When I lived in California I would go to Del Mar beach as much as I could, with my camera in tow. I was taking a photography class so I finally had an excuse for taking so many pictures. Being behind the camera has always made me feel safe, I remember feeling lost, restless, confused and just walking along the beach thinking. The fresh air and the sound of the crashing waves calmed me, I felt a sense of peace near the ocean. I let my camera lead the way, following whatever caught my fancy. I often walked near the train tracks taking pictures from up above the beach. It may sound unusual but the sound of trains/coasters relaxed me, a sense of distraction from my thoughts.
I never thought I would get past the words written in this journal. Words driven by fear, anxiousness, emptiness, confusion, and countless tears pouring out onto the crisp white pages. I wrestled with the fear of being alone, and doubting my existence. My mind dripped with despair, my heart literally ached. The only way to feel some relief was writing out my thoughts, and praying. I constantly wrote about what I wanted, characteristics I desired in the allusive perfect man, and where I wanted to be in life. The only problem was, I was just writing my concerns, fears down, I wasn’t giving them to God, and actively seeking Him.
Why is being alone such a huge fear in young women? It was a question I often wrestled with, and it may not be true for every woman of course, but how often do we make decisions influenced by our fears? Fears of being alone, fears of failure, fears of rejection? Fear of (add your own here)
A few of my past fears:
Forgetting who I am.
Settling for less than I deserve.
Not being good enough.
Staying still, never feeling alive.
If I had realized that being alone isn’t a bad thing, it’s okay to not be in a relationship or have a man in your life. Just because you don’t have someone constantly reminding you of your beauty or accomplishments, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy. We are worthy in the eyes of God. I was in a relationship a few years ago with someone out of the fear of being alone, but also the fear of being left with my feelings. My feelings of regret, emptiness, shame, if I was with someone who made me laugh, and told me how beautiful I was, maybe those feelings would go away? How dumb was I to think that?? I was stuck in a rut of looking for temporary happiness, I was attracted to receiving shallow attention. I needed internal growth, I didn’t need to grow from experiences of bad relationships, and wrong decisions. Although I certainly have, but I needed to turn to God during those experiences, seeking Him with my brokenness, not covering up my wounds with more dramatic relationship problems.
I’ve always felt a strong connection with horses, feeling safe, yet aware of the risk, trusting this 1000 pound animal with your life. Being on a horse is extremely exhilarating, freeing, captivating, and literally breathtaking. A beautiful escape into a carefree perspective, the everyday doubts, worries, unbearable stresses just fade away into the sand.
I’ve been getting my horse acclimated to dogs barking, kids playing, sirens blaring, and to my frequent stops, taking pictures of the beautiful nature. I love the perspective from the back of my four legged 1000 pound companion.
It is necessary in life to find something that refreshes, and recharges you, a hobby that gives you clarity, and new perspectives. Horseback riding and photography are outlets for me to step back, think, and process life’s obstacles. What are your outlets?
All photos are taken by me.
I recently stumbled across a poem (ish) that I wrote in my first year of college. I’ve been missing English class, and having writing assignments. Feel free to honestly let me know what you think.
Cold, blood running through veins like water through a pipe,
As still as night, I thought of the good days to try and wipe the tears away,
Blind at first sight, I kissed that life goodbye with not a single gripe,
Why remember the mistakes of my past? Why go down a path of pain?
When I want to look forward to a new day,
The old me held questions, why trust what I can’t see,
Why run to someone I have never run to before?
I didn’t know what was real, couldn’t tell black from white,
I looked left, fell right, you said hold on tight, instead you left my sight;
I had the keys but couldn’t find the door, didn’t know where to turn,
I lost my way why didn’t you erase my pain that night?
I sat and stared through the day, alone, cold, blind in my room;
Sitting, waiting, fighting the knowledge of truth,
After almost a year, what once used to be a heart covered in holes,
Now beats for love, a willing heart, realizing you never left, I had to ask for help,
I had to be ready to let go of my control, you never forced me,
Heart is now open to embracing what comes, and to running to the unknown,
For the unknown awaits with love, and a warm embrace, it’s not too late, my heart will be okay,
Yesterday was fueled by doubt, unanswered questions, and desperation,
Today is filled with hope, redemption, comfort, feeling of contentment, and a journey of healing.
