daughter sister mother whore

“I’m from Boston, so I fucks with people. And I wouldn’t fuck with you,” were the words a girl in my class said to me this week when I came early in after spending the better part of my morning at the gym. Donotfuckwithme is never a vibe that I thought I’ve given off, but recently, as I’ve become healthier I notice that I carry myself differently. I notice that I stand up straighter, say my words clearer, and honestly? I’m all around happier.

Comfort in the body I’ve inhabited for twenty-one years is not something I’m accustomed to. For so long I’ve tried not to take up too much space, both physically and metaphorically. Maybe a lot of it has to do with the church culture that I grew up in, maybe it has a lot to do with how women are portrayed in media. All I know is that I was not fully in the body that I’ve had my entire life.

For so long I was told that my body was something to be embarrassed about. That, as a woman, I was not meant to be seen as a sexual being lest I cause impure thoughts among men. So, cover up daughtersistermother, for who and what you are is shameful. Daughtersistermother, you don’t have sexual impulses in the same way men do. Daughtersistermother, stay pure until you are married for if you are not a virgin you will be worth less in the eyes of god. Daughtersistermother, you are meant to be submissive to men and support your husband no matter what. Daughtersistermother, if you don’t have sex you’re a prude but if you have sex you’re a slut. Daughtersistermotherwhore if you get too drunk, wear too short a skirt, don’t say no (but never actually say yes) then you were asking for it. Daughersistermotherwhore if you use birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies from the sex you are having for pleasure you’re a whore. Daughtersistermotherwhore you are viewed as no more than an object of sexual pleasure in what you see on the television and hear in those lyrics.

Daughter. Sister. Mother. Woman. You are so much more.

I look down at my body and I don’t see shame. I don’t see weakness, uselessness, or embarrassment.

I look down and I see my feet that have walked over cobblestoned European streets and the white sand of Mexico. I look down and I see my legs that have carried me up mountains and gotten me through soccer. I look at my arms that have held broken people and wrapped the ones that I love in warm embraces. I look down and I see this body that stayed intact when I was sure it would break. This body that has experienced sorrow, elation, doubt and faith.

I see my body as it is – full of worth, strength, and life.

And maybe as I come to inhabit and love this body I’m in I come to find my voice that has been quiet for so long.

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plan to be surprised

I don’t really know why I’m up this late (it’s about three in the morning right now). I haven’t stayed up like this since the beginning of June at a friend’s party. But there’s no real reason I should be up right now when I’m not with anyone, especially since I’ve been waking up around five the past few mornings for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s the wine – does wine make you stay up late?

That’s beside the point. I don’t even know if there was a point to this so maybe this will be hugely disjointed but I just finished watching Dan in Real Life for what must have been the hundredth time. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies and even though I’ve seen it so many times there’s this line towards the end that always grabs me. “If we’re really honest with ourselves, most of our plans don’t work out as we’d hoped. So instead of asking our young people ‘What are your plans? What do you plan on doing with your life?’ maybe we should tell them this: Plan… to be surprised.”

I always found that that line struck a chord with me, and it definitely has more meaning and relevance to me now as a twenty-one year old than it did as a thirteen year old watching the movie for the first time. In this life I’ve lived, I’ve had my fair share of surprises. Surprises that have been life changing, hard, wonderful, good, and everything in between.

About four years ago, my parents split up. And because of that I’ve been shown that DNA does not determine who you love and who you call family. Surprise, about two years ago I decided not to go back to SPU (as a side note, how has it been two years already?). I’m playing catch up, and it’s going to take me longer to finish up than I was expecting, but I’ve got a solid group of people surrounding me, and each new thing I learn gives me a fresh outlook on life and all of its complexities. I left the country and went to somewhere that isn’t Canada with my best friend way sooner than I ever thought I would. I mean, the list could go on for pages, but that’s not what this is about. 

