Thursday, December 11, 2014

you're really not the only one


I have this conversation nearly every day: "Hey, Elise, how are you?" "I'm good! Busy, but good!" And the other day, as I said that, I realized just how monotonous it is. I seriously say that every time. And yeah, I'm totally busy. In fact, every night as I fall asleep I think "Does everyone else do fine with just 24 hours in a day? Maybe they're not sleeping. Do people really get bored? Maybe they only sleep four hours a night?" and then I fall asleep before I can finish that conversation with myself. So, hey, I'm busy. And I'm stressed. And I'm never sure I'm doing enough. And 'real life' is tough.

And this is where I've lived mentally for the last year or so. 

So, last Sunday, as I rattled off my "Busy, but good!" answer about my life, I followed it up with, "Maybe I should stop saying that. Maybe right now is normal and I should just embrace it and let this be normal and let more than this be 'busy'." And then within a matter of hours I was feeling overwhelmed about life again. That night, I went to the Christmas Devotional that the LDS church does every December (it's a favorite) and all the talks were about the silent night when Christ was born and the peace that can come into our lives when we rely on the Savior and the promised blessings that come from His teachings and His life.

And I remembered that the message I have continuously received over the last year or so is this:
"Be Still"

So, I've been studying peace. And I could probably write novels about all the cool connections I've found and things I've learned (and probably, someday, I will) but I've also found some other cool things as I've read articles and talks about peace.

Everybody is seeking it. 

Each article seems to have a story that goes like this: "There was a time in my life when I was struggling with (sin/loss of a loved one/divorce/heartache/medical challenges/etc.) and my life felt like it was in turmoil and everything seemed wrong and I didn't know what to do and I had unanswered questions and I felt really alone." And those are the stories that are used to illustrate peace. 

I'm not finding stories about people who have lived a struggle-free life. I'm not finding stories about people who just have never had reason to worry about anything. And I'm definitely not finding stories about people who didn't ever doubt or have questions. The more I blog and the more I open up about insecurities or questions on my blog, the more people I meet who say "I went through the same thing!" 

I'm pretty sure this study of peace is going to be a lifetime thing. I kind of think that the blessings of peace come more from continuously learning than from mastering it. So, don't expect me to be an expert any time soon. But here is something I definitely know: peace is available to everyone. Always. And some of that peace comes from realizing that you aren't the only one. You're not that "mistake" who has all the questions and the doubts, you're one of us. And none of us are mistakes. We're humans who are learning and I'm pretty sure the learning is the beautiful part. Opening up and letting others learn with you - that takes talent, because vulnerability sure likes to feel scary. But on the other side of that vulnerability is a life filled with peace. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

dear you

Hey! Just thought you might need a little reminder of how great you are. You're doing a really good job at this whole "life" thing, you know? And that thing you're going through that's really stressing you out? Have you thought about how much better you're handling it this time? You're doing a really great job. I just wanted you to know that your efforts don't go unnoticed. You really are trying, and sometimes you're not perfect. That's totally okay! You're still learning. Have you ever thought about how good learning feels? What feels like the tiniest baby step right now is going to feel like an entire mountain you climbed when you look back a year from now.

And think about last year. Remember all those things you were worried about then? Most of them seem silly now, don't they? And the things you're still stressed about - that's because they're not silly. They matter to you. Let them matter, but don't be too hard on yourself. Those things matter because you matter.

Take a deep breath and let yourself smile a little bit. Because you are awesome.

Monday, November 3, 2014

the grown-up version of junior high

Listen. I'm not old. I know I'm not old. 26 is practically a baby when compared to an entire lifetime.
I know this.
And generally speaking, I feel pretty dang young.
So, really. I don't think this post is about feeling old.
(Although I went rollerskating the other day and oh. my. back.)

I think, perhaps, this post is about feeling out of place. And I think that might have very little to do with age. I'm currently in a situation where I've been done with college for a few years now, I have a career (someone called my job that just the other day and I was like "hold up, you're right, that's what they call what I'm doing with my life THAT SOUNDS SO GROWN UP ICAN'TBREATHE."), and I'm still living in a college town which means I'm still hanging out with in college people.

But I'm not in college. So, somehow I feel like the misfit. I don't have any reason to go to the library or really hang out on campus much so then my brain tells me that all my friends are like "you can't sit with us." And I've officially reached the point of life where all those friends who said they weren't going to get married for a while and probably wouldn't start having kids until they'd been married forever have started announcing their pregnancies. And I have other friends who sent kids off to kindergarten this year.

And, let's be honest, I'm kind of grown up. Not all the way, but kind of.

