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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The Great Constant


Hello!

Today is a new day, even though it is a bit young for me. I woke up at 12:30 PM and am kind of regretting my life decisions. So I have camped out in a super hip coffee shop and am just enjoying life for now.

There’s something I don’t think about often but am thinking about now. I don’t usually like getting out of bed nowadays unless there’s something that’s making me leap out of bed at 6 AM. That’s usually a lesson, to be honest. I like getting up at 6 AM, but there’s not been much getting me awake and alive. I am quick to blame that on my surroundings and lack of events in my life, but I honestly am not feeling super motivated internally and that is why it’s harder to get up and move, I think.

I’m not feeling depressed, is the weird thing. I am perfectly happy when I get up, I just feel unmotivated, like there’s not much to look forward to in that moment. In other words, I think that my reason why I’m doing things, why I am living and not just surviving, why I am happy, even, isn’t big enough. I have big dreams, but I don’t honestly believe in myself enough for them to motivate me. It’s not that they’re small, it’s my lack of faith in myself.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially after I have discovered that I have a seat at the universe’s table and have a voice. I should be living this discovery, right? How can I use my voice? How could I possibly be bored with my life?

I find during these “boring” days that I overlook the little things that make me happy and make waking up worthwhile. One of my favorite little things is when my roommate leaves fresh coffee grounds in the coffee machine to be made in the morning. It saves me a step and I am always thankful for it.

I’ve got coffee in hand and I’m thankful for that, too. I used to make long lists of what I was thankful for in a day, and that got me through the final stages of my husband’s and my long-distance phase. I nearly filled up a journal with these thoughts. I keep thinking that I should do them again, but never get around to it. I make note of the bigger little things, but I need to actually write them down and properly thank God and the universe for these little gifts.

I was reading a book called Captivating, which is a Christian book. One of the chapters spoke about God-as-lover and elaborated more on how God shows people love in small (and big) things, like a gorgeous sunset, or for me, the entire state of Alaska. I see God a lot in nature and in the people I meet. I definitely need to do better at recognizing that facet of God.

It’s interesting to me that I generally learn about God and the universe one little bit at a time in the times when I need that facet. I didn’t believe in a God who could personally love me until I started thinking a lot about the process and practice of gratitude. When I started to take note of these things, my perspective shifted. YES, I was loved! Yes, I was protected! It made so much sense.

One of the things I struggle with in my journey with God and universe is that some things need to be taken on faith and that I don’t have to understand everything. I think of my journey with happiness, for example – a lot of the time I am happy and I don’t know why. I don’t always need a reason to have happiness as my default state. It just is sometimes, and that is that. I am a child of God, I am a child of the universe, their love is constant and a given. I am carried on their shoulders. So are you.

“Meg! What does it mean to be carried on the shoulders of God and the universe?” you might be asking.

Well, it means different things to different people. For me, it’s kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants, you can see more than an ordinary being. But it also bears a connotation of a child being carried on a parent’s shoulders. I am supported and seen, is what it means to me. I am loved.

Knowing I am loved is a powerful thing. Knowing that God and the universe watch over me and guide my path as I listen is a wonderful feeling. They are everywhere. I miss my dad, but he is always watching, too, but in a different way than he could when he was here in this plane. I don’t entirely know what the purpose was in him dying, but I know he was needed elsewhere. Some have said that he gave my husband the nudge he needed to talk to me again so that our journey could begin. That would make a lot of sense seeing how similar they are. I know my dad loves me. I know my husband loves me. I know that my husband came back into my life at the exact right time. God and the universe, in their infinite wisdom, knew what to do. I will always be mistaken in thinking that my life is boring.

I am needed and I am in need. It’s strange to think that we are never truly static, there is always something changing, constantly putting us in need of help or in a position to help others. We receive gifts and are gifts to others.

I have said it before and will say it again, we are given what we need in the times that we need it. We are loved spiritually, that is the great constant. Nothing we can say or do will change that, it was so from the beginning and will always be. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are given an equal chance and a seat at the table. Be seated! The meal is coming.

Love,

Meg

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Happy

“i’m afraid
i don’t want to be out of control
what if happiness scares me?
she follows me like a shadow
found in drumbeats and embraces and the feeling of
pushing forward
the song i’m listening to flutters
i have fluttered before
i will flutter again
i don’t like it because my happiness comes
out loud
shout it to the heavens
i’m happy and i don’t know why”

For some reason, people have always said I’m resilient, as if that’s something I want. All it meant to me was that I didn’t kill myself when my dad died, when XYZ happened, etc., that plodding on should be applauded. It didn’t mean that I was going anywhere. It didn’t mean I was proud of myself or living for anything.