As a younger human, I’m sure I had a very structured plan for my life that didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. But life needs room to move. It needs room to grow as we do. 

Where I am right now is good. I realized on my way to a fireworks show earlier this evening that I am happy. It seems like such a trivial thing to say, but owning this joy is wonderful.

Here’s to the next surprise that comes this way.

ma, i made friends!

Well. It’s been a while. I know I said I’d stop saying that, but I feel the need to say something when it’s been over six months since something has been written on here.

But I digress. My room is currently a mess (sorry mom) and I should be sleeping (sorry self, you’ll hate me in the morning).

I feel like a kid coming home from their first day of kindergarten, so excited because, “Ma, I made friends!” I’m a twenty-one year old woman and I’ve got the excitement about making friends at college that a kindergartener does on their first day of school.

After high school, many of my friends scattered around the country, as they are wont to do when finding their own way. When I started at SPU, I started with a solid foundation of friends there, many of whom I’d just spent the summer working with. Kaeleigh and I became best friends over the course of my year there, so when I left, not only did I leave a great school, but a core group.

(I feel like I should mention at this point that Kaeleigh and I are still best friends. Like, talk every day, have movie dates over the phone and traveled out of the country together best friends. I truly don’t know what I’d do without that lady.)

As I changed schools and transferred over to Evergreen, I dove in blind. I didn’t know anyone there, and thus, spent many a day going to class and immediately leaving campus after.  The class I’m currently in has been a year-long class, and there were three of us who had to facilitate a seminar together. One of us set up a group chat and, not long after the assignment was over, added in two more of our classmates to make what is now known as The Psych and Mindfulness Squad.

All that is a long-winded way for me to say, I ended up as a part of a group of people at Evergreen who are now some of my closest friends. Meagan, the skincare goddess who knows something about everything (it’s pretty impressive, actually). Kyle, whose daily wit and humor really shines when he doesn’t hold back during Cards Against Humanity. Paige, whose love for those around her is palpable and whose secret ferocity is astounding for someone so small. Jacob, the crazy cat lady who will always bring a smile to those around him.

These are some of the most genuine people around. I am truly lucky to be a part of a group who accepts those as they are. Accepting that we are all still learning, that we’re going to make mistakes on this ride that’s called life, and that those mistakes are okay. They’re loving no matter what mood you’re in, and they’ll even help you wake up on time (Thanks Paige and Kyle for those early phone calls). They send crazy amounts of messages over Facebook (at the time of writing this, there were 30,820 messages) – we’re planning on having a 50K party when we get there. At this rate, it shouldn’t take too long.

This group laughs, learns, and grows together. I’m not quite sure how I got lucky enough to be a part of it, but I’m pretty happy about it. Bursting from the seams happy. Here’s to the many stories we’re to create in the coming days, months, and hopefully, years.

L–R: Jacob, Stephanie (dat’s me), Paige, Meagan, Kyle’s roommate, and Kyle

fifty five days later

According to my phone’s countdown app, it’s been fifty five days since the plane took off to Frankfurt.

Fifty four  days since Kaeleigh and I were running around the Frankfurt airport having not slept in twenty eight hours, afraid we were about to miss our train to Stuttgart, relieved when we found out it was delayed twenty minutes. Fifty four days since Marilyn and Rainer welcomed us into their home with their arms open. I don’t remember much from that night (keep in mind, at that point I was running on no sleep in thirty two hours), except that the food was delicious, the shower was heavenly, and that I slept the sleep of the dead that night.

When we woke up to Marilyn’s knocking the next day, we didn’t know that later we’d be trekking up multiple hills, both in Harrenberg to get to a church and outside of Stuttgart to get to a castle. As it turns out, that many hills can cause the muscles in your leg to shake every time you stop and try to stand still. As it also turns out, there are Roman ruins in Germany, and you can go and walk around them. Germany, of all places.

