The Fog

college, life, Uncategorized

It rolls in, smooth and sure of itself like a lion stalking its prey.

You don’t see it coming though. It hits you all at once.

One moment you can see and the next you’re blinded by your own thoughts.

It’s thick and unforgiving.

The sun is completely shut out and confusion swirls around you.

You try to remember the moments before the fog set in, it’s impossible though.

Your mind is entirely clouded with fragments of thought. Nothing truly complete, just little snippets here and there.

Only enough to shroud you, but never so that you can fully understand what’s going through your brain.

You try to tell yourself that this won’t last forever, things will go back to normal, but then the thought comes in: “What is normal?”

So then you wonder if this is normal. Is the fog friend or foe? You don’t know. You don’t know anything.

You forget what it was you were thinking about seconds after it crosses your mind.

But then, just as quickly as it came, the fog swiftly and deftly rolls out of your mind and things are clear.

You look around and see that once again the landscape of your mind has changed.

And just like when you have to clean up after a storm tears through a town, you begin the reconstruction of yourself.

Look, the sun is out again.

 

 

The Feeling

college, life, love

There’s a special kind of pain. It’s the kind of pain where you can feel every pulse of your heartbeat, and with every breath that draws your chest upward, it’s like a thousand knifes bearing deeper into your soul.

All your nerve endings are on fire; searing, burning, screaming fire.

Then the tears come. Fast and hard. They fall from your face like fat goblets of truth. They burn your eyes as they leave them, further validating the pain you feel.

Then the screaming comes. Gut-wrenching, breath-stealing, ear-ringing screaming.

Finally, you’re so exhausted that all you can muster is a pitiful “please.” You silently plead with God, asking Him for them not to be gone.

But you know it’s for naught. And as you lay with your spent body in pieces the screaming will cease, the tears will dry up, your nerve endings will relax, and the pain will dull.

Because now it comes in moments, and you know that all you have to do is make it through.

The Truth Hurts

college, life, love

You’re not who you thought you’d be.

He’s not who he said he was.

They didn’t care as much as you wanted them to.

Life is harder than you were prepared for.

Dreams die quicker than they should.

Sleep is way too fleeting.

Rest is almost impossible.

And somewhere along the way you just gave up.

But maybe you are who you’re supposed to be?

Yeah he sucked, but maybe the next guy won’t?

They weren’t your real friends and you knew it.

Disney is bullshit.

Dreams only die if you let them.

I mean, basically, you still won’t sleep.

Make time for rest. Demand it.

Giving up is not an option. Pour some coffee, turn on some music, put on some red lipstick and get your ass out there.

Living

college, life, love

Sometimes life really likes to try and get you down. You start to feel as if that next fake smile might be the one to finally shatter your soul, and unleash the flood of emotions you’ve been holding back.

It’s like we’re all walking down one long New York City street. Where everyone is walking the same way, fast, and with a purpose. No one looks up or around; they just keep walking. But then something happens. Loss, a break up, a failure, and you’re forced to stop. You look around at where you are and realize it’s not at all where you thought you’d be. Everyone is still walking around you and you’re just standing, taking inventory. It’s scary and lonely, but oh so necessary.

You see, some people never look up. They let the flow of people pull them in the direction they think is forward. They forgot to treasure life because they’re always just trying to get to the next block. When your little bubble of false security is burst, you have a rare opportunity to choose the direction you want to go.

It’s terrifying realizing just how fragile and short life is. We have no control over that, only God knows. You may even feel paralyzed because of your new found knowledge, but you can’t let it bring you down. It’s meant to lift you up! To elevate you to new heights that you never even imagined before.

This is when my only knowledge of Lost comes in: Allow yourself to be scared for five seconds. And then get out there and live your life.

One…Two…Three…Four…Five…

Remembering

college, life, love

I remember that day like it was happening right now.

It’s forever seared into my memory, gripping my mind so tight, I feel as if it might choke it.

It went along like any other day.

I thought there would be some feeling, almost a warning. That I would know.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t know anything.

I was blissfully ignorant.

Everyone else knew, but no one wanted to tell me.

They just couldn’t spoil my day; until they had to.

I remember looking into her eyes.

That’s when I knew.

There was no warning.

Only a tsunami of feelings.

Hatred. Regret. Fear. Denial. Anger. Sadness.

I couldn’t even hear the words coming out of her mouth.

I remember them, I just can’t remember hearing them.

The only thing I could hear was this internal scream, bubbling up from the depths of my soul, but not able to escape my mouth.

I saw the words she was saying. And that’s when I ran.

I ran.

Only to the edge of the water.

But I ran.

I ran to you. From you. Around you.

And then I collapsed.

I collapsed in the sand yes, but also into every emotion that was pulling me down.

