All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

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Synchronicity

My friend called me wise yesterday.

We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.

I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.

I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.

One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.

One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.

He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.

And all because of a synchronicity.

I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.

Until next post,

Meg

You and the sky

Hello, friends!

I have a song to share with y’all.

This is “Heron”, one of the simplest and most beautiful songs I have ever written. It came into being in fifteen minutes after a guy found me playing ukulele outside a party and we got to talking. I came home afterwards and wrote this song down. It contains only two chords, yet when I played it on street corners back in Texas, it would earn the most tips. It is powerful and beautiful, filled with yearning.

I no longer yearn in this way, but this song captured the moment perfectly. It’s interesting how songs can contain memories or the magic of moments. Some songs hold good memories for me, others bad ones. There are many ways to fill silence, and music is one of the best ways to do so.

When I write music, the best songs I compose flow out of me. There’s no forcing them, and they have minds of their own. I connect with them in ways similar to how I connect with God. It’s that same kind of rush.

However, I rarely use music to connect with God, and that’s beginning to bother me. I’ve been thinking so much about the magic and power of song and the power of God as almost separate from one another, when really they should be joined. I believe I spoke in another post about being commanded to write, and part of that could be writing things to play on my instruments or to sing. I want to include song in my worship because that’s a powerful part of myself I have been neglecting. Even if it’s only praying in a whisper over two or three chords or singing a phrase acapella, I feel like my prayers will be amplified.

I’ve been feeling empowered by God to the point where I am full to bursting with what seems to be spiritual power. I want to use it to bless others, but I don’t know how to do it. I don’t think I can perform miracles, though it honestly feels like I could if I had enough faith. Maybe that’s my manic side talking. I’m not sure.

To me, it all comes back for me to another sort of yearning, one to be closer to God and to listen to him to see where to direct this power and responsibility.

I think I’ve also calmed down a lot inside and become more secure as a human being. It feels like I have cleaned up a messy room. I’m still super hyperactive and excitable, but it feels like my mind has become more organized. There are still moments where the organization gets horribly wrecked, but I’m usually able to reorder it by taking a nap or sleeping for the night if it’s late enough. Eventually I manage to calm down.

My husband is a huge help, too. He brings me closer to God by the way he shows his love for me. When I’m sad and panicky, he holds me close and prompts me to talk about it. It’s hard sometimes, very hard. But he is always there.

I don’t talk to God much conversationally, especially when I’m sad. Perhaps times of sadness and anxiety are times when God wants me to talk to him? I keep prayers in my heart because I feel weird praying aloud. I hope the music will help me get out of that shell.

Thank you for reading!

Until next post,

Meg

I Hear You

I had a panic attack the other day.

It could have ended in despair, and I’m actually pretty sure it did end with me crashing in some way. What I do remember was this:

“I hear you.”

If you recall, I get spiritual impressions that make a profound impact on me. The only one that has ever come back for a second poke was an impression I had in June just before my husband proposed. This one sets a new record. It’s poked me so many times I have lost count. I feel known by God and that he is aware of me now.

I’ve felt known by God before, but this time it’s personal. I know people say that God knows everyone perfectly, but I’d never felt it that personally until the panic attack. I now believe that what he feels toward me is unique and made for me, just like he knows others in their own ways. He finds ways to speak my language, giving me clues and notes just for me. Part of being known is knowing how I think, and He often appeals to my intellect and gives me things to ponder or even take to the blog to sort out, like this.

This knowledge gives me a great sense of security. It helps me to realize that words of mine that are put in the right place have immense power. I feel comfortable speaking out on what I believe in because I feel Him backing my play, even when my writing becomes a little controversial, so long as I use my powers for good.

Using my powers for good does NOT mean that I will go around and thrust God as understand him down people’s throats or use religion as a weapon. I speak out against people using religion as weapons, but I do my best to not use religion for that same purpose. The God of my understanding is loving, kind, accepting, and does not use fear or shame to influence people. Am I always kind, loving, and accepting? No! But writing about and defending my personal beliefs has helped me define them further. Writing Byzantines and Button Downs has helped me to know, hear, and love myself more than I could have ever hoped for. It’s become a powerful phrase, “I hear you”.

Because I am heard, I, too need to hear. I do my best to listen to my friends and family and be there for them when they are in need…and when they are doing great. Proving that I am constant is important to me, even when I am feeling down. Listening to the people I love helps me get out of my own chaotic head and into the minds of others. More often than not, my head clears.

Part of hearing is a continuation of yesterday’s post. I want to become my own best friend and advocate. So naturally, this involves hearing myself out. When I wrote “I hear you” on the list of things I would say to myself, I almost cried.

I have a tendency to invalidate myself in everything from my gender identity to my struggles with mental health to how I look on any given day. That’s funny, because I first got the impression when I was struggling with strong dysphoria.

