conflict & resolution

hello lovelies. i hope all of you are safe and making sure you’re taking care of yourselves. things have gotten ugly and even more frightening in the past week or so across this country, so i thought i’d address a bit of what’s going on.

the fact of the matter is that 2020 is probably gonna go down in history as just a really bad year. maybe things will change, but so far we’ve almost went into wwiii, a worldwide pandemic/quarantine has shut down nations and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and now protests are tearing cities apart. and so much of this is caused by humanity.

as i watch videos and read about the anger and frustration that’s being expressed right now, i feel a lot of sympathy for people on both sides, but i feel that no matter what, violence isn’t the answer. looting people’s businesses isn’t the answer. when there’s a problem, we need a solution, and some of what’s going on isn’t solution-oriented, but is rather focusing on hatred and pain. much of the protesting in my area has been non-violent, and i’m grateful for that.

so much of this issue has been polarized that it’s hard to find the right side of human decency. every life obviously matters, of course black lives matter, and george floyd’s death is absolutely a tragedy with factors that should have never happened. but generalizing a whole group of people by saying “a.c.a.b.” does nothing more than destroy and tear apart people further. as i heard someone say recently- every uniform has a human being underneath it, and the uniform doesn’t make a person a murderer, just like the color of a person’s skin, or their uniform, doesn’t make them a criminal.

there are problems that need to be resolved. but if there’s one thing that americans have always been good at, its coming together to find a solution. if we can put a man on the moon, if we can recover from a tragedy such as 9/11, then we can find a solution for this problem without hurting each other. without generalizing either group. we need to find a way too look beyond party membership and staking out our own sides in the argument and realize what being human is all about.

another important thing to remember is that nothing lasts forever. things won’t always be as chaotic and painful and confusing as they are now. i’ve seen hope and beauty spring up from horrible situations countless times- whether it be in a small way, or in a way that touches the world. something good is always coming, and even now i see humanity taking small steps to love each other, to take care of each other and look beyond our differences.

this isn’t the end. all is never lost, and i believe that eventually, we will make sense of the conflict that’s going on right now.

to my pre-quarantine self

dear march me,

the first thing to realize is that this will be far more complicated, far more emotionally draining than you ever imagined. it will be hard, and it will last so much longer than you imagined. your sophomore year spent on campus is over. your biggest performances for the spring will be cancelled. and at first, all this will somehow seem so small, so unimportant.

you will make a semblance of normal for yourself, spending countless hours outside, planning your garden, doing schoolwork, reading and writing more than you ever have. the healing you began to feel at the beginning of this month will be stunted. things will hurt you. things that will happen in the midst of a world that’s seemingly going insane. but your growth, your healing, will not be stopped. you will push forward, slow as it may be.

i know your hopes of living so passionately this spring are disappearing before your eyes. i know that much of the end of this month is going to be spent crying, worrying about the people you care about, spending too much time by yourself. and don’t think that it’ll stop. tears will still come, but the feeling, the emotion- it isn’t bad. it isn’t bad, and you can’t be ashamed of it.

reunions will come- small, simple reunions that will be so quiet and brief, but that will mean the world to you. you will see the one you love, even after everything, you’ll see your friends, your cousins, people you’ve spent almost your entire life with. it will be unlike anything you’ve ever had. and those small moments- already i can see them becoming something big.

you are longing to live- to live in the boundless passion that’s still inside of you. for the next two months, that desire, that need will only become more violent. but you will find small ways to build your life. and there are incredible moments to look forward to. this summer will be spent living- no matter how small and constrained things may feel.

know this. there are people that you’re worried about right now. things will never be simple or resolved with them. but they’re okay, and you’ll see them eventually. keep loving them. these people have also begun to realize the importance of freedom, of being impulsive sometimes and chasing the beauty you don’t realize you’ll miss until it’s gone. this connection you long for- i can see it coming.

things are scary. but if there’s one thing to learn about yourself, it is this- you are resilient. this isn’t the first time things have collapsed in front of your eyes and it won’t be the last. over and over, you’ve survived, and you’ve come back with the same passion, the same love, and a new knowledge of exactly what you’re capable.

so this is me, two months later, and things are hardly normal, but they are okay. this world will shock you over and over with it’s beauty, even now. you’ll find your moments, and the hope you have to build a life of your own? it’ll never leave.

live in beauty, as you always have. think of what’s coming after this. love your people until you can hold them again. know that you are ever changing, you are resilient, and you are so much more capable than you know.

all is never lost. and there is hope, even now.

