Follow Up

For those of you that don’t know, I do spoken word poetry. (slam poetry) I haven’t gotten to write in a hot minute and now I’m back at it. You don’t have to like it, but it’s who I am. I hope you do though. ūüíĖ this piece is called “Follow Up.” It’s about the aftermath of my recent failed relationship.

 
It’s been about 600 hours, I think, but I was never a mathematician. 

Obviously so because I thought you, plus me, equaled stained glass in a beautiful cathedral, the hymns with organ twang that made you feel like my southern baptist, fire and brimstone home. But remember, I’m not a mathematician.

   Not only am i not a mathematician, but I am not a scientist. I do not have the answers to the chemical components that make up the brain. The chemical components that made me forget how to use my fucking brain when I met you. No amounts of neurons and transmission and dopamine could ever make me forget the way you graced my face with your callouses and kept my lips in a constant quiver. But I am not a scientist.
   

Not only am I not a mathematician or a scientist, I am not a witch doctor. I cannot voodoo you into picking the doll fashioned to look like me again. I cannot sacrifice anymore of myself to make you believe that I am good, I am compassionate, I am serene, I am gasoline, I am combustible and believable and.. I am a fucking bonfire. I could stick needles in a doll of you, but the face changed from yours to mine in a matter of seconds and I am only stabbing my own eyes so I can no longer see those messages and picture your body giving what has, for so long, been our own ocean wave. But I am not a witch doctor. 
  

     There are so many things that I am not, but the thing I am can be summed up in this: I am too much. I am too loving, too open, too sarcastic, too soft, too big, too far, too depressed or anxious or too perfect or imperfect or too.. authentic. 

     So no, I am not numbers, chemicals, or spirituality. I am not a spreadsheet, a hallelujah in white pill form, not the prayer of a small child who hasn’t yet understood that religion and reality don’t sync.. 

    But I am a poet, and these words will pour until there is none of you left in my blood.

Go With the Glow

The rustic kitchen (6)

 

So, I have some beautiful, encouraging friends who actually think that the clothes that I throw on in the morning/the makeup I throw on in the morning are something worth talking about; in other words, this is a fashion sector of my otherwise really deep, hardcore blog.

First and foremost: WELCOME BACK, SPRIIIIING! 

Spring is one of the best seasons, not solely because of the weather, but because of spring styles. Now, remember, I am pretty eccentric, so my outfits may differ from the traditional “spring styles” that you see in magazines. *You don’t see girls like me in magazines, so that makes sense.*¬†

ANYWAY: All of these photos are courtesy of my incredible friend, Gunnar Widowski. Google him. He’s an amazing photographer, videographer, and an even better friend. See his gorgeous freakin’ mug below.

gunnar

Obviously, spring is the time for florals. This season is riddled with different floral prints- most that I’ve seen are in the pastel color family. This is very Easter-esque, which is fine and dandy, but my style is slightly different.

I’ve always been attracted to darker prints and more mid-tone colors, aka oranges, pinks, reds, tans, transitioning into more nudes.

That being said, this burnt orange floral tie blouse from Forever 21 Plus¬†¬†is like heaven on eath. I paid $19.50 for this top back in.. I wanna say January. I know that this was not purchased “in season,” but that’s the best part of these awesome malleable pieces- they can be used anytime!

View More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davis

There are so many good things about this blouse, so let me just list these bitches out.

  • quality: most of the things you buy from Forever 21 last for all of about 6 months,(hello, you get what you pay for) but this material is SO nice and such a solid quality. I’ve worn this 400 million times and washed it just as much and it is still the same as it was when I bought it. $20, worth it.
  • versatility: in this photoshoot, I’m actually wearing this with basic black leggings.(Walmart, $5) I normally wear this with a dark jeans and either a flat or my favorite, badass boots from Urban Outfitters. Lately, I’ve been wearing this blouse with a high-waisted black skirt for the empire-style pinup look, which is freaking amazing, if I do say so myself.
  • affordability: once again, $19.50, probably $21.75 (?) with tax. I’m a definite “I’m not buying it unless it’s on sale” person, but everything at Forever 21 is so reasonable and honestly adorable- aka why this whole shoot is Forever 21 HA

Overall, I absolutely love this blouse. There’s so many options for makeup with this as well.

Let’s rock and roll to the next piece, ladies and gents.

