taking responsibility 

One of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning recently is how I come across to others, and how to make sure it’s positive. For a long time, I would think, “sorry if they don’t understand my sarcasm or this or that…it’s not my fault they got offended.” Which is a crappy, crappy way of thinking. I would make excuses or not even realize I was saying anything hurtful.

There’s been such a stigma placed around feelings…having them, expressing them, showing them…heaven forbid you make someone uncomfortable by any of this. It’s turned into the fault of the person with the feelings instead of those who wronged them.

Lately, I’ve been mending a friendship in which I was the one hurting the other person. I wasn’t listening like I should’ve been and I was taking things out on a friend who cared about me. It wasn’t intentional, but I took ownership of my jerk behavior and things have gotten better. Had that person not spoken up, I may not have ever realized how much hurt I was causing.

Just recently, I dealt with this on the receiving end. I was told by someone I really care for, “sorry you got your feelings hurt.”

No, I didn’t “get” my feelings hurt.

Your actions hurt my feelings.

Taking responsibility for how we treat others seems to be lacking these days. We do what we can to remove ourselves from responsibility in order to not feel bad about it. All this does it hurt people more. I’m grateful that I have the capacity to love people, even when they hurt me, but also know when I’ve done all I can do.

If someone in your life isn’t treating you well, then speak up. If they truly care, they will accept it and you can work through it together. Not everyone knows when they’re hurting another person. What really matters is how they respond when you tell them.

Louis C. K. gets it, so you should, too.

“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

“When someone opens up and reveals that they have been hurt by you, they are being vulnerable. It’s not always easy to admit that you’ve been hurt, and if someone tells you that you’ve hurt them, the least you owe them is your respect and acknowledgment of their pain. The worst thing that you can do is make them feel bad for opening up to you, make them feel like they’re the one who did something wrong, or tell them that you didn’t actually hurt them. You don’t know their feelings. If they’re telling you that you hurt them, then you hurt them. Accept this and apologize.”

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a christmas reunion

this christmas is already turning out to be one for the books.

my entire life there has been this empty feeling inside not knowing my father or his side of the family. luckily, i have my mother and our amazing family i’ve been loved by since day one. still, that curiosity has always been there, in the back of my mind.

i have random memories of him (which is crazy because i was about 2 the last time i saw him) and a home video from christmas that year. other than that, i haven’t seen him since and knew nothing about him other than his name.

on my 16th birthday, as my best friend and i were working at the community pool, we pulled out the phone book (probably the last time i used one) and searched for his name.

we found it.

within a few minutes, i was talking to my biological father and learning about my family, including my brothers, matt and jacob, and sister, morgan. i can’t remember what else we talked about, but it blew my mind. a few days later, as my friend and i were driving to jonesboro, my phone rang and it was my brother, matt. we ended up meeting him and his girlfriend, ashley. i haven’t seen them since, but ashley and matt married and i have two adorable nephews, brooks and beck. we would randomly keep in touch, but moving to utah hindered us seeing each other.

as time went on this would be something i wouldn’t talk to many people about. i’m not sure why, really. it could be because i didn’t know where to begin or what to say. or maybe i wasn’t wanting to accept it. either way, it’s just been something i’ve kept to myself. with that being said…

flash forward to saturday, december 19th.

after hearing from him on thanksgiving and unable to meet him, i talked with my father and told him i was interested in meeting with everyone. he was so happy and more than willing. then, last night as i was driving the 3+ hours from fayetteville to my hometown, i decided to see if he would want to meet when i went through harrison. he did. and we did.

i can’t explain how it felt because i think i’m still in shock.

it’s a very surreal thing to think about. having this entire side of the family you’ve never known and who has never known you, but i’m grateful.

so, thanks to those who have listened to me freaking out over the last couple days, even if you didn’t know what to say. it’s definitely shown me who is there and who cares, and for that i’m grateful.

it seems like i’ll be meeting a few others this week, so we’ll see how it all goes haha.

until then, here’s a photo of my father and me, 27 years later.

