Brave Yet Afraid

Years ago, I wrote a poem titled “Bone China” about the frailty of assumption. I often experience people assuming things about me from a first impression, as do most of us. 

How accurate are others’ first impressions of you? Usually, people find their assumptions of me lacking. It’s not the ignorance I enjoy, but the space between ignorance and learning the truth.

I’m a bit of a social chameleon. I learned this skill as an introvert’s survival tactic. It’s recently been useful in hostile work environs, too. 

Blending in with scenery seems ideal when the notion of mere conversation stresses you out. Self-camouflage makes you appear less threatening to those individuals fearful of your firm will and more potent opinions. If you find yourself blending in out of fear of standing out, that’s another problem entirely.

Although I’ve recently learned the value of shutting up and putting up, as well as the benefit of intentional silence, concern for how you “should” be, is not a valid reason to silence yourself. 

The immature need to fit in is a severe problem in this day and age. So many of us let fear hold us back. We stress the fabric of our realities by trying to match assumptions of how we should be. 

The problem with blending in too much is you make yourself disappear. 

The problem with blending in too much is you make yourself disappear. Worse still, you might forget yourself. Consider where you already are and how those in your life work with or against you. 

For example, my strong opinions are only a problem when disconnected from logic and compassion. When I forget, I have honest friends who remind me to forgive and forget. I’ve also found a productive way to channel my passionate spirit in written words. 

It’s not exactly how I want things to be, but I’m no longer straining myself to fit into an assumed version of my life, nor am I forcing myself or others into unnatural change. It’s amusing how our assumptions of reality overlook the impermanence of most situations. 

The more we assume the world’s out to get us, blame external sources for our problems or indulge our self-centeredness, the more we pull on the ties that bind. These ties are those things that, when pieced together, form the pattern for our lives. 

The struggle to meet persistent assumptions pulls at the woven threads of your reality. The dimensions of your world involve various threads: relationships, goals, values, basic needs, and so on. Each dimension may contain multiple threads, making it stronger and more integral to your life. 

Others may be less plentiful but vital, decreasing the overall strain these threads can bear. These dimensions may fray if pulled on too often (i.e., you expect too much from a loved one). 

The beauty of a broken thread is that it can be retied. It can be rewoven into the fabric of your reality. Another important thing: it can’t be erased. 

The knot of the broken thread will always be there as a reminder. You can’t cut yourself off from certain parts of your life without consequences. It’s an important thing, not trying to forget something on purpose.

Fitting in too much strips the dye from threads. It slowly tugs at frayed edges and worries over previously tied knots. Fitting in for the sake of fitting in will unravel the pattern God made for you. 

Tying knots, adding new threads, and maintaining the fabric of your life are transformative experiences. Secure your loose ends by living out the divine, grand design you’re a part of.

Leaving the Nest: A Story About Growing Up 

Two years ago, I did the first adult thing I’ve done in a while: I signed my lease for my place. 

In undergrad, I lived on campus all four years. Free room and board are some of the financial incentives for working as a community advisor. 

When I graduated college, I moved back home with my parents. I needed to figure out where I was headed next and had no money to do this with. 

If I were a butterfly, I’d still be in my cocoon as liquid mush. I’d be an undeveloped liquefied version of myself. Instead, I’m more like a bird. Sometimes. 

My parents have spoiled me for the entirety of my life. They’ve bailed me out when they shouldn’t have and have been there for me when they certainly didn’t need to be. 

It’s been mainly out of love and the desire for me to have what they believe I deserve. Most of our parents think this way, in some fashion. It’s how they act that’s critical.

Some parents don’t want us to leave their nests. They smother us with constant hovering and need to overprotect us from life’s harsh realities. We’re flightless birds in a downy world when not given a chance to fall.

We’re flightless birds in a downy world when not given a chance to fall. 

My parents aren’t overly concerned, so I’ve been able to make my fair share of mistakes. They’ve provided more than their fair share of support and patience, which I’ll probably never fully repay. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, thus my transformation.

As to why I’m a butterfly (for this story) and not a bird: This latest transition was much less severe than a bird’s first flight. 

