Let the Sunshine In

*spends more money on decor*

One day I’ll understand what a savings account is.
I almost made this post wordless but then I wanted to casually brag about the antlers I bought, so here we are with words. I ordered them from Etsy but then painted the originally-white mount gold-y bronzy because it blended too much with the wall. I used sponges to get some texture and a tiny brush to outline the “skull” part. Looks so good right? Thanks, I know.

 
   Flowers: Target | Vase: Thrift Store | Table: Cost Plus World Market | Antlers: Etsy

I Spent All of My Money

So I did this thing last weekend where I pretended I was rich and bought everything in sight, turning a blind eye to all recourse or consequence. The next 10 days are gonna be a lot of me cooking dinners at home, oops! But look at this beautiful lipstick I ordered from ColourPop Cosmetics! It’s called “Pitch”, from their Lippie Stix collection. I also bought a liquid-to-matte from them in “Limbo”, which you guys can check out on my Instagram. I was nervous (well, obviously not that nervous because I bought two LOL) because they’re not carried in stores so there was no where to go to try them on. Before ordering, I suggest looking up countless videos of women trying on different colors – that’s what I did. And don’t forget to find someone who’s closer to your skin tone! White girls, this will NOT look the same on your face – please do not come back confused, wondering why Pitch makes you look like you still listen to My Chemical Romance lol. But honestly, even if you fuck up, each color is like 5-6 bucks (I know right?!) so you’ll probably be fine. Okay go! Go! Buy! Buy!

Lipstick: ColourPop Cosmetics | Scarf: Ambiance | Ring: Mimi & Red | Headband: Target 😉

Surrender

Lol am I just going to tell you guys everything? I’m just going to leave my bleeding heart on the page? Cool. I mean I’m chill with it if you guys are chill with it. This week I wanted to write about the Power of Surrender, and I guess that kind of ties in a little bit with the “Waiting” post that I was going to write last week, because during waiting you’re often having to surrender and yadda yadda whatever we’ll get to it.

Alright, have you guys heard of the Enneagram? It’s this personality thing, kind of like Myer’s Briggs except instead of certain letters, each type is a different number, 1-9. If you want, you can take a second to Google it, don’t worry I’ll wait.

You back? Okay great. So I’m an enneagram type 8. Words that might be associated with an enneagram type 8 are straightforward, independent, honest, intimidating, masculine energy (my favorite), authoritative, self-confident, direct… you get the gist. Okay but the number one thing that drives 8’s is control. Literally the “basic desire” of an eight is to control and our “basic fear” is to be controlled or manipulated. For example, I hate pranks. I don’t like seeing them played on other people and I LOATHE them being played on me. The idea that someone somewhere knows something I don’t and would use that information to potentially shock or temporarily harm me, even in jest, is not appreciated. I would argue that everyone is a control freak on some level. Even the enneagram type 2’s, who are basically my soft and gentler opposite, feel the desire to be needed or to be seen as helpful. And whenever you throw in a “need to be seen as” something, you’re talking about wanting control over others perceptions of you. So yeah I mean we’re all control freaks. But I think perhaps my death grip might be particularly strong, to “let go and let God” has never been one of my strong suits. Also I fucking hate that phrase but that’s a whole other issue.

Alright so another little fun fact about me: I’m 26. And there are a lot of things that go along with being 26 but the thing that rings loudest to me right now is this weird sense of urgency to find a partner. Don’t you dare act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Engagement photos take up every other story on my newsfeed, I feel like I’m seeing 3 a week at this point. And for those of us who currently aren’t dating for whatever reason, there’s like this silent suffocating pressure trying to slowly crush us under the weight. If you’re reading this, and you’re single and around my age, and you’re saying that you’ve never felt that pressure, I’m gonna tell you right now to your face: you’re a goddamned liar. ESPECIALLY if you’re in the Christian community, oh my god. Sometimes when I hang out with Christians it feels like the pressure is palpable. The air is THICK with the desperation of hot young men and women looking to nail someone down, it’s wild.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I don’t want a meaningful relationship with an emotionally mature man who’s also super hot. I’m not going to sit here and grin manically and feed you platitudes about how I feel like “God is really working with me in this space” and “I’m just so happy to be where I am right now” and “I don’t care whether or not I get married, I just want whatever God wants” and blah blah blah. Those things are true, but sometimes they don’t feel true. I frequently go back and forth between “It would be so nice to have a meal with someone I like” and “OH MY GOD I NEVER WANT TO SHARE MY BED”, but that’s my own struggle.

My point is that I would love to be in a relationship but I have no control over when or if that will happen. Enter learning the Power of Surrender lol. Matt said, in that incredible message about waiting, that one of the hardest things about that process is not knowing if you’ll ever get the thing that you’re waiting for. I’m not gonna lie, most days I don’t do so well with that. Not just in finding a relationship, but like with anything. As we learned earlier, I prefer control. But when you’re faced with that reality, I mean what else can you do but to let go? I guess you can get mad, sometimes I do that. Sometimes I throw tantrums and journal furiously and drink a lot of wine. But ultimately that’s all part of a process of learning to let go, again and again, every day.

The thing that’s interesting too though is how relieving that is. I forget a lot about the freedom in surrender. I come upon this situation that I want to control and manipulate and force my will over but then when I remember to let go it’s like, wait a second I don’t need to do shit! It’s like finding out a homework assignment you had was cancelled, all you have to do is chill.

