father’s day

father’s day. the one sunday of the year when we make sure to dote on the one who acted as our supporter when we were growing up. a day to cook out and show dad just how thankful you are to have him there to draw your comic book characters for you because you can’t draw but you know exactly how they are supposed to look. a day to remember how lucky you are to have that man in your life to show you right from wrong and be there when you make mistakes.

it sounds like a picture perfect day to celebrate, right?

for so many of us though, father’s day comes each year only to leave a bitter taste in our mouths. for whatever reason our fathers have been unable to play the role of protector, teacher, and friend and it has left us feeling hurt when we start seeing all those “world’s best dad” mugs show up in every store. our fathers have walked out, been taken from us, or were never ready to take on that role. and as much as we want to be angry with them for not being what we wanted them to be we can’t help but hold out some sort of hope that one day they might change.

i know, because i’ve been holding out for that moment for several years now. i was one of the lucky ones. my brothers and i got to have our father with us for most of our early lives. he was the strong, caring, and always willing to play baseball in the backyard. the problem came when he suddenly decided that this life with a wife and four kids wasn’t for him anymore. i still don’t know why he doesn’t try to contact me. i will probably never find out why he couldn’t see that i was just a hurt 16 year old when he left. i’m 20 now and just as confused as i was when he first left. the difference is that now i know that not everyone is cut out to be a dad.

i was lucky enough to have an amazing mom who stepped up to the plate during that dark time and made sure that all of us kids were taken care of. she showed us what a real parent is and showed us just how much she loves us. in short, she was amazing in spite of having the ground pulled out from her life when my dad left as well. since then there have been several people in our lives who stepped up to the plate to show us that it wasn’t our fault that our dad decided to leave. even when we start to believe that it was something he did that made him leave us and not something we did, it still hurts to know that he lives so close but isn’t involved anymore. today is a day to celebrate the single moms out there who protect their kids at all cost and make sure they know they are always loved.

father’s day is a day of celebration and a day of remembering. it’s important to learn that fathers are human too. fathers hurt and dream and make mistakes. this fathers day i am working on forgiving my father. i’m working on forgiving the fact that he is choosing to not be a part of these important years of my life.

maybe your father hurt your. maybe he left you behind or made you forget who you really are.

today i hope you can find peace in spite of whatever pain is connected to your father. i hope those of you who have your father in your life are reminding him how important he is to you. i hope those without a father active in your life remember that you are no less of a person because of it.

even on the difficult days like this, remember that there will always be someone in your corner. you are never going to be walking through this life on your own, even when the people like your father turn out to not be who you thought they were.

you are here for a reason. be grateful for the men in your life who has positively influenced your life. be grateful for the lessons you have learned from the ones who made mistakes. be aware of those who love you with no limits, be it your father, your mother, or any of your supporters in your life.

one thing…

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This image was posted to Twloha’s Tumblr yesterday with a link to a blog on their website. Similar to their Fears vs Dreams idea that they have had going for awhile now, these two simple questions stopped me in my tracks when I ran across it. Think about it, really.

What is one thing you wish you could say?

The thing is, my “one thing” I would say has been changing a lot lately. Right now, I wish I could tell certain people that they don’t have to hold on to their old ideas of what life was supposed to be like in their twenties. That may sound pointless or a sort of worthless statement, but I want to tell them that we don’t have to have things figured out and it’s okay that things aren’t going the way that we thought they would. And even though it’s like a shout into a void, I want to tell them that they are more than their demons. They are more than their mistakes and more than their depression. I don’t think we hear that enough.

It amazes me just how often I hear of college students feeling worthless or feeling less than what they could be because they aren’t where they thought they would be by now. I’ll be the first person to admit that as a 20 year old, I did not exactly picture myself where I am today. I never really thought that I would be living at home and going to college near my hometown. I never thought that I would be an assistant editor on a campus paper or that I would be doing freelance photography work for a local paper. I never thought I would be an English major concentrating in Literature with a minor in Creative Writing. But now I can’t picture myself being anywhere else. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I want my peers to know that they don’t have to have it all figured out. Sure, five year plans are good for certain things. And it is never a bad idea to actually look ahead a little bit so you can see where you are about to take your next step. The great thing is that we don’t actually have to have it all figured out, in spite of the ideas that we have had planted in our minds for the last fifteen years.

What is the one thing you need to hear?

Right now, the one thing I need to hear is that I’m on the right path. These past few years have not been easy. From finally getting help with my depression to trying to figure out where I want to be going with college and life in general, I’ve had to make a lot of difficult choices. Some have ended up being the best choices I have ever made, like getting medication to help with my lows and being reminded that I am not my illness. That it’s a chemical imbalance and not a personality flaw.  Trying to accept that has been an incredibly difficult and equally rewarding daily battle.

Similar to the idea of what I want to say, I have been one of those people who are completely uncertain with whether they are making the right choices for their future. And it has taken me this long to figure out that really, NO ONE has it all figured out, and most of the time the people who act like they have it all together are just as scared for their futures as you are. So, to hear that I am doing good things with my life would mean the world right now. Following your dreams and following your heart are not exactly sure ways to find whatever success you’re looking for in your life because they don’t really have instant ways of proving that you’re doing the right thing.

