Y’all — it’s happening. I have officially entered into a new decade of life and I am feeling all kinds of ways about it. On one hand, turning thirty just can’t help but invoke the pressurizing feeling that I should have (much more of) my crap together, be settling down in life, and/or probably be spending some serious time carefully crafting my 5- or 10-year plan. LOL fam. Yes, it’s true that I may have started settling into a city — nice to call you home again, Nashville — but in most other ways I am still a wee wild heart who can’t help but long to wander . . . hence having four out-of-state trips already planned before the end of the year. And what about settling down into a relationship? Another big fat nope from ya girl — one that I am actually pretty dang happy with at the moment — but is the pressure there? As any single friends in their late twenties would attest, of course it is. So, keeping some of these (and other) cultural and societal expectations in mind, do I feel ready to be thirty? Not really.Read more
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed something interesting with the online spaces I occupy: while I’ve been a lot quieter both here and on Instagram, my subscriber and follower numbers have been slowly increasing. While the numbers aren’t astronomical by any means, it’s been enough to make me question why and how that’s been happening considering that I haven’t written a blog post in almost six months. Spoiler alert: I still don’t know, but it got me all kinds of nostalgic in thinking about the ways I’ve inhabited this small space of the internet for the last ten years. Yes, you read that right: I’ve been blogging for almost a decade and wow does that make me feel really freaking old. Revelation aside, as someone who has very much chosen to share her thoughts, feelings, and highly non-professional advice online for this long, I think it’s high time to acknowledge the elephant in the room: that the very landscape of the blogging world has drastically changed since then.
My History with Blogging
This space started as a kind of online journal while I was in college: a way to stay connected with my friends and family back home in a more long form way than Facebook could really handle at the time. Although, now that I think about it, I was one hundred percent guilty of penning a few “notes” on Facebook back in the day (wait do those still exist? if so, brb, must delete all evidence of my late teenage angst). You should also know that I’ve been “writing my feelings” for even longer than that, starting with the platforms Xanga and LiveJournal, which were before Facebook really even existed. I legitimately made friends online back in 2003 (which hi why did no one monitor me as a teenager a little bit more?) via those now outdated platforms, and I also shared some shit I would be highly embarrassed for anyone to ever find now (nope, don’t go looking — I shut those things down a few years ago when I realized they were still somehow living on the internet). I digress.Read more
I don’t know if you read my last blog post, but if you did, you may have been able to tell that it was a hard one for me to write. It was even harder to post, because it was ugly and raw a part of my story that would have been a lot more comfortable to keep to myself. But I did so because I felt like I had to, and I am so glad that I was obedient to that feeling, because your feedback so far has meant the world to me. I’ve been reminded that we are not at all alone in our struggles as people who follow Jesus, and I hope you know that He is so much better, more loving, and more understanding than we can even begin to fathom.
The day after hitting publish on that post, I found myself driving to Dallas to spend a few days with friends and reflecting both on that last year of my Nashville season and the one I currently find myself in, which was followed quickly by the question I’ve gotten more times than I count over the last few weeks: why did you drive across the country to spend just a few weeks in Nashville?
I mean, that’s a great and very valid question: why did I decide to make the 2,500+ mile drive from California to Tennessee to stay for such a short amount of time? The truth is that I don’t really know. Apart from wanting to see some friends, I really don’t have a sensible reason to be here, other than that it always just felt like the natural course for this season. Is that crazy? Maybe, but what in my life isn’t right now. While on my final drive day from Dallas to Nashville, however, I realized that after writing that post, this time in Nashville is for closure: the one last step in my healing process from all of the disappointment and bitterness I left with back in 2017. And I sensed that it was also going to require acknowledging that — just as I’ve grown in leaps and bounds since living here — so has this city, and the people I love who live in it.Read more
My Story of Spiritual Manipulation
and Frustrations with the Church
Well, here it is: a story — a small but significant part of my journey — that I never really thought I would share so publicly, only because I didn’t think it was that significant. As it turns out, I was very wrong to think that, because what happened in ended up propelling me into the hardest season yet of my spiritual life. I have alluded to the fact that my last year in Nashville was challenging, but until the beginning of this year, I didn’t realize just how dark it really was Yes, you read that correctly: this year, or just a few weeks ago. I’ve danced around the truth in the past, mentioning here and there that it was a tough season that left me frustrated and disappointed, and that I couldn’t really let go of those feelings until I was in Ireland, all of which is true. But if I were to get a bit more granular with the details, something ugly happened in my last year of living in Nashville that ended up catapulting me into a place of questioning my faith and the Church.
Let’s rewind to the end of 2016: I was nearing the end of my debt payoff journey, which was very exciting but also meant a lot of things. It meant that I was steadily working 70+ hours a week — with one full-time job and multiple side gigs — and getting maybe 5 hours of sleep per night. I was putting more than 30% of my monthly income toward rent for a space I pretty much only ever saw when I was going to sleep. I was working at a great company with solid people but in a job that did not tap into my gifts nor satisfy my passions — meaning I was underutilized and felt purposeless — and I was losing steam quickly. I was struggling to find a church where I felt like I actually belonged (ironic, for a few reasons), and was slowly dreading the idea of attending a service solo as each Sunday rolled around. I was also finding it more and more challenging to stand by while conservative southern culture bled so deeply into Christian culture, adulterating it to the point that one could hardly tell one from another. Oh, and I was being given attention from a dude for the first time in a very long time and ended up making a poor choice or two before realizing I was wasting my time with him. Reading this list, I think we can all agree on one thing: at the end of 2016, ya girl was a mess.Read more