The Strength in Her Bones

 

There is strength in your bones.

It is etched into the very fibers of your DNA.

It trickles through the blood which flows through your veins.

It is pushed through your body with every heart beat.

It is made stronger by every rift and tear.

There is strength in your bones my dear, don’t you dare doubt it.

 

There is strength in your hips and there is strength in your lips.

There is strength with every move that you make.

There is strength with every word that you speak.

So walk proudly and speak boldly.

Live passionately and fight fervently.

There is strength in your bones my dear, don’t you dare forget it.

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

 

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The Great Unknown of 2017

Change is scary.  Change is uncertain.   Fear of change is what keeps us clinging to past mistakes and bad habits simply because they are familiar.  Fears paralyzes us to stay where we are at, instead of moving forward into the unknown.  Because it is the unknown and not change that we are truly afraid of.  Change is only the vessel with which we are forced to face the unknown.  The unknown is this place where we fill inadequate and unprepared, and maybe worst of all – powerless to control our own destiny.

So we stay.  We avoid the unknown, because here may not be great, but at least we know what to expect.  Here we are prepared; we are in control.  Here is comfortable; it is safe.

I don’t think we ever truly conquer our fears.  I don’t think  we are suppose to.  Fear is there for a reason, and it isn’t going to go away.  No, we will never truly conquer fear, but we can become more comfortable with it.  We can learn to embrace it instead of run from it.  We can learn to stop letting our fear get in the way of our own happiness.

In the last five years, I have done many things that I would have never believed myself capable of.  I was certain that there was no way that I could do something that bold or that brave.  But I did.  I was scared at every step, but I slowly started to learn that maybe I had no idea my limits of what I could do.

My great unknowns still scare me.  However, I am learning that my great unknowns hold some of the best experiences of my life.  They are just waiting there, waiting for me to have the courage to reach out and live them.

The last year has been pretty comfortable for me.  That isn’t too say that it wasn’t hard, simply that I felt the most settled I have ever felt in life.  But I can’t stay here.  I was not made to stay here.  2016 is gone, and 2017 is likely to look much different.  2017 involves me quitting my job, putting a couple more stamps on my passport, and starting law school.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was scared.  That is my great unknown, and it is daunting.  I am not going to run from that fear.  I am going to embrace it, and pull myself closer to being the person I want to be.

Whatever your 2017 holds, whatever your great unknown is,  I hope you embrace it.  I hope you learn that you are strong, capable, and brave.  I hope you have moments in which you find yourself pulling closer to the person you know yourself to be.  I hope you learn that your limits are far wider than you ever thought they could be.

“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over.”

“We can’t, we MUST not loose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

– The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

On Being Small

Some days I feel small.  The truth is I think I have always felt a bit small.  I was a shy timid child who never really felt like I had much of a voice.  Growing up I knew that I felt like I had a part of my that was buried, the part of me that was fierce, the part of me that was brave, the part of me that was not afraid of my own voice.

Slowly I began to find that girl.  I kept pulling her out, until one day she began to feel like she belonged to me.  Suddenly my own voice didn’t scare me anymore.  I began to believe that the things I had to say mattered.  Maybe not everything mattered to everyone, but it all mattered to me.  And that is what truly mattered, learning to stand up for myself, learning to speak up.

Some days my voice still scares me.  Some days it doesn’t feel like it belongs to me, because some days I still feel small.  I like to think that even some of the most important people in the world feel that way too.  It can be hard to find your voice when it feels like no one wants to listen to it.  Some days it can feel like everyone is against you.  Some days it can feel like all you are trying to do is breath hope and love into the world, and all you get is hate in return.

But my voice matters.

Your voice matters.

You matter.  And you playing small doesn’t help anyone, including yourself.  Because the truth is, the really hard truth is that if you don’t believe your voice matters, no one else will believe it either.

Some days you will feel small.  You will feel like your voice doesn’t matter and that you can’t even inspire yourself.  That’s okay.  I wish I could give you a magic fix all, but I don’t have one.  I can tell you that just because you don’t feel like your voice matters, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter.  Because I can promise you that someone out there is feeling small too, and that someone needs to hear the exact words that you have to say.  So find your voice, big or small.  Find your voice, and never be afraid of it.

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Just Me

It’s just me.

Just me sitting here another day, wanting something more.

Just me wondering why I am so scared to chase what I want.

Wishing I could be more than a Just.

