rise above | the capsule, volume two

I've been filling up journals for almost twenty years (had to check math, but yes, I am old enough for that to be possible).  I started this blog two months ago.  This is how I honor both significant and seemingly insignificant pieces of my life from a number of diaries, composition notebooks, old blogs, and notes scribbled on post its. Some things relate, some don't. I don't try super hard to find connections, but it pumps me up when it happens. For my first capsule post, click here.

December 27th, 2013

So here's how the year started. We were drenched in champagne, a half hour away from my apartment, arguing about taking the cta home - yes because penny ride, no because probable men with knives and also seven degrees not counting the wind chill. And then we argued our way through the year. I don't know what the turn of this year will hold, I'll be in Arkansas, but the year after that I want to be in my sweats. Maybe I will host a sweats party. 2013 went by incredibly fast, but at the same time, felt like it actually lasted forever. I try not to delve into the past too often, because historically, I don't come out on the other side having done such a great job with it.  Opening doors and my heart back up to people I really shouldn't in the name of the good old days. Casual reminder: stop, maybe?

June 27th, 2016

I want some good solid quality attention from the wrong people. I want the wrong kind of attention from the right people. I want attention from myself, then remember I almost always have that covered. 

Sometimes, when I'm going through a season of change and uncertainty, I feel like someone yanks my forearm and writes in Sharpie, 'GO BACK TO THE PEOPLE WHO YOU KNOW AREN'T YOUR PEOPLE. WHO CARES? DO IT.'

I want to make good decisions, pursue the good, surround myself with the positive, eat three bowls of Frosted Flakes for dinner, and calibrate my dang moral compass already.

March 2nd, 2014

YO. Currently sitting at the Starbucks in Bourbonnais waiting to meet the fam at grandma and grandpa's and the girl next to me (Olivet probs) asked me how I liked Crazy Love. We chatted for a second before I grabbed my iced macchiato (it's 2 degrees but i'm over it). Sundays are cool. Life is neat. She is opened up to Luke and I don't know about going so far as to striking up a full-on convo with her as she's here alone as well, but it's times like these that really make me think - opportunities are truly all around us to just speak words of love and open up our hearts to others. This is an EASY opportunity, at that.

February 27th, 2016

Today was an important hammock day. I felt so at peace and loved by God. It was somehow an amazing 70 degrees, plenty of people walked by my little setup at K3, but no one tried to strike up a conversation and that was much appreciated, if I'm bein' real. I just needed sweet silence for awhile. I listened to some music for a bit at first while I texted Holly, but other than that I swayed in silence. After five solid hours, I went over to Bourb and spent time with the grandparents. Days like these are so precious to me.

Feb 2016 | March 2014 | June 2016

Feb 2016 | March 2014 | June 2016

June 13th, 2016

It has taken me nearly a full year to get through the songs on Every Open Eye and I LOVE HOW I DO THAT WITH ALBUMS. They take me through whole seasons, and I always manage to randomly pick the songs most applicable to my situation that WEEK to put on my Spotify playlist and totally drill into the ground. Leave a Trace first. Last summer. Worktour withdrawals. Pumping myself up with iced coffee before work. I have somehow got away with everything. High Enough to Carry You Over: November. Cold. Dyed my hair red, quit my job, couldn't focus to save my life. No more clarity, only confusion. Every focused thought, just an illusion. Clearest Blue: that beautiful weekend in February, 70 and sunny, where I felt the most peace in I don't know how long. Nothing compared to the past few weeks, but I took what I could get at that point. Alone but not lonely, cocooned in my lil hammock at K3. Please say you'll meet me, you'll meet me halfway. Make Them Gold on the other side of my ~awakening~. WE WILL TAKE THE BEST PARTS OF OURSELVES AND MAKE THEM GOLD. Moving. Here we go. Staying gold. Last week: absolutely BLASTING Bury It (Hayley Williams version OFC), becoming acquainted with my new surroundings, bury it & rise above; Siri interrupting with a "in .5 miles, turn left on Wedington", and then, one day, not needing her help. Home base. 