At that moment, I knew on some level that God was telling me that what I was going through was valid. At that moment, “I hear you” was God saying “I love you.” At that moment, that was exactly what I needed. He sees – loves – me as I am, glitchy brain and all. He sees me as I am and who I can become.

I know you are looked after and loved, too. Every second of every day.

I hear you.

Until next post,

Meg

Enjoy this fabulous post next!

The Power Of Music

Hello, friends!

Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I was small. My mom could sing, my dad was tone deaf. But both of them loved music and had it playing constantly. As a result, I learned to sing before I could talk. Music has been inescapable since. As a matter of fact, I’m listening to music now.

I grew up listening to disco and the music of the 70s through my mom. My dad hated most 70s music – especially disco – and tried to keep me from blasting it at full volume throughout the day and into the night (understandably, in some ways).

My dad brought the sounds of the Police, U2, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and other bands into my life practically from infancy. In fact, the first concert I ever saw was Toad the Wet Sprocket on 1 August 2014. He bought me tickets for my birthday. Don’t ask me how in the world I remember that specific date, because I have no clue, either.

Music was already one of my biggest influences in my life by the time I turned 12, and the chance discovery of Pandora Radio turned my world upside down. I rediscovered my first songwriting love, Sara Bareilles, and making a radio station from her music led to me discovering a whole host of other artists that I also grew to love. I wrote my first song when I was eleven and thought I was done after that. Little did I know that that was not to be. Because of these artists, writing and music became a sanctuary that I turned to when I was feeling overwhelming emotions. Most of my songs were very, very sad. From the beginning, I’ve always found it difficult to write a happy song, much less a happy song one that I will be proud of sometime in the future. The way I relate to happy songs changes, whereas I can almost always go back to a sad song of mine and experience the emotion in the way it was originally intended to be felt. It’s sad.

Now that I’m married, it’s a bit better, though my happy poems “stick” better than happy songs. I think that what I feel when I listen to a happy song I no longer relate to is something close to shame and regret. I kick myself in the heart for being so stupid and for getting my hopes up. In reality, though I did get my hopes up in some cases, I was not stupid for feeling. I don’t consider that enough. With the songs I’ve written for my husband, the regret is not there, but I do feel stupid because they are a bit over-the-top gushy.

I think that it’s similar to killing my happiness because I think it’s too extreme. I suppose the term I would use for the songs is “cringey”, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate them. I still feel in much same way as I did when I wrote my album The Places We Come Home To back in late January for my husband’s Valentine’s Day present. We’ve come more out of the fairytale phase and the love has matured a bit, but we’re still crazy for each other. Perhaps I judge myself for Places because I wrote it while in the thick of the fairytale phase, which I’m no longer in quite as much. It just seems sickly sweet.

Sometimes it’s hard to listen to happy songs start aren’t my own. There are certain bands and songs I can’t hear unless I’m in a certain mood, or just can’t hear in general. They seem too schmaltzy. I have a happy songs playlist on Spotify for when I do need a pick me up, but for the most part I steer clear of the sap unless I’m in that mood where I want to skip through a meadow with flowers in my hair. I do get in that mood. That wasn’t a joke entirely. Right now I’m listening to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, which could be sappy. I just love David Bowie.

Music for me contains immense power. It makes me feel connected to something higher and is one of my favorite ways to talk to God. I get a specific song stuck in my head when I’m doing spiritual things, “CS Lewis Song” by Brooke Fraser. Instrumental and choral pieces being me closer to God, too. I walked down the aisle at my wedding to a song by Explosions in the Sky called “First Breath After Coma”, which gives me chills every time.

But nothing compares to composing my own music or making a piece truly my own, in my opinion. My first album was like a cry of pain preserved in song. My favorite tracks on this album are “Gone“, an original, and “Drowning Man“, a cover of my dad’s favorite U2 song. I felt immense power and connection when recording this album. “Gone” was pure energy and pain. “Drowning Man” was me talking to my dad. Writing and arranging songs gives me catharsis. It doesn’t matter what the song is about or the feeling that the song conveys at the time. At the best moments, it’s just the music and me. A perfect connection. My seventh album is like that for me in its entirety. We’ve covered some of it, but I want to go through the whole album with you piece by piece. Come along!

Until next post,

Meg

Why I would get socked at the Council of Nicaea…

Hello again, fine friends!

I was on the fence about taking time out of every day to write this blog, but yesterday’s post really cemented in my mind that this was something that needs to happen. It was cathartic. It was fun. It was almost like meditation.

