Thursday, March 28, 2013

Five minutes when you're 23 years old.

[Munich. December 2012.]

“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.”
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is me asking.

I rolled over, checked my phone, and felt defeated when I saw that the time read 6:22 a.m. I hadn't even so much as dozed off since I had laid down the night before around ten. My thoughts were battling each other, running themselves in circles, all the while running my hope and Faith into the ground. My heart was pounding and my muscles longed to relax. I felt abysmally helpless. Helpless in the scary kind of way. 

Then I decided to turn to Mother Mary, which, admittedly I so rarely do. Whether it be out of stubbornness-- my longing to do things on my own, like a little child insistent on pouring their own glass of milk; or whether it be the fact I feel incredibly unworthy of bothering Her with my troubles. In any case, I listened to The Rosary on my iPhone -- if any statement could described the times we live in today, that would be definitely be one -- and tried with all my soul to follow along and focus on every word. This is, however, what it most likely resembled: 

"Hail Mary, full of Grace... I need grace. How do I get it. Grace is the last word to describe me. Why am I this way? Can you learn grace? oh, right! Focus... Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb Jesus... I'm not going to be able to wake up tomorrow. Insomnia is awful. I feel terrible for every person trying to sleep right now that can't. I wonder if they are sad. I wonder why?... Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy... oh mercy. Mercy is what I need right now. Mercy. Do I just ask for it? Jesus can you please have mercy on me?... In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen..."

I didn't feel much different than before, except the words mercy and help were now at the forefront of my mind. 

Help, help, help.

I need mercy. 

This is what I need, I realized. It's simple enough in theory, but oh so hard to ask for.

Help me, help me, help me, I repeated until -- alas -- I drifted off to sleep.


The next day I was devouring the words from some of my favorite bloggers when I happened upon this post from the ever-inspiring and enlightening Chelsea:

Be there before someone needs to ask. Rush to their side. Assume they need tequila. Assume they need you to listen. Assume they need a bowl of spaghetti. Be still and silent. Expand your own heart and test your humanity by being brave enough to truly comprehend what they must be feeling. 


Give your pain a name and let the people who love you, snuggle up next to that distinct, bitter anguish and let them endure the thing with you. When you feel stale and vacuous, ask for a sip of their light to start the engines again. Then let them sweep you away from the ache, if even for a moment and make you smile again. Let them distract you. Take you on an adventure. Stimulate your senses, through food and music and newness. Let those around you make you feel alive again,when you're enduring the deepest opaque moments, when you think it isn't possible- feel. alive.

It's okay to ASK. For more PARMESAN. For more cuddles. For help. ASK, ASK. ASK.

So this is me asking for help, for mercy, in this terrifyingly unknown season of my life. 
Help, help, help. I need Mercy.


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Monday, March 25, 2013

{Quote of the Week.}

“You must do everything you can to get what you want and need, to find “that type of love.” It’s there for you…. I do know that we are here, all of us — beasts and monsters and beauties and wallflowers alike — to do the best we can. And every last one of us can do better than give up…. You’re going to have to be brave. You’re going to have to walk into the darkest woods without a stick.. You will be likewise transformed, the same as love transforms us all. But you have to be fearless enough to let it transform you… put your best self out there with as much transparence and sincerity and humor as possible….Walk without a stick into the darkest woods. Believe that the fairy tale is true..” —Dear Sugar
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

We'll always have Munich.

It was not my home. 
It was not yours.

The city was a new playground for us -- a fresh canvas upon which we could paint our own experiences without the traces of the past muddling our present.

We were unknown to each other. Unknown to the city. Unknown to the future.

We made every inch of that city our own. We ran to catch subways and declared the corner of the main station our home-base. We'd meet for lunch and just wish for time to stand still. We'd rush and hope that the obligations of life would just let us be. If only for a minute. If only for one more kiss.

We knew each minute passing was working against us. Our time together was finite. Finite and rarely spoken of.

We dodged that truth like we dodged the traffic in the main square.

It was too painful a truth.

As with all truths, they eventually demand to make themselves known.

They come barreling at your like a freight train. Insistent to remind you that it was all too good to be true -- nothing this good has ever lasted for you. Why should it now?

Time and truth, they grabbed our things and kicked us out of our new city and we gave in. We were too weak to fight. Too heartsick to refute.

In a week you will be gone. And not long after I will be, too.  -- And we do not know when fate will allow us to cross paths again. (I pray to God every night that it will be soon.)

But as I told you, as we held each other before saying goodbye;

We'll always have Munich.
which we may not always call home, 
but it will forever be ours.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

'For Women Who Are Difficult to Love' by Warsan Shire

For Women Who Are Difficult to Love
written by Warsan Shire

and you tried to change didn’t you? 
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”


Last night I prayed for signs, affirmations, help. 
Today I discovered the words of Warsan Shire.

The power of prayer. The power of asking.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

{Quote of the Week.}

[Marienplatz has been the setting for so many of my experiences in Munich. It's my home-base here.]
“Such is the nature of an expatriate life. Stripped of romance, perhaps that's what being an expat is all about: a sense of not wholly belonging. [...] The insider-outsider dichotomy gives life a degree of tension. Not of a needling, negative variety but rather a keep-on-your-toes sort of tension that can plunge or peak with sudden rushes of love or anger. Learning to recognise and interpret cultural behaviour is a vital step forward for expats anywhere, but it doesn't mean that you grow to appreciate all the differences.” ― Sarah Turnbull
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taking it all in.