July 18th, 2016

Want to know what July in Arkansas is like? Sauna. Straight up. Drove over to the post office, A/C and CHVRCHES on blast, praises. Two summer necessities. Like there's nothing to regret and nothing to prove

Me: *blasts CHVRCHES from my car while stopping for construction* 
Construction worker with stop sign: *dances really hard*

93 degrees, 100% humidity, 3pm. He was loving the last bit out of life. This is going in that blog post. It really is all about the little things.

Light, it's all over us, like it always was, like it always was.

a word or more

I originally wanted this to be my first post after my #blawg reboot but for some reason, it wasn't 'enough'. Three months later, I'm reading it again, and I'm feeling it. Here you go. 

I never wanted to ~make waves~ in the blogging world, I was simply just growing tired of being confined to squares and 140 characters. I thought up the whole 'joysoaked' deal nearly two years ago, right before I got sad.

I lasted exactly three posts on Joysoaked 1.o. Maybe you remember them. Somewhere along the line, I developed the view that due to all the newfound emotional/spiritual/physical weight I had been carrying, I was not qualified to speak about happy things. Since, as we all know, you absolutely MUST have a FOCUS for your BLAWG or else what are you even doing like honestly, I shied away from the colorful opportunity I had to grow through this season -- through writing. I needed to dive in, truly. But I didn't. I had a journal, but I was tired. So drained. I kept composition notebooks in seventh grade that displayed more heart and soul than my journal from 2015 did. As for the blog, I was hellbent on posting as joy-filled, cheeks-hurt-from-smiling-too-much, what's-an-inside-voice Claire.  I was not used to feeling this hazy. The best way I could describe my 2015: I was dragging myself around. Like walking through a swimming pool on my tippy-toes, head to the sun, cursing the rays.

Joysoaked is not a declaration claiming I'm in this state of constant happiness and you should be too because there's so much to :) smile (: about. Life is hard. I'd be really surprised if you hadn't heard this by now, but happiness and joy are not the same thing. This sweet little condensed ball of joy lives so deep within us; it cannot be shaken by a parking ticket, a disagreement with a friend, or something good happening to someone else (that, my friends, is SALT. we will touch on this in the future). Happiness is highly dependent on circumstance. Happiness, for me, is having an iced coffee in my hand. Smelling fresh air after an April shower. Being able to experience Lemonade and VIEWS for the first time in the same week. Saying hi to puppies on the street. But JOY. Joy runs deep. Delighting, rejoicing. Walking with God. Palms up, spreading thanks. Feeling pain and sorrow not in place of this deeply-rooted sense of joy, but in conjunction with it. Delighting in the presence of the Holy Spirit, in others, and in yourself. Being a fountain, and not a drain.

Be a fountain, not a drain. I love this so much more than telling myself to 'just be happy'. Because if you have a history of anxiety and/or depression, you know that just simply does not work. Do not drain yourself of your feeling, and do not drain others of theirs'. Sometimes your fountain will be filled with your own dang salty tears. Better than no fountain at all. Don't let it run dry. Embrace it, and I am begging you, pick up a pen and start writing.

you are not a tree

Welcome to Cliche Hour with Claire. Today: WE GON TALK ABOUT HOW WE HAVE THE FEETS AND NOT ROOTS FOR A REASON. WE ARE NOT TREES.

I moved to Arkansas like, four days ago, so I might be jumping the gun here but bear with me. 

I am here to call BS on the whole "if you're feeling unhappy or incomplete or negative, don't bother trying to switch up your situation externally. Your thoughts and your feelings will follow you around wherever you are and if you're miserable here in this space, incomplete or ~not yourself~ in these relationships, unfulfilled in this job or program, you will continue to BE those things wherever you are until you change your mindset" thing. Of course, this isn't all wrong. I just don't think it's all right, either, especially not in my case, and I know plenty of people who have become adjusted to the above thought so let me tell you a thing right quick.

