I recently rediscovered my old blog... As in the blog that started my blogging days. I'd say that was when I was a fledgling blogger, but I think that's still true today.
The backstory for those of you that don't know is that when I was student teaching, I began to express some of my daily thoughts in the fashion of a blog in which my college friends read. What we all quickly realized is that while life was busy and hectic and we rarely ever saw each other (welcome to the life of an education major), we were all experiencing similar hardships.
For us, my writing provided the opportunity to relate. And so I wrote, and will continue to write for you.
I called myself "the Erratic Student" then; erratic doesn't even begin to explain me now. The old blog is hilarious, mostly because it was +3 years ago and my life is vastly different now. I'm a little embarrassed of some of the things I wrote back then, but I've always been good at making a fool of myself, so allow me to continue.
I present to you some of my former blog posts:
If you have the time, peruse these posts of the past. They're interesting, surely, but they also show how far we've come.
One thing has been entirely true throughout this process; the pen and paper, or even this keyboard, help share my joys, my burdens, and my experiences. And while I have a unique story to tell, many of you can relate. And for me, someone who often feels overwhelmed by our (in)significant lives, this helps me see the significance in our short times together.
Continue reading my friends. I'll continue writing.
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm letting you go.
I loved you. You were my best friend, and I would have done anything for you. I did do anything for you. We were young once and things were good between us, but the darkness overtook you. And you loved that goddamn bottle more than anything else on this earth.
The worst part is, you loved me too. You believed you were keeping me safe, and at times you actually did. But you could never keep me safe from you.
You became the man you always said you'd never be. You acted like your father, the very man you despised. And the things you did to me had once been done to you.
I forgive you for that. I forgive you for being so destroyed by your own sickness and for falling into a vicious cycle of hate. I almost want to believe it's not your fault, but you are such a broken man.
If you loved me, like you always told me you did, then why did you hurt me?
I was at your mercy. You kept all my secrets locked up and you made sure they didn't get out, but you created even darker secrets for us to keep; ones that I still struggle to let leave my lips.
You were always drowning and gasping for air, and sometimes I could give you that moment of relief, but I could never give you enough. You always demanded more of me. You knew what you were doing was wrong, but you had no problem closing your eyes each night to fall asleep. Maybe the alcohol helped that pain too. I've spent too many sleepless nights because of you.
For years, I was afraid you'd do it again. But now, I'm no longer afraid of you. I'm afraid for you. I'm afraid that you might fall back into that dark place again. I'm afraid you might take your own life, feeling hopeless and afraid, and I won't be there to stop you this time. I am no hero of yours.
Eventually, I had nothing left to give you. You took everything from me, and you made me believe I deserved the Hell you put me through. And it took me now to realize, I deserve so much goddamn more.
For years, you kept me captive. For years, I believed all of the nasty lies you told me. For years, I thought I didn't deserve happiness. And finally, after all these years, I'm letting you go. I loved you once and I'd do anything to protect you, but I won't do that any longer. You don't deserve that.
It was Ray Bradbury who said, "Life begins again when it gets crisp in the fall."
Fall has always been a favorite of mine, and lately I've truly been contemplating why this is. Other than the obvious celebrations fall brings (Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving), this time of the year is always packed full of the festivities I like best (fairs, Oktoberfest, orchards, corn mazes). But I've also always enjoyed this time of year when the leaves change color on the trees and the temperature is just perfect enough to wear jeans and a cozy sweater. For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to experience fall in the Northeastern United States, you're seriously missing out on something beautiful.
But fall also is the most symbolic of life itself. It's the time of year when life has finally begins the beautiful process of death. You see, that's the reason why I love fall so much. While it's beautiful to see the colors and admire the weather of fall, it's also lovely to enjoy the last fleeting moments of a great year before we hunker down for the winter. Fall reminds us that there are still things to be enjoyed, despite the days with waning sunlight and the chillier weather to come. "Autumn [is] the year's last, loveliest smile."
Imagine if we actually lived our lives were like this: moments gathered, marked to be the final ones before our demise. These moments become extraordinary, beautiful, special, and treasured because we know we won't get to experience them again. For once, we're aware that death is what makes life so special.
The question I have is: Why aren't we treating life like this? Aren't we living in one perpetual moment of autumn? So here's my proposition: Embrace it. Enjoy it. Because these fleeting moment are the only ones we have.
Walking around to the old air strip with the sun setting in the west, my heart raced in my chest and I nearly skipped my way down the dark path only lit with small red lights. Finally, I had returned to Cherry Springs State Park, a place I visited last with my best friend a year ago. If you haven't been yet, you need to go. It's worth the hike out there and the freezing temperatures you may have to endure. The whole experience will change your perspective, if you allow it.
First, let me set the scene:
I'm wearing three shirts beneath my winter coat. I'm also donning three pairs of pants (which says a lot for someone who so adamantly hates pants). I've easily gained ten pounds in clothing alone. Yet, my outfit isn't complete without my mittens and my knit hat. I carry out an outdoor mat and a lawn chair. I sit. I wait. My eyes adjust to the darkness.
One star, then ten, now a hundred. Next, I lose count. I've never seen so many stars.
Overhead, there's a dust cloud beginning to appear in the sky. It spans from the north to south horizons. That's the Milky Way. Right over my head, there it is, staring right back at me.
Then someone said, "Is something going to happen already?" and I let out an audible chuckle.
Something is happening, I thought. They just couldn't see it. It was everywhere. We were surrounded by it.
I began to feel sorry for this person who was waiting for something that was so clearly laid out in front of him, yet he couldn't see. And then of course, I began to think how much life was like that. We're often one step ahead, waiting for something to happen, and rarely do we focus on what's right here in front of us.
So, stop right now and count your blessings, each and every one of them.
And then stop to take a deep breath. Do you feel your lungs expanding with air as you inhale? Now consider the fact that you are just as remarkable and unique as the stars that hang above us every single night.
Many of us struggle with the idea of being good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, or, or, or... The list goes on.
For me, it's all of the above. If I was better in some way, maybe I could please more people. If I was prettier in some way, maybe more people would like me. If I was smarter in some way, maybe I'd have more opportunities.
And what a waste of time I just spent on wondering about those What Ifs.
Here's how the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "enough":
ENOUGH : adjective: "equal to what is needed"
I'm enough, and I've even had it validated by people that care for me, so then why is it that I'm still afraid of not being good enough? This is something I rack my brain for.
Maybe it's because of the people that have said I wasn't good enough.
Maybe it's because of the people who told me I was less than someone else.
Maybe it's because of the people who left me for someone better.
Maybe, maybe, maybe...
But wait... what about all of the people that have told me I'm plenty good enough? Why haven't I listened to them? (God, I hate that the voices of a few bad people are louder than the voices of the hundreds of good people.) Dammit, it's tiring listening to the bad ones. This needs to change. I'm choosing, and yes it is a choice I must consciously make, to listen to only the good ones. This will take effort. I'll have to choose to ignore the ones I know are not true, and I will have to believe the ones I know are true.
It is defined as "equal to what is needed," and for all of the people that said I wasn't good enough, I obviously was not what they needed. But for all the people that have said I am enough, I'm just that. More importantly, I am exactly what I need.
It's human nature to doubt our value of being "good enough." We've had people tell us we're not. But we have also had people in our lives who have validated this exact value for us. I'm telling you now: you are enough, though maybe not for every person. We all have different needs, and just because your "good enough" value isn't what one person demanded of you, this doesn't automatically deny the tons of people who have lined up to tell you you're good enough. Listen to them. Repeat them. Believe them.
"I have no special talent.