06/18/2018: Adolescence

It’s mid-June in the suffocating heat of a typical Florida evening. Mosquitos are swarming in my periphery as I sit cross-legged on a white spray-painted metal chair. Its 1950’s floral design is typical of my mother’s decorating style – beautiful, but just uncomfortable enough so you aren’t tempted to sit still for too long. Always temporary. The arms dig into my thighs, but I don’t move them.

Chloe is tending to our mother’s lush but quickly browning garden; watering the plants she cannot take care of while stuck in the bulky cast that has snaked itself halfway up her calf, tangled around her like a wild vine on an otherwise pristine home. Watching her wheel herself around, frustrated at her personal freedom having been stripped from her, reminds me of a caged animal. And an almost-trainwreck; that single breath of a moment when things aren’t the worst they can be, adrenaline and sadness running through you because there’s nothing you can do except watch and wait. Except, instead of an oncoming train, it’s an oncoming surgery and a piece of metal stuck in her foot. You can’t really feel empathy until you see someone you love look like their world has come to a halt and try to adapt in spite of it.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law is in the side yard running after the puppy he and my sister share. Their black-and-white dog is small, lanky, and he reminds me of an awkward teenager when he walks, but he’s charming. His short snout makes him sound like a pig when he breathes, and he loves to be cradled like a child. I often jokingly call him my nephew, maybe partly because I’d like to have a kid around that isn’t entirely dependent on me for survival just yet. But mostly just because I like his company. It’s harder for any of us to act anything but happy around him, and that’s become more of a rarity lately.

Chase’s laugh is carried toward me with a warm seabreeze that feels like home, and I feel at ease for the first time in a while. Not like my typical quasi-adult self who’s trying to politely fit in and find some place to hide out until a better opportunity makes me move in another direction, but like I’m six years old again. I look at the clear blue open sky and suddenly I’m riding my bike – a light blue Schwinn with a wicker basket and flowers stuck on the side. I’m trying to keep up with my brother and his bright red speed bike as my neighbor yells to me, “He went that way!” Thanking him, my tires skid on the smooth asphalt as I make a sharp left turn. Alex is in the distance and the only thing I can think about is making it to the end of the street before he turns around. Trying to play catch-up.

I am not six anymore. I have jury duty tomorrow and I often think about things like marriage and apartments and the names of the children I plan on having. I worry about money and how in the world I can make a career out of the things I have been passionate about since I was actually six. I am not six, but I can pretend to be for a few more minutes.

 

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I want your irrationality

More than whispered promises

More than a few words at the end of a sentence

But I know heartache is worse than a little disappointment

 

So maybe that’s why I’m quietly fuming

And why I’ll simultaneously miss you in ways you can’t really understand

Because I can’t really explain them

 

I want declarations

Never asked for and never forced

Never just a secondary character in our own book

But to believe that I am your person, who makes you feel everything

 

Stop me in my tracks

Love me like you mean it

Like I am exciting to you

 

I want more

I’m asking because I’m still holding back

I’m asking because I know you love my company

But you think I want unreasonable things

 

I won’t just be a good decision

An easy path to an easy future

Well-fitting in all the right ways but devoid of long-term passion

 

I have your tomorrow

Your everyday is a constant

Your hand always there to hold when I reach out

But something in my chest remains empty

 

I want more

But you don’t know what that means

And you don’t think anything went missing 

 

More Like You

I see You in everything

So I know I am not alone

I know that You will call me home

 

Can You show me a better way

To live my life

All for Your grace

 

I want to take hold of You now

To just find out

How to be a better person

How to make You proud

 

You say that You are with me

And there’s no end to

Unfailing love everlasting

 

Passion and persistence

I wish I could do it for You too

 

So I will give You praise

I will give you all

Of my heart still beating

My everyday

 

I have heard You in the distance

The distance is in me

 

When we’re close I can feel You

When I’m far I need You

 

You are in everything

 

Everyone Is A Bit Of A Mess

I am broken.

So completely, unabashedly broken. Well at least the “unabashedly” part is a work in progress.

There is no definitive line between having it together and falling apart. Daily life is not set in black in white; even if it’s not always a rainbow of colors, it’s at least hundreds of variations of grey. Depends on the day.

Lately, I’ve been having some grey days. There are ups and downs, because among the “downs” I choose to let myself have some “ups,” which is an important lesson I wish I had learned a long time ago. But in the grey days I have learned to look closer at the reality of other people’s lives.

