Honesty: A Journey

4 23

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

Failure is Not a Four Letter Word

picjumbo.com_HNCK3470

I consider myself a recovering perfectionist.

Right up until the moment that I fail. In that moment, I don’t want to stay with my feelings, or grow, or use any other fantastic coping skill I may have acquired. I want to take all those feelings and shove them so far down they can’t resurface for at least a good year or two. Step two involves deleting all signs of said failure because heaven fucking forbid other people know I’m human and failed at something important. Cause you know, no one else has ever had disappointments. Oh wait, we all do. But never mind that, we hide it. And snap pictures and tweet clever blips of only our best and brightest moments.

Yesterday, I had to grieve the loss of something I thought I wanted. But within seconds of losing it I knew I had only wanted it for the security. I felt relief tinged with loss. And then I gave failure and shame the power instead of what I knew was true. I was embarrassed and wondering how the hell I was going to make things work now. What was originally a freeing moment quickly turned into a paralysis of fear and a rapid firing of emails to people who could possibly point me towards a new opportunity.

Because we have given failure a shamed based power in our stories.

And god, if we never failed we would never end up even near where we need to go. Do we ever consider that failure is quite possibly divine in its own right? That failure is a cosmic get out of jail free card because honey, you were so not meant for that path, and trust the goodness of what is beyond us to take out of our hands what we were never meant to hold.

Before the realists chime in, I’m not talking about that opportunity you muddied up because you didn’t put in the time and effort so it slipped right through your unprepared fingers. No, I’m talking about the opportunity you fiercely latched onto because this had to be it and damn if you wouldn’t make it work. Maybe it seemed perfect. Or maybe, your intuition reminded you gently it wasn’t, but your logic said it did. not. care. because look how perfect it is on paper. 

And oh Lord, you would think by now we would know that what looks right on paper, what sounds like it should be the absolutely positively perfect next step according to our fear based little thoughts is really just that. One giant perfectly planned reaction to fear and shoulds.

Personally, I’d rather write my story through listening to myself even when it doesn’t make sense because honestly, if you’re really listening it isn’t always going to make sense. Actually let me rephrase that. There will be A LOT of times it doesn’t make sense to other people. And I’m learning to be okay with that. I live in my skin, not them. They can do them and I’ll do me. They can let fear and should and shame run the show if they’d like, but I’m done playing those games.

Today I’m choosing to believe a better story. A story which says I sidestepped something never meant for me in order to open my hands to something golden.

Caitlynhummel.com

Knowing Each Other’s Hearts

hearts

Ever sit back watching those around you and want to reach in and rearrange their life a little bit like it’s just some Ikea furniture you can shove around? This chair would look much better over here, and good heavens, why did you pick that color! I’m pretty sure this is called being a control freak. Not that I would know.

It’s always so easy from the outside looking in though. I shoot off criticism veiled as helpful advice like confetti:

She keeps latching onto the same mistake. Watch how she’ll go do it again.

I wish she could just learn to value herself. You can tell she doesn’t by what she keeps running back to.

That one’s afraid nothing as perfect will ever come along again so she just keeps hiding in memories.

Oh she’s just pretending to be someone else right now because being herself seems a little bit too difficult at the moment.

Don’t mind me calling it out from over here in my glass house. As if someone couldn’t look into my life and do the same damn thing. You totally want me to be your best friend right now don’t you? Form a line people.

While most people have chunks of calcium called vertebrae running down their back, I’m fused together with equal parts honesty and an ability to see through people for the most part. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes I hurt feelings. At the ripe age of twenty-two I like to think I’ve started to get a little better, holding my razor of a tongue, and waiting for friends to actually ask what I think. And then carefully stumbling my way through response, which is hopefully as loving as it is honest.

Maybe that’s why we need people who know our hearts as well as they know the latest stupid decision we’ve made. People who know when to sit back and let us trip and scrape our knees, and when to gently ask if we’re ready to hear some truth. Both have a time and place, but it sure is a dance learning what time it is with those we love.

After all, it’s hard to see, when you’re in the middle. The middle of realizing you’re trying to solve an old relationship through new versions of it. The middle of accepting the person you’ve loved with a passion didn’t actually treat you decent at all, and now you don’t know how to accept someone who does. The middle of learning to be brave enough to meet someone new, when you thought you had it figured out. The middle of accepting who you are, and learning it’s actually okay, or even better it’s good.

We’re all in the middle of something. Five steps ahead of each other or trailing behind. Seeking advice laced in love, or practicing compassion as the one who’s been there. Sometimes being both people in one day if we’re honest. We need to learn to give each other room to grow. Create spaces where it’s safe to fall down and limp for awhile. We need to let each other be human.

Liebster Award

Hello friends! Something a little different today. The lovely Rachel of Choosing Human nominated me for a Liebster Award. Rachel is a human rights activist and dreaming adventurer. Definitely a fun site to hop around. What is a Liebster Award you say? Well, the Liebster Award is for small bloggers and bloggers who are just starting out to help them develop their reader and fan base.
liesbster-2
As part of accepting the Liebster Award, Rachel provided me with eleven questions to answer and so, without further ado…

THE QUESTIONS…

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?

