Girl, Wash Your Face Review

One of my resolutions this year is to read one book a month. It isn’t a lot, but it’s realistic, so any extra reads will be a great bonus. For January, I chose Girl, Wash Your Face. It was interesting timing because I recently saw a Facebook post in a group going around talking about how Rachel Hollis’ book, GWYF, was close-minded and uptight. I hadn’t read it at the time I saw the argument going on, but I was surprised that so many girls from this group of typically very accepting people had such hard feelings toward the author of GWYF, so I became increasingly curious as to what fired people up about this bestselling author.

My best friend Audrey gave me the audiobook for my birthday last month, and I’ve finally listened to more than half of it. I feel compelled to write about it now, though, because while listening I have had several moments where I want to throw my hands up and scream, “YES. THIS IS HOW I FEEL!” It’s such a joy to find novels, blogs, and television shows that just get you. In a world that feels so incredibly big, it’s always comforting to know there are other people who have things in common with you. Whether it’s your beliefs, sense of humor, hobbies, or interests, knowing that you aren’t alone is so important for every human being.

hollis2.png
Instagram: msrachelhollis

I am sick of the old narrative that says just because someone is living their life a different way than the majority, that they are a judgmental bigot. One of the biggest criticisms I saw floating around was that Hollis wasn’t relatable because her ideas about sex weren’t realistic. Spoiler alert: she waited to have sex until she was with her husband. Something that bothers me is that there is no place in the entertainment world for virgins or people who want to save sex for someone special. Hollis is in no way the names girls called her; she is just different than what the norm of the group posts about.

Just because Rachel held her virginity close to her own heart does not mean she is shaming others for having sex with multiple people. I absolutely hate that women can’t talk about this freely without being criticized for being close-minded or a prude. Women in this typically nonjudgmental group began talking about how the author seemed condescending and high-strung. Honestly, I can see how Girl Wash Your Face might not be relatable to everyone, but I didn’t get this vibe at all. There is a reason this book became a bestseller; there are so many women out there who can relate and feel a lot less alone while consuming Hollis’ words. There is a need for women to speak out about virginity and waiting to have sex because they exist too. Instead of continuing the narrative that these women are boring, uptight, and judgmental, we need to move to a safe middle ground of realizing that sexual preferences do not make a person or dictate what their personality is like. Sex is a verb, it isn’t an adjective that describes what a person is like at their core. 

Hollis actually has an entire chapter about sex and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think anyone would actually keep calling her the names they’ve bestowed upon her after reading it, and her views on being intimate are actually really healthy. She talks about the way she views sex, and she isn’t boring or vanilla in the least. She writes about different seasons through her sex life with her husband and the realistic ebb and flow that most people will experience. This is just another opportunity Hollis takes to talk about something that could be difficult for some of her readers, and help them see that they are — in fact — normal human beings.

Women who choose to keep sex as something for a monogamous relationship or for marriage need to feel less alone too. We have moved to a time in society where we know that you’re not a bad person for sleeping with multiple people. We accept being sexually active as a societal norm, and as long as you’re a normal human being you don’t shame other people for their preferences. This should include the young people who are saving themselves for one person, though. There aren’t many positive examples of people like this in the media. You don’t watch a television show and see a badass virgin who has a likable personality and is someone others look up to. Talking about someone being a virgin in the media is typically not done, and if it is, it is portraying a young girl losing her virginity to “become an woman” or honing in on the storyline of a lack of sex for a nerdy character. You don’t see normal twenty-something virgins in movies or on television — in Hollywood, they don’t exist. In the real world, though, they do. They are normal people who just haven’t done the deed yet, and I think we need to do a better job of acknowledging that you aren’t broken if you haven’t had those experiences yet. Sex is a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be taboo to talk about, but it also should never be used to shame someone for their lack of experience either.

Imagine making fun of someone for running — or not. Picture judging their personality solely on being a runner, not based on anything else like how friendly they are, how kind they are, or how smart they are. Running an activity that people often enjoy or never participate in; it doesn’t dictate what they’re like as a person. Sex is the same concept. You don’t suddenly change drastically because you are sexually active; you just have a new activity in your life. Sex is fun, and an incredible way to connect with someone you love, but it isn’t something that will change the core of your being.

hollis1.png
Instagram: msrachelhollis

If you haven’t read GWYF yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a light read and Rachel is an awesome motivational speaker — it feels like she’s just a friend offering advice. I love her little words of wisdom on Instagram, and am obsessed with this quote she attributes to her therapist,

“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”

I think we can all learn a little lesson from this on fearlessly being ourselves. Many of our biggest fears stem from what other people think about us. This year I’m trying my best to put my blinders on and share my thoughts without worrying about the opinions of others. I think this is going to be the best way to really connect with people, even though I might also reach some people who just don’t understand my heart. Subscribe to my email list to get some extra premium content this year! I have a lot to say and am excited to be sharing more with you all.

