April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Dear future me,
Please remember that you were once miserable with sadness. Please remember how hard you fought the numbness you had developed to feel joy, ecstasy, sympathy and even sadness again. Please know that whatever you’re feeling right now, at this very moment pain, disappointment, happiness, whatever, you’re only able to deeply feel because you forced yourself to feel again. Please know how hard you worked for this and how much you were scared of it. Cherish whatever you’re feeling, even if it hurts. Hold on to it. Let it be part of you.
Know that it took a long time to admit to yourself that you were once lonely. I hope that you’ve fallen in love. I hope that you’ve said it openly. Know that it took effort, risk, strength, to say those words. Cherish them.
Future self, its ok to not work so hard. Its ok to lay in bed an extra 15 minutes next to the one you love. He’ll appreciate it and, honestly, so will you. Let him spend all day watching baseball on tv if he wants to…occasionally. Go get yourself a pedicure and shut up. Or take a nap (if you’ve mastered napping yet. We’re currently working on that). You’ll both be happy.
Let yourself dream. Let yourself make plans, however minor. Follow through. Let yourself sit in the quiet. Also, its ok to have that piece of cake. Maybe two. Sorry, no…you can’t have three. End of discussion.
Future me, its ok to cry sometimes. I promise. No, no one has to see you. But hope you’ve let someone see it by now. Be open. Trust. I know you’ve been burned. I know you once easily trusted and you were hurt. Repeatedly. Trust anyway. Be open anyway.
Love with your whole heart. You’re happier when you do.
Dear Present Self,
Thank you for sitting with your feelings, no matter how painful, and letting them wash over you. Thank you for forcing yourself to feel every emotion, deeply and thoroughly. Thank you for forcing yourself to keep trying even though you fail often.
You’re a lover. Thank you for continuing to love, risk your heart, even though you aren’t sure how much your heart can handle. Thank you for getting out of bed on the days you don’t feel like it. Thank you for traveling. Thank you for desperately seeking joy.
Thank you for discovering that joy can be found in the everyday.
Thank you for writing this. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for forming me. I like who I am.
April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
“Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you, Oh Lord.” -St. Augustine
I don’t know if I like what I realized about myself and the life I’m creating today.
I realized that perhaps my gypsy nature is a way for me to avoid the feelings of loneliness, failure, sadness. Searching for new experiences, adventures, living life without a set plan, means that I’m rarely bored and that because I don’t have plans, I can’t be disappointed when plans fall through.
I come to this realization timidly. And I know it is not completely true. I’ve always loved an adventure. I’ve always known life is short and I want my life to be exciting. But, I also want to do something memorable. I want to set the world on fire. I want to make just one person’s life better for having known me. And I hope I can accomplish these things and still have the adventures I long for.
But, part of the problem with not staying anywhere long, is that I take a long time to let myself settle in. I tell myself, “I won’t be here long. Its ok not to get attached.” But, eventually we all need those personal connections, and I love to love. I love taking care of people, having friends. So I make them. I get attached. And it hurts when I realize I’ll be leaving them again soon. I’m tired of missing people.
And the part the restless part of my soul knows that I need adventure. But, there’s another part of me. A part of me that, once it finds these ties and connections, wants to hang on for dear life. Maybe I strangle the life out of them. I savor every moment with my friends. Secretly, or not so secretly, I long to want to stay put. I long to call some place home. I long for stability.
So, am I doing that part of my soul an injustice by wandering? I know it allows me to keep a part of myself closed off, from new friends really getting in. But, yet, I want someone to. I want to let someone in. Do I wander because I’m scared of that happening? Because I’m scared of letting someone in and getting hurt? Maybe I just tell myself I can’t be hurt because it gives me an excuse not to be open.
