The comeback kid

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My mom loves to remind me of the day I learned to ride a bike. There was a big hula balloo because the Rodriguez siblings had gotten new bikes! Oh, happy day! My new bike was sans training wheels which only added to my excitement.

Unfortunately, as six-year-old Miranda soon realized, learning to ride a bike is like…learning to ride a bike; it’s difficult at first. So, long after the initial eagerness had faded and my brother and sister had gone inside, I could be found in the driveway, angry and frustrated but resolutely determined to figure the darn thing out, now.

I fell over and over, tears brimming in my eyes, my hands and knees stinging from scraping the pavement – yet I kept getting back on.

You can probably guess how this story ends…fifteen years later I still don’t know how to ride a bike.

Jk Jk

Of course, the reason my mom loves that story is because my “determination” – aka stubbornness – came to my aid, I didn’t give up.

Those of you who have been following my blog to some extent can guess that it has been a tough year for me – even more difficult than learning to ride a bike with only two wheels (if you can imagine).

This past year I fell in love with a man that surpassed my (very high) expectations. It was wonderful – like a chapter out of someone else’s life. We had so many lovely, sweet, fun, beautiful times it often felt surreal to me.

Obviously that wasn’t the difficult part. The difficult part was all the fear that accompanied this relationship. It was absolutely impossible to understand why I had such a difficult time trusting someone so good – someone who clearly cared about me. It was incredibly painful to constantly question him and his love. It was torture to be bombarded by doubts and insecurities about the relationship every day. Together or apart, no matter what he said or what I told myself or what others shared, fear plagued me as I struggled to love and trust someone and be loved by them for the first time in my adult life.

The joy of finding someone that until that point I had only dreamed of was tainted by my deeply rooted fears – fears that came true when Nicholas finally bowed out in February.

“I told you.”

That awful voice in my head which so often had urged me to make a run for it rang in my ears months after the fact.

It was right.

This year was also dramatically humbling. Amidst my turmoil and angst I came to the startling conclusion that I am one of the least qualified people to speak on the topics of love, relationships or familyThe fact that this has been my main source of content is almost laughable.

Almost.

Who am I to speak on the subject of love? When I fail so often to practice the thing in my own life. I am still the obstinate girl who falls over and over again – broken and bruised – only now the fall is emotional, spiritual and psychological, in addition to physical.

I barely understand what love is really meant to be – if anything I know better what it is not meant to be.

I guess that’s something.

The thing is – much like myself all those years ago – I have a streak of stubbornness that refuses to give up.

This became especially clear to me on this break, my mini sabbatical from publishing. It was a lovely and painful time. I did some travel (nowhere exotic but still fun), lots of bike riding/exploring, took lots of pictures, caught up on some reading and spent a good bit of time just reflecting. Even though I enjoyed all of this, it was difficult to face the reality of losing someone I had cared about so deeply. A reality not made any easier by our regular crossing of paths. Every day I had to accept all over again my loss and look ahead at the murky future with only wisps of hope to hang on to. 

On a particularly difficult day during this time I grappled with the tough question of why the heck am I doing this?

What’s the point? Loving only leads to bitter disappointment. People are too imperfect, too broken and too difficult to love (most especially myself). Why bother? I could be content doing my own thing; traveling, writing, enjoying casual friendships and relationships without commitment or difficulty. 

I had my chance and I blew it, who’s to say there will be another one?

Yet here I am.

I guess the reason for that is the reality that everyone else at some point in their life has also been faced with this question. If you haven’t yet, you will be. And the people I most look up to, I’m most inspired by and desire to be like, they chose to love. Not because it was easy, not because they didn’t get hurt, not because it always felt wonderful or rewarding, but (I think) ultimately because at the core of their being, they felt it was worth it. It was a calling too beautiful, too precious, too valuable to turn down.

Love makes us better people, it challenges us to grow and change in the most beautiful of ways. It heals and gives us strength to move forward, day in and day out.

Love is why we are here and what makes this treacherous, incredible, awesome life worth living. It’s an adventure in and of itself; the most fulfilling and challenging one. 

There is still a part of me – the wounded, guarded, angry part that taunted me after Nicholas and I broke up – that doesn’t believe a word of this. But I’m hoping to prove this side of me wrong in time.