10635974_10204305084643459_4572529780112931308_nI didn’t realize that sitting in the sun under a massive umbrella eating spaghetti ice cream with my best friend would be something we’d laugh about a few weeks later. Kaeleigh, the young woman who I met three years ago, and, at the time, had no idea she would become such an integral part of my life. So maybe the phrase best friend isn’t quite enough, but soul sister is cheesy. Heterosexual life partner is closer to the truth.

Fifty days ago we were on our train to Paris where we accidentally fell asleep at six thirty in the evening. Paris, where we spent seven hours in The Louvre and knew that wasn’t enough time to see everything. Paris, where the rainstorms come with the warning signs of darkening clouds and wind blowing the branches of the trees; rainstorms that soak you to the bone and flood the streets.

51Paris. Getting into the Gare de l’Est and spending so much time in line I thought my back might break from holding up my backpack is something I look back on, and though I still cringe, I smile, too. Ordering a coffee and being understood and understanding was a feeling I’ll never forget. Waves of the French language came back, proving time and time again that yes, I did pay attention in high school.

Our day in Versailles where a new insult was coined during our walk around The Royal Gardens. “You obtuse orangutan” got thrown around countless times following that afternoon. We got caught in another rainstorm during our afternoon and took cover in the palace’s overpass. At the time, I was irked that we’d somehow managed to get caught up in yet another downpour, but looking back now, I was keeping dry in Versailles. Not only in Versailles, but the place where Marie Antoinette walked, laughed, and lived.

112I will never forget the night following Versailles, when we got back to the hostel and fully intended only to have a drink or two with dinner and then get ready for the next day. Maybe we had a few more drinks than originally planned, and I completely say that’s the fault of good company and delicious drinks.

With Reece

That night we met people from all over the globe. We had conversations with Domingo from Chile about religion. We talked with Jason from New Zealand about boats and work. We talked to Callum from Australia about politics and school, and we joked with Reece, also from Australia (and living in Paris), throughout the night and talked with him about tattoos. I’d also like to take this moment to give a quick shout-out to Reece and the phenomenal drinks he made for us over the time we were in Paris.

I woke the next morning in a foggy state to workers using a power drill to try and fix the showers in the bathroom next to our room and, in a panic I thought it was my phone going off that was going to wake everyone up. We spent our last full day in Paris trying to see what we had missed, and the next day we waited at the Gare du Nord for our train to come and watched as a cat struggled to maintain its dignity on a leash.

Forty six days ago we were in The Chunnel on our way to London. Forty six days ago I got my first glimpse of the London skyline. Forty six nights ago I was out in London as Kaeleigh slept off a slight fever. I walked Tower Bridge and saw The River Thames beneath me.

“This literally looks like The Black Plague,” I told Kaeleigh as we waited in line to see the Crown Jewels in The Tower of London the next day. Over a month later and I hold to that statement. We got caught in our first London rainstorm that day and ate lunch in the shadows of Big Ben.

182A few days later we went to The Harry Potter Studio Tour. I lost my mind while we were waiting in line and I cried as I saw a huge part of my entire life coming alive in front of me. I took a lesson on wand etiquette and usage, I drank Butterbeer (it’s like everything you’ve ever imagined), I spent copious amounts of money in the gift shop and I can now say that I am the proud owner of Hermione’s wand.

335We walked through Kensington Gardens and I watched Kaeleigh’s eyes light up as she recited “The Garden” by Ezra Pound over and over again in her head. We went back to The Orangery and had afternoon tea the next day, and Kaeleigh watched as my eyes lit up because I am a tea person.

128Forty days ago we had our breakfast at Kiko’s, our favorite café in London where we got to know the beautiful people (Ansel and Michael and the lovely ladies who make great cappuccinos) who worked there and they got to know us. Forty days ago we got lost as we tried to find our way to the hotel we’d be staying at. Forty days ago, we dolled ourselves up to go out to a fancy dinner and to see Richard III in Trafalgar Square. Forty days ago, we sat on The Tube riding back to our hotel at midnight and laughed as we listened to the (loud) conversation of a group of inebriated young men. We stayed up too late that night watching a movie and slept in past what we’d been used to the next morning.