Although the personal importance merits this same level of natural drama, I prefer the mariposa metaphor instead. My muse, also my roommate, signed the lease with me today. She mentioned these creatures’ migratory patterns; thus, their mental pertinence over previously flocked to avian analogies.

She mentioned the movements of monarch butterflies and their unchanged journeys, even after millennia. Their flight paths must be genetically encoded to remember key details, such as fallen mountains from ages past. 

They merely divert westwards around where the landform used to be, despite its current nonexistence. This way, I like to think of myself, following those independent fliers’ patterns before me, pioneering a path predetermined, yet-still-changing.

I could go another way with this, of course. I could talk about the problems of never changing course and the inherent boredom which accentuates this in-the-box thinking. When it’s programming over prerogative, you need another comparison. 

Birds might be a better fit, then. I’m still sticking with the butterflies because of their beautiful struggle. I’ll take blobby, amorphous me who’s still herself–forming and yet to emerge–before a flightless tragedy with clipped possibilities. 

Today, two years later, I continue to regally champion my inner growth like a true monarch. The progress I’ve made on my migration has led to season after season of transformation. And I’m (more or less) getting used to being a blob in a chrysalis and then a winged creature the next.

Finding Strength in Vulnerability

Even though I’m on some metamorphic journey, there’s not predestined or genetically coded flight path for me (or anyone). 

You can’t predict the sharp twists and turns of life, so you gotta keep yourself open to anything and everything. Growing into something strong means taking risks.

Most of my struggles come from within my head and heart. I’m blessed and cursed in that it makes people think I’m stronger than I feel. I often struggle to balance this assumed strength with my weaknesses. 

I’ve called weaknesses demons, shadows, and other poetic obscurities. These are just metaphors for depression, shame, anxiety, and other mental health problems. 

Open yourself up to the fact that you’re a flawed human being. Those flaws don’t necessarily define you, but they limit you if you’re closed to the truth of their existence. This openness is key to strengthening ourselves from within.

Strengthening my heart is essential for who I am. I took a hiatus after burning myself out last year. I was at a point where I called into question my innate gifts and vocation. 

I’ve always had empathy and compassion within but wondering if my heart was strong enough to bear counsel was a sign. It was a sign I needed to work out the pains in my soul.

I’ve learned to be open. Do something that makes you want to get up every day. I find making things is the best way for me to connect with 

Make something that helps you feel life’s energy. Creation is one of the most human and divine things you can do. Use your past as the canvas, plot twist, drumbeat, punchline of your next creation.

Use your past as the canvas, plot twist, drumbeat, punchline of your next creation.

Uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure are critical for vulnerability. I’ve reflected spiritually on my need to embrace uncertainty and how much fear of uncertainty has limited me. Cursing the future and the unknown is only a waste of time and energy.

Your energy is better spent on greater risks for even greater rewards, knowing that the risks you take will bring you the unexpected. Wearing your heart upon your sleeve (i.e., emotional exposure) is one of the greatest risks you can take a few people will ever appreciate it to its fullest. 

Some will gratefully embrace your love and return it in kind, but you’ll never meet them if you don’t expose yourself emotionally.

Openness isn’t roadkill for vultures. It’s not open season for gossip-mongers. Openness isn’t an excuse to dump your baggage onto others and overwhelm them. Openness shouldn’t be used as a smokescreen.

You get to pick and choose what you are and aren’t open about. I’m not advocating oversharing; don’t do that. Some things need time to bloom in your heart before you put them on display.

You can’t choose only to be open about the things you feel comfortable sharing. If you expect people to trust your sincerity and authenticity, you’ve got to be genuine with them. Don’t share only what’s easy, but what is meaningful.

Pour out your heart to a trustworthy friend. Be humble and ask for help. Otherwise, you might find the net only becomes more tangled the more you struggle.

What Does It Mean to Be Brave?

So often, people assume bravery and courage mean the same thing. And they don’t. Synonymous doesn’t translate to exact likeness but similarity. 

The same applies to bravery and courage. I think one is more about action, while the other is more about feeling. I believe acts of bravery are sourced from the movements of courage within the heart.

I love to look at the etymological denotations of words and see how they’ve changed in interpretation and application over time. 

