Put Your Faith in My Stomach

Things have been…weird lately, for lack of a better word. And it’s one of those “weirds” where you can’t tell if it is about to be gut-wrenchingly awful or one the greatest things. Or who knows, maybe even somewhere in between.

I’m all about control. It’s part of my nature, and lately I’ve been trying to suppress that aspect of myself and just enjoy life and what it has to offer. I’ve not been worried about what will come next; I haven’t been stressing over all the little details.

Have you ever had a gut feeling about something? Something you just can’t explain? I have one of those, and I can’t decide if I am absolutely out of my mind or not. I can’t even put it into words, because it makes no sense to me. And also because being able to put it into words might even demolish the beauty of just going with my gut. It’s kind of hilarious, actually, what it reminds me of. There’s this Ed Sheeran song called “I’m a Mess,” and it has this one line that sends me into little fits of giggling. He says, “Put your faith in my stomach.” It cracks me up so much, if only at first because I did not understand what in the world he was talking about when he was telling someone to trust in his stomach. Like, okay Ed? Do you have a really good taste in food or something? What’s going on here? But my sister explained it to me awhile ago, and she said that it meant that he wanted whoever he wrote the song about to trust in his gut instinct, because that is exactly what he was doing. Once she told me that, it made perfect sense. But, I’ve never been able to relate, because I’m not one of those people that “goes with the wind” and “trusts their gut.” In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a gut feeling before. I’ve always evaluated every little decision and fretted over it and analyzed it until it wasn’t even fun anymore. It takes the life out of things- analyzation.

So maybe it’s saying something about my anxiety that I’m finally taking a risk, and I’m finally trusting in my gut. Honestly? I don’t care if it blows up in my face. Okay, no, I care a lot, actually. But I’m just proud that I’m not overthinking everything for once, and it gives me a sense of hope and freedom that I lost a long time ago. It makes me think that it may be possible for me to get over my anxiety, not completely…obviously. But, maybe to the point to where it doesn’t plague my mind every second of every day. I genuinely hope I can get there soon.

Ironically enough, however, even as I’m typing this I can feel that little bit of anxiety crawling back in and trying to grab hold of me. It sickens me. When my brother went through his eating disorder, it pained me every day to see him struggle and not be able to overcome it. Once he finally got over it, I imagined he would be perfectly back to normal- no trace of his problems left. But, it left a mark. And that scares me. Because of what he went through, he will never be the same person he was. I talk like I’m cynical, but deep down I am such an idealist. I want to believe that instead of just getting to the point where my anxiety doesn’t bother me 24/7 that I can get to the point where I’m back to myself completely. And maybe if I try hard enough, believe in myself, and fight like hell, then I can get there.

So here’s to hoping.

Perfection

I’ve been so focused on the idea of perfection, and it hit me. Perfection is boring. Real life is exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. Sometimes you have to hit a few, or a lot, of bumps in the road before you find out what you’re supposed to be doing and who you’re supposed to be doing it with.

I started off this semester worried that nothing would turn out right, but everything has fallen into place. And the ironic thing is, nothing is the way I pictured it. My future roommate backed out on me, things with the sorority have been insanely slow, and even my classes haven’t turned out how they were supposed to. But, everything is better somehow. I’m finding out who I’m supposed to be, and I’ve started to love myself again along the way.

I reunited with my best friend from high school, and I couldn’t be happier. She’s the sweetest, strongest person I know. She has the bluntness to keep me level headed and the heart to make me feel at home. She’s my rock. And I’m moving in with her this May. I couldn’t be more excited.

It’s nothing like I pictured. I didn’t plan on moving into an apartment. I didn’t plan on having to get a job. But I also didn’t expect to find such joy in the things that I didn’t plan myself. God has such a funny way of showing you that what you wanted wasn’t really what you wanted or needed.

Happiness is a choice, and it’s hard to make that choice sometimes and keep fighting. Life is hard. But, everyday I’m reminded of how blessed I am and who I am blessed with.

So who needs perfection?

P-R-O-O-F

Some things you’re just so sure about, and there’s immediate proof that you made the right decision. But with other things, there is no painstakingly obvious sense of what to do. It’s just its own special kind of torment, not knowing how things will play out if you do this or that or whatever. How did there get to be so many questions, but no answers?

People Always Leave

I’m just sitting here reading my sister’s goodbye letter to me since she is moving to Texas this week, and honestly I can’t even process it. She’s giving me advice, and it is so sweet and I’m sure it will be helpful, but the only thing I can think about is a quote from the show One Tree Hill. The character named Peyton said it. “People always leave.”

And that’s what I’m thinking about while I’m holding this letter. I used to think that my life would forever be filled with my sister. I looked forward to and expected her to be a constant presence in my life. She would always be at Christmas, always be there for birthdays and other holidays. But no, things didn’t go like that, and our relationship isn’t what it used to be. It can never be what it was again.

And it makes me wonder. Why do we try so hard in life to make relationships when they never last? They always come to an end. People always leave. And sometimes you can’t even get people to care about you long enough for them to have the chance to leave, because they weren’t ever really there to begin with.

God wants us to love everyone and to care for everyone, but it’s so hard. He must know how badly it hurts every time someone we love leaves us, every time someone makes us feel like we don’t matter to them, every time someone looks at you and all you can do is wonder when they are going to break your heart because people always leave.

But then again, what’s a life without people? There’s no joy in that. So it’s almost cruel, in fact, that we have to constantly put ourselves in positions where we know we are going to get crushed, but we don’t have any other choice.

Danger of Overthinking

Words
Ink on paper
But come alive inside her head
Thoughts 
She can't let them escape through her lips
Franticly swirling in her mind 
Colliding
Crashing
But those words still linger
Those thoughts still linger
Everpresent
Never escaping
Building up and up until she can't take it anymore
The words have won
The thoughts have taken control

Wørry?

