Thursday, March 6, 2014
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that challenge has a label. It's google-able and people have heard about it before. They may not understand what it's like to go through that trial, but it's something they've heard of before. When someone has cancer, you can post about that on Facebook and ask for help - and thank goodness for that! I'm grateful for the lives that have been blessed and the prayers that have been answered because we know how to ask for help when someone has cancer.
But that's the thing. Sometimes we have trials that aren't google-able. Sometimes there is no easy label for why life is hard. Or maybe it's something private that you don't actually want to talk about. I know some brave people who talk about their challenges with infertility. I think people who share their struggles with cancer are incredibly brave too. I also have learned that sometimes there are brave people fighting silent battles that they don't understand, can't label, or aren't really prepared to open up about. Sometimes there are battles that are so innately internal that you really can't tell people about them. And the more time I've spent thinking about this "silent battles" concept, the more I come to realize that a LOT of us are going through these times in life and maybe we don't know what to do.
I feel weird telling people that life is challenging right now and not being able to really fully explain why. I tell some close friends/family a little bit, but there are so many deep factors to why life is hard for me right now and I don't even understand half of them. So, hi, life is hard. I've got a whole lot going on inside of me and I've got no label to tell you why.
But I want people to know that my life is hard. I feel selfish just typing that. The phrase "misery loves company" comes to mind. But I think it's much more than that. Honestly, I think sometimes we need to cry out and say "Hey! You people that care about me! I am not sure I'm okay right now and I need help." Actually, I think we spend a lot of time crying out messages like that - I think our bodies know how to get that message out when we're not ready to admit it. I'm sure you've seen lists of "signs of depression". They're filled with things like fatigue, over eating, under eating, insomnia, over sleeping... you get the point.
I think the world has taught us one giant lie that needs to be torn to bits and destroyed forever. That lie is this: "Asking for help is not okay/means I'm weak." Perhaps it's phrased differently in each of our minds. Any way you say it, it's a lie. We were put here on earth with other compassionate humans for a reason. We can ask for help. We were born into family units with people who love and care deeply about us for a reason. We can ask for help. It's OKAY to not be okay. It's OKAY to let people know you have flaws. It's OKAY to need help.
I let myself do this thing where I say "I'm fine, it's okay, I've got this" for a long time until I'm crying in my car on the way home from work and it's all I can do to think of something I might be able to eat without feeling like I'm going to vomit. I'm learning that I'm allowed to ask for help before I reach this point of desperation. I can tell someone I'm struggling before the tears come. I'm allowed to get support from friends and family any time I want. I've learned that all you have to do is ask. People LOVE you. They want to support you and help you be okay. We're not here to work through all our challenges alone. It was never meant to be that way.
Ultimately, I've also been learning how to turn to the Savior. It's okay to need Him. It's okay to ask for divine help. In fact, we are promised "ask and ye shall receive". He wants to run to us, to succor us, to heal us and bless us. I think I re-learn how much I need to rely on the Savior almost every day. In my favorite Holland talk of the day, Elder Holland says "When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way." Up and out is exactly the way I feel like I need to go.
I also want you to know that I am okay. I have moments where I want to scream out and cry out and tell everyone that I'm not okay. Those are real. But I also have wonderful, blissful, joy-filled moments where I feel peace and I know that I am okay and that things are going to be okay and I know I'm on a beautiful path. I'm finding that there is a lot more joy in the struggle than I ever believed there could be. Slowly, I'm starting to realize that there is a lot to be learned from the hard times and even from making mistakes. I have to remind myself, but I think that deep down I actually do know that being vulnerable, taking chances, going off of gut feelings and moving forward (even moving forward feeling like you have little to no sense of direction) is a lot more like progress than staying safe in your comfort zone and not ever risking anything. And through all of the scary, vulnerable, not okay moments, it really is always going to be okay.
Friday, February 28, 2014
My cool friend, Katilda, does this thing where she free writes while she's waiting for trains and such and then posts sections of that on her blog. I think it's rad. One time, I watched some boys do engineering homework for over an hour and my phone died so I thought WWKD? (What would Katilda do?), pulled out my Institute journal and wrote everything I was thinking.
