There is so much beauty around us. So much to look at and be thankful for. Yet, why do we have an easier time focusing on the bad than the good? For me, it's a constant battle to redirect my thoughts from negative to positive. Sometimes I forget the tactic of grabbing ahold of that negative thought as it creeps in and immediately tell it to leave, where there are times I let it linger and it can affect my whole day (or days to come).
I was having a moment; a moment where I didn't deal with anything. I let the bad thoughts not only creep in, but build up. And as they built up, I wallowed in them. I didn't deal with them. I just swam in my worries. It got to a point where I really broke down. I broke down alone at first, but finally opened up to my loved ones (which is a must, people!) and it was my dad that actually said a phrase that has been sticking with me since. He brought up the idea of "pressure" that this feeling of pressure I've been putting on myself, (whether it be career, finances, collegiate debt, etc.) can be of good use. He told me to not sit in this pressure and keep it as a bad thought, but to utilize it. This pressure, that in some shape or form dwells in all of us, does not need to tear us down, but it is to be used as fuel. It is fuel that drives us to change our daily patterns from bad to better. It's fuel that pushes us to get off our asses and create that beautiful life we were intended for.
Pressure is a wonderful tool.
While it's still a struggle, I've been trying to get back to my old self--the self that didn't seem to think any of the bad was worth even a millisecond of my brain's time; that self was given the gift of always viewing circumstances with the glass half full. So, I had my moment, but it's time to get back. Back to good thoughts, back to taking action when my life is in need of change.
These photographs are some of "the good stuff"; stuff that helps me see that there's always something lovely to marvel in (like a sweet child's hand holding a teensy chick), and that the pressure of life ain't all that bad.
Little hands, little chick.
Man's coloring, God's coloring.
Sweet, late-night diner moments with Sarah.
The beauty of a Midwest Fall represented in one, majestic building @ Short North Columbus.
City kiddos field trippin'.
Seeing a friend smile after a tremendous loss, and a rose for each of us in remembrance of him.
My circumstances have begun to change tremendously in which I then seem to follow. I graduated college. I moved out on my own for the first time, ever. And with all of that, I now question my existence and I really miss my family in one sweet, humble home.
I normally am not very good with change; at least in the initial stages of it all. (Emo-tional, you guys).
But when I take a step back, when I cut off the thought, "I wish I were still a kid," I realize I don't need to be 7 again to enjoy life. I've enjoyed every stage life has offered me. Everyone hated junior high and couldn't wait till high school; not me. Then, come senior year, everyone loathed high school; but man, did I weep on sweet, Mrs. Struckman's white blouse (and cover it with black mascara), on our last day at Oak Hills High School. I will say, come the end of college, I was eager to get on with it. Unfortunately, the motivating factor for me to graduate as soon as possible was the thought of how much debt I've accrued. Otherwise, I'd have to say, I would probably stay in college for... like, ever if I could. (Go Bearcats).
Through these stages, I can think back to all the people, events, activities, teammates, teachers, coaches that have come and gone, and all I can remember is loving all of it and loving all of them. Now, of course no matter the age, life has its sour moments, but we persevere, we suck it up, which brings us to where we are now.
So, here I am. 22, fresh out of college and out from under my mom's roof. And all of this is exciting; it's fun and it's liberating. The world is my friggin' oyster, damn it. Yet, I worry myself sick. Literally, I think I have made myself physically sick a time or two with making myself believe I need to have all the answers.
Shut up, Lex. Who has all the answers? Don't let the thought of not having answers keep you from going forward.
I think the biggest discourager to blame is ourselves. I know that to be true for me. I make up these insecurities in my head--some of them feel as if they don't even belong to me they are that deceitful. Certain thoughts that run through my mind are things I would never want anyone else to feel or think, so why think them for myself? Thoughts like these are called lies (well, derr - I have a point, okay). And they run through all of our heads. When they pop in your head, you have to redirect your focus and remind yourself of who you are, who you belong to and remember that the truth in who you are is just that; TRUTH. Truth is everlasting, eternal... whereas lies are temporary--unless you allow otherwise. But don't! Take heart! When a lie sparks in you, pray; focus on the good truths about who you are.
Although I'm only 22, my life has meant something thus far. Just one person telling me that I've made them feel beautiful, that I had introduced them to Jesus, encouraged them in anyway, or even gave them a simple smile, are things that make this [lovely, crappy, crazy, and lovely all over again] life, all worth it.
