Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Different Kind of Love Story

This isn’t your conventional love story. There is no “happily ever after,” or, maybe there is…

Once upon a time about 10 years ago I met a boy while visiting a friend in college. Not just any boy, mind you. Admittedly, on the surface, he looked just as regular as any other boy possibly could- tall and lanky with dark hair and sincere playful eyes. He liked to write, seek out adventure, play pranks on his friends and fool gullible girls (me) into believing he could call squirrels when in reality, he was secretly dropping food behind him.

I met him in the darkest years of my life; I was reeling from a great deal of heartache and loss and had more days of not wanting to wake up than I could count. There were some days I tried not to, but that is a story for another time and place. He brought laughter and light to my darkness.

Under the seemingly regular boy appearance, this particular boy seemed to possess an uncanny ability to see through to my soul. He saw the best in me even when it was shrouded by years of abuse and neglect. He told our mutual friend after our very first meeting, “That is by far the best girl I’ve ever met in my entire life.”

I didn’t know that until 3 years later, a week after his funeral.

“What the hell? How depressing. Where’s the love story?!” you may be thinking, but give me a moment to explain.

After 6 (ok, maybe 7) years of anger, frustration, heart-shattering sorrow and never really allowing anyone to get close- I finally began to recognize the gift he gave me.

This seemingly ordinary boy left me with the lesson of what it means to love- really truly love someone when they’re not at their best, but more, what it means to love unabashedly, whole-heartedly, deeply and honestly with no hesitation and no fear.

My great love story is not one that involves two people enduring through the years together. Instead, it is a short story where one brave boy unknowingly taught an unsuspecting girl to let go of her fear and sorrow in order to love- love people and love the very act of being alive.

His death was a gift in that he taught me that the only thing we are guaranteed is the very moment we are in. Each and every moment is of infinite value, and we must strive to permeate each second with as much awareness and gratitude as possible because we may never get that chance again.

Today, my love story has opened my heart to a new chapter that involves taking the amazing opportunity to build a relationship with someone who has captured my heart in a way that hasn’t happened in 10 years. I don’t know what the future holds, but I can say that this moment I’m in is abundantly full and is enough in and of itself.

…and she lived happily ever after.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Who Are You?

“I’m such an idiot,” I thought one night as I re-analyzed my last mistake for the thousandth time.

A few days later a few friends and I were discussing how the language we use affects how we see the world and others.

Saying things like “I am an idiot” versus “I acted like an idiot” attaches a value on us as a person instead of on the action.

We hear it around us all the time, “I am so fat," "I'm really ugly," "I'm so stupid," "I'm such a klutz," and so on and so forth. 

The words "I am" are powerful because they, sometimes without us even realizing it, are defining who we believe we are bit by bit. 

What we tell ourselves in those milli-moments have a collective impact that influence how we consistently perceive ourselves, and thus how we interact in the world. 

Own your actions and take responsibility when you make mistakes, but don't allow your mistakes to define your identity. 

Because who you are is not the sum of your mistakes. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Home Is Where The Heart Is (Also: The Final Weeks)

Nine months ago I left my cozy stable life behind in pursuit of what I hoped would be a better life. 

Did I find it?

Yes and no. 

It's a story that's so popular these days; leave your stable well-paying job, sell all of your things, leave your home, live by the seat of your pants while hoping that the universe really will conspire to assist you once you make a decision (I'm still not so sure of that, Paulo Coelho).

I've only got 5 weeks left in this too-beautiful-to-be-real living and working space tucked away in the mountains. The last several weeks I've felt completely and utterly excited to start a new chapter of my life mixed with a sense of complete and utter failure. 

I have just as little clue of what I want to be doing with my life as I did when I arrived. 

In addition, as I reflect on the past several months, I catch myself wondering how much any of what I did really mattered. 

Did I just pour everything I could into something only to find it wasn't (good) enough? 

Generally, I have the wherewithal to pull myself back into a more rational positive mindset, but lately I've been struggling with everything going on back home for which I'm not present; a death, a major health issue, a struggling wandering heart, a family crisis, and a love.  

My friends are an incredible blessing, and even those who are struggling are reminding me that this decision was not a mistake. I've learned lessons here that I may never have learned any other way, and, I have a love reminding me of the home awaiting me. 

"You had to leave to find what you really wanted. You know now where your heart is. I know you don't know the specifics of what you'll be doing, but you know where you want to be. You'll figure the rest out, and we'll be here for you." 

So, I guess I lied a little when I said "no" in regards to my opening question. The answer is simply "yes," I did find a better life than the one I had been leading. This one has been full of learning, adventures, new friends, eye-opening experiences and a redefinition of what and where home and love are. Trite as the phrase "home is where the heart is" sounds (and is), it also holds a lot of truth. 

And as far as feeling as though what I've done isn't good enough, I have to remember that when we do the best we can, at the end of it all, we have to be ok with accepting that is good enough because it's all we've got.