MOVIIINNNGG DAAAAY

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Hello, hello friends!

This is your friendly heads up that I am moving to a new site on this upcoming Monday! But no worries, if you type in my current address caitlynhummel.com it will direct you to my new home because I’m cool like that. A few things to know though:

  1. If you’re a wordpress to wordpress subscriber to my site I was not able to forward your subscription to my new site, which is a total bummer. This just means that you’ll need to resubscribe on the new site! 🙂
  2. If you originally subscribed through your email address (as in you do not have a wordpress account) then you should be good to go!

Otherwise, I’m completely in lurrrrrrv with my new site and I can’t wait to show you all Monday!

Life is a Metaphor for Letting Go – HB

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There’s some really lame old saying about people coming and going from our lives. Only staying for a season and such. I won’t bother with putting it down in words here. But it’s about staying. And how not all people are meant to stay.

I am formed in long terms, commitments, never something short or anything in between, and so these sayings have always mystified me a little bit. The idea of someone important, a person who has held your secrets and you’ve been their brace to lean against – that they would simply slip out without much of a word was foreign to me. Now it’s not.

I didn’t even just watch it happen. I swallowed my pride and made the efforts. How about this? Okay, what about this day? You tell me what works! It felt doormatty, but sometimes you think the person is worth it. Which is why I will probably try again at some point when the time is right. Some people are worth it even after they’ve hurt you. (Sidenote: I’m not referring to the im toxic im slipping under kinda people.)

I suppose I spent a fair amount of time wondering why because nothing about a beautiful friendship disintegrating for zero substantial reasons made sense to me. It’s etched into my bones to show up yet I’m sure there’s times I missed the call to do so. It’s the most basic act, but I’ve learned it tends to mean the most. You don’t need all the right words, or to have a magic wand. You need to show up and be there as much as one person can for the good, bad, and inbetween. The flip side to this is that when someone does not show up for me I perhaps take the slight much more deeply than someone else. I maybe unfairly expect what I would give. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s just who I am. More likely it’s my oh so typical human ego expecting other people to value the same ideals that I do.

In the midst of turning this situation over in my mind more times than was probably necessary I was given more than several reminders to let go. Of the resentment. Anger. And the more precise hurt under the anger. Except these reminders were not so much of letting go, but of forgiveness so that I could let go. I remember a professor once stating that we do not like to forgive because it means giving up power over that person. There might have been something to that.

And the subtle pushes to let go were not definitively directed at solely the aforementioned situation. But instead poked at the still hot coals of several instances from over this last year. Instances in which people I’ve grown up respecting morphed into their true natures and showed me more than I cared to see. Instances in which people who are supposed speak kindly and lovingly to you spoke to me like I have never been spoken to in my life. Mind you, these were also opportunities to advocate for myself and firmly state that I don’t allow people to treat or speak to me in that way. (Thanks to my guru mistah DeeJay) Basically though, I had a lot of slow rolling anger and hurt somewhere deep, which I had quite successfully chosen to leave there because I didn’t think those people deserved for me to let it go. Because after all, they were not in the least genuinely sorry for what had happened.

And then I decided that I just didn’t want it anymore. I didn’t want to be responsible for all that hurt, anger, and darkness. I let it go because I don’t want those things to be synonymous with how I handle pain. The weight was never really mine to begin with anyway.

But in this I’ve learned. I’ve learned the truth of letting go so your own soul can rest easy. Of rebuilding a bridge someone else chose to burn. Of letting go but letting a different bridge remain charred and broken. Of knowing the peace of your own conscience resting calmly and being okay with not knowing whether someone will choose you back. These things I’ve learned.