I wanted a title I could carry with me as the seasons and my writing changes, which is why I chose my literal name. Something you can always keep. I also hadn’t entirely defined what this space would become when I first started writing. I’m happy with what I chose though!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?

I would most definitely choose heart. This space exists to hold hearts. I write from my heart to connect with yours. Nothing is better than creating a “me too” moment between my readers and my words.

3. What’s your favorite pastime other than blogging?

Ooh.. Well.. I’m a fairly avid reader even though grad school kind of hijacked my reading list for the time being. I’m an inconsistent yogi and miss playing volleyball something fierce. I also love love love exploring my new city with my partner. We can’t get enough of new breweries, coffeeshops, and local eateries.

4. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

Blogging opened up a whole new world and community to me. I discovered my inner creative and muse, which was pretty crazy to me. I never used to consider myself even remotely creative.  I mean I have always felt most at home in beautiful words and now I get to try my hand at crafting strings of syllables into something you’ll love to roll over and over in your mind. I love when a sentence or phrase utterly captures me and it’s fun to try to do this.

5. If you could spend the day with one person who would it be?

Oh goodness. That’s pretty tough. My favorite YA author growing up was Sarah Dessen – her talent still amazes me. Her ability to take you in with her characters and weave them in and out of all her stories. And anyone who knows me is aware of my total writer crush on Hannah Brencher. Her style of writing is what made me feel like there might be a place for my own words somewhere. Sooo one of them :).

6. Where does your blog inspiration come from?

I’ve always been held captive by why we do what we do. We are all so intricately complex. I feel like George RR Martin is the king of capturing this in his characters. You love them and hate them all at once. So I suppose my inspiration comes from all the people passing in and out of my own life. The situations I’m living and watching others muddle their way through. Or sometimes an idea just presents itself to me and I want to explore it through writing. Inspiration is sneaky you know.

7. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?

Only one? Really guys? Well… I’ve been lucky enough to visit Greece and briefly France. I’ve always had some sort of odd fixation on visiting England (as a child I told people I was going to attend Oxford…), but naturally if I’m there I would want to hop around to quite a few other countries 😉 .

8. If you have children, what are their names? If not, what are your favorite boy & girl names?

The best Pomapoo in the world is named Jasper Theodore. He’s a handsome fluffy little feller.

9. A long-lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?

Hmm… I would realllllly have to ponder that. I think I would feel like I needed to give at least part of it away. And then I’d probably put the rest on student loans or something. I’m exciting aren’t I.

10. In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve written so far? (Include the link!)

I’m not sure if it’s my best writing, but Coffee with My Sister will always be my favorite and hold a special spot with me. I felt every single word of that post and was actually writing it as a letter to one of my closest friends. Definitely will always be memorable for me.

11. Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Done with grad school! (happy dances all around)  I will hopefully have at least one book out, and be practicing as a licensed therapist. And possibly be in a new city (somewhere warm pleaaaase) with my partner because of him attending graduate school. Oh and definitely with a new puppy. 🙂

And nowwwww… THE BLOGGERS!! (be excited people)

Gemma Hartley  —> Gemma covers life, minimalism, writing/reading, and posts a weekly recipe!
Trusting Adventure —> My dear friend Jordan gives you beautiful words with a Christian lilt. She’s the best.
Chase the Write Dream —> Tori runs an amazing site filled w help for navigating undergrad and life in general.
In My Pocket Blog —> Gaby writes my favorite poetry on all the interwebs. Skillz.
Hiya Tootise —> Heather is the rockstar of a best friend you wish you had. Check her stuff noooow.
Holly Holt Design —> Holly owns one of my fave etsy shops, and her site is beauuuutiful.
Broke Twenty Something —> Trying to stay out of debt? She’s yo girl.
Abbigayle Rashae  —> Feminism, Style, & all kinds of good things.
Melanie Craft Co. —> Looking for branding? Melanie can help you out.
Alannah Renee —> Allanah is in university and tells her tales here.
Simply Always Forever Jayme loves connecting with others in her sphere of the interwebs 🙂

These are the steps to accepting this lovely award:

  • Answer the eleven questions given to you by the person that nominated you (see below). Please comment on this post with your link when you are done so I can see your answers!
  • In your post, link back to the person/blog who nominated you and give a little thank you shout out.
  • After completing the questions, nominate eleven bloggers with under 200 followers on the social media platform of your choice, and give them eleven questions of your choice.
  • Notify your nominees of their nomination, and provide a link to your post so that they know what to do.

These are your questions:

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?
2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
3. What’s your favorite pastime other than blogging?
4. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
5. If you could spend the day with one person who would it be?
6. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
7. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?
8. If you have pets, what are their names? Tell me about your fur babies.
9. A long-lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?
10. In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve written so far? (Include the link!)
11. Where do you see yourself in five years time?