Counting Palm Trees

There are days that the darkness feels unbeatable.

Strings of days where I hide behind blankets and books

until I forget that I am even hiding;

until I convince myself that I am resting

and that the tiredness I feel isn’t actually sadness.

I’ve become so good at being sad,

 at pretending that it is something else,

at not wanting to admit that it exists.

Listening to other people’s problems so

I don’t have to hear my own.

But I am done hiding!

I’m done inviting sadness into my bed

and wrapping it with blankets so it feels comfortable.

Sadness grows stronger with the shades drawn,

so I’ll open my windows wide

and let the sunshine in.

I will go outside and count the palm trees

or drink a cup of coffee.

I will reach out with shaking hands and ask for help,

even if my request is drowned in tears;

or is scribbled on a post it note

because I’m too afraid to say it out loud;

or if it comes out with no feelings at all.

I will not let the numbness inside of me

swallow up the steps I am trying to take.

Because, someday, those steps will lead me

out of this darkness.

They will lead me to a place where I don’t have to

count palm trees just to keep the darkness at bay.

But for now, I will find my spot of sunshine,

I will make my bed so I don’t have an excuse

to crawl right back in.

I will not hide my sadness,

Because I cannot escape it alone.

And if I hide it,

The ones who can help me will never know.

Counting Palm Trees

holiday weekends and not working

It’s been 3 days since I lasted posted…and I promised us every day. This last weekend has been a bit crazy between birthday celebrations, my internship, church, an unplanned beach trip, and some unexpected conversations I needed to have. I didn’t make time for writing over the past few days and now I’m so sunburned that all I can think about is the pain like hot needles that is happening in my body. I just didn’t want to go a 4th day without writing something. I don’t regret the choices I made this weekend (except for maybe the part where I was laying in the sun for 6 hours yesterday), I’m still learning how to stick to something, how to have discipline, and (clearly) how to apply sunscreen. So, for now, I’m going to go back to sobbing quietly into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’ll talk to you tomorrow for real.

xoxo,

kat

holiday weekends and not working

Gratitude In The Mess

I had the hardest time writing this today… Not because I didn’t want to be vulnerable or because I was struggling with a specific topic. My mind was just drawing a blank. I even googled “personal essay prompts” just to get an idea of what people write about when they post blogs. I found list upon list, but nothing really spoke to me. I tried listening to music, but I gave up after finding a playlist that sounded like a dying transformer.

So instead of trying to be inspiring or deep or whatever I feel like I’m supposed to be on her, I’m just going to tell you about my day and see if that goes somewhere.

This morning, I drank a delicious iced lavender latte at Civil Coffee in Highland Park while talking about spiritual gifts with my pastor.

For lunch, I ate a subway sandwich, even though I’m supposed to be gluten free. It wasn’t even that good… I’m not sure why I did that.

This afternoon, I stared at a wall while trying to be creative. That’s probably not the way to go about being creative and I should seriously rethink my strategy.

This evening, I hung out with the group of people I choose to call my family. It was ALL IN TEAM NIGHT for C3LA. It’s basically just a celebration of how cool our community is and I love it. I always feel so full of love when I leave, even if I came with a bad attitude.

I have so many feelings coming out of today:

Happy because my day was filled with people.

Annoyed because I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

Upset because I wasn’t intentional with my eating choices.

A bit anxious because … rent.

Inspired by my leaders and the people I serve with.

But mostly… Today, I feel grateful.

I was reminded today that the last two years of my career wasn’t the norm. Most people don’t graduate and start at the job I started at. And even if it’s not where I wanted to end up, I shouldn’t discount the experience.

I look around at the people I love and I’m so grateful for them. Not everyone has a community like the one I’m part of.

I may have been annoyed because I stared at the wall for an hour or anxious because I had to pay my rent, but it was while pursuing something I love and it was the wall in my Los Angeles apartment – a dream I love, in a home I love, in a city I’ve wanted to live in my entire life.

I ate gluten today even though I told myself I wasn’t going to, but I’m healthy enough that it doesn’t effect me immediately.

In a lot of ways, today was a bit of a mess. But there is always something to be grateful for, even in the mess.

What moments in your life today are you grateful for?

xoxo,

Kat

Gratitude In The Mess

Dreams I Thought I Wanted

Last Wednesday, I came to the end of a two and a half year stint working in TV development. That’s not a long time in the scheme of things, but it felt like the end of something a lot bigger than that. I’ve wanted to work in the industry since I was 12. I’ve spent over a decade working towards this and it feels like a lifetime is ending. When I got my first job in the industry, I thought it should feel like the beginning of the life I always dreamed of – even if I was working an entry level assistant job, I was excited to pay my dues. But I struggled so much with it. I constantly questioned why I was working there. I loved the people I was working with, but didn’t love the actual work I was doing. (Side Note: I am very grateful for the past two years because I did learn a lot… So to my former coworkers reading this… I love you.)