Something that I’ve wanted to write about since founding this blog is my stance on religion and spirituality. While I wouldn’t call it unique, it’s a blend of some of my Mormon beliefs from my adolescence with other things I’ve picked up over time. In short, I’m a Christian, but one who would probably get punched in the face by some future saint at the Council of Nicaea and run out of town. All parts of my faith are important to me, and I try to follow them. I fall short a lot (read: always), but I believe that God hears me and steers me back to where he needs me to go. Here are some of my beliefs…

Mormon Stuff

I believe that families and people who love each other will be together forever if they so choose. Mormons hold that people need to be sealed in the temple for this to happen, but I believe that I’ll see my dad, my husband, my grandmother, uncle, and more when I get to wherever I land. I don’t think it would be only exclusive to faithful Mormons. Since leaving the Church last year, that was something I grappled with, but when my then-future husband came down to Texas last May from Alaska to where I lived in Texas, I asked him out of the blue whether he believed we would be together after death. The answer from both of us was a resounding yes. I also hold to Mormon beliefs that there was a spirit world before Earth and some of us meet each other here and just know we have met before somehow. My friend Amy is one such example. Over the course of a four hour car ride, we just clicked and I’ve always felt like I’d known her before that time.

Another belief I hold strongly to is that the souls of the dead don’t ever truly leave us. I have felt my dad’s influence strongly after he died in 2016, and it has gotten stronger in recent times. My husband and I came to the conclusion that we were brought together by my dad nudging my husband to talk to me again after six whole years of no contact between us.

Other things:

I believe that there is a plan for everything. Sometimes it seems senseless, but I think there is nothing that is entirely good or entirely evil. Good things can come from bad things, and vice versa.

I also believe that God is love and that everything we need comes from him in the times that we need it.

Faith and life’s journey are intensely personal in my mind, and nobody should force their faith on another. That kills the personal nature of it. If I want to teach someone, it’s only because they want to hear it, not because I’m trying to proselytize. I was once a proselytizer, and I think I was annoying. I want to preach by actions, and not by telling everyone I love Jesus and then doing nothing about it. I believe that if one is living the word they adhere to, they will shine and people will be curious about how they get their strength and joy. I’m not there yet.

Things that baffle me

I don’t understand heaven. I know it’s a thing that people want and supposedly it’s a place of rest and happiness forever. I can see how people would desire to live there. But the thing that catches me is that if you’re happy forever and there is nothing to contrast that happiness, how on Earth do you know you’re eternally happy?

The only way I have seen it that I like is the Mormon take on Heaven. The afterlife is a place of progression where souls learn things they could not have learned on Earth. I like that. I don’t see the point in sitting around being eternally joyful. There has to be a catch somewhere.

It baffles me as well that some people believe that Heaven will only house Christians. What about all of the other good people in the world? And what about all of the bad Christians? I would rather live next to a Muslim who lives their faith well than a Christian who steps on others. Faith without deeds is dead. Controversial opinion: I don’t think Jesus would be pleased with the people who claim to know and love him and then do the opposite of what he taught in his name.

So where does that put me?

I know Heaven is a thing. I just don’t want to participate. It doesn’t sound pleasant or even restful. Frankly, it sounds like oblivion. I may change my mind, and there ARE people I want to see again. Maybe I’m speaking too much from years of depression, but I honestly don’t want to exist for longer than I have to.

Hell is a different matter. It doesn’t scare me. There are days here that could very well rival it, and Shakespeare put it best:

Hell is empty, all the devils are here.
Don’t get me wrong on all of this, I want to live on. I want to live on in the form of memories people have of me, in my future children, in the legacy I will leave. But if I say that I would brave an afterlife for someone, I mean that and I don’t say that lightly.  Call it depressing, but it’s my story.

Things that I wish people would accept

God hears and loves everyone. He gives everyone good gifts, whether they deserve them or not. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t deserve them. I mess up all the time. I can be mean. I can be selfish. I can be vengeful. But I am still loved, and so are you, dear readers. It doesn’t matter who you are. You are special in the eyes of your Higher Power.

Everyone includes your grumpy sibling, the ex who abused and abandoned you, the lesbians next door, the protesters down the road whom you call snowflakes. God loves them and they have a path, too. I am thankful for the people who hurt me, for they opened the door to better things. I do my best to forgive them, for in that way I am giving myself a precious gift. I am giving myself freedom.

It’s so hard, especially if you’ve been deeply wounded. Take your time in forgiving them. You need time to heal, and part of this healing can very well be wrath. But when you can, leave it up to God or your Higher Power. And sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself. God will take care of the rest.

Also, God loves you. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you’ve done. I speak especially to the LGBT community. I speak especially to those with mental or physical illnesses. I speak especially to you. You are loved and important. You are not a mistake. You are meant to be where you are, doing the good you are doing. Don’t be afraid. It’s easier said than done, but you are powerful. You are made to do great things. Your body is yours, not anyone else’s. I wish everyone could understand that.

That’s my piece.

Until next time,

Meg