Marriage & Myths

A note to the readers who still read my words for some strange unknown reason:

I had to put the pen down, but in my mind I’ve still been scripting across a page. Sentences and phrases falling in and out while I try to make sense of the life hurtling around me. This is my normal. It’s a muscle though and while there were flickers of movement and ideas quickly penned down over the past few months – it’s not the same as habitual practice. Which means I need to stretch and flex until my muse and I are walking hand in hand again. I’ve been trying to draw her in. Brainstorming ideas while doing mundane tasks. Allowing my thoughts to ramble over the broken points in the plot of the book I’m writing. I finally had that moment I’ve heard other writers talk about – the one where right as your falling asleep a plot solution silently slips into your fading consciousness. Crazily enough it still made sense when I got up the next day. Normally, it’s something like TURTLES and then you have no idea what the hell you were possibly trying to get at.

One of the original reasons for my absence was the whole wedding shenanigan. Apparently, getting married can be a lot of work. But anywhooo, here are my thoughts on this little matter of mawwwiage.

Welcome back kids 😉

I said goodbye to my apartment two months ago and traded it in for another that I’m already quite familiar with. I know where it creaks and how tiny the kitchen is. That I lost an open layout and glorious windows on windows for a living room with a box used as an end table. I’m slowly converting it into an airier cozier kind of space.

I’ve watched a few friends get married. I’ve also watched some of them slowly dissipate and blur into their significant other. Much similar to the “you look like your dog” phenomenon. Little things start to pop up like… being unable to make plans even on rare visits because someone else needs dinner. *Side note: When men suddenly become infantilized upon getting married I want to stab them. If that’s what they’re looking for, perhaps they should go live with their mothers.

But anywaaaaay, it’s frustrated me and caused some hurt if I’m honest as well. That this thing, marriage, could suddenly put such a steel wall between myself and my friends. Especially, when for quite awhile I was the only one not in any sort of relationship. Maybe it’s because while I love the mutual chosen dependency on one another which can form in healthy relationships I also fiercely, cling to my own autonomy and independence as an individual. The idea of losing friendships and personal pursuits for one singular relationship even if it is the one of the most importance makes my throat feel just a little too tight.

And sooo…

Friendships.

I can see how easy it is to let friendships fade a little into the background. Plan less and less get togethers and phone calls. Life is busy blah blah. But… I’m calling bullshit. Because friendships are crucial to health of your relationship with your partner and your own individual well being for that matter. You are a better person, when you spend time with people other than your significant other. It’s really that simple. And of course, I want my person to spend time with his friends as well because it’s good for him and he enjoys it. Crazy, I know.

But I also don’t expect my significant other to rehash the latest episode of vampire diaries with me over margaritas, or to let me drag him from store to store in search of the perfect dress because WHY DOES NOTHING FIT, or call me out my bullshit in the same manner my closest friends can. Just like even though I’ll read a book during the Packer game and eat all of the food cause um yum, I’m more than happy for him to go watch it with his friends. They really seem to enjoy watching men in tight pants together, hm.

Sooooo PSA: It is OKAAAYYY to enjoy doing certain things with your friends. Phew, we can all go back to living now.

Not to mention, sometimes life is hard, and you just really want your best friend. Or even better a community of friendships to hold you and love you and give you a good kick in the ass. I never want to lose that.

Marriage is where dreams go to die.

People who are bitter and enjoy projecting their own shitty relationships like to say things about marriage killing dreams, lives, and calling it the end of all good things. *Side note: Always good to be aware of when people are projecting their own pains, scars, fears, and failures on to you so you can then promptly forget everything they ever said. Ain’t nobody got time for that crap. But I digress.

I have separate interests than my partner. Separate dreams and plans. Just like he does. Are they melding together in a sort of fashion? Sure, but they already have been for two years.

I sit in the bedroom and tap away on my keyboard or scribble down phrases while he’s in the living room plucking at copper strings. He asks me what I’ve been writing, and I ask him what new song is on his mind.

For the next four semesters I’ll crank out the rest of my MSW and like ten other licensures while he finishes his BSN and applies for graduate school himself. It’s a give and take. And we’re both happy to do it because nothing makes us happier than seeing the other person living out their purpose.

So…. All that noise about marriage killing your pursuits… It’s noise. And I really hate noise.

Lastly….

The Tinies.

