Partly because of my line of work and partly because it’s my biggest passion, I am constantly listening to music and trying to find the best new songs across multiple genres. Thus the creation of a playlist I have aptly titled “Now Spinning.” If you need some new tunes in your life, or you’re just curious about what’s out there right now, give it a listen. I’d love to have you join me on Spotify, because I feel like music is the best way to befriend someone.
I was in charge of Staff Engagement at KSBJ this week, and my twisted mind came up with an elaborate plan to “engage the staff.” Namely, don a demented pumpkin mask and run around scaring people. Oh, and film it. Of course.
This is what resulted.
I apologize in advance.
Life inside your head is scary. It’s full of worst-case scenarios and ridiculous reasons to be sad, scared, and overwhelmed. Life in your head is a constant cycle of you. As Brett Trapp says in his autobiographical podcast Blue Babies Pink, life inside your head eventually leads to narcissism. It’s all you, all the time.
This past month has been insane. Actually. I’ve been living in my head.
Hurricane Harvey hit and it changed everything. People I know had their homes filled with multiple feet of water. Even as I type that it fills my heart with sorrow. I’m not sure how they’re able to walk in joy and confidence after losing so many earthly belongings. If I had been in their shoes, I would have fallen apart.
I fell apart, and I lost nothing but my hope.
Yep, you read that correctly. For a fleeting moment, as the flood waters receded, I felt hope leave my body. The passion of the last year and a half that accompanied my time in Texas – living life on the air with thousands of listeners – disappeared from me.
As I watched news footage of the roads I drive every week covered in water, saw people rescued in boats from their submerged homes, and heard personal reports from co-workers of the losses they had incurred, I felt my heart flood with sadness…and I felt hope leave.
Inhale sorrow. Exhale hope.
I breathed like this for days.
I spent four days alone in my apartment, unable to drive to work.
The worst part wasn’t the loneliness of those days. It was facing the pain that hit me head-on as I emerged after the rain.
There was guilt. Oh, so much guilt.
After a week of being stuck inside, I dressed up and took a photo of my outfit. I posted it online. It made me feel normal, when everything around me screamed that nothing was normal and that it wouldn’t be for a while.
One response to this outfit photo took my breath away and knocked me into a spiral of guilt and shame. Questions overwhelmed me: Why had I taken a photo of my outfit? After a week like this? That was stupid. That was insensitive. I am as selfish as everyone thinks I am. Now I’m just fulfilling the radio personality stereotype.
My thoughts were this dark for days.
How do I help? How can I help?
Nothing I could do felt like enough. I honestly felt like Charlie in the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower. Pain. There was so much pain. And I couldn’t do anything to stop it; I was utterly powerless.
It took a little while for me to realize my faith in God was based on my feelings. Because I was mad at God. I was confused. I was half an inch from throwing in the towel on it all, because it was just too weird. Believe in God who loves us but still lets this happen to Houston? That makes no sense. God makes no sense.
The idea of a “good God in a fallen world” seems easy until you’re standing in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Over the past couple weeks, I had my faith crumpled only to be rebuilt once again. My feelings are too fickle to build upon. What makes me think I could entrust my relationship with the God who has held me since age thirteen to the ebbing tide of my mood?
Good thing Houston has more faith than I do. Seeing this city come together has inspired the entire nation. I’ve seen it first hand. It’s breathtaking. The church has led the charge, and if the church’s involvement over the last couple weeks doesn’t show the power of faith, I’m not sure what does.
I’ve learned to never stop asking what you can do to help, even if there’s nothing you can do to help. People remember a heart that cares.
Words are my thing. I’m a radio personality. In moments like these there really aren’t words. So this is me trying.
Living in four cities within the span of five years has its perks. I have so many library cards I can almost ensure that whenever I visit a city, I’ll be able to check out a book there (not sure it would make sense to, but roll with me.)
Books are actually cool now. For most of my childhood, books were seen as nerdy and reading was something only the weird, boring kids did.
Nah. It was always something the kids with imagination did. Everybody else played video games and stopped thinking. But that’s just my opinion. *sips tea*
Books are in style right now. Reading is the chosen activity of the cool kids. If they made a third Mean Girls movie, Regina George would probably be seen reading a book in it. Maybe even Amy Poehler’s biography? That book is solid.
This year I’ve read 21 books. I’m not really sure how I found the time. All I know is I made it a priority to read someone else’s words. It became somewhat of a necessity to my creative process. If I was going to write, I needed to read. If I was going to speak on the air, I needed to read. If I was going to create anything that wasn’t terrible, I needed to pick up a book and start reading.
Along the way the little book nerd within me, a girl who was completely crowded out by awful textbooks during my 3 1/2 years of university education, found her way to the surface.
And here we are today.
If you struggle to find time to read, or if you want to read more, or if you’re just mildly curious about books, I found an app that will help. It’s through your local library (aren’t you glad that the government, in all its imperfections, created such a perfect thing as a local! library!)
Enter, Hoopla. The library app of your dreams.
It’s hard to explain. So I made a video. Hope you enjoy.
This is for anyone sick of feeling sadness nip at their heels like a sick, pathetic dog…
I have decided to fight depression's pull.
Every time I feel my mind dip towards darkness, every time I'm tempted to let someone else's reactions flood my headspace, I will NOT lay down and let sadness cloud my mind.
