One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying, Perfect People Pleaser

I wish I could make everyone happy.  I really do.  I wish I never disappointed people pleaseranyone, never let them down, always met their expectations.  I wish I never had to feel that drop in my stomach of realizing someone is upset with me, frustrated with me, mad at me.  If I could only be a Perfect People Pleaser

…then what?  I could avoid awkwardness.  I could avoid confrontation.  I could avoid the unpleasantness of conversations I don’t want to have.  I could find my worth in knowing that I am a perfect friend, a perfect wife, a perfect daughter, a perfect student.  I wouldn’t have to confront the fact that I fall short.  And other people wouldn’t have to confront that fact either.  Selfish?  Yes.  But it’s true.

And at the same time, if I was always able to fill all the roles perfectly, would that really be the best situation?

“It is extremely important to be able to make negative assertions.  We must be able to say what is ‘not me’ in order to have a ‘me.’  What we like has no meaning unless we know what we don’t like.  Our yes has no meaning if we never say no.  My chosen profession has no passion is ‘just any one would do.’  Our opinions and thoughts mean very little if there is nothing we disagree with.” (Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud)

Changes that Heal is a book that I read (most of) during senior year of college (a.k.a my fourth year…having an intentional 5-year program makes labels like ‘senior’ rather confusing haha).  If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  Even if you don’t believe in God, I think it has a TON of really helpful topics about developing boundaries and interacting healthily in relationships.*

The question of people pleasing goes two ways:  What happens when I don’t live up to the desires and expectations of others?  And what happens when they don’t live up to MY desires and expectations?

“Love cannot exist without freedom, and freedom cannot exist without responsibility.  We must own and take responsibility for what is ours, and that includes our disappointment in not getting everything we want from another person.  The disappointment that comes from our loved ones exercising their freedom is our responsibility.  We must deal with it.  This is the only way to keep love alive.”

I have expectations for people in my life: my husband, my friends, my teachers, my family…the barista at the coffee shop.  But they all have freedom, and part of that freedom is freedom to make decisions that will disappoint me, whether they mean to or not.  It is up to me to determine how I will react to that disappointment and to determine what I will do with it.

“This is true even when others’ freedom leads them to sin against us.  The pain we feel is not our fault, but it is our responsibility to deal with it.”

What does it mean to deal with the pain felt?  I think that actually feeling it, processing it, confronting it, accepting it, analyzing it, acknowledging could all be parts of that process.  I also think that having a conversation about it with the person involved could be part of the process too.

A few years ago I went on a trip with a group of people I didn’t know.  We spent 6 weeks together and endured some pretty life-changing experiences together.  We learned a lot about one another and shared some of the deepest parts of ourselves during those weeks. Near the end of the trip one of the girls said something to me that I think I will never forget.  I was hurt in a way that felt irreparable.  But blaming her for that hurt didn’t get me anywhere.  In fact, it kept me from seeing how unintentional the comment was. It kept me from moving on.

On the other side of the coin, in a different friendship, I was constantly tiptoeing around this person’s feelings.  I would do or not do things, say or not say things because of how I thought this person would react.  How they would feel in response.

“If we feel responsible for other people’s feelings, we can no longer make decisions based on what is right (or healthy); we will make decisions based on how others feel about our choices.”  (parenthesis added by me)

And isn’t this so often how we live?  It is for me at least!  Constantly worrying how what I say, do, or choose will cause others to feel.  As if I can CAUSE another person’s feelings.  Yes, I can impact them, but I cannot single-handed MAKE anyone feel anything.  And neither can you.

“Some of you may thing that this approach is mean and insensitive.  Please hear something loud and clear.  We should always be sensitive to others’ feelings about our choices.  But we should never take responsibility for how they feel.” 

