Year 23 (things I learned)

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Thursday (Pearl Habour Day) I turned 24. Not sure if I’m ready to be in my mid-twenties…on the other hand I feel as though I’m finally aging into my personality; ‘born middle-aged,’ this one.

Plus my sister says I dress like a 70-year-old detective…or like a detective from the seventies (can’t recall which). So I’m getting closer to that – at least the former – being acceptable…not sure if it ever will be okay to dress like a detective from the seventies.

Much happened this year, I always think I learn a lot and then realize how little I actually know. But I like to think that between one thing and another this past year, I did learn something. 

The move, ‘starting over’, taught me how dependent we really are – even as adults. We like to think that as we get older and take on more responsibility we become independent, but my move to Cincinnati showed me that we’re always going to need other people. 

Whether it’s for simple things like moving a mattress upstairs (thank you, Grace), or to start your car when the battery dies (Sean), or getting around when your car isn’t working (SB), or for help hanging pictures on the wall (Bridgette & Carrie)…there are so many things I simply couldn’t do on my own. And then there are the bigger, less obvious things, like a laugh or consoling word, a good hug or encouraging text, a home-cooked meal…friendship, community – we need it. And I can’t help but be completely in awe of how that has manifested itself in my life – without any merit on my behalf. The kindness and generosity others have shown me is quite humbling.

This brings up the fact that our weakness is truly a beautiful thing. I mean yes, it is painful and inconvenient and frustrating, but this dependence we have on each other is what allows vulnerability to exist and us the opportunity to respond with love. Often it isn’t until someone shows themselves to be weak, to be vulnerable, that we soften our hearts to them. Often it isn’t until we ourselves feel weak and vulnerable that we allow others to ‘come in’.

I always feel tempted to do things alone, to withdraw and ‘proceed with caution’, but really there isn’t much to life without the goodness and challenge that ‘others’ present. And are they really all that ‘other-ly’, anyway? We’re all one body, ultimately. But I forget that, often. For some reason there is a glamour of an ‘independent life’ to me, a siren’s call, I’m sure. My weakness is a good wake-up call when I get far down the rabbit hole of self-centered existence.

And yet, while I rely quite heavily on others, I have come to see how important it is that we spend time alone. I used to dread being alone for any period of time, I avoided it as much as I could. And when I was alone I played some sort of entertainment in the background, constantly. I still do this. But I also have times where there isn’t anything…just life – as it is, unfiltered, unedited and without distraction. I really want to step into the fullness of the present moment without always needing something to add – whether that be a show or music or podcast or a phone call.

I think this is important because in order to receive we need first to be emptied. We’re so eager to overflow our lives with noise and I think this gets in the way of being able to receive – insight, healing, self-knowledge, love… in order to become ‘whole’ we must first not be – and not think we are – which can only happen in true moments of attention and awareness, not distracted or encumbered by things.

In this vein, I’ve fallen in love (again) with a simpler time. When I was young I read the American Girl stories about different heroines from various periods of time. I loved learning about these girls who lived in the 1800s, the early 1900’s the 30’s and 40’s…

I am not quite sure why I am so drawn to the ‘olden days’, but I think there are certainly things we can learn from previous generations. Things like just doing one thing at a time, even if it just means sitting to listen to a beautiful song instead of playing it in the background while doing something else. Or being present to those you are with instead of jumping between them and people you’re texting or that you follow on social media. Things like reading good books, instead of only watching television. Or thinking in the car instead of scrolling through Instagram at every red light.

Reading more has been a great habit for my life, as well as listening to classical music – something I hadn’t done in years – and staying off Instagram.

There are good things about technology and certainly about the age we live in – don’t get me wrong. I also think there are things – a charm and a loveliness – to times before us, things I’d like to re-enact in my own life.

I guess this takes me into what I’d like for 24. I want 24 to be a year of pulling back in many ways. I want to focus on the few people I’m close to and not the 200 people I vaguely know. I want to finish the books I’m working on and start new ones soon. I want to write more letters and spend less time texting. I want to spend more time alone so that the time I spend with others is not something I take for granted. I want to be okay with silence and not forcing small talk. I want to ask more questions instead of talking about myself. I want to listen to music and do nothing else. I want to write more – and about things that matter.

I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful about 24. I have no clue where life will take me from here but if there’s anything I got better at during 23, it’s trusting. I no longer have excuses not to. All the good that has taken place this past year is more than sufficient evidence that things will be well.