Some excerpts from one of my go-to books when I feel weary and hopeless; Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist.

“There are times when the actual experience of leaving something makes you wish desperately that you could stay, and then there are times when the leaving reminds you a hundred times over why exactly you had to leave in the first place.” 

“We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.” 

“I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.” 

“...sometimes the happiest ending isn't the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.” 


I have it on cd and have it looping in my car. 
It's like medicine for the heart.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

You march on.

You get up.

Take a shower.
Catch your breath.
Force yourself to eat something.
Put on your sassiest lipstick.
Remind yourself to breathe.
Say hello.
Hold your head high.
Be yourself.
Say Goodbye.
Send along your love.
Give yourself some peace.
You stand under the stars.
Inhale the fresh, snowy air.
You look up in awe.
Thank God for what was.
What is.
And what is going to come.
You continue to love.
You exhale slowly.
Look forward.
You take one step.
Then the next.

You march on.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

With a little help from my friends.

I've been watching Friends, Skyping with friends and family back home, reading and appreciating the messages you all have sent me.

And even when I feel just awful, my God, what love surrounds me.

Obsessed with this site right now. 
“Ross, hi.  It’s Rachel.  I’m just calling to say that, um, everything’s fine.  And I’m really happy for you and your cat - who, by the way, I think you should name Michael.  And, you know, you see there, I’m thinking of names, so, obviously, I am over you.  am over you.  And that, my friend, is what they call closure.”

Also, I am the kind of person that has to have closure. Has to. I can't decide if it's a good thing or not, but really, it helps me. So who cares what everyone else thinks? 

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To all the people who have ever sobbed on public transportation.

Today I made the lady on the customer service line laugh. 

It wasn't until I heard her laugh that I was able to smile today.

I think breakups suck. I think if we gathered all of humanity together we could all forget our differences by sharing our tales of heartbreak. We could all realize that no one is safe from it.

It's a turmoil I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. That's how much it can hurt.

This "breakup" doesn't hurt as much as the one before did. Of course it feels as if it does because I'm however many miles away from home and as much as we hate to admit these things to ourselves, being around people of a similar background is just comforting. You don't have describe why you feel a way or how it's normal to feel a way back where you come from. You don't apologize for it all getting "lost in translation."

And, of course, it's made even harder by the 45min train ride back home spent in tears. The tears that you just can't stop. The tears you want to apologize to everyone around you for--but realize the fact you aren't doing the whole hyperventilating kind of crying you really need to do--so decide they should be ok with a few quivers a few seats away.

My friends and family keep telling me it's not me. It's just life.

But how is it not me, whenever the common denominator in all of my relationships has been me?

Riddle me that, batman.

Ok, say it is me.

The reason I am typically the cause?

Because I "care too much."

It's a funny thing, this whole caring too much ruining everything.


But if I'm remembered as "the girl who cared too much*" that isn't so bad.


*And let's not confuse caring for overbearing. Hand to Heaven, I worry so much about being "clingy" that I become the exact opposite. So it's all a bit weird. 

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{Quote of the Week.}

“And then something invisible snapped insider her, and that which had come together commenced to fall apart.”  John GreenLooking for Alaska
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trying to write the worries away.

Writing, even just a blog post, is a funny thing. 

Sometimes I sit down and I've got nothing. zilch. nadda. I just don't feel it coming to me and I feel like it'd be phoning it in if I slapped something down. So I don't. Instead I get away from the computer and try and face my life head on. 

But sometimes, like today, I wake up and my fingers are buzzing. Oh the things I want to write! The things I want to say! Today is a writing day, if I may! (a la Dr. Seuss himself.)

So here I am, writing. Writing about writing. My goodness, get on with it, self! 

Spring is finally springing around these parts (well, I like to pretend that this warm-up is a thing of permanency) and it's the time of year when possibilities are blooming and the options are endless. How exciting, right?

Oh, very much so! For most. For me, well change is absolutely terrifying. As the wonderful Tina Fey once said “My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” and my all-time favorite line from her book, “It’s a burden, being able to control situations with my hyper-vigilance, but it’s my lot in life.” 

But unfortunately, knowing that worrying doesn't change an ounce of the intended outcome or fate, doesn't change the fact that I will still worry. About every detail. Every unknown. Every little thing there is to worry about. 

So right about now, being 23, in a country far away from home, looking for new career opportunities, starting a new relationship, trying to make rent each month, well these all factor in for a worrier's dream! The things one can worry about and criticize themselves for!

"Worrying won't change anything."

You could smash that fact into my thick skull all day long and I'd still wake up at least once a week mid-slumber itching and sweating from stresses that mulled their way into even my brain's off-hours. 

But this is nothing new. This has been a dragon I've been trying to slay my whole life. But, now, I'm just going to try and keep this dragon a little bit more at bay each day. So I will keep on, keeping on. 

In the meantime, I'm going to focus on the wonderful, worry-free things life has to offer. Like fresh tulips from the market and cartons of blueberries for only a Euro!

And enjoy distracting myself with the brilliance the internet sometimes has to offer. 
Ok, this as well.(the bon jovi and t-swift ones are the best.)
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Monday, March 4, 2013

{Quote of the Week.}

“If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They’ll hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you. But if you find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you’ll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there’s truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you.”-Shauna Niequist || bittersweet 
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