It’s a tricky thing, falling.

The other day I was walking down a ramp and legitimately slid and gracefully fell. As a result, I have a scab on my foot. This wasn’t the first time this year I fell either. In March I fell hard directly on my knee and elbow. Definitely not nearly as graceful of a fall and much more impactful – I still have a scar.

Both falls left me with pain, challenges, and restrictions. I can’t have that in my life though. I need to be able to use every part of my body fully. I need to be a whole and healthy person who walks freely.

So what does one do?

You fight against it. You work through it. You do what you need to do to give yourself the best possible outcome you can. You push yourself farther than you’ve ever pushed before. You stand up and recognize what you need to do to get where you want to be, and you make a decision.


Why I Celebrate

Today a large majority of people dress in green, wish one another “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day”, and participate in many forms of merriment. All in all, it’s a fun holiday. But March 17th is a day I celebrate for an entirely different reason.

I’m pretty open about this topic, but I realize some of you have no idea what today means for me.

This year makes it ten years. That’s a full decade everybody!
At the lovely age of 17 I was desperate for answers. Desperate for direction. Desperate for meaning. Desperate to understand what my place in the world was. As a typical teenager, I was lacking answers. As a result, I felt entirely lost, confused, and as though I didn’t have a reason to live. March 10, 2005 my parents sat down and approached me with something I had written just a few days prior on an online journal I didn’t think they knew about. It gave them reason to think I was going to end my own life. What I had written alluding to my suicide was true, I had been feeling suicidal for some time and was ready to do it. For months I hid the fact I was depressed and it became so intense I didn’t want to continue to live. My parents were concerned enough for my safety that they (against my will) admitted me to a hospitals psychiatric ward for clinical depression. I spent one week in the hospital talking with so many doctors and students in the medical field it was disgusting and annoying. After a few days though, I began to see the light. I started to understand that my life had only just begun. When I was released on March 17, I knew that every year I would reflect on what happened. For the last ten years I have not only reflected but I’ve also celebrated.
I celebrate being alive. I celebrate the good and bad times each year brings. I celebrate the fact that I am here, and as a result I make an impact on others’ lives. I celebrate the experiences I’ve had. I celebrate my life. I celebrate.

If you would have told me then that in ten years time I would have been to Europe almost ten times, driven cross-country twice, impacted thousands of lives, found my true desire of working with children and become a nanny, gone to school for early childhood education, become engaged twice and married once, let alone experience any of the other things I have… I wouldn’t have believed you.
But here I am.

Depression and suicide are both very serious issues. If you struggle with depression, don’t think it will go away on its own or it will get better with time. Take action, talk with people, share with those closest to you what you’re thinking. There are people who love you.

Four Days

Wednesday, June 13 5:53PM is when it all began. The four following days were so monumental I want to share them with whomever so chooses to know.