Also known as babies. Within the last few weeks of being married there has been a silent shift that no one warned me about. Apparently, my uterus is the new hot to trot topic. As in person A walks up with a *knowing smile and look in their eye,* “Soo when do you plan on starting a family?” *continues to look creepily at me.* The first few times this actually caught me off guard, bless my heart. So this is my public announcement that people’s uteruses are not actually anyone’s business. But since apparently this is not a well known fact and my uterus is now a public interest (maybe I should name it??) – I’m really happy to be smack in the middle of my graduate program and I’m well aware that the next four semesters are very well going to kick my ass. After that I’m hoping to get a dog just like I’ve been saying since… oh I don’t know, forever.

Side note: The palpable disappointment people radiate after I tell them this is pretty messed up. My value as a person does not depend on whether / when / if I have a kid. I’m happy for YOU that YOU chose to have kids because it was YOUR decision… get it?

So I’m curious… What kind of fears and BS myths did you ponder through as you entered into a committed relationship?

P.S. IM MOVING! My new site is coming SOON! New platform, New Name! Be on the look out for updates 🙂

Ghosts of the Present

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I sit back and watch a certain scene play out over and over. The names and people are interchangeable. But the scene remains the same. One person is clinging, grappling, and doing everything humanly possible to hold onto another person who has been gone for longer than the first person cares to admit. Their reasoning is always the same:

You could never possibly understand. 

But I love him.

They always pull me back in…

I listen and nod my head along to the sound of their worn out choruses. But internally, I am biting back a stream of words. Actually, I want to scream.

Because I understand the rock bottom of heartbreak. How it can tear you from the inside out, and you know you will never be quite the same. I remember the daydreams of all the broken pieces somehow melding back together.

But I also understand the importance of valuing yourself and knowing when to hold your head high while those tears are still falling, deleting that person’s damn phone number, and blocking their every social media. Maybe you think this sounds a little harsh. You’re thinking you can handle seeing them on occasion. Stay casual. Wake up and leave before the coffee is even brewing. And sure, there are always people who are the exception. But tell me, do you really think you are the exception? Or, are you just avoiding the heartbreak waiting for you on the other side of cutting someone out for good?

We are lonely creatures. Lonely fearful creatures that are afraid there couldn’t possibly be something better out there. We don’t trust in the goodness of our paths to provide healing or wholeness, much less a new love. A better love. And so we cling and dig our claws into our fading love’s ghost and don’t even realize when there’s not even anything there anymore to hold onto. That the loves we held are dead. The person we fell in love with doesn’t exist. But there we are waking up in their bed and falling asleep to dreams of our past pretending it could be the future.

Eat, Pray, Love isn’t possible for all of us. (Hell if you can you go on that trip though, you go girl!) But we can muster up the strength to flick through old contacts and delete names long over due. We can ask our best friends to look us in the eyes and be honest and true, when they see us about to slip out the back door and travel old trails. We can look in the mirror and decide to set a new pattern.

Because god. You deserve to let yourself watch old flames die out so that you can light a new one. You deserve to muddle and crawl through the heartbreak to come out stronger and braver than before. You deserve people in your life who can see all the goodness radiating out of you and treat you as such. And I really hope you can believe this too friend. I really do.

Regrets & Happy Endings

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I came home the other day to see an old wooden chair with a lyre carved into its back frame. I stopped and stared with my heart latched into my throat. The chair was an exact match to the old chairs we had at my sorority. My roommate had brought one back to our apartment from her thrifting adventures. I’m willing to bet it ended up at that thrift shop from the Madison chapter of AXO. She had no clue what it was. But I stood there with emotions brimming over at a stupid old chair.

If you were to ask me my biggest regret my answer would be instinctive, but I’d hold it back nonetheless.