Only I have no idea how.

I am nothing but a Just.

 

But its not just you.

Just you is a presence that cannot be shaken.

Just you does more than some people ever dream.

You are more than a Just.  So much more.

Only you have no idea.

There is nothing Just about you.

 

It’s just me, and it’s just you.

It’s just us, and what a wonderful Just that would be.

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Photo Credit: Unknown

I am Done

For when I blamed myself because I thought it was my fault.

For when I felt powerless to control my own body.

For when I felt ashamed of my own body.

 

On the nights I wanted to feel safe but I couldn’t.

On the nights that I stayed up crying.

On the nights that I felt small, silent, powerless.

 

To those I should have been able to trust.

To those that should have taught me to be proud.

To those that make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

 

I am done.

I am done playing nice.

I am done playing scared.

I am done playing by the rules.

 

I am done.

I am done with your expectations.

I am done with your disappointments.

I am done with your judgments.

 

I am done.

I am done being ashamed.

I am done being uncomfortable.

I am done being silent.

 

I am done.

I am no longer giving you the power to affect me.

I am no longer giving you the power to make me feel small.

I am no longer giving you the power to shame me.

 

I am done.

 

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Photo Credit: Jake Olson 

New Beginnings and Changing Seasons

Spring is coming.  With it it brought the promise of new beginnings.  The thrum of the frozen ground as beats into new life.  A chance to start fresh.  To slough off old disappointments and breathe in the hope of something better.

I know you never thought you would make it here, but you did.  Here you are.  You survived the harsh winter, the broken hearts, and the nights you cried yourself to sleep.  You had to take time to heal and that is okay because you did heal.  You picked yourself up with a resilience that you should be proud of. It takes more than a broken heart to break your spirit.

Its been a year now.  You try to forgot the way the snowflakes stuck to his eyelashes or the way he smiled at you as you ran away from the rest of the world.  You try to forget, but you also try to remember.  The memories don’t sting as much.  In fact they have a beautiful element to them, because even though it came to a bitter end, in those moments you felt hopeful and in love.  You need to hold on to that feeling.

Spring is coming.

A breathe of fresh air after a long desolate winter. Spring is coming and bringing the promise of something new, something good and full of hope.  And you can’t help but hope that maybe things will be different this time around.

Spring is here, and so are you.  You with your gentle heart and your old soul.  So strange how life keeps moving and seasons keep changing without barely a notice.  How interesting that you should notice now.

Summer is coming.

The promise of freedom and adventure, as new beginnings turn into late night stories.  The world is alive under your toes and at the tips of your fingers, and you can’t help but to feel alive as well.  You can’t help but feel like nothing can hold you back.

Summer is here and you are sitting on a fence watching the sun set over the rolling country hills.  Your skin had that feeling it gets when it has been immersed in sun and water all day.   You are sitting there in silence, watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  The misquotes had come out hungry and angry, sticking to the tears that were gliding down your face.

Sticky summer tears that came with no explanation.

But You knew.  You didn’t want to admit it, but you knew.  Healing is a funny thing.  It never happens as quickly or completely as you think it should.  You think you are fine, but then pain sticks its thorny hands back into your heart and rips open the scabs.  So you cry about strangers who become friends only to become strangers once more.  And just sit on a fence alone with the misquotes and your thoughts.

It can be easy to play the victim.  To stay here and cry.  To get angry and wonder why life can be so cruel.  It can be easy to sit here and feel sorry for yourself, all while missing everything that is right in front of you.  But you won’t let yourself give up that easily.  So you fight back, and you refuse to play the victim.

It’s okay to stop running.  In fact it is time.

Hold your breathe and jump in feet first.  Sink or swim – the nervous anticipation as you wait to see which one it will be.  Before long you know that cold desolate winter will be here once again.

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Photo Credit: Lori Rensink

Life in the Slow Lane

I have always been fast.  Ever since I could walk, I started running and I didn’t stop.  It’s just in my blood.  I want to go, I want to move.  I never saw this a problem until recently.  Life has turned into a blur.  I can barely separate the days out from the last year.  Christmas has come and gone months ago.  Now spring is here begging for my attention.

How did this happen without my notice?  I thought this was just something that happened when you get older.  When you no longer have a school calendar to break up your time, everything kind of runs together.  I started to get nervous.  I am only 24.  Am I going to blink and wake up 50?  Life was moving too fast, and I was letting it.   Where am I in such a rush to get?  Certainly not my death, so where?  Where am I going that is going to be so much better than where I am?