I am not the only person facing demons. Far from it, in fact.

Sure that seems obvious when actually saying it aloud or putting pen to paper, but it’s so easy to get caught up in your own head and not realize that your problems, while they have merit, are not exclusive. I would be wasting my time trying to compare my life to other’s because I can see their lives in easy black and white moments – I’m not feeling everything they feel or seeing every detail exactly like they can. To put it more eloquently, Steven Furtick says “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Even with the people I am closest to, with whom I get a glimpse of most of their good and bad moments, I could still easily point to all the ways in which they have their life more figured out than I do.

Me? I feel like a mess 24/7. I’ve never not felt like a mess. I’m a terrible communicator when it comes to my emotions (and I have a lot of them), I procrastinate out of fear, I push some people away and let in some that I shouldn’t, I think too much about self-improvement to the point of not actually doing anything to improve, I don’t pray enough. I’m going to stop there. You get the point.

Your immediate reaction, if you’re anything like me, may be “Yeah, but…”

But nothing. I am a mess in some ways, but not in others. It’s just not always easy to look past the ways in which you are a mess because those qualities tend to be more prevalent and problem-causing. The people in my life that I admire for their abilities to handle things all the time have their own faults and shortcomings that I’m not paying attention to because I’m too busy thinking about how much better than me they are.

A better use of time is, if you notice a quality you like in someone, point it out to them and learn from what they do. You can’t always mimic what other people do because you still have to be your own person and focus on the gifts that God gave you, but maybe there’s some sort of lesson in there for you as well.

Otherwise, calm down. Get it together. You’re fine. Everything is fine.

That’s pretty much my mantra when I’m freaking out about anything ever. But seriously, calm down and do something productive. Even if it’s not perfect, move in some sort of positive direction because sitting back and watching other people live their lives “better” than you is only going to bring you down and get you nowhere. My mom says something to the effect of, “If you’re not moving forward, you can only go backwards.” There is no safe middle ground.

Everyone else does not have it all together and you aren’t 100% a mess. Most of us are somewhere in the middle; our shortcomings are just way more apparent than other people’s. However that’s also no excuse to sit back and say “I’m doing fine.” It means that you may not be exactly where you should be, but you can work on that. In doing so, you can also remain positive and remember that no two people are doing or have done this ‘life’ thing the exact same way.

We’re all trying to figure it out.

 

Unforeseen

I held every part of you,

Sure that no detail would go unnoticed,

But I guess I had already memorized you in pieces along the way.

 

Hills and valleys composed of unforeseen tomorrows.  

 

I never wanted this part:

Hitched breathing and lost in the routine of someone new settling into every miniscule crack of my everyday;

I never wanted to be uncertain and resigned.

 

Something real being exchanged for replayed happy moments,

Over and over until days finally stop blending together in blissful harmony.

 

Waking up used to be easier than sleeping,

But now sleeping is a welcomed security blanket,

Like the tee shirt you promised to leave behind.

 

Tomorrow is uncertain because tomorrow does not hold many promises,

And I stopped loving uncertainty when I didn’t have to.

 

Coming home means two different things when home is not me,

 

I know that that probably won’t last forever,

But what if mere friendship becomes our long-lasting crutch?

 

Holding back and holding on to one another because it’s reasonable;

But I won’t always live drained by unfeeling logic.

 

You’ll miss me when the anticipation dies down,

When there is nothing left to take your mind to new places,

When I am the only exciting interruption left.

 

Until then I’m holding hands with distractions,

Toying with ideas of the future,

Replacing days with you with days with me.

 

Reminded that I love being alone,

But being alone with you never felt as lonely as I do,

So please let me fall back into you soon.

 


Alone With Me – Vance Joy

Ombre Pink Hair! (How-To) (Kind Of)

Boy, I never learn.

“I will never dye my hair again,” I stated emphatically multiple times after my first hair disaster that resulted in chopping it all off. I even wrote a post about the whole fiasco.  One single day after making this statement for the thousandth time, I found myself in the beauty supply store. Hair dying is addicting and I think I’m developing a problem…but my hair is pink and that’s cool so I’ll stick to my hair-damaging ways for now.

Alright, so I was blonde. It was weird and looking back at photos, I completely support my decision to switch to…well, any other color really.

This was pre-pink me:

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Not the worst, but you know, also not the best.

I figured that I won’t risk bleaching heathy hair again after last time (ha…yeah we’ll see how long that mentality lasts), and my hair is already damaged so why not do something fun? Hence, pink hair.

