Before: a reflection on my last moments of normalcy.

A memoir-style recollection of the last moments I spent with my a cappella group ‘Tar Heel Voices’ before and right after we got the news about Carolina sending us home.

          I woke up on the carpeted floor of my Chapel Hill home. It was 6:18 a.m, Lauren was upstairs getting ready. I rolled over, incredibly sore and tired. We’d just competed in the ICCAs the night before – my throat was scratchy, my hair still straightened, save for the pieces around my forehead where the sea-salt sweat brought out some recollection of ringlets. I’d poured my clean clothes on my bed the night before so I’d have to fold them before going to bed – but exhaustion had gotten the best of me. I quickly shoved some t-shirts and leggings into my duffle (the one mom had given me senior year, specifically for train rides). It was a nice full circle.

          “You ready?” Lauren was downstairs with the biggest smile. I bit back my racing heart.

          “I’ll be fine once we’re on the train. Then I’m not in charge anymore.” I’d planned the whole trip, rode every bump, swallowed every hiccup. I’d done all I could to make sure the trip would go smoothly; now we just had to get there.

          You see, my dearest friends were horrible at getting places on time and no amount of reminder messages was going to force them to wake up on time. So, there we are 5 present from a group of 12. I was pissed. I was freaking out. I was scared. I’d set the expectations! I’d been so clear! How could the first part of the trip already have gone so horribly?

          A few phone calls later, it was sorted out. Brooke later joked that she woke up to “The wrath of God. The wrath of Lizzy Campbell.” I was far from a happy camper.

          A car ride to Raleigh with Arjun and Sarah was filled with show-tunes and pleasant conversation. I was just ready to get there, get on the train, and let someone else take over. The train station was sparkling; it was brand new. I could hardly remember the old one I’d spent so much time in. But it felt sort of therapeutic, I was going on a new adventure with new people in my life, and I was starting it in a brand new space.

          I sent the troops off to get food from the market down the road and sat with the luggage, took a few thousand deep breaths, and peed at least four times in 15 minutes. A vegan chicken salad snack pack and a coconut lime kombucha later, we were on the train, spread out in one car. I was relieved. We’d all made it; I’d done it! I’d actually successfully planned a trip and it was about to be the best five-days-four-nights of my life!

          The train ride was perfect, but then again I’d always loved the train. Kind of felt like a field trip. Turning to Brooke behind me, speaking in whispers, laughing at inside jokes that the boys were annoyed to not understand. It was a really simple and giddy kind of fun; I was utterly content. After an impossibly busy semester, I was so relieved to have a break.

          When we got there, the air was perfectly crisp – just cold enough to wake you up, but not enough to make you hate your own existence. We walked to the metro station and all laughed a little bit when Batman put on gloves to touch the metro card machine. He wiped down the railings of the metro with a Clorox wipe; Lauren passed around a bottle of hand-sanitizer. I didn’t think much of it; public transportation would always be gross, but I knew better than to lick the metal poles or rub my face against a seat that had sat many-a-stranger with many-a-story.

          The airbnb was my final fear – booking it had been a breeze, almost a little too easy. I punched in the door code and thank God it was just as cute and cozy as it had looked. We did bed selection in our usual order (Year, time in the group, position in the group). Since I’d planned the trip, I was a little insistent on choosing first. I was claustrophobic after all and had always had a hard time falling asleep. On most group retreats I would sleep on the floor or the couch just to avoid sharing a bed. I chose the small bedroom at the top of the staircase on the right. It had one bed just big enough to fit two people; Sarah was my bed buddy and best friend. We were both a little relieved that we had our own space – Sarah liked having personal space and I liked invading her personal space! A perfect duo.

          We were lucky that Arjun’s mother lived in the area; she was kind enough to host us for dinner that night. We sat around some of us sipping beer, some of us sticking with water and vegan ranch dip, and we sang. We sang songs we’d rehearsed a hundred times; we sang songs we hadn’t touched in months; we sang songs we’d never sung before just riffing off of each other and coming up with harmonies on the spot. It was beautiful and pure and everything I loved about that group of people.

