and that's the way i like it

I don't always like myself but I always appreciate when I'm being myself.

Humans are messy. Along with hearts and souls, humor and personality, we're comprised of failures, missteps, baggage, and, if you're blessed like me, a few hella annoying qualities. Despite all of this, at the end of the day, it's easier to be unashamed if you're being true to yourself, your values, your purpose. 

For someone who is very into 'staying true', I acknowledge that as a turbulent over-sharer, over-feeler, happy-crier, outside-voice-user, relationship-ender, job-quitter, quarter-life-crisis-haver, staying true is something I have to get up and CONSCIOUSLY THINK ABOUT AND DO, every day. Lately. Hopefully not forever. Maybe forever. But perhaps that would be cool. At least I'm getting some practice in. I just want to show up and be real. I don't mind if you see my messy side(s).

"Out of the woods, out of the dark, I'm well aware of the shadows in my heart."

Good for you, Sleeping at Last. Because same.

I'm twenty-four, eating banana chips in bed at ten p.m. on a Saturday three weeks before I move out of state, listening to Where the Light Is for probably the eight hundredth time. After I showered this morning, I put on some different pajama pants and caught up with Ree Drummond and Joanna & Chip for literally seven hours, while half-packing and reorganizing stuff here and there. Currently going back and forth in my own head à la Cameron Frye about whether or not I am going to Be A Big Girl because Life Is Not Bad Hashtag Joy Soaked ~OR~ cry for however long as I want because Feeling Your Feelings Is Good. I sleep diagonally in my bed every night with six pillows and I am on day four of some real legitimate caffeine and sugar withdrawals, nearly requiring meditation and deep breathing techniques to keep my feet from stepping in the direction of the nearest Starbucks or Dunkin'. I am probably more self-conscious than I was at fifteen and care too much about what people I do not regularly encounter think of me. I write things like 'drink water' and 'wash face' on my to-do list so If I'm having a particularly pathetic day, I can have the satisfaction of crossing off the littlest things.

I'm not out here searching for perfection, I'm out here looking for two things: grace, and continued self-awareness so that I am able to be gentle with others' hearts, as well as my own. 

I have no idea what else will happen in this space, because it has not yet been written (literally/figuratively)... but I want to make it clear: my story needs me, so i'm showing up for it. 'Here Am I', as myself. Out of the dark.

showing up

I have always loved to write. I would copy entries from the encyclopedia with my gel pens on legal pads to practice my handwriting.  Super sensitive information like a definitive listing of my favorite Backstreet Boys songs at that given moment could be found in my purple diary. It had a lock, of course. What I didn't realize at the time were Rugrats and Powerpuff Girls fanfiction stories took up residence in various Mead and Five-Star wide ruled notebooks. The top of my right ring finger was constantly calloused because I NEVER PUT MY PEN DOWN. By the time I hit third grade, my journal/diary/notebook collection filled up nearly an entire bookshelf, and I only started whittling it down when I discovered my need to collect CDs. 

Next up: a series of composition notebooks with stories, magazine clippings, illustrated ice skating routines, trumpet exercises... essentially a play-by-play of my entire middle school experience, high on faux-angst and drama. They were lost in the shuffle during the move from my childhood home a few years ago and I'm still in mourning. After that era, it was on to Xanga, LiveJournal, and simply opening up Word documents and letting my fingers dance across the keyboard. In college, likely since the majority of my note-taking was done on my laptop, writing in a physical journal again felt like I was getting in back touch with an old friend. I would fill up fancy lil things from Paper Source and silently flip if I made a mistake or my cursive got sloppy. Some entries were addressed to God or Jesus or Future Husband or Future Me. Most were addressed to Me At That Present Moment, though, and had nice openers such as "STOP BEING SUCH A SHITHEAD" scrawled out in huge bubble letters. Self love, y'all. Sup.