When I met my husband, all of that began to change. I was living, at the very least, to be able to spend time with him and make sure he was happy. Even when I wanted to blot myself off the face of the Earth, he was there.

When I moved to Alaska, things changed even more. As mentioned previously, two psychiatric professionals took down the notion that I needed to be on hundreds of milligrams of meds a day, allowing me to cut back on my unnecessarily doses. He was the one who set all of this in motion. He was the first one actively involved in my care to challenge the idea that I could be crazy.

With all of these changes, I feel more energetic, hopeful, and happy. The happiness baffles me. It now rents out the space where sadness used to be, and it is almost persistent in its pursuit of me. It’s wild, loud, and feels dangerous. I still don’t trust it, and still confuse it with going crazy. It involves a lot of shouting for joy.

It can be compared to the end of a hero’s journey story where the hero arrives at the same place they started, but changed. It’s like, this is new, what do I do now?

I’ve been throwing myself wholeheartedly into my tutoring, which is awesome. Lots of new music has been made, and this long overdue thing is in the works…

People have been wanting to read my poems in a book for a bit, so I will make it happen.

If you’re happy and you know it, what do you do?

Stronger

Sometimes I find it hard to write when I’m away from my writing spot, and I sure am feeling the resistance today.

I’m sitting in my car in Anchorage and the sun hasn’t risen yet. It’s around 7:30 and will likely be around 8:30 by the time I finish this post. I’ve got at least two shots of espresso in me and still all I want to do is sleep. I would sleep soundly.

I think I am afraid to write outside of my usual spot in the basement because I now have bad associations with writing in the car. The last time I wrote in the car was when I wrote the the post about “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie in the parking lot at my old work. Here I am in a parking lot once again, it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m waiting for a friend to call, and I feel hollow.

I’m not yet hollow enough to cry, but I’m getting there. I think parking lots before sunrise are some of the loneliest places I can imagine.

The sky is turning dark blue, the world keeps turning somehow. I want to stop being so scared and be stronger, but my heart is still breaking from yesterday even though I don’t quite remember why my heart was breaking in the first place. I keep telling myself that I should be stronger than I am and beating the shit out of myself when I fall short of my own unrealistic expectations.

I want to leave Anchorage and go back home to the valley where I live, but that’s a long drive and I am not in a headspace where that’s safe. I don’t know how to calm down. I feel a great desire to be stronger than I am, as I have said before.

I beat myself up almost daily for quitting my old job. I feel I should have been able to handle it and I shame myself for not being able to.

I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish simple tasks that take 10-15 minutes for a healthy person to finish. I want to do things, it just hurts in my brain to even make myself move.

I beat myself up for being sad.

I beat myself up for still having waves of debilitating grief over my dad.

I beat myself up for oversleeping or sleeping too little.

I beat myself up for little things that I would give my best friend care and compassion for.

If she or my husband were hurting like this, I would do everything in my power to hear them out and encourage them to take it easy one day at a time. I would encourage them to talk it out with me and tell them to do only what they can and then help when I am needed or wanted. I would make sure that I hear them and make sure they didn’t think they were alone. I would be by their side.

It’s important to me that they are open with what’s going on because sometimes I can’t read them. My best friend is physically far away and sometimes my husband manifests pain differently than I do. So in the same way I want them to tell me what’s going on and keep me informed, perhaps I should listen to what my brain and body need. I need to rest, I know that for certain. I need to be easier on myself. Most of the people around me don’t expect of me what I expect of myself.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who understands what I’m going through. She gave me words of encouragement and said essentially that I’m okay to be where I’m at. I lost my dad three years ago, which is relatively recent. She understands the feeling of it being difficult to accomplish things that are simple to most. She understands me, and that is so important. She makes me feel heard.

So maybe I am strong even though I struggle. I would most certainly think a friend would be were they in the same situation. So why not me?.

Until next post,

Meg

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself.

If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Hello, fine readers!

If I’m honest, I’m dealing with what I think are the beginnings of burnout. I haven’t been spending hours of each day posting on B and B. I haven’t spent tons of time promoting it, either. Most of the time I’ve been spending has been at work or with my husband. I wonder if it’s because I have more things going on than normal and I am stressed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the blog – it just means I’m going to have to manage my time better.