My journal entry from a few years ago.
“I feel alone, lost, and confused. I’m weak in these moments, I need the one I can rely on, look to for courage, someone who makes the judgmental thoughts disappear only bringing love. The type of love that will make the birds swoon, the oceans roar, and leave my heart content. I want to lend a hand without thinking twice, be there for someone when they need it the most. I want to push away the attention from myself, and let the serving of others bring me joy. I want to feel an unexplainable happiness, letting it show. I want to break out of my cage of sadness, self-loathing, and live life to the fullest, sending love.”
I’ve always needed God, but I didn’t always have an open heart. God’s love is enough, it’s all I need right now. Have an open heart, my friends.
I found an old journal of mine during my move recently, it’s been quite entertaining reading my thoughts on love and relationships over the years. I know I don’t know a whole lot about relationships, but I’ve certainly learned valuable lessons, that I hope to never repeat. Hopefully by sharing these, some people can relate and take comfort in knowing we aren’t alone, we all go through trials that make us stronger. It’s almost embarrassing how much time I wasted on guys who didn’t deserve a second of my time. Have you ever been in that situation, where you look back embarrassed that you put so much effort into someone that clearly wasn’t right for you?
One of my journal entries:
“A boy who doesn’t respect me, doesn’t deserve me, I can do better. I had fun, but I think I had to force myself, if you’re not feeling it at first, you cannot force the situation. I think I’ve just been lonely, I liked what I felt with him, knowing I was wanted, and he made me feel pretty. I have to remind myself to stop putting my self worth in the hands of a boy. I need to love myself on my own before I can let someone love me, otherwise how do I know the right reasons for being with someone? Will I ever find the right one? Will I ever open my heart? Will I meet someone worth the effort of a relationship again?”
I spent so much time worrying about the wrong guy wondering why it didn’t devolp further, but why did I care so much. I’m too emotional to a fault sometimes, I should have just moved on quicker when I knew it wasn’t right. Have you ever let the fear of being alone keep you in the wrong relationship? I was relying on myself, thinking I knew best, but what I know now, is that I knew nothing. This particular guy that I was pouring my emotions into was hung up on his ex, because she was still his best friend, he didn’t want to get back together with her but didn’t want to lose her from his life. He never fully let me in, but he expected me to be all the things he wanted, and needed. He made me feel I was never good enough, he judged me for drinking occasionally with my friends, that I didn’t go to church, he constantly compared me, and said I wasn’t Christian enough for him. He didn’t encourage me to be better he brought to light the ways I would never measure up. I tried changing myself for him, I let his opinions get to me, he messed with my head. My mistake was changing for a guy, he never encouraged me to pursue God, he just made it seem like I was in a different dimension than him. He was one of the most confused people I have ever met, he thought he was the greatest Christian guy, but he was forgetting that we are all human, sinful people in need of God’s grace. He never should have made me feel inferior, but I never should have given him the time to.
Just a little encouragement to start your week. I came across this tank top at a store called Basement Marketplace, it inspired me to write. How often have you looked in the mirror, and thought “I feel ugly, I have pimples on my nose, my hair is frizzy, and I have love handles from all that ice cream, and laffy taffy?” Okay, maybe you haven’t thought that exact thing, but I sure did this weekend. Sometimes I wish there were less mirrors in the world, think how much happier everyone would be, if they didn’t have to constantly keep up with outward appearances. I’ve always felt so much happier and content with myself when I don’t look in the mirror, when I’m doing something to make others happy. Being less focused on myself, and focused on more important things.
We all are different shapes, colors, and sizes, but does that make anyone less beautiful than someone else? No, we are all beautifully, and uniquely created if people tell you otherwise, than they aren’t people worth surrounding yourself with. It’s about accepting your differences, and everyone else’s, and seeing the beauty in all of it. When you have a moment doubting yourself or feeling “ugly” try skipping the mirror, go lend a hand, step out of your comfort zone, and you’ll be amazed at how it feels. Knowing it doesn’t matter what you wear or if you have pimples on your nose, nobody notices, because we all have our own insecurities, and struggles. We need to take our negative opinions, and insecure thoughts, putting that energy towards making someone smile or laugh, turning the negative into a positive.
Last week my best friend, and I volunteered at church cleaning the campus for the new school year. She, and I had some last minute hesitations, because we didn’t feel like cleaning. I was feeling bloated, and crampy, and would rather have watched movies on the couch. Once we got there, and were put to work we forgot all about ourselves, our attitudes immediately changed. It was refreshing to be apart of a community with a group of others working to better the environment for kids at school. I was sitting on the ground in the 90 degree weather scrapping gum off the sidewalks, and it didn’t matter that my makeup was melting off my face, my armpits started sweating, and getting smelly. (okay, that part did bother me a bit) It was knowing that we were apart of something so much more than us, helping others regardless if you are comfortable or not.
I was able to meet new people I wouldn’t normally have a chance to meet. We can stay strong, and beautiful the minute we stop thinking of ourselves so much, putting our strengths to use helping others in need, sharing our stories, and encouraging one another. It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, and the insecure moments of body shaming control our every thought, but we are stronger than that. I dare you to try going a day without makeup or without looking in the mirror, and lend a helping hand to someone. Whether it be big or small, for a stranger or a friend, step outside yourself and make a difference. Help remind someone that they too are strong, and beautiful just by being themselves.
I never thought I would become so dramatic, but anyone who has been through a breakup or relationship struggle knows the pain. It doesn’t matter if you were the one to decide to end the relationship, it still hurts all the same. I’ve never hated logic so much in my life, my breakup was a logical decision at the time, but all the feelings are still there. We had foundational issues, and we are on extremely different paths, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still love him. I find myself looking at old pictures, and reminiscing, I need to stop! I go through days where I feel strong, confident that I can move forward knowing I made the right decision… But other days I feel broken inside, missing him so much, missing what we had. I pray for the strength to stand in my decision, knowing it’s best for both of us.
Do you ever have that gut feeling, when you know you made the right decision but yet sometimes your weak moments get the best of you? I’m not strong enough to get through this heartache and confusion on my own. Without praying to God, and reading His word everyday, I would still be in a relationship that I knew didn’t have a future. Solely because it was comfortable, and we still love each other. I’m weak. It’s a constant battle of feeling lonely, and trusting God, that His plans are far better than my plans, wants, and desires. I have no idea what His plan is, but I have to trust that all this pain I feel will eventually disappear, but not without me praising Him through this struggle. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever your hurdle may be, know you aren’t alone, and that it will get better.
I was washing my hands in the sink, looking out the kitchen window, I noticed two doves, sitting on the tree branches. I quickly grabbed my camera, and went outside. They looked so peaceful. It was a beautiful, and quiet moment where I just stood there appreciating the stillness. They reminded me that I needed to resume my list of things I’m grateful for. It’s taking some getting used to, have to consciously stop myself when I get too negative. I never thought being grateful would be hard, but it’s getting easier by the minute to worry about all the things going wrong, and forgetting all the good things life has to offer. What would your list of grateful things look like?
6. Soft cotton sheets
7. Hot oatmeal with fresh berries for breakfast
8. Overcast skies, with a soft breeze
9. Two peaceful doves resting on tree branches
10. The snoring of my squishy faced dog sleeping under the covers
I’m in the middle of reading a book, called ‘One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are.’ by Ann Voskamp. She invites you into her life writing a list of a thousand things she is grateful for, documenting her struggles, and change through this process. It’s inspired me to include more appreciation in my life rather than dwelling on the things I cannot change.
I want to challenge myself to stray from those pushy negative thoughts, and open my eyes to all that’s around me. We all have things to be thankful for, even when things go wrong. I’m going to start my list, day by day, I may just aim for 100 and see where it goes. I challenge everyone to try this, just jot down a couple things you’re thankful for. (That is if anyone actually reads my blog 🙂 )