Even when you don’t know how, even when it doesn’t feel like it…they will.

What did you learn at 23?

With love,

Miranda

 

An attitude of gratitude

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How different things are now.

To be independent – at least to the extent a human can be. I’m no longer looking to someone else, for money, security – of any kind…

I used to be unable to stand a second alone, now I find myself craving time away from others.

My anxious thoughts are still there; they continue to harass me, yet I’m able to dismiss them more easily.

I feel a deeper sense of ‘peace’, even in the midst of uncertainty and disruptions. I have become more and more convinced of the importance of a deep interior life. We’re so focused on the material and give little thought to our inner selves. This week as I went to the gym and regretfully acknowledged some weight gain, I wondered what would happen if we gave the same attention we do our physical lives to our spiritual lives.

There are so, so many ‘things’ – classes, exercises, techniques, books, machines – dedicated to this passing flesh and bones. Yet finding ten minutes for me to sit in silence and restore my soul feels like nothing short of herculean. It’s all integrated – what affects one aspect necessarily affects another – and so to give less importance to or completely dismiss a part of our person is to deny our most ‘whole’ self.

I want to be healthy – in every sense of the word. And I want to always give my interior life at least the equal amount of care as I do my physical one.

Something to work on, I guess.

I’ve become more and more enchanted with the ‘days of old’. The style, the manner of being (polite), the interactions between men and women, and between family members, the traditions and simplicity. I’m idealizing it all of course (it’s what I do), but I want to recreate some of that in my life.

I’m trying to text less, as well as take a step back from social media (I deleted my dearly beloved Instagram app for the time being). It has been – in a word – freeing. To live my life without regards to how it looks or how I can make it seem better…I want to accept my life as it is, not only as what I want others to think of it.

What’s next?

I have no idea. For the first time in a long while, this week I was overwhelmed with the familiar sense of loneliness. More than that even, it’s the fear, a question I rarely care to dwell on; most of the time it sits nice and quiet beneath the noise I create to distract myself.

Can I love? Can I be loved?

Looking back there are so many times I failed entirely to love in my previous relationship. I wonder if I’ll be given another chance, and if I’ll be able to stop myself from falling into old habits. Most of that relationship – the difficulty, its acrimonious ending – points to a resounding ‘no.’

Maybe it’s me idealizing again, but it seems hard to believe there’s someone out there who is ‘better’.

I feel like I missed my shot.

And often I feel like I don’t even want another chance. I’m okay, I’m comfortable, I’m skeptical.

And then part of me yearns to know someone the way only marriage allows. To belong to someone entirely and live a life of continuous surrender to each other.

It’s just hard to imagine, at this point.

Whether or not it will ever happen isn’t up to me. Learning to embrace this, to trust where I am and hope for where I’m headed…it is very difficult indeed.

But to me it’s a lot easier than the alternative; to despair, give up and resent. There are good things in my life right now. I am truly grateful for the friends I have, the place I live and the work I get to do. I’m grateful for quiet mornings and good books and blankets. I’m grateful for brunch with friends, beer, pretty things and beautiful music. I’m grateful for family and the time I have with them. I’m grateful for the person I have become – with very little credit to myself – and the countless opportunities for continued growth. I’m grateful for the seasons, especially this one, and all the cheer ahead.

I am grateful.

With love,

Miranda Kate

 

 

Monday Five: Okay-ness & other things I’m excited about this week

I sat down to write this last night and found myself unable to. Then the other post just…came out. So, I’m trying this again.

It was a good weekend. My roommate (hi SB) was in town for the first time in a while and she humored me with an all day roomie outing. She got her hair done, we went to the mall (turns out I’m not a mall person), we saw Gosnell…that was a doozy. And ate soup at one of my favorite bars in Cincinnati, The Blind Lemon.

Yesterday we went to Mass and then had some girls over for a Fall indoor ‘picnic’ (the weather was gross) which was cozy.

We also went to Trader Joe’s for the first time since I moved here (it’s a bit out of the way) – I forgot how much I love that place. It’s such a lovely shopping experience and their products are so fun! We got #alltheFallthings for our picnic (I think my favorite were the pumpkin biscotti) + truffle cheese which is incredible.

Anyway, it was a good weekend.

