Working Through the Weird

I’m a Weirdo

You are too. Heck, we’re all a little weird in our own ways. Usually it’s just goofy stuff that gets you laughed at in good humor. Like that time at the soccer game when I asked someone to get me a walkie-talkie, but only if it was an even number or thirty-three. When they asked why, I told them I didn’t like odd numbers unless it was 3, 7, 33 or a multiple of 5. The guy asked me if I was kidding, and when it was clear to him that it wasn’t, he just kind of stared in disbelief and told me I was weird. Thanks, buddy, because I didn’t already know that!

Now, my strange even number habits may have a little something to do with the OCD I was diagnosed with as a child and it may seem completely explainable to me, but to others, it’s just weird.

And that’s okay. THAT is just one of the many things that makes me who I am.

But Sometimes Life is Weird

Being “weird” and having quirks is okay. It makes you who you are and it makes life interesting. But sometimes, life is just weird. Sometimes things happen out of our control and we have to choose how we respond. We can either laugh at those things or we can walk away with our head down, embarrassed and discouraged. But it’s up to us.

Life is weird, and not always in ways that you can explain.

Sometimes you just feel “off”. Today is one of those days. So was yesterday. I woke up and I just felt weird. It’s not something that I can always place my finger on and sometimes it really bothers me, affecting my mindset and my mood. But it’s something that I’m learning to work through.

Working through the weird is new to me, but only because I am feeling these off days more strongly than I ever have before. I am more aware of them, I am more in-tune with my body and my mind, I am more conscious of how I live every day. So I’m taking these weird days and using them for good. I am using them to grow, learning as much about myself on these days as I can.

The Way I Feel

Why did I feel off yesterday? I woke up still tired after staying up too late reading (it’s a bad habit, probably why I can only read books in spurts – once I start a good, I don’t put it down until it’s finished). It was rainy and I wasn’t at home. I puttered around waiting for Lauren to get home, ate some oatmeal and got dressed. After I left, I sat in front of a coffee shop for five minutes and debated if I wanted to go in or not. I opted to swing by Starbucks and work from home. I wash’t in the mood to haul my backpack in, decide on a drink and sit at a table by myself all day.

So I got home, read a little, did some work, met up with Jodi for a hug and quick catch-up, read some more, worked out (also judging by my lack of energy and my increase in hunger, I believe PMS to be a major part of feeling “off”) and saw a movie with my sister.

Was I as productive as I should have been? Probably not. But I’m learning not to beat myself up over these days, because eventually, I won’t have days like these. Eventually, I’ll have a job that requires more than just a list of phone calls a week and I’ll be so busy that I’ll long for days of nothingness. So while I could (and often can) be depressed about where I am at in life, I remind myself that it is just a season and that when the next season comes, I may be longing for this one so I better enjoy it while it’s here. It’s all about living in the moment. Being ever present and in the Now. It’s still a very strange concept to me, but it’s crazy how effective it really is.

Rest, Recover, Repeat.

Summer 2015.

If you had told me that during my 25th summer of life I would be working for a professional soccer team, I would never have believed you. Besides a few years of dance and swim team, and a small attempt at basketball and volleyball freshman year before I had surgery on my ankle, I was never actively involved in sports, playing or otherwise. Unless, of course, you count the year my parents signed me up for K-5 soccer at the YMCA, which I don’t.

But I love it.

I struggle with selling tickets, but that’s because I’m not a creature made to push. I have to much empathy and I also fail to separate rejection on a professional and personal level. “Oh, you don’t want to talk to me about bringing your company out to a soccer game? I completely understand, you hate me. No, no, it’s okay, really….”

But the game days? The promotional events? That’s my thing, my niche. I can talk to people all day long. Need help finding your seat? Can’t see over the rain barricades? Want to know why the sky is blue? Sure, I can help you out. I love people (even though there are days where I claim not to) and I love talking (although, I do appreciate times of silence). I love the energy of the people, the fans, the crowds. It’s invigorating and no matter how tired I am from the week, I come alive as I feed off the positive energy from those around me.

So no, I would have never believed you had you told me this is what I would be doing this summer and I may not be doing it next summer, but for right now, I am enjoying every single minute of it. I am building friendships – with the staff, the interns, the players, the supporters – and I am loving it.

