Having Fun Isn’t Hard…When You’ve Got a LIBRARY CARD

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.

love,

angela

A Mantra for Depression

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.

I Love You, But –

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; Β 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 intoΒ whoΒ 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.

love,

angela

 

 

 

 

‘It is Well’ and ‘IT IS O.K.’

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.

angela

Poems from Midnight

What would happen if we actually said the kind of things we think at midnight during the daytime hours?

We might actually tell that person “I love you, I always have.”

Maybe we’d text someone we shouldn’t, someone we need to let go.

Whatever we’d do, we’d do it because there’s something about midnight that makes us vulnerable. Everyone is asleep, but our feelings, or thoughts, or worries – maybe some combination of all three – keep us up.

I operate best in the midnight hour. It’s my 2pm. After midnight, words seem to fly at me in a way they refuse to at any other time of the day. I write poetry that cuts straight to the heart of what I’m feeling. The other fluff gets thrown out.

I remember a specific conversation with a dear friend that stretched on far after midnight. We were sitting on my bed in Columbus spilling our guts. We were being the kind of honest you can only be at 3am…and I thought…why can’t we bring some of the magic of the early morning into our lives during the other 20 hours?

Welcome to Poems from Midnight. A collection of very sparsely edited (if at all) poems written by yours truly – you guessed it – after midnight.

Since I am also foraying into Youtube, I have created videos to go along with my first two videos. I sincerely hope you enjoy.

Welcome to my heart in words and images. I haven’t talked about memories this way before. I hope it helps remind you that you’re not alone.

angela

Night WalkerΒ 

Tonight an idea struck me, as they tend to in the early hours of the morning. The idea said, “Take your camera and go take photos by that big bush in your neighborhood. Use flash.”

So I listened and this was the result.

I’m wearing a thrifted suede emerald skirt from The Limited. Necklace is from For King & Country. Shirt is from Old Navy? Maybe? It’s so old I don’t know anymore.

This year I determined to shop fairtrade and I have mostly held to that conviction. The outfits I wear are oftentimes composed of entirely thrifted pieces. I just can’t stand the thought of someone’s unpaid or underpaid labor being the clothes I live my life in.

So here we are. Bush photos at 2am. The neighbors think I’m insane.

If I Said I Was “Doing Well”, I’d Be Lying

I’m about to use a really Christian phrase, so prepare yourself – it’s been “one of those seasons.”

I feel like I tripped and fell really hard, and now I’m getting punched mercilessly as I lie helpless. It’s a great feeling (obviously I’m being sarcastic – it’s tremendously awful.)

Have you ever had a succession of undoubtably bad things happen in a short period of time? That’s been March for me. My brother gets into a serious car accident. I’m 1,000 miles away, unable to support my family. My good friend decides to move to Nashville. Another friend I love dearly barely speaks to me anymore.

Part of me shies away from even mentioning this stuff, because frankly, it’s depressing and no one wants to walk away sad. But let’s be honest: a lot of us are really hurting right now.

Maybe you’re struggling to leave your bed in the morning, not because you’re tired but because the idea of getting dressed and handling what life has for you today is painful even to contemplate.

I read a book recently that discussed the juxtaposition of social media. We see only the best on Facebook and Instagram: our cute outfits, the most talented and beautiful people – all on a constant loop. That standard of perfection leaves the rest of us sad, lonely, and unwilling to try anything new because there’s already a slew of more talented people out there and the proof is right at our fingertips.

But here’s the thing: bad parts of life are real and – let’s face it – inevitable. If we’re going to face awful stuff at some point, if bad things are simply a part of life, why shouldn’t we get help when we need it? Why can’t we say things are bad right now, but that’s ok?

I’m learning to see my problems not as my fault but as my responsibility. I am the sole person in charge of how I react to situations that are out of my control. My friend is moving. I get to choose to be happy for him and celebrate his time in Houston, while being excited for what God has planned in his new city.

As believers in Christ, this takes on a whole new meaning. It requires us to shirk the millennial ideology that we deserve to be happy all the time and it gives us the proper perspective. In this jacked-up sinful world, yeah, things are going to suck sometimes. And yeah, that’s ok. We have the ability to keep loving, keep giving, keep going….even when we’re overwhelmed by our situation simply because Christ loves us.

If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve experienced the euphoria of loving and being loved in return, you know it’s gleeful, it’s nonsensical, it’s dangerously freeing. When you’re in love, you don’t think about the potential hazards…you just love. So it is with being loved by Christ. The more we receive his love, the more we realize that it’s ok if our love isn’t reciprocated 100% of the time. It’s ok if we’re misunderstood, if we’re left out in the rain, clutching a wilted umbrella, waiting for someone to show up.  His love empowers us to give without getting a return on investment. If we give from the fullness of God, we lose nothing.

The crazy thing is, when you’re “not ok”, like me, you don’t have a God who tells you to be ok, ASAP. He doesn’t urge you to get back to work, because “people need you!” No, actually he says he can sympathize, because he knows pain personally.

Hebrews 4:15 says,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

So take heart and lean in. Pain is the process. You’re growing.

your friend,

angela