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merriest christmas to you and yours

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the art of experience

when i left utah a little over a year ago i would’ve never thought i’d miss it. ever. i was so burnt out on life and situational problems that i just needed to leave. i didn’t plan, i just left. at the time, it was exactly what i needed to do.

i had the opportunity to spend 10 days in utah a couple weeks ago. i can’t begin to explain what i felt when i saw the mountains again. all i could do was take pictures of them – up the canyon, from the freeway, on the side of the road…everywhere. there’s something about being enveloped in nature like that – surrounded by things so much bigger than yourself – physically and spiritually.

i spent one morning alone, driving through the canyon and thinking about my life over the last 16 months. what goals have i set for myself and how close am i to reaching them? what lessons have i learned? i’m closer now than i was at the beginning, but i got stuck in the middle. having time in utah to clear my head and rededicate my mind to following through with things is what i needed.

i’ve lost friends, made new ones and realized who and what i really need in my life. there’s a lot of bullshit out there and people who aren’t helping you grow as a person or inspiring you to do great things. sorting through it can be hard because once you do it’s easy to feel like you wasted a lot of time and energy on things that didn’t really matter. luckily, there’s always some good to pull out of the experience – and as mark groves (@createthelove) said, “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” it’s so true. you gain experiences, you learn from them, and you keep going. and there’s nothing wrong with that.

as i work on finishing school i know that arkansas isn’t where i’ll always be. i get told that maybe one day i’ll find a place where i’m happy but the thing is – it has nothing to do with not being happy. regardless of external struggles i have never felt this happy and this much myself. i know that i have so much to give as a person and when there’s nothing tying you down there’s no reason to stay in one place.

some people understand that and some don’t.
and that’s okay.
the world needs both types of people.

and no matter who you are, the experiences will continue. enjoy them no matter the outcome.

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2014 • the year of letting go

Our past year together has been bittersweet. In the midst of all the trials, heartache and tears there was also endless smiling and laughter. When you came along I was ending a marriage and beginning a new chapter of my life. I was full of uncertainty and doubt. I spent the first few months in a haze; always doing something and being around new and old friends. I wasn’t processing through anything. It was during that time when I was with someone who opened my eyes to love again. And I fell. I fell and he wasn’t there to catch me. You see, I’ve learned that age doesn’t matter. You can be 24, 31 or 57. Everyone has their own demons and self-doubts that they’re fighting on a daily basis. They can seem to have it together in certain parts of their lives, but other areas may be a mess. After months of questioning things and trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, I succumbed to everything I had been avoiding. My demons came forward and I had to face them. I had to begin taking some sort of action or else I wouldn’t have made it. I had to begin letting myself feel. All the emotions I had suppressed needed to be accepted and worked through.

“Pain demands to be felt.”

You can’t ignore it. You can’t run from it. Sometimes you can’t just let things go…you have to sit with it a bit, feel the weight of it, then work through it. It doesn’t happen over night and I’m learning to be okay with that. We are a society of instant gratification, but when dealing with the heart, mind, and soul we sometimes have to wait it out. Patience isn’t my strong suit so I definitely struggle with this. Life will always happen. The absolutely terrible days will come, then you’ll eventually see the silver lining. The greatest thing I finally learned this year is something I’ve been told my entire life…

it’s okay to ask for help.

We aren’t meant to go through struggles alone. No one should suffer in silence, but it takes a lot to be vulnerable.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Not knowing if other people will be there and accept your flaws is terrifying, but it’s when you’re open to the possibility of hurt that you grow the most. It’s in those moments that you receive so much more out of life. 2014, you have taught me to love wholeheartedly even if it’s not reciprocated. To help others, but also to set boundaries. Not everyone is ready to see your bare soul. What I do know is that I feel more certain about who I am and where I’m going than I have in a long time. I have clear goals and opportunities ahead that I have to take advantage of. I know I have the capability to give and receive love. The dark times have shed so much light on what’s to come, and despite the heartache I will not close myself off.

You broke my heart, opened my eyes, and showed me who I am. So thank you for all you’ve given me, 2014, but I have to let you go.

I must release you so I can release myself.

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