s not even providing the opportunity to give.

But I also know that there is something to be said about all this waiting. That sometimes the impatient pursuit defeats the purpose of the lesson that is meant to be understood in the quieter moments. And sometimes the strain you’ve been holding is only giving you strength to tackle whatever’s around the corner.

But keep in mind that there’s a difference between moving forward while you follow your path and racing forward trying to create your own. There’s a reason life hasn’t brought you to where you want to be. And I don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. But sometimes the most important thing you can do is ask the right questions. So, my question to you is, what’s the lesson you’re missing?

Find it. Learn it. Embrace it. And until then, find peace in the waiting.

The Moment My Life Changed

I remember specific moments where my life had changed. The minute I bought that plane ticket to go halfway across the world; the time I chased a dream despite the many obstacles in my way; the moment I kissed that boy knowing the only two possible outcomes were happiness or heartache. I knew. In every moment I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that life would never go according to plan, and no matter how much you try to bribe your way into a better outcome, the dice have already been rolled and there’s nothing you can do but play the cards you have. I knew that they were course-altering moments and if I were in a movie, they would be the scenes that can be identified by a change in music, forcing the audience to feel one way or another. I knew.

I knew that in all the emotions I could have felt in every moment that my life had changed, the only one that pounded its way across my head, knocking into my skull time and time again to make itself known, was fear. It wasn’t the type of fear that held me back – binded at the wrists and ready to succumb to the innevitable outcome that I had no choice but to follow. Nor was it the fear that boiled my blood and left adrenaline coursing through my veins like a drug that couldn’t be stopped. It was a different kind of fear. It was fear that caused my heart to pound just a beat too fast and my mind to quiet like the world around me as it focused only on the moment I was in. It was the feeling you get when you explore a new place on your own – afraid of what could happen but curious and thrilled at the possibilities ahead. It was the moment on the track just before the gun is shot; the intensity of the musician as the conductor lifts their arms; the readiness of the actor as the curtains open in front of them. In every moment there was fear, but it was the fear of the beginning that puts everything else into action. I knew.

I knew that this fear, while not blinding or adrenaline-inducing, was one I would come to know and love because it meant my life was moving forward. While I never knew if that direction was one that would end in a triumphant roar of the audience or a defeated fall on my knees, what I did know is that I would be better off because of it. The victory would inspire me to go even further while the defeat would teach me to hold my head a little higher.

I have learned not to be afraid of being afraid – an irony that took me more time to learn than I’d like to admit. My mind has been trained into understanding that the greatest type of fear is the one you feel just moments before a change; moments before you push past the comfort zone you once set for yourself and fly into a new territory that has been waiting to be explored by you. Because the only two reasons that you can be uncomfortable with where your life is at is because you’re either staying in your comfort zone where you don’t belong, or you’re pushing past it where you’re not used to. And I would rather feel the fear of moving forward than experience the loss of standing still, and this is something I know.

Getting Past the Fear

I have never had a fear that I haven’t done my best to face. When I was afraid of heights, I jumped from a cliff into waters that engulfed me and washed me from the tremble I felt before the leap. I climbed a mountain and veered over the edge, looking from a thousand feet at the ground below. I soared in planes above the clouds and watched out the window for hours until the sun set and there was noting left to see.

When I was afraid of speaking in public, I voluntarily took part in speech competitions and public speaking classes. I went out of my way to present first in classrooms and introduce myself to new crowds of people, forgetting to the best of my ability the lump in my throat that urged me not to speak.

When I was afraid to love, I loved deeper and harder than I had thought possible. I opened my heart and let the love pour out because I knew no good would come from holding it back and a life without experiencing love was not one I wanted to live, despite my fear.

And while I understood the sense of fear that came with each fall, stutter, and heartache, I also experienced the liberation that came with facing the very things I had never before thought to endure. There was freedom with each word I spoke. Freedom with each jump I made. Freedom with each beat of my heart.

I wonder, then, what I am so scared of now. If I am a repeated champion of facing what I fear most, what is there left to fear? If I know that in the moment my legs may shake and my heart may beat a little faster but I will ultimately stand tall and firm, what is there to worry about?

I believe life revolves around the conquering of the very things that try to hold us back. We must live with a trust that there is something just beyond our fears; our worries; our doubts. We trust that the water will break our fall and that the view will be worth the climb. Our attitude in day-to-day life should be the same. Even when the rain is pouring down and you can’t see a break in the clouds lasting long enough for your bones to dry, you trust that the storm will end eventually and the warmth from the sun is only so far away.

I’m starting to learn how the only way to combat fear of even the most natural of things like uncertainty is to simply trust.

Facing fear isn’t about bravery or strength, it’s about trust.

There is freedom and peace in the fall, but first you must get past the fear of the jump and trust in the landing.

To The One Who Broke My Heart…

To the one who broke my heart, thank you.

Thank you for leaving me shattered and alone as I was left to pick up the pieces you left behind. Because of this, I have been able to see how every part of me comes together to create the beautiful and strong woman I am.

Thank you for not being able to love me the way I wanted to be loved. I can see now the kind of love I deserve. I can see now that the love I want needs to come from myself and the love I need will show itself in a call from an old friend or a sunrise after a night full of tears. It will not come from someone who’s not ready to give it to me.

Thank you for not making me the only one you wanted. You showed me how little I wanted myself and how much I relied on others to feel wanted. I will not make that mistake again. I will learn to want myself.

Thank you for not fighting for me. You not choosing to fight for me to stay in your life gave me every reason to fight for myself. My mom has always said you need to pick and choose your battles, and though understanding why I wasn’t someone worth fighting for has been a tough thing to come to terms with, I know I am coming out a stronger fighter because of this particular battle I now face.

But most importantly, thank you for teaching me how to love. Opening up my heart to you was one of the greatest and scariest things I had ever done, and despite the way things turned out, I do not regret a thing. The brokenness I feel is only a sign of the healing I needed and the wholeness that is coming.

To the one who broke my heart, thank you. You have made all the difference in making me who I am.

Grace

My mom and I have this thing where we say to each other a line from the song Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol – “I need your grace to remind me to find my own,” it says. Almost every time I’m home or if one of us is going through a rough time, we lay on the cold kitchen floor and play this song as loud as it can go – one or both of us crying but feeling peace as this line flows from the speakers. In times where I’m feeling particularly down, this phrase is almost always guranteed to cross the depths of my mind and make its way to my heart. In each low point of my life, before I even know it, I’m longing for grace.

When I was younger, my mom used to joke around saying she should have named me Grace because of how clumsy or, better yet, ungraceful, I could be. It’s funny how that word has taken on a new meaning to us now.

Grace can mean a lot of things. It can mean elegance, goodwill, blessing, prayer, etc. With all the different meanings it possesses, I could ask for grace a thousand different times over and still ask for something new each time. The one thing that stays the same, though, no matter who I’m asking, be it my mom, God, or anyone else, the point is that I’m asking for something that I lack – I’m asking for a reminder or a renewal of something I am in need of.

I’m at this point in my life where I need grace from everyone around me, everything within me, and my God above me. I need grace because I know I have fallen short a thousand and one times, but I will always try to do right by that. I need grace because I am far from perfect, but I am looking for perfection in everything I find. I need grace not because I deserve it, but because I don’t deserve it. I need grace so I can better learn to give it.

I need grace to be reminded of the grace I already have.