Maybe it’s not that I need to be reassured that I’m doing the right thing. Maybe we just need to know we aren’t alone. Maybe we are just looking for ways to connect. Like the TWLOHA campaign says, people need other people. Maybe I just needed reminded of that.

So what is it that you want to say? What is it that you need to hear?

 

searching for perspective

have you ever been at the top of some building, or tree, or even just on the roof of your house and have that moment when things take on a new light? there is just something about being elevated above the world that you normally live in that makes you see things a different way.

lately i’ve been craving new perspective. parts of life have just sort of become too circular, too repetitive and not in a good way. naturally, it has me searching out ways to change. or rather i have found myself looking at the parts of my life that i am unhappy with and figuring out just what needs to happen to change that.

part of that change is coming in the form of refining my budget to account for some of the travels that i’ll be taking later this year because over-spending has become a repeat offender when it comes to making these travels possible. making a new budget, while possibly time consuming, is a simple change to put into action which is sort of relieving when i think of other areas that i’m concerned about.

the thing is, in searching for a new perspective i actually found a way that is helping bring about some of the changes that i have been looking for. in the past three weeks i have started a semi-regular walk/run routine that is surprisingly enough working as an effective stress reliever from work and school as well as a way for me to start making changes with my body. i have known for a long time that i am not healthy and my body has suffered for it. even as a child i was a heavy kid and that has definitely continued into early adulthood. i used to be afraid of going out and trying to lose the weight because i was afraid of failure and because of that i really did fail for a long time to lose the weight.

that is starting to change though because a friend of mine has helped put my body image of myself into perspective as far as where i want to be in life. it doesn’t really matter what i look like if i want to be an author or a journalist. what does matter is that i am healthy enough to go out and explore and find the things that i want to write about and the things i want to experience. before, i would let those become excuses to why i couldn’t follow my dreams of being a writer. but now i don’t have excuses. i’m doing this because i want to be able to enjoy the life that i am trying to build for myself.

it strange how things change when you realize that not everyone sees you how you see you. people can see you as your passion and your dream instead of just what you look like. we just can’t let things like that determine what your future is going to hold.

the state of my finances and health aren’t the only parts of my life that i’m trying to get new perspective on though. there are things that i have been avoiding and things that i didn’t think i was capable of. things that i thought were always just going to be in the way because i was too afraid to see past it.

i got the chance to just hang off my back deck today and watch the life move in the woods behind our house. and even just being twenty feet off the ground it was interesting how my thoughts changed. somehow, feeling the nothingness beneath my feet and nothing but the world going on in front of me helped changed my mindset tonight. i’m far more capable of changing what i want to in this life than i give myself credit for. no one else is going to change your perspective on your life for you. no one else can control what you’re going to do with your life. you’re more than worth fighting to get to where you want, even if those around you don’t necessarily see things as a worthwhile cause.

i’m still looking for a new perspective on life, but i know i am not going to find it by standing still. i’m ready to go.

all quiet here

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today was one of my long days on campus, working until five and then having class until almost nine. in my three hour class we have a fifteen minute break about halfway through and tonight it couldn’t seem to come quick enough. i spent my whole break just laying on the sidewalk outside the back side of the building because it felt like i was suffocating inside from the lack of life in the cinderblock classroom.

it’s interesting how quiet it was when i first stepped outside because the noise of the building was shut out behind me, but as soon as i realized that i was isolated from the rest of the building the sounds of the woods behind the building immediately turned up their volume. maybe that doesn’t seem like the most interesting realization in the world, but the fact that i went all day without noticing how loud the way we live is and then how loud nature really is when you get the chance to listen just sort of floored me. i stayed outside for as long as i possibly could during that break.

the quiet that i found in the noise of the woods reminded me of an aldous huxley quote:

“‘there are quiet places also in the mind’ he said meditatively. ‘but we build bandstands and factories on them. deliberately, to put a stop to the quietness…”

i have to admit, i am absolutely guilty of finding reasons to block out the silence in my life. i’m known for having music playing at all times in my car, when i’m just in my room, even when i’m at my desk at work. part of it is because music is a comfort for me. it is something that i used to turn to whenever things got difficult because there was always that one song that somehow made me feel like i wasn’t the only person to ever go through whatever it was. but that’s not the only reason i am constantly covering up the silence.

i do it because being alone with your thoughts can be extremely intimidating. there are not a lot of people who just like to be alone with their thoughts and just sit and think through things in their life. whenever i do that, i tend to go into hyper-examination mode and start overthinking everything. so instead of dealing with that, i “build bandstands and factories” over those thoughts and distract myself.

don’t take this as me bashing music lovers who have a constant need or desire to have music playing because it is something they love because that is not at all where i’m going with this. i, myself, am one of those passionate music lovers. i just wanted to talk about how much i’ve realized lately that i have learned to fill my life with distractions because as a part of my journey to be more authentic to myself, i’m trying to fix these things.

no lie though, being alone with the deepest parts of yourself can be pretty scary. i’m not a huge fan of thinking about things that are difficult.

so here’s to a resolution to not hide from my thoughts quite so much. here’s to learning to be honest with myself. here’s to that ever-challenging change that we all struggle with. here’s to tonight.