Take bravery, which comes from the Latin barbarus, and translates to foreign or strange. Yet, bravery is defined as “courageous behavior or character” in a modern context.

When you read barbarus, the next word that comes to mind is barbarian, which historically has been the label of the ‘other’ or ‘uncivilized peoples’ or ‘invaders.’ 

(Maybe that’s why people like Braveheart so much. The crazy, uncivilized, barbaric Scotsman who saves the day, despite the incredible odds he faces. He has a brave heart, full of courage.)

Now, courage translates from the Latin cor or “heart.” This complicated organ has whole novels inspired by it. 

I think the feelings within William Wallace’s heart accurately represent the modern definitions of courage as “the ability to do something that frightens one” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.”

If you can stare yourself in the face, despite the gnawing ache at your core, that’s bravery. The question is: can you face your pain or grief and muster the strength to overcome it?

I can’t say I’ve always felt like a brave person. 

I can’t say I’ve always felt like a brave person. I’ve felt like I’m chasing who I’m supposed to be for much of my life. I wasn’t courageous at heart and thus didn’t act bravely. I was no Merida or William Wallace.

I was the nervous, anxious little bookworm who read about others’ adventures. I don’t remember being outspoken, as much as bossy, critical, and controlling. 

I’ll tell you what: Bravery doesn’t have time for control freaks. In my experience as a former perfectionist, feeling the need to control everything just means you’re afraid of everything you can’t control.

A Personal Resolution: An Anecdote on Maturity

Reality check: that’s life. On my thirteenth birthday, I resolved to act my age. I wanted to feel like a kid. I was sick of being told I was so mature for my age. 

Maturity in middle school meant you weren’t cool or made friends with people who acted your age. Thank God for the great friends I had who had no problem with my seriousness.

After I made this personal resolution, life was much more enjoyable. I felt less and less like I was chasing who I was supposed to be. No longer was I chasing a mystical idea of how I should be, but letting God and my soul show me the way.

There are those who say fate is something beyond our command. That destiny is not our own, but I know better. Our fate lives within us; you only have to be brave enough to see it.

Merida, Brave

As another brave Scot so aptly puts it, our fate lives within us. I finally began to feel, believe, and know this concept in high school and college.

My teenage friends saw me as this bold, bubbly, spontaneous girl who could light up a room effortlessly. I still was afraid all the time: of being alone, of embarrassing myself, of being myself, of doing the ‘right’ thing, of fitting in. 

Adolescence is all about succumbing or overcoming your fears. And I did a little bit of both.

I began to understand the taste of feet somewhere in my freshman year when I told a boy I didn’t like. Now, that might be impressive enough as a fourteen-year-old, but there’s more. 

I waited until the end of the school day when everyone was at their lockers in the freshman hall. I walked up to this boy, as he sat amongst his friends, and declared loudly, stupidly, shamelessly, and fearlessly, “I don’t like you,____.”

Mind you, I exclaimed this amidst his friends and within earshot of the several others. I’ve always had a voice that carries and did my voice ring out in the busy freshman hall that day.

Some might call this bravery, although I call it stupidity. But that’s okay. Growing pains are as much metaphorical as literal, and I’ve since learned not to be this publically ‘courageous’ with such juvenile matters.

Now, I can say I feel like a brave person. Anecdotal example aside, I’ve overcome much more since then. There are far too many examples in the years since this story.

Facing Yourself

I know now that one of the hardest things to do, especially as an adult, is to face yourself. That includes facing your mistakes, flaws, and so forth. That means sucking it up, buttercup, and persevering.

I feel brave because, in my heart of hearts, at my core, I feel courageous. The love of my people empowers me. The knowledge of my inherent worth lifts me. 

I am alight with Christ’s light. I am free to send my demons back to hell from whence they came.

I’ve always known myself to be quite sensitive. I get in my feelings and my head-usually thinking about my feelings. 

I enjoy introspection to some extent, as it provides wisdom and clarity when I forget myself. I found myself forgetting who I was, what I was worth, what I was capable of, and who I could be an awful lot during the last year.

And then I spent 60 days reminding myself that I deserve love. I wrote myself 40 love letters during some of the toughest times I’ve had since college. I might share those letters someday if I ever feel so inclined.