It’s a bit difficult to muster up much excitement early on a Monday morning but I know if I’m struggling chances are you may be too so hopefully we can get through this together – #teamwork.

Here are five things I’m excited about on this dreary Monday morning.

Cold weather

If I had a dollar for every time someone had warned me about the Ohio winter….I’d be sitting ‘somewhere on a beach’ right now (as Dierks Bentely would say). It nonetheless came as a shock when suddenly I woke up one morning to 50 degree weather – it’s in the 80’s right now in Charleston. Additionally, it stays pretty gray here, which has possibly been more of an adjustment than the cold. Regardless, I’m attempting to embrace this change. I want to make the most of it. It’s been fun trying different ‘Fall’ foods (there is such a thing as Pumpkin Spice popcorn), lighting alllll the candles, wearing big sweaters,  listening to indie music and cozying it up with blankets and a book. I’m not necessarily thrilled about this shift but I think there are ways to make it pleasant and even to have fun with it, and I’m determined to do just that.

Indie/folk music

I’m not sure if it is just the rain or what, but recently I have been listening to a lot more indie and folk music and have found it soothing and meaningful. In the past I didn’t really have time for this genre, I didn’t have the patience to discern the meaning behind their lyrics or to get past some of the dissonance they tend to use. I preferred songs that were less subtle and more harmonious. Yet through various playlists (and a little help from my friends) I’ve come across several songs that I really love. Some of my favorites are:

Meaningful Market

Something I’ve tried to do with our apartment is to be really intentional about decorating it. There are a lot of cute things out there to choose from (so so many), but I wanted to choose things that meant something to me. This brand helped me do just that. I bought one of their prints and framed it to put over the mantle. It’s one of my favorite parts of our home and has so grateful for shops that make products that are thoughtful and beautiful.

Okay-ness

The past couple of years have provided many a trial for me. It honestly felt for a long time that I was barely surviving, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve started to feel okay. I realize ‘okay’ isn’t exactly a high standard to have for well-being but I think ‘okay’ is a good place for growth. Once out of survival mode – but still keenly aware of all the room for improvement – we can actually start to take steps toward betterment –  instead of just getting by. I know I have a long ways to go in so many areas of my life, but I finally have a profound sense of peace with exactly where I am. It’s a peace that coexists with anxiety, because it’s deeper than the fears that like to follow me around. There is distress but it’s overwhelmed by a confidence that I am where I need to be and that all will be well. For the first time in a while I can say ‘I’m okay’ and it feels good.

This Quote

“The beauty that will save the world is the love that shares the pain.”

I’m not sure who said it, Alanna quoted the line in this video and I realized that it is something I have suspected for so long without being able to articulate it; finally these words brought a newfound clarity.

All this time I understood this at a level I wasn’t consciously aware of: the reality that  empathy and sharing in the suffering of others brings an incredible amount of healing. That’s why I write what I do. It’s hard, honestly. As much as ‘vulnerability’ online may feel like a joke, it is difficult to share thoughts and feelings that are so close to me. I do it because the hope is that someone, somewhere will be affected by what they read in a way that brings about understanding to their own thoughts and feelings. This understanding may help with alleviating some pain, too. Every once in a while I’ll get a comment or message in which someone shares that what I wrote deeply resonated with them, it is these few instances that bring meaning to what I do and encourage me to keep doing it. Because of one person is helped in some regard by this, then of course it is worth it.

Well it’s still Monday and it’s still dreary but at least you have a few songs to listen to now, have a good week!

xo
Miranda Kate

The Night He Left

His retreating back, always the last thing I see.

Was it me?

I remember it clearly, that is the problem: the night he walked out the door.

The most horrific scene, I wish I had never witnessed before.

It for some reason takes place at night. As if the darkness outside could hide the events taking place.

It can’t. And they cannot stay.

One instant lasts forever – history repeats itself, much too often.

They’ll never know, will they?

The damage they do is unbeknownst to them.

What glorious ignorance.

This little heart is left to carry it, day in and day out.

An undeserved wound, a terrifying doubt.

Was it me?

Too little, much too little.

Too heavy, much too heavy.

The wake they leave is a difficult one. I mourn deeply someone who never died.

If they had they would not have chosen to leave.

But they did, they do.

Is it me?

His retreating back is always the last thing I see.

That Girl

“She’s a little too much, but she’s not quite enough. She’s a little too hot but she’s too cold to touch – he’s told her himself with his dying eyes.”

