Adventure in Moleskine

I’ve always been dreadful at filling notebooks completely. I don’t do a lot of things well in that way. But once in college I filled an entire journal. I forced myself to write in it every day. It was bleak. The end result was bleak.

But something about a Moleskine, this Moleksine, has made me faithful. It’s the second one I’ve ever filled completely. Almost two full years (short by a mere two weeks), and as it has come to the end of its journey, I offer you several of the trinkets in it that stick out to me. May they serve you as they serve me.

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This Sunday I crack open my Moleskine with the sketch of Smaug on the cover, and a new adventure shall begin. A Moleskine befitting Resurrection Sunday.

Adventure in Strength

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(some times, even I don’t understand my neighborhood)

Let’s be clear. I’m a weak lady. People are far too generous when they tell me they think I’m strong. I’m here to tell you that I am not. Not really. I’m a persistent person. I’m an independent person. Ya know what? I’m well-practiced. Let’s call it that. Can we?

I am not strong. I am easily manipulated, particularly through guilt. I am quick to relinquish power. I have multiple times found myself in dangerous situations and thought, “yeah. Of course, this is happening. And this will be how I die. That’s fine.” I survive, because I’m supposed to. Not because of anything I’m doing. Every day that I am alive is not because I woke up and said, “Ah yes, I shall live on.” I never make that decision. That decision makes me. No. That’s dumb. And not true.

Here’s what it is. Here is why I continue on.

A few years ago, I finally started to get the wherewithal to recognize that I needed prayer. not just “oooh stuff is bad. I need prayer.” I mean, okay, that’s where it came from, but soon I started recognizing that that was something I needed all of the time. So I started asking for it, and would in return offer prayer for those individuals as well.

*That has value. Please, don’t misunderstand me on this. Having others pray for you is important. Praying for others is important. These are intrinsic to strengthening the body of Christ.*

What I didn’t learn, or learn to embrace and then practice, until about a year ago was one very important thing. Hear me. Please. It is not selfish to pray for yourself. It is imperative. Open communication with the Father about your needs, fears, pains, victories. All of it. Let me tell you, from my own personal experience though, having others pray for me to understand and have peace, strength, be surrounded by hope? Is virtually useless if I am not also admitting to God that I need those things. It’s one thing to say to a friend “I am broken here. Please pray for me that it can be repaired.” It is something else entirely to say to a friend “please pray with me in this brokenness.” AND to take that brokenness and say “Father, I know it’s broken. Help me fix it. Fix it.” It’s easy to admit to those who don’t already know and can’t fully understand “oh this is broken.” One, because you don’t ever have to be completely honest in that. Two, because they can’t fully comprehend it with you. It’s hard to admit to the one who actually gets it and already knows, but wants to hear you say “I know you know, but hear me out.”

Ultimately, it’s taking actual responsibility for your head and your heart, your spirit. Anything else is really shirking that responsibility. Not always. I know that. Some times it is impossible. It is impossible to say what you need to say to God. Some times all that comes out is a string of expletives that would not only make you sound like you just murdered a pirate, but also probably embarrass your mother that you even knew all of those words. He wants those too.

Pray is our greatest strength. Christ is my only strength.

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Adventure in Concussion

By nature I am not what one would want to call graceful. I’m clumsy. Stupid clumsy. I don’t know if it really happened more than once, but I have multiple memories of walking behind the glider on our swing set and getting knocked square in the face. In my head this happened a lot. I played tag so hard once that I tripped and fell and smashed up my face. I ripped my shoulder throwing bags at the airport. I broke my foot at work by dropping a box on it. The night before we left for a volleyball tournament in grade 8 I jumped up to the net for a block and came back down on my ankle. Not the side of my foot. My ankle.

I’m scarred beyond recognition. Okay, that’s not true, but there are parts of me I hide because of scarring. That’s true on a mental/emotional level as well. I’m scarred. I’m clumsy with my head and my heart and my body. To be fair, I think some of the body issues are related to my tiny feet.