My biggest regret is transferring colleges mid freshman year of college. Actually, it’s not the transferring, but the people I lost. It always comes down to people doesn’t it?  I remember sitting on the cold marble stairs of my dorm on the phone with my best friend debating if I was going to do it. I loved the women who made up my home, which was AXO. There are a select few who my heart aches a little at the thought of their faces even now. And I’ll never know how those strong women would have continued to be a part of my life and shape me over the following years. I regret it because I went to a different university that I now cringe at the thought of. To be honest it’s more than a cringe. I don’t really have any kind words for that experience other than I’m grateful for a few friends I found along the way. But then I hold those words back under my tongue because I wonder if I would have gotten to where I am any other way.

If I had never experienced anxiety and depression would I be able to emphasize and understand mental health in the same way I do now? I’ve read the textbooks and psychology journals, and I’m sorry, but they don’t do it justice. They just don’t. I wonder if I would have found a better path than the unhealthy downward spiral of the religious space I came from without seeing it from the bottom. If I ever would have started writing if I hadn’t had my heart broken. If I ever would have been brave enough to not be like everyone else of where I’m from. I wonder if I ever would have met my fiancé.

My biggest regret is the starting point to the most painful experiences I’ve had in my short years. My biggest regret is also the starting point of me beginning the transformation into the person I want to become. Sometimes I think of it as the best worst thing to ever happen.

I can’t say I would ever want to relive those few years, but I also wouldn’t trade my right now either. And how could I? So I’ve got some regrets and a few bruises here and there. You’ll know if you press on them because my face is an open book.

I’ve noticed people have a tendency to avoid stating their regrets. They frame their *nonexistent regrets* around the idea of “I have no regrets because my choices made me who I am today.” Blah blah blah. A really nice platitude that gets you out of actually having to ponder, when you’ve made a bad decision or two. Convenient and all that.

I’m not so sure there’s an ultimatum between no regrets and being happy with where you’ve ended up. That’s actually kind of silly.

And maybe this post seems a bit morbid, but really it’s not. I’ve sketched out the lines between pain and growth like a thousand people before me. Lines that most of us wish to pretend don’t exist. It’s not that we can’t find growth in goodness and breezier days – I really think we can grow during any season. Buuuuut… we tend to dance around any kind of self work unless a good solid reason has run us over a few times for good measure. I mean there is always something you can find to work on instead of yourself. Maybe that’s just me.

Obviously, I am not going to end this super cheesily by saying that my regrets really aren’t regrets after all. No, that would give you license to throw something like a baseball at my face. I will say that when we actually allow ourselves to consider what our regrets are and what paths led away from them then we can start to reframe how we think about our regrets. Are they still regrets? Yes. Did they possibly take you on a path that ended up somewhere you’re quite happy with? Yep, sure did.

Caitlynhummel.com

Embracing the Next Step

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I don’t like large shifts and changes. I especially don’t like not knowing the next step in front of me. Waiting on the universe to unfold the next stair while my foot already dangles mid air. No thank you, sir. And sometimes. This general resistance toward change can lead to a not so great thought process.

In mid June my contract at my current position is ending and I’ve chosen to not attempt to renew it. I’ve known for awhile this season was passing through, but now that it’s coming to a close I’m wanting to stay on this page instead of turning to a new chapter. I want to write a few more pages into something already ending because choosing to stay means not having to feel stuck, unsure, or afraid the next move won’t present itself. My instinct as of late has been to avoid the uncomfortable nature of being stuck and the following changes.

I became frozen with the indecision of staying where I am or moving forward because not having it all figured out felt unnatural, irresponsible, and a wee bit nerve wracking (read: makes my heart clench cause PLANS ARE THE BEST EVER). I was ready to stay in a season that had passed in order to avoid feeling unsure and afraid of not being able to figure it all out.

But here’s the thing: You do not have to have it all figured out to move forward. You just don’t.

Let’s be honest: Change is hard. Even when it’s good change, it’s hard. Just like stress is a bell curve so is change. It’s good up until you hit your max and then it starts to wear you down.