irrepressible beauty

tonight my vision was obscured by the vivid glare of the sun as i danced in a field of my childhood. ever since i was six or seven, this field has been a place i’ve gone to to let my feelings out. when i was little, i would play tag there with one of my friends, and i’ve watched the sunset there obsessively, especially in the spring.

today was the first time i’ve been able to go there this spring. and it was even more beautiful than i remembered.

tonight i drove down one of the backroads near my house with the windows down, singing my favorite songs. i had the opportunity to visit the grave of a friend, as well as another cemetery, where phlox and candytuft were blooming in profusion.

when i got home, i laid in the grass and watched as the the sky turned into a violet haze.

i’m drunk on the beauty of this life, even now. i’m drunk on love, and how it makes us endlessly foolish. on how the sky never looks the same in this place i love. the way i’m crying, thinking about the beautiful things this world has to offer, the beautiful things i’ve known and seen, even after everything.

sometimes i forget how to live, but not today. not right now.

i have hope. hope that things will become free again. that i will live a life i love, that the universe will fall into place exactly the way we need it.

i wish you a life of beauty, loves. i wish you a life of boundless, irrepressible hope.

even in our worst moments.

a world of quarantine

“the world is celebrating being alive right now, but that’s happening in the midst of so much worry and fragility. and both of these things are equally true.”

my english teacher said something along these lines earlier this week. i think it pretty much describes what the world is like right now.

i didn’t get around to doing a blog post this week, nor did i do a friday lit wrap-up (i don’t know what i was thinking with starting a weekly series to begin with- i’m horrible at blogging on a schedule -lit wrap-ups will happen when they happen). this week kinda sucked. it was definitely the worst week i’ve had in a while, probably since the first week of quarantine.

here’s the honest truth. i’m doing pretty well. but i’m really not doing that good in some ways. its a struggle to get schoolwork done. this week i had to write a personal essay, and in writing the essay, i managed to conjure up some unfortunate memories, which i then had to discuss with my english teacher. and he’s a an awesome human being, but i absolutely hate talking about this stuff, especially over video call.

this week, i got a very negative text message from someone who i’ve known disliked me, but it was still shocking to see how much this dislike had festered. this led to some issues with another relationship i have- a relationship that was already a bit strained.

i was hoping to get to plant my garden this week. that didn’t happen. i need to apply for a job, but i can’t do that until things have died down a bit.

here’s the thing. things aren’t perfect. life isn’t perfect. you’re doing really well after a long time of not doing well, and then, suddenly, you’re not.

the fact of the matter is- i don’t like quarantine. sure, i like having some more time on my hands, but i despise not being able to see the people i care about. i despise the interruption in routine, i hate the way i’ve lost moments i hoping to have this spring, i hate how my cousin and her friends aren’t going to have a graduation ceremony. i hate going to the grocery store and seeing fear on people’s faces, instead of the friendly greetings i’m used to.

twice a year, my family and i take a camping trip to a place that’s really special to me. we’ve been going there as long as i’ve been alive, and its wonderful to get to just spend time outside and have fun and take hikes through the beautiful place i get to call home. this is true of so many places near my home where i wanted to spend this spring and summer. going to these places keeps me sane. but all these places are closed right now.

things are up in the air and i really don’t like it. but here’s the thing- life is wild. and there are beautiful things coming from this. people are coming together, beginning to realize the things and people they care about. realizing how much we take for granted.

i get it. quarantine is rough. but i think there’s beauty to be found, even now. i think this time we’re living in is full of growth, even though everything feels stunted.

take care of yourselves, lovelies. do what you need to do to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. do your best to keep connected with the people you love. we need each other, now more than ever.

you are everything

happy monday, loves. i hope your easter weekend was filled with hope and joy, in spite of the everything going on right now.

today i want to write about an idea i’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few months. i think everyone encounters this one question at some point in their lives and i find it interesting how people answer this question so confidently sometimes.

who are you?

i think the most logical response to this question is to say your name. our names seems to carry a lot of weight in choosing our sense of identity. people change their names if they feel as if some other name expresses their identity better. but i feel that one’s name really doesn’t have that much to do with who people truly are.

i was raised in a religious household, so all throughout my childhood i was exposed to this idea that people have no identity outside of god. that god becomes definition once you accept him, and therefore, you can be friends with god because you’re…sorta like him. this is another idea i don’t really want to focus on, although i personally believe it does hold value.

