That Wasn’t So Bad

That Wasn’t So Bad

Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself and thought “Oh. That wasn’t so bad.” It happens to me a lot. Is that weird? It is, isn’t it? Because it sounds like I spend a lot of time looking at pictures of myself. But I don’t. I’m just saying that when I do see a picture of myself, I usually look better than I remember thinking I looked at the time. Usually. There are some pictures out there that exist for the sole purpose of keeping me humble. And keeping my haters justified.  But for the most part, looking back reminds me how skewed my current perception probably is.

Because I tend to obsess over the negatives. As part of my goal to launch a theatre company this year, I recently held a reading/listening party for a new show I wrote. And afterwards, a few different friends asked me how it went and if I was happy with it. And I had to answer honestly that no, I wasn’t. But I was never going to be. Because I never am. Because nothing is ever perfect and I am always going to fixate on what went wrong. During the first half of the reading, I was absolutely convinced that at least 80% of the audience was going to come up with excuses to leave at intermission. I was braced for it. And then it didn’t happen. They stayed. And afterwards, their questions and comments seemed to indicate that they didn’t hate it. And I didn’t hate it either… after two days of relentlessly picking it apart and putting it back together in my head. The reading was on Saturday evening and on Tuesday morning I made peace with it. And I’m pretty proud of that. Because that was record time for me.

But I want to get even faster in 2017. Faster to forgive. Faster NOT to forget. And faster to look back.

  • Faster to forgive. Not just others but myself. 
    “The only people who never fail are those who never try.” I’m not gonna like it, but I hope I rack up a record number of mistakes in 2017. Not maliciously, just meanwhile. In my attempts to move forward. And when I do, I hope I’m as fast to forgive myself as I would be to forgive a friend who I knew was doing their best to do their best.
  • Faster NOT to forget. To not let the bad block out the good.
    I lost two friendships in 2016. I mean cut out, radio silence, won’t-like-my-instagram-posts-anymore (#passiveInstaggression) lost.  And because there were no conversations and attempts at contact were rebuffed, the only reasons I can find in retracing our steps are so petty, that they’re almost award-worthy. (With the award being a no-expense paid trip to the nearest White Castle. Enjoy.) But I was shook. I found myself getting paranoid and waiting for my other two friendships to fall apart. Except… I don’t have two other friendships. I can’t tell you off the top of my head how many friendships I didn’t lose in 2016 because I haven’t been obsessing about those.**  But I should have been. I should be. When I’m losing things, I need to be faster not to forget all that I still have.
  • Faster to look back. And appreciate now for what it really is.
    I started re-watching “The Office” in December. So for a few weeks it was my constant background noise. And when it got to the last episode I was blown away by this Andy Bernard quote that I had forgotten: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” However faulty and flawed and far from the mark I am at this moment, I’m closer to where I’m headed than I’ve ever been. And when I look back on me three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago and I look back on the things I thought I’d never get over, the answers I didn’t have, the ways out that I couldn’t see… I have so much grace and so much gratefulness for those previous (dumber) versions of me and what I know now because of them. And I’d like to get better at looking back on these days while I’m still in them. And at giving myself grace and the space to learn what I don’t know yet.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting bolder or just getting older, but I feel like I’m getting over myself. I’m not necessarily worrying less about what other people think, I’m just not letting that worry have the final word. Because we’re going to fail. We’re going to fall. We’re going to lose things. And our lives are probably always going to look awkward to us as they’re unfolding in the moment. But someday, with some perspective, we’ll probably realize “Oh. That wasn’t so bad.


** I fully realize and acknowledge that not everybody is going to like me all the time. And fully realize and acknowledge any number of people have legitimate reasons not to. Yourself included, probably. So if you’re reading this and you are still my friend, you are a true Christian and da real MVP. And I promise it’ll be worth it someday.

Five

Five

I’ve been struggling to blog lately. Pretty much every post leads me down Struggle Street at some point, but my last few attempts found property they really loved and decided to settle down and raise families there. God bless ’em. So my blog has been blank for a month now. Yikes. And I wish I was returning in glory now with stories of all the exciting things I’ve been doing but… nope. I’ve just been chilling. And saying a lot of goodbyes. To things. And see-ya-laters to people. The past month has been very moving, for a lot of the people around me and very “Stand here and watch them go.” for me. Which is annoying because my plan has ALWAYS been to leave all the chumps I know behind, never to be left. But that’s not quite working out. #ThanksObama. No, but seriously, Thank you, President Obama for also being on your way out, because I haven’t lost enough yet, apparently. Geez.