And dammit. I’m tired of change. Since I began college it has felt constant. However many years later I am in grad school and change still beckons with it’s knobby old finger. People who think spontaneity is sexy are smoking something because consistency is the real head turner if you ask me. I like rhythms and familiar things. Knowing what to do when and where. But that just hasn’t been the road for me. I look to my left and right at friends who went to college and graduated to get normal jobs, and feel envious of the routine they already have in their lives. And then I look back at what’s in front of my own two feet. And I know they’re planted right where they need to be and I’ve been making the hard choices to move forward even when I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out.

Maybe you feel this too. Stuck. Not wanting to move forward for fear of what it will mean to take those next steps. And I really get it. But what scares me more than change and not knowing the next step is staying somewhere I’m not supposed to be anymore. Somewhere where I’ve learned my lessons and left behind my own good things.

All that said… Now I get to choose if I want to keep walking along resisting each tiny step forward. Or if I would like to embrace the new opportunities that I know are silently on their way. As stubborn of a person as I am, I think I would like to let go of the fear and say hello to the new good things on their way. I’m not saying I won’t feel the weight of the change because I know I will. I’m saying that I’m choosing to trust myself that this is for the best and I’ll be happy I didn’t choose to stay.

Honesty: A Journey

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Last week I gave a small glimpse into my actual world. Small, but solid all at once. I learned that authenticity and vulnerability seem to grab hold of your hearts, which I should have known. It’s scary and a bit unpleasant, but it’s the only thing I look for in my own favorite writers. The willingness to lay it out there. Tell the world what we normally hide away.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I poured out my insides upon the feet of some stranger. Why she could see through me and call out where I have been and where I am now. How she knew that I’ve been holding onto so many things for other people that I’ve forgotten to look at my own hands. Or really… why I finally was asking someone else to hold my own broken things. The things I didn’t want anymore – the things I didn’t want to keep packed down any longer, but hadn’t know how to timidly press into the palms of anyone around me. I’ve walked around holding so many other people’s pain in my hands without letting it free that I never took the time to look at what was already clenched tightly and long forgotten.

Right now I’m sitting at my desk, and my gaze drifted to a copy of Eat Pray Love sitting on my windowsill. A reminder of sorts. I was originally gifted with this book my freshman year of college where I read a few chapters and closed it. The words fell empty on my ears. Almost of a different language. Fast forward to the month after I graduated college and depression still hung heavy with step by step. I clung to every word in those pages. Authenticity and Liz Gilbert’s trademark humor marking each page. The soft paper pages are now bent and worn. It’s become my go to book in times when life isn’t fitting quite right, and now as I thumb through the pages I can see why.

Gilbert might as well have wrote that book in her own blood – that’s how damn honest it was. I can’t help but wonder how many times she hit the delete key, and erased paragraphs only to rewrite them because she knew in her gut they needed to stay.

How does transparency become our filter? How do we trace back our footprints and then glance ahead to where they’re pointed, and discern whether we are still pointed true?

I’m sitting here struggling because honestly, I don’t know how to master this being honest in our journey thing. I just don’t. I don’t have five easy steps either. But what I do know is it takes time. Time to learn your own inner map and run down those streets hands wild and free because god it feels amazing to be happy and okay with who you are. And to learn what it feels like to act out of who you are not who your family or friends or anyone else has told you to be. To know who you are is perfectly enough.

Who I am doesn’t match where I’m from, and for a really long time I’ve struggled because it isn’t easy to not match your tribe, people you love, your culture. I’ve been called the black sheep liberal in my family (giggles), naive (good way to ruffle my feathers right there zero to sixty), uneducated (totally I mean it’s not like I study this stuff -_-), unbiblical (i would LOVE to point you to theological resources to how I got here, but we all know you won’t read them), and the list goes on. And you know what? So fucking what. Because I am finally letting go of their ideals and letting myself be happy to grow into who I actually am.

And once you know this – who you are and who you want to be. And you let your roots grow deep into the satisfaction of living out of who you are. The honesty will flow. I know this something fierce because I am slowly, slowly able to be more honest with the people who cross my path the more I accept who I am and where I’m going.

Caitlynhummel.com