I collapsed into myself.

I hated you. I couldn’t believe you would leave me.

You. Who was my biggest cheerleader and my best friend.

You left without me, to a place I couldn’t follow you to.

Oh I tried didn’t I?

But I still couldn’t come.

I regretted, and still do, all the time I didn’t spend with you.

I was afraid of this brave new world without you.

While I was only a fraction of your life, you were the entirety of mine.

I didn’t believe it, and sometimes still don’t.

My anger drove me to places, and left me there for dead.

But my sadness, it likes to sweep in and out of my life.

It takes my breath in its cold hands and locks it up tight.

It presses on my eyes until I’m forced to relieved the pressure with tears.

It drills a neat, little hole in the center of my heart. Just enough to hurt, but not enough to kill.

You see, I remember that day like I was living it right now, and today, I am.

 

To Have Loved and Lost…

college

They say it’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all; my battered heart begs to differ sometimes… Love. It’s such a wonderfully terrible necessity of life. Before we begin, I want to announce now that this is not a ranty post about how sucky love is (false) or the stupidity of boys (true), but in its truest form, this post is just me talking to someone I loved dearly. Someone who not only impacted my life, but who has shaped who I have become…

Two days ago, you would’ve been 89…

Two weeks ago, the family would’ve called one another frantically to talk about what to do for you, or what to get you. They would’ve bickered constantly about the time, place, and especially about what food to cook. Arguments would’ve inevitably sprung up, and eventually you would be called in to bring the peace, like you did so many times before.

One week ago, the final plans would be made. Feelings would be hurt, food and cooks would be selected, a place would be booked, and friends would be invited. Then I would call you, hear your gruff hello, say, “Hi Papou”, and you would say, “Hi baby!”. Then we would chat about school, and work, and the weather. I’d ask you what you wanted for your birthday, and you would most likely reply with, “I don’t know, just not shirts or socks!” After, I would apologize profusely for not being able to be home until Greek Easter, to which you’d say, “That’s ok baby, you’re doing good in your school, just focus on that and don’t stress too much.” Then we’d say I love you’s and goodbye’s and hang up.

One day ago, I’d be feeling guilty for not being there because how many birthdays do you have left? I’d hear all about the fights, food, gifts, and just plain gossip. I’d call to make sure you had a good day and that you got my gift. I’d try and get you to work FaceTime, but that would be a fail, and then we’d just give up and promise to talk again soon.

Today, I am sad. I’m sad because none of those things happened. There were no failed FaceTime attempts, no gifts lost in the mail, no food or fights, no planning or bickering, and you didn’t turn 89, at least not here with us. Not with me. No, we said our goodbyes 7 months ago… At least I know that our final words were, “I love you.”

So is it really better to have loved and lost? Most days I would say yes, because without those memories–without you–I wouldn’t be me. But some days, like today, I just miss you–and it hurts like hell.

Two days ago, you would’ve been 89…

Spring Retreat….

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Nature is good for the soul… I’m sure that’s some sort of famous quote or something. I normally don’t identify myself as nature inclined, but I have to say that after living in LA for six months, I was beyond excited to see some green, and some stars!

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a part of an A-mazing Christian organization here on USC’s campus called Cru (formerly, Campus Crusades). Every fall and spring, Cru puts together a retreat; nothing crazy, just some Jesus loving people out away from school and getting some great hipster pictures for Instagram.

This past weekend we had our spring retreat (for those of you currently living in the Arctic, sorry the “East Coast”, it’s pretty much spring here #sorrynotsorry). What does spring retreat entail, you ask? Well, basically, over 80 college students packed their Bibles (and cameras) and heading to Santa Barbara for some “glamping”*. We spent two bitterly cold nights learning more about not only Jesus, but each other…. One of the greatest tools of the enemy is isolation; he wants us to feel alone, or like we’re the only people dealing with certain things. When, in reality, so many of us are hurting in the same way, and if we could just take 5 seconds of courage and be vulnerable with one another, there would be so much healing.

So to say that God showed up and showed out is a complete understatement. So much was broken in me, that I came back feeling 10lbs lighter! My eyes were open, my heart was softened, and my soul was refreshed.

Another wonderful tidbit of information: I brought along a friend with me, who God has definitely placed in my life, and at the beginning of the weekend she was agnostic; she left on Sunday believing in God and starving for more of His truth. Being completely honest, I was in tears just watching the beauty of one of His lost sheep being returned to the fold, and the fact the God intrusted me to help in that mission. I have not felt like the best daughter lately, but it just goes to show that we are not the ones who qualify us, God qualifies us. We don’t determine if/when we are worthy, Jesus died and declared we are always worthy. And we can’t decide when we deserve love, God is love and He said that we deserve Him.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or undeserving, or unlovable, or any of the other many lies Satan throws at us, maybe you need a little spring retreat of your own! And if you can’t get to nature (I mean, snow), then get out your Bible, pour some coffee (or tea I guess), turn off the phone, GET OFF FACEBOOK, and spend some time being kind to your soul. He will remind you of who and who’s you are, and that your life is justified because of Jeremiah 1:5–go read it. I love you, God loves you, and that’s all that matters!