          Sarah and I woke up to the sound of far too many alarms throughout the house. We got dressed quickly – used some charcoal toothpaste – and left with a small group to go to a supreme court open hearing. Security was intense – metal detectors, bag checks, electronics in lockers – the whole shebang. Batman continued wiping down surfaces, Lauren continued to hand sanitize every five minutes or so, and Sarah and I continued washing our hands – like a lot. We obsessed afterward about seeing RBG in person (and also that other justice that we wished we hadn’t seen).

          The Holocaust museum was emotionally draining. I found myself crying in the presence of strangers for the first time on the trip. I looked for Lithuania on all the signs trying to find the city where Ramunė was from – searched the names to see if her last name was anywhere. Tragedies always felt worse when we had some sort of personal attachment…I wondered what that said about me.

          I was drained and mad at the world and highly irritable. Sarah and I went back to the airbnb to nap. Which, yes, seemed extremely lame to our friends; I mean, we were in DC there was so much to explore! Why just go back to the house? But then we were on the metro, talking about life and romance and our theories on how that virus would affect our lives. I didn’t think it was gonna hurt us much; Sarah wasn’t really sure. We pushed those thoughts aside as we ate pancakes in bed and accidentally spilled syrup on our pillows. Brooke joined us later and we talked for hours; body image, teenage tendencies, life. I could tell they were gonna be friends I had in my life for a long time, dipping their toes into that pool of my eternal love.

          And the journey continued – every day bringing the kind of memories you know are fundamental when you make them. The moments that feel so special in person that you know you have to memorize all the details for later. We scootered around the city, drank too much coffee, and stood in somber silence as we learned more and more of the messy history of our country. Sarah and I went off on our own quite a bit – so much to talk about, so much to catch up on, so many spontaneous adventures we needed to let ourselves have.

          We were at the science museum staring at a small exhibit where children could hold insects. I asked the woman working the station where the bugs were kept went the museum was closed; she pointed to the cart, looking disappointed.

          “They’re just trapped there? In those small little boxes – forever?” I was shocked and complained to Sarah about it all the way to the Washington Monument. That was when I got the first email.

Congratulations Elizabeth. You have been accepted to the Writing for the Screen and Stage Minor.

          I couldn’t stop smiling; it was something I’d been dreaming of since I stepped foot on Carolina’s campus. I thought nothing could touch the joy I was feeling but then the second email came through.

          “Lizzy.” Sarah and I looked at each other. It didn’t feel real.

          Then we were with the rest of the group – all joined together, singing our alma mater outside the lincoln memorial. I started to think that maybe it would be the last time I performed with that specific group of people. We sang the rest of the night, sitting on the couches downstairs in the little home we’d made ours for the time. I couldn’t stop crying and I certainly couldn’t fall asleep; I felt like my life was slowly collapsing under saran wrap – suffocated by outside forces.

          I didn’t want to say goodbye, so I didn’t. After hugging one person goodbye, with the knowledge that they were exiting my life, for the time being, I knew I couldn’t handle saying goodbye to all 12 people. I couldn’t stomach the idea of acknowledging the end, so I didn’t. I got off the train, met my dad, and left.

          I wish I’d known those were the last slices of normal life. I wish I’d known how different things would be now. I wish I would have spoken all my truths, poured out all my love, sucked every bit of joy out of the moment. What a different world that was – my biggest fear residing in the question of if a boy liked me back – my biggest complaint resting with a group of people’s inability to be on time. I would give anything for my friends to show up fifteen minutes late to my doorsteps now.

But I can close my eyes and escape there for a moment, and there I am sitting, laughing, and crying with them all, knowing we had something special – knowing we were something special. There I am in Alexandria, sitting on a porch swing, eating ice cream, surrounded by endless love, and knowing that everything was about to change. 

 

Thoughts from Quarantine

Well, it’s been a rather strange time for everyone recently.

I’m certainly not loving this – it’s rather challenging to focus on anything in this state of chaos. It feels strange to log onto an online class when the world around me is in so much distress. How do we pretend like we aren’t forcing normalcy? I certainly don’t know.

It’s hard being away from everyone I love. I’m so incredibly thankful for my housemates who keep my home in chapel hill full of energy and smiles. I’m thankful for the video calls with my a cappella group and my film friends. I’m thankful for the guitar in the corner of my room. I’m thankful for the books on my shelf that I finally have time to read. I’m thankful that I’m healthy – that this pandemic will likely have a rather small impact on my life, but I can’t help feeling helpless.

I am far too much of an extrovert to be cooped up. I thrive on community – stories from the strangers who sit next to me – smiles from friends-of-friends – the arts community as a whole. I thrive when I’m sitting in a coffee shop, perfectly alone with a world buzzing around me.

It’s been sad – visiting Open Eye, one of my favorite local coffee shops, and seeing the always-packed space completely empty, all the chairs stacked on tables, the couches roped off. It’s hard. It’s really really really hard and I don’t think we should pretend like it isn’t.

I think it’s okay to be struggling right now, in fact, I’d be concerned if people weren’t. We weren’t meant to live in squares with minimal trips outside. Hell, I’ve always seen my house as a place to sleep and occasionally eat a bowl of oatmeal! Now I wake up at noon, eat oatmeal, and go back to sleep. The world feels dull without my friends around me.

A video call will suffice for now, but I’ve never realized how much I value physical touch. Hugs, fist bumps, jokingly nudging my friends during rehearsal. I really miss hugs. How strange is that? I am not a touchy person, I’m not! Physical touch always ranks last out of my love languages, and I never thought that ‘words of affirmation’ wouldn’t be enough for me.

I miss coffee dates and real human eye contact: seeing someone’s world, sensing someone’s tangibility and fragileness. My eyes hurt from staring at screens (even though I am enjoying rewatching Sherlock for the fifth time).

I miss all the humans in my life, miss them so so so dearly. I miss the boy with glasses who always held the door for me as I walked to my playwriting class every Tuesday and Thursday – I served him at Carolina Coffee Shop once. I don’t know his name; I know nothing about him other than the fact that he always has one headphone in with his music faintly audible.

I’m mad at myself for all the times I complained about being too busy…because man oh man was I busy this semester. Filming and rehearsing and performing and hardly ever having time to do my work or get a proper night’s sleep. And now here I am – nothing to do but work and sleep. So mad at myself for all I’ve taken for granted.

I’m hoping and praying so hard that everything will go back to normal soon, that I’ll be in a house with Tar Heel Voices giving the biggest hugs of a lifetime and reveling in the echoes of real human voices.

Collegiate A Cappella, and why I love it.

After a fun five month break from sharing deep emotional thoughts with the world via a website, I’m back and ready to ramble!

In high school I was a BIG time choir kid. I mean, I was Choir Council president for two years, c’mon. Big deal over here. I thought a cappella was laughable at best. Like I truly did not take it seriously at all.

So, it’s kind of crazy that last night I stood on a stage in tears yelling TAR HEEL over and over and over again after my best friends and I advanced to the next round of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

Now this may all sound very silly to you. I mean extremely silly. Because it’s collegiate a cappella, my gosh Lizzy please don’t take yourself so seriously. But I’m actually kind of tired of hearing that narrative. We love college sports, I mean we eat them up. Tar Heel pride is fairly rooted in the Carolina Basketball fan base. But ironically UNC A Cappella did better last night than our Basketball team has done all season…but that’s a different story that I truly don’t care enough about to address.

Tar Heel Voices is a group of 17 crazy college kids with a variety of majors and interests who come together for the main purpose of making beautiful art – and we do it for an absurd amount of time every week. And the love we have for each other is unreal. We have a big ole’ group chat that we text in far too much at all hours of the day. I don’t think I’ve gone a day since joining the group that I don’t see at least one of those losers. And there are times where we fight and argue and cry and disagree, but I don’t think we’ve ever doubted each other – questioned each other? Sure. But doubted? Hardly.

Last night we decided our word to focus on would be trustBut it wasn’t just the word for the night, it’s become a culture for us. This group wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible bonds we’ve built that allow us to trust each other with our whole hearts. This group wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible vulnerability we show and the love we share. That is the kind of community that the arts build. Talk to any high school theatre kid, ask any child who has ever grown up in band or choir or art classes. There is a raw beauty found in the arts, and it never leaves you.

I could go on and on and on about this dang group. I could tell you that UNC felt lonely and cold without them. I could tell you that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without them. I could tell you that my life would be rocky and unfulfilling without their talent, and passion, and empathy. I could say a lot of things, but all those feelings are better kept in this sweet little pearl we’ve created – pushing ourselves past the point of exhaustion, to rebuild ourselves into something greater than before.