A keen observer

A deep feeler

Will he be able to understand?

Her intricate heart, her burning doubt

Will he be able to hold?

Her delicate frame, her questioning gaze

Will he be able to see?

Her tender wounds, her immeasurable worth

He be able to know?

Her darkest thoughts, her worst mistakes

Will he be able to receive?

Her gentle touch, her warm embrace

Will he be able to ease?

Her greatest fears, her worrisome dreams

Will he be able to love?

Her world of hurt, her broken seams

A miserable sinner

A beautiful woman, that girl

Monday Five: Is back (& other things I’m excited about this week)

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February 5th.

That’s the last time I wrote one of these.

Eight months. I can’t tell if it feels like more or less… I think more, just because of all that’s happened since then; my goodness.

I thought about it sporadically throughout this time, I told myself I’d start the segment back up when I moved; and then I didn’t really think about it again until this week.

I realized that everything I’ve been writing since, well, for the past eight months, has been quite heavy.

Which, to be honest, makes sense because life is just heavy sometimes.

The past eight months have included a lot of change, of lot of hurt, a lot of reflection, a lot of goodness.

I don’t think heavy is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just…heavy.

SO.

I’m starting this up again. A – because I do get excited about many different things and I do like to share them in hopes that you may also feel excitement, and B – as heavy as things can be and still are, there’s also a lot of goodness and I want to share that with you too.

Here we go!

Fiction:

I’ve been reading a bit more since moving. It’s been awesome. I tend to stick to spiritual reading for the most part since there are SO many good books on those sorts of topics out there and I feel that they help me grow so much. BUT – I finally decided to dive into some fiction again (for the first time in a whiiiiile) and have found it incredibly refreshing and fruitful. I started with Alice in Wonderland – SUCH A GOOD BOOK – and am now working on Gone with the Wind, which is also incredible. The language in classics like these is rich and beautiful. They also kindle our imagination, something we can be complacent about as adults. It’s been really cool to be a part of a different world for periods of time, and learning from and relating to them in tangible ways. Finding the truth and beauty in pieces that don’t explicitly lay it out for you the way non-fiction tends to do, is challenging in a whole new way but also really rewarding. I love the subtlety of it. I think fiction invites us to search for truth and goodness more creatively and intentionally in our own lives – while also offering wholesome entertainment and authentic joy.

Alllllll the Alanna:

You probably knew it was coming. Her newest album ‘Goodbye Stranger’ came out my first or second week here and I have yet to go a full week without listening to at least part of it…again.

It’s so good.

She’s so darn talented and the lyrics in this one are especially powerful – beautifully raw. My favorite is ‘What Beatrix Read,’ which when I first listened to it had no idea what the title meant but the song just spoke truth to my soul. I listened to a podcast (Love Good Culture) episode about it and she explains how it’s based off a book about a serial adulterer’s conversion and Beatrix is the one who reads her journal about the journey. Now I really want to read that book so it’s next on my list!

Music is vitally important to me. I find it therapeutic, healing, consoling, moving and life giving. Alanna is someone who has a gift for understanding the human condition and some of the experiences that many (if not all) have had to some degree. She can relate them in a beautiful way that brings about a new level of self-awareness and creates a cathartic experience for us – at least for me.

Regardless, all her music is amazing and if you haven’t heard it before, do yourself a favor and look up Alanna Boudreau and download her albums.

Do it.

Now.

Crossfit:

I know…who is this girl? Crossfit of all things. I went to my first class this week, invited by a co-worker, and was pleasantly surprised and how much I enjoyed it. Not ‘enjoyed’ it the way I enjoy hanging out with my friends or a good meal, but found it difficult – not to the point that I was discouraged – and healthy. Even though I was tired after, my body had that pleasant drained feeling one has after exerting yourself; when you know you worked hard and can now go lay on the couch without feeling guilty. The workout itself went by pretty quickly: it included a good variety, which I appreciate. In any case, I will be returning Wednesday morning bright and early and am hoping to make this a regular occurence. I need to exercise often – I think most of us do – and I’m pretty darn good at squirming my way out of it week after week. This gym offers exercise that I ‘enjoy’ and I know is making me stronger. It has class times that work with my schedule and an encouraging community. So, no more excuses.

Hosting:

I was blessed enough to find a truly beautiful place to live here. I have loved decorating it. It’s been amazing to see it all come together, without spending much money (our couch was a whopping $22) or much time on Pinterest.

