A Letter to My Anxiety


Dear Anxiety,

We’ve been talking more than usual recently… well, you’ve been talking more than usual recently. I haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise, so I decided to write you this letter.

I’ll start with an apology. I’m sorry that I wear combat boots, I know they scare you. I’m sorry that I trip over my words as much as I do my feet. I’m sorry that I waited until last minute to turn in that assignment. Anxiety, I am so sorry that I allow change to happen without warning you. Most of all, I am sorry that I forget to breathe when you speak, I know this only makes you panic.

Anxiety, I know you are only trying to help me, but please, don’t forget that you are the poison in my veins. You explode against my bones and leak through my skin. You build dams between my head and lungs, forcing pent up emotions over the edges of my eyes. You puncture my heart and fill it with the ink until it can no longer beat… All in the name of keeping me safe.

I understand that this is how you function: filling each step with fear and doubt so that I will always look before I try to move forward. You see the unknown and understand the dangers that may appear, understand the risk it will take to step into this change, and you fight to keep me away from it. You do not want to see me hurt. You are trying to protect me: protect me from the heartwrenching pain that could so easily be inflicted if I take the wrong step.

This protectiveness is what causes our current dilemma. You fear the change that is happening, I understand. I understand that the unknown is full of danger and the possibility of hurt. You remind me often of endless possibilities, all ending in tragedy, yet for someone so obsessed with “what if”, you seem to have missed the most crucial question: What if it’s worth it?

Anxiety, I am not asking you to leave, you are apart of me and I don’t know what I would do without you, but I think its time to compromise. I will only wear my combat boots when you are sleeping and cannot hear my echoing footsteps. I’ll work hard to turn in assignments earlier so that you can rest easy. I will breathe when you speak.

I will do all this if you promise to do something for me: consider more than just tragedy when you venture towards futures unknown. More than that, consider the struggle, pain, and danger that these futures hold, and realize that every future, every possibility will be full of turmoil and unease, there will be heartbreak and danger, but this does not mean that we refuse to go on. Anxiety, we are going to die, but we can’t let this stop us from living.

I understand that this compromise will prove difficult for both of us. The challenges we face as we move forward will be great, we will be tempted to fall into old patterns, but I am willing to try if you are.












Nightmares and Change

Since about the age of fourteen, I’ve had this reoccurring nightmare where I’m standing alone on an abandoned road, and I turn and suddenly I’m face to face with someone I care about and I find myself asking the question, “Am I enough?” They whisper, they always whisper, “no.” The no seems to go on forever until it is ringing in my ears and I can feel it in every fiber of my being, “NO.” I haven’t had that dream for a few months, but, for some reason, I had it last night. Except for this time, it was someone new whispering that dreaded word. Usually, I can predict which of the three or four people that are typically standing there with me, but not last night. Last night I turned and found myself facing this new person and I could feel my whole body clench with terror. My brain started panicking, not you, not you, not you. 

I’m not entirely sure what triggered that nightmare, but I’m sure it has something to do with the stress of school and the fact that things are changing. If there is one thing in this world that I don’t know how to deal with, its change. Especially abrupt change. Ever since I was little, I didn’t handle sudden change well. Even if I was the one making things change. I don’t know how to handle that sudden shift in dynamics that happens when things change.

Now, some might say that the reason I don’t like abrupt change is that I take my time in everything. I’ve never been one to rush into anything. I will always be the one to ponder everything that goes into change. I’ll look at it from every angle, analyze every possible outcome, and consider every possible obstacle that might show up. I do this with everything, even if I know that the change is going to happen, no matter what I do or, if it’s my choice whether or not that change will happen and I know what my decision will be. If it’s of any significance to me, I won’t rush into anything or make a defining decision at one precise moment.

The only change I can handle anywhere near well is a slow change. The kind of change where it might be missed in the day to day if one doesn’t pay close attention. Like how people will go from an acquaintance to your best friend. In most cases, you can’t really give a specific moment that they shifted from someone you barely knew to the person you tell everything to. The shift in dynamics is slow and subtle, yet you can’t deny the stark contrast from when you first met too now.

