speak (five minute friday)

This week’s prompt:

I’m sick and tired, literally. Somehow I got a cold in the middle of August. I haven’t even been around people, yet somehow here I am with my throat throbbing and my nose so stuffed i can’t breathe. Good times.

 

I’ve tried to write three times, but just don’t have the concentration to even get coherent thoughts out. So instead, in honor of the theme, I’m posting a few of my favorite spoken word poems. I love poetry in all forms, but I love, love spoken word. Poetry comes alive when said, performed aloud.

Love her so much.

Sarah Kay is another favorite. I could’ve posted all of hers, but this one was just beautiful.

Instead of trying to come up with mangled words in my sick brain this week, I watched these two poets speak for me.

Do yourself a favor and go listen to their other poems too. Sometimes we need others to speak for us when we can’t.

 

 

place (five minute friday)

This week’s FMF prompt: 

My first thought with this word was some good ol’ classic TSwift:

I don’t know what I want, so don’t ask me
‘Cause I’m still trying to figure it out…

Because lordy mercy are those words relevant in my life right now.

I’ve been trying to figure my life out for about 2 years now, after quitting student teaching and trying to come up with a plan B for the only career I’d ever planned.

Some people re-make their lives and change careers at 40. I decided to re-make my life at 23, because I’m an overachiever. 😉

I’ve been trying to figure out my place– where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do, who the heck I’m supposed to be. I’ve been consistently stuck, applying for jobs I thought I might like (and never hearing back or getting rejected), or dreading the thought of applying for a job I have experience in (aka education/with children) because I know I could get hired.

To say I’ve been caught between a rock and hard place is an understatement.

Over time, I’ve finally begun to realize there was one place I could go for a job that I was afraid to admit:

writing.

I’d always considered it a hobby, something I do to fill the time and express myself. It was something I’d always enjoyed, something I knew I was good at– I was published for the first time at 16, so I knew it was something I was capable of doing pretty well. I was mightily successful writing papers in college and helping teach others about writing in the school writing studio. It was just something that came naturally to me from a young age, and something I honed in on in school. But I figured teaching would be my job, writing would be my outlet and side hobby.

I never thought of writing as a career. There are a lot of fears going into it– stability, not a lot of money, finding writing work (and places that will pay you for your work!), disciplining myself to write often and on deadline. I figured if I could write in some way as a side hustle, but never as a career. I knew I wasn’t a fiction writer or a book writer, so what the heck would I write?

But a year ago, that started to change. About a year ago, I wrote this blog about reclaiming me– trying to figure out who I really am, not who everyone else wanted me to be. I wanted to find my place in the world, what I wanted to do. This is where I started to think more about what kind of job I really wanted. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the only thing I wanted to be was a writer. It is exactly who I am. Writing is my place. It’s what makes me the happiest, whether I’m writing blog posts or lengthy instagram captions (#microblogging for the win), or devotionals or articles. Writing is something I enjoy, it’s something I’m good at, and something I can use to glorify God all the while as a career. At a meeting last week, the guy I was speaking to said my eyes lit up when I mentioned my love of writing– that’s exactly what it is. Teaching never did that for me, it was just a job.

So I’ve begun taking the leap of working as a freelance writer (and hopefully, curriculum creator). Last week I met with some people at the United Methodist Communications office (I’m a member of the UMC, and a good friend of mine is the chief communications officer there!) and spoke about potential freelance work. I also talked to the editor of the Children’s church curriculum at the United Methodist Publishing House and am applying to write curriculum on a freelance basis for them.

And today, I got my first contract for a writing project. 

It’s the first time I’ll be paid on contract to write for a living (fingers crossed they like my piece!), and I’m freaking excited.  Once I’m successful with them, I’ll begin to branch out more to other writing jobs, but for now, I have a few things from them to get me started.

While telling my dad all of this, he exclaimed, “You’re getting paid to write! Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

It really is. It just took me awhile to figure out. Writing is the only place I want to be.

I think I’ve finally found my place in this world, as TSwift sings… even if it took some convincing for me to admit it.

 

(this was longer than 5– I wrote a freaking soliloquy, oops. And was having issues with wordpress messing up my words, so I had to stop my timer to figure it out!).

 

like I wasn’t going to include this earworm after quoting it… it’s forever stuck in my head (and now, yours!).

try (five minute friday)

 

This week’s FMF word:

I’m trying.

I’m trying to start over, but I can’t figure out where to start.

I’m trying to breathe deeply, and not let the anxiety overwhelm my whole body, making me sick as it has a lot the last few days(weeks).