I didn’t want my whole head to be pink though (my boyfriend says I have a little bit of punk in me, but I know I’m just not edgy enough to commit to a full head of pink hair), so I bought some root touch-up dye in order to achieve an ombre effect. At least, that’s what I was hoping would happen.

Surprise: it worked. I know, I don’t know how it worked, but it worked. I’m even more shocked than you are.

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Post-brown dye (featuring a makeup-less me and fuzzy, product-less hair):

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I did some research and decided to go for a not-so-harsh dye so I wouldn’t completely ruin my hair (again). I know everyone swears by Manic Panic, but I read a lot of good things about Punky Colors so I gave that a shot.

Cue me entering Ulta in hopes of finding a pastel pink dye (Cotton Candy), but they were sold out. Me being me (i.e. impatient), I opted for this color instead:

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It. Is. Very. Bright. Maybe to someone who is used to fun colored hair it isn’t, but for this newbie it was a shocker.

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So that’s the end result, right?

Oh, far from it!

The color ended up fading pretty darn fast, and by that I mean it was already a weird brown by the next day. Granted, I used a very small amount of dye due to how bright the color is and I only left it in for about an hour before rinsing it out.

After surprising my green-haired boyfriend with my semi-pink locks, I managed to convince him to re-dye his to match mine. Because why not.

So we’re standing in Ulta once again in the hair dye aisle, a sea of rainbow colors in front of us. We were trying to pick out some bleach for him when he gets this mischievous look on his face. Immediately picking up on what he was thinking, I said “NO.”

And yet somehow an hour later we were in my bathroom re-bleaching the already damaged part of my hair because, of course, it needed to be pinker. I also let him bleach it as some sort of show of how much I trust him I guess, despite me freaking out most of the time while trying to tell him exactly how to do it and inevitably washing the bleach out early because I got scared. Still, magically, it turned out great.

I mean sure he managed to bleach this one weird patch right against my scalp, but worse things could have happened.

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(Yes, this is my phone background and yes I am the exact kind of overly mushy girlfriend I never thought I’d be.)

We match! Kind of. My hair turned out brighter because I mixed in more of the Flamingo Pink into the Cotton Candy pink than I did for him (the Cotton Candy alone was so light that it likely would have completely faded out by the next day…I know this because his hair is completely blonde now) (it suits him though) (even if I am a little biased because I think he looks cute no matter what) (sorry, I’m getting mushy again).

I ended up wrapping my hair in an old tee shirt and keeping the dye in overnight, which is also probably why mine is still pink.

But this color has been fun and when it fades too much, I still have a bunch of dye leftover to add a little in before a shower. It’s basically a tinted conditioner, so to my knowledge it’s not very damaging. I’m holding off on touching it up for now though because it does fade nicely into this pretty pastel peachy color (what I actually wanted to begin with).

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So yeah, that’s the story of how I got pink hair.

It worked in my favor, but I’m sure if I told any professional how I achieved this look they would give me a mixed look of pain and confusion. But I’m just a girl who was tired of blonde hair and was also badly scorned by a supposed professional. I’m happy with it, it’s fun, and my hair doesn’t feel any more damaged than it was so I can’t complain. At first it was dry and weird, but after a couple days it went back to normal.

Comment below and give me some opinions, tips, whatever! I want your dyeing fiascos and success stories so I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Redefining Strength

Brash and fervorous;

Fictitious;

A muse for who lives inside her head;

Can I will her to come out;

To scream for me instead;

 

To be candid and raw;

Unapologetic;

Fear only known;

When it’s just foreign enough to be exciting;

 

Anger and strife and unkempt words;

Harsh and held so high;

Gorgeous without grace;

Marching through fire in solitude;

Born throwing fists before a simple compliment;

Inhuman, unfeeling, and always on top;

 

No one wants to paint a quiet leader;

But waves are not made with words;

No matter the amount of venom pouring from her tongue;

 

Woman and feminine;

Feminine and kind;

Kind and forgiving;

Forgiving and strong;

Strength does not scream the loudest;

Nor does it always have to whisper;

 

Passion manifested in every form;

She can lead;

Useful as she was made;

 

Vexation and recklessness are synonymous in nature;

There is more to strength than masculinity and aggravation;

Hone the skills you were given;

 

Boldness is not always loudness;

 

Standing firm in her beliefs;

Speaking with love;

Leading with intelligence.