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Finding the Heart in Heartache

“I feel like it’s never wrong to have cared too much” said Carmen, in all of her cool and calm wisdom, after being on the receiving end of a long, rolling rant about my newfound mission to give up on finding love. I had, just the night before, opened my heart to someone and was met with a less than desirable response. A situation that, to my growing displeasure, I was becoming all too familiar with.

Heartbreak- a feeling that is somehow both unique and universal. In every itteration it feels like a distinct flavor of emotion that can only have ever have been felt by you and you alone. And yet, simultaneously, it is a singular thread that has woven it’s way through every soul on earth. Everyone has a scar or two to bear from it’s persistent path through the human condition.

I have always been, first and foremost, an emotional being. I am built up by the strings of feelings that extend from me to others. They are the tides that push and pull me as though I am a puppet- intrinsically controlled by the love I tie to the people in my life. At many points over the years (including the previously mentioned, exasperated rant to Carmen) I have looked at this as my personal, fatal flaw. My Achilles heal. A naive way in which I interact with the world that leaves me susceptible to being taken advantage of and looking foolish.

In the wake of a beaten and bruised heart, I look to this flaw of mine to blame. There you go Chelsie- loving too hard, caring too much, being over invested. Silly girl. Your bleeding heart got ahead of itself again. I feel the dull and ever present pain of my battered heart and try, once more, to wish away my ability to hold onto such vast amounts of emotion all at once. At this point in the darkness, my beautiful beams of light I call my friends step in.

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roommate/best friends/soulmate always knows what my heart needs to hear ❤

I am reminded by these beautiful beings that what I have characterized as an embarrassing attribute is actually a unique strength to be proud of. I should wear my open and deep heart as a badge of honor, not as a cross to bear. They remind me that I have always lead with my heart and, despite my current attitude, that is a worthwhile pursuit. And while it is wonderful to feel love on such deep and wide scales, it also means I feel the absence of it in the same capacity and I should not shy away from either side of the scale. There is a huge strength and power in having loved fully and freely whether or not that love is returned. There is force and fortitude in a heart that takes on heartache. In the midst of my despondent attitude I had forgotten- there is heart in heartbreak.

As they bring my head back above the water to gulp a breath of fresh and warm air, I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by my all time favorite poet, Tyler Knott Gregson:

Tyler poem

What a simple, revolutionary idea: we only have control over the love we give. And that love should be given freely and without conditions on others. This shift in the framework of my mind attached a buoy to my heart on the dark waters of heartbreak and helplessness. It gives me reason to smile, in spite of my disappointed heart. It reaffirms my over-zealous and impassioned existence and reminds me of how lucky I am to be surrounded by glittering threads of support and friendship that tie me to the best version of myself. They brighten up even the dimmest corners of my dark days and remind me to keep loving hard, consequences be damned.

 

Fernweh (n): Distance-sickness

 

There are a few quiet months between the holidays and the emergence of the life in spring where my soul aches deeper for adventure than any other time. The world quiets down after the hustle and bustle of December and early January. The world complacently settles back into daily routines and the unknown corners of the world start to pull at my restless heart strings.

I grew up in a tiny town in a house on a hill nestled next to an expansive wood full of woodland creatures and trickling streams. I have always enjoyed the feeling of being lost in the middle of the world with nothing but my thoughts and senses. It has allowed my creativity to blossom and my sense of self to grow roots. I always wandered through our woods purposefully aimless. Allowing my next step and direction to be guided by the beautiful tree or the sound of a bird. When I am a solivagant in these woods I can feel a warm, glowing light beaming out of the middle of my chest. It brings me back to center and gives me the craving to explore not only my inner depths, but the depths and layers of the beauty that exists in the world around us.

I believe it was these small moments next to these big trees that lead me to have this ever constant thirst to go into the world and soak up as much of it as I can. There is no feeling to match that of stepping off of a bus or train or plane and laying your eyes on people and places that you have never seen before. Trying to imprint every bit of beauty into the archives of your memory. Opening your senses up to new smells and colors and movements that did not exist to you before that moment. It is a rush that is, for me, never satisfied.

So, today I sit next to those thick woods planning my next escape into the world  to wander  next to vivid and vibrant people that I have not yet known. I am in the home I grew up in feeling home sick for my soul’s home: the state that I reach when purposefully lost and full of think and spilling over light. Let’s go. Let’s go get lost.