I’m trying to not get frustrated and overwhelmed despite not knowing what the hell I’m doing anymore.

I’m trying to not let my mom drive me crazy when all I can hear is her hollering for me to do something for her (100 times a day). I literally hear her voice in my sleep.

I’m trying to enjoy my introverted alone time, instead of admitting I’m lonely without my friends close by, ignoring the feelings of isolation and unhappiness.

I’m trying not to grieve the loss of my independence (no public transportation here, so I can’t go anywhere) and freedom I had when I lived on my own.

I’m trying not to let the thoughts and fears of financial strain, the uncertainty of the future, or regrets of seasons past keep me awake like it did last night.

I’m trying really, really hard not to let mental illness win. But some days, like today, it does, no matter how hard you try.

 

 

collect (five minute friday)

Happy five minute friday! this week’s word:

hm. interesting! here we go:


 

I am a collector of things.

I blame my mother for this habit– our house has always come close to being hoarder-esque, filled with random knicknacks and antiques and things of the like.

 

I’ve collected different things over the years: beanie babies, Disney Mania CDs (am I a 90s kid or what?!). pug-related things, books. The list could go on.

But my favorite collection is in my keepsake box.

It’s not a typical collection of pretty things or seemingly important items. It’s a box I’ve had for many years (actually I had to replace the box itself in college, because it got so full it wore out!).

Rather, I use my keepsake box to collect my memories and things that remind me how loved I am.

In it you’ll find every birthday/holiday card I’ve gotten since childhood, notes from church friends or college friends and mentors. Ticket stubs and programs from various events, church bulletins from important days, pictures, small key chains or other random mementos others would probably throw away. I’m too sentimental to let these things go, because they each take me back to a moment in time or a person in my life who means something to me. And that’s important.

As the cliche question goes,what would I take if there was a fire? Besides my dogs, it would be the most important item I grab.

When I’ve been in the depths with my mental health, battling depression and anxiety, the only thing that gave me a glimmer of hope– a small reminder that I was loved and cared for and thought of– was the containments of that box. It gave me peace and reassurance when my brain couldn’t. When I’m low and sad and frustrated at the world, it’s where I go for comfort and hope that maybe I’m still meant to be here.

I know we aren’t supposed to store up our treasures on earth, and I get that. But the items I collect in that box are more than things– they are a lifeline.

comfort (five minute friday)

Tonight’s word:

more-fmf-square-images-2

I legit think God has a sense of humor.

I was going to write on something COMPLETELY different (or I was trying to, at least), but I kept coming back to this. It’s hard. I didn’t want to write this post. But I’ve been sitting on my laurels with this for quite some time, and God is finally pushing it out of me, one blog post at a time. (I’m actually working  procrastinating on an in-depth post on this topic. Ugh. Why, Jesus?!?). Anyway, here ya go. *deep breaths*


 

I am a comfort-seeker. I like safe, I like secure, I like control. When I can’t be a fixer or a helper, I become a numb-er: numbing myself from whatever I can’t fix until it’s not a problem anymore.

My biggest source of comfort isn’t scripture or worship music or anything Jesus-y.

It’s food.

I’ve been a food addict (my personal opinion, I’ve never been officially diagnosed) since childhood. I’m also an emotional (cry-baby according to my family) person, and when my emotions overwhelm me? I eat.

I would sneak food from the kitchen when I was upset with my grandmother, or eat leftovers from dinner off the stove.

At 25, I tiptoe into the kitchen still for late-night snacks, for fear of waking my mom up.

I celebrate victories with cake or ice cream or my favorite meal.

I calm my anxious nerves through baking.

I relieve stress by cooking.

I eat snacks when I’m bored.

I numb myself with candy and sweets.

I’m an emotional eater, bored eater, anxious eater.


 

Food is my greatest comforter. When I’m eating something I love, I feel safe and peaceful.

This is not how food is supposed to work, I’ve learned.

I comfort myself with food, and have done so for at least 20 of my 25 years.

Real talk: currently eating butter bread, because it sounded good and I have felt crappy all day.

I don’t run to Jesus for comfort. I run to food.

And I don’t know how to run elsewhere for it. Because Jesus doesn’t make me feel full and secure quite like cake.

–END–

–curls up in corner because vulnerability is hard–

 

play (five minute friday)

This week’s FMF post is a little late, but better late than never right? Finally got my laptop charger (praise the lord) so I’m back in action! Yesterday was my birthday so it was a bit too crazy to write.