No. Not anymore.
I will fight like hell. I will kick and flail. I will fight off depression like I'm fighting an assailant.
I have worked too hard and fought too long to be knocked down so close to the finish line.
I will bottle my victories like ammonia when I get woozy with forgetfulness.
I will choose to care less and love more.
I've worked and waited to be here.
I cannot, and I will not, be deterred.
If you eat relationships for breakfast, this is for you.
It’s insane how many times my mind can change within 24 hours. When it comes to romantic love, I’m constantly picking petals off the rose of my indecision. Do I love him? Does he love me? Is it worth the risk? Why am I so unsure about something so important?
Fickle and erratic, I flicker between infatuation and dismissal in no time at all.
When did I become so quick to give up when I don’t receive love the way I want it?
I’m clingy. I want all your affection, I want you to be all in, completely head over heels. Even though I’m not sure about you, I want you to be 100% sure about me.
I affix myself to people I love passionately and carelessly. I don’t feel any hesitation until I’ve already leapt off the proverbial ledge. “Oh, I shouldn’t have jumped, I’m going to die,” I think as I fall straight down into a pit of affection.
Most of the time, as you can imagine, jumping doesn’t work out in my favor.
Whether you’re my friend or my boyfriend…I will ask of you what I cannot possibly deliver myself.
Don’t hurt my feelings with your words. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t remind me of ways he hurt me. Don’t touch the sensitive parts of my soul. I am an invisible land mine. I am a series of trip wires. I am a compilation of broken promises and hurt feelings waiting to detonate.
And trust me, I’ll love you. Until you disappoint me.
Then it’s all bets off. It’s “here we go again.” It’s “sound the alarms.”
Are all twenty-somethings like me? Are we all carrying our heartbreak around like a badge to be proud of? Are we singing the national anthem of our past pains, like Taylor Swift sings in “New Romantics”? I’m tempted to believe that we’re all so messed up by people we loved once that whoever loves us next will have to traverse with us; journey through the ashes of the futures we built up and watched burn down before our eyes. All in an attempt to find closure.
Love returned less forcefully than it’s given feels like making cookies, watching your love chew them and immediately afterwards spit into a napkin in disgust. It’s a failure. Chock it up to the oven temperature or the amount of salt. Either way, it was a mistake.
Rejection is a nasty cookie in your mouth. It’s an affirmation that you are, really, as impossible to love as you believe.
How does Bieber put it? To receive love you have to…what? Oh yeah. LOVE. YOUR. FREAKING. SELF.
If you’re a Christian…this means leaning into who Jesus says you are and the worth He ascribes to you first.
You’re not going anywhere if you don’t tap into who you are, outside the context of the person you’re into at the moment.
For a so-called “independent person”, I spend a considerable amount of time day-dreaming about a life with someone. Cheesy but true. It’s the same daydream, different guy. Wash and repeat. It’s exhausting building your hopes up and hastily tearing them down, only to build them up again; like heartbreak clockwork.
Let’s stop the cycle, shall we? The right person will stop the world for you. The right person will stop the world for me. So stop orbiting them like the sun, & I will too.
I never knew I was a pessimist until this moment.
“Realist” sounds better than pessimist. Maybe I’m a realist? Yeah, let’s go with that.
I don’t give myself fair shot at a good day. I wake up expecting it to go bad.
Paramore’s new album After Laughter is playing as I type this. What an incredibly honest and sad record. On “Rose-Colored Boy,” Hayley sings, “I just killed off what was left of the optimist in me,” On “Fake Happy” she bemoans the tendency of society (and herself) to put on a show for the cameras and save the tears for behind closed doors. “Oh please,” she sings, “I bet everybody here is fake happy too.”
There’s something distinctly, painfully relatable about these lyrics. We know pseudo happiness well. But what happened to feeling carefree? Because we all did, at some point. When did we lose it?
Blame it on the 90 degree temperatures accompanied by 90% humidity. Blame it on missing my family and feeling the sharp ache of the distance between us. Blame it on hormones and chemical imbalances. Whatever you want to blame it on, I’ve been waking up every day with a vengeance, just waiting for grievances to add to my list of “Gone Wrongs.”
I’m waiting for the inconveniences, the minor frustrations, the headaches – to pile up so I can get angry about it, then get sad about it, wash and repeat – the cycle continues. It’s overwhelmingly negative and super destructive.
What happened to the me that saw each new day as an adventure?
Can I somehow resurrect the optimist in me? If so, how?
With all the religiosity burnt out of me, and only faith like a lifeline to grab onto…the only answer I can think to give is “It is well.” Not in a cheesy Christian bumper sticker, artfully-designed-poster kind of way.
It is well means, essentially, IT IS O.K.
Even if the day before me turns out to be as awful as I pessimistically fear it will be, I’ll be ok. I will survive. My spirit is intact. My soul isn’t taking an L here. Regardless of my emotions and their turbulence, it will be okay…because, as my circumstances often remind me, I’m not the one in control of my life. As hard as I try to grip the steering wheel, white knuckled as I am, the car will keep careening every direction unless I just freaking chill for a second.
I’ve made it this far, and you have too. Look at that. We’re built to survive. It helps to let go and fall into the arms of the one who actually does control, well, everything.