I’ve fallen down, and I will continue to do so. But I won’t give up. I’m back and I’m in it for the long haul.

Here’s to the kid who got back on the bike one too many times, and to everyone who has dared to choose love – even when it hurts. 


On another note, there are two, more practical things I’d like to share with you.

  1. I’m changing the setup of this site just a little so that it can become more of a community and less of me ‘talking’ at you. To help me make it more collaborative, Some incredibly talented people agreed to write for you here and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Keep an eye out for some contributor articles coming soon.
  2. As of last week I have agreed to take a position as content lead at Dynamic Catholic. I will be moving to Cincinnati, Ohio this summer!

I want to sincerely thank all of you who have prayed for me and encouraged me during these past few months – it has done more than you can know.

And of course, to my readers..this wouldn’t mean much without you.

xo

Miranda Kate

“For what is life without love?”
Pedro Silva

Monday 5: This blouse by Zara & other things to be excited about this week

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Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a restful weekend. I finally have been feeling better and even socialized some this weekend! Very exciting.

I did watch the Superbowl. Well, I was in a house in which the game was playing. And I occasionally looked at the screen… the food was in a different room so that didn’t really help. As much as I struggle to understand the game itself, I do appreciate that football brings people together.

Last week I got in a quick photo shoot with my talented photographer Lizzy. It was a beautiful day and the neighborhood we went to provided some truly beautiful backdrops! That is where the picture above come sfrom, you’ll see more of those in the near future.

All that being said, here is this week’s Monday 5, I hope it helps to add some pep to the beginning of your work week!

This shirt by Zara

When I was in Houston over the holidays I got to go to Zara, one of my favorite clothing shops. This was even more exciting because we don’t have one where I live so rarely get the opportunity to shop there. One of the two things I got was this blouse, I love it. It is so soft and kind of a retro chic that I think is starting to become more and more popular.

Scrubs

It’s hard for me to get into TV shows, especially comedies because they rarely come close to my favorite, The Office. However this week I ventured into Scrubs and was really pleased. I know most people have already seen Scrubs, it’s not exactly new, and now I understand why people like it so much! I love the goofy humor combined with some more serious themes and life lessons. I especially appreciate the insights into the protagonist JD’s head – they are so easy to relate to and clever! While I have a lot to catch up on and won’t be watching too much Netflix in the near future, I look forward to making my way through JD’s experience at Sacred Heart.

La La Land soundtrack

One of the outings this weekend was to finally see La La Land, which other than being nominated for a million awards has also been recommended to me by multiple people. I thought it was well done and appreciated that it varied from most of the movies we see today. Probably one of my favorite parts was the soundtrack. The music was fun and upbeat without being cliché – a balance I imagine is hard to strike. In any case I’m looking forward to having a new album to listen to!

Towel folding: new practice

Ok I’ll admit this one sounds pretty lame… it probably is. But I honestly am really excited about it. I used to always just either hang my towels on the rack or fold them and then hang them. But this weekend I mastered a new way of doing so that looks so much prettier. First you fold it so that the monogram is centered (everyone has monogrammed towels… right?) and then you drape it over the rack instead of hanging it. It’s kind of hard to explain in writing but it looks so much better and every time I walk into the bathroom I can’t help but smile…it’s the little things, okay?

Trust

Patience and hope have been brought up in the past two week’s Monday 5’s. I’m starting to realize that our ability to be patient and have hope is directly related to our trust that things will work out. There’s often a lot of uncertainty in life; as much as we plan there are few guarantees. This could beg the question, why plan at all? Fair point. But I think planning is kind of an action-oriented way of hoping. After all, the plans we make are things we hope will happen. The things we want (career, home, family, travel) aren’t to be disregarded; I think our desires speak really deep truths about who we are. Planning, in a way, expresses trust that what you want is important and is possible… otherwise why work toward it or hope for it at all? This requires some trust. We don’t know what is actually going to take place, whether or not the thing we hope for or work toward will come to pass… but we trust that it will. If we didn’t trust it would be really hard to hope for something, much less have patience while we wait. So as much as I am not a fan of the unknown, I’m excited to develop a deeper trust that things will work out for the best. Why wouldn’t they?

I hope (and trust) that everyone will have wonderful Monday and productive work week.

xo

Miranda