This strikes me significantly as I know some of the friends I’ve allowed myself to make here are getting ready to graduate. I’m running off for my new summer adventure right as I’ve begun to find connections here. And I know, if I were staying in Texas, I’d be moving somewhere to work anyway, as would everyone else, so I’d have to prioritize friendships and nurture the ones that I haven’t given necessary attention to lately. I know when I get back, I’ll have a rough quarter, but I know I can still maintain friendships with some work. I think the work is worth it. But, the summer break points to the near horizon of moving away from here; a place that I’m finally settling into, a place that I’m finally letting myself feel connected to, a place I’m only slightly scared to call “home” because I know its fleeting.
The winds of change are going to blow strong soon. Can I hang on?
I know what you’re thinking: This is confusing. She wants to leave? She wants to stay? Kelsi has no idea what she wants.
Guess what? You’re right. I don’t.
I tell myself I’ll be happy wandering forever, and a part of me honestly will be. But then there’s that other part. That part that longs for a home. The part of me that is always kind of hoping that someone will just tell me where that home will be. The part of me that knows I can find a home and still travel, perhaps satisfying both sides of my nature.
And does my moving, my wandering nature, make me an unattractive friend? Does my instability make me undateable? Maybe people are scared of getting too close to the girl who can’t stay still. But maybe, and I’m scared to admit this, but just maybe, I’m waiting to meet someone who makes me want to stay. The conundrum and confusion with that desire is that I worry that if I don’t stay in one place long enough, no one will take on that challenge.
I’m waiting patiently to see which side wins. The side that eternally wanders or the side that plants roots and lets them grow. Its in God’s hands. This I know…even though I don’t always like his decisions.
Patience and hoping go hand in hand. So here I am, patiently hoping. Patiently hoping that I build a life that can satisfy both halves of my soul.
September 30, 2010 § 5 Comments
“Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breath deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed but sometimes the pain gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can’t outrun it and life always makes more.” -Meredith Grey
One day this summer, I was home, sitting on the couch and just watching tv. A white truck drove by. For less time than it took me to complete the thought, I thought it was Cody. I didn’t get excessively excited or try to rush out the door to meet him. Rather, my heart, for that moment, felt what used to be normal. It was like putting a magnifying glass up to the pain, then leaving it there in the sunlight, letting it burn. Somehow, realizing how immune I’d become to the empty feeling and the pain made the pain worse for awhile. I miss simplicity of knowing that Cody was coming back, that I was loved and that no matter what happened, I had a partner to encourage me, challenge me, and keep me in line.
It has been a few months since that experience. I’m sure I’ve become even more used to the pain. But, dealing that has made me somewhat fearless. The worst thing I could imagine has already happened. I’m sure I might feel differently about that one day when I have kids. But somehow, going from the most excited, forward-looking, planning-intensive time of your life to the lowest low you can imagine is like getting the rug pulled out from under you while standing on the ledge of the Empire State Building. The initial fall is a shock, but then you just keep going down as though there might never be a bottom.
I have changed. I approach life fearlessly, or at least try. I don’t complain often (that one is an ever growing outlook, that I’m still working on). I find joy. Looking back on the past year, I feel like Cody would be shocked. I know he’d still love me, but he’d be surprised at me. And that’s ok. I made the decision very early on that Cody would continue to be in my life, but I was allowed to grow and change as necessary. That means I don’t analyze every decision I make based on whether or not Cody would be proud. To be honest, I didn’t do that when he was alive, so it’d just be silly for me to do that after he died; I think its one of the things he loved about me anyway. Nonetheless, I think he’d laugh. I’m sure I’ve provided him plenty of entertainment as I learned to walk in this world again, stumbling around like a new-born fawn; legs far too big for my body, falling and rising to try again.