Something was wrong, something needed to change.

I woke up, another Monday morning, another week laid out in front of me.  All mornings are tough, but Monday mornings are notoriously tough.  I woke up this morning thinking of all the things I would have to survive this week before the sweet beautiful weekend arrived once again.  You are probably reading this thinking, “I feel ya sista” without a second thought as to how backwards this way of thinking is.   Since when did life become something we need to survive?

It is hard to just be.  There is so much uncertainty that surrounds us.  We begin to notice all the things we tried so hard to hide with our busy schedules.  We notice how lost we feel.  We notice how hard life has been.  When we stop we give ourselves a chance to listen to the small guiding voice.

We get gentle.

We take a moment to breathe.

To process.

To hit pause on a life that never seems to stop moving.

I went on a hike a couple of days ago.  It was beautiful.  Spring was emerging.  Green grass breaking through cold melting snow.  I was eager to blaze the trails and get to my destination.  But I didn’t.  I went slow.  I took my time.  I soaked in the nature and let it effect me in the way that only nature can.  Winter melting into spring, just as the seasons of my life are melting into each other.  New life coming from what was once barren and ugly.

I took a moment to listen to what I had been to busy to hear.

My journey has taken me far and wide.  The last year alone has been filed with devastating disappointment and overwhelming joy.  I have broken and I have rebuilt.  I became both malleable and resilient.  And slowly I started to turn into the person I never thought I would be brave enough to be.  How could I not be grateful of a journey that has brought me so far and taught me so much?

I have been so focused on where I am going that I have completely lost sight of where I am right now.  I have being living my life like the destination is the point.  It’s not.  It’s the journey.   It’s about finding the person we never believed we would be brave enough to be.

Life isn’t just about the big moments that take our breath away.  It is also about the small moments, the forgotten moments.  It is about taking our time to get where we are going.  It is about life that is sweet and slow, not a life that is rushed through.  It’s about taking the time to ponder where we have been and where we are going.  It’s about being fully present in the moments we are given. It is about a life lived in the slow lane.

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Dear You – You Were Made for More

Dear You,

You were made for more than to just be born and die.  You were made for more than working 8-5 and looking forward to Friday.  You were made for more than paying bills and living paycheck to paycheck.  Dear one, this is never the life that I had planned for you.  When you were breathed into existence, there was far more dreamt up for you than this.

You work so hard to do everything that you are told you are suppose to do that you completely miss the things that you are meant to do.  You are so busy following who those around you tell you to be that you silence the voice in you that says they want to be someone different.  Find that voice again.  Find your voice again.

You were made to struggle, to explore, to rebel, and to thrive.  You were made to live – in every definition that one can live.  You were made to laugh, and to go off on adventures.  You were made to take chances, and yes even to fail sometimes.  Stop trying so hard to survive that you miss every reason that you are alive.  There is so much that this life holds for you if you only stopped to notice, if you only believed you could have it.

I want you to do great things,  I want you to believe in great things, and I want you to fight for great things.  I want you to see the world as a beautiful place, and to see yourself as a beautiful person.  Life is too short to let you insecurities silence you.

There will be tough days.  Days that challenge you.  Days that make you want to hide and cry.  But on those days you will learn what you are truly made of.  You will push back because you are resilient.  You will not let the bad days ruin the good days.

There will also be good days.  Days that you laugh so hard you cry.  Days when you will make memories you cherish forever.  Days when you are brave.  Days when you are kind.  Days when you fall madly in love.  Those are the best days – the days that makes us glad to be alive.  On those days never believe that you are not deserving of this much happiness.  You are every bit deserving.

Life won’t be everything you have dreamt it to be, but if you let it, life will be more than you expected it to be.  Stop molding your life to everyone else’s expectations and go chase your life.

Feet.jpgPhoto Credit: Lori Rensink

Playing It Unsafe

I have done it.  I sent in my law school applications.  I thought I would feel a huge sigh of relief at having it done.  I mean I spent months working on getting everything ready.  Writing, revising, starting from scratch and writing more.   I was finally done with all of it, so the stress should be done too.  It wasn’t.  It seemed to have doubled over night.  Now all of the hard decisions I am not ready to make are quickly approaching their deadline.   I need to have answers that I cannot find.