I’m honestly so surprised at myself for being this piece, but I felt like getting out of my comfort zone and kicking some ass in this Forever 21 Plus Size Floral Maxi Dress. My reservations on this range from UGH my tits are gonna show to I’M SO SHORT. Both are continually true, but I decided to just not care.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life, it’s the simple fact that IT IS YOUR BODY, so wear whatever the fuck you want to wear, regardless of your weight. Mkay.

I can’t even say enough about this dress and how it makes me feel- I’m such a hippie at heart and this is the PERFECT dress for a free spirit like me.View More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisc¬†View More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davis

As you can see, this dress is phenomenal. It has all of these beautiful nudes and yellow tones, mixed in with a very slimming black. What I love about this dress is:

  • cut: this piece is the perfect cut for us curvy sisters. It has slits going up both sides of the dress, allowing you to show some thunder if you’d like or keep it concealed with its maxi length. You’ve also got the cross chest cut, allowing for some awesome cleavage if you’d like (I normally am down with that) or room for a bralette or cami to conceal the girls.
  • pattern: this is not your mommas floral print- it’s big and bold, making it a more flattering print for my shape. The flowers have amazing detail and are not fuzzy looking at all.
  • price: $27.90 is not shit for a dress that I can wear for the rest of the year, probably until mid October. If you divide that out between February 7 and October 15, you’re looking at roughly $0.12 a day. Freakin. Worth. It,
  • accessory: this dress comes with a black tassel belt that gives me life. You can double wrap it, single wrap it, use it as a necklace, whatever you want.
  • overall joy: I feel like a hippie goddess in this dress. It fits my body type, has beautiful coloring, has SO many options for makeup and other accessories.. pretty much it’s my favorite thing in the world.

 

My last piece is a little.. well, risque. There are many different ways to wear this Forever 21 Peplum Romper in black (which is no longer available, but this works with many different romper styles)

If you’re like me, aka a big girl, you know that rompers normally make us look like the Pillsbury dough boy- not in the cute way, either. I’ve been terrified of rompers because honestly, comparison is the thief of joy, and that’s all the rompers make me do.. BUT this romper is seriously a god send. This is an outfit that I would wear to the club or out on a date, if I went on those.

View More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davisView More: http://gunnarwidowski.pass.us/tessa-davis

Things that I adore about this piece:

  • cut: yaaaaas queen, this cut is 10000% what I needed. Everyone knows that peplum cut normally looks good on bigger girls, but jesus, this is nuts. The super deep v makes the greatest opportunity to show off your sexy self- you go girl. You could obviously wear a bralette with this, or you could just rock your bra like I have in like all of them. No shame in the bra game. No cold shoulders for the boulders.
  • color: okay, so most of my closet is black, I get it. But the reason that I love black so much is because I have blue eyes, man. This outfit makes my peepers pop and I’m all about it. Not to mention that black is SUPER slimming and I need that shit.
  • scandal: I love the fact that this is not a “typical” plus size piece. This piece has no sleeves, a deep v, it’s short.. It’s everything that we’ve always been told we’re “too fat” to wear. Well, fuck all that noise because this is giving me life. I honestly feel so sensual in this romper, not to mention that my tattoos look amazing in it.

I promise that this is in no way sponsored by Forever 21, (I freaking wish) it’s just my first haul of clothing that is “spring” appropriate.

My only encouragement for the spring season, and really every season, is to go with the glow. 

The glow that I’m talking about isn’t Jeffree Star, Anastasia Beverly Hills, or Colourpop; its the glow that you have as a person.

Your glow comes from the person you are in your heart of hearts. It’s your compassion, your love, and the light that people can see radiating for you.¬†

Make sure your soul is well groomed.

As always, wear whatever you want and make your life like a runway- I always do. 

Hippie love,

Tess

Hallelujah, by and bye.

Syd loved Christian music. She also loved the Backstreet Boys, but that’s a different story. I got the pleasure, the blessing to have her in my life for the past 4 years. I don’t know how to write this, if we’re being honest. I don’t know how to say goodbye to one of the best people I have ever know, but I’ll try.

Syd loved Christian music, we used to jam to it all the time in her black Nissan. (Pepe was his name) Worshiping God in a non-traditional setting was easy with her- we’d just roll down the windows, turn up the music, and sing (neither of us sang well, but Jesus doesn’t care.) We talked about God a lot; how we didn’t understand how “he works,” wondering how he picked the color of the sky, how his word could be so misinterpreted, how we didn’t understand Him…. I still don’t understand any of those things, especially the last one. God, I don’t understand why you took Sydney, but there’s one thing she taught me about you- I have to trust you. She always trusted you, through every relationship, every test, every day- she trusted you. That was always hard for me; I rarely trust you. But now, I have to because my heart is splitting inside my chest and I have to trust that your plan is sovereign, I know she did.