In the past year, I took my first plane ride to a foreign country alone, met a guy there who I really didn’t know that well, shot my first deer, got a tattoo (newsflash if you didn’t know that already!), roadtripped to Yellowstone with one of my best friends, whitewater rafted again, rode a mechanical bull, started writing again, learned to surf, ran a horse down a Costa Rican beach, rockclimbed, rode a motorcycle, made law review, took a couple more plane rides to foreign countries by myself, took some guitar lessons, signed up for my first half marathon, went ziplining with a bunch of people I had just met, learned to salsa, marched in the National Pro-life march with two of my best friends, and really, the list just goes on and on. I even opened my heart to love again, tried to date, and even got hurt. All while learning how to grieve; a process that I think no one ever masters or wants to master, just eventually decides to tread the delicate line of letting go and holding on, moving forward and taking your past with you.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned, one that I am still learning, is contentment. To be stated more realistically, hopeful, ambitious contentment. I know, it is an oxymoron to be ambitious and hopeful, attitudes which are forward thinking, while searching for contentment, which focuses on the present. Oddly, I think it is the only way to be; living in the moment with a realistic eye one the future. But, contentment means that we are happy with the moment we’ve been given. It means that while I’m alone,I’m content, and therefore, not lonely. Accepting the things I cannot change. I can’t change things, but I can change my outlook. I can’t fill the void Cody left, but I can let someone in to serve their unique part in my life. I can’t rely on anyone else for my ultimate happiness; that is an attitude carefully nurtured by God and me.
One year later. So much has changed. I have changed.
As I tackle this day and the year that lies ahead, I know I need to continue to live in the moment, be content with my life. Continue to open my heart. I need to be kind, and show love to everyone.
Amazingly, I’ve learned that I can bring Cody with me, talk to him whenever I want, let him be a part of my life and still have room in my life for new love, new friends, new experiences, new points of view. This weekend marks the end of big days; my last first. In that sense, I’m looking forward to it. I don’t like grieving because some particular day tells me I should and sometimes I feel like anniversaries, birthdays and the like are days I’m “expected” to be upset. Somehow, that makes the days leading up to the big day more upsetting; on the “big day,” I’ve prepared myself for it, I expect it, and goodness knows I hate to cry while anyone can see me. Its not a strength thing, a pride thing, or anything really. It’s just a choice, a feeling, a comfort I choose. So, in so many ways, I’m ready for this last first to be done. Not so I can forget him, but just so these days can stop hanging over me like those sole storm clouds on an otherwise decent day. Its like I look out in the future, and I can see the “big day” coming and I hate it. I’d rather those bad moments just catch me off guard, when I miss something particular about Cody at a particular time. I appreciate those genuine moments of missing him more than the days I’m supposed to be upset; somehow they let me remember him in deeper way. Yes, clearly, there is a knot in my stomach approaching this weekend. But, that knot is more like a warning to prepare myself for the hurt that is to come, drawing my attention to that sole storm cloud. So, I appreciate that knot. It helps me handle the day, prepare myself for it, and approach the day with the joy of knowing that while we miss Cody, he’s all fine and dandy celebrating a year of eternity. And, knowing Cody, laughing at us for being upset and wasting our tears.
This weekend, I choose joy! I choose to celebrate a great love. I choose to pray. I choose to remember Cody’s laugh and spirit of love and embrace that. I choose to celebrate his life for what it was; while short, it was beautiful, and great, and full of love. I choose to share that love with as many people as I can. If this attitude of love and joy was the change I needed or was supposed to get, then I’m thankful for the pain.