“It’s good you’re doing this – ‘cause no one can take memories away from you,” Ansel told us thirty nine days ago while we ate our lunch and before we said goodbye. Thirty eight days ago we got on a plane to come home to Seattle, with part of my heart left behind in every place we went.

“My soul is dancing and my heart is light” was the final line in the journal I kept over the time we were there.

Thirty eight days later and my soul still dances and my heart stays light.

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/twenty/

So today’s the day that I’m officially no longer a teenager. There’s no longer the word ‘teen’ hanging off of a number. It’s strange. I don’t feel like I’ve reached some magic state, I’m just another day older, such as it is with every birthday, but twenty is a bit different for some reason.

I’m under no illusion that I’ve discovered the secret to life or that I know everything. If anything, it’s hitting me how much I have to learn, which I love.

But, in honor of twenty, here’s a list of things I’ve learned to be true about myself.

  1. Taking any sort next step is scary to me, but is often the most satisfying feeling. Whether it is choosing to take some time off of school and start at a different school, or clicking the purchase button on plane tickets across the world, it’s scary and out of the ordinary, but so good.
  2. I am such an extroverted introvert. The technical term is ambivert. I love being with people and I get energy from groups, but I equally enjoy my alone time where I recharge with music and a book. I don’t particularly think that one is better than the other: both are good. However, the problem with being an ambivert is that people tend to see my extroverted side more than my introverted side, so when I am in need of aforementioned alone time, people are worried that there’s something wrong. There’s usually not. However, put me on my own for too long (like when I’m at my house alone for a few days) I start to go a little stir-crazy. Last time I house sat here I started talking to my animals.
  3. If there’s any song that’s my soul song, it’s this. Or this. Or potentially this. It’s hard to pick just one. Music has been a central part of my life since the day I was born, so it’s nearly impossible to choose just one that’s my soul song. But here are a few samples.
  4. I am such a cat person. I’m not saying I don’t like dogs: I do, especially mine. But cats are such assholes and they’re allowed to be. Cats’ attitudes are so great, and they’re always doing something you can talk about. Here are two stories about my cat Ginger that recently took place: I went to Louisiana for a few days and when I got back she was so pissed she didn’t even talk to me for a few days (Note: I say “talk to me,” but I am aware cats do not talk). Story two: Earlier today Ginger attempted to jump up into a window sill and missed, and proceeded to fall into my dog’s water bowl. I wish I were making this up.
  5. I am a tea person. Coffee is good and all, but I am on a quest to find/make/drink the perfect cup of tea.
  6. On the subject of tea, I love British Television (See what I did there?). For some reason, it has a tendency to be better than a lot of American Television, and that’s okay. Maybe it’s something about the accents, but I believe that it’s got something to do with the stories being told. From Sherlock to Doctor Who to Top Gear to The Graham Norton Show and many, many others, I find them all so endearing. My family pokes fun at me, but in the process, they’ve started watching The BBC, too. So there.
  7. I love people’s stories that got them to where they are. People’s joys and sorrows make them, and hearing about different lives is one of my favorite things in the world.
  8. I’m a hopeless romantic who also happens to get easily annoyed with couples. It’s a strange contrast, one I’m sure my friends in relationships came to hate, but anytime I make fun of people in love, it’s because I love you guys. I swear.
  9. Bread. Pasta. Pizza. Basically all carbs, are both my best friend and worst enemy.
  10. Reading is one of the great joys in life. I learned how to read when I was very, very young, and since then have barely put a book down. I have two bookshelves in my room, both close to overflowing, and I’m constantly adding to my collection. F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” I think that sums up why reading is so important quite nicely.
  11. I’ll go on in this point to talk about geeking out. I geek out over a lot of things. I’m a self-described geek, and I’m cool with that. I’ll quote Simon Pegg here: “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.” You said it, Mr. Pegg. Spot on, good sir.
  12. I am an adventurer at heart. I get antsy if I’m in one place for too long. One time I convinced Kaeleigh to hop in the car with me and travel to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival because I’d gotten so bored. It started out as a joke, but eventually even I didn’t know if I was being serious anymore. We didn’t go to Toronto, mostly because I didn’t have a passport (at the time, which has since been remedied) and I’d have most likely lost both of my jobs. We did go to Port Townsend the next day, though. We’re going to Europe this summer, though. Stuttgart, Paris, and London. AHHHHHH.
  13. I am a firm believer in equality for every human being.
  14. I really, really like wearing flannel. But not the girl flannel that’s tailored for curves; I’m talking flannel from the men’s department. You know, the flannel that’s actually made out of the right material and keeps you warm.
  15. Even though my faith has its ups and downs and I’ve definitely had my mountaintop experiences, I continue to be a lover of Christ who tries to exude love for others.
  16. I quite like learning. I was the kid all through elementary school who eagerly gobbled up any new information, and continued with that attitude most of school. Even though eventually school wasn’t always my favorite, learning was. In the nine months that I’ve had off of school, I’ve honestly missed learning new things and being in a classroom environment.
  17. Harry Potter is where all of my geeky obsessiveness started for me. It was the first series I invested myself in, and the series I always go back to.
  18. I have a tendency to overthink things. Especially at night, and especially after I’ve heard a strange sound. Usually the house will creak, and I begin to make my peace with the world, since that creak probably means that I’m going to die.
  19. Live performances are so wonderful. There is an energy about them that can never be duplicated.
  20. Age is just a number. I am friends with people both older than me by several years, and people a few years younger. Our life experiences are different, but somehow we experience things that are universal. Saying that because people are remarkably far apart in age means they can’t be close friends is bull, and I can present multiple examples from my life to support that. I have met forty year olds who act about 18, and 18 year olds who think and act like they’re in their mid to late twenties. Don’t put someone off just because of their age, because that’s silly. You never know what sort of beauty they could bring to life.