Sydney and I met through the Peer Leadership program at WT in 2013. We were doing a team building activity and she and I ended up on the same team. I don’t know why, but we just gravitated to each other and that’s where our friendship started. Pretty soon after, we were completely inseparable- you couldn’t find us apart because we couldn’t image in. It’s so hard for me to talk about her in past tense because she never was past tense. Anything that happened before, she would tell me to let go of it because this is the present and life is a present.

Of course her and I fought, there’s no pair of girls that haven’t fought in their friendship. The beautiful thing about the friendship we shared was the elasticity of it. Whenever we fought, we’d be mad for 24 hours max and then one would text the other and say sorry and it would be done. Having a friendship like the one we had helped me realize how friendships should be: compassionate, forgiving, unconditionally loving. I am so lucky, so incredibly lucky to have had Sydney in my life.

We had a friend that had cancer, a cancer they hadn’t found an effective cure/treatment plan for. Since Syd was going to be a nurse, she researched this cancer and educated herself on every treatment, every side effect, every possibility. Our friend decided to have a surgery that no one had ever come out of alive. We stayed up all night praying for him, waiting by the phone for a call. The next day at around 11, he called. He was alive and they had gotten the cancer- he was alive! We screamed and cried and thanked God for his mercy and his faithfulness. I’m having a hard time having faith in God right now.

Sydney made my whole life better. When we had to wake up early in the morning to do peer leading stuff, she always made sure to put on music while we both straightened our hair- neither of us liked to talk in the morning. We ate lunch together every day. Her students were mine, and vise versa. She loved sweet tea and macaroni from Chicken Express- it was our Saturday night ritual. We loved to make people laugh, we made each other laugh until we cried. We listened to the Backstreet Boys ALL the time, and I can still see her, hear her yelling “BACK. STREET’S. BACK. ALRIGHT!”

She was out of town for my graduation, but she texted me and told me how proud she was of me and that she loved me- it meant the world to me. As we grew, life got complicated and we didn’t get to see each other much; nevertheless, we always texted each other to catch up. We always made sure that the other knew that they were loved and cared for. I’ll miss those talks so much.

I could write a hundred million words and tell you a hundred million stories, but that won’t make her come back. I just want her to come back. I know that we all do. I feel so guilty that we drifted, that we let life take our friendship into text messages and missed calls, but I don’t regret our friendship. A friendship that always felt like coming home- a compassionate, loving, never judgmental, heart warming friendship that I will never regret.

I wish you weren’t gone, Syd. I wish you were still here with Cody, making the world bright and shiny. But, God gave you your wings early. I’m sure they’re turquoise and leopard print, just like we joked about them being. Even though you’re gone right now, I still feel you. I know you’re comforting me as I’m writing this, telling me “good job!” because you know that writing is the only way that I know how to express myself. I know that one of the rays of the sun is you- shining on the prairie, dancing on the ocean. I know that when you left us, you trusted God’s sovereign plan. I know you sang, “hallelujah, by and by..” and you flew away with God.

syd2

 

I will always miss you, my sweet friend. I know you’re resting easy, probably on a cloud with some sweet tea, Cody, and that big ol’ smile you were famous for. I love you, Syd.

syd

A Guide to Being Extra

¬†If you’re wondering “extra.. what, Tessa?” then you’re probably in a good place in your life and not like the rest of us, who live in memeland- but stay with me here.¬†

 

The Urban Dictionary definition of “Extra” has many different forms, some of which are the following:

  • “over the top; excessive, dramatic behavior; way too much”
  • “An unimportant person that takes up space in the script of life.”¬†(This one makes me mad, tbh.)
  • “When something is just… so… extra…”
  • “to behave in a way on occasion or consistently in a way that is deemed unnecessary or inappropriate.”

My friend Alyx and I are consistently calling each other “extra” because we seem to be that way. Our friendship has always consisted of over the top outfits, amazing makeup, shopping until we drop, and a lot of trips to the VFW Post here in Amarillo. If this is what people consider EXTRA, I’m all about it.

alyx

(shameless plug of our perfect friendship)

Looking back on my life, before “extra” was something that people called each other, I was already being told that I was too much. I was too loud, too out there, too conversational, too opinionated, wore/ wear too much makeup, too weird with my fashion choices.. I have been extra my whole damn life. So, here’s a seasoned veteran of the term’s guide to EXTRA.