(I’ll eventually open them up when I need them most. Who knows when that’ll be?)

In the course of reminding myself how I deserve love, I got in touch with my feelings again. As an admittedly reactive person, losing touch with my emotions is synonymous with losing touch with myself. 

That’s never any good for anyone, especially as my feelings are my way of connecting with the world. I wear my heart upon my sleeve, but I can’t do so when it’s obscured by fear and doubt. Disconnecting from feeling means disconnecting from people, specifically my intuition. 

Think of a scholar without books, an orator without an audience; a dancer without music; a writer without a pen. My emotionality (i.e., empathy, intuition) is inherent to my being. I’d rather lose my mind or my sight before I lost the ability to feel.

I’ve lived in periods of numbness and isolation. I’ve even walled myself off from my heart when I was afraid of feeling too much. 

Walling off my heart occurred in moments when the darkness and demons crowded in. They put the world in grayscale. They take my appetite. The air hangs, dead and empty. Sounds merely distract from the buzzing numbness within.

I’m doing what I can to not let this raw power of emotionality burn through me. As I’ve said before, empathy is my cross to bear. 

I carry it, stumbling uphill towards the ultimate sacrifice–laying down my life for others. 

Giving too much is my saving grace and what kills me, too. I’ve learned not to let as much get to me. I’ve had many strong, wise friends teach me how to dampen the outside noise to survive.

The hardest part is embracing this major part of me, with all its good and bad aspects. But I have the strength of heart (i.e., courage) to brave the demons which feast on my open heart. I have the power to soldier on. 

I have the wisdom and humility to ask for help when I need it. I know this: I’m figuring it out, just as much as the next person. I will stumble, and fall, and get back up. I’m a lot to handle, and I have a whole lot of love to give. 


I hope this week’s post helps you in some way. Thank you so much for following my blog and reading my stories. If you’re not already signed up, you’re missing out. You can find me on Facebook or get notifications via email.

One Page at a Time

How many times in your life have you felt on the cusp of greatness? Your whole person vibrating with possibility and potential energy, you seek a path to channel it. But how do you pick the right path? And what’s your motivation for choosing it?

If your goal to ‘work on you’ is only about yourself, why bother? Why let this finite world set the boundaries for any path you take when so many of the lost souls in it are limited by temporary, selfish definitions of success, purpose, and happiness?

All that potential is wasted if you focus on meanings by the minute, the YOLO, do-what-you-want-when-you-want consequences be damned mentality. We’re made for this world and the next, and only living for the moment means you never live that moment.

Manifesting your destiny like some entitled old-world empire wastes that potential energy. It’s limited to your fair-weather feelings and fleeting interests. And, it’s already been done before by everyone else.

Being like everyone else is overrated, not for originality’s sake, but for taking every second as a gift. This world is too big and too small to waste the potential of a single human soul. So what’re you doing to make the most of every moment you’ve got?

This world is too big and too small to waste the potential of a single human soul.

Sometimes, I see the world as one extensive library full of all our stories. The stories we tell ourselves and each other about how things are and were and could be. I imagine past and future moments of people’s lives based on the tropes and traits and things characteristic to their souls.

And most of the time, I get these things right. I trust in my gut, my graces, and my gifts to get it right. The problem is that not all stories are told yet. There are those we’re all living out each minute and day, but they don’t often match the ideas we have.

I think back to the unreliable narrator and how much trust we put in storytellers and authors, and others to tell the truth. But that’s the thing with being unreliable; you can’t expect it to work out the way you planned. I often find myself narrating how my life is, compared to a parallel fiction in my mind. And I’ve finally realized that I can’t tell my own story and star in it as the protagonist.

Sure, I’m living out my story actively, but that doesn’t mean I’m the one to tell it. It’s not that I expect someone else to tell it better than me, but I wouldn’t trust myself to tell my own story more than anyone else.

Instead, I try to live a brand new page every day—all parts of the same story, but with blank space to start over or continue. I trust in the God who made the paper I write my life but and the blood I spill on every page when I genuinely love and live the way He intended.

The French term for a bookworm is buveur d’encre which means drinker of ink. I once equated ink to my lifeblood, and for numerous reasons, find this ever more true. So if I’m an ink drinker, and my blood is ink, and each day is a new page to write, each person being a story or a book of stories starts to make a lot more sense.