It has taken time, but I finally hosted my first get together last week and it made me so happy. Hosting has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but for a few reasons had not been able to. I think there is something so beautiful about inviting people into your home. Hospitality is a real form of love, a love that invites and comforts. It’s kind of like fostering people for a couple of hours; they come in from the harshness of the cold world with whatever is weighing on them, whatever brokenness they are carrying and are welcomed to be in a warm and safe place.

I’m having one or two people over tonight to cook for them (poor souls) and am hoping to have people over weekly. I have the perfect place to do it and want to make the absolute most of that.

Acceptance:

Of myself, of others, of where I am – in all it’s difficulty and beauty. These past eight months have made me painfully aware of much of the darkness that lives inside me. All that needs healing and just how far I have to go. There’s something incredibly powerful about being able to see your own brokenness, and that of others, without flinching, without fleeing. Of course I want to change, I want to grow, but it takes so much time and patience and compassion. I’m not necessarily exactly where I want to be in life. But I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. And embracing that and searching for the beauty and meaning in it is a lot more helpful than wishing your way out of it. I think life is rarely exactly what we want, it generally takes us by surprise – and often in ways we’d rather not be – but it’s good. And the more we can just accept the reality of where and how we are, the more we can experience it, and experience it with gratitude and awe.  

So, there you go. A list of things I’m excited about. What about you? What are you excited about this week?

 

Xo

 

Miranda Kate

 

The Ache

Someone asked me today if all my posts on social media were an accurate representation of my life.

I had to think about that.

To an extent, yes. I don’t ever lie on there. I just post whatever I’m doing, or sometimes things that relate to how I’m feeling at a particular moment.

I guess the hesitancy about answering the question lies behind the reality that social media only portrays a very small part of the truth.

I couldn’t possibly post everything that was going on all the time, or every little thing I did (I think I would bore people to death), much less all I’m experiencing interiorly.

So to an extent, no. It’s not an accurate representation of my life.

I mean yeah, I do fun things. I am with people, I go new places and spend a lot of time outside. I have a beautiful apartment and live close to a park and enjoy reading…I have a good life.

But what I don’t post, what you can’t see is this constant feeling that follows me around. Wherever I go, whatever I’m doing, it stalks me like an unwanted suitor.

It’s an ache, a longing, a dull pain that never quite goes away. Even while I do the fun things, spend time with good people, work, move from one thing to the next…it never quite goes away.

It’s this mysterious, heavy suspicion that something is missing.

Sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me with pain and frustration; such a horrible feeling. Made even worse by the fact that I do have a good life, that I have nothing (or at least very little) lacking.

What is it?

Some may say it’s depression, or spiritual desolation. Some people would recommend seeing a psychologist (I do), or praying regularly (check).

So why doesn’t anything work? Why does this ache continue to haunt me? Why, when I have friends and family and a fulfilling job and physical health and material wealth and spiritual nourishment – am I still suffering?

I’m not sure, honestly.

I think part of it is just the reality that we’re made for more than this life, and because of that we will never quite be fulfilled here…we’re not supposed to be.

I also think, maybe, possibly, that part of it is longing for my vocation.

I believe we’re called to something. We’re here, not just because we are wanted – willed into existence – but also for a purpose. In other words, we’re here to do something. This something is for our good. Our peace, our joy, our fulfillment.

Again, not complete – not the way we will be After – but to a degree. And the way we know we have a purpose, is that we long for it.

Otherwise, if someone came up to us and said ‘hey you’re supposed to do this,’ we’d probably just reply ‘I’m good.’

Right now, I’m living for myself – and it is wholly unsatisfying, empty. I long to be a gift of self, to live for others in the most meaningful – to me – way. I don’t want to be my own. I want to belong, to serve, to love. I want to have the best friend, the companion to do life with. I want to love them entirely and be known and seen. I want to have a home and to be a home. I want someone to adventure with. I want someone to pray with and to laugh with.

Desire is – at its purest – a good thing.

But it hurts.

Every time I think I’ve gotten a step closer to having this desire met, I’ve been unceremoniously shoved back to where I was. No explanations, no glimpses of what is to come…just hurt and crushing disappointment.

I often get angry. I don’t want to want this. It seems unfair that I have no choice in the matter.