 

  1. First order of business in being EXTRA, expect your significant other to treat you with the utmost respect. Also treat them the same way.
  2. Wear as much makeup as you want.Blue lipstick? Do it. Pink eyeshadow? Go for it. No makeup because you’re okay with looking like you do? Cool. Whatever colors, whatever style.. whatever. It’s your face, who gives a shit what anyone else thinks?
  3. Wear some really weird outfits, preferably with patterns that don’t mix normally, but your je ne sais quoi makes it seem perfectly alright. Make people incredibly uncomfortable because they can’t seem to have enough confidence to pull it off; therefore, having them ridicule you and paste their insecurities alllll over you.
  4. Voice your opinion, be in unpopular or not. Make sure that you have no qualms in doing so, because this is America and we have the blessed beauty of free speech. (Learn the First Amendment verbatim)
  5. Always challenge your own opinions and others opinions. A little cognitive dissonance may make you, or others, uncomfortable; however, it is crucial to true understanding of your opinions.
  6. Talk to people you don’t know and compliment them on something about them. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll soon learn that their happiness is sometimes more important than yours.¬†
  7. Don’t be afraid to tell someone that they are wrong. Use Google to find valid, academic sources for your arguments. Admit when you’re wrong.
  8. Understand that you are allowed to be “EXTRA.” You are allowed to take up space, to be the person you are, and be proud of that.
  9. Love people regardless of the things they say about you. Be EXTRA compassionate.
  10. Be as damn EXTRA as you want, because you are allowed to be whoever the hell you want to be.

 

true

When We Wilt

I have a heavy heart today. I started my day as I normally do, woke up, got ready for work, drove to work..

And I got on Facebook. On the right side of the screen, there are trending news stories. Some are fake, and I wish what I saw today was.

“Cedarwood, Georgia,” it read. I thought maybe it’d be a flood, something about peaches.. but no, it wasn’t.

“Twelve year old streams suicide on Facebook live.”¬†

“Girl kills herself in live online video and police cannot stop footage being viewed by millions.”

“12-Year-Old Girl Live-Streams Her Suicide After Alleging Sexual¬†Abuse.”

 

My heart stopped. My heart has been stopped for the past 20 minutes as I read about how hurt this girl was, how many signs of abuse and depression there were, I even watched a clip of the video as I scrolled.

I can’t even begin to talk about how devastated this news makes me, how breathless it left me, how broken my heart is for her, Katelyn’s, family.

Imagine how sad God is in this moment; think how heartbroken he is that one of his most masterful, perfect, precious treasures decided to take her life, to exhume her soul from the masterpiece of her human form.

God knows everything- every move you make, every thought you will ever have.. he gives you the free will to feel and do as you please, even though he knows what you will do. That’s how much our God cares for us. The brokenness of ourselves can come from a variety of sources; for some, it’s genetic, others, it is a symptom of live events, and some- devoid of defining the source.

With Katelyn, there were signs of distress.¬†She had reached out to online friends, begging for help; she had spoken to members of her friend group about her horrid living conditions, her immense loneliness, and the abuse that she encountered from her stepfather. The hardest thing about suicide is that we, as humans, are not very observant. We get so caught up in our lives that we can miss these vital signs of depression and of suicide; we miss the things that could save someone’s life.

knd

*source: facebook.com*

I know how it feels to be abused. Coming from a verbally, mentally, and physically abusive home, I understand the feeling of dread when you walk in the door, the fear that accompanies any rise in voice, the loneliness of being in a place where you are told how worthless, ugly, broken, and unwanted you are. The place that you begin to take solace in is your mind, however, your mind can turn on you.

This is hard for me to talk about, it’s hard for me to re-read this after I type it out; this subject is always hard.

I came home from school. It was a good day at school, I made an A on a trig test. I was ready to brag about it. I came home to my mother, strung out on whatever drug she deemed appropriate that day. As I opened the door, my mood changed. I became the smallest I could be, I was not worthy to take up space.

She began to yell at me, telling me that I was fat and useless and that I might as well just die, since I wouldn’t ever amount to anything. I didn’t have the energy to say anything in response, which was the wrong move; I was slapped, punched, and kicked for my inability to say anything in rebuttal. I went to walk to the bathroom and was yanked down to the floor by my hair, and kicked once more.

My grandma finally told her to leave and “cool off.”

There was nothing left for me there. No comfort, no peace, no heart. My mind, once my solace, was now my worst enemy.