Think even on the Christian concept of Christ being the incarnation of the Living Word. This isn’t an empty metaphor, but a reference to the grand author of us all-God.

So drinking in the ink of others’ lives (not like a vampire, thanks very much) is a bit like participating in the greatest story ever told-that of humanity and our struggle to find our place in this world. We try so hard to define our lives with singular moments and fleeting feeling, but we’re so shortsighted.

I started reading “On the Shortness of Life” by Seneca, a Stoic philosopher. One particular phrase stood out to me,

Learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die.

Seneca

And the wisdom of a man who came before Christ and the concept of eternal salvation struck me. This thing we do, trying to live, isn’t about us at all. It’s about each other.

It’s about us being parts of each others’ lives and being the best damned people we can be-not for ourselves, but for those we live alongside. Living only for ourselves isn’t living at all, but mere existing.

Part of my need to live one page at a time is because of the thousand little moments we can so easily overlook. I’ve started visualizing ten moments of each day when I’m in bed. It’s to help prevent ruminating, while also inspiring gratitude for those tiny bits that comprise our every day.

Time for a Plot Twist

Recently, I started dating again for the first time in three years. That may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who dated from age 16 to 23, it’s a big gap. I’m not saying I never caught feelings or had thoughts about men in that time, but I didn’t do anything about them.

For those of you know me at all, not taking initiative seems counterintuitive. And for the most part, you’re right. But when it comes to dating, I figured out that almost every man needs to take that first step on his won.

When a woman leads the way from the beginning, the man always expects her to. This was my experience, at least. And I wanted to date the right way for me, which involved letting men set the pace.

So I have, and when I realized my present community offered limited options and I started to feel “socially claustrophobic” as a friend put it, I was open to change. I’ve been open to change conceptually for some time, but opening my heart is a whole other thing.

…opening my heart is a whole other thing.

In opening myself up to the dating world again, I took a risk. But I did so out of a need to feel things I’d put up on a proverbial shelf in my self. And those same things were collecting dust-that of neglect and forgetting.

Some friends and I all signed up for a dating app together a couple weeks ago now. And in those two weeks, a lot has happened. We’ve all got different paths to take on this crazy journey, because each of us wants and needs different things.

One of my friends is trying, even though she doesn’t want to at all. Another is excited but nervous because she’s afraid of finding something real. Another is “bored” or hesitant to really give things a shot out of some kind of fear of isolation or rejection.

And I’m over here, the one who was like, “Guys, let’s do this dumb crazy thing. It could be funny or awesome or we could all end up happy. We said this was gonna be the year, so let’s actually put ourselves out there.” And now, part of me regrets being so gung ho.

At the same time, I’m ecstatic. I’m truly hopeful for the possibilities of putting myself out there again. Knowing I’m doing things the right way makes me feel closer to normal than I have in a long time.

When life’s events wound you, self-inflicted or not, it’s hard to believe in the small things like butterflies in your stomach and the goodness of a simple conversation. My scars may have healed, but they’ll always be part of my story.

The more pages I turn in this story of mine, the more ink I put between me and my past. It’s not a running away, but an artful forgetting of those things that once deeply wounded me. I used to fear hoping, but for the first time in a long time, I don’t.

Dating is not some magic cure-all, though. God made me an anxious soul, and dating puts a lens on me in a way close friendship doesn’t. It’s exciting sharing myself with new people legitimately interested in me, but it’s also daunting.

I’m not worried about being weird or awkward (I’m the queen of that). It’s letting someone else (esp. a man) set the pace, when so many men have let me down before. But it’s also the faith in God putting the right man in my path for something I’ve been afraid to hope for in some time.

Hoping demands faith. My faith in myself, my God, and humanity has wavered in the past. But now, I finally stand on terra firma, ready to be lead on new adventures each day.

There’s no rush on getting to know someone. There’s joy in this journey, even with its trials and tribulations. The journey makes whatever destination worthwhile. And sometimes, that destination is life-changing, too.