Soooo… after that long, rambling post of me trying to process what is my responsibility and what is not…  I think my conclusion is that this, like everything is a balance.  Of course I don’t want to be outright rude, mean, critical, or hateful.  Of course I don’t want to purposefully or maliciously disappoint or hurt others.  However, there will always be times when I am doing the best I can, choosing the options that I feel to be the healthiest, having to say ‘no’ to people… and there will still be conflict.  Relationships are hard.  Having (and maintaining) boundaries is hard.  Recognizing and accepting the boundaries of others is hard.  Especially when it leads to disappointment.  And then humbly accepting the fact that I am imperfect and fall short of what others desire from me and for me is one of the hardest of all.  Well, that, and also knowing where to go from there… what to do next when someone I care about is hurt as a result of something I have done.  How to reconcile without compromising who I am and what I believe.  How to apologize for what I am truly sorry for but not for those thing that are not my responsibility, things not in my yard (to use a phrase from the book).  How to even know what that includes!

Man….life is such a learning process.  Let’s talk about it.  Is there anything you have found particularly helpful related to this?  What are your thoughts on boundaries and responsibility for feelings?  Comment below :)  Let’s chat.

people pleaser2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

*Dr. Henry Cloud is a believer so he tends to relate the concepts in this book back to biblical stories/ideas…that’s why I make the God comment.  I never want people to be taken off guard by things like that (hmm, me taking responsibility for your feelings? Or being sensitive?) …when you go and google it and see the summary thinking I am somehow trying to manipulate or “trick” you into reading a book about God.  (I used to always roll my eyes when things like that would happen.  Or when I would go to a site thinking it was going to be one thing, but finding out it was just a ploy to make money.  So frustrating.  I don’t meant to be that at all.)  It is just genuinely a helpful book.

 

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One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying, Perfect People Pleaser

The Conversation Named Freedom

Today I had a really helpful conversation.  A conversation I desperately needed but didn’t fully realize.

Obviously some part of me knew I needed something, for I was the one who initiated the conversation.  But going into it I was thinking to myself: Why am I even doing this?  What kind of an answer am I looking for?  Am I just wasting his time, my time?  After walking in the front door, but before he knew I was there, I almost turned around and left.  I almost walked right out, thinking about the excuses I could send over text, how I would be able to avoid him for a couple weeks to let any awkwardness fade… See, but that would have been the easy way out; avoidance is almost always easier.  But something that’s been talked about a lot recently is courage.

Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one.

Not fearlessness, but doing despite fear.

So I stayed and poked my head into the room and faced this fear.  The fear of reaching out.  Of asking questions.  Of admitting doubt. Of being vulnerable.  The fear of risking being burdensome or being judged.

And the answer was No, it was not a waste of time.

For during that conversation I was reminded of truth.  The deeply counter-intuitive truth that I am actually free.  No matter how many times I tie my own hands up, lock myself in a box, despise my mixed motives, fail to be all I could be, imprison myself with thoughts of striving, thinking I need to earn my worth… no matter what I do or don’t do, think or don’t think, pray or don’t pray, eat or don’t eat…. no matter if I am the most loving, admirable, courageous person on the planet or a despicable, cowardly worm… I am free.

No height nor depth,¹ excitement nor depression, self-loathing nor prideful arrogance can separate me from my Father and my God.  Because of Christ’s death and resurrection I have this freedom.  Why did he work in me, softening my heart to believe in Him?  I don’t know.  What is the role of decision/free will/choice in this faith?  I’m not entirely sure.  Does this drive me absolutely crazy?  Some day, yes.  Yes it does.  Some days I sit creating scenarios where all of the pieces can fit together in my little finite mind…until I look to the side of my puzzle and realize I left out a few pieces… But nobody except me expects me to have all the answers, to “figure out” the things that scholars and theologians have discussed for centuries.  Does that diminish my desire to understand?  Nope, unfortunately it does not.  However, realizing that I really have been offered freedom, and being reminded that it really is for freedom that he set free² gives me a renewed desire to actually LIVE IN THAT FREEDOM.  Knowing that Christ bought me a seat at His table because he loves me, not because he wanted to guilt me into accepting the invitation (hey, look at what I spent on you to get this seat at the table with the King…do you not realize how much this cost me?  are you really going to waste my death?  those nails were not pain-free ya know.) Knowing that I can say to God, Hey I am struggling right now to actually believe you are good and not manipulative…What do I do with that? Sometimes I am even struggling to believe you exist… Can you help me see what is true? and knowing that this doesn’t disappoint him, this doesn’t cause him to look on my with less love, with frustration.  This is MIRACULOUS. His love for me is unchanging.