In either form of change, my anxiety likes to run rampant. Anxiety causes me to question everything I do. Sometimes, this can be a good thing, like when I go to say a sarcastic comment in a completely inappropriate setting. Thanks to anxiety I don’t say the comment. But more often than not, anxiety has me questioning every interaction with the people in my life- especially the newer people. Maybe I’m too much or maybe I’m not enough. Maybe I said the wrong thing, maybe I didn’t say enough. My brain screams that I’m going to mess everything up, even though it has no proof or logical reason. The worst part is that I know it’s unreasonable. I know it doesn’t make any sense. But that doesn’t stop my chest from threatening to collapse in on itself or my brain from screaming to every atom in my being, run.

But I refuse to let it stop me from changing. My anxiety will not stop me from going to new places, whether it be geographically, mentally, or emotionally. I will get there, you just have to bear with me. There are days where I will stumble over the words in my mouth and the feelings in my chest, but bear with me, I’ll get there eventually. Somedays I will be open-minded and free and somedays I will be trapped in the cage of my brain, but bear with me, I’ll make it there eventually. One day, you will get tired of waiting for me to say that I’m ready to go to this new destination and ask me if I will ever be ready to go and I will look at you in confusion because I’m already there, I just walked slowly. Bear with me, I will get there eventually.

Change is inevitable. Change is unstoppable. Change is terrifying. Change is beautiful. Embrace it… even if you fear it. Change is how we grow. Its how we fail and how we succeed. Change brings new people and gets rid of old ones. It hurts and it is rarely easy. But one day, we will look back on the changes that have come and gone through our lives and the pain and the loss, the risks that proved wrong, and the mistakes will still be there, but maybe, just maybe, we will also see the things that made it worth it.

Rambling About Perspective

I should be doing homework right now, but I finally figured out how to say what was on my mind. So here I am writing this rather than an interview paper.

I like to make jokes about how college has taught me things like “time is irrelevant, sleep schedules are a myth, healthy eating habits are a joke, and it is perfectly reasonable to write papers twenty minutes before class.” All of which is true. But as the semester is coming to an end, I’ve realized that one thing college has taught me the most about is perspective.

Now, I am, at best, a mediocre artist (I could be better, but I don’t put enough effort into it). But I took enough lessons and attempt it enough that I have a decent amount of knowledge about how art looks from a sketching perspective. You see, it’s all about shading. You have to decide where the light is coming from so that you know where to put the shadows. If you know where it’s supposed to be brightest then you can figure out where it is darkest. You bring dimension by highlighting certain parts and shading in around those parts, so that that the highlights are more noticeable. It’s all about knowing how light works and how to use shadows to make the light more noticeable.

This perspective on perspective has become more and more relevant to my life over the last three months. The focus is on the light, the light is the most relevant and vital thing. But you can’t ignore the shadows. In order for the picture to be complete, there have to be shadows. Some shadows are barely noticeable… others are black as the darkest night. Both bring out the light in different ways. Both are vital to a masterpiece.

We are full of shadows. Some are the shadows created by a tree on a bright day, you still see everything about the tree, the shadow hides nothing. In fact, the shadow creates the perfect outline of the tree. Other shadows are the ones in your closet on a starless night. There is no telling what it hides. It terrifies you. The people that try to help give you a flashlight and say, “There is nothing to be afraid of. Just shine the light in and you’ll see that it looks exactly like it’s supposed to and you have no reason to be scared.” They don’t realize that that’s exactly what scares you. That you’ll open your eyes, shine a light inside, and see exactly what you’re supposed to see. That this is what a closet is supposed to be like. That there is no monster to kill and you’re just scared of the dark.

This terrifies us because we can fight monsters, even kill them. But if it’s just a closet, there is nothing to fight, nothing to kill. It all belongs to you and you have to decide if you keep what’s in the closet or you get rid of it. It’s not easy to go through your closet. Somethings are easy to get rid of or keep, sure. But somethings are of great sentimental value and yet you know you can’t keep them, whether it’s because they don’t fit you anymore or because you simply don’t wear them and keeping them would be useless. Other things look old and worn, but you keep them because they keep you warm. Sure they don’t always look the best, messy from years of use, but there is no way you are parting from them. As hard as it is, you make progress and that’s what matters. Sure, you may keep a thing or two that you should get rid of, but it’s okay, this won’t be the last time you have to go through the closet. You’ll get there eventually.

It’s at this point, when you’re going through your closet, that people start giving you things, and they are usually really nice things that you want. But you don’t have room in your closet right now. Right now, putting new things in your closet is going to stop you from going through the rest of your closet. So, you say, “thank you, but no. I don’t have room in my closet.” But rather than just take the nice thing away, they tell you that they’ll make sure it stays available until you have room in your closet unless you say that you just don’t want it. The thing is, you want the nice thing, you want it a lot. You just can’t have it right now and you don’t really know when you’ll have the capacity for it. Now you’re at a crossroads: yes, you want the nice thing and yes, they are willing to wait to give it to you. But you aren’t sure when you’ll have the room, so maybe you should just tell them you don’t want it, then they can give it to someone else. So, you just sit in the closet and watch the person with the nice thing. You know, you have to decide what to do soon, but for a minute you just take a few deep breathes and think about anything else. That’s okay for the minute, just don’t stay there.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering what all this means, where it was all leading to. Well, me too. I’m still not sure what all is going to come of this, but somebody recently reminded me that someday this will all be worth it. That one day all this nonsensical stuff will become sensical stuff. I think we forget that sometimes. That things will work out, but more than that, they will be worth it.


And to end this rambling post, here are a few random pictures from this semester

My Existential Crisis Thus Far

My brain is a really weird place… I tried to think of a poetic way to describe it and I thought It’s a very colorful shadow… Then I realized that my brain just called itself a colorful shadow. And also, what does that even mean??? Isn’t a shadow the absence of light? And isn’t color caused by light?

… And that’s been my day so far…

Actually, that’s been my last few weeks. I just randomly realize very basic things about myself that shock me more than they should. I would say I am borderline having an existential crisis.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to the beginning of this… experience. It was July 16th. My mom’s 40th birthday. We were having a surprise-ish party for her and then that evening I would go to a friend’s house to dog sit for a few days. And all of those things happened, except that they were dulled by the fact that my older brother was counting the hours he had to live. Kind of puts a damper on things, wouldn’t you say? Then very, very late that night or very, very early the next morning we got the news that he was gone. Matthew had died, leaving behind a young widow and an eight-year-old son. My parents were already on the way down to Tennessee, while I was housesitting. My next few days were spent in ignorant bliss where it didn’t feel real. And while I would have been perfectly content to have stayed in that feeling, life doesn’t work that way. So, come Thursday, my entire family and I spent six long hours enduring the visitation. And I do mean LONG hours. Then Friday was the funeral. That was long and rough. Everyone cried. A lot. But you know, seeing an eight-year-old boy salute his daddy one last time will do that to you. It was an amazing funeral. Matt would have loved it. It was big and full of all his military buddies. By the end of it, we were all exhausted. Emotionally and physically.

Losing a sibling sucks. So, do me a favor and go hug your sibling, tell them you love ’em. Cause no matter how annoying they are. How much you disagree. They’re still your brother/sister and losing them will kill you.

OH! Did I mention that my graduation party was Saturday… the day after the funeral? Because, yeah, that was a thing. I would like to say that I did alright. You know, managed my way through it. But I had a mental breakdown because the coffee ran out before I could get a full cup. Now, I value my coffee. More than I should. But I don’t typically crumple down to the floor and start crying because I had to wait ten minutes for the next pot to brew. So, yeah, maybe didn’t handle that day as well as I would like to say I did. Honestly, it wasn’t until the party actually started that I felt any excitement over anything really. And the party was fantastic. I was blessed beyond belief. So many people showed up, it was amazing. I also became the proud co-parent of Dora. Dora the Toaster. Which may be the only grandchild my parents get from me.