April 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
I know I’ve told y’all before, but writing is one of my forms of catharsis. Its probably the only artistic expression I’m capable of, though I’m working on my photography skills (though my photos will never be worth more than mere sentimental value). Personally, I think its highly important to figure out a variety of activities that bring you peace, relaxation, and balance. For me, running helps. Sometimes I get going, and just don’t really want to stop (yes, its rare), but when I can put on some music that I really enjoy, or music that makes me think, I get into my headspace and just think about life as opposed to just running. I’m sure it really helps some people feel really motivated if everything they listen to on a run is upbeat, but there’s something great about a song that allows you to contimplate the lyrics, the poetry of it, the deeper meaning, and how it might relate to your life all while pounding the pavement and burning some calories (yeah, I think a longer post on running might be in store soon). Yoga is fantastic. I love a flowing class where I can get my heart rate up, tone muscle, improve flexibility and balance all while clearing my mind. Sometimes I can’t help but spend my time in a yoga class just thanking God for the opportunity to do it, for my body, for my life. Cooking is a great outlet. I’m sure it won’t be quite as much fun when I HAVE to do if for my kids or something, but for now, I love entertaining, or just spending some time preparing a meal for myself (sometimes, its easier too, because I know what I’m willing to try, I can almost imagine what a recipe will taste like before I try it, and I’m not worried about impressing anyone but myself!). Finding ways to get balance and focus and time to think are so beneficial for finding happiness.
But, alas, this post was actually supposed to be about writing. My creative writing skills used to not be so shappy if I do say so myself. However, I feel like all my time spent reading textbooks in college and now spending my time reading Justices Scalia, Ginsberg, Hand, Brennan, Souter…you name ’em, I’ve read ’em. “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.” -Justice Scalia. Call me crazy, but somehow this sort of reading doesn’t set my creativity fire aflame. And, the less I am able to read true, beautiful literature (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Tolstoy, Hawthorne, Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Bronte sisters…oh how I miss you and your eloquence!!!), the less I am able to develop my own creative writing. Everything I’ve written lately seems to be so trite and cliche. Its frustrating to want so badly to come up with unique, deep expression, but be stuck. Hopefully, the more I write, think and read great literature and poetry, the easier it will be for my creative juices to actually run (though, only in moderation, since my law profs won’t appreciate me busting out into iambic pentameter while attempting to reason through the elements of adverse possesion on my finals). Until then, you’re just going to have to bear with my sub-par writing. I promise, I’ll get better soon!
Dark, brown, deep, bold
Expressive above all
These Eyes have cradled the tears of pain
These Eyes have exuded the tear of joy
These Eyes have comforted with the gaze of compassion
These Eyes have bonded with the gaze of understanding
These Eyes will display the lines of a radiant life
These Eyes will share the knowledge of a learned soul
These Eyes will witness agony and despair
These Eyes will observe healing and hope
Dark, brown, deep, bold
Expressive above all
March 3, 2010 § 3 Comments
This little piece of writing has been in and out of my head for about a week now. I read some of the creative writing stuff I’d written in high school today and I feel like I’ve kinda lost the touch. But, I still find it cathardic, so I do it anyway. I finally just sat down today, turned on some Counting Crows and Coldplay (gotta set the mood!), pulled out my journal and wrote for a bit. This could probably use a bit of editing, but I’ll share anyway. Oh, and its technically not an ode, but whatever. My english teacher friends can just get over it.
Ode to Pain
There is a darkness right before the sun rises. It’s erie. Somehow darker than the rest of the night. Stars fade and the luster of the heavens disappear. The worst time of day. This is the pain the day. Then, the brilliance begins to appear. Sun rises slowly, kissing the dew, the blades of grass, the night. The day has arrived and the feeling is no longer erie. It is full of hope, potential, discovery of the unknown and unexpected. This is what pain does. The emptiness prepares us to be filled again. Without the emptiness, what is full? Without sadness, de we really understand joy? Pain magnifies the good; it allows us to appreciate the beautiful and illuminates what is real and important the way the sun does to the world as it rises. What is the value of a sunny day if we didn’t have to survive the rain? Do we know love if we’ve never had it taken away? Pain tests us, thereby making us stronger. Pain breaks us, thereby building us into something better. Pain leaves us helpless, thereby helping us mature. Some pain never goes away. It is as much a part of us as our arms or legs. But, by staying with us, our worlds are colored more brilliantly. We no longer feel life as though it were painted with muted colors; instead we feel brighter, deeper hues. Maybe pain doesn’t just point us to the beautiful. Maybe pain is beautiful. Maybe there is more the the early morning darkness.