It's possible that the biggest stress is actually the fact that the "next steps" are either entirely in my control or really dependent on someone else's agency. Example: I could up and move to Arizona. Or Rome. And that would be pretty much my very own, big-kid decision (read: scary). And on the other side of the example spectrum is marriage. (Which is actually, in my mind, the kind of next step I'm looking for.) And that's a whoooole lotta dependent on someone else's agency (read: scary).

So, I'm hanging out in limbo land a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love where I live, I love my still-in-college friends, I'm pretty in love with my life. And I'm still doing what I'm doing very intentionally. This is where I want to be. But that doesn't take away all the feelings of something missing.

Realistically, things are great. I know my life is on a really good path, I know that God is a big part of that path, and I do genuinely trust Him. But there is also a lot of outside pressure and conflicting messages coming at me from all sides: do what you want! marry young! be a female entrepreneur! try tinder! move to a new place! stay in your first post-college job for at least three years! And this voice in my head says: "Nah, just do what you want. Do what feels right." And that feels good, but also feels like going back to square one because a lot of what I want is a husband and I can only do so much (plus, also, I don't actually want to be desperate).

So, hey. That's life, right? Recently, I've been reminded that I'm actually only 26. I'm not supposed to have the wisdom of my grandmother, I'm not supposed to have the maturity of a mother of four... I'm in my mid-twenties. This is the figuring things out stage of life and maybe, just maybe, this 'limbo' stage that feels so awkward is actually the part where I break through the struggle and get to some destination of knowing who I am and what I want and how to be okay with what I have right now. Rome wasn't built in a day, tinder doesn't solve your dating problems overnight (or maybe ever, I broke up with tinder last week), and life doesn't figure itself out in one blog post.

And when I get too stressed about feeling out of place, I just remind myself that I did actually survive junior high, so, I totally got this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

why I'm not changing my profile picture to "I'm a Mormon"

I have a million other things I should be doing right now, but I just keep thinking about this.

Many of my friends have changed their profile pictures to colored blocks that read "I'm a Mormon". You can find out how that all started here.

I'm a Mormon. That is actually something that I let define me. It's a very large and important part of my life. I, too, am excited about the "Meet the Mormons" movie coming out. I think it's going to be pretty cool.

I'm also a social media nerd. Social media is my career. I was giddy with excitement when David A. Bednar spoke on using social media to "share goodness".  I'm not sure that I actually think that changing your profile picture to read "I'm a Mormon" is wrong. What I do think is that there are better ways to share goodness.

And here's the other part: I'm getting a sense that this profile picture movement is causing a sense of divisiveness. See this Imgur album. The photo album is lighthearted and somewhat mocking this profile picture movement (and I'm tempted to change my profile picture to the one that says "I am Batman") but I think it makes a really good point. I understand that the intention of this profile picture week is to say "Hey, I'm a Mormon! You can ask me questions, I'd love to tell you about what I believe." But in some ways, it's turned Facebook even more into high school. I.e. "That's where the popular kids sit, that's where the jocks sit, and that's where the Mormons sit." You know?

Here's what I think would be really cool: Mormons being humans. Talking to other humans. And all humans sharing goodness and truth in whatever form they find it. I promise you, we're never all going to agree with everything everyone puts on Facebook. And that is OKAY! That's kind of the beauty of humanity - we're unique. AND we all have the ability to choose. To feel and to decide for ourselves. Truth is out there in so many places. I know that changing your profile picture to represent your beliefs isn't you trying to say that you're better than someone or that you know the only source of truth. I know that you want to share your truth with the world. I just think that sharing truth and sharing goodness is a lot more about creating friendships with other humans in a way that allows you to share truth with each other, no matter the source of that truth.

I'd never tell anyone they're wrong for having an "I'm a Mormon" profile picture. And perhaps I'm missing the point in some way. By all means, I could be wrong. But I, personally, am not going to change my profile picture. I will share goodness. Sometimes that may be in the form of scriptures, other times it's going to be quotes from Steve Jobs, and sometimes it's probably posting too many pictures of my food on Instagram (snocones ARE goodness). I will boldly declare that I am a Mormon, a graphic designer, someone who likes oreos perhaps a little too much. But I'm not going to replace my face with a label. I want my friends to know who I am because they know me. I am Elise.

Monday, September 15, 2014

dear boys: a love letter to nobody.

you turned to walk away and I lingered on the doorstep realizing 
that's what it's supposed to feel like
that's how it's supposed to be.
those glances,
the moments when our eyes met,
and both of us knew...
but neither one of us said anything.
and that moment of what if,
that glimpse of what could be,
is still sitting in my chest
keeping me from breathing normally
because what if is all I want
and everything after that.

your smile, your eyes,
that rollercoaster feeling inside
I can't breathe and look at you
but I can't not look at you
you're everything I want.

and maybe you're not everything
or maybe I don't know.