I have to sit, and wait. And I don’t like waiting. I’m incredibly impatient. I like living. I like doing and experiencing. And I desperately want to do all the things I do in peace, without this ache that no number of outings and adventures and fun nights and shopping sprees will ease.

It’s infuriating, and heartbreaking.

I fall into this cycle of attempting to convince myself I’m fine, and then feeling angry that I’m not and then desperately sad because I feel so helpless and confused.

Why why why.

I have to believe it is for a reason. I have to believe that this desire is so strong because it is inevitably going to be fulfilled.

I don’t know when, I don’t know how.

And honestly, I could be wrong.

Maybe I’ll live my whole life waiting for this ache to go away.

But there’s nothing I can do about it. I have to surrender to the reality that I’m a creature, I am not in control of everything.

And I’m not giving up, either.

At least for now, I am holding on to the hope that this ache – this longing – doesn’t exist to make me miserable; it is there as an indicator of why I’m here – a reminder of what I’m meant for: to be loved and known, deeply and intimately.

I doubt this constantly and often talk myself out of this way of thinking, but as of right now I’ve continued to come back to this conclusion.

In any case, I want to make the most of where I’m at, here and now. I know I can’t make this ache go away. But life is still good, it’s still worth living fully.

I think a good antidote to the hopelessness I often feel is gratitude. Overwhelming awe at the fact that I’m here, I’m alive, I’m healthy, I can love, I can laugh and run and cry and sing and travel and read and write.

That’s worth celebrating, I think.

So no, social media isn’t the most accurate representation of my life. It doesn’t show this deep yearning, the stubborn ache I live with or the suffering that accompanies me day in and day out.

But now you know, and I’m still here, I still have a good life. And I think if I can trust that this longing exists to be fulfilled – how beautiful and wonderful it will be when it finally, finally is.

My eyes are open,
My heart is beating,
My lungs are full,
And my body’s breathing.
I’m moving forward.

Dear God, grant me honesty.

xo

Miranda Kate

Love, detachment & me

“Teach me how to care and not to care.”

That has been my prayer these days. Along with, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this.”

My personality lends itself to going to the extremes, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Either I’m completely infatuated or entirely uninterested. I’m all in or all out. Either I feel safe or I don’t trust you at all. If you hurt me, it’s done.

Some may say this is passion, an admirable quality. I’m not sure if that’s true, but even if it is admirable, it is also highly problematic – at least if the goal is love.

I don’t mind being a passionate person, I don’t think I can really help it. But I want to love. It’s more important, and sometimes this ‘passion’ of mine gets in the way.

Passion implies strong feelings/beliefs about/toward something/someone. These feelings/beliefs aren’t the problematic part, the problematic part is when love becomes attached to these feelings/beliefs.

I feel this way toward you so I love you; OR, I feel this way toward you so I don’t love you.

Do you see how this is unhelpful? My love is contingent upon, attached to whatever feelings you evoke in me.

What makes you feel good toward someone? When they do what you want: whatever makes you feel loved, valued, important, seen, understood, cared for, special…

There’s nothing wrong with these feelings. My struggle – my impossible task – is to love in spite of them – not because of them.

You see, there are so, so many times when my sensitive self is hurt by the words or actions of others – most especially by those I care about. Often these words/actions aren’t even directed toward me, they have nothing to do with me. But I interpret them as a rejection, or simply because it’s not what I wanted from them, become angry.

Hurt so easily turns into anger.

This anger then fuels my decision to flee or strike back, to retreat or attack. The ‘love’ I had for the person quickly dissolves and instead the doors of my heart slam shut – protecting itself from any further harm.

But that’s the problem: that’s not what love does. Love doesn’t move that way; it doesn’t slam doors.

Love must remain above the primitive nature of feelings. It cannot be attached to the actions that please you or the feelings you like. Love just loves.

In other words, love allows room for disappointment, anger, hurt…even rejection.

Isn’t that awful?

I mean it’s excruciating in my opinion. But also the most incredible, wondrous thing. That’s why love, ‘true’ love, is so rare – so difficult to come across. It is beautifully demanding – few are up to the task.

This lesson on detachment has been one I wish I could have skipped. I wish that so much.

But I know that it has been incredibly valuable.

I have ‘lost’ so many things that I wanted/cared about this past year – I honestly find it miraculous that I haven’t shut down completely. Grace alone, I assure you.