It’s amazing to see how much you can enjoy something when you’re passionate about it. I didn’t know much about soccer when I started the job and I still may not know much about sales, but I believe in my team and the boys on it. I believe in my city and the support that I have seen come together because of this league. I am putting 110% in because I know that I am learning and growing from every single thing that comes my way.

Sure, I am exhausted. I work a lot for little pay. Game days have me there from 10am until 10pm, and by the time I get home, I want nothing more than to drop into bed.

But that’s what the weekends (and away games) are for. To rest and recover, so we can repeat.

Sidetracked.

This wasn’t the blog post I was starting. I’m not even one-hundred-percent sure what I was going to write when I opened my Macbook, but this is what came of it – a derailed thought.

Dereailed. That word is surprisingly fitting for my life…

Longing for the High Life

Life is hard. Being an adult is hard.

There are so many things they don’t tell you when you’re racing to grow up, like that being an adult involves paying bills, meeting deadlines and feeling like you’re constantly failing at life. There was so much I was unprepared for. There is still so much I am unprepared for.

I know it isn’t just me who feels this way, but I can’t help but look at some of my friends who seem to have it all together and always know what to do and feel like I completely missed that life lesson. What’s the best insurance? What’s a 401K? What things really matter when voting for a President? HOW DO YOU KNOW THESE THINGS? Like, did I miss something? Why am I unable to comprehend all these grown-up things that everyone else seemingly has the hang of?

Life is a struggle. It’s wanting a job that pays the bills, but not wanting to be confined by a 9-5. It’s wanting to move across the country, but not wanting to leave the people I love. It’s desiring to save, but not wanting to miss the chance to live.

So maybe it’s a struggle, but who’s to say that’s wrong?

I’ve done a lot and I’ve seen a lot these past few years. I’ve used Southwest airline credit to celebrate graduating college and Christmas with Sara in Philly. I’ve rappelled next to waterfalls in North Carolina on the way to drop my friend at an Army base in Virginia. I’ve crossed the ocean and solo-backpacked through Europe, losing and finding myself along the way. I’ve flown to Denver with Kayla only to end up spending a crazy, unforgettable night with new friends in Vail. I’ve sung all the way to Nashville with my tripod to tour the Grand Ole Opry and watch the Blues beat the Predators. I’ve road tripped with Lauren to see one of our favorite musicians play in a three different states while car sleeping in hotel parking lots and showering at gyms. I’ve taken a weekend trip to Jacksonville with a woman who was a second mother to me growing up. I’ve rode a school bus to Branson with my mom to turn around once we were home and leave for Milwaukee with her at 1am, detouring through Chicago for gluten-free donuts and the sunrise over Lake Michigan. And most recently, I threw caution to the wind and took an impromptu trip to Colorado with Liana to visit my favorite guys and climb mountains.

I’ve loved and I’ve lost two guys who, at their respectful times in my life, I thought could be “the one”. I’ve worked odd jobs, from waitressing to substitute teaching to managing a gym to selling tickets for a professional soccer team. I’ve even taken a summer off to counsel at summer camp and still keep in touch with the sweet preteen girls I had in my cabin.

After I pay my bills this week, I’ll have maybe $5 to my name. I live at home with my parents. I also have a car that isn’t only not aesthetically pleasing to look at, but is also on it’s last leg. Anyone who has struggled financially knows how awful the reality of all of this is.

But you know what? I am constantly reminded of the Lord’s goodness. He always knows just what I need and He provides. He never lets me go hungry or unclothed. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need (even if I cry to my mom today about not even having enough money to buy new socks to replace my hole-filled ones).

I have the most supportive parents in the entire world. They have not only allowed me to live at home rent-free during my post-college life adventure of “finding myself”, but they have supported me every step of the way, no matter if they thought I was making the right decision or not. I am truly blessed and humbled by the life they have created for our family.

Currently, I am sticking out the soccer season with the fantastic team I work for as I apply for full-time positions and look for housing near Vail. My desire is to move there for the Winter season and work at the resort, exploring mountains with the boys when we have days off and finding more of God in the stillness. In the past few years, in all the places I have been, it is the only place where I have felt at home, even more so than St. Louis itself at times. I know this is a step in the right direction. I have started and stopped more endeavors than I can explain, but I am determined to stick this one out. I am determined to struggle and claw my way to support myself in a state that holds my heart in order to learn and grow. It’s not something I’ve decided on a whim, it’s one that I have been toying with since January of last year and I am ready to throw caution to the wind, break free of my fear and GO.