That lack of passion was killing me. I had this idea in my head that I had to be in TV and I had to love it because I had put so much time, effort, and money into getting to this place. I felt like I had to stick with it because I owed it to myself, my parents, my professors, and to everyone who had ever heard me say I wanted to make TV.

When I see that in writing, it sounds laughable.

There was a moment last week when I had to decide whether or not to take another job in the industry. The practical part of me was screaming “DO IT!!! That’s money and you have bills to pay. Also, remember the last time you didn’t have a job? You just sat around for a month and a half eating ice cream and watching Gilmore Girls.” But the part of my soul that is more in tune with my dreams whispered, “It’s okay to say no to this… Do what you’re longing to do.”

And when I listened to that whisper in my soul, I felt a sense of freedom. Not an “everything is going to be sunshine and roses” freedom. But a peace about my decision.

It’s been almost a week of this new adventure and I’m still grappling with what my life is if I’m not working in TV. I’m trying not to beat myself up about the fact that I binged Stranger Things and a whole season of Friends this weekend while dog sitting for a friend. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed by how I’m going to pay my bills. I’m trying to give myself space to dream about what’s next.

And I think a huge part of what’s next is writing consistently.

Whenever I tell someone I’m a writer, I always have this twinge of guilt because I don’t ever write as much as I want to. And I’m working on having grace for that, because I know I don’t have to be perfect.

But I’m also done with accepting shitty excuses from myself. If I want to be a writer, I have to actually write. Which is why I’m going to be putting up a blog post every day for the month of September. I have no idea what I’m going to write about, but I’m sure you’ll get the unfiltered and slightly terrifying thoughts that go through my brain on the daily. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Here’s to a new season of dreaming and exploring and not having to have it all together.

XOXO

Kat

Dreams I Thought I Wanted

Naked in the Desert

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I’m sitting on my balcony, crying over a green juice and the faithfulness of God.

Don’t worry, I’m not normally this emotional over some cold-pressed broccoli and kale, but I’ve spent the last 21 days drinking only water and the occasional herbal tea.

Before you think I’m completely crazy, let me explain.

Three weeks ago in San Diego, I made a decision with the Lord. I was going to venture into the wilderness with Him. I wanted to pursue Him whole-heartedly and to build a foundation on which I could grow a deep relationship with Him. I don’t know that everyone needs to go to these measures to build that foundation; but I knew I needed to put aside the things that were distracting me from Him: food, social media, and entertainment.

And thus began the hardest three weeks I can remember.

From the beginning, I was plagued with doubts about whether or not I could even do this. Last time I tried to fast, I made it two days and then peaced out and ate a cheeseburger (side note: that’s super unhealthy… never fast for two days and then jump right in with a cheeseburger!).

My body was cleansing itself from toxins and I was miserable, and then I was bored by the taste of water, and then I began having vivid food dreams, and on and on it went. I was weak and wasn’t hanging out with many people, going to bed early and trying to pray and read my Bible in every moment when I would normally be eating or watching TV or hanging out with people.

But it was rough. Even with the support and prayers of the few people who knew what was going on, I still felt alone and afraid.

I felt naked in the desert.

There’s one morning in particular that I remember feeling this way. I was sure that I couldn’t do this another moment (much less another week!). But as I was crying, something broke and I began to share my heart in prayer. Things that I’ve closed the door on long ago, things that I’d forgotten about, dreams that I’d become disillusioned by. And as I stood there in my desert, open and vulnerable before my Creator, something changed. After that I began to crave time with Him. Prayer wasn’t something I just checked off my list, but I actually woke up wanting to talk to Him. That real relationship I had set out to find was beginning to form.

Don’t be fooled though. There were many days when I was hangry and didn’t feel the presence of God and had to force myself to open my Bible (there were also days that I didn’t open it at all). But there’s something beautiful and powerful in trusting God’s heart and intentions towards you even when your emotions and circumstances tell you differently.

I’m not telling you about this season to show off how spiritual I am or how much self control I have. I know myself well enough to know that I absolutely do not have the self control needed to make it through the last three weeks. But I’m telling you this to remind you that seeking God is a choice. I had to wake up every day and choose God. To choose to rely on His strength and on His grace to get me through that moment, that hour, that day, those weeks.

As my season in the wilderness has come to an end, I’ve had a new set of doubts. What if beginning to eat again undoes everything that I learned in this season? What if I just drift right back into my old habits and comforts?

I laid in bed for two hours this morning, afraid to get up and drink juice.

One of the beautiful things about this season in the wilderness is that it does have an ending. And I’m reminded that God isn’t only allowed to speak in the desert. He doesn’t stop working in my life just because I start eating again. But it is still my choice. I must choose to make Him a priority in my life, even when everything else is clamoring for my attention.