But Sunday, I got roped into hosting one of our open mic nights. I hate hosting things. I do. My brain doesn’t have fun with it. It goes right into business mode. “Must keep the time. Must pay attention.” But as the first act went up, I’m told, I was walking on a booth bench, and I hit my head on a thick, wooden crossbeam. I filled in the gaps and determined it was the top of my head. I know that because that’s where the bump is. And the cut. *It’s important that you know I don’t remember because of adrenaline and head hitting reasons. No alcohol was involved in the making of this concussion.* That night I didn’t really sleep, which was probably good. The next day I took a sick day, which was also probably good.

Semi-related, it’s important (it’s not important) that I tell you I love the word “concuss.” It’s easily my favorite verb. I am concussed.

Now though, I find myself sort of off. I think hitting my head knocked something loose. All day yesterday my Alice in Wonderland Syndrome was in full force. No warning, no bracing. Pure brain noise. It never quieted. I just had to deal with it and move forward. I woke up this morning around 3 a.m. in a full panic. From the moment I fell asleep until the moment I woke up I was chased by nightmares. Nightmares aren’t uncommon in my life. I’m quite prone to them. I blame them on an overactive imagination. But these weren’t normal ones, if that’s a thing. These have left me with my heart still racing 9 hours later. Now my brain is whirring with fears in my sleep and the nonsense of my own personal, less-than-wonderful Wonderland.

Maybe some day I’ll wake up.

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Adventure in Silence

Because of my mounting stress when things start to get chaotically loud. Because of my inability to distinguish brain from reality. Because some times I can’t handle the pressure. I don’t like loud noises. My brain sort of collapses within them. My office has a tendency to become one enormous din.

Last week I was offered a few new tasks to my job, which was timely because I’ve been running out of things to do. One of them though, takes place every Wednesday afternoon, and all alone. On Wednesday I leave the building and go into this dank room where sadness lives. And I surround myself with stacks upon stacks of files. For as long as it takes, I organize them. By time. By last name. By peace. By silence. By calm. By no thought other than. 9. 9. 9:30. 10:30. 10. B. L. S. M. 10:30. No distractions. No room for my mind to wander. As long as it takes. As long as I need. Calm.

This is a blessing, because I’ve been trying to take a part out of every day to be silent. I’m bad at this. I’m bad at shutting my brain down and listening to God. Now, the endless waves of the file ocean lulls me to a peaceful attentiveness, and it’s just me and him.

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Adventure in Accidental Hobby

Since I’ve moved downtown I’ve spent a lot more of my time wandering. Last summer and autumn I found myself fascinated by something that used to be so commonplace. To be fair, they still are commonplace. Most of us just don’t need them anymore.

I think that’s why I love them. They started as a joke to me, because I’m a bad human who relishes my wealth too much. But as it happens I fell in love. They seem irrelevant, and they aren’t. I’ve started collecting them. It’s the only way I can describe it. I appreciate, but never add any pictures of them sent to me by friends. If a friend sees one, and thinks of me, I appreciate the thought, but never share it. This is an organic and personal project. If you’ve been in the car with me when I’ve seen one you know how weirdly important it is to me. I’ll yell, and if I’m driving slam on the brakes. I gasp so loudly you”ll think you’re about to die. I have to get them. It’s a part of me. I’m starting in Fort Wayne. I’ve seen them other places, but until I’m satisfied with what I’ve found at home I will not branch out.

Nothing breaks my heart more than a shell. An empty shell. It tricks me and tears my heart out. I only ever collect an empty shell if I find it near a filled shell.

With that knowledge. Here they are. I don’t know which ones work. I never test them. I never change the scene. I take them as they are, as I hope people take me.

 

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Adventure in Restructuring

Here’s the thing about human interaction. It has both positive and negative impacts. I can spend time with really any sort of person, even the sort that drives me bonkers from their incessant talking.

(And I know you know, I’m saying it for my own sake, to remind me. Sorry, things are getting selfish.)

The thing is that some times you can spend time with people you absolutely love, and they sort of destroy your soul because they take credit for your work. And you’re forgiving. Or because they really love to destroy their own lives and you don’t even bother to do anything to stop them. Not because you don’t care, but because they don’t care and being in their life has made you indifferent to everything. Because it’s easy to just let whatever happens happen. Because you lose your will to say “no.” Or you forget to focus on Christ and maintain a Kingdom mindset. You forget to love people well.