Insurance Is A Freaking Pain

My pain has been really bad lately. I can tell I’m really not feeling well when my nails look like crap — I love having painted fingers and toes, and always do them myself — and I begin forgetting things. Yesterday I had to turn around and drive home because I could’t remember if I shut the door — not locked it, but shut it — I fed Jax a second breakfast, and I can’t remember the third thing I forgot… It will come to me by the time I finish this.

I have decided that our next election I am going to really, really pay attention to healthcare and making it a top priority in how I vote. I’ve changed around insurance plans and being without physical therapy for the rest of the year sucks. The thing that frustrates the hell out of me is that I am in pain and trying to fix the problem by doing something that is good for me. I haven’t gone on medication to manage my POTS (Though I do think some people can absolutely not do without it and need to do anything that helps them have any semblance of a normal life), and I work hard to try to be as pain-free as possible. There are a few things that frustrate me. First, insurance doesn’t cover as much PT as I need in a year. I really have to figure it all out way in advance and go without it for periods of time to make ends meet. At some point my pain is going to go from a managed 3-5 with physical therapy to an 8-9 range without it*. Working out and getting hands-on work done is a key part of having me feel better than I do now. I never feel normal, but my pain is at least being managed. Second, PT is harder to get than medication and that makes absolutely no freaking sense to me. If there is a way to actually manage things without taking six different prescriptions I want to do it. Part of the complication of having a chronic illness is looking at your own symptoms versus what side effects medications will have on you, then picking the lesser of the two evils. You also have to weigh the pros and cons of being on something long-term. It makes absolutely no sense to me why doctors are able to prescribe something that I have to consume that will only temporarily put a bandaid over the problem, rather than trying to chip away at all the issues I have with the natural way of physical therapy. I am very dependent on going in for my visits, as I get terribly stiff and have a lot of pain when I miss more than a session, but I feel like I am making progress in a few small ways at a time. When I can’t go I start deteriorating and taking several steps backwards, even with the programs I do on my bedroom floor and at the gym down the street. I hate being dependent on anything, but having a chronic illness has really been humbling.

I feel like I have more freedom when I am feeling better because I do. I can do more when I feel better, and even at my very best I’m not at a normal 28-year-old level. When I talk to all of my grandparents on the phone, I feel like we relate more than friends my own age when it comes to how we feel. We are all in pain in one way or another, and can’t do as much as we used to be able to. I am scared of getting older and having the normal wear and tear of aging, but maybe they’ll have a cure for POTS by then. I don’t think about that often because it doesn’t do me any good to worry about the future, and I continue to focus on making myself get stronger and managing my symptoms on a day-to-day basis. I figure I’ll just worry about problems as they come to me and try my best to be healthy and prevent anything from deteriorating further.

pain.png

Finally, I am frustrated because by asking to go to physical therapy I am not asking to do something excitingly fun. Sure my PT’s are all so incredibly nice and fun people I would totally be friends with outside the clinic (Shoutout to, Melissa, Hilary, and Jackie for being the absolute best!), but it’s work and it often hurts a lot when I have to get poked at while I am in pain. The benefits are feeling astronomically better, though, while I am going on a regular basis. So, my third and final annoyance is the fact that I can’t go to get help to have a shot at having even remotely close to a normal life. My quality of life when I am in pain is not goodI constantly feel like I need to throw up from the pain, but don’t. My usual level with treatment is a consistent “I just went on a long run” kind of pain, with a few sharp and gnawing pains here and there, but what I’ve been having lately is several times worse than that and blaring a lot louder. I often find myself having a hard time focusing on what people say to me because I can’t seem to get past thinking about the coat hanger pain that consumes me. I can never drive for more than about fifteen minutes at a time without feeling some sort of pain, but now driving makes me want to cry because of how much it hurts to be behind the wheel. I’m back to having a hard time figuring out how to be productive and what I can do every day because everything hurts.

pots.png

I still don’t remember what I forgot before, but maybe once I can get taken care of my brain can start focusing on normal little tasks instead of honing in on how much it hurts to do anything. Speaking of which, I can’t sit at this computer any longer or my shoulders won’t feel okay in time for Christmas. I’m going to go spend some quality time with my foam roller and hopefully be able to get some sleep tonight!


*I think this was obvious, but for anyone who doesn’t know, pain is often measured in a scale from 1-10 in the medical world because it’s a little easier to articulate how you are feeling that way.

Counting Spoons And Stars

My life hasn’t been normal for a twenty-something living in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Just 18 months after I could legally drink, I found myself stripped of all the independence I had spent time gathering while traveling across Europe for a summer program, working and taking care of myself at college, and moving to New York City even though I didn’t know anyone there. Instead of gathering more life experiences that would shape me into who I was becoming after school, I was thrown into learning the importance of appreciating even little moments in difficult days, and I was facing health issues that most people twice my age hadn’t even begun to deal with yet.


I know I’ve talked about The Spoon Theory some on here, but I saw an interesting graphic on the Dysautonomia International Facebook page, so I wanted to write a little blog post to go along with it.

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.14.58 AM

I would switch around a few of these. For example, I think taking a shower and shaving or washing my hair takes more than 2 spoons, but going shopping only takes 3, depending on the task (as long as I don’t have to push a cart or carry a lot). I have always been a really big fan of a nice, hot shower, but I honestly don’t even remember my pre-POTS showers. I don’t remember what it’s like turning the dial to the “H” without knowing that my heart is about to start racing like I’m running a marathon, and allotting some time to lie down after I’m done shampooing. I do remember the days I couldn’t wash my own hair, though. I remember first getting sick and not being able to stand in the shower because I would pass out. I remember sitting down in the bathtub in my pink paisley bikini so my mom could shampoo and condition my hair for me since the room was always spinning around me and I couldn’t stand by myself for more than a few minutes. In hindsight, the way my hair was washed is really similar to the way my dog, Macy, gets her hair washed now. We both just sat there and let someone else do a task we  are less than thrilled about, but need to have done. I was 22 years old, had just graduated from college, and could not take care of even my most basic needs.

Despite making slow improvements with POTS, I still always look fine, so people usually cannot tell if I’m having a “good day” or “bad day” just by looking at me. Nobody else can see the way my vision blacks out whenever I stand up too quickly, or when my pain is acting up. Whenever I see someone pop right out of bed when they wake up on television I laugh to myself and think, “That’s so unrealistic!” then I quickly realize that it’s actually most people’s reality. Most people can jump right up from laying down to a standing position and not feel repercussions from their body. I don’t remember ever being able to do that, but logically I know that five years ago I would have been able to. Actually, come to think of it, it probably would have really freaked me out if I couldn’t pop right out of bed all of a sudden!

There are many things that I don’t remember from my pre-POTS life. I don’t remember what it’s like living with a “0” on the pain scale, I don’t remember being able to be low maintenance when traveling or going out with friends, and I don’t remember what it’s like feeling like you’re in the same boat with all your peers. College is so great because even though you are all doing such different things, you are all working toward some sort of career goal. I get sick of explaining what POTS is over and over again, and I hate the look of pity in someone’s eyes after I get done telling them about how even though I am still young, I ended up with a life-changing health condition at the very beginning of my twenties.

There are a lot of things I do remember so well from my old life, though. I remember going outside and finding out it was a beautiful day, so going for a long run. I remember deciding on a whim to train for a half marathon, and bumping up my mileage with ease. My brain remembers going to work and sitting at a computer all day long and all of the projects that I did, but I don’t really remember how it felt. I think about it now and wonder how I was able to do all of that without feeling stiff as a board and paying for it for the rest of the week. I have no idea how I ever survived without a foam roller or physical therapy. Did my body really once not hurt? Why didn’t I take advantage of that more?

I have been blessed, though. The crazy thing about POTS is there isn’t a lot of treatment that helps you get better, other than hard work in the gym (Which is done on the recumbent bike and with tiny hand weights), a good diet, and a great deal of luck. Getting sick has made me learn that there is no doubt in my mind that God does exist, and He has so much power and love to give. I still can’t believe how much more clearly I can think without all of the dizziness and brain fog, and I feel blessed to have good days mixed in with the bad. I actually think that most of the time I am probably on the higher end of the “happy scale” than a lot of twenty-somethings because I have learned to find the joy in the little things in life. I feel happy when I get to meet a new dog, I love being able to go outside for long and leisurely walks, and I really feel at peace every night when I look up at the stars. It’s really amazing to realize that even with so many planets and heavenly bodies so far away, my Creator still loves and cares about me. I always feel small when I think about how far away the stars are and how many other people there are in the world, but it really is amazing that God has a plan for each and every one of our intricately detailed lives.

I still don’t know why I got POTS or what my life is going to look like with it moving forward, but I am going to continue to share my journey and what I’ve learned with people, and I am going to keep working toward a more normal life. I’ve used a few spoons writing this and am getting dizzy because I really need a salty lunch, but I will be writing about The Spoon Theory again on my blog in the next week or so. I want you all to know what I use my spoons on, and how stealing a spoon from another day can be great because I am able to enjoy outings with friends, but it makes playing catch-up difficult the very next day. I, as well as all my other spoonie friends, just want to feel like everyone in life just gets it. That won’t happen unless we begin speaking out about our chronic illnesses, though, so I am going to continue being vocal about what life looks like on the inside for someone with a chronic illness.

stars.png


Please take a minute to read this article by Christine Miserando about how she created The Spoon Theory. It is explained so darn well here, and I — along with every other person with a chronic illness — would give anything for people in my life to actually understand what it means to use spoons throughout the day.

Chronically Positive

Who all remembers when I had my “Chronically POTSitive” blog?

I initially created it for a class I was taking for my Master’s, but it was also a really fun way to start blogging and connecting to others with chronic illnesses. I have long given up writing on that — this blog is where my heart lies — but I have kept the mindset of being chronically positive. I’m not going to link any of that content because I wrote much of it lying dizzily on our living room couch so I’m a bit afraid of the errors that are surely scattered throughout my posts, but that is what initially made my heart feel open to the world and to share so much of my journey with others.

There are a few reasons I choose to be an optimist, and always try to look at the glass as being half full, rather than half empty. First, I’ve found that it’s actually a lot easier living as an optimist. Knowing that life is going to get better, even if it’s not necessarily there yet is such a powerful thing. I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking, and I think dreamers often get some of their wildest desires by putting them out into the world and fighting for what they want. Second, it is far less exhausting to be excited about the future than dreading it. Whether it’s with a job, dating, health, or anything that affects your quality of life, it’s always a lot easier getting through a bad day knowing that things will eventually take a turn for the better — even if it’s not that same week or year.

pots.png

I got sick with POTS almost 5 years ago now, and I still remember my parents telling me every single day that I was going to get better and I would be able to walk around without fainting again, spend time out with friends, and live a beautifully joyful life. My dad told me that things would get better every single day when he drove me to the gym to do my 20 minutes on the recumbent bike after his long work day in the city. My mom hugged me while I cried on the bedroom floor because I was tired of not being able to stand on my own or go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without calling to wake someone up because I might pass out on my way there. We played “Would You Rather” late into the night when I couldn’t sleep because of my heart palpitations and chest pain. I looked forward to our little games despite the circumstances, and we always made it a point to laugh every day, even when I felt like the world was crashing and burning around me. I got sick with POTS overnight with no warning, but despite being bedridden and feeling sick 24/7, we still managed to find joy in my life.


Glasses are used to be filled and emptied. You end some days with a completely dry glass, but remembering that you can still fill it with something even better is so important to continue moving forward. Let’s say you have a full glass of lukewarm water that gets knocked over and empties completely on the floor. It sucks that you don’t have a drink anymore, but now you have room to fill it with something better — like chocolate milk or iced tea. Getting rid of the water made room for an upgrade. Sometimes life isn’t fair and doesn’t go the way you hope it will. Your heart gets broken by the wrong guy and it feels like the end of the world until you learn you’re better off without him. Then you meet the love of your life, and you realize that getting dumped was actually the best thing that ever happened to you, even though your heart hurt terribly at the time, because it allowed you to find the one person you never want to live without.

POTS was heartbreaking, scary, and life-changing. My arms hurt while I am writing this, and I wish I could sit at my computer and pour out my heart on paper all day long. I want to travel without feeling like I’m high-maintenance, I want to run again, and I want to chase the dreams I had in college still without having to change them because of my illness. If I hadn’t gotten sick with POTS, though, there’s no way I would have really met Robert. I would have moved to New York City and continued to write for a magazine, and I wouldn’t have been in the area before he went on his deployment. I would have missed out on so many great memories with my family, and I would never have seen just how many people love and care about me. My heart may not work like a normal one anymore, but it’s grown several sizes larger to hold all the love that is in my life. People are absolutely the most important thing to me, and getting to hold so many hearts close to mine means infinitely more to me than any job or amount of money ever could.

LOVE.png

God works in mysterious ways, and although I am not sure why He hasn’t decided to give me back the body I used to have, I still have faith that I will have a joyful and fulfilling life. As my sweet friend Sophia often said, “The best is yet to come.”


After I wrote this post I happened to stumble upon this article by Forbes. Optimism is a life changer. Create it one step at a time and I promise you won’t be sorry.

Love Never Fails

Today I am closing the chapter on our Corinthians Bible verse. Coincidentally enough, last night Robert remembered that he had gotten a gift for me while he was away at military training this month. While he was unpacking his cooler, I saw him put granola bars and M&Ms on the kitchen table, so when he smiled and put his hand behind his back and said, “I forgot I got you a present while I was gone,” I figured he was going to crack up and hand me a candy wrapper or something.

I walked over to him and giggled, anticipating the prank, but was really touched when he opened his hand and there was a silver heart-shaped necklace in it. It had a little cross where the chain held the heart, and I turned it over to find that there was a Bible verse on the other side. It simply said,

“Love Never Fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8.”

I was so surprised and felt my heart fill with warmth. Gift giving has always been a favorite love language of mine, and the fact that Robert thought about me enough to get me a gift while he was gone made me so happy, especially because it was something so perfect for me.

necklace.png

I am going to finish dissecting this verse today, but I encourage everyone to memorize it and keep it at the forefront of your life. You can love every single person you come into contact with, even in the smallest of ways, by using this as your definition for love.


1 Corinthians 13:7 says,

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.

love

Love protects. There is a reason people in love often say they want to protect their partner’s heart. Humans don’t like seeing others in pain, especially when it’s someone they really care about. By committing to protect someone’s heart you are making a promise to them. You are promising to never intentionally hurt them, to stand up for them, and to ultimately be kind and gentle with their feelings.

Love trusts. Trust is the very most basic foundation of a relationship. Without trust you can’t build any other sturdy elements of a true love story. Trusting someone is knowing they will always keep you in mind when making decisions — big and small — and that they genuinely care about you to their core. Trust shouldn’t be given easily, but once it’s earned it is often kept unless something happens to break it.

Love perseveres. This is one of the most important but difficult things in a relationship. Every single person is going to have trials, sometimes with their partner, and other times alone. I have no experience being married, but I would speculate that the trials we face alone could often be even more difficult on a relationship than those we face together.

I am a fixer. I hate seeing people’s hearts feel broken, and I would rather take any sort of pain from a loved one and have it for myself. It’s difficult watching someone you care about suffer in any capacity, especially if you cannot relate or do anything to help. I often think about the way my loved ones have to deal with my illness, which is a big reason I try my best to keep complaints to a minimum. It is so frustrating when you can’t fix a problem, especially if it’s hurting someone. The most beautiful thing in the world, though, is loving someone throughout all the heartache and pain the world throws at both of you. Perseverance and endurance through hardship is possibly the greatest indicator of a lasting relationship. Realizing the world is a very imperfect place is the very beginning of preparing yourself for an incredible love story. Staying strong and pushing through the pain and difficulties that come up along the way is one of the most amazing ways to love someone, and the maker of an irreplaceably beautiful marriage.

The collection of verses is ended in these three powerful words,

“Love never fails.”

True selfless and strong love doesn’t get broken, and only grows through all the trials and tribulations life brings. Every relationship has its ups and downs, however I believe if you base your love on 1 Corinthians 13, you can make it to forever with your person. This is why I believe that although it is cliche, this is one of the most lovely Bible verses to be read at a wedding ceremony.

Choosing A Season Of Joy

I’m baaaaack! A lot has gone on in the week and a half I took off, but I’m ready to write again and update you all on some new developments.

It’s been crazy rainy lately and my POTS symptoms seem to get aggravated during changes in weather. Something interesting about POTS is that it affects a bunch of important organs, and has trouble finding homeostasis when even minor changes are introduced. My physical therapist takes my blood pressure and heart rate every single session — before and after and sometimes during my workouts — and it’s crazy to see that whenever I feel symptomatic my blood pressure is super low, and my heart rate is higher than usual. One cool thing about people with chronic illnesses is that we really know our bodies well. I can almost always pinpoint what is physically wrong with me because of the way my symptoms are behaving. We are going to start looking at the barometric pressure and my blood pressure throughout the day, just as a little test to see how they compare since both of us have noticed this trend. I can’t wait until POTS has been studied better and we can just look up a million and one facts about it, and one day there can actually be a cure.

Which leads me to my next point. I have been trying to be really cognizant of the blessings I have in my life lately. It makes every obstacle a whole lot easier to tackle, and I have felt more peace and joy by looking at the great things God has given me, rather than focusing only on the pain or discomfort. Today, for example, I saw a sweet little bunny outside on our front lawn. He was eating part of our flowers, but I sat and watched him until he was ready to leave before I walked past him. While I was sitting on the porch I saw a little red robin fly into a puddle next to our yard, and he started to fluff his feathers and bathe himself. These two little moments made my heart so warm the rest of the night.

As far as wedding planning goes, we keep making slow and steady progress. Robert and I got our wedding bands this week and they’re absolutely perfect. I keep putting mine on every time I go to his house because I love it so much! I am super sentimental, so I love that he picked everything out for me, but it’s also just so me. I love his too, and I think he looks super handsome with a wedding band. I wrote a little message to him in it so he’ll always be reminded of how I feel when he looks at it. 🙂 Despite all the stress of planning, I keep realizing how fast this time is going by and reminding myself that the primary feeling of this time of engagement should be joy. We have four months to go as of today, and I am so, so excited.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 10.24.21 PM.png

How To Grow — Or Kill — A Relationship

We only have two posts left about 1 Corinthians 13, and today’s is going to be a little lengthy, so hang in there!

“Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.”

Sadly, there is a lot of evil in the world, some of which isn’t even thought of being that way. We are going to keep this post a little simple, though, and focus on the Bible by remembering the seven deadly sins. Pride, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath, and lust are categorized as the “seven deadly sins.” These are all things that can possibly kill beautiful relationships. I could have a lengthy conversation about how each of these can completely destroy two hearts that are bound together, but today I am going to focus on the three that feel the most prevalent.

We don’t really use the word “gluttony” very often, but according to Dictionary.com it means, “Excessive eating and drinking.” When we think of this word, we think of someone who cannot stop eating, and Bruce in Matilda* comes to mind as someone who eats to the point of being gluttonous. Instead of using the traditional definition of gluttony, however, I want to dig deeper into the reason gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins. The key word in the definition is, excess. “Eating and drinking” is in no way a harmful behavior. We need to eat to survive, and a glass of wine can be a great treat at the end of the day. Anything in excess can be incredibly damaging, though, especially to a relationship. The most prominent things I can think of today that people enjoy to excess would be videogames, television, alcohol, or even work. It is heartbreaking just how many girls I see in wedding groups talk about how their future husband won’t pay attention to them because he is too focused on Call of Duty or another game of the sort. I have seen countless people asking for advice on how to get their loved one out of the house and to take care of them half as much as they do their Playstation or Xbox.

playstation

I had to sit and think of excessive habits before writing them on this page, and “work” was an interesting thing to include because many people would argue that if someone works hard, it can’t possibly be a negative attribute. A quote that has always stuck with me is,

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time on my business.'” -Arnold Zack

Living in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC has been an interesting way to grow up because so many people here prioritize status, money, and power above relationships. Even in school we were always pushed to take as many high level classes as we could manage without breaking — and then some. We were encouraged to play a sport every single season and maintain extracurriculars that would “help us get into a good college one day.” Even in the younger grades I had several hours of homework after spending all day at school. Never once did my high school mention that spending time with family was important, or that having close friendships would be what remained after school was all done with. Doing something meaningful and productive in the world is so important, however the influence you have in the lives of the individuals you come into contact with on a daily basis is just as important.

Greed is something that is a really obvious detrimental trait in a relationship, as it is linked to selfishness. A lack of contentment is the easiest way to lead an unhappy life, and constantly wanting more for yourself will secure a spot with all the other people who can’t focus on the present and always just want more.

Lust is one of the most obvious relationship-destroyers. When I think of “lust,” I think of Hollywood, and I think of society’s normalization of objectifying women. Movies are filled to the brim with sex, nudity, and innuendos, and whether you like it or not, we are conditioned to think that sex isn’t always a private moment between two people who care about each other. It is something that we see every day in magazines, on television, and on unsuspecting webpages, and it is no longer considered “shocking” when someone poses without any clothing on for millions of people to see. Relationships fall apart every single day because one — or both — parties believe they can do better and find someone new and exciting to pursue. Lust is one of the deadly sins because love cannot be sustained through lust. Love is fed through hearts and souls, and a beautiful body is never going to keep a relationship happy and healthy. If anything, love gives a beautiful new set of lenses to view your partner through, and gives a healthy physical component through knowing what is deep down in someone’s heart.

*Side note: When I was a kid, we saw Matilda in theaters and had to leave because I was terrified of the chokey. In hindsight this was a kind of sick movie, hahaha!


love.png

“Love rejoices in the truth.”

Two of my favorite words in the English language are “love,” and “rejoice.” They both make my heart flutter with joy, and always have something positive attached. Truth is the key word in this sentence about love, though. “The truth” is the direct object of the sentence, which means it is the reason love is rejoicing. Your love is able to be excited because of having an open and honest connection. Trust is the very basic necessity of a strong relationship; without it there is no foundation to build love upon. Something I really love about my relationship now is that I haven’t ever questioned whether or not I am being lied to. I know my significant other is someone who is always going to be upfront and honest with me, and that has given me such an enormous level of security that I want every single person to be with someone that they first and foremost trust. The world is not a perfect place, which means the truth can sometimes hurt or be difficult to deal with, however love becomes much easier when it is centered around truth. True love doesn’t keep secrets and can grow and really flourish with truthfulness.

Our last post will finish Corinthians with,

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

We will dissect each of these, and talk about why I think it’s important the verse ends with, “always perseveres.” Thank you for keeping up with this little segment, and I can’t wait to finish this chapter about a beautiful favorite wedding Bible verse.