It’s so frustrating that the main roadblock to my happiness in life is inside my head. It’s practically made-up. Not real. It’s worry. Worry is a state of anxiety over actual or potential problems. It’s agonizing, overthinking, brooding.

I need to be positive and focus on the things in my life that are actually real, not some potential problem that may not even happen.  I let my constant state of worry affect me so much that it infiltrates my dreams and I wake up in full-blown panic mode. Sometimes, I even let my dreams affect how my day goes.

So my goal is to try not to be worried. And even if I am, not to let it affect the way I live my life.

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

-Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Tenacity

The sunshine bounces off the pavement
Glaringly bright in her cloudy eyes
Contrite,
But she always seems to smile

She has the endowment of grace
Never letting anybody see through her face
Her mask
Blocking out how she truly feels

Remaining forever a mystery
Occasionally,
Even to her
She cannot seem to find the right words
Only her indistinct fears can be heard

Sky’s the Limit

So, I’m sitting on my rear end at the airport in these surprisingly comfortable chairs. My plane won’t leave for practically another two hours, but I do understand my grandparents’ desire to be exceptionally early.

I feel so confident about my ability to handle this situation utterly on my own, but I love how worried my grandparents were leaving me. They reminded me about several things over and over until they were left satisfied that the knowledge was left drilled in my head.

Flying by yourself is rather intimidating, but then exciting after you’ve done it a couple times. It makes you feel like an adult, like you’ve been given a responsibility and you can either handle it skillfully or royally screw it up. It’s nice knowing that my decisions and my decisions alone will affect this outcome.

And I’m not thinking ooey gooey thoughts about John, my boyfriend, but of course he comes to mind while I’m sitting here killing time. He’s never flown on an airplane before. I really want to be with him the first time he does. I could guide him through the procedures. In fact, I’d like being able to take charge for once. He’s so annoying adept at everything.

Free Falling

I feel so…alive.

This vacation has allowed me to take a step back and explore how I am without all of the pressures of life pushing at me. I’m really lazy. But, that’s not the point.

I’ve gotten to do some unbelievable things. For example, skydiving. It’s been on my bucket list, and honestly I never quite thought I would get to scratch it off. But, lo and behold, I went skydiving with my grandma in Eloy, Arizona.

We are staying in Casa Grande, and so we woke up and drove to Eloy last Saturday morning. We signed away all our rights, which terrified Nana, and we discovered that there had been a death there two days prior to our little excursion. That terrified Nana even more. But, surprisingly, she didn’t back out, and there was no way that I was going to anyway.

We suited up, walked out, and boarded the small plane. I thought that I would be nervous and desire to back out, but never once did I ever question what I was about to do.

We went tandem skydiving, which basically means that I was harnessed to an experienced skydiver. At 13,000 feet above the ground, we jumped. The air hit me in the face and knocked me breathless. We were in free-fall. I tried to breathe, but it was tantalizing. So I just stopped trying and focused on everything around me. I was in pure bliss. I felt so…alive. The adrenaline was pumping through me, and everything looked so minuscule below. Even though I was unable to breathe, I wasn’t concerned. I never wanted the free-fall to stop. But, too soon, my tandem instructor opened the parachute. I felt a sudden jerk, and our fall slowed its pace enormously. I could breathe again. This experience was different from the free-fall, but just as astounding. During the free-fall I had been horizontal, but now I was upright.  I felt as if I were floating, or perhaps walking on air. The world below my feet acting as my floor, even.

The landing was rough. I landed hard on my butt, and looked oh so graceful while doing it. I’ve got a video if you don’t believe me. My Nana says that she enjoyed it, but that it was definitely a one-time experience. I felt oppositely. I would do it over and over and over again until I died. The adrenaline. The view. The beauty. The danger of it all. I fell in love with skydiving, that’s for sure.

I refuse to describe in detail everything we have done on this magnificent trip, but I also refuse to simply list the activities; they deserve much more than that. So, I’m going to keep them to myself, a secret treasure to hold onto. I will let you in on something that happened today though, just because of the way it affected me. To start, it was a beautiful day outside. No, the sun was not out, but that didn’t matter. The weather felt heavenly. Nana and I were out riding our bikes, and suddenly it started raining. Nana was not happy, but I was. I love rain. Now, I know the science of it all, but there’s always been something  magical about it to me. The way it falls in tiny droplets, how it feels when it gently strokes your face, how it tastes when it hits your tongue, how it drips from your eyelashes, how its smell mixes with the smell of the air and you feel intoxicated from the aroma that I can only think to describe as pureness. So, we’re heading back to the RV, and it’s all I can do not to get off my bike and lay on the ground. I want to feel the hot concrete on my back as the chilling rain pools around me. But, Nana would kill me, so on I go. It’s still idyllic. It made me feel, again, so… alive. No matter what else happens today, that will be the best part. It reminded me of that song by Natasha Bedingfield: Unwritten. I won’t waste time including the lyrics. If you know it, you know it. If you don’t, well then hopefully you’re curious enough to google it. But just the reminder of that song while in this situation made me giggle. I thought of God. It felt like He was telling me to put all my mistakes behind me and just start living my life again. I can’t change the past, and I will never be able to not make mistakes. It might not have even been Him; it may have just been a coincidence. But, I hope it was Him. I hope that He cared enough to set me up in that situation so that I would finally feel forgiven by Him and to finally forgive myself. I hope He cared enough to purposefully send me the renewed sense of purpose, joy, and maybe even a sense of understanding. Understanding how He feels about me and how He can possibly love me when I’m so pathetically incorrigible.

I will end this post as I began it, because I do. I feel so…alive. 

And it excites me.