Overcoming my anxieties about vulnerability means surrender. I’m a willful, brash soul so offering this up is not easy. But I’m a firm believer that most easy things in life aren’t worth doing, so I’m going to try my best to learn from this next arc of my story. I’m ready to embrace whatever plot twists God throws at me, no matter how scary they seem.


As always, thanks so much for reading! I hope sharing my stories leaves you with a five-course meal of thought. Follow me on Facebook or sign up for email notices so you don’t miss my next post!

The Art of Forgetting

It’s hard to remember, no matter our stage of life. We often forget things vital to us but create routines and habits to train ourselves to remember. Think of the stereotypical couple: it’s some important anniversary date, and someone’s forgotten.

You likely assumed it was one person or the other in the couple. Most people would think it was the man, but your own experience of being forgotten paints a personal portrait. I find myself forgotten, or at least feeling that way, the older I get.

It’s funny, because of the people I know who love me. Whether they show it or say it, or better still, do both, I know I’m loved. So why do I not feel important to people who love me? I’m left wondering if it’s a question of ego and pride.

After a couple of days’ reflection and introspection, I’d say it’s all about ego. Me feeling neglected or abandoned is a projection of my issues. And if I ever needed a reminder, the last few days’ events have genuinely shown the kindness and generosity of my community.

The Importance of Forgetting (And Being Forgotten)

I think one of the best and worst things we do is forgetting. It depends on why we forget; the why defines the artfulness. I want to start with forgetting myself, first of all.

I like forgetting myself sometimes. I think it’s why I like drinking and why I like to spend time with people who make me forget myself. Sometimes, it’s new people with new stories. Novelty is an excellent way for one to forget one’s self. I need to not remember who I am sometimes. It’s not that I don’t love myself, but getting out of my labyrinthine mind is best for everyone.

There’s too much going on inside my cluttered head for me not to need to forget. Sometimes, it’s my only break from regular internal disorders and anxious disarray.

There’s an art to forgetting because it’s not just about ourselves. It’s about everyone in our lives, too. If we can misplace old sins, hurts, and regrets, we’re seemingly reborn. And there’s something remarkable and priceless about that.

I think we need to misplace our faults and failings on occasion. Permanent forgetting (i.e., amnesia) isn’t an ideal pursuit. If we use forgetting as an escape, it’s a mockery of the art’s form. The art of the thing lies in the space of one breath to the next. It’s an effortless, seamless, organic thing-a thing when forced is no longer artful.

And forgiveness is something we all need and deserve to become our better selves-and to become higher versions of who we already are.

There’s a grace to forgetting, too. Perfect recollection may offer its gifts, but it would also come with many curses. We all naturally tend to forget precise detail. This makes it easier to forgive ourselves and others. And forgiveness is something we all need and deserve to become our better selves-and to become higher versions of who we already are.

But sometimes, the best part of forgetting is remembering. When you recall something long forgotten, you might retrieve some golden nugget of nostalgia. You may recall a first experience or sensation that fills you with warmth and delight.

You might recall hurts, too. Sometimes, this recollection may be entirely unbidden, and you think you’re better off forgetting.

Instead of rejecting unwanted regrets, guilts, and shame-reflect. I don’t mean to use past mistakes as a tool of masochistic machination. Rather, use them for introspection. Many people avoid looking inward. It’s certainly daunting, and if you malinger, it leads to feeling pretty miserable and melancholy.

Conversely, if we choose to work through our hurts as we recall them, they sting less in the future. The scars get smaller and are only stories on the bodies of our lives.

This is the true art of forgetting, not mere avoidance or nostalgic escapism. It’s the give and take of remembering-when we need it and when we want it.


As always, thanks for reading my blog! You’re interest and feedback are always welcome. If you want to say updated on my latest content, sign up for email reminders or follow my Facebook page.

The F-Word

We all have a word that pops into our heads when we see the f-word. When I wrote this over a year ago, I wasn’t thinking of a swear. Although I swear like a sailor, I wasn’t thinking of a curse but of the future.

I also think of being fine, having faith, and fear. People swear they’re fine. They swear by and on their faith. And they swear when they feel fear or frustration. It’s funny what swearing and the f-word have in common.

Etymologically, swear used to mean “take an oath.” Oaths accompany an understanding of the future. Swears exist to protect legacies and loved ones or to fulfill last wishes. So when I swore to myself and God, it was for all these things.