I walked to the kitchen in a fog and grabbed a butcher knife. I didn’t try to hide it; no one was interested in paying attention to me anyway. I walked into the bathroom and locked the door, took a deep breath, and moved to look at myself in the mirror. “This will be the last thing I see before I won’t feel this way anymore,” I thought. The last thing- blue eyes, swollen from crying, a red face, flushed from being slapped. An empty stare, the only thing I had left to give.

I sat on the edge of the bathtub and looked down at my left wrist. I would have chosen my right, but I always liked the color of those veins a little better. I looked at the blade- it shined, I remembered sunshine in my childhood. I placed it on my skin- it was cold, I remembered a Christmas I had spent with a friend after being locked outside in the snow. I took a deep breath- it was slow, like the calculated breathing I used to jog every day. 

I looked down at my veins and decided that the blood in them was not worth anything, that I was doing the world a favor by leaving.

I took another breath, pressed the blade to my skin-

And I was still.

Just like God calls us to be- still.

I was still and God whispered into my ear, “you are not finished here.”

I had never heard the voice of God, I haven’t since. I’ve felt God in the sunshine, in the waves of the ocean, in the shape of the Andes.. but I have not heard God like I heard him that day.

God does not yell at me, God whispers to me. He whispered the exact words I needed to hear in that moment:

You Are Not Finished Here.

Katelyn, I wish that the world had not decided to be so cruel to you. I wish that someone showed you the love that you, and every person, deserves; the love that our God has placed in and on us to protect us. There are so many things I wish for you, sweet girl. People love to say “those who wander are not always lost,” I hope you are not lost now. I pray that the light of the Father welcomed you home and he wrapped you in his arms and told you how loved and missed you are. I hope that you are warm in the wings of your newfound freedom.¬†

If you or anyone you know is in need of someone to talk to, if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, if you feel lost.. please don’t hesitate to call me, 806- 654-3457 or the National Suicide¬†Prevention Hotline,¬†1-800-273-8255.¬†

 

When we wilt, the light of God will bring our eyes upward and his truth will water our souls. You are now a beautiful rose, and you have been comforted.

mourn

Holy Hands

So, I’m in the Dillard’s dressing room trying on, well, dresses. I have a rehearsal dinner next weekend and I’m trying to keep up with the other perfectly beautiful bridesmaids, who look equivalent to the Snapchat filter with the flower crown-aka flawless.

As a plus size woman, finding clothing is sometimes a chore instead of a party. If you know me, you know how much I love clothes. I love fashion, shoes, makeup each enough.. but I LOVE clothes. They’re expressive and interesting and look different on every single person; individuality at its finest.

This particular day was a chore- ¬†nothing looked good, I didn’t feel like the beautiful queen that I am on the inside, the prices weren’t right.. pretty much it was a massive flop.

There were teenage girls, probably 6 of them around 16-17 years old in the dressing room area with me. Normally, I would be slightly annoyed with sharing a small dressing room area with 6 other people because, well, I’m extra that way. But it was not a normal day, so I didn’t care.

I started listening to their conversations, thanking God the whole time that I was not in high school anymore. (it’s crazy these days) And then, I hear a whimper. I know that sound, I make that sound when it’s a REALLY bad shopping day. I know that feeling- something doesn’t fit and you thought it would, you feel like a nasty, horrible blob, regardless of your size.

By luck, and I’m sure divine intervention, the girl’s friends were all outside taking selfies in the three way mirror. So, me being me, decided to ask her if she was okay. “I’m fine,” she whimpered. “I know I don’t know you, but you are a beautiful person- God made you in his bright, shining image. There’s no one like you, you know? Sorry if I sound preachy, I just want you to know that you are loved, no matter what,” I reluctantly say.

There’s silence on the other end, I have obviously embarrassed myself- shit.

“My boyfriend wants me to be in athletics next semester because he thinks it’ll make me skinnier. I have a double chin and I’m fat,” she sniffles. My heart is breaking for this young girl. Not just this girl, but every young girl in this new generation of women.

Disclaimer, this is not a feminist rant. This is a self rant- why do we feel like we need so much validation from the people who claim to care for us? There’s a thing that we always forget, it’s called true love. True love isn’t always romantic. True love is pure love; love that is not determined by a number, a stitch, an opinion, or a demand. True love is a lot like the serenity prayer-

Serenity to accept the things that we cannot change, 

Courage to change the things we can, 

 Wisdom to know the difference between the two.