How to Heal a Hurting Heart- An Election Reaction

My name is Chelsie Webster and I am a 27 year old woman who has been grabbed by a strange man without my permission. He thought that it was his right to touch and feel me, a stranger, because he was a man and I was a young woman. He did this just because he wanted to. This made me feel violated, upset and unsafe. A man whom brags about this very act is now in a position to make choices about my body. My heart hurts.

For 5 years, I have taught muslim students. I have seen their faces light up because of their minds opening up to something new, because of my mispronunciation of their names and because I don’t know the words to the new Rihanna song as well as they do. I have met their wonderful, caring, refugee parents. I have seen the light that resides within these beautiful people. Their desire to make a good and respected life for themselves. Our president elect has reduced their religion to an ugly, scary, lie. My heart hurts.

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I am the great-granddaughter of immigrants. Somehow, we have all forgotten that most of us own a story similar to this one. We are here because someone back down the line chose to come here and make something of themselves. Mr. Trump has somehow equivocated the word “immigrant” to “un-American” and promoted building a wall to keep “them” out when our country was litterally built on the immigrant story (re: Hamilton). My heart hurts.

I have friends that have been targeted by hate groups like the KKK. They have felt unsafe in our country because of the color of their skin. The KKK has endorsed Mr. Trump and his ideals. He is now the leader of the free world. My heart hurts.

I teach children. My passion is in growing beautiful humans that are compassionate and empathetic and thoughtful. I would never let them say the things that have come out Mr. Trumps mouth. We have active anti-bullying programs in our schools, on Twitter, on Facebook and in our communities. We protect our loved ones from bullies with vigor. Mr. Trump, you have frequently bullied others with no remorse. You are now our children’s President and their example of a leader. My heart hurts.

Today, the American people elected an openly misogynist, proudly xenophobic, arrogantly racist, bullying, demagogue. My heart hurts.

My only response to Mr. Trump and this decision in this moment, is to try my damnedest to spread more good than all of his hate and fear. I will live each day with more love and compassion and empathy and acceptance than I ever have before. I will change this world for the better, Trump rhetoric be damned.

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I will stand for the disenfranchised and the scared. I will remind my tiny girls in hijabs that they are worthy of the american dream and that they will grow to be great and powerful and good. I will teach all of my boys that a woman is someone to be respected and model this by expecting respect from the men in my life. I will remind my girlfriends that I will always love their grit, heart and passions more than I will ever care about their physical appearance. I will reach out into disagreements with compassion and the intention to empathize and compromise. I will always remember that there is more good in this world than evil, and the good will always remain more powerful.

And Mr. President Elect, I expect the same from you.

As I would tell any of my 6 year old students acting as you have, you MUST make better choices. The way you treat people and talk to others matters. The american people have spoken, and I will respect this choice and the democratic process, but I will need more from you as the president of this great nation. We will need more from you. Make better choices. Because right now, the citizens of the United States of America, our collective heart hurts.

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Four in the Morning

The world can be an unpredictable and uncertain. It can feel random, and with this, impersonal. The random, uncertain, and seeming impersonal moments can lead to a hardened perspective towards the other souls that walk this world. But, after another watch and listen to my all-time favorite TEDTalk I was reminded to not see the world in this hardened way, but to see t’s random moments as serendipitous gifts. Maybe instead of impersonal, the random can be a welcome surprise. A new light in a dimming world. An interesting perspective that we had never had the chance to considered before.

This story allows us to redefine what adventure looks like and how, surprisingly, you can be in the middle of an adventure before you realize it even exists. It is full of friendship and kinship and romance and humor and beauty. And it reminds me how even silly small moments can enhance the way our world looks, even…rather, especially at four in the morning.

Enjoy.

https://embed.ted.com/talks/rives_a_museum_of_4_o_clock_in_the_morning

The World’s Best Boss

Today. Today is the day where everything changes. Today will draw a distinct line in my life, a line that marks before and after. An end and a beginning. Today is the day that one of the best people I know starts a new chapter which forcibly creates a new chapter in my very own story book. Today, our story starts anew.

Four years ago, almost exactly, I woke up dreading what felt like the 100th interview in a long string of bad interviews. I was on the hunt for a workplace that would recognize and match my enthusiasm for children, teaching and learning, but all I seemed to encounter was under-excited interviewers and jobs that seemed to fall flat against my expectations.

I remember distinctly opening my eyes that morning and thinking “would it even matter if I just didn’t show?” And, oh boy, it would have mattered more than I could have dreamed.

I begrudgingly pulled on my recently purchased, interview outfit and fought the scary, downtown Columbus traffic to make it to my set interview time. I sat in the car mustering up any bit of positivity left inside of me. I forced myself to box up the forlorn, tired thoughts to the back corner of my head and fake an optimistic attitude. After a final, deep breath, I pushed open my car door and headed up the concrete stairs with less pep-in-my-step than anyone who knows me now could imagine. Little did I know that the feelings of seemingly insurmountable  discouragement were about to be blown out of my mind by the tornado of sunshine and energy that is Kurt Huffman.

I don’t remember exactly what was said, but what I do remember is this bouncy, little man bounding toward me talking loudly and gesturing wildly. He helped lead me to the room that I was to be interviewed in by a panel of people (the largest and most intimidating interview setting I had ever been in) and already, because of his presence, the weight inside of me started to lift. A few questions into the interview, Kurt did his “okay, these questions are boring, lets get real”  thing he likes to do and I felt that special *connection* I had been craving. I finally felt a spirit of like minded people all gathered together to create something bigger than themselves. The rush of joy and laughter that filled me during that interview (yes, joy and laughter in an interview) was only a taste of what was to come.

I started my career at COSI as a COW (the endearing term for someone who travels with the 15 foot/5 ton box truck of science experiments, COSI on Wheels). I didn’t know it in the beginning, but I was getting so much more than a job from COSI. I was getting a reason to wake up each morning. I was uncovering a passion for my work and for the people that I worked along side that I didn’t even know could exist in a workplace. I was gaining a family. This family was the first place that I had ever felt like it was my duty and responsibility to come to every situation exactly as I was, in my most honest form. Every single anomaly was celebrated and welcomed. Kurt sat as the patriarch of this family. The example.

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He purposefully, yet covertly crafted the culture in which this family was to work and live. He allowed for vulnerability and questioning and not knowing the answer. He wanted us to be a group that bared their flaws and leaned into each other when we needed support and help. He showed us that even after a week of sleet, traffic, physical labor, and horrible people there was a funny story to be told as apposed to a reason to be jaded. He lead us through dark moments with the light of laughter and hugs. He reminded us that it was our lucky job to make sure kids had FUN while learning, so there was never a reason to take anything too seriously.

He innately understood something that so many do not. He knew that the culture of a team determined everything else. It is the predictor for productivity, team work and ownership in a workplace. He knew that it was with the utmost importance that this particular team spirit be upheld at all costs. He defended us and protected us from those who threatened to dismantle the magic we had created. He listened to and supported and encouraged us to be the best member of the family that we could be. And most importantly, he created opportunities for us to enjoy one another. He truly wanted us to get to know each other on a deep and personal level and care about the well being of each of our fellow family members.

He did this by creating a world that we all wanted to live in. I have laughed more at work than I have anywhere else. We kicked off every single week with a team meeting; I looked forward to this hour each and every week. We started the gathering with “learning moments” where we could tell stories of the previous week. We told stories of hardships and how we discovered ways through them or ask for help when situations left us at a loss. We shared the hilarious moments you can only encounter when working with children and the times when we got lucky enough to see the ever-beautiful “ah-ha” look of learning. We started each week  commiserating and learning and laughing with one another. At the ends of these meetings we always left 15 minutes to enjoy each other with a team bonding game. We played two truths and a lie. We played charades. We just played. And this playing wasn’t exclusive to Monday mornings; we had a full assortment of holidays and traditions. Some of which included:

  • Back to School Bash (Complete with a “guess who” of school photos)
  • Halloween Dress Up Day (Including a “trick-or-treat” to other departments to ask for candy. Most people would end up putting assorted office supplies into our outstretched bags)
  • Turkey Decorating Competition (and awards from the “Judging Committee” …aka Kurt)
  • Holiday Secret Santa Exchange and Pot Luck Party
  • New Years “Resolution Roulette” (this is where an assortment of resolutions are created and placed into a hat and then drawn by each person. I specifically remember a 2015 resolution of mine being “Drink more protein shakes. Get jacked. Pick up chicks.” I can firmly report that I was less than successful)
  • Valentines Day Box Decorating/Valentine giving (and subsequent awards… the judging committee was very active in our workplace)
  • Mikey’s Karaoke Nights
  • Huffapoloza (Yes, a “Lollapalooza” in the Huffman backyard. Complete with a band line-up (UKULAMO FOREVA), camping, and karaoke)
  • “The” Rehab Tavern happy hours
  • Grey Day (the holiday specifically dedicated to making fun of Kurt’s fashion choices)
  • End of the Year Awards (Think “The Dundies” from The Office… the judging committee is at it again)
  • The Juan Pablo wig, Captain Virtue, Head-balling, Scaring Trausch, Running Laps, holding your pee like a 4 year old, rubbing your hands together when something was too exciting, etc.

The list goes on and on. Somewhere in between all of these things we did talk and do business, but that’s not what I remember. I remember laughing and loving my people more and more as the weeks passed. I wanted to work hard because I wanted to show up for these people that I cared about so deeply.

Through all of this, I have found a group of people that hold on to me tightly and wouldn’t dare let go. They jump in without hesitation when things get chaotic and elevate me to the best version of myself. They show me new and exciting sides of life. They laugh with me at my silly little shortcomings. They love me and I love them, unconditionally. I have met people who I truly call soulmates because of this family I was lucky enough to have been pulled into. Kurt is one of these people, but he is more than just one of the group. He is the reason this magic even exists.

He is the reason that I was brave enough to step out of a safe and comfortable professional role and forge through uncharted, murky waters. He showed me that I can do and make and be anything as long as I remember to bring my full heart to the table and never take life too seriously. He has had faith in me when I have not and he has lifted me up when I struggled to keep climbing. He has pushed me to do the hard thing in order to teach me that the hard way is sometimes the path to growth. He has shielded me from those who wish me ill-will and modeled what it means to lead others as apposed to “managing” them. He has made me laugh so hard that I had stitches in my side and also let me shut his office door to break down into tears. He has not just helped me to grow, but to flourish and thrive. I won the lottery when Kurt Huffman walked into my life.

So, today. Today is the day I step out into the world without my safety net. Without my personal and protective tornado of sunshine and energy. But, because of knowing him I am forever changed for the better. The ripples of his impact will continue out into my life and shape me for years to come. I will strive to be more like him and do my damnedest to impact others in the way that he impacted me. He has left me behind with a second family and the belief that I can continue to bloom and experiment and learn. He has given me friendship and leadership and confidence. He has left me with more gifts than I will ever be able to thank him for. And because I have had the pleasure of growing in Kurt’s ever-bright and nourishing sunlight I know that, in his ever-famous words, it will all be just fine.

 

*Trausch has asked me to include a “ditto” on her behalf.

 

 

 

 

You Matter to Me.

There seems to be an urge to push away from one another when things get difficult or dark in today’s world. We want to point and blame and glare to all that we don’t understand or relate. We forget that we are all human and walking down parallel paths. We forget that we all similarly love others deeply and feel pain when hurt. This pushing away stems from categorizing some of us as “other” and equating different as negative. When did the blue flower among the field of red become less beautiful, less of a flower? It does not smell any less fragrant or appeal any less to the eye. All it has done is to give a bit of unique beauty and spark a bit of interest among the equally beautiful red flowers. All are flowers. All are comparably lovely.

So let us all remember that we are all human. We all deserve compassion and empathy and kindness. We are in this diverse and difficult experience together. We will all struggle and fail. We all feel the warmth of the sun on a summer day and enjoy the sounds of rain as it falls. We are all radiant. We will always be more the same than we ever are different. Instead of pushing away, let us grab one another, pull every person in tight and close and say “you matter to me.” Each precious human life matters. Every. Single. One.

Let us turn this darkness into a place where we can finally start to see the value in every special spark of life that illuminates this earth. Let’s look into one another’s  eyes with the intent to see the incomparable human fire that resides within. Weather or not that light flickers in unison to our own, every single sparkle makes a difference to this world. It matters. Let us soften our edges to one another, unclench the tightened muscles of the unknown. Our days can only get warmer and brighter when we bask in each other’s glow. 

YOU MATTER TO ME.

You Matter To Me- Sara Bareilles

I could find the whole meaning of life in those sad eyes
They’ve seen things that you never quite say, but I hear
Come out of hiding, I’m right here beside you
And I’ll stay there as long as you let me

Because you matter to me
Simple and plain and not much to ask from somebody
You matter to me
I promise you do, you, you matter too
I promise you do, you see?
You matter to me

It’s addictive the minute you let yourself think
The things that I say just might matter to someone
All of this time I’ve been keeping my mind on the running away
And for the first time I think I’d consider the stay

Because you matter to me
Simple and plain and not much to ask from somebody
You matter to me
I promise you do, you, you matter too
I promise you do, you see?
You matter to me

And you matter to me
Simple and plain and not much to ask from somebody
You matter to me
I promise you do, you
(Out of hiding I’m right here beside you)
You matter too
(As long as you have me)
I promise you do, you, you matter too
(Out of hiding I’m right here beside you)
I promise you do, you, you matter too
(I do, I promise you do, you matter to me)
I promise you do, you see
You matter to me

#BlackLivesMatter

How can I help?

 

The Lake: A Story of Loyalty, Love and Tradition

I grew up in a family where your siblings were your best friends, your cousins stepped in as brothers and sisters and the word “aunt” or “uncle” was synonymous with “parent.” This family was large in numbers, but even larger in loyalty, love and tradition.

This tribe I was woven into was bursting at the seams with adventure and excitement. They made room for inquiry and curiosity and deep belly laughs. They let me and my fellow tribe-lings play on the edge of our limits in order to discover our sense of self and our personal boundaries. Many times they knowingly let us stick a few toes over that boundary line just to test the murky waters.

I cherished this part of myself and my life. I was always looking forward to more time with my people. More fearless adventures into the woods on four-wheelers that were slightly too large for us. More make believe castles and battles and hair salons while climbing trees in a cousin’s back yard. More silly games with 50 people crammed in a house not built for 50, all laughing, and running, and talking over one another. I always realized that I had a lucky draw, but until adulthood I never realized how lucky.

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On the tail end of spending a week with this particular family and some of our biggest traditions, I have tried to reflect on what it is that has created such an unbreakable, distinctive, close-knit group. I look around me and I am astonished with the longevity and enormity of this beast we have created. I have told stories and, to be quite frank, bragged about my family since I can remember, and never once have I stumbled on a similar flavor of family to ours.

If our band of people had a motto, a mission statement, it would be “Family First.” I think that loyalty and love underline every relationship in our family. To have earned your keep in this family is to have been loyal to every member of it. A united front. A strong, stable and supportive presence that protects its own. This is not to say that we do not have our discourse and our faults. We love each other as much as we love to argue and fight and even hold grudges with each other. But none of these things ever happen without the understanding that “I am mad at you AND I love you AND when it comes down to it, I still have your back.”

Beyond pure love and loyalty, our family has made it our sole mission to have as much fun as one family can possibly have in one day. And then, just when it seems that we have reached our limit, we try to squeeze out just a fraction more. This aspect of our family’s dynamic is what I believe to be the real glue …no… cement that holds each of us to the other. It creates lasting and joyful memories that links each of us to that beautiful, light part of life. It helps us to forget our differences and past wrong doings and put away our opinions in order to celebrate the love that we have for each other and the joy that exists in this world if you just allow time for it. This part of my family is what I hold most near and dear. It is what brings me back to air when I feel like I have been drowning in whatever hardship I may be going through.

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Just one quick memory and I am reminded to fill my cup to the brim every single morning and to not leave one sip of joy or life untouched at the end of the day. Because how could you not smile at the thought of 50 adults dressed in costume forming their own bike parade to the local ice cream parlor on a Sunday night? Or laugh at the memory of a 16 year old, 30 year old and 60 year old all slip-and-sliding into home base in a family game of “Kiddy-Pool-Kickball”? How could you not be reminded of the small joys in life when presented with the image of 20 wish lanterns leaving the hands of young and old from the beach and the dance party that ensued after? These are the happiest memories of my life. Every single one of them packed to burst with joy.

These values has been distilled into every relationship in this vast and dynamic family and it is never more apparent then during The Fourth of July. This day has, for me, become synonymous with my families values. This one singular weekend is when we shine our brightest. Every single last star on the family map illuminated for the world to see. Each relationship strengthened by the traditions and the memories and the support that seeps into every moment of every day.

This emense group travels to Huron, Ohio on the sandy shores of Lake Erie every summer as though it is a primal migration. We all live in scattered parts of the country leading unique and interesting lives, but for this precious moment in time, this one holiday, we all allow ourselves to step out of our day-to-day, adult routines and step back into that adventurous, limit testing, belly laughing kid that grew up with 26 cous-isters/ bro-sins and more parents than we could count. We allow ourselves to let go of our  mundane worries and be wrapped in this tightly-knit blanket of understanding and belonging in this place of our lovingly threaded memories.

After making memories like these, I re-enter my daily life feeling braver and fuller and more excited about life. Because of these people, I am reminded that if I fail or fall or even if I am shoved to the ground, I will be loved and I will have an army behind me when I am helped back up. This gift is one that I will never be able to repay, but I hope that I will be able to pass on to anyone who enters my life. It is a tribe that welcomes all who are loyal and loving and full of light. We hope to see you next year, Happy Fourth.

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#McWebStaKerbZie

McGill, Webster, Staker, Kerbs, Cozzie

My Tribe. My Family. My Ever-Lasting Patronus.

Rock and Nan, Steve, Mary, Stephen, and Shellie , Stephanie, Jason, Bricen, Blake, Brenton, Brevin, and Blaine, Stacie, Jad, Laila, Sahara, Zane and Nash, Sandra, Chris and Stella, Sue, Rod, Mikey, and Alyssa, Amy, Brian, Ayden and Baby Girl, Sara and Brian, Pam and Ray, Brooke and Tyler, Dad, Mom, Jaren, Johnny and Jansen, Jill, Jim, Justin, Julie and Jessica, Jodie, Ken, Karie, Kris and Danny, David, Lana and Malachi, Rocky, Debbie, Kirstin, Logan, Luke, Nannaw and Pappaw, Jim and Cara, John and Rick, Tom, Letty, Tommy and Brianna, Chad and Nicole. Cozzies and Rueteniks. *

*And all of you honorary tribe members ❤

 

I love you all.

 

This is not the end of me, this is the beginning

I believe if I knew where I was going I’d lose my way
I believe that the words that he told you are not your grave
I know that we are not the weight of all our memories
I believe in the things that I am afraid to say

Hold on, hold on

I believe in the lost possibilities you can see
And I believe that the darkness reminds us where light can be
I know that your heart is still beating, beating, darling
I believe that you fell so you would land next to me

‘Cause I have been where you are before
And I have felt the pain of losing who you are
And I have died so many times, but I am still alive

I believe that tomorrow is stronger than yesterday
And I believe that your head is the only thing in your way
I wish that you could see your scars turn into beauty
I believe that today it’s okay to be not okay

Hold on, hold on

‘Cause I have been where you are before
And I have felt the pain of losing who you are
And I have died so many times, but I am still alive

This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on) This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on) This is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning
(Hold on, I am still alive) this is not the end of me, this is the beginning

 

 

Friendship and Flowers

 

How do they know? They just know.

My friends have a sixth sense…a secret, superpower. It’s this uncanny ability to know when my mind is headed toward a dark corner and just what will pull be back from the depth of that dark day. Recently, I’ve been wandering down far too many dark allies and they have consistently been there to take my hand and show me my light.

My tiny home is currently scattered with gifts of yellow daises, white hydrangeas and this beautiful pink flower that I do not have a name for. These flowers sit in the bathroom, near my bed, on the book shelves and any other tiny spot I can fit them. They serve as bright, beautiful, blooming reminders of all of the love and light that surrounds me. Each different in color and fragrance, but all leaving me feeling a bit more abloom for having been in their presence. Just the same affect my  vibrant, calming, joyful friends have on my soul.

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I don’t know exactly which wooded, wildflower strewn path lead me to the bouquet of people that I have had the joy of collecting , but I am so thankful for every single wandering step. Each of my exquisite people highlight a different part of my floral soul. They enhance my world in such complimentary colors . Because of them, I laugh, deep belly laughs. Because of them I am not afraid to break down and cry or wonder at the world and get angry. They always hold me accountable and sometimes, just plain hold me when what I need most is holding. They are my perfect array of breathtaking blossoms.

Each is so special. Each takes care of me in their perfect way. I am a flourishing, whole person because of all of these beautiful hands that hold me up and together. I am so glad that they have reached down and picked me from the dirty ground and decided to keep and water me. They will always be the warm, nourishing sunlight that I grow towards.

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“I believe that the darkness reminds us where light can be” –I Believe, Christina Perri