It is starting to get real, and that is terrifying.  It is no longer a far off thing I hope to do.  It is right up close knocking at my door, and I am hiding under the table pretending not to be home.  You may think that is a metaphor, but no I have actually hide under my table when I didn’t want to answer the door.  I can be a hider when I don’t want to deal with things.  People or decisions.  I burrow my head in the ground and pretend that the world isn’t still moving above me.  I will fly to Africa and rock climb without a second thought, but put me in a confrontation or in charge or making a decision and I am done for.

If you have been reading my blog for any time at all, you will have noticed how adamant I can be about chasing dreams – pulling the life we dream of into our reality.  Now it is time for me to practice what I preach.  I know I cannot get where I want to be in life my staying here comfortable.  I know I need to make the hard decision, take a leap of faith, and not look back.

That isn’t to say that it won’t be hard.  I have gotten very comfortable here.  I like my job,  I like my house, I like my roommates, I like my city, I like being close to my family, and I like my friends.  I finally feel peace about where I am in life, and now I am shaking it all up.  That is hard.  It is hard to walk away from a good thing in hopes of finding a great thing.

Living a full life doesn’t happen by staying where we are comfortable.  It happens when we realize that we want more, that we can do more, and we go chase it.  Dreams are wonderful on paper.  They are wonderful as those thoughts you have right before you drift into sleep.  They are wonderful things that we tell people we hope to do someday.  Living dreams is hard and terrifying and uncertain.  It requires stepping out blind and hoping you don’t get hit by a bus.  What is even more terrifying is being too afraid to ever take a chance on yourself.

Maybe sometimes it’s riskier not to take a risk. Sometimes all you’re guaranteeing is that things will stay the same.” – Danny Wallace

Life moves fast.  The older I get the more I am learning this to be true.  Life moves fast whether or not we play it safe.  One day my life will be over whether or not I chased my dreams.  To me, that is even more terrifying than stepping out of my comfort zone.  Life doesn’t wait for us to silence our fears – it just keeps moving.

Here is to the uncertainty, the unknown, the unsafe – where ever it may take you.

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Photo via Her Paperweight

Lessons on Love Part 2

It is no secret that the people we love the most have the biggest ability to hurt us., because they should have known better.  We understand that the world is not fair.  We expect strangers to let us down or to be rude to us.  We don’t expect that from those we love.  Which is why it hurts so much when they do.

People are complicated.  At least I know I am.  We have layers of the battle scars love has left us.  We do irrational things when we feel vulnerable.  We become sensitive to actions and words that were never intended to hurt us.  But they do, and we are left just as confused by it as the person who hurt us.

We barely understand ourselves sometimes, and yet we expect those we love to understand us.

Relationships are complicated.  It is just as complicated no matter if it is a relationship with a family member, best friend, or a significant other.  Any relationship worth having takes work.  It takes constant communication.  Because we have all been hurt and we all have the ability to unintentionally open up an old scar.

It will happen.  It does not matter how much someone loves you, people are complicated and we hurt each other even when we don’t mean to.  When this happens we have two ways we can react, love or hate.  We can get angry, we can hate them, and we can try to hurt them back.  Or we can choose love, which is immensely harder to do.

Hate is me focused.   When we hate, it becomes all about what we need, how we were hurt, how we didn’t get what we wanted.   If we focus on only us, we think others are out to get us.  We get angry when people don’t treat us how we think we deserve to be treated.  We become frustrated when life doesn’t seem to give us what everyone else is getting.  We get so stuck looking at our own two feet that we cannot see everything else that is happening around us.

Hate pushes other’s away, love pulls them closer.

Love is seeing past our own reflection into someone else’s reality.

Love requires us to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.  It is understanding that they never meant to do us wrong.  In fact sometimes we may realize that we were the one being selfish.

Love is realizing that a relationship isn’t all about us.  When we love someone that means we have to put them before us sometimes.  We have to forgive them.  We have to fight for them.  We have to trust that when they say they love us they mean it, even if they don’t always show it.

For most of my life, when people hurt me I push them away.  I don’t fight for the relationship, I just run away from it.  It is hard for me to trust people – to be vulnerable with them.  It is only recently that I have started to respond in love.  To forgive someone when they have hurt me and to know that sometimes I react irrationally.  It is a lot harder, and I do mean A LOT harder.  But is also worth it.  Because when we work to restore relationships they always bounce back stronger.

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Photo Credit: Unknown