So, there it is: Twenty things I know/have learned about myself in the past twenty years that I have been alive.

I’m off now, about to go see Bastille perform in Seattle. Happy Tuesday, all!

Bastille: Icarus

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this is gospel

Let it be known that my friend Drew makes amazing mixes. She made me one for while I’m out delivering pizzas, and when this song came on, I fell for it. Hard.

If you feel so inclined, perhaps you’d like to take a listen?

This is gospel for the fallen ones
Locked away in permanent slumber
Assembling their philosophies
From pieces of broken memories

Oh, this is the beat of my heart, this is the beat of my heart
The gnashing teeth and criminal tongues conspire against the odds
But they haven’t seen the best of us yet

If you love me let me go
If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives and often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart

Oh, this is the beat of my heart, this is the beat of my heart [x2]

This is gospel for the vagabonds,
Ne’er-do-wells and insufferable bastards
Confessing their apostasies
Led away by imperfect impostors

Oh, this is the beat of my heart, this is the beat of my heart 

Don’t try to sleep through the end of the world
And bury me alive
‘Cause I won’t give up without a fight

If you love me let me go
If you love me let me go
‘Cause these words are knives and often leave scars
The fear of falling apart
And truth be told, I never was yours
The fear, the fear of falling apart

Oh, the fear of falling apart
Oh, the fear, the fear of falling apart

(Oh, this is the beat of my heart, this is the beat of my heart)
The fear of falling apart

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(rampant)

If I am anything, it is wild.

Please ask any of my friends. You can ask Kate, who has been my friend since fourth grade, Rachel, who has been my friend since seventh, or Kaeleigh, who has been my friend since right out of high school: I bring out the wild in others. Kate has often said, “I was so normal before you came along.” I think that’s probably true.