Do I want to take that for granted?  (Good Christian answer: No, no of course not.) Honestly, ya, sometimes I do.  Sometimes I want to say, Well grace abounds, right?  Nothing I can do to lose my salvation, right? And so sometimes I spend a couple months not reading the Bible.  Sometimes I skip church.  Sometimes I am pretty rude to God in my prayers, or in my avoidance of him.  But the thing is… the thing that I keep realizing over and over and over again… is that while this separation in our relationship doesn’t diminish his love for me or my salvation it really does affect my well-being.  I lose my sense of meaning and purpose, connection with community, I get more anxious and depressed, I feel lonely and empty…. Should those things be the reasons why I want to be with Jesus?  Is he going to be upset that I am coming to him because I want joy and I know he promises joy?  Is he going to look at me and say “I only want you coming to me for ME, not for what I can give you.”?  NO WAY!  He WANTS me to come to him with those requests!  In doing that I am acknowledging my need for my Father.  I am acknowledging that He provides.

In another conversation with a friend this evening she mentioned a book that talks about this neediness as a form of love.  The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.  I haven’t read it, but I think I want to.  I want today to be the start of me actually desiring the Lord again.  Will it actually be that?  Who knows.  Do I want that change partly because I miss the joy and meaning I felt those early years of college when Jesus and I were still in our honeymoon phase?  Yes.  And ya, I still feel guilty for that.  But one conversation isn’t going to change years and years of thinking and patterns.  I mean, I have been hearing about this grace and freedom since freshmen year of college but here I am still struggling to believe that is true and still struggling to live it out.  But if I had it perfect, well, I wouldn’t be human.

To be human is to be broken, flawed, finite, needy.
To be a believer, a follower of Christ, a child of God is to be broken, flawed, finite, needy.
Funny enough, none of those things change…

More processing to come…. as always. haha

Thanks for reading! :)

¹ Romans 8:38-39
² Galatians 5:1

The Conversation Named Freedom

the WHY

I am torn between writing some deep, rambling, insightful post about life and freedom and meaning and language and relativity and definitions…. and posting cute pictures of kiddos from this week…. Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?

[Too bad you can’t respond to my questions before I ask them…]

Well, I guess for starters I’ll update you on the day-to-day of my life and see where that takes me:

Summary:

+  gray and threatening  rain = playing in the children’s section of the library and risking a trip to the park where we met a new friend
+  mass chaos, wresting, practicing the art of sharing, indoor trampoline, watching Ezra cheer up Ivy, “oh, you do ballet?! I did too!”, thanking God for another set of adult hands…
+ FINALLY THE SUN IS OUT! another trip to the park, splashing in the river…the smile the garbage man gave us when he noticed it was a toddler sitting in the front seat pretending to drive the parked car :) the tantrum that followed after getting out of the car…
+  missing mommy, loving on the cat, missing mommy, eating a snack, missing mommy…
+ playing in two different sandboxes with two different kiddos  (also true of slides and bubbles)

In the time I wasn’t with kids I:

+  started a book called Wool by Hugh Howey that my parents bought for me after asking if I like dystopian literature, which I do.  Really interesting so far.  Definitely a page-turner.  As of now it is reminding me of a cross between The City of Ember, The Hunger Games, and The Circle.
+  hung out with two new friends :)  I even got to talk about art/design/making with them!!  Plus I got to hang out with some old friends too. It’s been a good couple of weeks in terms of my social life.  And it’s not often I feel like I can say that.  Being such an introverted homebody and all…
+  had one day of productively checking things off my TO DO list

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And now here we are.  A Friday night…sitting on the couch…trying to put a finger on why I feel so off.

I hate that there are always so many factors.