*Glamping= Glamour camping; this may or may not entail queen size beds, heaters, and indoor plumbing…But there are still bugs! images-1

Love and Other Annoying Facts of Life….

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So, Valentine’s Day is around the corner. And many of you are gearing up to either spend that contrived  blessed holiday with the one you love, or  eat your feelings (Aka be like me)! Because of this, I thought I would get into the spirit (you may laugh), and post a little something I jotted down the other day:

The Lover

     Let me tell you a little something about the “lover”…. The lover’s heart is too big for their chest. Their thoughts are constantly going to other people. Their bank account is especially drained around Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, and Christmas. They have many “friends”, and most people would describe them as pleasant, happy, always smiling… But the truth is something darker.

    Behind that smile is a broken and hurting person. The happiness and pleasant demeanor are there so that we don’t scare you away with our many (hidden) feelings. We are lonely. We love more than we get, and we love those whom most would deem “unlovable”. We give, and people take, and then we give more. We try to hold it together; we say that admiration and appreciation don’t matter, but actually they’re what we desire most. We long for a friend like ourselves; for a Lover of our souls.

    It’s so easy for us to fall into the traps of false love and unhealthy relationships. When we don’t seek the one great Lover, we begin to break down. Our hearts start to shatter, and the cracks in our “suit of armor” become deep valleys. We know how important it is to love, but we forget how to be loved.

    That’s when He comes to fill us. That’s when our smiles become true. And that’s when we can finally let ourselves feel loved. So, if you’re a lover, don’t be discouraged. Seek Him. Seek the Lord, and you will find the love that you so desperately desire. And if you know a lover, share some of your appreciation; you have no idea what a simple “thank you” could do.

    “But the greatest of these is love.”

                           -Jesus

Isn’t it funny…

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Isn’t it funny how life can go? Sometimes I like to think of myself as comic relief for God. And this isn’t me being cynical or hating on God, it’s just how I feel sometimes. I mean, I’m clumsy, I say the wrong things at the very wrong times, I forget really important things, and remember every embarrassing moment, I have wardrobe malfunctions constantly, and I make mistakes daily. All the while I can just picture God laughing at most of these. But not for the reasons you would think….

How many times does the Bible tell us not to worry? (I haven’t counted, but I’m sure it’s a lot). And how often do we actually adhere the that? (If you’re me, not very often). Honestly, God dresses the lilies* and how beautiful are they, and yet we worry about laughter lines and love-handles?! How often do we spend every waking moment engulfed in the chasms that life likes to throw at us? I will use USC as an example. Here, everyone is an overachiever. If you don’t work three jobs, have two internships, multiple leadership positions, are part of greek life, and taking 18 units, do you even go to USC? The name of the game is Don’t Let Them See You Sweat. You have to look like you have it all together, even after your fifth all-nighter. In reality, we are hurting. We’re tired. We’re lonely. Wanna know why we have such a huge hookup culture? It’s because no one really has time for relationships now, but they still go to sleep feeling the emptiness of their beds and long for connection. So they go and get it Thursday-Saturday night from any person willing to walk back to their room with them.

We worry about jobs, and not having them after graduation. We worry about all of our money going to student loans for the rest of our lives. (Yes) We even worry about how our parents perceive us, and if they are proud of us. I once heard one of my college prep high school teachers tell me how he didn’t want his children going to a school like ours. He said, “I’ve seen too many 17/18 year olds burned out by the system, and I don’t want my kids to go through the same.” That’s pretty powerful. 17 and 18 year olds, who haven’t even really started life, are burned out.

This was not how it was supposed to be. We weren’t created to deal with this kind of stress and worry. We don’t even see all of the blessings in our lives, because we’re too wrapped up in our own heads.

So, when I picture God looking down at my life, I see him laughing, not because of all the completely, ridiculously, embarrassing things I do (everyday), but because I have so many adjectives for those moments… God, the creator of the universe, overseer of over 7 billion people, does not worry. And we, the receivers of His glory, worry about everything. I can literally hear God saying, “If you only knew…” So take today, take tomorrow, take forever, and calm down. Find things that bring you joy, and do them! Want to learn how to speak Chinese, take a class. Want to travel, get in the car and go. We aren’t promised tomorrow, so take your peace and go live. Isn’t it funny how simple life could be? *Matthew 6:28