Getting What you Want: A Leap of Faith

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I am a firm believer that hard work is the number one ingredient in getting what you want. Without hard work, dreams remain just that; dreams. Instilled in me since childhood has been this grit – a willingness to put forward every ounce of my energy into my desired outcome. However, I am also a firm believer that the second ingredient will always be faith. Let’s rewind.

I have had many people call me crazy when I tell them that I moved to Connecticut (four hours away from any family or friends) with only the money I had saved and no job lined up. I have had people look at me like I was stupid, questioning why anyone would do something so ridiculous. However, in the moment, the decision to move without any real plan was just a complete leap of faith. And I had no doubts that it would work out.

Similarly, a few years back my best friend and I made the drive from Vermont to Mississippi just the two of us, stopping at hotels along the way on a week long adventure. People asked why we didn’t fly. People asked why our parents would allow us to make this journey alone – we were almost twenty at the time, but looking back, it was risky. In the moment though, we set off with our suitcases in my friends Honda CRV, and took to the road with no doubts that we would do nothing but have the time of our lives.

I could explain to you several other instances in which I jumped without seeing the ground. With every single one, I would not be where I am today had I not taken that leap.

It is terrifying. Admittedly, it can be the scariest thing you will ever do. But it is also extremely important in getting what you want.

There is no secret recipe. No short cut to success. But if you work hard and believe in your actions, effort and faith will always pay off.

I am not here to say that you will not eventually leap and land on your behind. More than once I have tried and failed. But it’s in the getting back up where you win. It’s in the failing and always jumping again that you succeed.

Take the risk. Jump when you can’t see the ground, step when you don’t see the stairs, dive when you don’t know the depth – you will be rewarded. There is no success in safety. Always, it lives in the unknown.

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I Dropped Out of College: Why it is the best decision I ever made

This past weekend marked what should have been my college graduation. Class of 2019. I still get the Facebook group notifications even though I dropped out of college two years ago. My feed has been flooded the past few days with pictures of my friends in cap and gowns, and I can’t help but feel if just for a second, that I should be in those pictures with them. When I first felt that throb in my chest, that guilt and jealousy, I found myself quickly rewinding and checking myself because the simple truth is, dropping out of college when I did was the best thing for me.

Not for one second do I regret my decision to leave school. I was at the top of my classes, I was getting straight A’s on every project, on every assignment, I was the person to beat. But I was miserable. I was working a full time job, juggling a long distance relationship, trying to convince myself that I was happy studying a major I had no interest in. I was appeasing the system that had placed me in higher education, and I was miserable.

Do not get me wrong here. I think College is very important. I think any person who has dedicated their time and energy to getting a higher education is strong and beautiful and wonderful, and should be very proud of themselves. I am not here to bash anyone who has made that choice; they are very admirable and extremely necessary in society.

All of that though does not change that college was simply not for me. I am a happier, stronger, and still very well educated person today because I dropped out of college.

Let me explain.

I did not go to college because I had a passion for something. I went to college because that is what everyone was telling me to do. Teachers, advisers, family members, friends – almost every person in my life convinced me college was the best option. At times it seemed college was the only option. Coming from a small town, to some people, not going to college is much like a death sentence.

Still, college was not for me.

There are people who when I tell them my story, tell me I picked the wrong major. It would have been better for me if I’d picked a different major. I picked the wrong college. It would have been different for me had I picked a different college. I disagree with all of these statements. It wasn’t the majors fault. It wasn’t the college’s fault. It was all on me.

I studied hard. I got good grades. I had amazing professors. I learned plenty. I didn’t fail at college by any means. But I was a terrible human being during those two years. I was miserable. I got up every morning dreading life no matter what I had planned for the day. I knew I was going to have to sit in class and pretend to enjoy the lectures I was sitting through. I sat next to people with fire in their bellies, people so passionate about the subject that they would stand to answer questions and I remember thinking – “give me some of that fire”. I remember just wanting to feel something, but that’s not how it works.

The day I dropped out of college, the only thing I remember feeling was relief. I expected to feel anger at myself for quitting. I expected to feel ashamed of myself. I expected to feel regret or fear looking at the loans I was still going to have to pay off. But no. All I felt was relief. And to this day, all I have ever truly felt about my decision to drop out of college is relief.

I have no idea where I am going to end up. I may go back to college one day. I may decide never to go back. But at this point in my life, I have a job. I pay my own bills. I am doing something I love to do. I have plans for the next couple of years. I am happy. And above all, I am not ashamed of the choices I made to get here.