But it’s all good. For real. My friends are stepping up, moving on and stepping out into things that they’ve been preparing for all along. But the plot twist is that they mostly had no idea what they were being built for until they were thrown into it. It’s like training to be a swimmer and then being made CEO of the company that owns the pool you practiced in. And I’m proud of them and happy for them. I am. But, in all honestly, all this leaving has left me feeling some type of way… not envious… but intimidated. Like I’m really not pulling my weight. My friends are outchea doing big things and I’m just… outchea. Not that I haven’t been working or building anything, I have, but 90% of it has been underground, undercover and in the background, with no guarantee that it’ll ever progress beyond that.

“You’re a writer, right?” One of the guys at work asked me as I was stocking the fridge this morning. “How’s it going?”
“Yeah, good.” I said as I moved the cold Diet Coke cans to the front.
“Do you make enough at it to make a living?” he asked.
“Do you not see me working here right now?”

He spent the next few minutes trying to understand why I don’t love the thing that consistently pays me more than the thing that constantly costs me and I spent those same few minutes imagining a life where they are one and the same. And panicking a little. Because if that whole “You are the average of your five closest friends” thing is true — then I should probably be bracing myself.

Sidenote for somebody out there: as we’re all looking towards 2017, I’ve been saying all month (and am still saying): Don’t count 2016 out just yet. It ain’t over and literally anything can happen. So if you’ve still got some outstanding prayers, you might want to brace yourself.

So as I wait for the next shoe to dropkick the next door open, I just want to take a few minutes to thank my five…ish friends that have been doing the damn thing and teaching me some lessons. I’ll keep it anonymous, but you know who you are, in no particular order. (Don’t pretend like you don’t.)


One. You have so much talent and gifting and have put so much time and effort into honing it, strengthening it, stretching it – you really are phenomenal. And more than qualified/able to be all (and more!) than you dream. And yeah, you have your doubts, but deep down – you know you were born for this. And you’re getting better and better at just accepting the fact that you are a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for showing me that God isn’t swayed by our fears or overly concerned with “practicality” and will go out of His way to make a way for us.

Two. Your sense of humor is top notch and your perspective is amazing. You don’t have all the answers but aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions. Of yourself and the people around you.  They say the funniest people are secretly the saddest and if that’s true, it’s only because they’re the most perceptive and don’t always know how to effectively channel all that they take in, but you’re already finding that balance. And it’s going to serve you well. You and the people around you, wherever you are. Because you are going to keep on affecting many lives in many different ways/arenas. Thank you for being so honest, so transparent, so brave and showing me how it’s done.

Three. You are kind. You are smart. You are important. Because you’re smart, you are able to step in and steer what would otherwise be runaway trains. And because you’re kind, you do it with grace and with dedication, that fosters a positive environment. And that makes you important, not just to me, but to anyone/everyone who gets the opportunity to work with you. Because you never let being tired be an excuse to give less than your best. Thank you for showing me that even though the work is hard, it is possible to carry it with an ease that  inspires others.

Four. You are a one of kind character. Known (& loved) by pretty much everyone, but somehow still humble and low-profile. You hate injustice and are passionate about seeing people being treated properly. When you see something, you say something and have greater influence than you know. You sometimes get frustrated that people seem to overlook you, but God never does. Your life isn’t charmed, but it’s definitely blessed. Thank you for showing me that being significant isn’t about being showy, it’s about being intentional.

Five. You are relentless. Always working on something, forever following your dreams. I won’t say tirelessly, because you do get tired and emotional and frustrated, but you always rally. And you refuse to give up. Because a dream that’s only big enough for you, isn’t big enough for you, so you keep going because you’ve got so many people that you want to take with you.  Thank you for showing me that succeeding really is as easy (and as difficult) as just stepping out. Again and again. And again.


So that’s that. As single women, it’s easy to spend so much time thinking about who hasn’t come into lives yet (or who didn’t stay) that we can easily lose focus and start to believe that we’ll never be loved, but it’s just not true. And it’s dismissive of the relationships we do have. Because they’ve been given to us, not as replacements for what we’re waiting for, but as reinforcements of the kind of life and love we deserve.

So take a few minutes to think about your five today. Who are they? How do they love you? What are you learning from them? And what does that tell you about who you are and where you’re probably headed next?