A global pandemic wasn’t exactly on our checklists of things to plan for down under.
If one person has a fever we all have to stay home and quarantine. Not exactly on the top of our to-do lists when most of us only have a few days wiggle room to get our 88 days for our visa extension.
And just like that, it’s gone.
I didn’t think I owned much. After I’d left my apartment in Iowa, giving away my table and chairs, my dresser and couch, I’d moved to Colorado by myself in … Continue reading you let go
“Are you sure you don’t need another cup of coffee?” Nick asked as we hugged goodbye. I shook my head with embarrassment. “I’m actually gonna grab something at Casey’s. I … Continue reading there’s no place like home
I am the border of two realities, nostalgic for a childhood from a quickly bygone era.
December is often a time for reflection – it’s the end of the year.
For me it’s always been doubly so – with my birthday at the end of the month it’s the end of my personal year as well.
This year is even more – I graduated in December a year ago. Hashtag baccalaureate, k?
Since before I can remember, the my hometown church has ended its Christmas Eve service with Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of Silent Night while everyone stands in a circle around the darkened sanctuary with candles flickering. As I stood there tonight, I pondered the shifting of generations. Girls I went to high school with now stand with fidgeting munchkins, stepping into the role of wife and mother. Meanwhile the children we babysat are now the high school leaders, singing boldly, volunteering often, and carrying the community on their shoulders.
It’s been a ridiculous year.
Traveling the world, traveling the United States. Getting promoted, my work shutting down. Independent to dependent to independent. Painting and crocheting. Writing and reading and being on three different phone plans. Everybody moving. Also, Reddit. It’s a thing.
I move to Denver, CO in a week. A new year, a new state, a new bout of trying to figure out this life after college. I’m on the cusp of something big, the edge of growing up as I leave my college town.
For once, I don’t have much to say. My ponderings have all been written in journals, or discussed with friends. I’m at peace.
’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…
When does a girl become a woman? I’m wondering if I am going through that process right now. All my life, I have tried to keep up the beautiful mask. That my life is put together. That I don’t struggle with anything or have any issues. That I am never lonely, angry, confused, bitter. That I always have the answers. That I have a lovely, pure heart.
It’s a weary mask. It is a heavy burden. To always be put together. To always have my life appearing whole and unbroken, when inside I have always been dying.
Overwhelmed by myself, I threw my story at someone the other day, too weak to care. Tired of being called authentic, tired of being called genuine when my soul and heart were so dirty and tattered. As I shattered the pedestal I had been placed on, I waited bitterly for the shock, the disappointment, and the separation. I waited to be left alone, as I no longer matched up to the ideal.
But you know what happened?
She said, “I love you, anyway.”
She touched my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “If anything, I love you more now that I know the truth about you.”
“This is being genuine,” she told me. “Nothing you can say or do will make me love you less.”
And I began to cry.
“This can’t be real. She’s crazy,” I thought to myself. So I sought out another woman, and another, and another. And these four women surprised me so much.
“I love you even more now than I did before,” they all said.
Instead of being thrown away, shunned for not living up to the perfection, I was cherished. Stunned, I wept. As my weakness and struggles, lies and liabilities came to light, I was loved any way. Not because of what I’d done, but simply because I was me. Broken, imperfect, and loved anyway.
I held my scarlet letter to the light: pains from the past and present, wounds that had never healed, struggles that had never been faced, and emotions that had never been confronted. Broken. Confused. And somehow, through it all, I am beginning to release the shell that has bound me, the cage that has kept me, the mask that has shielded me.
I am on a journey, discovering who I really am. How to be genuine. How to be authentic. How to be alive. It is scary, and I have cried more in the last month than I have in the last 3 years combined. But with every tear I cry, I feel as though I am releasing the façade. I am beginning to breathe. My soul is awakening. Who I was is not who I am. I do not yet know what I will look like at the end of this, but I know that she is going to be more alive than I have ever dared to dream of. It looks like this broken girl is finally letting go enough to start to grow into the woman God is preparing me to be.