Going to college is a choice so many people make, and for so many people, it is absolutely the right decision. Also though, there are plenty of people who choose not to and still live abundant lives and are no less a member of society than those that have a degree.

I will end this post by saying simply this: be you. Choose what makes you happy. Do what makes you happy. As long as your bills are getting paid, you aren’t breaking any laws, you aren’t hurting anyone else, and you are happy, then who should be a judge of what is right in your life but yourself?

When You Died I Read

When my world fell apart I went to the bookstore.

I went to the bookstore because there I am a stranger.

The aisles are just hallways and each person is just a traveler.

I went to the bookstore because the pages on the shelves

hold more stories than I ever will so within those pieces of paper

They must know greater heartbreak than what I am feeling

and there is a comfort in that

knowing that in this bookstore as I pass each title

I am not alone.

When my world crashed around me

I didn’t buy anything at the bookstore.

I wasn’t there to exchange paper for paper –

I ran my fingers down the spines of each bound cover I could never have

and I thought of your face.

What a beautiful thing you are – they are –

so far gone from me yet within finger tip distance.

I could flip through your pages but I will never get the chance

to read your novel.

 

-CM

Find Your Fight

You have a reason to live. I don’t know what it is, and since we are having this conversation, I am willing to bet you don’t know either. But I promise you, there is one. I know you feel like there is no point. Your life has been so dark for so long, and fighting has gotten beyond tiring. Your soul is tired, your body is tired, and giving up is so much easier. Believe me, I get it. But you have fought so hard for so long, giving up would just mean throwing all of that away…wouldn’t it?

So please, listen to me. Sit down, and give me just five minutes of your time.

I need you to find your fight. I know you are tired. I know you have been fighting for what seems like forever. But I need you to find the one reason to never stop fighting. I promise you, you have one. I know you have lost sight of it. But it is there – you just have to find it again.

For me, my fight started off as my parents. When my battle with depression and suicidal thoughts began, I had to search for my fight. And what I found was my parents. They didn’t deserve to lose a daughter. They had given up so much of themselves, so much time, energy and love went into making me – they didn’t deserve to lose all of that. It didn’t matter how much pain I was in – I had no right to put them through it too. I had to fight for them.

My second battle came a couple years later, and this time, though my love for my parents had in no way lessened, my fight wasn’t there anymore. I searched there first, thinking this time it would be easy, because I knew where my fight was hiding. However, depression is never that easy. This time, it took many therapy sessions and medications (that didn’t work for me) to find my fight. And this time my fight was with my sisters. Turns out, they had been keeping it safe for me the whole time. My sisters and I have always been a package deal. You get one, you get all three. We have always had each other’s backs, we have always done everything we can together – you can’t break us up. I had no right to put an end to that without asking them first. And the Lord knows if I had asked, they would have tackled me to the ground and not let me up until I had promised to keep fighting. So I chose to stay. For them. No matter how hard it was, no matter how much it hurt, my little sister didn’t deserve to lose a big sister and my big sister didn’t deserve to lose a little sister.

Now, years later, I thankfully haven’t had another battle yet. But I have already found my fight. My fight lies in the tiny hands of my nearly one year old niece, beautiful blue eyes and tiny body, but amazing soul. My fight lies in the little girl who blows kisses and tickles you, the little girl who gives hugs when she can see you are sad but doesn’t know why. I would do anything for this little girl, anything at all, and that includes finding whatever tiny bit of fight is left inside of me and making it last forever, because fighting for her will always be worth it.

Find your fight. And when you do, use it. Don’t stop fighting. It will be hard. I’m not going to lie and say it will be easy. Even when you have a reason to fight, the fighting doesn’t just magically end. But it will give you a push. And it will be worth it.

-CM

Falling In Love Early

I found my soulmate long before I even knew what romance was. Funny isn’t it? You’re just playing in the backyard with a person who laughs at the same things as you, comforting a person who cries when you cry, and all of a sudden you can’t imagine your life without them. I met my soulmate before I could even walk or talk. That’s the thing about a true soulmate. They often aren’t even romantic at all. They’ve seen you through it all. They were the one person who stayed when everyone else left. They believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. They are much more than a best friend. Sure, we can simplify it and call it that, but this bond deserves a title much larger than that. You can’t really know it until you feel it, this connection that crosses boundaries. It’s almost as if you become mind readers. You know what they are going to say before they say it. You know they are in trouble before they call you. You know to message them before your phone even goes off. You can be thousands of miles apart, and you still know the exact moment that they need you. It’s almost supernatural, and that’s why it deserves a much bigger title. Sure, you’ll meet many people you love after them. You’ll fall in love and get married. You’ll have other friends. But your soulmate will always be your soulmate. No one can replace them.