-----------------------------

I know this is nothing like a traditional dear boys post. It really is to nobody. And to anybody. All at the same time. Because sometimes your brain is so full of what if and why not that you have to give it a voice somewhere. 

So, here's to unfinished poetry and love letters to nobody. ✌️

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

100 ways to be better

Let's start off with a disclaimer: I am not, in fact, going to give you any sort of list of ways to be better in this blog post. Sorry/not sorry. 

What I'm actually referring to is the constant pressure I seem to keep allowing into my life. There are always 100 more ways to be better. And I'm not here to complain about self-help or 'how to get a flat stomach' articles. I mean ways you can genuinely be better. There are always 100 of them. Read your scriptures more often, actually study your scriptures, have more meaningful prayer, be more kind to people, stop making so many rude sarcastic comments, go to bed at a decent time, eat less sugar, get up before the last possible minute to still shower and have time to blow dry your hair (most of the way), be more open minded in dating, trust your gut more in dating, etc. Those items are all for real on my list. 

And every day, I get overwhelmed by this list. Like, throw a tantrum + kick and scream level of overwhelmed. And then I don't even want to start to attempt anything on the list and then I feel like a bad person and then I add 'be a little easier on yourself' to the list and we're back at square one. 

And this week, woof. It's been a doozy. Nothing really negative has happened, actually, but I've got a lot to do (birthday party to plan, meetings to attend, 3 chiropractor visits + making sure the insurance is paying for said visits, and they declared my car totaled, so, I've got that to figure out too. But hey, new car!) Last night I had a headache, so I gave myself permission to not try and tackle the list but just relax and watch Psych. It was all fun and games until I woke up in a panic attack this morning and wrote 7 lists of things to do/buy. 

And then I came home from different events tonight and guilt tripped myself about not leaving early enough to edit the hour if video I need to edit by Friday. And I chastised myself for the frosty waffle cone I had after 9 PM. And now I'm staying up late to blog and I'm lessening my chances of making it to the gym tomorrow morning with every word I type. 

I'll get to the point: what the (insert word of your personal choice here) is the deal?? YES - we should strive to be better but were we ever meant to destroy ourselves in the process?

For the record, I'm in a pretty good mood. Life has been really great lately and I actually do feel like I'm becoming better in a lot of ways. And the more I remember that the more bugged I get at how easy it is to listen to those stupid 'you're not good enough, you're not doing enough' voices. Because guess what - I don't care if you or I have 100+ ways to be better. We ALSO have 100+ ways that we're ALREADY good. And trying. And doing. And BEING better. So loosen up on yourself. It's okay to do one thing at a time, it's okay to not be perfect today. 

Speaking of loosening up, I'm not proof reading this blog post. Because, it's 11:00 PM and I'm tired. And you know what? I'm not going to feel bad about it. Peace out, team. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

dating and donuts (hashtag:elisebrain hashtag:dearboys)

I don't really have anything important to say tonight. I just missed blogging. I also should really really be making myself get ready for bed. (Or doing laundry, because it's been an embarrassingly long time since that's happened.) But I'm here, blogging.

Let's talk about the single life for a moment. Insert the general "I know they mean well and are being nice and I take it as a compliment and stuff" disclaimer here. K, now. I'm just not sure how people think it's useful to say "Oh, he's coming! You just are waiting for the very very best. Don't you settle." and "He's going to come from somewhere you least expect it." and my personal favorite "Well, have you showed interest in my son? Maybe you should send him a message on facebook. Just say hi."

Like I said, they mean well. And at least they all think I should be dating someone, right? Mad props to them for that.

Sometimes, I don't want to be dating someone. Like, I reach this point of "actually I'm pretty cool on my own and that whole dating business is exhausting and maybe I'll just change my relationship status on facebook to 'donuts' and call it good".

And actually, most of the time, I actually much prefer the idea of dating someone. I even like the idea more than donuts when I'm thinking straight.

So, mostly there's no point to this post. And I know it's not Wednesday and I know I haven't dear boy-ed in forever, but these letters happened the other night at 1 AM and I need somewhere to share them, so, there's that.

dear no. 2 pencil,

chalk this one up to a great learning experience? okay, cool. 

love, 
elise


dear j dub, 

I'm working on it. 

love,
sensei


dear curly fries,

there are a lot of reasons that you are a favorite. and something from day one just felt natural. so, there's always that. 

love, 
Elise


dear potato,

hashtag:letsbeinlove

love, 
Elise

dear shepherd's pie, 

no regrets. 

love, 
Elise


dear Prince Charming,

let's buy an RV and run away. 

love, 
Cinderella


dear blank check, 

too much, too soon. 

Love, Elise



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