Love, Liberty, & Little Tragedies

I’ve had this blog for 3 years now, though it feels like much longer. This blog has been a best friend to me, giving me space to share what’s in my heart. 3 years ago I named my blog “Free Indeed” after a favored Bible verse, but I have changed so much since then and I think it’s time my blog reflects that.

Love, Liberty, & Little Tragedies

It was important to me that the new name represent what my blog means to me.
Love: I share all the things that make my heart flutter here. My favorite books, music, and whatever else is my current obsession. I love being able to share what brings me joy with others.
Liberty: Creative expression is my life’s blood. And even though we live in a world where internet trolls are plentiful, I love that on my little slice of the internet I am able to freely express myself in the best way I know how.
Little Tragedies: This comes from a piece I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago. I have dealt with anxiety, depression, and this constant feeling of being an outsider in this world my entire life, which I’ve shared here. In speaking to other women who deal with these same things I’ve found often times they can attribute their mental health issues to one event, one experience, or one person in their life. But I could never do that. I had no big tragic event, only little tragedies, little heartbreaks that happened repeatedly over my life. And that’s what I post here, the little tragedies that mark my path.

My 20’s so far have been a roller coaster of great heights and deep valley’s and most likely will continue to be. I felt that the former feel of the blog just didn’t reflect the woman I am now. So if I am going to continue to write here that must change. I hope that you dear readers enjoy the new look and feel!

Love Always,

Tawni

P.S.
Check out new About Me page here!

Photo by Ethan Hover via Unsplash

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Hey 2017, Thanks for Nothing

2017 was a year that the entire world couldn’t wait to begin after a tragic 2016. But little did we know that while we sipped champagne and sang Auld Lang Syne, or if you’re like me nursed a cold and binge-watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer to bring in the new year, that 2017 was not going to be that much better. 2017 brought more mass shootings, more hate crimes, more disasters, a truckload of sexual misconduct allegations, and let’s not forget that Cheeto puff who leads this country showed us just how awful he is.

This worsening of the things in the world was mirrored in my personal life. Everything that cracked in 2016 crumbled in 2017 and I find myself headed into 2018 with very little hope. This is unusual for me, I may not get into Christmas or Thanksgiving but I actually really like New Years. All that hope and excitement of a new beginning usually warms my heart. But this year a cold wind passes through me where my heart used to be.

Honestly, I’m scared of 2018. I’m scared that the Trump administration will continue to step on the necks of the marginalized. I’m scared that another disturbed person will take a gun to a crowded concert, or mow down pedestrians on the street. I’m scared that white supremacists will find new and terrifying ways to spread their message of hate. I’m scared that wildfires will continue to ravage southern California. I’m afraid that more people will die in the Middle East. I’m afraid that I won’t find hope again. I’m afraid that my depression will worsen. I’m afraid that 2018 will be just as heartbreaking as 2017.

So how do you respond when the world is a garbage can rolling downhill?

Some of us will run to our faith and hold on for dear life. Some of us will throw ourselves into some kind of human service. Some of us will turn to drugs and alcohol. Some of us will take our own lives.

How will I respond? Not sure yet.

So here’s to you 2017. Thanks for showing us that things can definitely get worse. And 2018 for God’s sake please have mercy.

Photo by Kristopher Roller via unsplash

An Unexpected Gap Year

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time.

In spring of this year I experienced one of the worst bouts of depression and anxiety in my life. I was struggling to balance a full-time school schedule, increasing responsibilities at work, responsibilities at church, and just life in general. As summer began I decided to end my work with the church and with no school I felt like I could finally breathe. I caught up on all my tv shows, read a lot of books, and rested when I wasn’t at work. But there were still things to be done, as much as I didn’t want there to be.

There were 3 exams I needed to take in order to be fully admitted into the Teacher education program at my university. I wanted to study for them, I did. I bought the practice tests and the study guides, I scheduled time in my week when I would sit down and study. But when those times came I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thing was I dreaded returning to school. I was not ready to jump back into the hectic life of a working student. So I put off my exams as long as possible. My choice had consequences. I would have to wait all the way until next fall, a full year, before I could be fully admitted. At first I was upset, what a mistake I’d made! I was afraid that this dream I had of being a teacher would never come true.

I’ve made peace with the fact that my education will be on hold for a year, and I have something now that I haven’t had in awhile, a lot of free time. It feels like I’m an artist sitting in front of a blank canvas, I can do anything with this time. I can focus on things I haven’t had time to before. So what will those things be? Maybe I will focus on my writing, finish that short story, or join a writing group. Maybe I’ll buy that camera I’ve been wanting forever. Maybe I’ll resume learning to play the Ukulele. There’s literally a ton of creative endeavors on my to-do list and I finally have the time to do them. It’s exciting and overwhelming as I try to figure out what to do first.

All choices have consequences but not all consequences are bad. Sometimes they open doors you never had before.

In the River of Life

The last time I posted to this blog was February 1, 2017, and though that was only 3 months ago I find myself a different woman today than I was then. In the past 3 months anxiety and depression have bit into me like never before, my faith was thrown onto its axis, I was questioning whether I wanted to continue in my friendships and I was beginning to hate everything I was once wanted.

What could happen in 3 months that could change my life so much?