Aside from my online blogging stints, I often found it hard to be truly authentic and use my own voice even in my own journals. I was often writing as the person I wanted to be, and confessed the feelings I wanted to feel. It was sad. In a way, I was trying to rewrite my own history to an audience of one. 

I turned twenty-four last weekend. Twenty-three was a hard year for me, but also very freeing. Considering I can recall rolling around in the words "this year has been hard" since 2013, I think I need to get out of my own way and embrace it all. Show up. One of my goals for this year is to write often and write honestly - in journals, in letters, on my blog.

Here's how I plan to Show Up this year, in writing and beyond:

Morning Pages. Three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, preferably very first thing in the morning. This exercise declutters your brain, helps you prioritize, and may be the starting point of some new fresh ideas. Creator Julia Cameron calls it "the bedrock tool of creative recovery". Do it with me, it's fun!!!!!! If you can't commit to three whole pages, start with three songs' worth of writing. I grew accustomed to this on my youth group service trips in high school. We would begin Devotions every night this way, and it has stayed with me for nearly ten years. That's 'a-whole-nother' post, as nine-year-old me would say. But really, it's in my drafts. Meanwhile, I made a thing to get you started: 

Bullet Journaling. I do not have enough good things to say about this technique. The Bullet Journal is a "customizable and forgiving organization system", and it is a LIFE. CHANGER. I am very used to writing in one journal at a time, interrupting a deep thought mid-sentence to go into a checklist of things I have to buy at Target the next day. NO LONGER. So many things to say regarding the BuJo. It will have its time to shine on da blawg soon. Check out the Bullet Journal website here to get learnt up.

Between Morning Pages for the honest and no-frills 'HI I'M HERE' writing, and my Bullet for an original and customized take on a planner, I am feeling way more combobulated. That's not a word, but you knew what I meant, didn't you? Thought so. I feel like I have so much more brain space since incorporating these two tools into my daily life.

Be a better listener. We can all be better listeners. This is important and I do not believe I'll ever reach a point where I'm finished growing in this department.

Live like Kermit. "What others think and have to say about you is none of your business." [SIPS TEA]. Honestly though, it's easier to SHOW UP when you're not so dang self-conscious. Spotlight effect. Do your thang.

Notification-free living. Last week I turned off all notifications on my phone. All of them. Push notifications, sound alerts, banners. Not a single red circle with a number lives in my phone now. It took a day or two to adjust, but now I don't think I'll ever go back. My phone is now a telephone with some cool features IF I SO CHOOSE TO USE THEM. And I do choose to use them, don't get it twisted. I posted a 130-second Snap story this weekend. Nobody's perfect. BABY STEPS. Silicon Valley was not built in a day.

Read more. Writers are readers. I don't know what else to add.

What does 'Showing Up' look like for you?

diving in

Talk about the pressure of a first post. I am just going to go full-on millennial right now, brace yourselves. This space, the focus of this blog, is going to be about me and I'm pretty positive I'm not sorry about it. Beautiful things happen - to ourselves and others - when we are willing to share our stories. I've been on both sides, and I'm better because of it.

I'm not a Capital-W-Writer, but I'm a lovely lowercase writer because here I am, showing up, writing. I am actively participating in a self-imposed challenge called Show Up and Dive In. I can show up with the best of them. I'm in formation, so to speak. Been in it. Showing up is important, but for so long, I pretended I didn't need to move on to step two: diving in, headfirst, into the whole beautiful mess. Welcoming the riptide.

I want to inspire and be inspired. I want to continue to learn and grow from my experiences. I want to push myself to practice gratitude on a grander scale, to identify the deep joys of life in all things, in others, and in myself. I am soaked in joy. Some days I forget, or let the meaningless fluff seep in to my headspace and disrupt my zest for life and childlike wonder. I retreat, tail between my legs, because life isn't and shouldn't be this good, they say. I'm rejecting that idea. It is so good. Time to splash around.