Thankfully, the rest of July was pretty mellow. I spent a week at my aunt and uncle’s. Had a bonfire with the peeps. Got called out for being negative. Discovered that I really want a longboard. And upped my hipster game a bit. I also said goodbye to all of my church people. Babysat for life group for the last time. I’ve actually had a few “last times”.

To say the least, the last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. And it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In exactly ten days, I leave for college. My Dad started chemo today. It just keeps going. And going. And going. Am I overwhelmed? Probably. Stressed? Definitely. Do I have any idea what I’m doing? That would be a big fat no. This borderline existential crisis seems to bring out the fact that I have really strong opinions and big plans, but ultimately I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know what the point of my existence is. I don’t know why I am right here. Right now. I don’t why my life has been the adventure is has been. I don’t know why I am the way that I am. I just don’t know.

What I do know is this. God looked at his plan for this world and decided it needed a sarcastic, weird, slightly confused, girl. Someone who would get lost in thought at all the wrong times. To have the memory of a goldfish and yet be able to retain odd and supposedly useless information. Someone who struggles to retain math and loves to write. Who looks at the world upside down and thinks about black holes a lot. Someone who wants to travel the world, but doesn’t have enough money to buy a longboard. Someone who doubts her own worth and fights to keep the darkness out of her head. Who loves dogs and the outdoors. A girl who is all about that #vanlife and adventure. A girl who asks too many questions. Who loves Him and really just wants to see His plans for her. God looked at this world and decided it needed little, old me. And you know what, He decided it needed you too.


Magic Shows and Illusions

Illusions have always been one of my favorite things. Watch a magic show and see a rabbit get pulled out of a hat or a person completely disappear. The key to a good illusion is to get the audience to see what you want them to see. Get them to look at your right hand when they should be watching your left.

Sometimes my life feels like a magic show. I don’t ever seem to know what’s really going on and I’m never paying attention to what I should be focusing on. I’m like that person that is always babbling about how it’s not real. It’s fake. You shouldn’t be fooled. And yet, at the show, I still don’t see what’s happening. I know it’s an illusion. I know that if I looked past all the grandeur I would be able to see what I’m suppose to be seeing. Yet here I am, caught up in the distractions.

I could give excuse after excuse as to why I am so distracted. My Dad is dying. My brother is dying. I’m moving 1,000 miles away in two months. I have so much to do before I leave. And of course, all the doubts in my head… Am I ready? I’m probably going to fail. Are the people I’m going to live with still going to even want to acknowledge my existence at the end of the year? What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if? What if? What if?

These worries. These shadows. These illusions. They are consuming me. I fight them with all my might. But I am too weak. How do you fight looking at your Dad and thinking, “Dear God, please let him be here when I come home.” Or visiting your brother because you may never see him again. How do you fight of the feeling of defeat when you feel like you are running out of time? And what are you suppose to do when your biggest fear is that others will see you the way you see yourself?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. Ephesians 1:18

Look past the illusion.

It’s funny the things God will use to help you see past the illusion. Maybe it’s reaching a goal you didn’t think you would reach. Or that person you always feel inferior to telling you that they feel the same way you do. They may not even realize that you feel that way too. Either way, Thank God for breaking that illusion.

Because on the other side of that illusion is a miracle. On the other side of that illusion is God doing amazing things in your life. Whether it’s teaching you to wait or telling you it’s time to move.

I can’t say that the looking past the illusion is going to cure my Dad of his cancer. Or that my brother will get a miracle. Or that I’ll have the same friends this time next year. What breaking the illusion does is let you see God. It breaks away any feeling of distance you felt between you and God. Because suddenly, He is right there. Working away. Making sure everything turns out right.

God is more than the cancer, more than the calander, or even the distance. God is more than the people or the fear. I’m giving it all to God. God is making things happen. Even when I don’t see it. Even when I don’t feel it. God is working and with Him all things are possible. Even a little thing like life.



Friends, Anxiety, and Life

We all have that one friend. The one you meet and you’re like “Alright, this person is pretty cool.” Then three months later they’re your best friend. They become that person you can’t remember NOT being friends with, even though you probably spent a good portion of your life not knowing of their existence. They somehow go from being that person you met last night to the person you Snapchat all the stupid stuff that happens in your life. All within no time at all. And occasionally, you just stop and think “Where did they even come from?”