I know who stands beside me, and I am not afraid.

Colorado Mountains, I-70 Eastbound

Colorado Mountains, I-70 Eastbound

The New Is In.

Blast from the Past

As I spent Friday morning skimming through the last year of entries I had written in my journals, I was incredibly proud of myself for keeping up with that discipline. I’ve had a tendency in the past to begin writing in journals or on blogs, and then getting bored or forgetting that I’ve started on it.

It was really rewarding to look back over the past year though and see how far I have come. At first, I was discouraged because all of the worries I journaled about last May were all the same ones I had journaled about this May. “How can I still be at the point in my life,” I thought, “How has nothing changed in the last twelve months?”. But then I realized, I’m not at all the same person that I was a year ago. Sure, some of my worries are the same – doctor bills, student loans, finding a job, etc. – but I am a completely different person than I was just one short year ago.

Then

A year ago, I was still in search of something. It was the same something I had searched for and never found in A. The same thing I ran away to Europe to find. The same thing I came home still looking for. But I was searching for something that I just couldn’t find, no matter how hard or how far away I looked.

I didn’t want to be back in Pacific, the small, dead-end town I grew up in. So, I once again tried to escape in the ways I knew how, through drinking and traveling. I had started hanging out with a new group as soon as I returned home in March, and was quick to jump into the scene of drinking until the wee morning hours with them then ending up in places I shouldn’t have been. But I justified it, saying that I didn’t really party in college so I was getting it out of my system now.

Thankfully, I began working out with a group of guys at my gym and quickly realized that drinking wasn’t part of the lifestyle I really wanted.

But I still hadn’t found what I was looking for. So, I started taking weekend trips to visit friends and to explore new places. I traveled because I was passionate about it, but I also traveled to escape reality. However, the weekend always ended and I always returned home, still unsatisfied and without finding whatever it was I was searching for.

Finding What I Was Searching For

It wasn’t until that day on the driveway last September that I realized what I was missing – God. Sure, I had been going to church and reading my devotions, but I was still allowing myself to do things I knew weren’t completely right. I was what you would call a lukewarm Christian, dangling on the line of the world and Jesus.

Besides that moment on the driveway, there are two other moments I am a hundred percent positive changed my life – the day I forgave A and the day the Lord called me to the mission field.

I have not been the same since. And I won’t be. I can’t be.

Now

I have found exactly what I was searching for, the very essence of my being, the missing piece. I have returned to my First Love, and I have never been more satisfied.

There are still moments when I wonder what I am supposed to be doing and times were things begin looking up, then fall through (jobs, mission trips, etc.). But I have faith in the Lord, and I know that He has an incredible plan for my life, even if I don’t know what that it is yet, and will bring me to it when He is ready. I know that the Lord is using me exactly where He has me today, according to his purpose.

For right now, I am content with where I am at.

I suddenly don’t feel the need to run away anymore, or search for myself in earthly things. I have Him, and that is enough for me.

 

 

Set It Free.

Forgiveness

I thought I knew what forgiveness was. It’s when someone says they’re sorry and you accept their apology, letting go of the offense they made towards you. Isn’t it?

Well, yes. But forgiving someone and letting go of what they did to you doesn’t always take away the pain and the hurt that they caused you, no matter how unintentional it might have been. And usually, people don’t intend to hurt us, but they do and it’s in those time when it hurts the most.

Today during church, the pastor said that he felt someone needed prayer for forgiveness. Instantly, my mind went to one person. It was the same person that just this morning I had written about in my journal…

“So many times I just want to text and tell him how much I miss him and how much I hate him for everything he did and to thank him for all the lessons I learned and tell him I’m happy for him and ask him what wasn’t good enough about me and just cry so that he can see and feel and deal with everything he just dropped when he stopped giving a damn about me. But I never will. I will never again let him know that he had such a strong impact on who I am today. Because he won’t care enough and I’ll care too much. And that’s not worth it anymore.”