But there are people in the world that you spend time with that challenge you. That push you. Without even meaning to. They’re just having conversations with you and living life with you, and you just naturally pursue being a better version of yourself. You find yourself signing up with several organizations to volunteer. You find yourself actively working to maintain focus and constantly alter your perspective. You find yourself being less selfish. You find yourself loving life more. You find yourself loving people better. You find yourself working on the things you love and working hard at them. You find yourself working hard on things you don’t care about. You find that everyone is important, and you want them all to know how important they are.

People are so important. Voices are so important.

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Adventure in Misery or Sadness Takes a Holiday

Disclaimer: Some day I may have the strength or presence of mind to fully explain the back story for this, but for now embrace a big dose of vague. You’re welcome, I know how specificity irks you so.

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Lately, things have been strange. Downright odd.

This particular week is, generally speaking, a very hard week for me. This week every year. Among other very painful things, the father of a dear old friend of mine died this week when we were but freshmen in high school. This week is riddled with similar painful reminders.

In previous years I’ve let the pain of the week just wash over me. I’ve allowed myself to wallow and suffer and drown. To barely keep my head above water. To take in whatever I needed to stay alive, if I must, but otherwise sink. And sink hard.

A recent conversation, or series of conversations, has left me admitting one very powerful thing about myself to myself. I love misery. It’s disgusting how comfortable I find it. I thrive in misery. I also love to be the martyr. Try not to be surprised. I bet you are. I put misery on like a baggy sweatshirt and yoga pants in front of the TV for an entire week. I curl up inside it like I’m Luke Skywalker, and it is my toasty, dead tauntaun. Like…no, enough similes. that’s a hard thing to shake though. It’s hard letting go of something that’s been such an enormous part of my identity for so long. If I’m terribly honest with you, I’ve let it be my identity for a very long time. And that’s messed up. That’s gross. That’s disgusting. It genuinely disgusts me.

What troubles me is now I find myself in a healthy place, and still I try to find that misery. Peace is weirdly uncomfortable for me. Still. It shouldn’t be. It should be my comfort in these trying times. It, by nature, is comfort, and I can’t seem content in that. It makes me so uneasy. While it is true that there is no need for hope or grace, if we aren’t broken and torn and hopeless, that doesn’t mean we should ignore hope and grace when it’s there. And it’s there. It’s here. It’s everywhere.

Instead of dwelling in my own self-produced disasters, I should be reveling in grace. I should be overcome with joy from the moment I wake up, because I’m being constantly repaired and constantly renewed. When I go to sleep, when I am asleep, I am renewed. We are renewed.

Any claim I hold on misery, is my head and heart screaming, “no thanks, Jesus. I got this one. I can save me.” Joke’s on me. I cannot.

“You can’t just sit there and put everyone’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.” Stephen Chbosky Perks of Being a Wallflower

These songs have been pouring through my head and heart the last month or so.

Adventure in AbFab

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Gosh, I wish that show was still on.

That’s not the point.

The point is the time has come for me to confess another travesty about my life to you. I love clothes. Moreover, I love ugly clothes. Hard. I love the neglected pieces buried away in thrift stores. In college the costume department was cleaning out storage, and they started filling bags of clothes for me. “This is ugly. Put it in the bag for Hayley.” It was bliss. And after reading this post from Jaime Blosser-Byrd, the time has finally come for me to be brutally honest about clothes with you.

In college a friend made me read (and subsequently purchase) the books from the creators of What Not To Wear. No. Not Stacy and Clinton *spit spit*. Trinny and Sussanah. I used to watch them on BBC America, and that alone changed my life. But having the books on hand is even better. Here’s the thing, I have a funny body. I do. Well, we all do. That’s right. You too. Embrace that. It’s good. The bad is that all women’s clothes are made exactly the same way. If you weigh 100 pounds or 500, clothes are built the same. A woman’s blouse, primarily, will be sized like a men’s t-shirt. S, M, L, etc. Which is stupid. I love that men’s dress shirts are sized with all sorts of numbers I don’t fully understand. I love that men’s pants do the same thing! I’m not a blanket size 10 in jeans. My stems are weird length, and my hips are small, but my stomach is a turd. I have big boobs and a small waist. I have no butt. My shoulders are big and my neck is short.