 

This week’s word:

more-fmf-square-images

I’m kinda glad I waited– I got a different idea for this word after thinking on it for a few days.


 

I have always loved to play games. As a kid, I loved board games and card games, or games on the computer (I’ve played on neopets since I was in elementary school– and i have no shame about still playing as a 25 year old, it’s my stress reliever!!)

As I’ve gotten older, it’s been less board and card games and more games that make me think critically or games where I have to use my brain creatively.

I’ve never been a get-to-know you game person or team bonding games fan– if you’re going to get to know me, I’d rather be through an intimate conversation than 3 truths and a lie. Youth group games or sports-like competition games are not my style– I am competitive, but it’s more of the trivia/brain game type.

My favorite game to play in the whole wide world? Bananagrams!

banangrams-glamour
This is what it looks like in the bag. Isn’t it cute?

If you don’t know it, please go here now. I was introduced to it my sophomore year of college at a campus ministry retreat– I played for nearly 4 hours of free time that weekend, and then promptly came home and purchased the gamdownloade for myself!

The game is a word game, similar to a speed scrabble competition. It’s so fun and incredibly fast paced(depending on how many people are playing), and it can get wickedly tricky depending on how many letters you have at a given time. But it is so. much. fun. Especially if you’re a think-on-your-feet, word nerd, dictionary of a person like myself.

It is played at nearly every game night me and my friends have had. I’ve played for countless hours in my college dorm lobby with so many friends (and met new people who would ask to come play with us when I played with friends in the lobby!).  I now own two different versions of the game (the regular and party versions).

Because of the critical thinking skills required to play, bananagrams has surprisingly become a tool in my mental health journey–when I am overwhelmed with anxiety or in the midst of a panic attack, i grab my bananagrams and play by myself, focusing on the words I can make with the letters I grab from the bag or just building words. It gives me something to focus on instead of the looming anxiety battle in my brain. It gives my brain another place to divert my thoughts, and it gives me some control back. Bananagrams has traveled with me almost everywhere in years’ past  (as far as Mexico!) as an easy way to combat panic, and has become more than a game I merely play for fun– it is an invaluable tool and gift to my life, as silly as that sounds.


Last night was my birthday party at a friends house. 4 of my friends had canceled on me before I even made it there, and I was overall in a blah mood, not really wanting to celebrate. The transition from my internship to home has been pretty brutal mentally, so I wasn’t really feeling much like myself. When I walked into my friend Jared’s house, I saw the little yellow banana of bananagrams fame on his kitchen table and laughed, visibly happy at the sight.

“I thought we could maybe play some bananagrams tonight!” Jared said excitedly.

My heart leaped with joy, i was plain giddy. It was the perfect way to end my birthday party– even if I lost twice. (dangit). It really turned my mindset around.

I’m super grateful for friends that know me and my game-loving self well– and that are always willing to stop being adults for awhile and play.

 

(This took longer than 5 minutes, whoops).

 

IMG_8624.JPG
my board first round (i ALMOST won, but my friend rebecca beat me by about 30 seconds!)

blessing (five minute friday)

happy fmf day! this week’s word:

fmf-square-images-2-1

hmm. this is an odd word for this week. but here goes it…


 

blessings are not always easy.

They aren’t always welcome.

They don’t automatically look like a good thing when you first see them.

blessing is defined as, “God’s favor and protection;” i think for me I always see blessing as synonymous with happy, cheerful things, when in all honesty it could be something hard and tragic and not fun– but the blessing part is how God uses these things to show us how He loves and cares for us.

2 weeks ago I had to make a decision I didn’t want to make–  a decision to end my internship early (for a lot of reasons, but self-care was the primary one). The next two after I made my choice, I sobbed both at home, at work, and  in my therapist’s office because I regretted it.  But once the initial emotions blew over, I realized that this choice was going to be a blessing for me. It might not look like it in the moment of hurt and sadness, but it WILL be a blessing.

Two weeks later, I’m not 100% there yet–the transition hasn’t been the easiest– but I know I’ll get there.

A blessing isn’t always pretty wrapped in a neat little box of goodness, but it’s never bad– it is always for my good, and for my care. And from a God who loves his kids enough to take care of them, no matter what it looks like.


This is after the time went off, but wanted to add a line from Lisa Harper’s recent she reads truth devotional: “How—despite our proclivity to make huge messes—He is so completely for us.”

that might be the biggest blessing of this whole Jesus thing, y’all. He’s for us, messes and all.