Thirty

I spent this past year celebrating the weird process of life that gradually spins into womanhood. I don’t quite know how, but somewhere between 29 and 30 – I found out who I am and who I want to become. It was a strange feeling to recognize growth (perhaps an even stranger event to explain now), but today feels like something worth celebrating.

A few years ago, I was creating who I was from what others thought I should be. I did this unrecognizably at first: slowly piecing myself together, one criticism at a time, until I realized I was becoming a collage of other people’s standards. I hated the fear and need for approval that brewed in my mind every time I voiced my opinions out loud or even posted a photo onto social media. I was in a weird purgatory. I knew who I was in my core, but I was trapped and shunted by the expectations I allowed others to place on me.

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I went through a rebellious stage: rejecting religion, family and even, as lame as it sounds, pop music. Something in me thought if I made a 180° turn from my current state, the edgier side would somehow reveal a braver, stronger me. In my solo trip to France, I realized the recent rebellion was a different kind of fear and conformity. I was rejecting southern traits and femininity because I didn’t know how to carve my own place amongst them. Out of mere defiance (or maybe survival), I rejected the idea of becoming a mother, rejected the ideals of womanhood, and at times, I even rejected my role as a wife. I wanted so badly to be me, but I didn’t know who that was.

Today, I am thirty.

I no longer list my dreams as a question needing approval. I no longer wait for someone to select me out of a crowd and tell me it’s okay to be me. I know who I am, the good and the bad, and I celebrate the years that shaped me into this new, impenitent woman.

For me, thirty means I can be confident in my decisions, comfortable with who I am, and strong enough to live the life I want. Instead of fighting against the quirks and fears, I can embrace them. I can grow from them.

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Birthdays

Listen friends,

One day, after you’ve been pretty down in the dumps about some mess with living or dying – you’ll wake up and discover that you’ve got a pretty sweet deal going.  You’ll wake up and realize you had it right all along.

I’ve spent a decent number of years fearful of what my behavior meant to other people.  Fearful of how my thoughts and beliefs affected the people I love, and wondered if that was something I’d change for their happiness.  For a long time, I thought I would.  I spent years trying to fit into a form that was never really formed.  I spent 23 years of life trying to see meaning in something that never felt real to me.

I stressed about death.  I thought about where my soul goes after life to the point of hyperventilation and full on SPM (sweaty palms mode).  I was so focused on what the next life held that I stopped worrying about what this life had in store.  Worst of all – I was so determined to let a higher being lead the way that I’d forgotten which way I even wanted to go.  From the looks of it, some guy had long ago determined my future and I just had to sit back and enjoy the ride.  I got cozy in this depressing, cruise control life, and I was sitting back for the long haul.  Because, as it turned out in that small circle… probability said they’re right.  It didn’t matter if I saw what they saw.  ALL THESE PEOPLE SAW THE SAME EFFING THING.

and to them it was beautiful.

But it wasn’t beautiful to me.  To get right down to it, it was terrifying and mind numbing.  Dying was scary, but eternity scared me more.  The thought of never being over haunted me, but maybe that’s because I’ve always been a sucker for a good ending.

Life, as you may have guessed, is uncertain.  We get older, we get sick, we have to learn to say goodbye.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, I mean to encourage you to live.  Live the one you have, because the next one is still a guessing game.

-Cap

P.S.

In honor of 2 year old, Pentecostal Cap… I leave you with this:

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