There was a moment after the breakup, I was walking on the beach one afternoon when I was hit by the realization that I was okay. And by ‘okay’ I don’t remotely mean hunkey-dory-life-is-good, but more that I survived.

The worst thing I could have imagined, the thing that I feared so deeply for so long happened. My worst nightmare became my reality. And there I was, still standing.

It was a moment of true freedom. A moment when I realized that if I were to love someone again, I could do it with the confidence that – should they also choose to leave – it wouldn’t break me, at least not completely.

I was okay.

That is freedom. We can only love in freedom. Otherwise it’s not love, it’s just attachment/dependency/infatuation or any number of things – but not love.

Love is a choice made in freedom.

Of course he was not the only thing I lost. I lost the dreams I had held on to for marriage and a family. Moving away meant I lost my beautiful hometown, my close friendships that I had built for years, my dear family…all the comfort I had in the place that I loved – gone.

Even since moving I have had losses (including my beloved camera), smaller, yes, but loss nonetheless.

Yes, detachment has been a lesson forced upon me this year more vigorously that I could have possibly anticipated.

This whole time I thought my problem was that I cared too much. If only I cared less I would be unaffected, my heart could remain intact.

But I’m starting to see that’s not the problem at all. The problem is that I love too little.

Because if I truly love, it is free. You can hurt my feelings and I will still love you. You can make me angry and I will still love you. You can let me down and I will still love you. And if you leave, I will be okay. I may not want that, it may hurt, but I don’t need you. As soon as you ‘need’ something – choice (and therefore love) is compromised. Need doesn’t allow room for freedom, it can’t love.

In the strangest, most counter-intuitive way, love must remain detached.

“Teach me how to care and not to care.”

I can care, but I can’t care. I can care about you, want the best for you, love you…but I can’t care only about the effect you or your words/actions have on me.

I know it may sound nuts or even borderline masochistic but you have to remember that in a mutual, loving relationship the other person must do the same. It’s not that they have free reign to act and do as they want without any regard to you…both parties must continually strive to make the selfless choice of love over and over.

The point is, as much pain and angst and downright heart break this past year – especially the past six months – has brought, I hope, I pray that I am slowly making my way to a love that is stronger and more authentic than what I have been capable of until this point.

It hurts, my heart hurts, sometimes it hurts like hell.

But I don’t know, I’m not giving up I guess. I’m just holding on to the hope that down the road it won’t hurt so much. In any case I think it’ll be worth it – the pain – because learning to love is why we’re here, right? It makes sense that something so important wouldn’t come easily. It’s too precious.

My heart may be broken, it may be “ravenous and wild”, but its good, I think…ultimately. There’s hope.

I want to be “free to love once and for all” and if this is what it takes, so be it.

stay open stay open stay open

Life update: Cincy & how I’m really doing

It’s been a while since I really wrote..about me.

It hasn’t come as naturally recently for some reason. Getting the words out has just been difficult. But I do want to share a bit about the new adventure…so I’m going to try.

Bottom line: I’m doing okay.

At first there was kind of a ‘high’ of sorts. While the first nights were difficult, it was so distracting to be in a new place and start a new job…I didn’t really have room to feel much more than just excitement at the newness of it all.

I’ve managed to keep myself pretty busy. Obviously there are ‘house’ things (it’s SLOWLY coming along) that need to get done. But also meeting with people I had met before who live here and getting to know others I’ve met at work. I didn’t have much down time at all my first month.

I’ve gotten better at being alone. I’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring the city, checking out some bars, churches and parks on my own. It’s been nice. I’ve found a few favorites and go back to them often.

I’ve gotten some reading done (mostly in the mornings) – I finally finished ‘story of a soul’ (HIGHLY recommend it) and am working on ‘consoling the heart of Jesus’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

I have especially enjoyed the latter..I see so much of myself in her, but maybe that’s for another post.

I like Cincinnati. It has it’s rough areas but generally I think it has a charm of its own that is unpretentious. I like all the hills a lot more than I anticipated (hills = views).

I actually live across the river in Kentucky. I’m about 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, and I LOVE where I live. I like the place itself and the area. It’s a quiet, suburban neighborhood with neat yards and lots of green. My favorite park is a five minute drive away and there are two Catholic Churches also within that distance – and a coffee shop with DONUTS just a few minutes down the road.

The people here have been very kind. It’s been especially comforting knowing a few people inside AND outside of work. I want to have a good balance.