I was treading water for SO LONG and so I had to take accountability and inventory and it SUCKED. In the end, it was up to me to change these things. Uproot, unlearn, freak out, get moving, walk away. And as a former resident people-pleaser I can say with absolute certainty that I pissed more people off in the past year than I have in the other twenty-two. It makes me uncomfortable because I am an ESFP and I was (am still, fix it Jesus) convinced that if I am not liked by everyone, I will wither and my sense of self will be compromised. I put too much stock into what I am to other people and do not focus enough on building upon the (currently a lil bit shattered n' tattered) foundation of my self-concept and MOST IMPORTANTLY, knowing my identity in Christ. I need my happiness but I also need that JOY. I just moved to a place where I have a few acquaintances*, but no close friends or family. I am jumping back in to school after two years off from pretty much any kind of mental stimulation (quick shoutout to all the hours I spent after work loafing with my pal Netflix). With that, it's a switcheroo from a mid-size private urban university in Chicago to a big ol' state school in the SEC. I'M the one with an accent. My hair is still learning how to adjust to this humidity. This is weird and scary and I'm scared to be weird. But being here, moving, using my feet... MY CHOICE, and right now, I'm incredibly happy with it.  

Old Main. And trees bein' trees.

Old Main. And trees bein' trees.

My thoughts and my feelings have followed me here, yes. But here, where peoples' voices are almost as sweet as the faint smell of honeysuckle and lilacs in the air, I'm a ma'am, some utility poles and cell towers are disguised as actual trees and it's thecutestdangthingihaveeverseen, and I can go to Waffle House whenever I want, I feel as if I am allowing my thoughts and feelings to have some more breathing room. That cannot be bought or faked. If this is a ~fresh start~, there's honestly no place I'd rather be. The Natural State. Stay woke.

This weekend I have a date with myself to walk. Walk far. Just bought some Chacos. Arkansan assimilation at its finest and I'm not sorry about it. I'm going to hike and sweat (have I mentioned the humidity?) and then I'm going to sit for a bit, maybe hammock (#fayettechill), and think about how far I've come. I owe it to myself to keep moving forward. It is not the time for roots, it is not the time for treading water, this time I have been given is not time I have to waste.

* all of these people rock, by the way. I like everyone I know who's called Northwest Arkansas home. and that surprises me none. this place is so great. come visit. BYE

the capsule | volume one

march 5th, 2010

We ate meat on a Friday during Lent. Not just any meat. Portillo's beef. What are we doing with our lives? It took us until we were sitting in my car in the parking lot, reflecting on the sheer amount of animal we consumed, to realize it was a FRIDAY and we're NOT GOOD AT LIFE. We were screaming! I think 80% of the reason why we care is because we definitely talked about not eating meat today three separate times. We whined about our choices all the way back home, but then taught Zoe the dog how to properly dance to Lil Wayne, and of course, Ke$ha songs. Overall, a good night.

july 31st, 2014

Happiness is found in identifying joy and calling repeat on your favorite times. In The Eagles on warm summer nights. In an open invitation to rest on your shoulder. In homemade snickerdoodles. In Pigeon Tunes 6. In dragging one another out the door to catch the sunrise over the lake. This entire summer has got me feeling twelve instead of twenty-two.

march 13th, 2016

thrive. that's my new word. thrive.
"say it."

august 20th, 2005

This summer was like vanilla ice cream. Simple and sweet. Shaped by XRT and 2am talks with your mom, and roy at the foot of the couch. Balmy summer nights at your house are my favorite. Cherry pull-apart twizzlers are the best things in the WORLD. Taking turns to search for songs on Limewire. Fingers crossed your desktop doesn't get a virus. WANNA DISCO? WANNA SEE ME DISCO?