I'm not sharing that writing with you today.
Right now, however, I am sitting outside the Logan temple in my car listening to the rain fall in my roof. And I'm writing this blog post on my phone. So let's hope the updated blogger app does better at formatting than it did in its former life. I'm channeling my inner Katilda and just writing whatever I want to write.
This wasn't intended to be a Katilda fangirl post really. She is worthy of that, but I actually want to talk about some things I've learned recently.
Life is way hard. Like, sometimes it's overwhelming to the point that I could vomit kind of way hard. Or lay on the floor and sob on the phone to your mom level of way hard. I've always been emotional, but it turns out that I am a highly sensitive person. I feel a lot. And when life is hard... #allthefeels. Back in October, I visited a couple that I look up to quite a bit. (They're kind of like my Logan parents.) I actually showed up on their doorstep in tears, heartbroken over a boy. As I sat sobbing in their living room, we talked about what I was feeling and one of them said "you know, when I met you I could tell you were an extremely happy person, but I couldn't help but wonder if somewhere among all those high highs you had some of these low lows."
That comment stuck with me. Truthfully, I am kind of an extreme person. But I'm starting to think that's not such a bad thing. In institute, we were talking about the story of Alma the Younger and his repentance process. He talks about the pain he experienced before he repented/experienced a change of heart. After the change he says "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"
The part that hits home for me is the fact that after a change of heart, his joy was as exceeding as his pain. Do you know what that tells me? Moments of deep pain and sorrow are worth it. We all know what its like to be sick and then appreciate being healthy right after just a little bit more. Because, opposition.
And deep down, I honestly believe that all those deep pain, life is so hard I could vomit moments are really just change. Which is repentance. I don't think we'd ever experience a fullness of joy without sometimes having glimpses of a fullness of sorrow.
So, here's what else I've learned: Life is really really really good. Like, so good you want to shout it from the roof tops, so good that you tear up over Full House moments and Olympics commercials. Because when you believe in good, when you feel the good, everything is good. Even the hard stuff.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The benefit of planning things and doing things in your own life is that you've got control. You had the idea, you're taking care of the process, and you know what your end result will be. And if the end result is a little off, you whip out the seam ripper and fix it, or you let it go, because you know that mistake was all in your own control and you can be okay with it.
Okay, now let's talk about real life where you can't actually do everything for yourself and you can't know the end from the beginning in every situation. Sometimes, you get ideas or have goals that require some walking through the dark and trusting. I'm talking about all of life. School, jobs, dating (woof.), family, etc.
There are times when God asks us to take a step in the dark and trust Him. Those moments are really hard for me. I've learned enough to know that whatever God asks will always be good, but I have a hard time taking those steps forward without knowing how it's going to be good. Ultimately, I know that you don't have to have more than "Once Upon a Time" to trust that a "Happily Ever After" is coming. I truly believe that those phrases always go together. But it can be really hard to be patient as we wait for the end of the story.
And I think far too often we forget that there are dragons to face along the way.
Sometimes, you have to have more faith in the dragons along the way than the ultimate happy ever after. If dragons are a part of the process, they must be there for a purpose, right? I've been through enough in my life to know that trials and challenges make me a better person and are always always worth it. But I've also been through enough in my life to know that I trials and challenges are hard. It's really easy to want to avoid them.
Ultimately, I keep learning in my life that there is one simple truth I need to remember: God loves me and wants to bless me. He's the author of this story, He knows just how happy that ever after really is. And he knows which dragons I need to fight along my path. And He wants to bless me. And that truth applies to every situation ever. Ever. Which means I can always trust the path I'm on and the dragons along the way. Letting Him guide me is a part of the "Once Upon a Time".
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Yeah, sometimes I get really overwhelmed with the idea of being more grown up than I am right now. Sure I have a college degree and a big girl job and car payments, but I'm basically only responsible for myself right now and it's kind of not that hard. What happens when I get married and I'm supposed to be cooking dinner for my husband and children and all I really want is to watch Somewhere in Time and cry while I squeeze a fluffy pillow and eat ice cream from the carton with a fork?
Is it okay that I go crazy sometimes? Like, we're talking sobbing on the floor in front of the fridge while eating peanut butter and jelly by the spoonful (from their respective jars) kind of crazy. Can I raise children in those conditions? Am I allowed to feed them peanut butter and jelly straight from the jars and turn on Full House for a few hours and pretend that laundry doesn't exist?
Don't even get me started on having a husband. And the whole girl emotion "it's not about the nail"-ness that even women will probably never really understand.
I'm asking because I really don't know how this all works. I kind of rock at being single. I take care of myself and on those I don't want to be a grown up days, I put sprinkles on my peanut butter toast and cry it all out. I've got this feeling that that doesn't just go away when you "grow up" and get married/start a family.
That's really all I've got. I'm not even sorry that I don't blog for a month and then I just come back to word vomit. So, yeah, I'mma go make another cup of chocolate milk and call it a night.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
In fact, right this moment I'm worrying about how I haven't blogged in more than a month and will anyone even care to read this and should I appologize for not blogging for so long or explain why I haven't? And do I really have time to be blogging right now or should I actually just go to bed so that I can get up earlier and have time to worry about all the things I'll need to worry about tomorrow morning?
It's a situation.
I was talking to my dad about my recent self-diagnosis of chronic worrying last night. He said "can you think of when it started or have you been this way for a while?" We then talked about how when I was 13, I would use my electric blanket to warm up my bed before I got in, but turn it off because I was afraid it would burn the house down over night. And how I have to say (in my out loud voice) "I turned off my straightener" most mornings so I don't get to work and spend an hour wondering if I really did turn it off or if my house is going to be ashes when I get home for lunch.
It's kind of funny. I totally see the humor in how silly my worrying is as I'm typing it right now, but you also need to know that I'm being completely serious. Chronic worry is real life. And it can be emotionally and physically harming.
I have a really incredible life. I am incredibly blessed and I have a gift for optimism, which I am really greatful for. But I also think too much, try too hard, and worry more than is okay. I'm an oldest child, a people pleaser, and I have a really hard time letting myself believe that I might be doing enough, that I might be good enough, and that it is actually okay to take a breather and even let people make mistakes. (Including myself.)
My life has been crazy since approximately June. As in, extra crazy. Among many wonderful, wonderful blessings, I've had some crazy challenges. It's almost hard to explain, but it's more like I've been really internally challenged. I am certain that God is stretching me. I think I've had more hope combined with more heartache in the last 6 months than I did through all of Junior High. (And I mean, puberty, woof. That's saying something.) Like I said, a lot of it is really internal. And, in fact, a lot of the heartache was magnified by the worry I brought upon myself.
Until recently, I honestly just thought that I was meant to be a worrier. That it was part of my nature and would make me a better mom. I've changed my mind. I'm meant to care. Deeply. But worry is different than care. Care implies control of your emotions and trust in God. Worry implies doubt and a lack of control.
Earlier this year, I was talking to my favorite sparkly friend, Chrissy about some of the experiences we've had this year among our close group of friends. We decided that our word of the year was "Brave". And really, I've really grown out of my comfort zone this year. And it's been amazing. As the year is winding down, I am recognizing that I'm being pushed out of this new, expanded, #BraveElise comfort zone. Brave is good, but now it's time for words like "Trust" and "Hope" and "Peace".
I don't know how to not worry. In fact, I've reached this cool new stage of worrying about if I'm worrying too much or not enough. Or if I stopped caring because I stopped worrying. And in the moments where I'm not worrying, it's almost like one of those dreams where you show up to school in your underwear and you know you're missing something but you can't figure out what it is... I hope to some day perfect the art of not worrying and truly learn how to trust and be at peace.
Until then, I just wanted to share with you some of the things that are helping me.
This article from Richard G. Scott
This broadcast from Carl B. Cook
and these lyrics from one of my favorite hymns.
I really do know that He will order and provide. I can trust Him. And in trusting Him, I can let go of worry and doubt and feeling like not enough. In the strength of the Lord, we can do all things. In His strength, I will learn how to not worry; how to be at peace.