I tell you this not to make myself sound like a splendid person that you should feel bad about not knowing, but rather to preface a story.

I was cleaning my bathroom the other day and had Kaeleigh on speaker phone as I did so. While I was cleaning I made the quip to her, “Look at me, becoming a little domestic housewife.”

Wait what.

I don’t like the word domesticated as it is applied to human beings. We are not wild animals with a need to be tamed. We are created with a free will that will run rampant and will have the choice to feel, choose, and love God. We are meant to run freely and see and experience and love. We are not supposed to be tamed, because we are not animals. Mammals, yes. But not animals.

I just believe that when you try and tame something that is truly wild you take the fire right out of its soul. Men and women are wild. Our hearts are free to choose, love, cherish, and think. Why would you ever want to take someone who has a soul so beautiful and take the beauty of their freedom away? The very thought of someone trying to take away my rights – be it political, personal, choice, or anything else – absolutely terrifies me. I love those who bring out the fire in me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, God willing, someday I will be a wife. Someday I will have children and I will cook them dinner and cookies and pie, and I will get them off to school and I will raise with the help and support of my husband who is my equal, but tamed and domestic is something I will never be.

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noah

One of the best parts of working late on Sunday nights is being able to listen to a program on the radio called Passport Approved.  Basically it’s a program that brings music from all over the world and shares them with the public. It’s how I’ve been able to hear some really wonderful music in the past, but in the last few months especially.

This Sunday I was lucky enough to be in the car listening when the song “Noah” by the band Amber was played. Because I was looking for a specific house to deliver a pizza to, I wasn’t able to really, truly listen to it until I got home later that night (or, if you’d like to be more specific, early morning) and when I found the song after some digging, I instantly developed a fondness for the band and their music. Their tight harmony and their unplugged sound found a place in not only my iTunes library, but also in my songs that I sing in the shower and in my car.

One of the lyrics that really stood out to me was “get busy living or get busy dying,” because (*SPOILER*) everyone is going to die someday. It’s what we do with the time between birth and death that count. If we just wait to die, not much happens. But living life to the fullest and embracing the beauty, joy, and grace that comes along with it is what makes life simply amazing.

So, get busy living or get busy dying. I pray you decide to get busy living.

My name is Noah and the sea is my home
And this small wooden boat will be my throne
I’m proud of what I’ve built and the things that I’ve done
And all of the people I’ve learnt to love

Singing Noah, Noah

My name is Judas and my eyes are tired
And even my presence is a warning sign
That wherever you go and whatever you do
Your past will always follow you

Singing Noah, Noah
Singing Noah, Noah

So why don’t we light a fire?
And oh let the flames grow higher
So why don’t we light a fire and leave the rest behind
Cause life’s for living right

Noah, Noah
Singing Noah, Noah

Gotta get busy living or get busy dying
I’d hate to see you left behind
Get busy living or get busy dying
I’d hate to see you left behind

Singing Noah, Noah
Singing Noah, Noah
Singing Noah, Noah

My name is Noah and the sea is my home
And this small wooden boat will be my throne

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strong

I happened upon the band London Grammar a few days ago and fell in love. The lead singer’s voice is so unique, and the sound as a band is so different than what is played on the radio nowadays, it’s truly refreshing. Their song Strong is absolutely lovely, but then again, so is everything on their album “If You Wait.”

This is London Grammar singing Strong.