Slow To Anger

Back to Corinthians to begin wrapping up my favorite Bible verse. Here is where we left off,

“[Love] is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Anger is an umbrella term for a bunch of other emotions we might not think about being in that category. Frustration, disappointment, and crankiness are a few feelings that can all be categorized under “anger.”

“Love is not easily angered” is a beautiful sentiment. I think as humans we feel things so deeply and often let our emotions control us, instead of the other way around. The easiest thing to do when we feel angry is to react. Anger is one of the most detectable feelings because it is often intense, and humans don’t always hold back when they are upset about something because it’s difficult to keep anger brewing inside until we can really evaluate the situation. Other feelings — such as love — has many different levels and outlets. Although people have different ways of expressing anger, it is often a feeling that is easily showcased and makes people around the angry person have strong reactions, too.

Anger is one of the most important emotions to learn to control. It is one of the few feelings that can lead to lasting damage if used incorrectly, and needs to be used in conjunction with wisdom and patience.

One of my favorite quotes is,

“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.”

Google doesn’t seem to know who said this, but it’s so powerful. Sadly, people often say things they don’t mean — or intentionally try to hurt a loved one — when tensions are high and they are angry. The interesting thing about anger is that we often react because we want to see a specific outcome of a situation, however reacting before thinking about it doesn’t allow us the time to come up with the smartest plan of getting where we want to be.

Do you notice how the verse doesn’t say, “Love doesn’t anger,” rather it says, “Love is not easily angered.” I am no expert in semantics or theology, but I do think each word used in the Bible is crafted with a purpose. God knows that as humans we are going to get angry (heck, Jesus got angry when He was on earth, and things got crazy when he was mad), but He wants us to learn how to control our feelings and to remain calm and patient with others while we try to sort things out. Holding back anger for when it’s really necessary is wise because it shows an element of self-control, and it makes your anger actually mean something. Since Jesus was known as someone who was peaceful and kind, you knew He meant business when He turned the tables in the temple. If He was a hothead, He wouldn’t have been taken as seriously the few times He really showcased anger throughout the Bible. We should use our anger only when it’s really justified and when we really need to be heard, so that others can take us seriously when something does mean a lot to us.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 12.25.50 PM.png


I’m not a huge Joel Olsteen fan, but he does have lots of nuggets of wisdom. When looking for a source of the quote above, I stumbled upon this, and had to add it to my post. Olsteen says,

“Be careful what you say. You can say something hurtful in ten seconds, but ten years later, the wounds are still there.”

This is so true. I don’t always remember every detail of my life, but something that seems to always stick is a hurtful word. Have you noticed that? This leads me to our next point. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

Forgiving is the easy part for me, forgetting is a whole new beast. I have gotten hundreds of kind and encouraging comments on my blog the past three years, however I remember the two negative ones the most clearly. Friends and family are typically the most uplifting people in life, but when they say something unkind out of anger, it often gets taken to heart — after all, if someone who loves you so much thinks something negative about you, it must be true, right?

Words are such an important thing to monitor. I have found that a harmful word can sometimes hurt even more than physical pain, and there’s a reason people use one of the most vital organs in the body to represent love and heartbreak. When your heart hurts, it can be so hard to fix it completely. For this exact reason, it is so important to take time to think before reacting to a situation. Something said in anger can never be taken back, even though it can be forgiven.

Today’s lesson: I never want to damage a relationship or a loved one over something said when emotions were running high. In the same way my mom always tells me I should not make a big decision when I am not feeling well, I don’t believe it’s wise to always speak with someone at the first sign of anger. It never hurts to take time to reflect, think about why you are really mad, and then have a gentle conversation about the reasons why you feel the way you do. Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship, and pure anger often does not bode well for either party. Being slow to anger and able to forgive ensures a happier life for everyone, and allows us to get our true feelings across to others, rather than spewing hurtful things that may or may not be true. In the same way we aspire to love like Jesus does, I think it’s important to try to be angry the way He is, too.

 

My Resolution To Be Fearless

We are over 4 months into the new year and I decided to reevaluate how I am doing on my resolution to fear less in my everyday life. I wouldn’t quite say I am failing, but I’d give myself a “C” on this front, and I am not okay with that.

Having a lifestyle blog for anyone in the world to read is a little nerve-wracking, but the fact that any of my friends, family, and acquaintances can read about some of my deepest feelings and thoughts is a whole lot scarier than strangers following along my journey. My best friends know what kind of beautiful, fearful, and thoughtful desires are in my heart, but putting it on paper for those who don’t know me very well makes everything feel a whole lot more intimidating. Ink is permanent and words are sometimes interpreted by readers differently than the writer intends.