Devoting an hour out of my day normally for this is easy. But with my husband around, I want to spend more time with him because I go to work in the afternoons. So it’s getting more difficult to me to budget time for everything. As a result, my desire to write has taken a nosedive.

Am I going to quit?? No. I have goals to achieve, people to meet, lives to touch. My words need to be here, I’m sure of it. B and B is a piece of my heart. Perhaps the posts on the weekends will be shorter and I’ll write more on my “longer” days.

I’m still trying to figure out how to be consistent and not quit when things get hard or when I “don’t have time”. If it’s important to me, I will make time. And B and B is incredibly important to me.

I think my marriage has been teaching me a lot about that. I am consistently becoming a better person because of my husband (and a bit more foul mouthed) because he both inspires me and pushes me. Sometimes I have moments where the gushy feeling subsides and I wonder where it went, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped loving him. At that point, it becomes less of a thing that is felt and more of a choice to be made. And I choose him. He chooses me. He teaches me to be consistent. One of my favorite things he says to me is “If you’re gonna do something, do it right”. I think about that at work a lot and while doing chores. It reminds me to not cut corners. But it can also be applied to marriage – and blogging, for that matter. I hope I can use it in everything, because I’m a person who slacks on everything except for the things that immediately interest me and are easy. And once those things stop interesting me or they get hard, I quit them. Or if I feel like I’m falling into a manic phase, I kill my interest in them.

I’m learning that that’s not okay. I will always be devoted to my marriage, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult at times. I’m learning to be part of a team instead of just looking out for myself. I love him, but he teaches me how to love better. He shows me love even when I don’t deserve it. I want to be more like him, and I beat myself up for not being on his level. He stops me from doing so.

Beautiful things are difficult to obtain. I can’t take credit for this phrase, some Greek person made it up. But the meaning stands. Good things are worth fighting for, and at times must be fought for. And I will continue to fight for my beautiful things.

I love my husband. I love this blog. I love you.

Until next post,

Meg

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

Plans…

Hello, gentle readers!

I suck at making plans. I am always envious of those who can make long term plans. I can make plans for two, three weeks from now, but I very rarely make plans for more than a month out. I find that my plans are often derailed or changed. I fear making long term plans because I either find that there are too many moving parts, I change my mind, or I lose sight of my goal and lose the willpower to complete it. And as such, over time, I shied away from making any plans and setting any goals… except one.

I don’t normally make plans involving other people for fear that they will crumble and end in flames, but a man meandered his way back into my life last November and I couldn’t help but get my hopes up. This man was a very special man. This man was my future husband.

I saw a meme that said something to the effect of, “stop waiting for your prince charming. Go after him. The poor soul might be stuck in a tree somewhere.”

In some ways, that’s what I did, or tried to do. When he first started to write to me, we had been out of contact for six years. I was blown out of the water. The man was articulate. I think that that was the moment I fell in love with him. So I tried to charm him. I chased that man like my life depended on it. I doubted that anything would happen between us, there were too many challenges. He lived in Alaska and I lived in Texas, and that was only one obstacle. Then the unthinkable happened.

He started falling for me.

We starting dating long-distance in January of 2018 and started talking marriage in February. We just knew. It was then that I – we – started planning. For the first time in nearly a decade, I had a long-term goal and a plan. I was going to marry the love of my life and build a life with him. This plan was real. I flew to Alaska for my birthday, where he proposed and I said yes. Then came a different sort of planning – wedding planning. I’ll confess, those months were some of the hardest months of my life. But we finally got married in October and he whisked me away to Alaska.

My husband is a planner. He has clearly defined goals and has a road map to reach them. Just by being around him, I am inspired by (and sometimes envious of) his ability to plan and finish what he sets out to do. He’s a planning beast.

Me? Not so much. Marrying him was the beginning of a new life. At the beginning, my only goal was to marry him and establish our new life together. But I’m saying it! I have a few goals now. (gasp!)

The first is that I want to adopt a child sometime in the future and raise this little one well. This is a shared goal that I have with my husband.

Second, I want to be a manager at the restaurant where I work within a year and a half.

Third, I want to blog every day consistently for the remainder of this month. I want to blog for far longer than that, but let’s start with this month.

Ready? BREAK!

Until tomorrow,

Meg