I didn’t go up for prayer.

I continued sitting with my legs crossed in the very back row of the church like I normally do. I figured he wasn’t talking to someone else. I had forgiven A quite some time ago for all the things that he had done to me. It wasn’t until I was in Europe that I realized I was truly over it all. I let it go. That meant I forgave him, right? I said I forgave him. Then that day that I was back home and I broke down in tears because I didn’t feel like enough, the day that God met me right there on the driveway as I cried out to Him. Surely I had let all of A’s offenses go for good that day. Hadn’t I?

When he walked away, I was devastated. After everything we had been through. Even after it all, I had stood beside him, and then he left. Just like that, with no explanation. No phone call, no apology, nothing. I let him go, knowing that I needed to, but that didn’t make it any easier.

A part of me was still hanging on. Why? I don’t know, and I may never know.

But I do know that when the pastor continued waiting as one then two and three then four others walked up for prayer, that he was waiting for me. I kept sitting, shifting ever-so-slightly in my seat from the discomfort of the heaviness I was feeling in my chest. With each second, it burned even more.

Before I knew it, I was moving towards the front. I heard a whisper, “there she is” from someone in the pews as I walked. I stood at the front of the church fighting tears as I twisted my rings around my finger, as I often do when I’m thinking over something I’m not sure of.

“What if it wasn’t me he was talking about?”

Usually when someone else goes up for a prayer call, I sigh a breath of relief that it wasn’t me who the Lord was calling out. But not this time. This time, I knew the moment pastor spoke that it was me he was talking to.

He confirmed that when he anointed my head with oil and breathed the words “thank you for your obedience” onto my forehead.

He clasped both his hands on the back of my neck and I sobbed. His words aren’t something I’ll soon forget, nor will that prayer of forgiveness I repeated. In that moment, I was setting it free. I was once and for all letting go of the hurt and the anger and the resentment that I had towards this person who had damaged me so badly.

For the first time, I was finally forgiving him and meaning it.

I’m Really Bad at This…

I kind of suck…

Maybe someday I’ll get better at this whole blogging thing.

Or maybe not. I journal every morning, and since I’m never on my computer anymore (unless it’s to watch Netflix), I never think to blog.

Plus, who really needs to know every nitty-gritty detail about my ever-so-boring life?

Boring is Right

Oh, how mundane my life has become. I’m back to being employed, but it isn’t glamourous. Working as a Restaurant Manager is definitely not the “dream job” I had in mind when I received my Bachelor’s degree. No sir, not me, not at all. But it’s a job and it’s paying my bills at the moment (YAY for just paying off one of my credit cards and cutting it up!). It’s frustrating some days, and it can be stressful, and annoying, but I like most of the people I work with, I make a decent amount of money, and I’m not sitting on my butt all day.

But when did I lose my drive? When did I become so comfortable? When did I stop dreaming? When I realized I was in mounds of student loan debt? When I figured living at home and not paying rent meant I could pay off my credit cards?

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my family and I am ever so thankful to be home for the holidays, but this is not where I thought I’d be a year out of college. Not that everyone is where they expect to be at this time, it just seems like all my friends have it so together and here I at – back at home in a dead-end job failing miserably. I know it’s just my own point-of-view and lots of people think I’m doing great, but it’s not what I wanted. It’s not what I want.

I started serving at the Pub to make some extra cash while I continued job hunting. But a quick move to a management position left me with more hours at work and less worry about finding a career. I’m not sure why, but I stopped looking altogether. I became comfortable, thinking that this was where God wanted me for this season in my life. Not that I don’t think God has great plans for my life, because I truly believe that he does, and not that I don’t think I’m where I’m supposed to be according to his plan, because I’m learning and growing every single day. I’m just not sure that sitting on my butt after work every night doing nothing but waiting is going to open any doors or show me any life changing revelations.

So, I’m back to the job hunt. I’m going to apply for anything and everything, everywhere. I’m going to take the time and get down to business. I can’t sit idle any longer and watch life pass me by.

High Hopes

I’m still writing blogs for Once Upon a Time. It’s been a slow start up, as the CEO also works a full-time job and the entire organization is still in the beginning phases. But she asked me to stay on after I “interned” for the summer to continue blogging and working on the social media. I’m excited to do so, and hope that it will give me more experience and possibly open some doors in the future.