Since graduating college, I've begun to nitpick my life, thinking that maybe I'll find something in it that will open my eyes to what it is I want to do. What stands out is my love for people. I love people. I love getting to know them, hearing the brilliant, silly, heart-wrenching, crazy things you all have to say. And as I listen, I learn about you. And maybe not everything you say is perfectly poised or sweet, but I feel I have a gift to find the good in you, all of you. (Pessimists, call me crazy). But, I believe this to be true of myself, and as I find the good, I like to let you know it. I want you to hear it and believe it. I, above all, want to make people feel good about themselves. And now that I'm about $20,000 in debt, I hope that I can use that godforsaken degree to help my gifts flourish, somehow. I'm not sure what that looks like yet--what "company" it will lead me to, what "title" it will give me, or even what city it will take me to, but that's what I want to do, folks. And I'll be honest, I'm not sure what my first step should be from here, but that's okay; baby steps. My first decision doesn't have to be permanent and I don't have to have all the answers. As I go, I am going to try my best to lighten up on myself and enjoy the process.
I'll keep you updated on my journey as I continue to learn more about myself and learn more about all of you.
These photos are ones that remind me of how pretty and sweet life really is.
Thanks for reading.
Friends helping friends with a blog post: Meggy and Anna Banana.
One of the many sappy, yet wonderful texts from, Dad.
My church provides us with amazing "Prayer Experiences." This year's included structures that you could climb/sit on and fully immerse yourself in. Climbing to the top and conquering the waves made your prayer to God come to life.
UC's hidden gem: their greenhouse above the biology department.
Now, this isn't a fashion post, but a lot has been going on lately that I felt the need to document the past few weeks/months. These weeks have been unlike any other. I have felt immense joy and immense pain. I didn't think it was possible to feel or see so much sorrow in so little time, to be moved and inspired, to see a different side of yourself-sides you love and sides you hate, sides you didn't know existed. As much as I love to write, it would take me a book's worth to tell you what has happened in the past few months... A death of a childhood friend one week, a death of my best friend's father, the next. It's not like I've never felt pain before, but I don't think it's been one thing after the next as it has been recently. With all that said, with everything my loved ones and I have been hit with, I have never been more reassured. I'll be honest, I am nowhere near reassured about this life--this life hurts. There's so much confusion, worry, stress, heartache, etc. And let me say that as I am only a few weeks away from my COLLEGE graduation (what?!), the uncertainty couldn't feel more heightened than it does now. I don't list all the negatives of this life to demonstrate my hate for it; I love life. I have been blessed with so much love, joy, and beauty. It's everywhere. There's so much good, but there is still "bad," present. And that's why I can't say I feel comfortable every day amidst all the good. I have fears to the max, maybe more than ever right now, being in my awkward 20s, "figuring out life" stage.
It's funny; I started writing this and went away from it for a few days. Within those few days, a professor of mine started discussing the idea of being "uncomfortable," which I thought was perfect timing given that I had just touched on that idea two sentences before this. She was discussing that all social activists have this mantra... to always be uncomfortable because the minute they're feeling "comfortable" with the world around them, they are no longer doing their job. There's always going to be something wrong with the world around us, something we feel prompted to stand up for, or stand against. This mantra goes for all of us. The minute any of us feel content means we've stopped caring. We've stopped pursuing, stopped growing, stopped feeling something, honestly. Now, this doesn't mean you need to live in anxiety or fear, but what it means is that being uncomfortable is normal and even healthy. It's our motivator.
That being said, with all of the uncomfortable-ness and lack of assurance, I am reassured about the life beyond this earthly one. Amidst these trials, God has been there. He's always there. I know that and will continue to trust that. These recent times have only clarified that belief. I was screwing up and He had my back, He protected me, even when I blatantly had been defying Him--saying no to His way and "yes" to all of mine. I feel stupid for ever having those moments, but let's face it, I'll have them again. And when I do, I'll be forgiven. I'm forgiven before I even ask for His forgiveness. I'm not sure how that's even fair or why He allows me so much grace and mercy, but dang it, I'm so grateful for it.
To bring all of this blabbering full circle, I'll leave you with a few last thoughts: 1) God is so real and so good 2) Life hurts a lot of the time but, 3) there's growth within the hurt and if you let it, it can transform into something amazing.
These photos are a few things that helped redirect my focus into a more positive one. Thanks for reading and I hope you stay encouraged. <3
The most beautiful experience hearing Walk The Moon live at Bogart's Cincinnati with my dear friend, Alyse.
My pretty friend, Megan who takes all my photos using my iPhone! One day I'm going to get her to muster up the courage to let me dress her up and blog about her. I love ya.
A little more piercing rebellion with my blondes (this hurt like a mother).
Thank you, God.
A new discovery: Mirror Lake at Eden Park. How I've never discovered this treasure before, who knows. Cincinnati Parks is a great resource to discover the beauty within Cincy.
Sun rays do wonders for my niece, Azirae. Look at this sweet peach... nothin' prettier.