She Lived

“What do you want your tombstone to read?”

This was a question asked on a survey I was taking for a friends graduate class assignment earlier this week.  At first I scoffed at the question and passed it up to answer the other nine below it, but as I came back to it, I started to really ponder on it.

What do I want my tombstone to say when I am gone from this earth.  When friends, family, and strangers celebrate my life after it is over,  what do I want them to remember about me? Continue reading

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A Chaotic Masterpiece

Can I be real?  I mean really REALLY real. I’m talking about the you may find out way more about me then you truly want to know kind of real.

Today I woke up and I did something millions of us do each and every morning,  I jumped on Facebook to see what was going on in the world.

Come on, you know you do it to.  Gone are the days of CNN, Headline News, Fox, or MSNBC.  Now if I want to know what is truly going on in my town or beyond, I simply log on to social media.  Where else am I going to know what you ate for dinner last evening, how many miles you ran, or the latest model car your husband bought you?  Where else can I hear how incredibly disastrous our President is, what professional athlete or celebrity is currently offended, or how whatever product you are selling is going to change my life? Continue reading

Don’t Stop

 

 

Broken.  Bitter. Exhausted.

That is who I was a year and a half ago when I began what would become the wildest and most amazing journey I have ever embarked on.

Life just stunk, and I needed a change.  Continue reading

Unstoppable

“If you could describe yourself using only word, what would it be?”

This was a question I was asked this week on an application for a writing assignment I am pursuing.

I HATE those kind of questions.

REALLY hate them.

I never know what to say.  Should I fluff it up and say things like Motivated. Creative. Smart.  Or should I be brutally honest and say….Lazy. Spastic. Mediocre.

But today I did not struggle.  Today I knew the exact word I wanted to use.

Unstoppable. Continue reading

By All Means, Paint!

I hate art.

There I just said it.

I remember very vividly the day I realized I hated art.  I was in the 6th grade and was forced to take an art class along with my other peers for six LONG weeks.  Our final assignment was to paint a still life portrait of a vase of gaudy flowers our teacher had sat on the table before us.

Simple right?

For sixty minutes, my fingers worked their magic.  Sweat poured feverishly from my brow.  I was going to be the next Van Gogh.

Well, I’ll spare you the grizzly details, but what I remember most was my teacher saying, “Jessica, perhaps next year when you can choose your related arts activity, you should pick something BESIDES art.”

From that moment forward, I hated art.

My hatred for the subject was even more fueled by the fact my sister was an excellent artist.  She would doodle for countless hours making beautiful and creative designs that weren’t really anything, but were really impressive to look at.

Me?

Even my stick people looked shady.

So I let the Illusion that I could be an artist die.

I gave up.

Without a fight.

That has pretty much been the story of my life.  If something was hard, made me struggle, or someone told me I was doing it wrong, I dropped it.  Cold turkey.   Clearly this wasn’t for me, or it would be easy right?

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Of course that way of thinking only left me feeling even more bitter and angry at the world, so I knew I needed to make some changes.

And I did.

And then I thought I was all better.

But of course….. I wasn’t.

Over the past year, I have developed a strong and incurable passion for hiking and being outdoors.  There is no other place that I feel more alive and at home, then out in the woods.  I have hiked over 600 miles in a little over a year, developed some amazing friendships, and seen and done some amazing things.

But the old me is still deep inside, and sometimes she likes to come out.

She tells me that I am too fat, too ugly, too slow, too weak, to unlikable, too introverted, too extroverted, too messed up, too insecure, too dumb, too cocky, and sometimes just too much.

I don’t like her.

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She doesn’t show up too often, but when she does, she comes at me with all guns loaded and aimed at me.

A couple months ago she showed up, and decided to stick around for a while.  She followed me to work. She followed me to church.  She followed me on outings with my friends and family. She even followed me when I went and cut off 13 inches off my hair last month.

“Are you really going to wear that?”

“Are you really going to eat that? You’re fat enough…just eat carrots.”

“Are you really going to try and do that?  Good luck.  Hope you have a nice dress to be buried in.”

For the first couple of weeks I didn’t listen, but she got more and more persistent, and pretty soon the jabs got harder and harder to ignore.

Last weekend it finally became more then I could take.  While on a hike with my ultra fit and amazing sister and another friend, I struggled.  I didn’t feel well, and the climb was tough.  All I wanted was my couch and big ole glass of coke.  I did good shutting out the hateful me,  until the three ladies over the age of 60 passed me going up the mountain.

“Well, well, well…. do you believe me now?  You are NOT cut out for this.  You suck.  You are weak. You are too fat, and clearly you just a wanna be.”

That was all I needed to hear.  I was officially defeated.

I finished my hike, came home, and pouted.

A lot.

Now some may not understand what I am talking about, and that is good. Consider yourself blessed, but some of you out there know all too well what I experienced and how real, frustrating, and defeating it is to have those kinds of conversations with yourself.  Others will tell you to get over it, move on, it isn’t real, and that you are just being a baby. But some of us know the realness and struggle all too well.

It has been a crappy week.  I have wallowed in my self frustration for seven long days.  I created my own little pity party with me as the only guest.

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Sad and pathetic I know.  Go ahead.  Laugh.

But this morning I got up and I opened my devotional for the day, and instead of the bible verse that went along with it inspiring me, it was the quote the author used.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You can’t paint,’ then by all means paint, and the voice will be silenced.” ˜ Vincent van Gogh

That voice is always going to be inside my head telling me I can’t.  And you know what, I am okay with that now.  Because ultimately I am the one with the power.  She may speak, but it is up to me to chose to listen and believe.

So go ahead evil girl inside of me, talk away.  You may tell me I am not good enough, but I chose not to listen.  Instead I will draw on what I know I can do.  Over the past year I have done and seen WAY more than I ever thought I could, so that proves that I am pretty amazing.

I may not be skinny, all that gorgeous, fast, considered a part of the in crowd, or even in shape. But I AM determined, stubborn, full of sass, adventure, and crazy adorable.

Some may have stopped reading a long time ago, but to those of you who stuck it out, listen…… You are AWESOME.  You are able to do AMAZING things.  DO NOT listen to that voice inside of you that tells you different.  You may not reach all your goals, you may not do it with style and grace, and you may fall down along the way, but listen, the ONLY way you or I will ever fail is if we don’t TRY!

Keep going.  Keep moving forward.  Pushing through the frustrations, the pain, the looks, and the comments.

Paint!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go find where I put those paintbrushes…. I feel a masterpiece coming on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste Each Day

Some days I feel like I am in a war.

With myself.

The internal battle inside my head is crazy intense and I find myself arguing with my inner self like two 10 year old girls.

“You are such a baby!”

“No I”m not!  You are!”

“Whatever loser!”

“I know you are but what am I?” Continue reading