Is it just something biological?  Did I not get enough exercise today?  Poor food choices?  Is it an inner emotional turmoil?  Am I frustrated by the fact that I have time to do something creative but don’t feel up to it?  Do I feel unseen, unknown, unheard?  Is it my insecurity in relationships?  My insecurity in my artwork?  My worth? The typical feelings of meaninglessness?  …

Something I have come to realize about myself is I always want to know WHY.  I think that is something true of humans in general…but I also think that some people think about the whys more frequently than others.  And until recently I didn’t realize just how deeply the whys impact my thinking.

There are times when this is incredibly helpful.  When it helps me to see and perceive things beneath the surface, the motivations, the reasons, it helps me to empathize.  People have told me that I am good at asking the “right” questions… and for a while I was puzzled by this… I was just asking questions without thinking much of it.  What does it even mean to ask a right question?  But then, as is my nature, I started to think about why it may be that so many people have made this comment.  And I think it may have something to do with the fact that I subconsciously dig into the reasons for emotions, actions, reactions, etc. and simply ask questions based on this curiosity.  (my future career as a counselor perhaps?) However, there are also times when this tendency to ask why is incredibly dangerous and detrimental.  It has led me to doubt the motives of people who have no ill intentions – people who love and care about me.  (But why would he be offering to do the dishes?  He must want something….  But why would she buy me a gift randomly?  It must be because she must feel sorry for me…  But why…? It must be pity, annoyance, frustration, anger, deceit, personal gain…) It has caused fights in my marriage, barriers in friendships, misread body language/comments/facial expressions/gestures/questions… Because when I doubt the genuine, pure motive of someone, I insult them.
I unintentionally say: I don’t trust you.
I say: I know you and see right through you.

“Cynicism is the sickness of my culture
We undress each other with an evil eye”
Cynicism by Josh Garrels

Unfortunately, because there have been numerous times when I have called someone out on mixed motives and then these mixed motives have been confirmed (if not at first, then later after some thought) it is extremely difficult to have any desire to try and alter my cynicism.  And in doing this or saying this I am IN NO WAY SUGGESTING THAT I HAVE PURE MOTIVES.  That’s just it.  I see the selfishness, the greed, the envy IN ME.  I see the bitterness, the anger, the hurt, the loneliness, the desire to be seen, known, understood, important, heard, right, happy, comfortable IN ME.  Not all the time.  I’m sure I just see a tiny tip of the iceberg of those things in me.  But because they do exist in me I assume they exist in others as well.  And sometimes I am correct.  But sometimes I am so so wrong.  And that’s when the hurt comes in.

So what do I do?  (The question that is always asked at the end of these kind of realizations.)  Where to go from here?  Just because Love Always Hopes, does that mean I am supposed to ignore the reasoning for things?  Do our reasons and motives matter? Is my asking why actually a form of judging others?  Is it pure curiosity? A desire for empathy?  An innate attribute of my personality? DOES IT MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM?

If I help out at a food shelter because it will look good on my resume, does that negate the fact that people who were hungry now have full stomachs? If I sing at church even though I don’t want to does that negate the fact that I am singing?  Does the why change the label: from selfless to selfish, from worship to deceit?  Should our aim be authenticity?  What does it mean to be authentic? Is it even possible to be truly, deeply, 100% authentic?  Would that be a good thing? (Yes, your butt does look fat in those pants.  And I am telling you this because it is true and also so you will give them to me. – harsh/rude/unfiltered truth? – authentic?)

Does the why matter?
[What do you think?  Let’s talk. :) Comment below!]

the WHY

#the impatient cursor

Like the eyes staring back at me | blink.
Questioning me | blink. Taunting me | blink.
Waiting | blink. For an answer | blink.  A response | blink.
Is anyone | blink. In there?
| blink.
The string of the cursor wrapping its evaluation around my toe
|| Aligning itself with others
who have decided the same
tagged me
before I had time to
#

 

#the impatient cursor

freedom to dream again

So I think this 5 day challenge may actually take me 10 days…

(one) …because who knew watching kids every day was going to leave me absolutely exhausted?! I’m not complaining though.  It’s a wonderful type of exhaustion.  The kind where you know you’ve been doing things, using your muscles, laughing, watching, enjoying, giving yourself.  Chasing neighbor dogs back to their side of the fence, lifting kiddos onto chairs, consoling, reading aloud, playing simon says (and while having the full attention of three little ones (basically impossible) finding out that Simon can’t think of many things to say! ah! where’s my creativity?!).

