Category Archives: Uncategorized

It Takes a Village

This past weekend, I moved from my first “adult” apartment of two years into a new one. It’s a bit closer to my work, and it’s a fresh start. This week has been a lot of unpacking, donating, rearranging things to fit into a slightly smaller space, breaking down boxes, all while battling a stuffy nose.

There was a moment during the moving process when I sat in a half-circle with my friends, all of us with beers cracked open in our hands, when I realized these are my people–this is my village.

It takes a village to do anything well. “Well” is my operative definition. I will be the first to tell you, that we can do a lot of things on our own. We can shop by ourselves, and eat by ourselves (which is healthy independence). We can move homes by ourselves and refuse to ask for help. We can keep our own secrets, and we can keep our pain to ourselves (not so healthy). Ultimately, we, as humans, can survive on our own–but we are not living well.

But there is such a beautiful grace in vulnerability and asking for help.  I will also be the first to admit that asking for a helping hand is really hard. It reminds me of my shortcomings, and makes me realize that while I am a good survivor, I am still learning the art of living well. And the importance of creating a village is a topic I will probably write about later, but for now, the focus of this is recognizing your village.

This past weekend I had to move, and I had to ask for help. I had to trust that my friends would come to my aid when I asked–and they did. They came (one of them even showed up after three margaritas), and they drove (the one who drank didn’t drive), and they loaded and unloaded. They opened my bottle of beer, and sat and laughed with me and encouraged me when I felt the anxiety of relocating.

And that’s when I realized–when I took a moment to look up from survival mode to life-savoring mode–I had my village. My village of imperfect people, doing wonderful things.

village

I say imperfect because, ultimately, that’s what people are: imperfect. I can tell you some of the moments these people have hurt my feelings with their words, and in the same breath, I can tell you the moments their words made me feel like I could be irrevocably brave–and that’s what it is to have your village. Your village is the ones who are with you, growing you to be a better person and loving you each step of the way, even when it’s difficult.

Your village will be imperfect. They will be people full of faults, just like you. And they will be the people who will love you and help you when you give them a chance by giving yourself a chance to be vulnerable and asking for help.

It takes a village to do anything well. When you’re stressed, your village will hold you up, and when they’re stressed, maybe they’ll know they can turn to you, too.

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Filed under Mental Health, Relational, Uncategorized

Grief and Loss and Peace

I write this with vivid images in my head.

With images of the time I was in high school sitting in front of a loud boy with a purple shirt as he and his friends made nipple jokes because this boy likes to wear particularly tight shirts that always seemed to show off his nipples.

With images of the first time I left the United States for just south of the border–to seeing prostitutes standing along the wall of a shabby building, dressed like school girls, calling out to men to make money for the night.

Again to “nipple boy”. Now we’re at our first semester at community college. He’s still wearing tight nipple-showing shirts, and I’m still wearing black, and he’s walking around campus with me on a warm afternoon. We talk a little, but there’s also a good silence. And I think that this boy, this popular, football team and wrestling team boy spent free time with me, a girl who wore heavy black eyeliner and listened to screamo, teaching me that people are more than their stereotypes.

Another image to when I first left North America and went to Europe. When the man next to me rolled up the window blind in the plane and I caught a glimpse of the clouds–and suddenly my large world became so much smaller in the best possible ways.

And these images collide into today. Today, “nipple boy”, Frank, is no longer with us. Energetic, endless prankster, open-soul Frank passed away earlier this week. My beloved large and small world, full of cultures and lands I yearn to experience, hurts as humans decide hatred is bigger than love. I am grieving. I am grieving, I am grieving, I am grieving.

One day you’re 16 with a whole world to see and experience, and the next day you’re 24, you’ve seen things, you’ve loved things, and my God, you’ve lost things.

This post is about that grief and loss. That aching hollowness in your lungs and stomach and the undercurrents of anger that make you want to shout to God that none of this is fair.

And this post is a beg to consider love. Love things fiercely and passionately. Frank and I were never “true” friends. Perhaps we made each other feel a little more seen and a little less lonely for brief periods of time. And the foreign lands I got to travel will always be such fond memories. Love the people in your life very, very hard–the ones who you’ve known for years and the ones who are your “just for right now” people. Love the places you come from and will go to. Forgive others who wrong you–but if you can’t forgive, instead, empower yourself to be better than those who wronged you and live life–because honestly, the ones who hurt you aren’t think about you as much as you think of them.

I hope that you who are grieving with losses find peace. My heart is for you. I hope that you who are filled with anger  also find peace. My heart is for you, too. It is my prayer that you live passionately and love wholly.

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Filed under Culture, Personal, Relational, Uncategorized