And to be honest, there will always be other things striving for first place. In seasons of plenty it’s easy to just focus on our own pleasure; and in seasons of scarcity it’s tempting to forget God in the midst of our pain.

So, no matter what this next season holds, whether wilderness or garden, let’s choose to turn to our Father. Because there is no taste in the world that can compare to His presence.

Naked in the Desert

10 Non-Resolutions You Should’ve Made This Year (and still can!)

Originally posted on Thought Catalog (http://tcat.tc/1peGTm8)

1. Get off of your phone.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say it – turn your phone on silent. There is so much science to prove that being more “connected” with the world makes you less connected with yourself and it also makes you more lonely. So turn off the cellular device and utilize whatever skills you have, whether that is going on a hike, writing a poem with actual ink on actual paper, or just drinking a cup of coffee. Do it without the distraction of instagram notifications.

2. Give your soul some space to breathe.

This year, I’ve been learning how to make space for myself. I’ve realized that I need time to figure out how I feel about things and that both time and space are vital to my well being. For me, this has translated into not doing things (whether that is shopping, social media, eating, dating… etc) out of boredom. We all have methods of coping with (read: hiding from) our emotions and it is important to recognize and minimize those habits so that we give our souls space to breathe and process the world around us.

3. Ask for what you want.

I’ve never been good at asking for what I want. I tend to walk through the doors that open for me and either accept it or complain about it until something better comes along. But this year, I realized that it was time to express my needs and desires and actually ask for what I want – whether that was in romantic relationships, friendships, professional opportunities, or just from myself. You may be the person who knows what they want and pursues it relentlessly – and if you are, i admire you – but I think we all could benefit from evaluating what we want and asking for it without hesitation or embarrassment.
4. Say yes or no when YOU want to.

This comes down to setting boundaries. I used to say yes to everyone, all the time. But I began to wonder what life would be like if I were less busy and actually had the balls to say no to people. Maybe I’d be more productive in things I was legitimately excited about, instead of being worried about tons of obligations. I’ve found that saying no to what I need to allows me to say yes to the things that I want to.

5. Go ahead and let people love you.

If I’m being honest with you all, I’d say that I don’t know how to let people love me. Like many of those around me, I tell the truth that fits the perception I want people to have of me. But I don’t let the whole truth. And if someone doesn’t know the whole truth, they aren’t able to love all of me. And that’s a shame, because there are so many facets of my inner world (and yours too!) that people can and should have the opportunity to love. So instead of running away from vulnerability, let’s take the rest of this year to intentionally make connections and let people love us!

6. Learn something new.

I graduated from college almost two years ago and was so excited to never be graded on anything again. But last year, I realize how restless I’d become. I needed to branch out, so I’m learning as many new things as possible. Now, hear me out, I’m not saying we have to STICK TO the things we try or that we have to reach pro status at any of them; but I think it’s important to learn new things, even if it’s just learning ABOUT something. So far this year, I’ve tried learning German, how to freestyle rap, how to cook beets and kale so I’d actually want to eat them, about the political climate of Nicaragua, how to dougie, and all about the Zika virus. I think that being curious makes life much more fulfilling.
7. Enjoy the colorful moments.

Colorful moments are everywhere; whether it is late night cake and tea with a friend, flirting with the cute guy in the waiting room of your therapist’s office, or enjoying the flowers in your neighborhood. It’s super important to take a step back to enjoy the little moments that make your life worth living. Yes, structure and goals and success are important, but what are outlines if you’re not able to color in them?

8. Find adventure.

Adventure has been one of my keywords this year. I’m taking an archery class, skydiving, and taking a trip to Nicaragua this year. But what I’ve found about adventure is that it happens in the small moments. Adventure is born out of bravery and bravery is born out of fear. So look around at the things that you’re afraid of and choose to do them anyway. That is adventure.

9. Speak who you are.

Last year was the time when I realized that I wanted to be a writer, and this year is about me owning up to that realization. Unless you are literally the bravest and most honest person that ever existed, I think we all have that thing that we want to be but are afraid to admit it. I’ve straight up ignored people who’ve asked me what I want to do, but how bad would it be to say that I’m a writer? I think my brain makes it scarier than it actually would be. So let’s all own up to our dreams and speak out who we really are.

10. Be WEIRD.

I’ve been obsessed with being liked and with fitting in for most of my life. I didn’t want to be made fun of, I wanted to have friends, and I didn’t want to be the center of any controversy. But the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that I’m totally weird. But you know what? WE’RE ALL WEIRDOS! So why not let our freak flags fly? Why not be obsessed with musicals or coding or Avatar or whatever we want to be obsessed with? Let’s let ourselves be weird because that’s the way we find the weirdos who are just like us!

10 Non-Resolutions You Should’ve Made This Year (and still can!)