(two)…and because I am realizing there are a lot of internal barriers making it hard to even do parts of this challenge.  As I tried to do Day 2 I kept unknowingly hitting these walls that would curtail my dreaming.  Walls like:

stings

  • that’s selfish
  • that’s impossible in today’s society
  • what will people say if you do that?
  • that’s not a real job
  • you aren’t talented enough to do that
  • remember last time when that failed
  • someone else is already doing that better than you could
  • you’re lazy for wanting that
  • is that going to make you a “productive member of society”?

And from there I typically end up in a philosophical/existential internal debate questioning the goal of society, the definition of productive, the meaning of life…

I won’t get into all of those tangents now…as I have the rest of my life to explore those things…  However, what I keep finding is that one of the things I most desire is a sense of freedom…And isn’t that what we all want in some capacity?  Freedom to be who we are regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, economic status… freedom of religion, of speech.  Freedom from discrimination and hate. Freedom to pursue our dreams… freedom to HAVE dreams.

Freedom has been on my mind for a while now. I remember in elementary school, when we were sitting in the car outside of the Blockbuster (back when we went to actual stores to rent VHS tapes and DVDs…man, won’t that shock my future children) and I asked my dad a question I had been thinking about for quite a while… I said “Daddy, are we all just God’s puppets?”  And looking back, I think there was a lot more wrapped up in that question than anyone realized, even me.  For over the years that question of freedom kept coming back and it has continued to remain at the core of some of my deepest struggles…my search for meaning, purpose, hope…  It has led to many tearful conversations (with others and with God).  And it’s not just my question.  People have been asking this question for…well…seemingly forever.  The idea comes in numerous forms: fate, destiny, predestination, soul mates. Has this story already been written? Or are we writing it as we go?  The question of time: how past, present, and future interact and impact one another.  Do the characters influence the plot? Or was the script written long ago?  Are there eraser marks?  Can things change?  Or through the precise creation of the characters did the author predestine all that will come to pass?  Trust me, I know these are not new ideas.  And I tend to trip over my own feet when I start wading in them…Do they affect the day-to-day?  Maybe not. But I think they should!  What I believe matters for how I live my life, what I teach my future kids, what I believe, what I value, how I spend my time…doesn’t it??  See, even now I was supposed to be doing this seemingly simple task of answering some questions about my future and I end up on a philosophical/theological tangent…

I know you don’t have all day, so here we go:

Day 2: Clarify Your Vision.

Basically, in the email I received about my second task, I was asked to create a clear vision of what I would want my future to be like… What is there?  Who is there? What is my morning ritual like? What have I stopped doing? What do I do for a living? How much money do I make? How much am I giving away?  How are my core values being realized?

At first I couldn’t think of any answers to these questions besides knowing I want my husband by my side.  I sat staring at a blank piece of paper… I had been so stuck certain questions for so long (“What do you want to be when you grow up? Where are you working after college?  What’s your major?”) that it took me a bit to switch mindsets. However, once I got started I found that I do have things in mind when I think about my ideal future.  They don’t necessarily dictate a “career path” as I kind of hoped they would… but I do think they have helped me to see what I value.  Namely: creativity, learning, and people.  Here’s what days 1 and 2 look like in the scrapbook I created to keep track of this post-college journey:

1b2b6b

Thanks for reading!  and for joining me on this crazy journey called life! :)

Now, I want to hear from you!  What are you passionate about?  Do you have a vision for what you want your life to look like?  How do you balance living in the moment with goals for the future?  Comment or email me. :)  I would love to get to know more about you!

 

freedom to dream again

TERRIFIED.

Hey friends.

I have a confession to make.

Perhaps you already know this, perhaps you don’t care, perhaps this will shock you…regardless, I need to say it:

I am terrified.