-CM

Seasonal Happiness

Sometimes I wish I lived in a tropical paradise so that

every year as the ground begins to freeze

maybe my heart and body would have a chance.

They tell me it’s seasonal depression as the snow begins to fall

and so does my stomach but I think I would prefer to call it

seasonal happiness for me who gets

maybe two good months of easy smiles

and forces them through heartbreak the other ten.

My heart loves the Holiday spirit but my body hates the cold

my body loves the hot chocolate and festive music but my heart hates

the forced nameless sadness that makes itself home in my chest.

They tell me it’s normal and that it will pass

but for twenty one years I have lived every day

waiting for it to pass.

Maybe next year this seasonal happiness will stay.

 

-CM

Social Interactions Reincarnated

Making friends is hard for people like us with brains in our stomachs

and mouths on our hands so let’s make it easy.

I don’t want to know how your day was –

it was good, mine was good, end of conversation –

start over.

I don’t want to talk about the weather –

it’s sunny, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, it’s getting chilly, end of conversation –

start over.

I want to talk about what gives you that feeling,

you know the one –

that feeling as if you have the whole world in your palm and

you could do anything or be anyone –

I want to know what gives you that feeling so maybe

one day I can give it to you.

I want to know at what point you were your saddest –

I want to know so maybe the next time I see the signs

I will already have the warm blanket and hot chocolate waiting.

Let’s talk about love, loss, fear, anger –

let’s talk about life.

Making friends is hard so let’s make it easy.

Nice to meet you, I’m damaged goods, I wear my heart on my sleeve,

I don’t talk when I should and talk too much when I shouldn’t,

I have a lot of opinions, I don’t know exactly what I want or how to get it

but I know one day I will get it

I would do anything for my friends and do very little for myself –

Nice to meet you.

I think we’ll get along just fine.

 

-CM

For My Niece

Never have I wanted to be a better person more than when I look into your eyes –

This isn’t to say I am a bad person, but when you look up at me

I want to be a saint.

When your tiny fingers close around mine I know I can’t give you the world

but I would give you mine in a heartbeat.

Holding you even for just a moment glues my wounds shut and

for those few seconds I feel like a little kid again –

whole.

When your blue eyes seek mine for answers I know I can’t protect you

from every evil in this world – you have a Daddy and Papa

with big hands and even bigger hearts for that –

But know my arms will always be a place for you to rest and know

my ear will always be here to listen and know

no matter how far away I am

I will always drop whatever task is at hand

if you ask me to and I will drive or I will fly or I will crawl but I will

be there.

I did not give you life baby girl – you have the worlds best Mama given to you by the worlds best Nana –

but know Auntie would give her last breath if it meant you could have just

one more.

 

-CM

Where I’ve Been

(A poem explaining my absence lately)

 

I owe no apology for taking a break mentally or emotionally

to anybody who picks and prods into my whereabouts

I owe no apology for living this life the way I choose however

I owe an explanation for the way my body has changed

I owe an explanation for the way my mind has grown because maybe

someone could learn from me when I walk into a room and

I no longer think I am the ugliest or the dumbest

I owe an explanation for this growth that sprouted from

planting myself in the dark, in the silence, alone

Light coming in from slats, reaching me in the deepest corners so that

when I stepped out

my wings unfolded.

I owe no apology for taking a break but I do want to let you know

you can take one too.

 

-CM

Anxiety (Part II)

Before my feet even cross over the invisible line between real world and hospital

I have already convinced myself I am dying of ten different incurable diseases.

I have started my list of “things to do before I die”

starting with

  1. Stop stressing so damn much before there is even stress to stress about

I walk out of the doctors office with a prescription for an anxiety drug that will

“help me not worry so much” and the memory of a very tired doctor repeating that

I was not going to die any time soon.

But what if that truck swerves into my lane and hits me?

What if my car bursts into flames as soon as I shut the door?

What if today is my last day? –

I am not afraid of death or dying

specifically

I am afraid of everything.

-CM