And I love yoga because it reminds me, even on a microcosmic level, to relax. They always talk about how you should never force anything, your body will go to the spaces available to it, and if it doesn’t, it will with time. Or maybe it won’t but either way it’s fine. Getting into a pose is more about relaxing into it, vs. struggling to achieve or maintain it. And that can be broadened out into life, deciding to relax into and release control of a situation we can’t change, rather than struggling to force it to work.

I feel like a lot of times that desire to force comes from us being overly dependent on the thing it is we’re waiting for. “If I got married, I’d finally be happy!” “If I got this job, I would finally be happy!” “If I won the Power Ball, I would finally be happy!” (Not gonna lie though, that last one woulda been super chill. Congratulations to the big winner in Chino, whom I can only assume to be Ryan Atwood). But Matt also spoke in the message about the danger that comes when what we’re waiting for becomes what we’re counting on. Like if you take the relationship example, can you imagine putting all your hope for finally being happy on another human being?? That is WAY TOO MUCH PRESSURE! Like go ahead and hire the lawyers now, there’s no way that thing’s gonna hold. It’s like we all have to just be like “I really want this thing, but if I don’t get it, it’s chill *sunglasses emoji*”. And I feel like the power comes from exercising that CHOICE to let something go. You yourself get to decide what you will pick up to stress about and what you won’t.

Now to be clear and honest (#TruthTour2016), I’ve written this post in the middle of a time when I am not feeling the power of surrender. I’m more on the wine, journal, tantrum side of things. I say that to say a) in case you’re there too, there’s no shame in it, because b) like everything else, learning to surrender is an evolutionary process. Sometimes you nail it, and sometimes you don’t. Again, like in yoga, you might be able to get into crow pose one day, and the next day your body is like “nope, not into it.” That’s totally fine and normal! You just have to keep practicing it. Surrender, not crow pose. Or you can do both, knock yourself out! But even if you’re in the middle of being unable to surrender, I feel like it’s helpful to remember the option is always there. At least writing this post really helped me out, even if I’m probably still going to scream into a wine glass later. Cheers.

#TruthTour2016

I’m not going to lie, this post almost didn’t happen. Baby New Year ran me over like a goddamn freight train — I hope 2016 was gentler to you in her arrival. But, as I read on Tumblr yesterday, “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good” (Jerry West). So here we are.

I originally wanted to write about waiting and what it means to actively wait and the trials and triumphs surrounding that, but in the last few days I’ve felt it weighing more on me to talk about the importance of honesty and telling the truth. Mind you this idea came to me literally two days ago so sorry if it’s a little rough around the edges.

Okay so honesty. Most of my friends will tell you that I’m a pretty straight shooter, blunt almost to a fault. Almost. I will always tell you if you look bad in something, if you’ve said something stupid, if I like or dislike you, etc. Sometimes it goes really well, sometimes I get into fights, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that being honest requires courage, and I’ve found that it’s way easier to be honest when someone asks you “How does this fit me?” than it is to tell someone how they’ve hurt you.

I’ve been the first kind of honest my whole life. The second kind, the kind that requires some level of emotional vulnerability, I’m just starting to learn. I read an article a while ago by Mark Manson about how we all have emotional baggage and how dating or romantic relationships in particular can reveal the emotional baggage we might be carrying. The article noted that if someone stands us up for a business meeting, it’s annoying, but by 8 pm we’ve lost ourselves in wine and Netflix and forgotten all about it. But if someone stands us up for a date, all of a sudden we’re on the phone with our best friends for hours, or sitting in our therapist’s office crying about how our parents divorced when we were 8 and we never saw our mom much after that. (Too close to home? I told you guys, no holds barred in 2016).

To me this is why being emotionally honest and ergo emotionally vulnerable seems so daunting. What if we’re rejected? And in that rejection we hear the echoes of a thousand rejections we’ve faced before that, all screaming in our ears that we are unlovable? What if we’re invalidated? And in that invalidation our biggest fears are confirmed that we are a waste of space? That we don’t matter, our existence is without consequence?

On top of all of this, emotional honesty is twofold in that it requires that we first be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with anyone else. And I can’t decide what’s more difficult, diving inward to discover and confront the ugly underbelly of your Self, or finding the courage to voice that ugly underbelly to another human being without knowing how it will be received. It’s all terrifying, really.

But I also don’t think it’s possible to have healthy relationships without it. There can be no trust built without someone first deciding to go out on a limb. There can be no bonding fostered without deciding to confront the fear of unveiling yourself. I picture it like trying to adhere a sticker to something without first peeling off the protective backing. We all realize pretty quickly that it’s not gonna work.

In my own life, I have been so lucky to have made two best friends with whom I can practice complete emotional vulnerability, and God has been so gracious to show me that I can also practice with Him. That’s not to say that I’m now great at it, or even good at it. But I have areas where I can try, and my hope would be that you find some place, a safe place, where you can try as well. Be it a friend’s couch, a school auditorium that doubles as a church on the weekends, a therapist’s office decorated like Anthropologie, wherever. I firmly believe there is no other way we can be and relate to each other. That being said, do not go to into your boss’s office and start crying about how her constructive criticism in that meeting this morning reminded you of how your parents always felt that you were never good enough lol. Don’t be silly. Again, find safe spaces. And honestly sometimes it happens that you think you’ve found a safe place in someone and they show themselves to be completely unsafe. That’s the hard thing about practice, it’s trial and error, and there’s no guarantee that at some point you won’t get hurt. In fact I would probably go the opposite way and guarantee that you will get hurt in the process. But that gives room for healing, as well as more growth, connection, understanding, and learning. I feel like at the end, it’s worth it.