What we can accept is that there are people in your life that will offer you conditional love– not everyone is always honest with you.

What we can gather the courage to do is change- change how we see ourselves, how we treat others, how we look, how we feel.

We can gain the wisdom to know the difference by being honest with ourselves; is this person who claims to care being actionable in their promise?

You are being held in holy handsРhands that are loving, instructive, callused, bruised, strong.. hands that were constructed to hold your heart and to keep it safe. These hands were crafted to hold precious creations, of which you are one. 

I left that day with a Jessica Howard dress (it’s adorable and looks amazing on) and a need to write out what I am worth in the hands of God. The thing about the hands of God- they are ethereal. They are untouchable, indescribable, and ever-present. In the hands of God, I am an angel. I am the brightest light, the rarest ruby, the sweetest sent- I am so treasured. Treasured in a way that Nathan, my friends and my family could never fulfill. It’s a magical love that is unconditional- regardless of size, appearance, stitch.. a love that is incomparable.

So, to all the girls in dressing rooms hating themselves because the dress doesn’t fit-

There are other dresses. There are other stores, other cuts, other styles, other colors..

But there is not another you. 

rubies

Another Notch in This Bedpost

This title is scandalous – I get it. But it’s really just about 2016’s passing, so please take a breath and quit typing the lecture. ūüôā
So, we’ve come to the end of 2016- many will find this a relief, some will see it as an opportunity for improvement, and some are still lamenting the deaths of beloved celebrities. For me, 2016 was a whirlwind of things that cannot be chalked up to coincidence.
I began 2016 by accepting a position that was comfortable- a place I had worked at forever with people I had known for the past 3 years. You see, I graduated college with the, what I like to call, “Rainbow of Jobs” mindset. This mindset comes about right before you graduate college and for about a month afterwards; you believe that even though what you majored in has little to no market where you live, someone will magically know who you are and offer you the job of a lifetime. In most cases, this just doesn’t happen. Sorry to burst your bubble.
You see, in Amarillo, there aren’t many opportunities to be a creative ad professional. Not truly creative, anyway. Many of my friends have began to realize this and either A) moved to a more creative-driven area, B) switched career paths or C) began their own creative projects. These things rock my socks off because my friends are happy- and they are fulfilling their heart’s desires, which is what we all wish in a new year.
So, I took the comfortable job, which looked a little like this:
stripescheetahaztecytiebluehapy
As much as it looks like I just got to stand and be pretty, I didn’t. There was a lot more to that job than just looking pretty and selling pretty clothes. As happy as I looked in these pictures, I was the furthest from happy. There were about 5 times out of the week where I cried in the bathroom. I went home and didn’t have the energy to do anything because I was lost. I was so lost and I had no compass to direct me where I needed to go. I felt like there was more to life- and there was. As hard as this job ended up for me, I won’t ever regret the people who came to me (and still do) for advice on fashion, love, and life. The people I couldn’t lose if I tried. Thank you to everyone who stuck by me in this part of my life, I couldn’t have lived without you.
During this time, I met someone on Tinder who would change my 2016- Nathan Hopson. Now, I’m not gonna be crazy sappy, but a little. At the beginning of April, we went on our first date. We went to Jason’s Deli, I was late. (if you know me, you’re rolling your eyes an saying “of course.”) A week later, we went to the 806 and listened to jazz, drank coffee, looked at modern arts magazines, and I fell in love. In the next 4 months, we would go on to do normal date things. Hardship hit the 5th month and Nathan picked me up and moved me in with him. Throughout weddings, engagements, parties, working together, and living together, we began something that I have never had before- the deepest relationship I’ve had with any other human. When I’m broken, he bends to pick me up and help me. He’s held me in the kitchen when my depression swallowed me whole and I contemplated suicide, he’s held my hand in the hospital, made sure that I got up in time for work.. He’s it.

Fast forward to August- I started my first “adult” job. If we’re being ruthlessly honest, I was terrible at that job. I love to talk to people, I love to hear their stories and love on them, but I hate going in to sell things to someone. That’s just the honest truth. So, I stayed there for 4 months and went to the hospital 4 times in those months because my panic disorder could not understand that job performance does not define who you are, sending me into a spiraling depression, complete with anxiety and acne. But what I learned there is everlasting- my brother, who most of you know is my best friend in the world, made sure that I understood that my happiness was more important than being well-off. He relentlessly loved me and pushed me to create my happiness. For that, I praise God that he sent my brother to me.
The best part of 2016 was my friends marrying their soulmates. My perfect friends, Haley and Bre, married Matt and Daniel and asked me to be a part of their magical days. I love love. I love weddings, wedding dresses, engagement videos, engagement photos.. I love it all, but getting to see those things bless my perfect, worthy, inspirational, loving friends was more than I could ask for. I love you all, thank you so much for loving me enough to ask me to be there for you on your day. And for taking shots with me (@Hales)

So, 2016 was another notch in life’s bedpost. Just another year. For me it was the year that I learned the reality of the world, the fragility of life and friendships. I realized that failure is a blessing if you so choose it, love is a battle if you choose to fight in the war, and that happiness should be your driving force. I also have regained the confidence to go for what I want, which is a breath of fresh life. So here we go, y’all. Time to rock and roll.

 

Dating Like Parking

When I get to the mall, I always drive around in the parking lot for at least 15 minutes looking for that perfect spot. What do I deem as the perfect parking space?

Well,

  • as close to the door as I can get
  • a spot I can see from the door of the store so that I don’t have to search for it
  • not close to any big vehicles so that they can’t door ding me
  • not close to cars that I feel may have children that may accidentally door ding me.. ¬† the list is really endless.¬†

I’ll drive around- see a spot- eh, that’s not close enough. Keep driving. See another spot- nope, too close to a big vehicle- on to the next.

No matter what the parking spot looks like, I keep searching and searching until the closest one I had previously found is swooped up by someone far less picky and unrealistic than I. Then, I end up parking in the farthest parking spot in the lot and I’m a little upset with myself for it.

As I did this the other day, I realized that this is the exact same construct of modern dating. We’re always passing by those who may not have every need on our checklist, looking for someone better, and then they get scooped up by someone who honestly probably deserves them more, and then we feel validated in our upset- but why?

We are the generation of “don’t settle,” however, I think we’re taking that phrase a little too seriously.

When I first got my car, (shoutout to my brother & sister-in-law) and currently, I always tried to find the most perfect, pristine place to keep my car, no one with even a drop of water on their finger was allowed in it, no one could drive it or even look at it, I always parked in the most safe spot for my car. I was ridiculous and overbearing about it- I still am. But just because I have to park a little further, doesn’t mean that my car won’t start when I get back to it; just because I park by another person doesn’t mean they’re going to set my car on fire. Just because I settle for a different parking spot, that doesn’t mean my outcome with automatically be catastrophic, just different.

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*Shameless picture plug of the exact day I got Margo can be found above. Don’t judge my hair. *

Originally, the phrase “don’t settle” was reserved for not settling for someone who doesn’t treat you like the beautiful, hand crafted creation of God that you are. Don’t settle for someone who is unmotivated, unchanged, and unreachable.¬†

In this time and place, many people take this as “He doesn’t make enough money, I’m settling,” “she doesn’t wear a size 2, I’m settling,” “he’s a chubby dude, I’m settling.”

That is not what this phrase is intended for, and yet we date like we park. Always looking ahead, trying to find the next best thing- the thing that is perfectly tailored to our exact desires. And just like in the parking lot, we usually end up disappointed.

While you’re looking around for all of those “rockstar” parking spots, you miss the rising stars. You miss the ones that may be a little further away, but someone may be backing out of them at this exact moment- but you’re too busy looking at the rockstar.

It’s strange to compare people to parking spots, but it’s realistic. When you’re done with a parking spot, you leave; it’s that simple. You’ve done your business, you’re done, let’s go. How sad is that we treat people the exact same way and pick them apart like they aren’t something valuable.

Our unrealistic expectations of those we choose to pursue romantically have catastrophic impacts on our relationships- expecting this person to come to you in nothing less than perfect condition is like expecting a used car to not have any miles on it. Logic? I think not.

People are not parking spots. People are human; they have feelings, they are worth something, and sometimes you just have to give them time to blossom into the person they were meant to be. Growth is a part of our lives- a hard, endless, rewarding, fantastic- part of our lives.

Give people the chance to surprise you, and stop dating like you park.

Hallelujah

We use the word “hallelujah” so sparingly.

When we get an unexpected day off from work, hallelujah.

If you’re Madea, hallelujerrrr.

When we don’t get pulled over, even though we’re DEFINITELY going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, hallelujah.¬†

When we agree with something that someone says, hallelujah.

When our preferred presidential candidate pulls the election out of their butt, hallelujah. 

But what was “hallelujah” actually used for originally?