The 13th marked an exact year since my ex-fiancé and I were no longer engaged. Because of this fact I had no desire to talk with anyone. After I got off of my shift at Victoria’s Secret I finally made the decision to head to a Starbucks, at which I had become a regular in the previous two months. The barista who took my order recalled my name for my cup, even though I could only remember seeing him twice in all my ventures. I took a seat outside and immersed myself in the story of a prostitute and a man who came into her life, forgiving her for everything and loving her as she is (Redeeming Love). After half an hour or so the barista came outside and asked me what I was reading… 45 minutes later his break was long over and I had learned a lot about him and his heart, but I had to be on my way to meet a friend. The barista and I exchanged numbers and planned on meeting later that night to continue talking.
It was 11 before I made my way to our meeting location. As I walked in I reminded myself that this was just a man who wanted to talk with me, he wasn’t interested in me and I didn’t have to worry about anything like that. But still, there were small butterflies in my stomach.
All night we stayed up. Talking, sharing stories and facts, laughing at whatever random thing came up. 6:45AM on Thursday the 14th he looked at me and asked if I was hungry – I was. He asked if I liked French toast – I do. Without hesitating he then said “We’re going to Philly.” and I found myself in his front seat.   He didn’t know, but for the last month and a half I had been craving French toast and never made it for myself. Why’d we have to go to Philly? Because he knew of a great cafe which served amazing stuffed French toast. The 14th was spent in and around Philly. We found ourselves at the KOP mall and after I walked around a store I took a seat next to him on a bench and laid my head on his shoulder. All day long we would look at the clock and remark at how early it was – time was moving so slowly and we were enjoying every second. That afternoon we were seated in a restaurant for an early dinner when I received a text message from my dad – my 4 month old nephew in Austria was not feeling well and they didn’t know what was wrong. Upon relaying this information, the man who was just a barista to me, pulled me out of my chair, took me out of the restaurant, put his arms around me and began praying. My heart skipped a few beats. The rest of the afternoon was spent together. By the time we parted ways it had been 23 hours straight with each other.    We had seen each other cry and laugh, we shared our heartaches, triumphs, and the majority of our life stories with one another. He asked me before I got out of his car if he could take me on a date the following day. I said Yes.
Friday, the 15th, we met and he took me to his hometown, stopping in first to meet his mom and sister at the family’s cafe. It was a brief meeting, but monumental nonetheless. He had never introduced a girl to his family. He took me to a grotto, which has a lot of meaning to him. As we sat there, we couldn’t help but recognize how natural everything felt. As we took a hike up a hill to overlook the town I immediately took the lead. About halfway up he took over. The entire way we talked. Talking is something we did a lot of. Looking out over the town for two hours we got lost in each others words, the natural beauty we were surrounded by, and how much we understood one another. He took me to a little Italian restaurant for dinner – where for a moment he felt as though he was back in Italy, but this time not alone. We closed the restaurant and decided to walk around the area for a while. Rather quickly we found ourselves on the steps at the back of the Capitol building. Staring up at the night sky and chatting for a few hours felt like no time passed at all. He told me that he wanted to see me every single day. I wasn’t about to complain at the notion – I desired to see him as often as possible.
Saturday, the 16th, both of us had to work. We weren’t sure when we’d see each other, but we knew that it would work out. As I was finishing a customers transaction I looked up and was surprised to see him standing there. He dropped in before his shift started to say Hi and bring me a drink, which I needed after the very small amount of sleep I managed to get. That evening I had plans to go downtown with a friend, so when he got off of work and she and I hadn’t really started our night yet I invited him along. The night was still young when my friend went back to her house so he and I walked around only to find ourselves at the Capitol for the second night in a row. We discussed fears and feelings that night. I knew the moment would come and I’d have some things to say, but I didn’t want to scare him and share too much too soon. After taking a few deep breaths I knew the time had come. Trying to prepare him for what he was about to hear I said “I don’t want to freak you out, but there’s something I need to tell you…” Moments later 3 very important little words floated out of my mouth and it was perfectly okay. He had been feeling the same way. For the first time since meeting I finally allowed him to stare into my eyes – like he had tried to do so many times. That night lasted forever – until the sun started to creep above the horizon.
Sunday, the 17th – day four. He wanted to hold strong to his desire to see me every day, but I was in no mood to get in the car and leave the house. To my surprise and delight he asked if he could come up after he got off of work. I said Yes. In the afternoon I realized that a man was going to be entering my parents house and my parents had no clue he even existed. So I began telling my mom a little about what had happened up to then, and then my daddy came home and I told him. They both were willing to stay up a little and meet this guy who I rather liked. The meeting was so different from any other meeting I had ever been through (for those interested – there were two other meetings which involved a guy and my parents). He was comfortable, honest, and in a good mood which my parents reacted to. At one point my daddy asked him what his intentions were and he responded “To see your daughter every day.” When my mom followed up by asking “Do you think that’s feasible?” and my dad responded “Yes” before anyone else had a chance to say anything, I just sat there silent. It was the meet that I had always desired. A man who felt comfortable in my parents home, meeting them before he and I discussed anything long-term, not thrown off by any question, honest and not wishing to hide anything. After my parents went to bed he and I walked around the park and eventually laid in the field. I was astonished by how things were going and still amazed at how natural everything felt. He felt comfortable and unfazed by his first meeting with parents. As we laid there recounting the evening we saw a shooting star.

In the 9 months I had been going to the Starbucks he worked in, I had never noticed Bruno. He had noticed me every time I came in while he was working though. I have a feeling that if I had noticed him, our relationship would be entirely different.

Our greatest feats to this point are that we have seen each other every day and each day we love each other more.