Excuse me for a while,
While I’m wide eyed and so damn caught in the middle
I excused you for a while,
While I’m wide eyed and so damn caught in the middle
And a lion, a lion, roars would you not listen?
If a child, a child cries would you not forgive them

Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong
Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong

Excuse me for a while,
Turn a blind eye with a stare caught right in the middle
Have you wondered for a while
I have a feeling deep down you’re caught in the middle
If a lion, a lion, roars would you not listen?
If a child, a child cries would you not forgive them

Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong
Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong

Excuse me for a while,
While I’m wide eyed and so damn caught in the middle
Have you wondered for a while
I have a feeling deep down you’re caught in the middle

Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong
Yeah I might seem so strong
Yeah I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong

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the unexpected twists and turns

I tend to write more eloquently a bit later at night for some reason. While others are asleep, when I’m meant to be asleep, words swirl about in my mind and won’t settle down until they’re written: Which is why I’ve decided to write this post at midnight. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to put together the right words to explain what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

I will not be returning to Seattle Pacific in the fall. It’s not because I don’t like it there, in fact, I love it. Being at SPU this past year was exactly what I needed and exactly where I needed to be. I couldn’t have asked for a better year, that’s the thing; so it’s very hard for me to give it up.

This is a decision that I’ve been wrestling with for a while now. Tears have been shed, runs have been taken, and prayers have been said. My mind and my heart told me different things. At times they would align, and other times there would be complete chaos. Sometimes my heart would say go back while my mind whispered to stay here, and vice versa. Suffice to say, my mind is not a place you would have wanted to be in the past month or so – too much noise.

Ultimately, this was a head over heart decision: The first real decision of that sort that I’ve ever truly made. My heart was telling me to go back to the comfort of familiarity even with the crazy loans I’d take out. My mind was looking at the numbers, looking at the life in the long run and balking at the amount of debt I’d enter the world with. The idea of taking out more loans to fund my education actually caused me to panic more times than one, and once the concept of less loans and a less expensive school took root in my mind, the little voice in the back of my head wouldn’t stay quiet.

There are so many things that I want to do in my life: I want to travel and see the world, to explore and adventure. I want to get married and have a family someday. I want to write and read, get tattoos and see art, to run races and walk through streets I am unfamiliar with. While these are all things I could do with loans, they are things that are harder to do when you’re trying to pay off debt that is, in the meantime, accumulating interest.

So, in order to deal with the debt I am already in, I will be taking gap months. I’d call it a gap year, but it’s not really that. I’ll be living at home in Olympia with my family, working two jobs, singing in an amazing choir, and beginning to pay off the loans I have already. I’ll begin spring quarter at The Evergreen State College in March, continuing my work towards a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Who knows: Maybe I’ll go back to SPU for my Masters. I’ve begun to save up money for a trip to Europe, one that will both satisfy and increase this insatiable need and desire to travel. Hopefully Kaeleigh and I will be taking this trip next summer. It’s ambitious, yes, but potentially doable.

These past few days since this decision was made have been so bittersweet. I’m both giving up and gaining so much. I will miss the friends I made up at school, but I will see and stay in touch with them. I will miss the midnight adventures Kaeleigh and I would make when we should have been studying or sleeping. I will miss the daycare and the children that I grew to love with all of my heart. I will miss the autumn on campus, with leaves falling around me in the brisk morning air. I will miss the winter on campus when I tried not to slip and fall on the occasional patch of ice, all while cursing the rain and asking it to just toughen up and turn to snow. I will miss the spring on campus with budding leaves and the smell of change in the air. I will miss the beauty of life that I found so prevalent there.

But there will be autumn, winter, and spring here. There will be beauty in life here. There will be visits to Seattle on what will most likely be a regular basis (my best friend still goes there, of course). Life goes on, even outside of the plans that were made.

There’s both joy and sorrow in this. Kahlil Gibran wrote “When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart and you shall find that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” How true that is. I am so blessed to have been able to have the chance to spend a year of my life working, living, and learning in Seattle. I have some beautiful friendships that I will carry with me for a lifetime, and there is great sorrow in leaving that place behind and taking the next step forward. In that same breath, there is great joy in knowing that these memories, relationships, and lessons will be taken with me as I take another step.

Taking another step is the only way to move forward. So, *raises an invisible glass with your choice of beverage to toast* here’s to life and all of its unexpected twists and turns.

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