Honestly, things had been changing in me for awhile, it’s just that in the last 3 months it all kind of came to a head. I’d always had highs and lows mood wise but my lows were getting scary low. The thoughts that went through my head were things I never thought I would even consider. I was struggling with feelings of being trapped by my Christianity. I felt disconnected from my friends, I didn’t trust them with what I was experiencing. I just didn’t want to do anything, I hated everything, I wondered if I really wanted everything I had been working towards.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it all fell apart but I think it was a combination of the stress of my studies, the stress of my job, and what I learned in my Intro to Religion class. I had to admit to myself that things were not alright, I was not alright.

I started seeing a therapist which altogether was a positive experience, it helped a lot. I wish I could tell you that it solved everything but it hasn’t and it wasn’t supposed to. I wish I could say that everything is alright now, but it’s not. I am better, but I am still working through some things.
I am learning that life isn’t a race to the top of a mountain where when you get to the top everything is perfect and you can finally be happy. No, it’s more like a great river. Rivers don’t stay the same as they flow down a mountain or through a canyon. There are big drops, sharp rocks, raging waters, but there are also parts of the river that are calm and serene. That’s how life is, sometimes it will be constant rough waters and you will think there is no end in sight but then there are parts where it’s smooth sailing. The river won’t ever end at this imagined place called “happiness” because happiness isn’t a destination it’s a fleeting emotion.

I used to, and I sometimes catch myself still, daydreaming about the one day when everything will finally come together and I will be happy. I’ll have the perfect job, partner, family and I will not have a worry on the planet. I’ll just sit at the top of my mountain and wait to die. But it doesn’t work like that. Life will still be life with all its twist and turns.
Now I strive to be better, better than I was yesterday. Make better choices, handle situations better. I remind myself that perfection is impossible, and to not be so damn hard on myself.
I don’t want to go back to who I was 3 months ago, that girl was a repressed ticking time bomb. But it is a strange feeling knowing that you’ve changed but to everyone else you look and for the most part act pretty much the same. I think it’s the changes that are not apparent to the outside world that are the most profound.

 

image by Joao Branco

Poetry 101 Day 3: Sleep

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I spend my waking hours asleep, dreaming of something better. Something better than the stasis in which I live.

A place where I don’t fantasize about clawing at my own skin just to see a bit red blood in my colorless existence.

Where I don’t want to scream till I lose my voice just to hear a sound in this silent void.

From sun up till sun down I live in this abyss where nobody hears or sees me.

I’m only alive when I’m asleep.

 

Happy Anniversary!

On this day in 2014 I started my blog. I had no idea what I was doing, all I new was that it felt right, and exciting. We are coming very close to the end of 2015 and as I look back I realize it has been a difficult year. Mostly it has been the growing pains of leaving behind early adulthood and opening the door true adulthood. Things like buying a car completely on my own and getting health insurance. This blog has been here for me every step, as that creative outlet when life was too much.

January 1, 2015 I wrote:

I don’t usually make New Years resolutions but this year I am. My only resolution will be to write more. Hence this blog. I want to use more of my time for my passion. I don’t know exactly what 2015 will hold but I know with God above me and my loved ones beside me it will be everything I want and more.

Well I did write more for sure! I blogged consistently every month and I journaled. My passion for writing and especially poetry grew. But was it everything I wanted? Well…I don’t know. I found myself about midway through in a job that I didn’t enjoy, struggling in my classes, never too far away from tears and trying but failing to get a good nights sleep.

Summer brought some new experiences though. I went on a trip without any family, just friends. I went white water rafting, which was super fun. I was invited to a few parties and celebrations. It was a good summer.wp-1449592834167.jpg

Fall was a killer. With every fallen leaf my depression grew. I think I cried  to God more in the months of September and October than ever before in my life. I tried therapy for the first time ever and I learned that I needed to make time for the things I enjoyed, especially if most of my day consisted of things that I didn’t. Also I needed to learn to be okay with not being okay and to be honest I’m still working on that one. My blog during this season fell to the bottom of my priorities, there just isn’t enough time in the day. But like a good friend the blog is still here even when I neglect it.

I have high hopes for 2016, I mean if its not better than 2015 then I’m just going to throw in the towel. I’ll call quits on life, curl up into a little ball and lay there until I starve to death. I’m kidding of course, but barely. I’m ready for this pre-quarter life crisis to end before my actual quarter life (25th birthday) begins. So prayers up dear friends to only gains in 2016!

I Just Want To Be Okay

I’ve been dancing in the rain a bit too long, I’m thoroughly wet and cold to the bone.The rain has lost its beauty, its instead become my torment. The clouds are dark above me and the wind hard against me. With each step I take, the mud seems thicker around my feet. I’m desperate for one ray of sun to peek through these clouds.

There is a cloud of dissatisfaction over all the places in my life and it seems its been hanging there for awhile. I’m taking steps to try to change things and I have faith that it will all work out. But what about the inbetween times, the waiting area, or the hallways? How do you navigate that? My friend told me to dance in the rain. But what do you do when you’ve grown tired of that? I’ve been praying and reading my word, trying to stay faithful, keeping God’s promises in mind. But what do you do when as soon as you walk out the door your fighting to just be okay? What do you do when you sit at your desk fighting off tears? I know one can never be happy all of time, but I long for that peace in the storm.