another thing that seems to happen a lot is attaching nouns to ourselves. “i’m a teacher, i’m a writer. i’m an atheist, i’m a christian. i’m a republican, i’m a democrat.” there are pre-conceived ideas that come with each of these statements- ideas that in many cases, are harmful and cause people to be misconstrued.

i don’t believe your existence as a human being can ever be defined in it’s entirety. no matter how many words you use to describe who you are, there is always something wonderful and distinctive and irrepressible that is a part of you and can never described.

so much of identity’s value is placed in trying to find specific things that define you. this is such a twisted idea- that you must find words to capture the miracle of your existence -because the simple fact that you are alive is perfectly indescribable.

you are entirely up to you. don’t put yourself in a box.

you’re not just another file folder in the cabinet that has a limited amount of space for labeling.

this idea that you literally cannot be defined is oddly freeing, because it explains why one might act differently in certain situations, or might change when different things come across their path. when someone says you are something, it’s wonderfully liberating to know that they can’t know who you are.

my belief is that you and i are everything. i think everyone holds pieces of every characteristic, that we are literally pieces of the entire universe. this idea of opposites, that if you’re this, then you can’t be that, is damaging.

expression is everything. you define yourself, and truthfully, no one else can.

one of my favorite quotes expresses this idea really well. in letters to a young poet, rilke writes: “think… of the world you carry within you.”

you literally carry a world inside you. how could your identity ever be expressed with words alone?

none of this is meant to say that you can’t strive to be something. you have the choice to be who you are, and that choice is completely up to you. but trying to fit yourself in a box isn’t possible, and i believe society promotes some dangerous ideas when it comes to finding the essence of who you are.

i hope all of you are staying well, both physically and emotionally. take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week. 💛

how to live with pain

(a note- everyone deals with things differently. don’t think you need to follow someone’s specific formula. this is just what i’ve learned, what’s helped me. always trust yourself in the way you heal.)

  • don’t think you’re going to live through this. some things can only be lived with. some piece of this will always stay with you. (so in the moments, years later, when you begin to feel it again, remember- you are always healing)
  • get up. make your bed, do something you enjoy. eat, if you’ve not eaten.
  • move your body. stretch, dance, walk or run. do yoga if that’s your thing. move your body, get your blood flowing.
  • when you’re angry, go outside and throw something. run until you can’t breathe, rip pieces of grass until they’re no longer visible, throw rocks at tree trunks until there are dents.
  • stand in front of the mirror and take a good look at yourself. if you hate the person you see, keep looking. every day, until you love them. watch yourself cry and watch yourself laugh and smile. learn to know yourself and love yourself.
  • document the moments when you feel most beautiful, most alive. take pictures, write about it.
  • remember what caused you pain. grasp at details, run it over and over again in your mind until you no longer want to scream, until you no longer want to cry.
  • listen to music that makes you happy. listen to music that makes you cry.
  • feel everything. happiness, guilt, grief and jealousy.
  • love someone. love someone and watch as people become beautiful again and the world begins to open up again.
  • spend hours in nature. make moments for yourself. dwell in the beauty. lay on the ground and recognize what it feels like to know you’re alive, to know you’re whirling through space violently on a huge ball of rock.
  • collect things that make you happy. if you’re into rocks and flowers, cool. if it’s words, quotes, that’s awesome. maybe you love taking pictures. make a collage.
  • know that you can hold yourself. you have what you need.
  • wear clothing that expresses who you are. dress in a way that makes you happy.
  • consider going to church. a church you’ve never been to before. community is the beginning of healing, belief is the beginning of hope.
  • go to the middle of nowhere and dance in a field, or run down a deserted road. find an open, abandoned space of beauty and make it your’s.
  • never try to put yourself into a box. definition is your’s. you are entirely up to you.
  • separate yourself from the things that caused you harm and look back at them objectively, as an observer.
  • build the life you want. write down your dreams, your plans and work toward them. the life you desire is the life you deserve, if you work toward it. it’s your’s.
  • don’t look for outside validation.
  • realize perfection doesn’t exist.
  • choose who you surround yourself with. boundaries are important.
  • take care recognition of your pain. evaluate it everyday. realize what you’re becoming.
  • realize there’s a certain point where you have to let go. don’t rush, but don’t hold on too long. release when purpose is wrought. an entrance and exit are vital.
  • find the people you care about and cherish them. hold them close.
  • when beauty comes across your path, rest in it. claim it as your own. the universe is holding you in ecstatic motion.
  • hold a child in your arms and marvel at their existence.
  • always remember: your pain is not a puzzle to be solved. healing is not found in forgetting, but in remembering and living.