Of course it’s hard, being the new kid. People have their own lives and routines, breaking into that gracefully takes quite a bit of grit and patience. There’s also the initial discomfort that comes just from not knowing each other very well, familiarity is not something to take for granted.

In any case, while sometimes it does feel difficult, I feel very grateful to all the people who have reached out and made me feel welcome – it has been such a gift.

It still sucks not knowing the area that well. I’ve gotten lost approximately 500,000 times and it gets old. Every time I’m able to get to a new place without a GPS I feel incredibly victorious.

It’s been difficult too, I think there’s something about being in a new place that makes old wounds and emotional/psychological challenges more prominent for some reason.

It’s like the comfort of home provided a shelter I wasn’t aware of. There has been a lot of inexplicable sadness and anger that seems unrelated or disproportionate to what is in front of me. I’m hoping that it’s surge means that there will be healing soon.

This has probably been the most challenging part. Grappling with demons on my own without the support of family or close friends. Just keeping it together at work has been difficult some days.

But the weird thing is, I do feel at peace. As much as there are days I am angry and resentful toward the struggles I’m facing, I don’t feel the need or urge to really change anything.

I think I’m in the waiting room right now: waiting to be attended to, feeling frustrated and impatient but hopeful nonetheless.

Something I’ve really embraced since moving here is just the adventure that life is. There’s no ‘tomorrow’ or ‘one day’, this is it…now. And even the really sucky parts have a lot to teach us and great beauty and grace to offer. We may not see it, but I believe it to be there. ‘Adventure’ doesn’t imply smooth sailing. If anything, it signifies difficulty, challenge, growth and victory. You can’t win if there’s no battle first.

I’m just determined to make the most of every second – to live a life that is honest – because it’s just too damn short to do anything other than love and be loved (you knew it was coming). To love fiercely, with abandon and without pretense.

So I’m going to try. I fail a lot but I’m going to keep trying. I hope you will too.

In any case, I’m okay. I’m grateful and I’m peaceful…joy will come (like a birdie in the morning sun).

Thanks for reading and for all the support.

Oh! And I got a nose ring!! Mom was NOT happy.

xo

Miranda Kate

Confessions of a hypersensitive personality

Stupid stupid stupid.

That’s how I feel whenever I catch myself hurt over something/someone…again.

I’m not quite sure how it happens, but somehow my heart slips out when I’m not looking and latches itself onto things/people that cause me anxiety and pain.

Like a mischievous pet, it doesn’t obey my stern command to ‘not care’ and then wanders off without my consent.

The smallest incidents at work, with friends, with strangers, with boys…they affect me so much, more than I care to admit, more than I want to allow.

In anger and frustration I cry out, “STOP CARING.”

Yet my heart sits there, painful and unyielding, still hurting, still beating.

Stupid stupid stupid.

Don’t you know, silly thing? Don’t you know how this will end? Don’t you know what lies ahead? Have we not been through this countless times? You don’t listen, you don’t heed my warnings, you don’t learn.

How is it that after years of cuts and bruises you remain so reckless? How is that you’re still here, causing me so much trouble after so long? What do I have to do to make you see, make you understand, make you stop?

I want you to stop.

Stop caring:

About being liked

Her approval

His attention

Their intention

Being recognized

Being appreciated

Fitting in

Standing out

Pleasing them

Looking good

That comment

Their opinion

Just stop.

I just want things to not affect me so darn much. Is that too much to ask? Every interaction, the most miniscule gesture, innocent words…cut through me like a dull and clumsy knife.

Against my will, without my consent, my heart clings to any and every thing despite my continuous insistence that it be indifferent.

Stupid stupid stupid.

I have begged a thousand times for relief – or at least an explanation, a reason this burden was placed in my weak chest.

Don’t you know how frail I am? Don’t you realize how much it hurts? Does it not matter what I want?

Indignation wells up inside me. Anger boils to the surface.

Fine.

Have it your way.

‘It’s a gift,’ they say, to feel so deeply. Never has something been less welcome.

But I’m stuck with it.

I fight; I wrestle; I run; anything to escape this feeling, beating thing: but it is relentless; it is a part of me.

Why is it here? What is it for?

‘To love.’ But don’t they know? Don’t they see how hard it is? How painful?

“My vocation is Love”

Can I do it? Will I accept it?

I just wish I didn’t feel everything so much.