I am terrified of failure.  I am terrified of disappointing people.  I am terrified of the unknown and of death.  I am terrified of terrorism, of losing my loved ones, of looking stupid in social situations, of being called dumb, and of public speaking.  I am terrified of getting into a car accident or of being on the phone with someone when they do. I am terrified of people thinking I am selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of being selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of wearing my heart on my sleeve, of putting myself out there for everyone to see.  I am terrified to share my writing and my thoughts with people who may not receive them well.  I am terrified of being judged and of being judgemental, of becoming an alcoholic, of being fat, of being a lousy wife, or someday a bad mother. I am terrified of making new friends and of losing old ones.  I am terrified of meaninglessness and of that feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me that I am not unique, not special, not important.  I am terrified of the darkness that creeps into my head, twists my thoughts, grabs me by the wrists and pulls me down. I am terrified by my doubts but also terrified by blind faith.

I am terrified of being anonymous but equally as terrified of being known.  I am terrified of the prospect of trying to start a business…for I am just as scared to fail as I am to succeed. I am terrified of dying, but I am also terrified of living.

There you have it: I am a repetitive scaredy cat.

I live in constant fear of what people think of me, of wasting my life, of denying who I am, of not knowing what that even means.  I feel like I am constantly fighting, swimming upstream against all of these fears…the ceaseless voices in my head warning me of all the ways everything could go up in flames.

But here’s the thing.  I am not going to stop swimming.  In fact, as I continue to identify all these things that I am afraid of, I feel as though I am slowly getting more equipment, increasing my ability to swim.  The more I study the flow of the water, the currents, the jagged rocks…the more I am able to avoid the things I should be afraid of and ignore the others. That doesn’t make the water flow less, but it makes my muscles grow.

Okay…enough of that long, rambling (kind of dumb) metaphor.

The point is: I want to keep taking steps to face these fears.  I want to identify the things I desire to be true of my life and actually go after them.  For basically my whole life my goal has been college.  And I thought at the end of it, I would be done searching… that I would know my “life path.”  Funny thing is: I’m here now, at life post-college, and I think I know less about this path than I did going in!  On one hand that terrifies me, but on the other it gets me so dang excited!  And some days I think it only terrifies me because of the way other people react when they hear that I am not getting a full-time architecture office job straight out of college.  (Yes, I am appreciative of my college education.  No, I don’t think contemplating altering my career path makes it a waste of five years.  No, I don’t intend to just be a lazy bum mooching off of my husband.  No, I am not worried about how this time spent nannying will look to future potential employers.)  At the end of the day it is not them who has to live with my choices and decisions (to get a job I resent, to chase my dreams, to take time off), it is me.  (well…. and my husband…who is wonderfully supportive!)

So this post is for two reasons:

#1  –  I have been afraid to really mention my blog on Facebook much at all, for Facebook contains high school friends, old teachers, relatives, parents, fellow church members… a whole host of people who may not necessarily react well to all of the things on this blog.  Because this blog is one of the most honest and vulnerable places in my life.  Here I feel free to doubt, to wrestle, to share.  I am terrified of how people could respond… If I share that I am wrestling through doubts about my faith, my biggest fear is that people will turn me into “a project”…or that I will perceive it that way.  But by not even giving other the chance to enter into the conversation, to see the real, authentic, vulnerable me I am not helping anybody.  Are other people in my life asking similar questions?  Do they desire community as much as I do? Are there others who wish they had a group of artists to paint with, open-minded thinkers to chat with, nature-lovers to stargaze with? I’ll never know unless I push past those fears and insecurities holding me back.

#2  –  And secondly, today is Day 1 for me of the Life is Messy Challenge by Mayi Carles. You can accept this challenge too if you want to!  What I hope to gain from these five life is messy challengedays is some sense of where I want to begin heading.  I am not thinking that by the end of this I will suddenly have my life “figured out.”  I am not even really hoping to have any semblance of a business plan.  All I know is I need to start somewhere and this seems as good a place as any!  Plus I have really loved getting to know Mayi’s site better and it seems like she really knows what she is doing!  (and who doesn’t love the adorably cute illustrations?!) So here was the assignment for day 1:

 

Super Power Finder1

I was tasked with listing out things I love to do, things I am praised for, and thing clients will buy.  Things I love to do was easy.  Obviously I know what I love.  However the other ones were harder.  After some thought and sifting through memories I was able to pull out things I have been praised for over the years.  But that last one… man, that last one is the hard one!  Things clients will buy?  I don’t know what people will buy!  If I did, I wouldn’t be doing this! haha  But I took a stab at it… based on some of the things that have been purchased from my Etsy shop.  (If you are reading this and have suggestions or comments… pleaseee put them in the comment section below!  I would LOVE some honest feedback.)  In conclusion, pottery and kids seemed to be things in the overlaps.  With art/collages/cards floating somewhere near the middle.  So I guess we’ll see where Mayi takes me tomorrow!