Less informed by fear and more by ignorance, I changed. My perspective on “settling for fine” and the future shifted. Now, I swear on and for greater things. See just how far I’ve come from time in the story I’ve included below.

An Anecdote

One Friday night during my freshman year of college, I was with a gaggle of would-be friends wandering the empty streets of Lubbock.

It was sometime in the fall because it was cold. I remember because of these terrible boots I wore not made for walking. They had these weird foldover pirate flaps at the top with built-in wedge heels. 

Imagine walking in see-your-breath weather with ridiculous things flapping around your legs. Frigid toes and heels rubbed raw by inadequate support. I wasn’t just wandering unsupported on cobblestone streets, but in destinations towards health and happiness.

It was one of my first memorable journeys into apathy, one I soon wouldn’t be free of. I had lots of fun with mental health the following year. And entertaining my apathy seemed like a good idea at the time. I figured not caring was better than hoping and getting hurt.

My big mistake was assuming that daydreams and self-centered wishes were on par with hope. And what I didn’t realize was the way those meaningless moments would all blur together into one greyscale spiral of indifference.

My first avoidance of dealing with fear (the real f-word) was this indulgence. I dubbed this particular day, Fuck It Friday. At the time, it was in the YOLO spirit. I can’t remember if the same night I championed for apathy was one more night spent just trying to feel alive.

Maybe it was the same night we snap-walked arm in arm across the lobby of a residence hall, as the street boys from West Side Story. Or perhaps it was another night of wandering in the frigid cold with “friends” I barely knew. At this point, it’s pointless.

I would say, “The end.” But there’s no one clear ending to this particular story. My journey through numbness, hopelessness, fear, and apathy was only beginning. I came out the other side (eventually) with a swear to live for today and tomorrow.

Now, I know not to place faith in fleeting feelings. I felt like I was embracing some spontaneity and an idea of freedom. But I was wrong. I was the kind of wrong you are when you’re not yourself.

I was the kind of wrong that made it seem like indulging indifference was a good thing. Thank God I’m not afraid of the future anymore. 

By no means am I insinuating that I’m fearless. No. What I am is aware of my fears and flaws in different ways. The future is no longer a gaping maw of uncertainty but a realm of possibility.

The Way of the Future

I used to fear the future. I used to have faith in the future. I pinned all my hopes and dreams on the future. I lamented my ignorance of the future. I pretended to be ready for the future. I made plans based on the future. I wished I could predict the future. 

I dreamed of what fantastic things or people I might encounter in the future. I stared into the weeks, months, and years of the future, instead of tomorrow or even later in the same day. My idea of the future blinded me. I used to curse the future. I treated it as a living, breathing thing, the future.

My eyes were closed to the gift of the present. I was invested in the unpredictable, ever-shifting future. I didn’t put stock in myself or my God, so how could I ever cash in on the moment?

I never pursued loan sharks but cashed in deals with my inner demons. The exchange rate wasn’t too bad, and I had quite a high percentage of interest from,which these demons benefited.

If I granted twenty silvery pieces of faith, patience, or love, I’d receive a small slice of feeling happy or fine.

Of course, I didn’t know what the actual cost would be. Like most young adults, I invested my hope in the wrong thing. I ended up paying emotional and spiritual dues with interest.

When I desired to overcome my fear of the future, I settled with feeling fine. The ‘F’ word used to be the future, and all I believed or felt about it. Now, my new ‘F’ word is ‘fine.’ To which I say, “Fuck that!” Who settles for average when they have all of today before them?

Fine is on par with average or boring. It’s equivalent to settling for less or treating the mundane as ideal. There’s nothing wrong with the ordinary, mind you, but it shouldn’t be a goal. Normalcy isn’t admirable. (At least settling for the same-old safe thing is just an excuse for not trying to grow.)

Most of the time, people don’t associate ordinary with fine. Most of the time, people say they’re fine when they’re anything but. And this kind of willful ignorance or denial of whatever you’re feeling or experiencing is detestable at best.