Hallelujah derives from the Greek word “allelouia” and the Hebrew “halleluyah.” (excuse my lack of the correct keyboards for the punctuations; find the correct spelling here) “Halleluyah” translates directly to “Praise ye the Lord.”

This is one of my absolute favorite words in the English language. It feels like breathing in the summer breeze, the feeling of laying in bed after a long day, taking a road trip at sunset.. It feels like the closest thing to heaven, because it is.

It strikes me that it translates to “praise ye the Lord.”

Praise ye the Lord.

We are called to praise God at all times, in all storms. And yet, the only time we openly use “hallelujah” as an exclamation of praising God is when things are going exactly the way we want things to go. We’re only interested in praising the one who created us when we are happy and healthy. It’s not hard to use “hallelujah” when we have nothing to worry about. It’s kind of the Christian equivalent to “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King.

But what about when you get called into work? What about when you get pulled over and you get a huge ticket, your candidate doesn’t win the presidency, when you’re scared, when you aren’t in good health, when the world isn’t blue skies and unicorns?

Halleluyah- Praise Ye the Lord.

Hallelujah- Praise the Lord. 

This is the hardest thing for me. When my life is chaos, I don’t want to praise God. I want to praise wine, which helps me relax. I want to praise a hot bath, my favorite chick flick, Nathan.. whatever is making me feel better in that moment.

But I forget that “hallelujah” does not have limited terms of service.

Hallelujah is for when you need to remember the feeling of that road trip, the feeling of knowing that you are loved and important, Christmas Day, New Years Eve..

When you need to remember that there is a loving, merciful, compassionate, all consuming God that thought you were important enough to be in this world; the one who picked the color of your eyes from the stars he created, who chose the contents of your soul from the waves of the oceans, who cares enough to hold your hand through all of your life, even when you curse him.

¬† Remember that “hallelujah” is a praise, not just an exclamation. Remember that God deserves praise from you at all times, even when you don’t feel like it’s enough; even when you don’t feel like you are enough.

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Let Me Be Held

Lately, I feel like my life is a tornado. Not a tornado like the one in “The Wizard of Oz,” but a real life tornado. The roof is being ripped off of my life, there is debris flying around me. My foundation is crumbling and there’s really nothing left to hold on to.

It’s in times like these that you begin to wonder when the calm before the store will become the calm after the storm; when the shutters will stop banging against the brick and the flood will stop consuming you.

These are the times when we need to be held.

I don’t necessarily mean physically, even though I adore being hugged on and held in that sense. I mean that we have to lean on God and let him hold us.

I’m a generally exhausted person. I think that you should always go to bed exhausted so that you know you’re taking every single second and soaking the most out of it. When our hearts are weary, we are too exhausted to extend breath, we feel like the winds are too harsh to stand in- we need to be held. We need to be protected and relaxed. We need to be held.¬†

The problem for me is that it is so hard to admit that you aren’t strong enough. I am not strong enough in this moment to take on the weight of my burdens, and that crushes my spirit every time I think about it. I view myself as a SIW- strong, independent woman. I’ve always made a way for myself, even though the path looked rocky and unsafe. I have always taken care of myself, which has created this mock sense of pride in myself. I am consistently telling myself that I don’t need anyone else- and sometimes, that I don’t need God. I want to have control, therefore, if I let anyone know I need help, it’s an inevitable let down. I have convinced myself that dragging myself through life instead of being held is healthy and what I need.

But it’s not.

I feel that I need to be held when I worship. Something about being carried through melodies, not having to worry about what others think about your singing- knowing that you are singing to the one who thought it was important to have mountains, oceans, galaxies.. and you is listening and cherishing your voice is my definition of being held in the creators hands. This song by Natalie Grant IS being held (also coincidentally called “Held.”) It’s the definition of the world falling apart and leaning on, clinging to God.

Listen to it, I promise it’s worth it.

“Held” – Natalie Grant

I was standing in a pew of a church I once loved. I was singing praise to the Lord that I believe in. The lead singer of the band stopped and the instruments sang low. He told us that we raise our hands when we praise because we want to be held. It’s like God is our father and we are his small children and we just want to be held. So I raised my hands, I stretched so high that I almost felt his hands picking me up. I felt peace.¬†

I need peace again. I need a full heart and a steady spirit. I just need to be held.

So, if you’re out there – I know you are – don’t let your pride scare you away from being held by God. Don’t let your heartbreak scar your hands. Don’t let the burdens of your life make you too heavy to be picked up and loved on.

Let yourself be held.

 

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