Now, if you are anything like me there are pros and cons to this friend. On one hand, they are literally one of your best friends. Like right up there with your brother and your dog. They are on your short list of things you go to when you are trying to be thankful, even if everything seems to be falling apart.

*Squints eyes*  Okay God. I am choosing to be thankful. Umm… My dogs? And… And… my family. Umm… Ummm… OH! I am thankful for that person. Yeah, they’re cool. I like them. Thanks for them.

On the other hand, they are your anxiety’s favorite topic. I mean, you haven’t known this person THAT long. Do you really know them that well?  I mean, sure, they are your best friend, but are you theirs? Do they even really like you? Sure, they have said that you’re one of their best friends, but their other best friends have known them longer and probably better. And of course, the closer you get, the louder these questions become.

Yep, we can probably all relate to this at some point. What’s funny is that it doesn’t have a single thing to do with the other person. It all comes down to the fact that we are terrified that other people, especially people we are close to, will see us the way we see us. Something that we all struggle with is looking in the mirror and not seeing all the ways we aren’t perfect. All the reasons why we keep stumbling, why we didn’t get that job, why we didn’t get a better grade, why there isn’t enough money in the bank. We tend to look at ourselves and see all the reasons why we are failing. Why we aren’t good enough. Why we aren’t what we wish we were.

It’s at this point that I would like to point out that never, ever, ever, in my whole life, have I ever been obsessed with a character in a book, movie, or t.v. show that was perfect. Or anywhere near perfect. Go on Tumblr and you will find that I am not alone in this. Because any story with a perfect character, who always knows what to do or say, is nothing. There is no story to tell. We love characters with flaws, weaknesses, quirks, and epic fail moments. So the big question is, why are you hating yourself for what you love in others?

Which brings us back to that one friend we all have. You have not known them as long as their other best friends. You, probably, do not know them in the same way as their other best friends. Does that make you any less of a friend? No. You are not their other best friends. And that’s okay. You aren’t friends because you are like someone else. You’re friends because your weirdness and their weirdness collides into an even more epic weirdness. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You aren’t them. And they aren’t you. Don’t compete with people who aren’t even in the same race as you.

This applies, not just to friendships, but to all aspects of your life. Your life will never be like someone else’s. You are going to succeed. You are going to have adventures. You are going to live a fantastic life. You are also going to fail. You are going to have hurricanes wreck your world. And sometimes, your life is going to suck. You are a mess. A beautifully fabulous, disastrous, mess. Don’t worry. We all are. Embrace it.


I Swear I Lived 

Adventure is the story of all of our hearts. Adventure is missions in Honduras and being a stay at home parent. It’s working a factory job and road trips. Adventure is many things for many people. The only thing that never changes is that it calls. It calls to your very soul. You feel it in your bones. That burning need to live. 

We live through joy and pain. We live in the moments where we can’t breathe because of beauty. And in the moments that are so painful they take our breath away. This is what defines life. What defines adventure. 

Life is being in a situation where nothing seems to go right, and yet you keep going. Life is stopping and basking in the light of the stars on the darkest night.

Life is messy. Life is painful. Life is joyous. Life is meaningful. Life is beautiful. Life is… 

Life rarely makes sense, but we keep living. However you live, do it well. Embrace it. Let it deep into your bones and fill your mind. Ask questions. Don’t just see moments, but feel them.

And remember this. The best movies, the best books, they are not full of happy moments. They are not all good. They are full of trials, pain, plot twists, hopelessness, and despair. But this is what makes them the best. They capture what life is really about. It’s about finding a purpose for all the bad stuff. It’s about making your pain worth it. It’s not easy, but always worth it. 

So go. Live your adventure. Whatever it is. It’s okay to not always be okay. That’s just part of the story. Find the moments. Embrace them. The people. The places. The feelings. These are all a part of you. This is your story. Your adventure. Make the most of it. Make it count. Make it whatever you want. Just make it.