I’m incredibly thankful that I went to a high school that took the arts so seriously, but there are a lot of schools with underfunded arts programs. If I’d never joined choir in fifth grade I wouldn’t have fallen in love with singing and music, but more importantly I would never have met my best friends in college. And I think we should all start taking college a cappella a little more seriously ((but not too seriously because, as my good friend Faith Jones always reminds me, the stakes are so low)).

17/1

 

 

When My Time Comes

When My Time Comes by Dawes is the kind of song that hits you in the gut, awakens all those emotions that previously sat on the back of your tongue. It’s the kind of song that will have you ugly crying on your small twin sized bed inside an empty cabin where the eclectic belongings of thirteen year old girls are sprawled across the ever dusty floor.

I keep telling myself that the brightness of the future outshines broken fragments of the present – that the way my heart aches over nostalgia will somehow stop once I reach that next place. I think that’s a fairly naive belief. I’m a big day dreamer; I can paint the past in the most vivid of colors; my memory is sharper than my wits; my past will always be imprinted somewhere in this busy mind of mine.

Eleven years seems like a really long time, over half my life in fact (some bad math would estimate about 58% of it). I grew up going to this wonderful summer camp that sat at the top of a mountain in Roaring Gap, North Carolina. It’s tucked somewhere between Elkin and Sparta, but feels like a completely different world of its own. At some point, I found myself as a last-year-camper, a fifteen year old girl who was naive as all get out, but somehow thought she was so mature. She was an anxious extrovert who played original songs on the floor of her cabin hoping the other girls wouldn’t think she was a show-off or just plain annoying. And boy oh boy did she cry on her last night – it was her first goodbye there.

Then one day that girl woke up as a sixteen year-old rushing around a dining hall picking up various bowls of leftover food and pitchers filled with the absolute worst of concoctions. The words “I’m here to get a job, not to make friends” were very much a cover up to hide the fact that she felt pretty lonely in this new environment, but would do absolutely anything for the bright eyes that looked at her like she was the world. This girl who had absolutely nothing in her life figured out couldn’t understand why anyone would look up to her.

But then she was seventeen, somehow more naive than before. Falling in love while her hands dunked into a second sink scrubbing at bowls and utensils, listening to a funky soundtrack provided by the first guy friends she’d ever had. She finally felt a part of something, really truly a part of something, for the first time in her life. She felt wanted, valued, and loved. The transition to being a counselor for real this time felt natural; even as a camper she’d acted like a counselor, it felt right. And she’d sit and play more of her heart songs, but this time they’d all sing along. Every week she cried when she had to say goodbye to the girls she’d given her heart too, all the while worrying about them when they got home. But she was a part of something, she was loved, nothing could go wrong. The end of the summer brought her second round of goodbyes.

And eighteen shouldn’t have felt any different, at least that’s what she desperately wanted to believe. But college was around the corner, and she knew everything would change, so naturally she clung – and clung – and clung – until her grip was tighter than the coil in her chest and everything she held onto started to slip. It was a whole new set of goodbyes, and it ripped her to shreds. The switch from a twin to a twin XL bed was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do. The extra few inches felt lonely, her little corner of a dorm room suddenly empty with the lack of photos.

Nineteen was the hardest. What an awkward age, too old to really be a teenager, but too young to really be an adult. And wow did it hurt, walking on gravel that stung when it crunched, laying on concrete holding back every scream and thought, blocking off every single emotion that would make her seem weak. She tried so hard to be strong, keep the guard up, don’t let anyone see that you’re hurting. But the girls loved her, and loved her, and loved her until she remembered her purpose. She remembered the privilege of loving and being loved. She fell in love in a different way, as fourteen year olds left their mark of glitter and beaded bracelets permanently on her heart (but mostly the floor).

And here I am, sitting, knowing that this is the final goodbye. Quite possibly the hardest one yet, but I think we all know when it’s time to leave. There are times where life has given you all it can from a place, every lesson it could bring has been brought. It’s just the stump of the giving tree now, where a glorious tree once sat. I always thought that everyone misunderstood that story; how could it be healthy for someone to give everything they’ve got until nothing was left? Pretty ironic for me to say that, I have a horrible habit of giving my all until I’m drained. I think that’s how I’m feeling right now. Eleven years of my everything has amounted to this final goodbye. Yesterday, I felt as if it had all been for nothing. After all, who would remember me? Who would see all the love I poured into this place?

But how could it possibly be for nothing?

There are thirteen guitars, eight ukuleles, and a whole lot of lost picks that have my fingerprints on them forever. Thirteen guitars that I restrung by hand for two summers. A thousand some lanyards that I started so others could create something beautiful. My name will stay on that first layer of wood, even if others decide that painting over it is a beneficial use of their time. I remember all 168 girls who have sat on the floors of my cabins. The 168 girls who watched me grow up just as I watched them. And every single smile along the way will still bring me joy.

Goodbyes are hard, but I know my mark is here, hidden on hiking trails, painted on walls, signed on the back of ukuleles. When My Time Comes, remember me.

Cheerio camp 🙂

First Year In Review

It is so crazy to me that I have reached the end of my first year in college! It has been a crazy wild year. Here’s a short look into what I’ve done:

  • Joined a sorority
  • Made a sitcom with my best friends
  • Joined an a cappella group
  • Worked on 6 short films
  • Published a book of poems
  • Wrote 2 plays ! Wow
  • Released my third EP
  • Ran a half marathon
  • Was a lyricist for a movie-musical project attempting to win an Oscar
  • Was nominated for best supporting actress for Carolina Film Association (lol)

I’m sure there are so many other things I’ve missed. But it has been a busy year (as you can tell). I have grown an incredible amount and feel the need to share a little bit of it to give some closure on this first part of my Carolina journey.

I remember my first semester feeling so lonely – a commonality amongst first years. It was tough; it felt like every conversation I had was just a bouncing back and forth of little facts about one another. I would talk about myself, they would talk about themselves, but oh it’s my turn again. I didn’t feel like I was learning anything of importance about people – I didn’t feel like any of my friendships/relationships had any depth. I joined a sorority, which was my lifeline first semester, but still felt like an outsider in the Carolina community. I tried so hard to get my name out there, to feel important, to feel known and wanted and loved.

Second semester I thought I’d finally figured it all out – I joined an a cappella group (Tar Heel Voices is honestly the best thing that has happened to me), I started doing things that were directly related to my major, had really found my group of friends, became known in the arts community, and had a somewhat hopeful love life. BUT I STILL FELT SO EMPTY AND CONFUSED. What the heck Lizzy! I remember yelling at myself, you have everything right now, you’re doing so much! Why are you not happy? Why do you always have to ruin things for yourself? Why can you not forgive yourself for past mistakes and be proud of what you’re accomplishing now?!?

Around Spring Break I felt really down, like scarily so. I truly did not feel like I was in my body or even really experiencing life around me. I cried so much and wanted to just sleep all day. I had no motivation to participate in any of the cool projects I was working on. I started skipping classes, not doing my work, and feeling fairly worthless. (You can see evidence of this in my past posts). I thought, hey maybe the anxiety medication I’ve been on has just worn out, maybe I’m just really anxious and wearing myself out! Right? It has to be an easy fix.

But then spring break was over, and suddenly I was awake again. I would stand on my balcony at 2 a.m listening to the birds chirping and crying because I was so happy! It was amazing to feel like myself again. That had to be good right? How could happiness be unhealthy?

That’s when we discovered I had a bit of a mood issue. My extreme highs and lows were really dangerous and super harmful in my overall ability to function. So, I was put on a mood stabilizer and thrown back into the wild. I always feel more comfortable with diagnoses, so I was thankful to finally understand why some months I was over-the-moon happy and why other times I felt too depressed to even function. It’s nice to know I’m not just all over the place, but I have an actual diagnosable issue that can be managed.

It’s still hard, I feel like I’m battling my mind a lot. But no worries, I’m a good fighter. I am incredibly proud of all I have accomplished this year and cannot wait to kick butt in the following three years!

Next stop – CAMP!

What A Privilege It Is To Love

So I did the thing I’d been wanting to do for awhile! I got a tattoo! Wow how crazy. I would say sorry mom and dad, but they were very very supportive, so all I have to say is thank you 🙂

Love is this crazy rollercoaster – I talk about that magical feeling a whole lot on this here blog. It’s my all time favorite feeling. When I was in high school I remember giving a chapel talk all about the power of love and how incredible of a feeling it is. I never regret loving others – I mean how could you regret sharing your heart with someone else?

My heart is a little too big for my own good way too much of the time, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. I am ridiculously empathetic; I feel everything ((pretty much all the time)). I cry at those beer commercials where there’s some sort of magical bond between a muscular man and yellow lab. I mean, come on, how could you not cry at those things? I cry at almost every movie I watch – like multiple times per movie. I cry a heck-of-a-lot; it’s pretty therapeutic, I recommend a good cry every once in awhile.

This semester, I’ve tried really hard to love as hard as I can. (If that makes sense). I’m just throwing love at people, like hey take some of this! The beautiful quote inked on my arm is from a song called Two by the incredible Sleeping At Last. It’s a song specifically written for my enneagram number, two if you couldn’t guess. I’m a little obsessed with enneagram numbers, please take the quiz you will learn so so so much about yourself. But the song is all about loving others and attempting to fix the brokenness in those around us with the power of our hearts. The artist describes my type as having a superpower to love. I love that description (teehee).

When people leave my life for reasons I don’t understand my heart aches. When friends decide I’m too much it makes me rethink who I am. Do I pay my friends too much attention? Do I hold them to higher standards because I know the good they are capable of? I know I’ve said this before, but at what point is my love too much? I’m not a clingy person, but when I’m close with people I care for them the way most people care for their family – those people become my everything and I would fight anyone that tried to hurt them. That’s just who I am. I’m a Hufflepuff, we’re pretty freaking loyal.

I would love someone until it killed me. It’s a privilege to share this life with others; it is a blessing to love and to be loved. When my head starts becoming messy and my heart hurts a little too much, I now have a written reminder of what is important to pull me out of that darkness.

I always wear my heart on my sleeve, but now everyone else can see it too.

STAYIN’ BUSY

“Hey Lizzy, can you hang out tonight?”

“Nothing’s on my calendar!”

“Okay, so that means you have at least four meetings all scheduled at the same time.”

My friend Steven CAME AFTER me yesterday!!! I hate it because he’s right. I am an over-committer through and through. In highschool I said yes to everything because I really liked being involved. Plus once I was home I had my down time! College is a whole-nother story ((I feel like I’m always saying that in posts))

I genuinely do love being involved; I think it’s a total party being able to be involved in so many different facets of school. I’m in an acapella group, I’m in a sorority, I’m starring-in/filming/directing a TV show that I wrote, I’m training for a half-marathon, and attempting to stay on top of school work and still fitting in free time to hang out with my friends.

That was exhausting for my to type, so it must be exhausting to live, right? Two nights ago, I did laundry at one in the morning, because I didn’t have any other time (where washers were open) to do it! ((thank goodness my friends came to keep me company)).

I got really good at time management in high school, so I think I’m a healthy busy bee. But being busy does mean I don’t have a whole lot of room for error. If something goes wrong in my (very tightly packed) schedule. Then something has to go – and I hate cancelling. I am very much a “yes” girl. I say yes to pretty much everything and anything; in high school my therapist made me say no to three things a week just to practice doing it. I definitely know my limits now and what I want to be committing myself to, but it’s college! There’s so much I want to do! And I just want to do it all now! Right???

Sometimes I look at my schedule and wonder how I do it. Like honestly, how am I a functioning human being with all this stuff? Even though I’m doing really well with it all rn, I know that I need to be careful. This could be a slippery slope.

I’m really tired! Like actually completely worn out. I wish I could do it all, but I know that sometimes I just need to sit by myself in an empty fourth-floor lounge and watch Netflix. ((i.e what I’ve been doing the past hour)) This is the first time all week I’ve had genuine down time – and I know I could go out with my sorority sisters and have a fun night out, or go to my acapella group’s girl’s night in, but I honestly just want a nice calm Friday night where I can go to bed at a reasonable hour and prep for the overbooking I have coming up tomorrow.

Guess who’s happy? Surprise, it’s me!

Wow hello wow! Boy oh boy am I tired! Is this what my brother feels like all the time (minus all the math #cantrelate)?

Every day I wake up and usually dread some part of my day, but then I come home filled with this wonderful blissful contentment that I can’t quite explain. It’s like that feeling of running hot water over freezing fingers or when vibrato echoes in a space.

For the first time in a little while I can confidently say I am happy. Like actually happy. Not just a fake smile in some photo posed at parties I’d rather not be attending. Not just iced coffee dates where I lie and say I’m probably just tired. Not just blog posts where I really try to convince myself that I’m okay.

I am actually happy. Very very very happy. It’s such a fantastic relief to know that I could walk through a dark and not so fun forest where I tripped far too often and somehow still get out with only a couple (a lot) of bruises. To know that all those forests have sunshine somewhere along the journey is something amazing. To know that my heart can withstand a whole lot is very reassuring.

And so what if my room is a mess or if I can’t remember things unless I write them down or if I can only make time for people if it’s on my google calendar? I am happy. That’s the good ole end goal for most, isn’t it? To be happy, to love, to be loved. I’ve got all three right now. Do I still seek self-validation in others? Sure! But I no longer place my self-worth and value in the love I receive from those who aren’t worth it.

Trust me when I say that I have become a whole lot more comfortable with the idea that I could be someone’s least favorite person. That thought used to keep me up at night and really h*cking stress me out. But that fear of needing to be liked and appreciated only turned me into this people-pleasing monster who was not as selfless as she may have appeared.

But here I am, today, in a very comfortable dorm bed that feels oh so much like home, surrounded by the most wonderful of friends; I am where I was meant to be and God knew it all along.

So, hi! Let me reintroduce myself; my name is Lizzy ((very much with a y)) and I am so happy to announce that I am truly happy. My love is a force to be reckoned with and I’d love to prove that to you some time 😉

PEACE OUT MY HAPPY HOMIES!

Bagel Bagel Bagel

Boy do I love bagels! There has never been a time where someone has suggested eating bagels where I’ve gasped at the audacity of their question. I seriously am always dtgabfa (down to get a bagel from Alpine) ((Alpine is the bagel place at my college sorry this isn’t the most #relatable acronym)). Bagels come in so many shapes and sizes and flavors some of em are super spicy – others are real ~salty~. Sometimes bagels are disgusting and like you gotta tell your friends to avoid them, but sometimes they’re really sweet and you wish you could have that bagel for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, bagels don’t always know what they want. Which is a real pain as a customer. Us customers are constantly confused by bagels and their intentions! When am I gonna find a nice cooked piece of dough that is both honest with itself and with me!

I’m kind of tired of bagels, if I’m being totally honest. I spend so much time obsessing over how bagels think of me and how other people view my relationship with bagels. I kinda just wanna go gluten free for good, ya know? Whenever I have a bagel I always feel kinda weird after. Like I overthink all the consequences – the calories, my gluten intake for the day, the eventual run I will have to go on, the way it sits on my stomach the rest of the day – I’m not sure if it’s worth it anymore.

I used to have a consistent bagel (which was dope); I think I want a consistent bagel again. I’m really tired of taste testing all these different kinds – some have really awful bitter after tastes. I went on a bit of a bagel break earlier this school year; it was somewhat successful ? But I’m thinking I need to go on another one, especially since I’m training for a half-marathon right now. I don’t need any glutinous distractions. The right bagel will find me! I can hope?

((Oh, I see what she did there. She isn’t actually talking about bagels. It’s a clever metaphor for her love life, wow she’s so weirdly creative.))

I will say though, I miss Alpine a lot; I miss all my fellow customers. I miss late night bagel-talks and burnt coffee. I miss electric pianos and microwave s’mores. I miss that one suite that’s adopted me as their little sister. And I sure as heck miss those two girls; one hated me the first time she met me; one met me minutes before I could be found sobbing on a purple mattress.

College is so weird guys, like really weird. But I’m very ready to be back. I think I’ll go gluten-free for New Years.

Happy 2019!

 

 

Potentially Cold, Definitely Blessed

Hi Hello Dear Loved Ones and Strangers!

Welcome to my Blog; can I get you anything? Hot chocolate, a big ole hug, a nice hand hold? Please make yourself at home!

I’m sitting outside of my dorm (up against the brick wall completely burrito-ed in a blanket). I don’t think I’m crazy here, but I really enjoy being cold.

This is gonna be a religious blog post, and despite whatever you may believe, I’d invite you to read! Who knows, maybe you’ll learn some cool things about yourself (or this great big world we get to occupy for a little bit).

I grew up very religious ((shoutout to my Episcopalian middle/high school)). I was raised Methodist by some really cool peeps (my raised-catholic momma (who hates being called mama, sorry) and my preacher-kid daddio (who has never been called that before, but hey I’m trying new things). My grandma is this rocking awesome Methodist Preacher who marches for equality and loves herself a good glass of wine! But the dopest (a really great adjective, right?) thing about how I was raised was the way my family let us kiddos choose what we believed. I know a lot of people who were forced to believe this-or-that and therefore resented it. People don’t really like being told what to believe, ya know?

I don’t have that ~cool~ testimony where God like pancake-flipped my life in this miraculous way, but I’d argue that my journey won’t be over until I take my last breath. No one’s testimony is ever complete until they are!

I grew up with a really strong faith; I had my doubts as most questioning kids do, but I never really experienced a total blackout of my faith. When I was a freshman in high school, I struggled with a lot of mental health issues ((if you’ve read my blog before you might know a lil about that)) like big time anxiety issues. I started to fall into that spiral where I was mad at God.

“Hey God, if you’re so freaking great and loving and all that, then why did my camp counselor kill herself? Why did one of my best friends cut his wrists in the bathroom? Why do I want to not live anymore? If you’re really up there then get me out of this. Don’t let me wake up tomorrow. I don’t want anymore of this bs.”

((my fingers are getting very chilly at this point, so I apologize for these frozen-not-so-poetic words))

I was frustrated and mad and felt as if everything I’d been taught was some watered down truth meant to put a band-aid on all the hurt around me. It felt like religion was an excuse to ignore the real world, to ignore the real issues, to ignore the pain. I was done with the hypocrisy of those around me; I was done with the idea of suffering; I was done with feeling like my anxiety could suddenly go away if I were just more faithful in my God.

I didn’t stop believing in God, but I stopped loving him; I stopped having faith in his goodness. I was convinced that christianity was a whole load of crap, and that everyone around me was just being naive in their blind faith.

Then I went to my favorite place in the world, no not Disney World (even though that is up there). I went to Camp Cheerio, which is definitely the best summer camp in the whole world! It was my last year as a camper and I was not at all ready for those amazing memories to end. It was our camp-out night, a fine Wednesday night, and we laid out under the stars. My counselor gave some devotion that has long since left my mind, but I remember laying there under those beautiful stars and for the first time in almost a year, I prayed. I was sort of at a loss for words, but God has this miraculous way of speaking for me when I don’t know what to say. So there I was, staring at a sky full of hope and wonder counting shooting stars and praying; it was the calmest I had felt in such a long time. I felt the Holy Spirit work in me that night.

Later in the session, I sat in the woods by myself (a fun thing called Solo Night), on top of a fallen tree, with a bible open in my lap. I’d always loved the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, so I figured I should start there. I read this story that I’d heard so many times before, but for the first time I felt like I understood Joseph – a man who had everything taken from him, a man who was utterly alone in the universe – I saw how God delivered him through all the bs of life. But the most amazing thing to me was how Joseph was so strong in his faith through it all. That couldn’t be naive blind faith, that was something else. That was an amazing belief in something bigger than himself.

I am so far from perfect and I deal with strife over guilt every day, but I remember that someone loved me enough to die for me. Which in theory sounds like something we would do for any of our loved ones, but he didn’t just die for one of us – he died for each and every one of us. The liars, the cheaters, the murderers, the crooked politicians, the sex offenders, the rapists, the worst of the worst, and the best of the best. How absolutely wild is that? It will never make sense to me. Ever. 

There is nothing in this post that I can say to capture the absolute peace I feel in my God. There is no way to capture his grace. But when I think of the love God has for me and every one of the 7 billion people on this earth, I am overcome with emotion.

I can sit here and type forever, but nothing is going to measure up. Nothing is gonna feel like enough. I encourage you to look at the little things in your life that have gone so inexplicably right, those things that seem like daily miracles, the way your little sister smiles, the way the sky is painted every morning and every night, think of it all. There is something bigger than us out there in that wonderful sky. When I hear the way human voices come together to create the most beautiful and intricate of harmonies, I cannot help but think of the wonderful things God has put in my life.

There is something so much bigger than us; there is something so much lovelier than us. I’m not tryna make any of you religious or anything, but it’s a pretty cool experience and I highly recommend it.

Hosea 6:3
“Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.”

That’s pure poetry y’all.