She said she’s received a lot of great feedbacks on my blogs, and that makes me happy. I love to write, it really is a passion of mine and I would love to make a career out of it. Honestly, if someone paid me to travel and write and give my opinion, I’d be the happiest girl. I have hopes that someday that will happen, that someday I’ll be flying all over the world experiencing new places and faces and things. Maybe it won’t happen. Maybe someday I’ll move to Maastricht and settle into the little city that I adore so much. Maybe I’ll marry the cute boy I run into at the gym every so often and stay in St. Louis.

My life is full of big hopes and uncertainty and limitless possibilities, and it’s time I got back on track to chasing them.

Taking a Bite of Humble Pie

Take a Bite of Humble Pie…

…or in my case, eat the whole thing.

Life isn’t easy. Whoever says it is, well, they’re a liar. We read joke about suing Disney for giving us a the wrong ideas about love and fairytales and happily every after, but in reality, nothing in life is really like it is in the movies.

You don’t always get the boy you want (usually that’s something you’ll thank God for later, but if you don’t believe me, just ask Garth Brooks…), the ugly girl doesn’t always come out on top to win Prom Queen, and your “college experience” is nowhere near as perfect as the movies portray it to be. One big party? More like four (or four and a half) years of hard work, late nights studying, struggling to make it to 8am classes after working your part-time job and not getting home until midnight, declining going out for drinks with your friends because of a group project you’re doing solo… yeah, a real “party” that is (granted, I ended up in a national honors society and graduated with a 3.55 GPA, which may compare differently to the grades that some of those partiers got…let’s not get into the ones that could go out every night and still pass with a 4.0, we kind of hate them…)

Life is Supposed to Be Easy

I’m getting off track. Life isn’t easy. It’s supposed to be, but it isn’t. As humans, we make it complicated. As a perfectionist, I always feel as I though I fall short.

If you’ve been following my blog for any good length of time, you’ll know that I took two months off after graduation to travel throughout Europe. When I did this, I gave up my retail job at Victoria’s Secret, I declined a position at the ad agency I was interning at (which wasn’t really a “real” offer, but we won’t get into that right now) and I agreed to move back into my parent’s house.

Now, in my “movie-perfect” mind, I was going to return from my trip (okay, if I’m being honest, I had no intention of returning home from my trip – I really thought I was going to fall in love and never come back. Well, I met a boy, but I ended up back in Missouri, so that story doesn’t need any further explanation).

theleadingedgeblog.com

theleadingedgeblog.com

Fairytale Fail

But alas, here I am. Back in my parent’s basement. I didn’t expect to be here for this long. Somewhere in my crazy mind, I was only going to be back for a month or two before I snagged my “dream job”. I’m not sure how I planned to snag it so quickly, especially since I’m not even entirely sure that I have one… I’m also not sure who I expected to just hand me a job, or why I thought it would be so easy to come by. But I did. And I have found that I was so very mistaken.

So, here I sit. Slowly moving from the spare room upstairs to an empty room back in the basement apartment at my parent’s house, seeing as I’m going to be here for longer than originally expected. I’ve been getting my niece ready for school and on the bus, working out, doing internship blogs and working at a new pub in town for some cash to start paying off my credit card and student loans. I’m still job hunting, kind of. It’s awfully depressing when there is absolutely nothing available, and you haven’t heard back from anywhere you’ve applied so far. Wait, that’s a lie. I actually did get an “although we were impressed with your qualifications, we have decided not to move your application forward” email the other day. I think I liked not hearing back better…

But I will readjust my big girl panties and continue  moving forward. Continuing to move forward may be a slow process, but at least I’m not idle. If we stop moving forward, we will never get anywhere in life. I know God has great plans for my life, even if my small human brain cannot seem to figure out what they might be as I spend this season of my life waiting tables and rely on my parent’s for my room and board. I guess you could say that I’m learning patience in this process, as well.

And who knows, maybe I’ll be like Alexis Bledel’s character in Post Grad. Move home, put up with my crazy family, meet a cute guy, get my dream job…

My life might not be an academy award winner, but it’s still a movie. Once I’m lucky enough to get to be the lead star in.

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