Well, anyway… that’s all for now. To those of you new to my blog: Welcome.  For those of you who have already been walking with me through this roller coaster of philosophical-existential-poetic-rambling-mundane-art-filled journey of mine….thanks for hanging in there.

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[…and now back to our regularly scheduled program…]

TERRIFIED.

Collaged Canvas of Normalcy

And so it begins.
Life after college.

The canvas of normalcy yesterday morning, woven with waking covers stumbling coffee toothbrush, was collaged over with an array of emotions cut from every medium I own; graduation

the strangeness of the realization that the title “graduate” is now permanently embroidered on my identity, stitched for all to see, for all to assume, to expect, to judge;

the freedom from the lurking looming pressing in and down pressure of “The Thesis”… finally released with the placement of a CD in the tray next to the paper with my name still incorrect;

the feeling of subtle panic bubbling as I search for a way to turn down the heat so the full boil won’t erupt into lost wandering and existential crisis; the anxious need for a plan a schedule a checklist a map so that I can at least pretend that I am not “wasting my time” (whatever that means), so that I can make something of myself (whatever that means), so that I won’t disappoint my parents my friends my relatives my professors my husband myself God (whatever that means);

the excitement of getting to start a new adventure, a continued search for “who I am” and “what I am passionate about,”

the desire to begin life-giving, healthy habits now before I accidentally get into routines that are unproductive, unfulfilling, selfish, lazy, ignorant… the fear of mental, physical, emotional, spiritual decay starting the minute I walked across that stage… the fear that I will waste that paper, experience, five year period that cost tens of thousands of dollars, that I won’t “make something of myself,” that I’ll be a failure;

the peace of knowing that life doesn’t have a rulebook, that other people aren’t the judges, that I am married to someone supportive, that I have come to realize the things I value, that I am not expected to have all the answers yet, that I have been provided for, that I have jobs lined up that I am excited for, that this isn’t an end and it isn’t a beginning either… this is life and I am still here to live it.

. . .

In conclusion, in the first quiet moments after the graduation chaos died down, I was filled with peace and anxiety and fear and excitement and panic and freedom and desire.  I made goals and lists and plans, not wanting to be neglectful, but also open to those things changing. I hope to stay mentally and physically active, I hope to start a small business, I hope to find places to volunteer and ways to contribute to the world beyond myself, I hope to make more friends and deepen/maintain existing relationships, I hope to learn more about kiddos and grow in patience and love.

may2016Sooo…I began my life as a graduate (after coffee and list-making) with a nannying job for a sweet 2 year old boy (including a trip to Kroger, a car seat in my car, and time at the playground), a nap, working on a collage for my Etsy shop, and another childcare job watching 13 kids in a basement during a church small group.  I am excited for all the little ones I get to love on and care for in the coming months.  Kids keep me looking out, they keep me moving and learning, they keep me on my toes.  I am a different person with children.  I laugh more, I smile more, I feel like anything is possible.

Maybe it is.

. . .

And just as a final addition, here is writing from someone who so often verbalizes the exact things I have once thought or felt:

Cluster

Written by Jacob Ibrag]

Questioning my inquiring process.
Am I seeking the right answers? Are
these thoughts original? If not, where
did they come from? Looking into
the mirror, witnessing fragments of
all the people that touched my psyche
take shape to form the face I see in
front of me. A hybrid. Better. Worse.
More of the same. Recycled. Carbon
copy cluster of garbage. I become
them. Part of the whole system.
Politically correct human.

Collaged Canvas of Normalcy