Sun showers

I woke up this morning

With an undeniable faith

That I am where I’m meant to be

That I will be lead

Where I’m meant to go

With an unwavering comfort

That I will be

Okay

I woke up this morning

With an endless love

To give

With peace of mind

And a calmness in my heart

Motivation in my soul

That I knew

Could only come from something

Greater

Than I

I woke up this morning

Full of God

Progenitors

They tried so hard to make my life

So much softer than theirs

And I hope they know

That I will never be able to thank them enough

4 Girls In 406

This fall I moved into a new apartment with three other girls. Girls I had known for the past three years of university. I knew them as the girls across the street that I would go visit now and then. The girls I would share a bottle of wine with before hopping on a school bus together on a Thursday evening, headed for a night of dollar beers and long lines. Girls I would meet up with occasionally for study sessions in the library (or at least we would pretend that’s what we were doing). This is what I thought of when I pictured living together. Our Thursday nights and library dates.

I had no idea these girls would become the glue that held me together this past semester. I couldn’t have anticipated all of the love that would be shared between us. And I don’t mean just the “love you’s” said in passing before bed or in our farewells. I mean the nights filled with popcorn and sunflower oil. The hours spent cuddled up in bed binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. The group grocery shopping trips. The dance parties in our kitchen. The road trips to undiscovered beaches, hiking spots and pottery houses. The moments of unspoken love and shared joy.

There were times the love was obvious. But there were so many moments my heart overflowed silently. Days I would struggle and the presence of my best friends and silly laughs would pull me right out of my darkness and back into the moment. These girls were what I needed to know I experienced what it feels like to be a twenty-something girl with a house full of best friends. What it feels like to want to spend a Friday night with your girls more than your boyfriend. What it feels like to “do life” with someone.

They were the happiest, most fun and most stable part of my world this semester. I feel like I’ve spent the past three years searching for that. And because I’ve finally found it, part of me wants to hold onto it for longer than the single semester I have left here. For things to stay the same and to resist the inevitable changes ahead. But maybe one semester will be enough for us to learn how to hold onto each other and the solace found in each other as we all move forward and embrace everything to come. The future that awaits. The uncertainty and the freedom lingering on the other side of our university degrees. And maybe as we move forward we will be okay with finding solace in new things. In new places and new people. But even if that happens, I will always hold those three girls and all the memories we made in 406 as close to my heart as possible.

2018: A New Year

This year has been nothing short of a roller coaster. It broke me down in ways I didn’t know I could be broken. It also gave me some of the most joyous memories of my life. “It has been a year of hurting so bad but living so good.”

I had incredible travel experiences with people I would later lose. I lost myself but also began to find myself in a deeper sense than before. I fell in love and got heart-broken. I made new friends out of strangers and I turned old friends into strangers. I learned that the bad is almost always paired with the good and I guess that’s the idea of a silver lining.

Through all of it what I’m learning most is the importance of developing a strong and solid relationship with yourself because when all else falls away that’s what you have left. I’ve learned not to make a home out of anyone’s heart but your own. I’m still working on learning myself and learning how to have more compassion for the dark parts of who I am. Learning how to love myself better knowing it will help me love others better. Learning just how hard it is to love me and to soak those who do in the warmest hugs and kindest words. Learning how to wish peace on those who hurt me because hate is heavy and anger will make you cold. Thanking those who have left me because it made me stronger. And loving those who stuck by me when it was anything but easy. Learning that nothing is permanent but that’s ok and sometimes life takes away something good to make room for something better. Learning that it’s ok to not be ok and making peace with the journey.

I learned there is absolutely no use in worrying because the things that end up causing us to struggle are usually things we would never be able to foresee. And the things we worry about almost never happen. While in some ways I feel absolutely defeated after this year, more than that I feel thankful. For all of the lessons, heartache and challenges. This year taught me to never give up on the woman I’m becoming and encouraged me to pursue a journey to discover what it’s like to be free of all demons.

So I’m entering 2018 defeated, exhausted, feeling nothing short of a mess. But fighting. So hard. Because through all the struggle, the pain, the unsuccessful attempts and the despair, there is just as much good waiting on the other side.

-d.b.

A.O.

She’s the type of person who becomes a best friend in a just a few short hours. The type of friend who will stay with you, 8 garbage bags full of empties, a few police officers and countless tears later. The only one standing by your side at the end of the night even if you were strangers at the beginning. The type of friend who you can lay down in the middle of the road, naked in the snow with but still feel completely safe. The kind of person you never want to lose. She has a deep desire for adventure and it’s contagious. And she has the kind of heart with enough love in it to make up for the love that sometimes seems to be lacking everywhere else.

I’ve learned a lot from her. She is one of the people I admire most and someone who is constantly inspiring me. I don’t always know if she understands how truly special she is or if she can always recognize her own adventurous spirit. She doesn’t always give herself enough credit and sometimes I think she can’t seem to see through the lens I see her through. She inspires me to be spontaneous and invest in making meaningful memories with good people. She calls me a firecracker but really, she’s the spark. She is an amazing writer and often my motivation to get my own thoughts down on paper. She says that “People don’t need much to draw their own conclusions. [And] if you’re going to write, write about whatever the hell you want.” She teaches me to be bold in my writing but I think this lesson goes for anything in life. The more I experience, the more I feel this way. People are going to give you a hard time. Sometimes the people we care about most are the ones who make our lives the most difficult. But most people are just trying to navigate their own world.

And I don’t mean that in a judgemental way. But it’s true. We can’t expect others to be able to draw accurate conclusions about our lives, who we are or the decisions we make because most of the time people are struggling to do that even for themselves. People will come and go. People will admire you and people will judge you. Friends will get mad at you and people will hurt you and sometimes they won’t know how to make it better and neither will you. You will outgrow people, and people will outgrow you. Sometimes it will seem impossible to make other people happy. But the truth is, you can’t live your life hoping your choices will make someone else happy. And you certainly can’t write hoping it will be meaningful to anyone else. Writing is art, life is art and art is a very personal thing. The best thing you can do is try to find the things that light a fire in your belly and fight like hell to keep it burning. And if it happens to please others or impact them in some profound way well that’s a bonus. I just hope she knows her fire is so many people’s spark and it means more than she could ever know.

Community

It’s important to recognize the extraordinary authenticities that make up your community. When I reflect on the people in my life and how they have grown, the passions they’ve pursued, the people they’re becoming my heart is so full. I have friends who have the unique ability to tug at seemingly anyone’s heart strings with ink on a page. Friends whose hearts are bigger than Texas. A mother who would do anything for me to be happy, and a father who would do the same in his own ways. I have a sister who spends every day and more energy than I know with people who some might say are hard to love, but they need someone like her because she makes it look easy. I am so incredibly proud of these individuals and I hope they know how much they are so very loved. Because while no relationship comes without some hardship and there is always give and take, my heart is so overwhelmingly thankful for all they give.

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