“Fitting in” is for those uncomfortable with themselves. It might be ideal for a spare few whose lives are challenging and whose definition of “fine” is surviving. Fitting in is for townhomes and cookie tins. Fitting your life into these four small letters is something we should swear at and against.

They feel unworthy. They’re ignorant of the present opportunities in their lives. Or they don’t have sufficient motivation. Any of these reasons aren’t good enough. If your life isn’t where you want it to be because you’re starting over, start small. Baby steps and living day-by-day are a good thing sometimes, especially if it’s all you can do.

I say forget being fine unless your life isn’t already average. If you’ve lived a life full of fear or faithlessness, then you are the exception. Most people settle for less than they can have or deserve. Even those in terrifying exceptions make it through with a faith in something greater than themselves.

For some, all they do is spend their entire lives trying to move from the bottom to “fine.” I think of those with chronic conditions of the body and soul, those whose every day is a battle. These should never be excuses, but reasons to seek out normalcy.

The beauty of average is its subjectivity, much like perfection. Yes, there are objective measurements of ordinary, but people aren’t objects.

Find your “fine” and flip it on its head. Turn your every day into a new starting point. Make extraordinary your average. If you fear swearing to yourself to have faith in a world and a God you just haven’t felt yet, I dare you to.

Don’t let your inner demons determine how you live. Don’t let fear define or limit who you can be for yourself and the world. Even if you’re afraid of failing, don’t forget it takes aiming for success to even fail at all.

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.

Stephen King

Stay tuned for more of my personal thoughts, reflections, and anecdotes. For now, expect them weekly on Wednesdays. Sign up for email reminders below so you don’t miss out.

Reignition

I started this blog (the first time round) back in August of 2018. I was coming off a long year and needed an outlet. At the time, I had a lot of stress and pain and general stuff to get out of. Writing helps me do that, and I boldly decided to venture where I never had before.

In place of journaling like I had (which I still maintained daily during this blog’s initial iteration), I felt like voicing my thoughts in a shareable space might benefit some. At the time, I realized my struggles more universal than initially thought. I chose to start this blog to challenge my writing skills and end my self-indulgent wallowing.

See below the original post (with just a few additional comments and ideas added. Most of this has somehow stayed relevant.

I boldly decided to venture where I never had before.

This was something I’d said I’d get to months ago, and now I finally am. There’s been lots of growth in my life, but I had to kind of burn down some things and start over. I realized that there was a lot of spiritual debris I needed to send up in smoke signals so God would know I needed some help. Sure, I could’ve just asked for it, but that would be the easy thing, right?

Metaphorical smoke signals aside, I’d rather talk in code than directly address the issues I had with myself. Looking back, I see the new kindling and the ashes of things I managed to burn. These ashes fueled a minor “phoenix” moment in which I discovered a need to reconnect with myself.

Funnily enough, a lot of this recognition started during Lent with a book called Until Today by Iyanla Vanzant. Each month of this devotional centers on a different spiritual growth aspect; I began in March with awareness. This was all way too perfectly timed to not be divine design (or providential), as I’ve come to realize since then.

At that point, I was no longer aware of several things wrong in my life. A few of these things are:

  • I was doing way too much. Not doing this anymore.
  • I was giving less effort in every aspect of my life (work, school, friendship, dating, family) Definitely stopped doing this. Made more time for God and myself.
  • I was not listening to God’s will. (Still stubbornly fighting Him every chance I get.)
  • I was not making the needed time for God. (Definitely working on this.)
  • I was stuck in a holding pattern and stagnating fast. NOPE. Not anymore.

All of these are things I can see with blinding clarity now. (This still holds true.) But that’s hindsight and heavenly light for ya; they really brighten up existential dark spots.

I won’t be cataloging every spark of growth or speck of my ashy past here today, but I’m sure it will come forth in future posts. Nor will all of my posts be so ‘fiery’ in language. I really wanted to get this out today, so my friends, family, and fellow online human beings get a sense of where I’m taking my life.

Maybe one day, this will be the stuff of some best-selling author. (Still, a dream yet to be made real, but closer than two years ago). We’ve all gotta start from the bottom of the ashy heap before our dreams rise in wispy, spiritual smoke signals.


Stay tuned for more incredible content. If you’d like a notice whenever I post something new, make sure to subscribe via email.