But let’s be real, team. I know how to dress. It took me a while to admit that, and then to also do it. I’ve known for a while; I simply struggled to find the right clothes. Now, though, I’d rather wear the same things every week, than look pregnant or deranged. (Some times I still look deranged). Yes, I treat clothes as costumes usually, but so far I’m not mad about it.

I can’t express this enough, if you’re struggling to find the right things for your body, please check out What Not to Wear. Here! You can get it for a dollar. Learn your body type. Learn your body shapes to know how to cover it. Know what to show and what to hide. Now, it is an incredibly British book, so if you invest in the subsequent books standards for things like weddings are a little different than in the States, but I assure you it’s still worth the investment.

Don’t worry though! If you’re a man and rubbish at clothes, I have good news for you too. Well, I have good news if you happen to look pretty much exactly like this guy. I have a pinterest board that might appeal to you.

Let’s just take a moment and revisit some of my favorite looks from the past year. Sorry for all that straight up bragging.

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Tight skirt, baggy sweater. I love youphoto (2) This blazer was a solid thrift.photo (3)

These shoes were worth the $2.00, even if they have no give and I can barely walk in them. Also, this sweatshirt is from Sevenly.com #love

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Wool skirt is a winter must. I can emphasize it enough

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This outfit made me feel like I was in an all-female production of Peter Pan, but I think that’s why I love it so much.photo (9)

Toothbrush: essential.photo

This blazer, I was considering altering, but let’s be honest…photo (4)

Why would I?!
photo (10)This is the ’90s girl answer to “dress up.” Biggest bow possible.

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Adventure in Really, 2014? Really?!

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Let’s be terribly honest. Let’s get grossly honest. Just for a minute. Last year was a grim year. It was bleak. I was bleak. I was trapped and lost and broken and unfulfilled and unwilling to let that change. 2013 was not my year. It was not my year.

2014 is the year of the Hayley. It’s on all of the message boards. Reddit won’t shut up about it. Buzzfeed has been doing lists upon lists with gifs and photos of me and clips from my favorite shows. All of that, and it’s only February.

It started almost immediately with the year change. I cut my hair off again and that night I did some stand up to open for Brett and Erica, maybe you remember. It was a good time. I did terribly, but it was a good time. Then a series of dates happened. Because maybe you’ll also remember I’m trying to say “yes” to more things. Or at least not be so quick to refuse everything. So when someone asks, now I say “yes.” I don’t think about the consequences. I need to start considering consequences.

So far what I’ve learned is a sociological shift. Isn’t it supposed to be that women are hasty to become emotionally involved and monogamous and men are stand-offish about such things? Isn’t that a thing? If it isn’t a thing, then rest assured the natural order is maintained. If that IS supposed to be a thing, then know that the whole world has gone topsy-turvy. The length of time it takes for a man to profess his love to me is dwindling. Quickly. Dwindling isn’t even the right word. That implies a slow burn. This is a flash.A week. Three days. Three hours. That’s the way things are going.

A month ago if I went out with Erica, I didn’t exist. Moreover, I was glad not to. Now, I can’t go out without make up and my hair askew and a simple t-shirt and jeans without someone telling me they love me.

A new year can change the whole world. Maybe it’s Saturn. Maybe it’s this shiny new haircut with the purple streaks. Maybe it’s my completely lack of concern. Whatever it is, it’s weird. It’s a weird year.

Please know that I’m not trying to be boastful. I’m trying to get you to understand how strange it all is. How I’ve worked so painfully to be content in solitude, and now I find myself without a moment to myself. I’m not complaining. (I am a little).

It’s an ever increasing count. It’s strangers trying to kidnap me increasing. It’s phonecalls on dates increasing. It’s someone PLEASE SAVE ME increasing. It’s only one of them did I feel compelled to seek out simultaneously as he sought me. It’s hopeful without being trite. It’s contentment without being idiotic. It’s a mess mostly. It’s a need to spend time with someone who might be interested in me for me and my thoughts and heart and words and not my interests.

Sweet Lord, there’s much prayer happening.

 

Entirely unrelated, it’s a gratefulness for the grandparents I still have and a longing for the ones I’ve lost.

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