I know people like to talk about what others are up to sometimes. I do think about 99% of my readers are kindhearted amazing people who genuinely want what’s best for me, so despite having a good number of readers on this little online space, I believe it’s safe to share my heart with you all. I also know how easy it is to make snap judgments about others on social media, though. This blog showcases a small piece of my life, despite my best efforts to share meaningful things with y’all, and it can be difficult when friends make an assumption based on one, three, or a dozen little posts from a couple days of life. Feelings can be long and drawn out or incredibly fleeting, and I write a lot about both. 

After thinking about it a lot, I’m not going to say I’m done with being afraid — because I’m totally not, and there will be times I won’t share a lot of what’s going on in my life — but I am going to use the next few months to put a lot out there and cross off some of my goals without worrying so much about what other people might think. I will continue to work to “fear less” every day so that one day I might be able to call myself “fearless” in pursuing my dreams.

fearless.png

Authentic Love Isn’t Selfish

We’re going to pick up where I left off in my Corinthians segment. I know I am really breaking this down, but I think there is just so much more than meets the eye that I don’t want to miss any of the beauty that is intended to teach us to love others more selflessly.

“[Love] does not envy, it does not boast. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking…”

Social media is the perfect breeding ground for the first two traits that do not exhibit love. Being envious of others online lives is super easy because all the content is curated. Whether it looks like a perfect love life like Channing and Jenna displayed on Instagram for millions to see or is an incredible collage of beautiful sunsets all around the world from a favorite travel blogger, it’s easy to wonder how other people have perfect lives while you are going through something difficult. It’s often through others boasting online that people can begin to channel feelings of jealousy and get a bad case of the green-eyed monster. I think it’s more important now than ever to learn how to cheer on each other throughout the good parts of life and lean on one another in the more difficult stages. That is the incredible part about social media that we can all choose to focus on. If we learn to count others’ victories as our own we will have so many things to be joyful for each and every day.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 11.33.28 PM.png

Dishonoring others is such a wide range of things. With a friend or family member it could be talking about them behind their back, being unsupportive of a big life adjustment, or being cruel to someone for something they can’t control. With a romantic partner some examples would be thinking about being with someone other than your significant other, looking at pornography, yelling or talking down to them, or acting on inappropriate feelings. When you dishonor someone you love it is often one of the most obvious ways to hurt the relationship. It almost always goes hand in hand with destroying the bond and trust built, and depending on the severity might even end a relationship.

Self-seeking strangely enough includes a lot of the things under the “dishonoring others” umbrella. To truly love someone, you have to put aside some of your selfish desires and look to see what is in their best interest. I’ve dated people on both ends of the selfish and selfless spectrum and it’s incredible to see the difference in the quality of life with the two extremes. I do believe someone can love you even if they are completely selfish, but they aren’t showing love when in that state of mind, and that’s a really big part of any kind of relationship. There are givers in the world, takers, and the people who are “just right.” Although I think giving is a really beautiful thing, it is so important to still take care of your own dreams and not give every single part of yourself away to someone else. I am definitely someone who gives until I become empty if someone is willing to keep taking and had to learn the hard way how damaging that is. When a giver latches onto a taker they become drained and depressed. Living completely for someone else isn’t healthy or normal. Living with someone and chasing after both of your dreams together is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given mankind, though. There’s a big difference between chasing dreams together and choosing to be partners in crime and being someone’s glorified sidekick.

That being said, if you are a giver it’s wonderful you can use your heart to make someone else’s life more bright and beautiful, but make sure to keep your own dreams alive and be with someone who gives back. I think givers should actually be with other givers — or the people who are “just right” in the middle. This offers a great way to monitor how equal a partnership is, and makes the giver sometimes receive too. If you feel like you haven’t given in awhile and might naturally be a taker, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person by any means — it just means you have to make a more conscious effort to give in whatever love language your partner enjoys receiving (Which may be different than the kind of love you enjoy!). Lastly, if you feel you’re a giver and often become exhausted, I’d like to challenge you to ask someone you care about for something. Whether it’s an act of service like driving you to a doctor’s appointment (This is my go-to example since it’s just like, my life right now) or for a small gift like a coffee delivery, I think it’s important to be able to ask for what you want in life. Selfishness is definitely something that just makes us human and we have to work to find a good balance of give and take in our relationships. Notice how many times I’ve used the word “work” in my posts all about love lately?


We’ve talked about four different things that categorize love so far: patience, kindness, selflessness, and honoring others. Later this week we are going to touch on anger and forgiveness. Thanks for hanging around with me through this short little series! I am currently working on a different post that is close to my heart, but that also makes me feel nervous. I will gather up some nerve and share that with y’all next week. Stay tuned. ❤