may 19th, 2016

"If you have to explain the meme too much, it's probably not that good of a meme." So I'm sitting here thinking about how I should apply this approach to this new series for the #blawg I'm considering. I know if I do it, it's going to be called the capsule. I am 95% happy with the name, but 100% stoked on the concept. I have hoarded inspiration from the journals I've kept since 1999 and the thousands of tweets I have in a handy archive that I unashamedly read every couple months, because I have this borderline love affair with my past. I enjoy looking back on the memz. Anyway, I want to write. I want to tell my stories. But I HAVE written, I HAVE told stories, and I have lived these goofy moments. Enter the capsule. I can say with confidence I have written something - either on my computer or in print - and have taken (tens of) pictures a day, every day, for the past thirteen years. At least. I can tell you exactly what I was doing on June 20th, 2008. It was not an exceptional day, necessarily, but I have words. And pictures. They're dated. I have a wicked good memory this way. With help. Here's to all the words I have thrown together, and the conversations that have helped shape me.  I want to put them in this space, because I can. Is this for me? Is this for you? Probably me. Everything is. I'm a millennial. 

december 4th, 2010

(to the tune of "Are You Happy Now?" by Michelle Branch)
can you WEAAAR your bangs down, because you look so hot like that, oooOOOOOO-ooooooh
I guess Hartley didn't appreciate the 1am singalong that was happening on our floor.

december 1st, 2013

Well all I can really think about is how you remind me of being free - that love is not about ownership, love is about appreciation, and i just want to appreciate you, and I hope my love is able to set you free.

You remind me that there is this sweet impermanence to life - it scares me but not in a way that makes me want to run; in a way that makes me want to run into your arms even more.

some golden hour hangs with the partner in crime right before the dramatic lenten portillo's experience. 3/5/10.

some golden hour hangs with the partner in crime right before the dramatic lenten portillo's experience. 3/5/10.

it's tuesday...

...and these are the things i'm feeling in my soul.

ONE // This morning I was sharing some of my biggest fears with my physical therapist. I've known her for three weeks, that's just how I roll. In case you don't know me personally (hey what's up hello welcome to my blog), I'm moving from Chicago to Fayetteville, Arkansas in eleven days. I'm stoked. Sometime last week, however, I think it finally hit me that I am going to be doing this alone.  I'm not afraid. Philippians 4:13, though. STILL, I would be lying if I said making friends wasn't a concern of mine. "You seriously always have a smile on your face. Don't worry about it. You'll do fine, I promise." Breathe in, breathe out. On the way home, it didn't take me long to realize I was following a car with an Arkansas license plate with no less than 20 Fayetteville/Ozark bumper stickers plastered on the back window. I SEE YOU, GOD.

TWO // Coloring Book, which I haven't really stopped listening to since Friday. This tweet sums up my feelings:

THREE // Seeing a playful pup greet a homeless man, licking his face and jumping up on his lap. He was at least fifty pounds and had one paw on each of the man's shoulders. The laughs from the owner and the man were contagious. It was the happiest thing I've seen in awhile. 

FOUR // Having lunch with my friend and old college dorm-mate Brittany. This is our third week meeting in her building on her lunch break, talking about life over La Croix and homemade condiments (food too, obviously, but homemade barbecue sauce and the ingenious hummus + salsa combo are worth mentioning). She is such a joy and light in my life. We originally bonded over pop-punk, grammar, and our fear of thunderstorms in 2010 at school in Iowa. Fast forward six years, and we still send each other radar maps on particularly stormy nights with a bunch of exclamation points, and let ourselves use the word 'literally', literally and figuratively. THIS IS A SAFE SPACE TO USE ANNOYING WORDS UN-IRONICALLY and also perhaps confuse unsuspecting strangers at the Merchandise Mart by breaking out into our best Muppet voices. That girl is a regular bless.

long live frosty tips. may all your summers be young and angry. and go bees.

long live frosty tips. may all your summers be young and angry. and go bees.

We have those kinds of conversations where pulling out a notepad like my girl Harriet the Spy would be helpful. When she sat down, I hit her with the Bumper Sticker and Lap Dog anecdotes and nearly started crying just because life is cool. Her response was something like this: being present and noticing the little things, that's everything. There's less room for doubt and stress and fear to live when you keep your eyes open and let the little moments into your life and heart. TRUE SIS, TRUE. We figuratively break bread, literally split avocados. Looking forward to weathering more storms, talking real, thinking happy thoughts with Britt.

It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap.