So Worth Loving

Books and Mountains

I’ve never really understood people who run long distances. I get the health aspect of it. I can understand the sense of accomplishment. But it all seems a bit monotonous. After all, in a marathon, after a while, isn’t it just the same thing? Mountain climbing, though, is something I get. Not in a way that I would probably ever attempt it, but I think I understand the desire. You climb a mountain to reach the top, to see the view, to stand where only a few others may have stood. But there’s a letdown inherent in the accomplishment.

This November I participated in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who may not know and wonder what that weird anagram means, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November a group of people, united by social media and the web, try to write a novel in 30 days, pushing themselves to reach the goal of 50,000 words.

NaNoWriMo is an interesting challenge; to the community it’s talked about like a competition, with a prize to win. But the only reward for finishing is a novel, and the only thing you’re really competing against is yourself. Nevertheless, it is a challenge.

It’s a lot like climbing a mountain. You get to the end, see how far you’ve come, but then there’s something else that always seems to accompany the sense of achievement.

Because finishing a novel, as much as an accomplishment as it is, is not quite as much an accomplishment as you might hope. The whole point of the month is to write 50,000 words, and at the end of the month what you have is 50,000 words. No agents or publishers contact you. No book deals magically show up on your doorstep. And more importantly, you might not find yourself suddenly brimming with the confidence to go get those things. Because what you have is 50,000 words. And you know it wasn’t anything miraculous that put them there; it was just you. And you know you, and you are nothing to write home about.

As great a thing it is to do, to know that I did it, I feel as if I want there to be more.

But a novel won’t make you feel good about yourself. Those who are writers know, it might just do the exact opposite. And that’s true, I would imagine, for most of life’s accomplishments. As good as they are, there’s no guarantee they will suddenly fill us with confidence and worth. They may be great and good things: love, health, relationships, things worth pursuing, but none of them will make us whole. We push and strive, but we might just find ourselves the same when we get there.

Of course, those things often provide the impetus to improvement. We might work to better ourselves because of them. But they are not the things that will give us value; at best they just show us that we have it. But if we don’t know that we have it already, no badge, no medal, no accomplishment will ever make us feel like we do. Because, in the end, we’re never really through. Writing, like mountain climbing, often brings one to a point where you can exclaim “I’m done!” and simultaneously lament, “I’m nowhere near finished.” Because once you’ve reached the peak, you realize you have to climb back down. And once you finish the first draft you realize that there’s this thing called editing. You’ve only just started.

  • But look how far you’ve come.

I wrote 50,000 words. A month ago, they didn’t exist. I made that. We’re in the season of retrospect, of looking back and asking ourselves what we did with last year. And when you look you may not see anything worth noting. You may feel like you are exactly where you were this time a year ago. But you’re not. I promise. You’ve done something. You’ve lived, you’ve breathed. You did a lap around the sun. But, however small it may seem, something is here that wasn’t here a year ago, a month ago, a day ago, and it’s because of you.

If you want to do more, do more. If you want to be more, be more. But none of us are nothing. We all make our mark on the world. All that’s left is for us to decide what kind of mark. Maybe you accomplished something great, maybe you met someone, started a company, moved someplace new. Maybe there’s something worth really celebrating. Celebrate it.

And then keep going. Because we’re always moving, writing, loving, breathing. Because we’re all works in progress.

 Written and loved on by Douglas Humphries

I’m sort of awesome, and you are too.

I’ve never been very good at break ups. I’m not going to lie about it. I’d always been so in love with the idea of being in love, that I convinced myself I loved a lot of people. That wasn’t true, I didn’t love them, nor them me. And looking back on some of the things that I did, I realized how unfair that was. It was unfair, not just to me, but to them as well. I was lying to myself, I was lying to them.

I so desperately wanted to be loved that I fell into some not-so-great relationships. I think this is something that a lot of people do. We’re so damn lonely that we’ll jump at any sort of attention, regardless if we’re compatible with that person long term. And then sometimes, it feels so nice to have someone to talk to and to confide in, we convince ourselves that this is what a relationship is supposed to be like. We ignore the warning signs. I used to have huge problems with jealousy, on both sides, in almost every relationship. There were always trust issues, no matter who it was. I was almost always cheated on. And more often than not, there were communication issues. Now, I’m not saying that every relationship with those issues is bound to fail, I’m just saying that all of mine did. 

And then one day I realized that those types of relationships didn’t make me happy. I eventually realized that I wasn’t happy. I was walking on eggshells, and I was consumed with jealousy often. I questioned everything about the relationship. I never believed them when they said that I was beautiful. I jumped from relationship to relationship desperately searching for someone to love me. So, one day I decided I wanted to be single for a while (as I’d never been single more than 6 months). I spent a lot of time doing soul searching, I wanted to know who I was. I wasn’t happy with who I was, I didn’t want to be that person, so I took a long hard look at myself and started working on those things that I don’t like about myself. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t like myself a lot of the time. I was filled with regret. It was painful, to be honest.

Slowly, but surely, I started shedding aspects of myself that I didn’t like. I knew that I wanted to respect myself, I wanted to be proud of the person I was becoming, so I started reaching out. I began learning more, more about the world that we live in, and I realized that I wanted to help. I’ve always had a part of me that wanted to be a part of a big change. So I educated myself. I became a (mostly)vegan. I interviewed with Invisible Children. I spent two months Occupying LA. I worked with Environment California. I started realizing that although I’ve never really been alright with the way women are portrayed in the media, it was time to start speaking up.

I made a lot of changes. I changed the way that I look at the world, I changed the way I reacted to the world. I started learning more. I started really listening. I changed my perspective on myself, I learned how to love myself, and that I didn’t need validation from anyone to accept my awesome-ness.

I’m happy to say that I’m in the kind of relationship that I want to be in. I didn’t jump into it, we took things slow. We got to know each other before leaping. And now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I found someone who actually likes the person I am. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and they actually like who I am. The old friends who actually like me, they’re still around too.

I think, maybe, it’s because I like who I am. For me, everything started falling into place when I accepted the things that I couldn’t change, letting go of the past, dissolving the things that I could, and being excited about being alive.

Getting to know myself was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ll be doing it basically my whole life. I hope those of you who struggle with this too will take a good hard look at yourself, and know that you are worth loving. No one in your life should dictate that but you. Be the best you that you can be and everything else really does fall into place.

-Tara Jean 

The Spring cleaning season must be upon us! I’m not sure what struck me but I have been working down in the basement a lot lately cleaning and trying to figure out what exactly we all have. Would you believe there are still pieces of my childhood down there? Toys even! While some of the things are worth keeping, the majority of it needs to go. Most of the things down there never see the light of day anymore. They have served their purpose and are only cluttering up the basement. 
Spring cleaning is great for our homes but it can also refresh our ways of thinking and how we see and treat ourselves. Have you ever taken inventory on yourself and the pieces of your life that do not need to be there? Now’s the perfect time if you haven’t! Bring on the Spring Cleaning: Personal Mode.
Maybe you have things in your life that have yet to see the light of day- the things that eat away at you every single day inside but are never able to make it past your mouth. The secrets. Maybe there are certain attitudes you carry around that could use a little (or a lot of) tweaking. Maybe feelings such as unworthiness, shame, and worthlessness are constantly on your mind. Bad habits? Unhealthy relationships? Insecurities? This list could go on and on… whether it’s filled with serious things that need to change or more simple things to work on over time. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to get at it, get inside your heart and mind, and clean it out! Sometimes the things we let ourselves believe and do can be so poisonous to us. There is no reason why we should be letting ourselves live in that poison and destroy our quality of life. 
I know I have a lot of time that needs to be spent in the Personal Mode of spring cleaning this season and I hope that you will spend some time there as well. Personally, I know I can’t wait to let go of some of my poison and get it out of my life! It’s not going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
Happy Spring everyone!

@ROSIEHANKE
POST BY ROSIE HANKE

The Spring cleaning season must be upon us! I’m not sure what struck me but I have been working down in the basement a lot lately cleaning and trying to figure out what exactly we all have. Would you believe there are still pieces of my childhood down there? Toys even! While some of the things are worth keeping, the majority of it needs to go. Most of the things down there never see the light of day anymore. They have served their purpose and are only cluttering up the basement.

Spring cleaning is great for our homes but it can also refresh our ways of thinking and how we see and treat ourselves. Have you ever taken inventory on yourself and the pieces of your life that do not need to be there? Now’s the perfect time if you haven’t! Bring on the Spring Cleaning: Personal Mode.

Maybe you have things in your life that have yet to see the light of day- the things that eat away at you every single day inside but are never able to make it past your mouth. The secrets. Maybe there are certain attitudes you carry around that could use a little (or a lot of) tweaking. Maybe feelings such as unworthiness, shame, and worthlessness are constantly on your mind. Bad habits? Unhealthy relationships? Insecurities? This list could go on and on… whether it’s filled with serious things that need to change or more simple things to work on over time. Whatever it is, I would encourage you to get at it, get inside your heart and mind, and clean it out! Sometimes the things we let ourselves believe and do can be so poisonous to us. There is no reason why we should be letting ourselves live in that poison and destroy our quality of life.

I know I have a lot of time that needs to be spent in the Personal Mode of spring cleaning this season and I hope that you will spend some time there as well. Personally, I know I can’t wait to let go of some of my poison and get it out of my life! It’s not going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

Happy Spring everyone!


@ROSIEHANKE

POST BY ROSIE HANKE