Clothed in Ivory

I’ve mentioned it a few times but never have I completely explained the story…

Last January, fresh off of becoming engaged to a guy in PA, I returned to California for the Spring semester at school. Every day I woke up asking for a sign as to what I should do – stay in Cali or move back to PA. Every day I searched and begged for a clear sign from God. Just one sign, that’s all I needed. The second to last Saturday in January I had decided that it was time to go to Sacramento and try on dresses. Just for fun. Because that’s what an engaged girl does!
When I walked into the store with three of my friends, I didn’t have an appointment. Because of a little bit of patience and others canceling, I managed to attain one 10 minutes later just as we were ready to walk out the door. As I found myself describing what I had envisioned for my dress I realized how real the engagement was. There was one dress which I had particularly noticed in my searches online. Sadly the store was not carrying it that day but the assistant said she would find a few others which were similar. Back in the fitting room she helped me get into one which was elegant, but I didn’t have that feeling. The second one she brought made me look 12 (because that’s easy enough to do already). The third went on and immediately I began to smile. The smile that slides across your face when you know something is right. Never one to believe something could be that easy, I tried on 9 more dresses (so a total of 12) before returning to that third one. The one which when I put it on for a second time felt even more right than the first. The smile was broader, the feeling was more right, the material was more soft, the fit more perfect. It was more in all ways good.
It was then that I was told someone in the store was purchasing the dress for me. The most beautiful dress was being given to me as a gift. The dress which was beyond my price range, someone wishing to remain anonymous was purchasing for me. The dress which symbolizes innocence and purity, was found. My sign which I had been asking for was being handed to me.
So I stayed. Grew and moved beyond the things which were holding me back. Eventually ended the engagement and stretched into the me of today. All because of that beautiful ivory gown.
The dress was a gift, and is a gift. It still hangs in my parents’ house. I refused to look at it for the longest of times. Just the other week I took my first peek at it and it is more gorgeous than I remembered. I have finally reached the point where when I think about or see the gown, I smile. Previously I believed it was too good for the occasion which it was to be worn. But I realized it was only because the guy wasn’t the right one. The dress will be worn, as a reminder of how good God is as well as symbolizing the innocence and purity it is meant to.
This time around, I’m determined to do things right.

Not Over vs. Impacted

It’s crossed my mind multiple times lately how over my ex I truly am. I suppose that my continual looking back doesn’t make it seem that way though.
Here’s the thing – I really am over him. The hurt, pain, trials, heartache… There’s no reason to not be over the relationship. However, I have been impacted by it. Perhaps that’s why some people come up with the conclusion that even after a year I’m still holding on.
The other week I was on the phone with my best friend discussing the relationship and I mentioned how someone had just questioned whether or not I was over it. She was astonished that anyone would ever consider even asking me that.
I will not claim that this past year has not been a maze. I will not claim that I was not an emotional wreck the first few months. I will not claim that I never think of him. I will not claim that I never miss being with someone.
What I can claim however is that no part of me wants to be in a relationship like the one I was in. No part of me wishes to have my ex in my life at this time. No part of me is able to recall being in that relationship without also recalling the hurt.
I learned a lot from the relationship – so I will often pull on those lessons in my daily life. In no way does that say I’m not over the relationship. Rather, proves that I have come so far that I am now able to recognize the bad from the good.
Preparing for this month I was a bit lethargic, sentimental, and overall reminiscent. With what I believe is good reason though. I don’t find it possible to hit your one year anniversary of ending an engagement as well as what would have been two years of being in that relationship without thinking back and recognizing what all has happened in those years. To date, two years ago I was arriving in England – the land I consider home. One year ago I was in PA working and celebrating a good friends’ 21st birthday. So what? I remember a lot of things and when exactly they happen. Doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in the past and unable to look toward the future chasing after the goals which I have in my life.
Everyone’s past experiences impact how they live.

Know Return

It’s true. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to be doing in a couple of months, let alone where I will be. England, Texas, PA – all options as far as I’m concerned. Each location offers a different life. In one I take on more than I will probably be able to handle and attempt working two jobs as well as go to school full-time. Another presents pure unknown. The final option presents itself with a few good job opportunities and possibly school next year.

I’m at the point though where I feel like I’ve wasted enough of my life. I finally have figured out what I want to do with my future and I don’t want to wait any longer than I must. At the same time though, when I moved to California almost 2 years ago I never planned on returning to PA – I have quite the dislike for the state which I have spent the majority of my life in. (Oh the things we do for “love”)
There’s a certain level of knowing and recognizing where I am in life the last couple of months. Which is great. Except knowing where you are doesn’t help much with knowing where you want to go. Oh decisions – so difficult to make. Usually I’m really good at the decisions which are the most important too. I can say that this decision would be a lot easier if I wasn’t mature or responsible.

Ready to Leave

I like to talk. This is no surprise if you know me. The other night I found myself alone in my parents kitchen with my sister-in-law with whom I started to share some things about myself. Things that I hadn’t fully understood about myself yet.

While living life it’s possible to focus on getting through each day as it comes. But can that really be considered living? Feeling as though you’re constantly missing out on what your life is supposed to have – is that really enjoying life? Constantly searching for the “more” you feel is missing, attempting to keep a smile on your face so others won’t be too concerned, longing for some direction so you know you’re still on a path which is meant for your life… Is this really living and enjoying your time?

All of us only have so much time with which to do as we please on this Earth. I have been gently reminded of that fact due to the passing of my great-aunt last night. Less than two weeks ago she said “I’m ready to go…”   What does it take to feel ready?